Dash Compact Review
Pros: Good cooking performance, inexpensive
Cons: Very small capacity
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|Pros||Good cooking performance, inexpensive||Fantastic cooking performance, easy to clean, easy to use, great temperature accuracy, multiple cooking functions||Even cooking, accurate temperature, good crunch, non-stick, sleek, controls are straightforward||Inexpensive, easy to clean, good cooking performance||Simple design, great price, always-on mode for longer cooking, easy to clean, non-stick, cooks juicy chicken, solid temperature accuracy|
|Cons||Very small capacity||Cost||Touchscreen occasionally doesn't register touch, one level in basket, limited one-hour timer||Fry basket can stick, medicore temperature accuracy||Small basket, large footprint for such a small basket, lacks functions|
|Bottom Line||A fairly good appliance that is held back by a relatively small capacity||Exceptional frying performance and an easy to clean design makes this one of the best options on the market||Evenly cooks food, offers straightforward controls, and provides easy cleaning - all at a great price||An effective and inexpensive model that offers decent cooking performance and good temperature accuracy||This simplistic model is easy to clean, but it trades price for performance, as it is not very intuitive and the small basket is limiting|
|Rating Categories||Dash Compact||Instant Vortex Plus||Beautiful by Drew B...||Ultrean Air Fryer||Amazon Basics Compact|
|Cooking Performance (35%)|
|User Friendliness (25%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (20%)|
|Temperature Accuracy (20%)|
|Specs||Dash Compact||Instant Vortex Plus||Beautiful by Drew B...||Ultrean Air Fryer||Amazon Basics Compact|
|Outside Dimensions||10.2" x 8.1" x 11.4"||11.5" x 13.3" x 12.8"||6.1" x 10.4" x 7.4"||13.2" x 11.3" x 12.4"||15.5" x 11" x 12.5"|
|Capacity||2 qt||6 qt||6 qt||4.2 qt||3.2 qt|
|Power Consumption||1000 watt||1700 watt||1700 watt||1500 watt||1400 watt|
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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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