This is my first air-fryer, but it completely checks the boxes of being able to make fries, onion rings, chicken wings the best. So good that fast food fries directly from the take out window taste sad and soggy compared to the crisp clean fries I get from this thing. That’s no exaggeration; after about 6 months with no fast food and cooking all meals at home due to some issue in 2020 I finally had my first big Mac and fries and the big Mac was ok and the fries just seemed soggy. I went back a week later and found similar results. I think I just expect more from fires now.
I bought the largest air fryer I could find, for the rotisserie and it checks that box (it has flaws, more about that below). But the three hidden gems are, cheese toast, hot dogs / sausages and reheating bread from the refrigerator. It cooks these three things so much better than any other device that it is worth having just for those three things.
So... I'm writing a five star review for a contraption that has flaws. You want to know the flaws and decide for yourself if it is worth your money. That’s why you are reading this super long review:
1. The selector dial is super sloppy (I saw this in other reviews and I am reiterating they used a super cheap part for the dial). I waited over 6 months to write this review as I assumed it would break and I did not want to write a good review for a piece of junk. It has not broken and it has not gotten worse. I therefore concluded it is not a piece of junk, just a flowed device.
2. It gets very hot and moves a lot of air. Hey, that is why you are looking at this one in the first place.! But the sides get too hot for me to put it near a wall and it blows so much hot air out the top back area I did not feel it was safe to run it under a cabinet.As a side note, much of the casing is cool to the touch, but some of it does get hot. My concern was trapping hot air. With nothing to cool my walls and 15 minutes of hot air, I was worried. I thought it would heat up the shelf above and with hot air rising and this thing producing a lot of hot air I worried it would damage the paint or even catch the kitchen on fire. I ended up moving it to an island location with nothing above it.
3. The doors are very sloppy and do not really close all the way. Like the dial this is an unforced error that could be avoided by better build quality. But... this thing moves a lot of air and has louvers to draw air into it. The gaps on the front just contribute to the louver area and therefore do not detract from its actual function. Also, like the dial issue, I wanted to wait before writing this review to see if the door hardware would get worse. It did not.
4. Two of the trays came with dents and the protective coating was damaged. This annoyed me, but not as much as the fact that one of the trays (the drip tray / baking tray) also does not completely fit inside the oven. It holds the doors open. How this sort of oversight is even possible is just really odd. I know from reviews other people have received ones with poor workmanship and many received them with no issues. I have to overlook this issue because I like the rest of what this does. You may feel otherwise.
5. The loud beeping. It beeps, you will notice the beeping.
6. The rotisserie setup has two design annoyances. The spit has a square end instead of a pointy end. good luck getting it to go through a chicken. I have a rotisserie rod from a broken machine that I use to pre-drill my food because this one is just too blunt. The end caps are tricky to get onto the spit. They hold very well, but these two flaws make the rotisserie process cumbersome.
7. One more item of note regarding the rotisserie, unless you perfectly balance your chicken and tie it up really well, this machine does not fit a large frying chicken and only a small one will fit using the drip tray. Some tinfoil magic will need to be done at the bottom otherwise you will have chicken schmaltz leaking out the bottom of the machine. This happened once and it was not so fun to clean up. On the plus side, the rotisserie is strong enough to move unbalanced food and has good controls for stopping and reversing and the oven light works well to see inside.
As I said at the top, this is my first air fryer so I don't really know if it is the best one or the worst one. It is a vegetable monster making tasty (and healthy) side dishes really easy, it does the frying thing super well and with the glass front lets you really dial in the browning on things like chicken wings. For making things like cheese toast or garlic bread this thing is just perfect. On the rotisserie I have done a tri-tip roast, a turkey breast and many chickens. For quick indulgence, this thing will cook a tray of fries directly from a frozen bag, a hot dog and then warm a hot-dog bun when placed in the last minute all at once. That's a whole meal with every item being cooked better than any other method I have ever used. Did I mention how well it cooks cheese toast?
I begrudgingly give this thing five stars and would willingly pay about 50% more for one that has a build quality of a high end appliance and real stainless steel. And that is the story, I find the $199 a good value for this product as it sits today. We have purchased a number of cooking items and gadgets over the last year just to keep the mailman employed and to balance our own sanity. This thing gets used nearly every day for some task or another and deserves a good review despite itself.