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Dash Compact Review

A fairly good appliance that is held back by a relatively small capacity
Dash Compact
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
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Price:   $70 List | $49.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Good cooking performance, inexpensive
Cons:  Very small capacity
Manufacturer:   Dash
By Hayley Thomas, Max Mutter, & Michelle Powell  ⋅  Jun 17, 2021
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • 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 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. With its 2-quart fry basket, the Compact stays true to its name; it's an excellent air fryer for those with limited space, but can feel restrictively small. If you are well-acquainted with air fryers, you'd be better off spending just a bit more on the Ninja Air Fryer or Instant Vortex Plus. While both are a step up in price, they are also a step up in performance.

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Price $70 List
$49.99 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Good cooking performance, inexpensiveFantastic cooking performance, easy to clean, easy to use, great temperature accuracy, multiple cooking functionsGreat cooking performance, user friendly, excellent temperature accuracyGood air frying performance, quite user friendlyInexpensive, easy to clean, good cooking performance
Cons Very small capacityOn the expensive sideNot the easiest to cleanRelatively poor temperature accuracy, additional cooking functions somewhat lacklusterFry basket can stick, medicore temperature accuracy
Bottom Line A fairly good appliance that is held back by a relatively small capacityExceptional frying performance and an easy to clean design make this one of the best options on the marketThis high performing, four quart model offers the most consistent quality of the bunchGood for air frying, but its extra cooking functions don't quite live up to expectationsAn effective and inexpensive model that offers decent cooking performance and good temperature accuracy
Rating Categories Dash Compact Instant Vortex Plus Ninja Air Fryer Instant Vortex Plus... Ultrean 4.2qt
Cooking Performance (35%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
User Friendliness (25%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Ease Of Cleaning (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Temperature Accuracy (20%)
5.0
10.0
10.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Dash Compact Instant Vortex Plus Ninja Air Fryer Instant Vortex Plus... Ultrean 4.2qt
Outside Dimensions 10.2" x 8.1" x 11.4" 11.5" x 13.25" x 12.75" 13.6" x 11" x 13.3" 13.2" x 13.2" x 14.4" 13.2" x 11.3" x 12.4"
Capacity 2 qt 6 qt 4 qt 6 qt 4.2 qt
Accessories None None Multi-layer rack for dehydrating Two cooking trays, rotisseries basket, spit, and fork, drip pan None
Power Consumption 1000W 1700W 1550W 1500W 1500W

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Compact did quite well in all of our tests -- with the exception...
The Compact did quite well in all of our tests -- with the exception of temperature accuracy -- and falls in the bottom half of our fleet.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Cooking Performance


Earning one of the top scores in our air frying tests, the Compact is generally able to handle most recipes with panache. It excels at preparing onion rings and chicken breast. The onion rings came out perfectly golden and delicious, and the chicken breast treated us to a delightfully tender and moist center, with a slightly crispy exterior. It also offered more crispiness to the sweet potato fries than most of the other models in our test suite. 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...
Getting the Compact's fry basket out generally requires two hands and some jiggling.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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

User Friendliness


The Compact has more user-friendliness drawbacks than many other models, which earned it a somewhat average score in this metric. While we did not experience anything particularly difficult, we do have a few minor complaints about pretty much every facet of its user experience. First off, the temperature dial is oddly spaced, making it difficult to tell where exactly each number is, so it takes some finagling 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 two 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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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

The nonstick coating of the fry basket works quite well. However...
The nonstick coating of the fry basket works quite well. However, there are holes and grooves, where grease can build up, which requires some vigorous scrubbing.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Cleaning


While the 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 the way that larger models do.

Temperature Accuracy


Temperature accuracy represented the worst performance turned in by the 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. If you are seeking something compact, then it's a good deal, but if you don't mind your fryer taking up a little more room, you may want to consider looking at the larger options in our test suite.

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The Dash Compact is a relatively good air fryer, but the very small fry basket limits its usefulness to those cooking for one; it's also likely you will not have any leftovers.

Hayley Thomas, Max Mutter, & Michelle Powell

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