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Instant Vortex Plus XL
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|Bottom Line||An air fryer with intuitive controls, great temperature accuracy, and two baskets for simultaneous cooking||A high-performing and multi-functional device with an outstanding design||Its versatility allows it to cook a wide variety of foods well and it's quite easy to use||The best toaster oven and air frying combination in our fleet||For the casual chef, this accurate and inexpensive air fryer is an absolute dream|
|Rating Categories||Instant Vortex Plus XL||Instant Vortex Plus||Ninja Air Fryer||Ninja Foodi Digital...||GoWISE USA Digital|
|Cooking Performance (35%)|
|User Friendliness (25%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (20%)|
|Temperature Accuracy (20%)|
|Specs||Instant Vortex Plus XL||Instant Vortex Plus||Ninja Air Fryer||Ninja Foodi Digital...||GoWISE USA Digital|
|Measured Dimensions (L x H x D)||15.9" x 12.5" x 15.1"||11.5" x 13.3" x 12.8"||13.6" x 11" x 13.3"||19.7" x 7.6" x 15"||13.5" x 12.5" x 11.5"|
|Capacity||8 qt||6 qt||4 qt||4 qt||5.8 qt|
|Accessories||None||None||Multi-layer rack for dehydrating||Wire rack, air fry basket, sheet pan||None|
|Power Consumption||1700 watt||1700 watt||1550 watt||1800 watt||1700 watt|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Instant Vortex Plus XL is an extra-large air fryer with eight quarts of frying space, which is split between two baskets. The two baskets operate separately from one another. The dial and button interface makes controlling this 1700-watt appliance a breeze.
Our taste judges pay special attention to the texture, evenness, and cook times of various food items during our cooking test. The Vortex Plus XL performs below average when it comes to potatoes products but produces the perfect chicken breast.
The texture is very important when it comes to fried food. From french fries to chicken breasts, we expect a crispy exterior and a soft interior. The chicken breast texture leaves very little room for improvement. It is tender and moist, with a slight crisp to the outer layer. Sweet potato fries and onion rings, on the other hand, leave much to be desired. They both come out a little crunchier than crispy, and that crunch comes mostly from the brown bits that cooked more efficiently than the rest. During our testing, tater tots tend to be the easiest item to air fry, but the Vortex Plus XL just doesn't crisp up the outside enough. The donut, which is the last of our five food items tested with each air fryer, is crispy to perfection on the outside, but the innards are too doughy, which leads us to the next leg of the cooking test, evenness.
Chicken breasts come in various sizes and thicknesses, and poultry must be cooked evenly. The Vortex Plus XL does a great job at this. Each breast is cooked thoroughly without sacrificing moisture or overly crisping the thinner edges. Donuts and onion rings have a nice crisp to the outside but remain undercooked on the inside; the donuts also require extra time in the fryer.
We test the cook time according to each air fryer's manual instructions. Onion rings and chicken breasts cook within the suggested time. Donuts take a few extra minutes but remain doughy regardless, and our potato products took 15 to 20 minutes but never fully crisp up. Overall, the Vortex Plus XL does not cook potatoes very evenly or efficiently, but it does wonders with a piece of chicken, so if meat is your priority and you don't mind a slightly soft french fry, it's a great option.
Our user friendliness metric is made up of three factors: the interface, basket, or in this case, baskets, and versatility. The Vortex Plus XL rocks a dial and digital duo interface, two easy-to-use baskets, and a decent temperature range.
The sleek interface is angled slightly down towards the user, which mitigates glare, making it easier to read. Unfortunately, the interface lighting isn't as bright as some of the other options in our test suite, which can make it difficult to reach in certain lighting situations. The combination of the dial and digital button interface makes controlling the temperature and time of each basket straightforward. Each basket operates separately, but you can schedule both baskets to end simultaneously, which is a nice feature. The preheat, add food and shake segments offer easy-to-understand, real-time instructions.
The basket accessibility is excellent. Both slide in and out with ease, only requiring one hand to remove them. The baskets have large windows, and the lights inside make it very easy to see how far along in the cooking process you are. The trays are a little bit flimsy, but they don't take away from the overall experience. We found that the left drawer was a bit stickier than the right during our testing, which could be due to manufacturing tolerances.
The temperature ranges from 180°F to 400°F and can be adjusted in 5° increments. It offers six functions: air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate. The timer length caps out at one hour for all the cooking options but goes up to 72 hours for dehydrating. These options make the Vortex Plus XL a pretty versatile machine.
Ease of Cleaning
Air fryers are a convenient alternative to shallow or deep frying, but big appliances like this can be difficult to clean, counteracting that convenience.
The Vortex Plus XL is very easy to wipe down as there are no large gaps that hold onto stubborn crumbs. There are, however, two baskets, which double your clean-up.
The tray has slightly less elevated grooves for oil to collect. These grooves are soft, so they don't shred up your sponge, and they are not too deep or close together, so you don't need to wrestle to get between them. The baskets are also very easy to clean, even though there are two of them. The only bit that is difficult is the groove around the window, which collects crispy bits. A toothpick or bristled brush does the trick, but cleaning these bits out is a little more involved than a simple swipe of a sponge.
Fortunately, the Vortex Plus XL is easy to clean, and the two smaller baskets are much easier to throw on a drying rack than one larger basket.
The Vortex Plus XL is an accurate air fryer, varying within 5 to 10 degrees of the desired temperature.
Having two baskets set at drastically different temperatures placed side-by-side could pose some accuracy issues. We tested this out by setting one basket to 400°F and the other to 200°F. We are pleased to report that neither one affected the other. We also set both baskets to the same temperature and checked for any discrepancies, and again, the Vortex Plus XL proves accurate.
This air fryer is a great purchase if your main objective is chicken or other meats. Its price is on the higher end of average, and so is its performance, making its bang for buck pretty decent. That being said, if your goal is to fry up the tastiest tots or french fries, the Vortex Plus XL is not the right option for you.
This air fryer is a reliable machine for specific food items. If you are looking for something capable of cooking two different items simultaneously, with a relatively high volume capacity, it's a great choice. It cooks chicken particularly well, so if you're a poultry lover, look no further than the Instant Vortex Plus XL.