Outer housing stays cool even while cooking
Has an auto shut-off feature
Comes in a variety of colors
Tiny 1.6-quart capacity
Doesn’t cook food evenly
Only 1000 watts of power
Air fryers have quickly become go-to kitchen gadgets. They’re versatile, quick, and make a much healthier meal than traditional deep fryers. With so many options out there, though, it can be difficult to find the best one for you. The Dash Compact Air Fryer claims to be the ideal appliance for “picky eaters, large families, or those who have busy schedules,” so we put it to the test to see if it really could please everyone. Keep reading for details on the fryer’s design, performance, features, competition, and more.
Design: Compact and lightweight
The Dash Compact Air Fryer lives up to its name by coming in at about half the size and weight of a standard air fryer; it measures 10.2 x 8.1 x 11.4 inches and weighs just 5.7 pounds. The appliance has a 1.6-quart fry basket which is quite tiny compared to the 3.5-quart baskets you’d find in typical air fryers. The miniature appliance best feeds one or two people as it can only hold about half a bag of frozen french fries or six chicken wings.
The Dash Compact has a sleek, oblong design that gives off a retro 80s feel—especially if you go for the aqua option, which is one of five available colors including black, white, red, and gray. We opted to go for gray as it’s a nice neutral tone that fits in with most kitchen designs.
Without any pre-programmed options…you’ll have to use trial and error to learn the most effective ways to cook your food.
The front of the air fryer houses a manual turn knob that you can use to set the cooking time (from zero to 30 minutes). The handle of the frying basket is silver, regardless of what body color you choose, and sits front and center. On top of the air fryer, you’ll find another manual knob that you can use to set the cooking temperature. Below the temperature knob sit two indicator lights which let you know when the air fryer is on and cooking. Overall, we thought that the Dash Compact Air Fryer was well designed, so it wouldn’t be an eyesore if you’re short on cabinet space and have to keep it on the counter.
Features: Basic and to the point
When it comes to simplicity and ease-of-use, the Dash has got you covered. If you’re on the hunt for for an air fryer with some bonus features, though, this isn’t it. The Dash has only two controls: one for cooking time and one for temperature. Without any pre-programmed options (many larger air fryers have presets for common dishes like french fries, meat, and fish), you’ll have to use trial and error to learn the most effective ways to cook your food.
What the Dash does come equipped with is an auto-shut off function that’s designed to prevent overcooking. We found this to be a nice touch, especially for those juggling multiple tasks while cooking. The housing is also designed to stay cool to the touch, and we found that it did—even while cooking. Because the unit doesn’t heat up, you can put it away right after cooking without having to wait for it to cool down first.
Performance: Lackluster and a bit disappointing
We started our testing with a classic air fryer dish: frozen french fries. Dash suggests you preheat the appliance so your food cooks faster, so following the instruction manual, we set the temperature dial to 400 degrees and the timer dial to three minutes. Once the timer went off, we threw our fries in and set the timer dial to 10 minutes. While the Dash doesn’t have any presets, the user manual does give a rundown of times and temperatures for common items like fries, steak, burgers, and chicken nuggets, so we knew that according to the instructions, our fries would take between nine to 16 minutes. We ended up pulling the fries out after 15 minutes which was on par with the time it would take most air fryers to complete the job. We were slightly disappointed in the outcome, however, as some of the fries were super crispy while others were hot but still quite soft.
We started our testing with a classic air fryer dish: frozen french fries…we were slightly disappointed with the outcome, however.
After testing the fries, we switched over to one of our favorite air fryer snacks: apple chips. After slicing our apples nice and thin (roughly ⅛ of an inch) and removing all the seeds, we spread the chips out evenly in the basket and started up the air fryer. Dash didn’t have a recommended cook time or temperature for these, but most recipes suggest 325 to 390 degrees and roughly seven to eight minutes in the fryer—flipping them halfway through.
When we checked on our chips after five minutes of cooking, we found that the appliance’s fan had blown them all into a pile in the corner. After spreading them back out, we set the timer to five minutes again. When time was up, we removed the basket to find some chips had been burnt to a crisp while others were still uncooked. We’ve made apple chips in several other air fryers and never had this issue, so it was a major disappointment and a definite mark against the Dash for us.
Price: High for what you get
The Dash Compact Air Fryer retails for roughly $100, which we think is quite steep for what you get in terms of size, features, and performance. If compactness is your main goal, the higher price tag may be worth it to you, but you can get bigger and more powerful air fryers for a similar (or even less expensive) price.
Competition: More powerful (albeit larger) options are out there
Farberware Digital Oil-Less Fryer: If size isn’t a concern, check out Farberware’s 3.2-quart Digital Oil-Less Fryer. The appliance retails for roughly $70 and comes with a basket that’s 60 percent larger than Dash’s. It also has a digital touchscreen with eight different programmable options, unlike the Dash which can only be used manually.
Avalon Bay AirFryer: Avalon Bay’s air fryer offers the same simplicity as the Dash with only two manual temperature and time controls, but it provides far more power with 1400 watts compared to Dash’s 1000 watts. If you’re looking to feed a family or just want to be able to make a meal for yourself and save some leftovers for the next day’s lunch, the fryer’s 3.7-quart capacity will suit you well.
Check out other options first.
In our opinion, the only true standout quality of the Dash Compact Air Fryer is its size. If you’re looking for something that’s the perfect size for a small apartment or an RV kitchen, this air fryer is it. But if you have a little more space and can handle going bigger, you’re better off going with something else.
- Product Name Compact Air Fryer
- Product Brand Dash
- MPN DCAF150GBAQ02
- Price $99.99
- Weight 5.7 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10 x 8 x 11.5 in.
- Color Black, gray, red, white, and aqua
- Power 1000 W
- Capacity 1.6 qt
- Warranty 1-year limited