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Dash Compact Review

A fairly good appliance that is held back by a relatively small capacity
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Price:   $100 List | $58 at Amazon
Pros:  Good cooking performance, inexpensive
Cons:  Very small capacity
Manufacturer:   Dash
By Max Mutter and Michelle Powell  ⋅  Jul 16, 2019
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 9
  • Cooking Performance - 35% 8
  • User Friendliness - 25% 6
  • Ease of Cleaning - 20% 7
  • Temperature Accuracy - 20% 5

Our Verdict

The Dash Compact is a good all-around air fryer that offers great cooking performance at quite a low price. It is a great option if you want to try out air frying but don't want to invest too much into the venture. However, if this is the case, we still think you might be better off spending just a bit more on the GoWISE USA 3.7 Quart Programmable. It usually doesn't cost much more, but air fries equally as well and is noticeably easier to clean. Plus, the Dash Compact stays true to its name with a 1.6-quart fry basket that can often feel restrictively small, whereas the GoWISE offers a relatively palatial 3.7-quart basket.


Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $100 List
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Star Rating
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Pros Good cooking performance, inexpensiveGreat cooking performance, user friendly, excellent temperature accuracyGreat cooking performance, relatively easy to clean, inexpensiveGood cooking performance, easy to cleanVery intuitive, relatively good cooking performance
Cons Very small capacityNot the easiest to cleanMediocre temperature accuracyNo digital readout, lower temperature setting somewhat inaccurateExpensive, can sometimes be difficult to clean
Bottom Line A fairly good appliance that is held back by a relatively small capacityOffers the most consistent quality of the bunchOffers good performance at a relatively low priceGood overall performance, but not the best in its price rangeGood performance and intuitive design, but costs more than other models that hit the same marks
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories Dash Compact Ninja 1550 Watt 3.7 Quart... BLACK+DECKER Purifry Philips HD9641/96...
Cooking Performance (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
User Friendliness (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Ease Of Cleaning (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Temperature Accuracy (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
Specs Dash Compact Ninja 1550 Watt 3.7 Quart... BLACK+DECKER Purifry Philips HD9641/96...
Outside Dimensions 10.2" x 8.1" x 11.4" 13.6" x 11" x 13.3" 12" x 8" x 8" 11.1" x 9.8" x 11.5" 14.4" x 10.5" x 11.3"
Capacity 1.6 qt 4 qt 3.7 qt 2.1 qt 2.8 qt
Accessories none multi-layer rack for dehydrating none basket divider none
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited 2 Year Limited 1 Year Limited
Power Consumption 1000W 1550W 1400W 1200W 1425W

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Dash Compact did quite well in all of our tests except for temperature accuracy, putting it in the top half of our overall leaderboard.


Cooking Performance


Earning one of the top scores in our air frying tests, the Dash Compact is generally able to handle most recipes with panache.


The Dash Compact excels at preparing onion rings and chicken breast. Its rings came out perfectly golden and delicious, and its chicken breast treated us to a delightfully tender and moist texture.

It also fared slightly better than most when prepping sweet potato fries, with the crispiness becoming a bit more pervasive. However, as with all the models we tested, the sweet potatoes never got crispy enough to really be called fries.

Getting the Compact's fry basket out generally requires two hands and some jiggling.
Getting the Compact's fry basket out generally requires two hands and some jiggling.

The Dash's somewhat surprising weak points in our cooking tests were tater tots and doughnuts. With tater tots it struggled with consistency, making some tots quite crispy while leaving others somewhat soggy. Its doughnuts came out without much of a crisp to them. We believe this may be because its fry basket is so small that the doughnuts had to touch the sides of the basket.

User Friendliness


The Dash Compact has more user-friendliness drawbacks than many other models, which earned it a somewhat average score in this metric.


While nothing about the Dash Compact feels very difficult to use, we do have at least minor complaints about pretty much every facet of its user experience. First off, the temperature dial is oddly spaced and it's somewhat hard to tell where exactly each number is, so it takes some thought to set it at the exact temperature you want. The same can be said for the cooking timer. Overall, we think opting for dials over digital controls makes things a bit more difficult. Also, oddly, the fan turns off 2 minutes before cooking is done, which can throw things off a bit if you're supposed to shake foods midway through cooking.

The Labeling on the Compact's dials feels oddly spaced.
The Labeling on the Compact's dials feels oddly spaced.

Our biggest complaint about the Dash Compact is its basket. The fit is a bit off, so you have to jiggle it to get it in and out of the machine, but the worst part is its size. The 1.6-quart capacity can feel quite limiting (most models are at least 2, with many being north of 3) and may force you to split some recipes into multiple batches.

The nonstick coating of the fry basket works quite well  but there are enough holes and grooves where grease can build up that it still requires some vigorous scrubbing.
The nonstick coating of the fry basket works quite well, but there are enough holes and grooves where grease can build up that it still requires some vigorous scrubbing.

Ease of Cleaning


While the Dash Compact isn't particularly arduous to clean, things could be easier. The frying basket itself sheds grime quite well, but there are a number of grooves and other places for messes to hide. The one thing that's nice about the basket being so small is that it won't take over the top rack of your dishwasher like other models do.


Temperature Accuracy


Temperature accuracy represented the worst performance turned in by the Dash Compact. It is able to keep things fairly accurate at low temperatures, but it quickly starts running hot once the set temperature gets over 325˚, with it registering a whopping 425˚ on our thermometers when it was set to just 400˚. The slightly cryptic labeling of the temperature dial doesn't help this situation either.


Value


Even at its low street price, we think the Dash is only a worthwhile purchase if you're ok with a very small capacity. For most people we think the GoWISE USA 3.7 Quart Programmable would be a much better budget option.


Conclusion


The Dash Compact is a relatively good air fryer, but the very small fry basket limits its usefulness to those cooking for one, and that don't want any leftovers.


Max Mutter and Michelle Powell