Tower Family Size Air Fryer review – a top-selling cheap air fryer that makes sublime meals

Dependable air frying from a reliable Brit brand makes the cheap and cheerful Tower Family Size Air Fryer a safe bet

T3 Platinum Award
 Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer
(Image credit: Tower)
T3 Verdict

Anyone looking for a basic but potent air fryer will find the Tower Family Size Air Fryer ideal. It’s got a reasonable capacity, can be ready to go in seconds and delivers perfect air fried food without the hassle. A lack of automatic options means you need to spend a little time visually checking on progress, but that’s not a problem if you’re preparing things like side dishes at the same time. Add it all together and it doesn’t come as any surprise to hear this appliance is a best-seller.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Decent capacity

  • +

    Respected brand

  • +


Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Basic feature set

  • -

    Not dishwasher-friendly

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Here’s our Tower Family Size Air Fryer review in a sentence: This is a best-selling, family-friendly machine that can tackle any air frying task for a budget price.

As you’ll have seen when I recently reviewed the all-singing, all-dancing Tower T17076 Xpress Pro Combo 10-in-1 Air Fryer, Tower sells the most air fryers in the UK. Which means this, the Tower Family Size Air Fryer deserves inclusion in our best air fryers buying guide too. 

It is itself a best-seller, presumably because it’s a budget appliance, but the appliance still manages to tick all the right boxes when it comes to delivering the goods on the air frying front.

Update October 22: While the Tower T17076 air fryer remains our recommended model, the Family Size Air Fryer remains a top choice, especially as it's half the price. 

Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer

(Image credit: Tower)

Tower Family Size Air Fryer: price and availability

The Tower Family Size Air Fryer has an RRP of just £69.99, although you can frequently get it for less than that via Amazon. However, Tower products are available in other popular electrical appliance outlets and, due to it being one of the many, many air fryers out there on the market, supplies are plentiful and prices always competitive.

Tower Family Size Air Fryer: what is it?

Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer

(Image credit: Tower)

What we’ve got here is a perfectly serviceable machine that offers value but doesn’t compromise on the core ingredients of what makes an air fryer useful. It’s got a 4.3-litre capacity for starters, which isn’t bad at all and enough to prepare hearty servings of chips to accompany a meal, no problem.

The unit itself isn’t too bulky either, which makes it preferable to the model we mentioned earlier because, good though that one is, it’s a beefy thing to have on your worktop. Storage is also an issue too. This machine can be slipped into a cupboard relatively easily, once it’s cooled down of course, thanks to those 29 x 36.5 x 32.5 centimetre dimensions.

On top of that, the Tower Family Size Air Fryer also packs in enough basic features and functions to get the job done. So, there’s 1500 watts of power, a 60-minute timer, adjustable temperature control and very little to learn when it comes to actually operating it. 

At the same time, the credentials also indicate that this, like all the others, cooks 30% faster using 99% less oil, which is kinda the default overview of just about any air fryer on the market. Best of all, especially for cash-strapped families though, there’s a budget price tag attached.

Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer

(Image credit: Tower)

Tower Family Size Air Fryer: is it any good?

This being a Tower, which has been designing and building kitchen appliances forever here in the UK, the appliance is nicely put together. The design follows a standard theme, featuring a solid heavyweight plastic exterior finished in black. 

There are some silver plastic highlights, including the handle on the front of the frying basket and a top panel where the core controls are situated. The twin dials have silver flourishes too. The obvious benefit with the slick design is its ability to be easily wiped over with a damp cloth when you’re done with it.

Pull out the basket and take a peek inside and you’ll find a similar no-fuss interior. The basket features an easy-clean design, which is always a bonus, while around the back there’s the standard power cable. 

Underneath the unit you’ll find non-slip feet, which is always a bonus when you’re putting something that’s going to be getting hot on a prized worktop. That being said, I tend to prefer putting air fryers on something like a large wooden chopping board anyway, ensuring any plastic laminated countertops don’t suffer.

Tower Family Size Air Fryer: performance

Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer

(Image credit: Tower)

The Tower Family Size Air Fryer is so named because it’s aimed primarily at families of up to four people and the 4.3-litre capacity is perfect for that, unless you’re the Swiss Family Robinson. It features so-called Vortx technology too, which is essentially the air fryer part of the machine. That means its 1500 watts of power is using a hot element and fan arrangement to blast toasty air in and around the unit.

I tried a portion of thin frozen chips first. The great thing about this machine is its simplicity and all you need to do is adjust the temperature dial to between 80 and 200 degrees and you’re in business. I was very impressed with the results, with my thin and crispy fries being just that. 

Naturally, Tower says you can fry, roast, grill and bake with this machine and that’s largely correct. However, the limited control options do mean this involves a little more human intervention. In other words, cook what you like but keep close tabs on the interior and its contents by sliding the basket out regularly.

Air frying spring rolls is another quick and easy way to see how a machine copes and I had nothing to complain about on that front either. Plenty of crisp factor and heated right through, after following the suggested times on the box. 

The great thing with an air fryer is that it's easy enough to customise cook times too so, using the visual checking method, I frequently head for extra crispy territory, especially if it’s a packet of seasoned chicken wings. No complaints on that front either. If the timer is used, up to 60 minutes in total, it’s spot-on too.

Tower T17021 Family Size Air Fryer

(Image credit: Tower)

Tower Family Size Air Fryer: verdict

Considering its low price the Tower Family Size Air Fryer is ideal for family use. There are some compromises, of course, with modes and other fancier feature options off the menu. 

However, with its basic controls you can still carry out everyday air frying and, with a little practice get some good results with other styles of cooking. Some roasted vegetables or chicken breasts perhaps? Chips need the obligatory shake on occasion to ensure thorough crispiness, but that’s par for the course with any air fryer that doesn’t feature a revolving or paddle-type design.

You’ll need to spend a little more time when it comes to cleaning up as this isn’t a dishwasher-friendly appliance, but the innards are fine once you’ve got a little bit of hot, soapy water on the basket areas. The outside is okay with a wipe down too, so it’s largely low maintenance. 

In fact, that sums up the Tower Family Size Air Fryer perfectly, it’s a use-and-go machine, which gets the job done using minimal faff. That’s also why its best suited to time-poor families and probably the reason it has become a best-seller.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital, he has run the Innovation channel for a few years at Microsoft, as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of Stuff, TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working, he's usually out and about on one of the numerous e-bikes in his collection.