TaoTronics XL 6 Quart Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Taotronics performs impressively in the cleanup and cooking departments, depending on what you're cooking, but lacks a little in user-friendliness and temperature accuracy. It is budget-friendly and works very well for specific foods, so be sure to take a moment to think about what you'll be cooking up in this puppy before purchasing.
The Taotronics performed well in this department. While it doesn't crisp to perfection, it truly shines when given the opportunity to cook food items like chicken or other meats, which should be cooked all the way through. It took a little longer than the recommended 20 minutes cooking time, but the end result was beautiful. After 30 minutes, we were left with a surprisingly moist and tender piece of meat, coated with a delicate crisp on the outside.
Unfortunately, this level of perfection was not spread across all the foods we tested. Items that are best served crispy, like onion rings and tater tots, simply did not crisp enough. The high points of the crust browned, but the lower points remained somewhat soft. Items that are not meant to have as hard an outer shell, like donuts and sweet potato fries, cooked nicely on the outside — without compromising the soft interior.
The Taotronics scored just average in this department. It offers 11 cooking presets, two of which are designed for baking, which renders this option surprisingly versatile. There are also preheat and keep warm settings, which can be very useful. The temperature range is 150 to 400 degrees and allows for adjustment in 5-degree increments. This is better than some of the other budget-friendly options in our test suite, which only offer 10-degree increments. The timer also goes up to one hour, which means you can most likely set it and forget it.
The digital interface is not super intuitive, and unfortunately, the button's recognition of our pressing them was intermittent. This can be very frustrating in the moment, but at no point did the buttons stop working altogether. The other bone we have to pick with the Taotronics is that the drawer fits very tightly — too tightly. This makes it difficult to remove, without bracing the unit as a whole; having something big and hot that can be yanked off your countertop — if not braced properly — can be a little risky. Just be sure to have two hands available when you plan to check on your food.
Ease of Cleaning
The Taotronics is one of the easier-to-clean models we tested. The basket is nice and smooth, ensuring that nothing gets caught in the crevices while cleaning. It is also easy to remove and comes with its own handle, so cleaning it while hot is a non-issue. The drawer, or outer basket, also comes with a little lip — so that you have a spot to hold — that isn't piping hot. We do recommend letting both baskets cool down a bit before trying to clean up.
The Taotronics claims to reach 400 degrees, but we did not have that experience. This probably plays a role in why we could not get the more robust outer shells of food items — like onion rings and tater tots — to crisp up the way we'd prefer. We placed a great deal of weight on the air fryer's ability to reach the max temperature for this metric, which is why we docked a few points here. Otherwise, it was mostly accurate.
The Taotronics is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum and well worth the money, depending on what you plan to cook in it.
If you prioritize a soft and juicy piece of chicken over crispy onion rings, then this may be the air fryer for you. With its slightly lower temps, this kitchen buddy will keep your meats from overcooking and your french fries from burning — all at a budget-friendly price.