Everybody loves fried food. However, most fried dishes are full of fatty grease, which can pose a potential health hazard when consumed regularly. This is why air fryers have become a popular appliance choice. They are perfect for those of us who like to enjoy the taste of fried food minus the excessive oil.
Air fryers are kitchen appliances that can deliver the same type of fried crispy exterior and moist interior as deep-frying but without using a lot of oil. How?
They circulate hot air with a fan to cook food that would have otherwise been doused in oil. The appliance’s cooking chamber radiates heat from a heating element within the device and superheats the air while a fan circulates it to cook the food. The movement of the hot air provides heat conduction to the food reducing cooking time and creating the same deep-frying effect.
Most air fryers have both a timer and temperature adjustments. Food is placed in a perforated cooking basket that is on top of a drip tray. Food cooked may be tossed in a very small amount of oil or no oil at all.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Air Fryer
With air fryers gaining popularity, several brands and models have appeared in stores and online. With so many options, how can you tell which is your best choice? There are several things to consider when deciding on an air fryer.
Even if all air fryers work using the same convection principle, they are not all created equal. Some products have unique features like a built-in food agitator that shakes the food automatically throughout the cooking process for even oil distribution. Some air fryers let you cook two types of food through different levels in the cooking basket. Some of the bigger models have grilling, baking, and roasting capabilities.
The amount of food you plan on cooking is an important consideration. The average-sized air fryer ranges from 2.2-5 quarts and will cook roughly 1.8-3 pounds of food. This is good for 1-3 people and can easily cook food like fries, vegetables for snacks or sides, chicken legs, steaks, and nuggets. If you want to cook whole chickens, you will need a bigger capacity air fryer. A good family-sized air fryer that can cook whole chickens ranges from 5.3-5.8 quarts. This is good for a family of 3-5 people.
Size and color options
An air fryer’s size depends on the cooking capacity. In general, average-sized models can take up to less than 2 feet of counter space. The smallest compact air fryers can be as small as 10 x 8 x 11 inches.
Air fryers typically come in black, silver, or white. With brands like Dash, you can also get unique colors like aqua and red, which can be a nice pop of color in the kitchen.
Analog or Digital
The two types of air fryers on the market now are either controlled with manual analog knobs or through LCD digital displays. Both work well but if you want more precise control then a digital display is your best bet. Additionally, some models have automatic on/off controls, which is useful if you are making food that doesn’t require you to be near it while it is cooking.
Ease of maintenance
Air fryers are easy appliances to maintain. After use and cool down, you just need to wipe down the outside, wash the tray, pan, and basket with hot water and dishwashing liquid, and then clean the inside with a sponge and soap. It’s best to make sure the tray, pan, and basket are thoroughly dry before re-assembling them. As most air fryers are coated with non-stick surfaces, don’t use utensils inside the machine as these can easily scratch the surface coating. Most machines also come with a warranty.
Prices for air fryers depend on the size and features. Generally, you can get one anywhere from $40-$200. On average, be prepared to spend at least $50-$70 for a decent reliable machine.
The 3 Best Dash Air Fryers in 2019
So now that you are familiar with how an air fryer works and what qualities to look out for, how do you narrow your search down further? It helps to learn more about the different brands on the market. We like the brand Dash. Their products are designed to inspire consumers towards eating healthily fried and cooked food.
We did the legwork for you and tested the different Dash Air Fryer products and we’ve come up with the three best air fryer models from the Dash lineup for three different categories:
- Best Overall: Dash Digital Compact Air Fryer
- Best for Value: Dash Compact Air Fryer 1.2 Qt
- Best for Families: Dash Deluxe Air Fryer 6 Qt
Best Overall: Dash Digital Compact Air Fryer
Our pick for the best overall Dash Air Fryer is the Dash Digital Compact Air Fryer. This product is the perfect mix of combining compact air fryer size with an easy to use digital display. All you have to do is load the food basket and then punch in your instructions. You can manually set your time and temperature or use any of the five presets for easy temperature and time tracking. Each setting ensures food comes out deliciously crispy on the outside while still juicy and tender on the inside.
The Dash Digital Compact Air Fryer packs a punch but is small and easy to maintain, too. With dimensions measuring 7.8 by 10.6 by 12.2 inches, it is ideal for college dorm rooms, apartments, or small homes. The machine weighs 6.85 pounds and is roughly half the weight of standard air fryer machines in the market.
The Dash Digital Compact Air Fryer comes in a variety of fun colors that can add as an accent or highlight in your kitchen. It sells for $70, making it slightly more expensive than the Dash Compact Air Fryer. However, the added features compensate for the price difference. Like all Dash machines, it is non-stick, PFOA-free, and dishwasher-safe.
Learn more about the Dash Digital Compact Air Fryer.
Dash Digital Compact Air Fryer Video Review
Best for Value: Dash Compact Air Fryer 1.2 Qt
The best for value Dash air fryer is the original standard 1.2 Dash Compact Air Fryer. This is the entry-level model, but it has the same specifications as the Dash Digital Compact. The difference is that you use a manual knob to control temperature and cooking time.
The Dash Compact Air fryer is small and lightweight. It measures 10.2 by 8.1 by 11.4 inches and weighs 5.7 pounds, making it the lightest air fryer in the market today.
The Dash Compact Air Fryer also comes in several fun colors like aqua and red alongside the black, white, and gray and sells for as low as $55 making it a very affordable addition to your kitchen.
Learn more about the Dash Compact Air Fryer.
Dash Compact 1.2 qt Air Fryer Video Review
Best for Families: Dash Deluxe Air Fryer 6 Qt.
If you want to be able to cook enough food for a family then the Dash Deluxe Air Fryer is for you. This larger 6-quart air fryer is ideal for batch cooking for families or for serving at parties and get-togethers.
The Dash Deluxe machine has two control knobs for temperature and cooking time. It has a cool-touch handle, automatic off, and a large basket that can handle multiple servings or even a whole chicken.
It measures 12.5 by 14.8 by 14.8 inches and weighs 16. 25 pounds. It also comes in several fun colors like aqua and red alongside black, white, and gray. This heavy-duty air fryer sells for $99.
Learn more about the Dash Deluxe Air Fryer.
Dash Deluxe 6qt. Air Fryer Video Review
Whether you are cooking for one or a big family, there is an air fryer fit for your needs. Air fryers give you the option of enjoying delicious and crispy fried food without excessive oil. The models we tried are all easy-to-use and uses a simple plug-and-go cooking method. They all require less than a tablespoon of oil (or none at all) when cooking and reduce fat in fried food by 70-80% without sacrificing flavor. We really enjoyed the ease of use and the results of this modern kitchen appliance and we think you will too!