T3's Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer review in a sentence: Tower’s newest air fryer adds a steamer into the mix, delivering fabulously versatile results.
Air fryers continue to fly off the shelves such is their handiness and efficiency for tackling mealtime tasks. While most of us initially choose the best air fryer models in our quest for the greatest chips, a decent model often comes with enough modes to take on all sorts of cooking requirements.
Tower, the leading UK brand when it comes to air fryers, has now come up with this, the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer, which takes kitchen convenience to a whole new level. The brand has already proved its worth with a range of air fryers that come in various different shapes and sizes. Mode-wise, its machines can do most things, but this is the first time Tower has released an air fryer with steamer functionality built in for good measure.
I’ve already had the pleasure of trying a few products in the range, from the dinky Tower T17025 Compact 1.5L air fryer through to the gargantuan Tower T17076 Xpress Pro Combo 10-in-1 Air Fryer, which comes complete with its very own rotisserie. The Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer, meanwhile, is a neat twist on the standard air fryer theme.
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Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer review: price & availability
The Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer comes as a 7-litre model, available in black, with a RRP of £169.99, although Tower has been retailing it for £149.99. You can get it for the very same price from Amazon too, which also has its very own dedicated Tower store, with all of the other goodies from the brand available there too.
Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer review: what is it?
One of a growing number of air fryer models in the Tower range, the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer is a combi-steam machine that offers a generous 7-litre cooking capacity, lots of features and functions in a stylish-looking design. It’s a reasonably chunky thing, with dimensions of 42.7D x 31.9W x 38.7H centimetres and weighing in at 6.65 kilograms, so it’ll dominate your worktop if you’re in a galley kitchen. However, the square-ish design lines also means the appliance can be stored fairly easily once it has cooled down and been wiped over.
The major USP of the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer is its capacity for steaming foodstuffs, along with doing all of the other air frying things we’ve come to expect from these appliances. Considering what it does, the appliance looks to be excellent value and cheaper than some rival products that don’t do nearly as much. There’s an intelligent steam clean function as part of the package too, so it should be easier to keep clean than some counterparts.
While the design looks to be fairly standard fare, the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer is a stylish machine, with a shiny black plastic body plus a slide out cooking compartment at the front, complimented by a chrome handle. Above that, you’ll find all of the function buttons required to get the job done, with a centrally located LED display showing you exactly what’s happening in terms of heat, time and so on. Up on top, there’s a 1.4 litre water tank, that supplies the hydration for steaming duties.
Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer review: is it any good?
There are several appealing factors about the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer that might make it more appealing than your average, everyday air fryer with basic functionality. For a start, there’s the 7-in-1 aspect, which in itself isn’t unique, but alongside the ability to air fry, grill, roast, bake, reheat and what not, you’ve got the benefit of steaming functionality. In fact, it’s possible to use a combo steam technique that allows you to steam and air fry food for the same meal.
Used alongside the other functions on the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer, there is the potential to shave some money off your energy bills with this appliance. Of course, it all depends how long you use it for, but Tower – and the wider air fryer industry – reckons these machines cook 30% faster.
They also think it’s possible to make savings on your electric bill over the course of a year – estimated at £210 annually, which means the machine should pay for itself over time. I certainly think my air fryer is on for less time than my oven, even if I’m cooking things that take a while, such as roast or baked potatoes.
Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer review: performance
You’ve got 1700 Watts of power inside the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer, which means that it’s got plenty of muscle for more demanding jobs. Roasting a whole chicken, for example, is a cinch and the other great aspect about this appliance is the 7-litre capacity.
That means you’ve got a sizeable cooking drawer, that’s square in shape and which can accommodate up to 1.7 kilograms of food in one go. That’s a very decent amount. In fact, it made my collection of meatballs look rather insignificant as you can see from the photo above. Large families will be glad of the extra capacity though. Heat tops out at 200 degrees, so it’s able to handle anything a regular oven would cook.
One of the issues I’ve always had with air fryers is that they can tend to dry out your food. You’re using less, if any oil, and the fan and electrical element parts of an air fryer design can often remove moisture from food, especially if you’re not keeping tabs on it. Switching on the average air fryer and leaving it to its own devices often means you’ll get crispy food, but it might be at the mercy of moistness. Cooking food in fits and starts, with plenty of checks on how it's doing helps, but that dryness can often persist.
That’s why the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer is appealing to me, because it can combine air frying with steaming. It's a match made in heaven. Delicate foods, with fish being a prime example, are hard to get right in an air fryer, but the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer has proved to be excellent at getting things spot-on.
The Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer is nice and easy to use too, with the mode buttons on the front panel proving to be self-explanatory. The only thing you need to remember is to put water in the detachable steam tank, located on the top of the machine.
I like the steam cleaner option too, which comes into its own for sprucing up the inside of the cooking bowl and drainer. It’s a brilliant way of releasing any food residue, such as grease when you’ve cooked a piece of meat, or if there’s any skin from a fillet of fish stuck anywhere. However, you can just wash these parts in warm, soapy water if you’d prefer not to use energy to do the steam cleaning part of the process (see how to clean an air fryer for more tips).
Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer review: verdict
The Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer is one of my favourite appliances currently. I’m really pleased with the way it can do lots of things, thanks to those different mode options. If you’re looking to reduce the number of kitchen gadgets you have, or are struggling to find space for them all, it might be a wise move to head for the Tower Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer with Steamer. In fact, you could sell off your old kitchen kit and buy this with the proceeds given the affordable price point.