Here's what you need to know before purchasing an Instant Vortex Air Fryer, an Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven or the Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer. As well as a few other popular Instant Pot air fryer models with added functions you'll want to check out.
If you enjoy the crispy texture and taste of fried foods but dislike the process of deep frying, you might want to consider an air fryer. It makes everything from crispy french fries to healthy meals quicker and easier.
Due to its popularity, air fryers are now available in many variations. From product features to size and from ovens to baskets, it can be confusing trying to choose the right model for your needs.
When I set out to explore my options for a new air fryer, I was met with an overwhelming array of models with far more features than just the ability to air fry. As I dove deeper into my research, I came to appreciate the versatility of the various designs which helped me decide which features would work best for my needs.
Here, I share the key differences between the best air fryers from Instant Brands (maker of the Instant Pot pressure cookers) including my choice and why I recommend it. I also share a few other models with additional features that are worthy of consideration.
What Is An Air Fryer?
Since I love the idea of crispy fried foods but dislike submerging anything in hot oil in order to cook it, I'm happy to have an easy way to get that satisfying crunchy consistency without the excess grease and mess that comes from traditional fried methods.
An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses circulating hot air to cook or "fry" foods, much like a convection oven. The hot air blowing on the food helps it brown faster and reduces the cook time of whatever you're making.
However, the best part of frying foods with an air fryer is that you use very little oil to achieve fried food results. The fan in the appliance takes care of circulating the heat generated from a heating element or electric coil to help vegetables and meats come out crispy, golden and crunchy every time. It's a much healthier and mess-free way to fry foods.
Depending on the model, an air fryer appliance can offer even more ways to cook. Some models have the ability to bake, broil, rotisserie, dehydrate and more. Keep this in mind if countertop space is an issue and you're considering replacing other kitchen appliances for one that can potentially do it all.
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Instant Vortex Air Fryer vs Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven vs Vortex Mini Air Fryer
Here are the top three models to consider when purchasing an Instant Air Fryer.
Instant Vortex Air Fryer
You'll be on your way to delicious, quick and crispy foods with this family-friendly Instant Vortex Air Fryer. With 4 cooking functions available, this 6-quart model can air fry, bake, roast and reheat at the touch of a button.
The large, digital front panel touch screen makes it easy to use. You can even save settings for your favorite foods with its smart program one-touch feature, making this an efficient and convenient way to cook.
This model requires very little preheating time, even for frozen foods. Adjustable temperature ranges from 120°F to 400°F and is easily changed in 5 degree increments. The timer also allows for changes in one minute increments. These granular options will help you achieve crisp and evenly browned food. If you're wanting to make cinnamon rolls or roast a chicken, this model can do that, too.
The Instant Vortex Air Fryer boasts a non-stick air fryer basket that can handle a 4 lb. chicken or a 2 lb. bag of french fries. When used to its full capacity, the basket can hold ingredients to serve up to a family of 5.
The square-shaped air fry basket is a generous size that's perfect for spreading out a single layer of food, ensuring that all sides will cook evenly. The cooking chamber, basket and cooking tray can all easily be wiped clean with a damp cloth or sponge.
Weighing approximately 12 lbs., this air fryer can sit on your countertop or can be put away in a cabinet or pantry when not in use.
Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven
With 7 functions and smart programs that allow you to air fry, bake, roast, broil, dehydrate, rotisserie, and reheat, this sleek appliance will be a versatile addition to your cooking and meal planning efforts.
The Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven has an easy to read touch-panel display that offers 6 customizable programs for your most-used settings. The granular temperature setting ranges from 95°F to 400°F giving you ample control for all your cooking needs.
Because the air fryer oven requires little to no preheat time, your food will cook in about half the time of a conventional oven!
This air fryer oven has a 10-quart capacity, so the interior cooking space is roomy. So roomy, in fact, that you can cook a whole chicken or multiple dishes at the same time, thanks to the pair of perforated cooking/frying trays that come with this model.
In addition to the cooking trays that are included, you also receive a stainless steel rotisserie basket, spit, forks, and lift as well as a non-stick drip pan, all of which are dishwasher safe.
This air fryer weighs approximately 20 lbs. and stands just over 51 inches tall. It's a design that combines black with stainless steel accents and a window for a tasteful modern look.
With so many functions available, this Instant Vortex Plus could easily replace many of your cooking appliances, saving you time and space in your kitchen. It's no surprise, then, that this one-stop appliance, along with its efficiency and large capacity, is at a higher price point than the Instant Vortex.
If you're looking for just a few more options, step up a level with the Instant Vortex Pro model which offers 2 more programs: the ability to toast and to proof. The toast mode has 3 setting levels of darkness for toasting your bread and bagels. For homemade bread makers, the proof mode allows you to program time to rise and rest your dough.
The Vortex Pro Air Fryer Oven is slightly wider in length and about ½ lb heavier than its cousin, the Vortex Plus, but the model design look with stainless steel accents and black touchscreen is the same. The Pro version is offered at a slightly higher price point.
Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer
If you're looking for just an air fryer without all the bells and whistles, but that will still give you that super crispy texture that you can only get from air frying, then the Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer might be for you.
This 2-quart air fryer is perfect for when you're cooking for just one or two people. But don't let the size fool you! It still offers 4 cooking modes that allow you to air fry, bake, roast and reheat.
The top digital touchscreen panel is easy to see and use while the lower section of the appliance houses the pull-out cooking section. A dishwasher safe, non-stick removable inner tray is included.
The Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer can easily cook up to two servings of food, making it perfect for teens to use to make their own snacks. It's also great for college students who need small appliances for their dorm rooms.
Its compact size makes it easy to leave on the countertop without taking up too much room, and at 7 lbs. it's also light enough to move and stash away when not in use.
These basket air fryers are available in black, white, red and aqua. This mini appliance is an affordable entry into the world of air frying.
Other Models To Consider
Instant Pot Duo Crisp Air Fryer
Combining the functionality of an air fryer with an Instant Pot is the concept behind the Duo Crisp. Available in 6-quart or 8-quart sizes, the Duo Crisp comes with two lids, one for pressure cooking and one for air frying, offering a total of 11 cooking functions.
The pressure cooker lid offers two cooking levels, high and low. Its functions include pressure cook, steam, sauté, slow cooker, sous vide, keep warm. The innovative air fryer lid programs include air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate.
Included with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is a stainless steel inner pot, sealing ring, air fryer basket, broil/dehydrate tray, and steam rack with handles.
This appliance is a great idea if you're short on space and love the idea of combining two unique multi-program appliances into one.
Instant Pot Pro Crisp Air Fryer
Step up a level with the Instant Pot Pro Crisp Air Fryer, available only in the 8-quart size. This appliance offers the same removable lid interchangeability and 11-in-1 functions as the Duo Crisp, but offers a pro level easy-lift inner liner with handles that's also stove-top friendly.
A gentle steam release on its lid also sets this model apart from the Duo Crisp. Furthermore, it has an increased temperature of up to 450°F, which is useful when using the broiler function.
The Instant Pot Pro Crisp is available with a modern black stainless steel exterior.
Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid
If you already own any of the regular Instant Pot models in the 6 quart size, you can purchase an additional lid that transforms your existing electric pressure cooker into an air fryer.
This air fryer lid will give you 6 functions so that you can air fry, broil, bake, roast, reheat and dehydrate. Accessories included with the air fryer lid include a non-stick multi-level air fryer basket with a removable stainless-steel broil/dehydrating tray.
Instant Omni Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Combining modern oven technology in a countertop appliance has been achieved with the Instant Omni Air Fryer Toaster Oven. This convection toaster oven has 10 settings that 10 settings allow you to air fry, rotisserie, toast, broil, bake, roast, dehydrate, reheat, warm, and convection.
This model has extra large capacity that can easily roast or rotisserie a chicken or cook a 12" pizza. It has heating elements on both the bottom and top to ensure even cooking. Trays, baskets, racks and rotisserie accessories are included.
The 21 lb. Omni Air Fryer oven is a much larger footprint than the Instant Vortex Plus oven, reviewed earlier. It's wider and deeper than the Vortex, measuring approximately. 18" L × 17" W × 15" H. The stainless steel with a glossy black front gives it a sleek and modern look.
The Omni also heats up to 450ºF, where the Vortex heats to just 400ºF.
The Omni is a workhorse of an appliance with multiple programs, making it a contender if you're looking for a countertop oven with air fryer functionality.
Instant Omni Pro Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Take a leap up with Instant Omni Pro Air Fryer Toaster Oven, which includes several more program features. In addition to air fry, broil, bake, roast, dehydrate, reheat, rotisserie, toast, warm, convection, the pro model adds the ability to slow cook, proof, split cook, and temperature probe.
If you're looking for a countertop appliance that can practically do it all, this oven might be for you!
Air Fryer Accessories
Enhance the ability of your air fryer appliance and oven with these accessory options. They include a grill and lifting rack as well as skewers and a cutting mat. These items allow your food to be elevated while helping your air fryer evenly cook your food. And for baking there are cake, muffin and donut pans.
Which Air Fryer Should You Buy?
Consider your needs. Are you looking to replace existing appliances with one kitchen gadget that can do multiple modes of cooking? Or are you looking to add a standalone air fryer?
Consider your countertop and kitchen space. With so many models in varying ranges of size, where you plan to place your new air fryer is an important consideration.
Almost all of the air fryers mentioned here can be moved to a cabinet or closet when not in use but that might not be an option for you. If you're planning on leaving your air fryer on the counter, its size will be an important factor in your choice.
Consider the volume of food you plan on air frying. Some air fryer models are made for just one or two servings while others are large enough to feed a family with possible leftovers.
So give some thought to your situation to help you decide which model is best for you.
Which Model Did I Choose?
I chose the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven because it has a larger capacity than the drawer style air fryer. I like that it has so many functions, including the ability of the rotisserie basket to turn food by itself! Another factor in my decision was that it has a smaller footprint than a full size air fryer toaster oven, so it fits perfectly on my countertop and looks great, too!
Ready To Choose?
Ready to satisfy your fried food cravings without the guilt? No matter which model you choose, I'm confident that you'll love the ability to make your favorite meals faster, easier and healthier, thanks to your new air fryer.
Looking for some new recipes to try in your air fryer? Here are a few collections to get you started: