An air fryer is a fun and easy way to make your favorite fried foods at home without the hassle, risk and extra calories that come with a vat of oil for deep-frying. Dash makes a range of air fryers but this compact model is the smallest in the range. With just a two-quart basket, it is a compact and user-friendly countertop air fryer that’s perfect for small kitchens and first-time air fryer users.
Whether you’re toasting up hash browns or frying homemade donuts, this small but powerful air fryer can get the job done. It’s also incredibly lightweight and portable, which makes it a great option for travel.
If you're looking for larger or more advanced models, check out T3's best Air Fryer buying guide.
Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Price and availability
Originally released in September 2017, the Dash Compact Air Fryer costs $50 in the US. It is not available in the UK or Australia.
Dash Compact Air Fryer review: design
The Dash Compact air fryer is a cute and attractive countertop appliance. It’s very lightweight, at less than six pounds empty, which makes it easy to store, even in small spaces. The air fryer has a two-quart cooking basket, which is enough to crisp up fries for two people at most.
The appliance has a very straightforward interface, with just two manually-operated dials. One dial controls the temperature and the other works as a kitchen timer to count down as your food cooks. There’s no preheating time, which makes sense give the size of the machine. It doesn't take long to reach your desired temperature. The temperature ranges from 175°F to 400°F. Most air frying recipes cook at 350°F to 400°F.
Unlike other air fryers, the Dash Compact does not let you know when to flip or toss your food, which is an important step in many air fryer recipes to ensure even cooking. It does ding loudly and shut off when the cooking timer ends, so you can step away from the kitchen and know that your food won’t burn to a crisp when your back is turned.
The cooking timer goes up to thirty minutes, which is plenty for most simple air frying jobs like fries and even chicken wings. And when you’re done, the nonstick basket is conveniently dishwasher safe so there shouldn’t be a major clean up.
Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Functionality
When it comes to functionality, the Dash Compact is about as minimalist as it gets. While other air fryers work as multi-purpose appliances, the Dash Compact keeps things simple. There’s no choice between roasting, air frying, broiling and other functions. Instead, simply place your food in the basket, close the drawer, and set your temperature and cook time.
The air fryer heats quickly and crisps food uniformly. You do have to remember to flip or toss your food halfway through cook time for the most even cooking.
Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Performance
To put the Dash air fryer to the test, I crisped up some frozen naan. Before I started cooking, I realized that there was no way to air fry my piece of naan without breaking it in half. The bread simply didn’t fit in the very small air fryer basket.
I tore the bread in half and somewhat awkwardly wedged it into the basket. I closed the drawer and set a timer for three minutes, after which point I figured I’d need to flip the bread. I set the temperature to 400°F (the highest option).
As soon as I set the timer, it started ticking down seconds like an egg timer. When it dinged at the end of three minutes, I opened the basket to rearrange the bread. The naan was already fully defrosted and warm, so I set the timer for another three minutes, hoping to add some crispiness to the edges.
After the second round of air frying, the naan was starting to take on some color and the edges were firming up, but not necessarily crispy. While the air fryer did warm the bread through, it left something to be desired on the crispness front.
Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Verdict
This small air fryer is an affordable option that makes sense for small households or for people looking for a portable appliance. It has a straightforward interface and singular functionality that’s easy to learn. Plus, the device’s small footprint means that you can comfortably store the Dash Compact Air Fryer on your counter without sacrificing too much storage space.
Dash Compact Air Fryer review: also consider
If the Dash air fryer’s two-quart capacity is a bit too small for your needs, the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer is a slightly more spacious option that costs $100.
The Instant Vortex Mini is another two-quart air fryer with more functionality, including baking, reheating and roasting. It costs $50.