The Dash Compact Air Fryer proves that basic isn't a bad thing

As Da Vinci said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"

Teal Dash 2-quart air fryer image repeated on bright gradient background
(Image credit: Future / Dash)
Real Homes Verdict

If you’re a no-frills type of cook, you’ll love the Dash Compact Air Fryer, which is about as straightforward as they come these days. The compact, lightweight (and affordable) appliance skips all the complicated menus and settings that are common on many air fryers, and instead, it has just two analog dials for operation. Despite its simple design, this air fryer worked well for a variety of recipes, from chicken tenders to garlic knots, and it’s the perfect size if you’re cooking for just one or two people.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Affordable price point

  • +

    Comes in several colors

  • +

    Super easy to operate

  • +

    Perfect size for one or two servings

  • +

    Lightweight and easy to store

  • +

    Removable pieces are dishwasher safe

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No preheat setting

  • -

    Analog timer can be tricky to set precisely

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The Dash Compact Air Fryer may not have all the fancy features of other air fryers, but what it lacks in pizazz, it makes up for in ease of use. There are no complicated menus to navigate or a hundred buttons to press — the whole thing operates with two simple dials. Seriously, anyone could use this thing.

That’s not all this small air fryer has going for it, either. The Dash is as budget-friendly as they come these days, and it’s lightweight, (as air fryers go, anyway), so it won’t take up too much real estate on your counter. It all makes for a winning combination, especially for those with smaller kitchens (me).

I took this cute, colorful little air fryer for a spin, and I’m pleased to report that good things do, in fact, come in small packages. Here’s the lowdown on everything I cooked in the Dash Compact Air Fryer and whether it’s right for your home.

What I thought of the Dash Compact Air Fryer

Teal Dash Compact 2-quart air fryer on wooden worktop

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

After all my testing was said and done, I was really impressed with the Dash Compact Air Fryer. The appliance might be small, but its performance sure isn’t! It boasts 1,000 watts of power — more than enough to cook up all sorts of tasty foods — and the basket is the perfect size to hold one or two portions. (Though, if you have a large family, you’ll end up having to cook your meals in several batches.)

I also loved that this small kitchen appliance is straightforward and, frankly, idiot-proof to use. So many air fryers these days have dozens of unnecessary and often confusing settings, but the Dash has just two dials: One to set the timer (below left) and another for the timer (below right) — that’s it! Even the most un-tech-savvy chef could use it, and the whole thing weighs just a few pounds, making it easy to tuck away when it’s not in use. 

Dials on the Dash 2-Quart Compact Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

Unboxing and setup


♬ time travel - chief. & nobuddy

Unboxing the Dash Compact Air Fryer is a quick and easy task. The appliance is packaged with a few pieces of styrofoam, and it’s wrapped in a thin plastic bag for protection. Once removed, the appliance is basically good to go — just be sure to peel off the stickers on its exterior and give it a quick wash before you start cooking. 

I love the bright, cheery color of this small air fryer (there are five different options to choose from), and I was surprised at how small and lightweight it is. There are two control knobs on the front of the device — one that ranks the temp up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and another that lets you set a timer for up to 30 minutes.

To start the air fryer, you simply turn the timer on. It’s that easy! The only thing I don’t love is that there’s no preheat option. Instead, you simply have to add a few minutes to your cooking time so it can warm up. Still, overall, it couldn’t be easier to use, and it’s small enough that it won’t take up too much space in your kitchen. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
Ease of useTwo dials make this air fryer easy to operate, but can be fiddly★★★★
DesignA cute and compact style with a range of colors to choose from. A pre-heat setting would nudge this into a 5-star rating.★★★★
PriceUsually $69.99 but under $50 when on offer★★★★★
PackagingWould be five stars if it wasn't housed in styrofoam and plastic★★★★

Testing the Dash Compact Air Fryer

Head shot of Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau

I’m Camryn, a freelance writer and product tester for Real Homes, and to date, I’ve tested close to a dozen air fryers, as well as lots of other kitchen gadgets, from juicers to toasters and everything in between. 

While I initially resisted buying an air fryer, it’s quickly become a must-have gadget in my kitchen. I use it to cook meals multiple times a week, and I’m firm in my belief that it’s the best way to reheat leftovers. I used this Dash air fryer for more than two weeks before making a verdict and writing this review.

The important stuff

  • Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.1 x 10.2 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Capacity: 2 quarts
  • Temperature Range
  • Voltage: 120V ~ 60Hz
  • Power Rating: 1,000 watts
  • Cost to run per hour (cents): 15c
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

Making food

 Cooking Tater Tots 

Dash 2-quart air fryer with bag of frozen tater tots

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

I always keep a bag of frozen French fries in my freezer — they make the perfect quick and easy afternoon snack — but this week I was feeling wild, so I bought tater tots instead. I was able to fit a generous serving in the basket of the Dash air fryer without overlapping them too much, and I cooked them at 400 degrees, letting the appliance heat up for a few minutes before putting the tots in. 

The bag didn’t have instructions for air fryer cooking, so I checked the tots after ten minutes. (The fryer automatically stops its fan when you pull the basket out, but the timer doesn’t pause). They were almost done, so I gave them a shake and put them in for another five minutes. They came out perfectly browned and absolutely delicious — I may have found my new go-to snack! 

Cooked tater tots in the Dash 2-quart air fryer

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

Cooking bacon

For breakfast on the weekend, I decided to make eggs and bacon, and my favorite way to cook bacon is in the air fryer. It’s so much faster and less messy than using a frying pan or an oven. 

I popped a few strips into the air fryer at 400 degrees, though the basket was too small to lay them out straight. I ended up overlapping them a bit (you could also cut them in half), and I cooked them for five minutes. While they were a bit misshapen, the strips were delightfully crispy and perfectly cooked. 

Cooking garlic knots

Cooked garlic knots made using the Dash 2-quart air fryer

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

At this point in testing, I started to get a little more adventurous. I had leftover dough from pizza night, so I decided to try making little garlic knots. I basically cut the dough into strips, tied them in knots, and brushed butter and minced garlic over the top. (Because you can’t go wrong with butter and garlic!)

I didn’t have a recipe to follow, so I made an educated guess on how best to cook the knots. I left the air fryer at 400 degrees and cooked the dough for eight minutes, but it was definitely too hot. The dough itself was cooked well, with a fluffy inside and crunchy exterior, but the garlic on top had burnt. Still, it was a tasty side dish for dinner, and I’m planning to try making them again at a lower temp to see if I can get them just right. 

Cooking chicken tenders

Uncooked chicken tender strips in the Dash 2-quart air fryer

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

For my final test, I wanted to use the Dash air fryer to cook an entree, not just a side dish. I decided to make homemade chicken tenders, which are always a hit in my house. I dredged chicken tenderloins in egg then a mix of panko breadcrumbs and seasonings. I preheated the air fryer for around five minutes, then arranged several pieces of chicken in the basket. I was able to fit three strips comfortably — four fit, but they were too close together and didn’t end up browning as nicely. 

I cooked the chicken for five minutes on each side, and the end result was perfectly crispy tenders that were ideal for dipping. It was a quick and easy meal for our two-person household, but if you’re serving any more people, you’re definitely going to end up cooking in multiple batches. 

Breaded chicken tenders cooked in the Dash 2-quart air fryer

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

Cleaning the Dash Compact Air Fryer

Cleaning this air fryer is easy (because it's so small). The inner plate and basket both have a nonstick coating that wipes clean — for instance, after cooking bacon, I was able to clean out the solidified grease using a paper towel. From there, I just washed it quickly with a dish sponge and soapy water, and it was as good as new. 

Alternatively, the whole basket and inner plate can be put in the dishwasher for hands-free maintenance. I’m usually the person who puts everything in the dishwasher, but this air fryer was truly much easier to clean by hand.

Is it right for you?

If you’re in the market for an air fryer but don’t want anything too bulky or expensive, the Dash Compact Air Fryer will check all your boxes. It’s exceedingly simple to use, and the basket is the perfect size for one or two servings at a time. Plus, despite its compact size, it’s quite powerful, cooking foods in just a few minutes. 

This air fryer isn’t for everyone, though. Because it’s smaller than many other models, it’s definitely not the best choice for large households — you’ll find yourself having to cook in several batches to feed more than two people. It also lacks convenient features like a preheat setting and digital timer, which some people may not want to go without.  

If you're not sure that this is the right small air fryer for you, then see some more models that we recommend just below...

Where to buy the Dash Compact Air Fryer

You can buy the Dash Compact Air Fryer directly from Dash for $49.99, or via Amazon or Wayfair

How we test

I’m no stranger to testing air fryers, and at this point, I have it down to a science. Here’s what I look for when I’m evaluating these countertop appliances: 

  • Power: Air fryers are basically countertop convection ovens, and their claim to fame is that they can create a browned, crispy exterior on your food without using much (if any) oil. However, to do this, an air fryer needs to be fairly powerful with a suitable temperature range and a good fan to circulate air around the basket. When testing air fryers, I always look at their wattage — this model is 1,000 watts, which is pretty good for its size — and I make note of how long they take to cook food and if it’s evenly cooked. 
  • Ease of use: I’m a firm believer that the best air fryers are intuitive to use — it gets old quickly if I have to consult the manual every time I’m cooking. For this reason, I look for air fryers that are straightforward to operate. I like to try them at different temperatures, and when applicable, I try out different settings to see if they’re actually useful. 
  • Safety: Air fryers get quite hot during operation, so you shouldn’t leave them unattended during use. Good safety features are also a must-have for these appliances. I like to look at whether the outside of the appliance and basket handle is comfortable to touch during use, if the appliance automatically pauses when the basket is removed, and overall, whether it feels safe to operate. 
  • Clean-up and storage: There’s nothing worse than when cleaning up after dinner takes twice as long as it did to eat. The best air fryers are quick and easy to clean, even after cooking messy foods like bacon, and they always get extra points in my book if the components can be put in the dishwasher. 
Camryn Rabideau
Contributing Reviews Editor

Camryn Rabideau is a writer and product reviewer specializing in home and kitchen products. In her five years as a product tester, she's tested hundreds of items first-hand, including many, many kitchen appliances for Real Homes, and also works on our sister brand, Homes & Gardens. Camryn does her product testing from her small homestead in beautiful Rhode Island. Her work appears in publications such as Forbes, USA Today, The Spruce, Food52, and more. When she’s not tinkering around with the latest home gadgets, she spends her time tending to her animals, working in her garden, or crafting.