Ninja Air Fryer Review
Pros: Great cooking performance, user friendly, excellent temperature accuracy
Cons: Not the easiest to clean
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|Pros||Great cooking performance, user friendly, excellent temperature accuracy||Fantastic cooking performance, easy to clean, easy to use, great temperature accuracy, multiple cooking functions||Good air frying performance, quite user friendly||Inexpensive, easy to clean, good cooking performance||Good cooking performance, inexpensive|
|Cons||Not the easiest to clean||On the expensive side||Relatively poor temperature accuracy, additional cooking functions somewhat lackluster||Fry basket can stick, medicore temperature accuracy||Very small capacity|
|Bottom Line||This high performing, four quart model offers the most consistent quality of the bunch||Exceptional frying performance and an easy to clean design make this one of the best options on the market||Good for air frying, but its extra cooking functions don't quite live up to expectations||An effective and inexpensive model that offers decent cooking performance and good temperature accuracy||A fairly good appliance that is held back by a relatively small capacity|
|Rating Categories||Ninja Air Fryer||Instant Vortex Plus||Instant Vortex Plus...||Ultrean 4.2qt||Dash Compact|
|Cooking Performance (35%)|
|User Friendliness (25%)|
|Ease Of Cleaning (20%)|
|Temperature Accuracy (20%)|
|Specs||Ninja Air Fryer||Instant Vortex Plus||Instant Vortex Plus...||Ultrean 4.2qt||Dash Compact|
|Outside Dimensions||13.6" x 11" x 13.3"||11.5" x 13.25" x 12.75"||13.2" x 13.2" x 14.4"||13.2" x 11.3" x 12.4"||10.2" x 8.1" x 11.4"|
|Capacity||4 qt||6 qt||6 qt||4.2 qt||2 qt|
|Accessories||Multi-layer rack for dehydrating||None||Two cooking trays, rotisseries basket, spit, and fork, drip pan||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ninja is one of the top-scoring models in this metric. While no particular dish was the absolute best of the bunch, it proved to be far more versatile than most other machines, as all of its food offerings were above average.
In our testing, the Ninja cooked great food across the board. Both its onion rings and tater tots came out golden brown, with a nice crisp. Likewise, the doughnuts had great texture, with just a slight crunch on the outside, and nice, fluffy insides. It also excelled at making chicken. Like all of the fryers we tested, it certainly couldn't replicate actual fried chicken, but it did cook a super tender chicken breast that had just a bit of a crispy skin.
The one area where none of the fryers we tested excelled, including the Ninja, was in making sweet potato fries. No model was able to get these fries truly crispy, but there were a few models that did noticeably better than the Ninja — at least in this arena. While we wouldn't call this a weakness, as no model made exceptional fries, the Ninja may not be the best choice if all you're looking for is a healthier way to make sweet potato fries.
Thanks to a clear interface, a well-designed frying basket, and a thoughtful range of cooking settings, the Ninja earned one of the highest scores in our user-friendliness testing.
This machine offers four different cooking settings: air fry, roast, reheat, and dehydrate. Within the air fry setting, it provides a temperature range from 300˚ to 400˚. In our experience, these settings can accommodate pretty much any air frying recipe you'll find.
Despite having several settings, the Ninja still manages to make its operation relatively straightforward. Just push the dedicated button for one of the four cooking settings, set the temperature and cooking time with the dedicated arrow buttons, press start, and you're off to the races.
Possibly the nicest thing about this device's user experience is the fry basket design. It has a nice, sturdy handle, slides in and out easily, and fits snugly. This makes it really easy to use just one hand to remove the basket, shake your food to encourage even cooking, and then slide the basket back in. This may seem trivial, but other models have baskets that stick when you try to take them in and out, or even ones that require pot holders, and a healthy dose of caution when you need to redistribute food mid-cooking.
Ease of Cleaning
While the Ninja certainly isn't difficult to clean, this is the one metric where it didn't earn a top score.
Overall, cleaning this device is fairly painless. The frying basket doesn't tend to gunk up or hang on to grease too stubbornly, so there generally isn't any overly zealous scrubbing required. However, the crisping plate on the bottom of the basket has some smaller grooves and holes, as well as a small handle in the middle that provides some places for gunk to hide. Thus, you do have to do a bit of extra precision scrubbing to ensure it gets totally clean.
In our temperature accuracy testing, the Ninja was essentially perfect. It locked our testing thermometers into nearly the exact temperature we set it to every time. If you're one that likes to experiment with recipes or just one that values an accurate machine that is likely to replicate the same results over and over, this is the fryer for you.
The Ninja is fairly middle-of-the-road when it comes to price, yet offers top-notch performance, making it quite a good value. If you're looking to save some cash, we have several models in our fleet that offer similar performance, though you will end up sacrificing some temperature accuracy.
The Ninja Air Fryer is one of the best-dedicated air fryers we've tested. It offers top-notch cooking performance, impressive temperature accuracy, and a good overall user experience.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell