Cosori Smart Air Fryer Oven Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cosori Smart CS158-AF was at or near the front of the pack in all of our tests except for temperature accuracy, making it a viable option for all but those that want to tinker with temperature-sensitive recipes.
The Smart CS158-AF was one of the standouts in our cooking tests, producing some of the best sweet potato fries, onion rings, and doughnuts that we sampled. Our favorite food that the CP158-AF whipped up in our testing was its onion rings. Achieving near perfection with crispy, evenly golden outsides and tender insides, these rings made us feel like we were at a greasy spoon diner, sans the grease.
Closely following the quality of the onion rings, the CS158-AF's doughnuts came out with crispy outsides and fluffy, fully-cooked insides, offering a worthy alternative to store-bought fare.
The CS158-AF also proved proficient in cooking meat in our testing, producing a nice juicy chicken breast that was tender enough to be easily cut with the side of a fork. Like all of the air fryers we tested, it failed to get the outside anywhere near the crispiness of traditional fried chicken, but the skin did have a bit of a crunch to it.
The CS158-AF is easier to use than many of the other models we tested but does present some eccentricities that lead to a little bit of a learning curve. For the most part, the clear LCD screen and plus/minus buttons for time and temperature make it relatively easy to select the settings you want. There are also individual buttons for each of the machine's 11 presets as well as the preheat function. While these dedicated buttons do make selecting those presets quite easy, some of our testers found the sheer number of buttons to be a bit confusing at first glance.
Speaking of the preheat function, the CS158-AF takes a different approach to preheating than most of the machines that we've tested. The majority of machines on the market have you select your desired cooking settings (manual temperature and time or a preset) and press start. The machine then goes into preheating mode and lets you know when it's up to temperature. The CS158-AF requires that you select the preheat function and a temperature, then wait for it to finish preheating before you enter any other settings. This eccentricity isn't necessarily a bad thing, but we found it to be slightly less intuitive.
The fry basket of the CS158-AF has a nice handle and slides in and out quite smoothly, making it easy to shake your food mid cooking (a common requirement for many air frying recipes). The square shape also feels like a much more efficient use of space than the circular baskets used by some other models. Once the food is done, however, we found it to be a bit difficult to remove the inner frying basket from the outer basket.
Ease of Cleaning
The CS158-AF offers a relatively pain-free cleaning experience with only a couple of minor annoyances. The fry basket tends to easily shed grease and grime and generally doesn't require too much scrubbing to get clean. The texture of the basket is a bit rough, however, so the few times we did get a stubborn grease spot the sponge tended to get a bit shredded while scrubbing with some extra elbow grease.
The CS158-AF almost always ran hotter than its set temperature according to our multiple calibrated testing thermometers. On average, it stayed about 17˚ above the set temperature. This discrepancy likely isn't big enough to ruin a recipe, but the lack of temperature consistency might be a little annoying if you're one that likes to experiment and tinker with recipes.
The CS158-AF offers good overall performance at an average price. However, we have found some machines that cost the same or slightly less and perform slightly better. Though this machine isn't the best value on the market, it is still a fairly good value overall.
The Cosori Smart CS158-AF is a good, well-designed air fryer that will serve any kitchen well. If you're looking for something with precise temperature accuracy so you can fine-tune your recipes or something with the most streamlined user interface possible, there are other models that perform slightly better in those avenues. But, for most kitchens, the CP158-AF provides all you need from one of these super convection devices.
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