Dash Compact Air Fryer: Quick Menu
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
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.
Unboxing and setup
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.
|Ease of use||Two dials make this air fryer easy to operate, but can be fiddly||★★★★|
|Design||A cute and compact style with a range of colors to choose from. A pre-heat setting would nudge this into a 5-star rating.||★★★★|
|Price||Usually $69.99 but under $50 when on offer||★★★★★|
|Packaging||Would be five stars if it wasn't housed in styrofoam and plastic||★★★★|
Testing the Dash Compact Air Fryer
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
Cooking Tater Tots
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!
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
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
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.
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...
Our top pick
Capacity: 2 quarts
Size (in.): H11.73 x W9.02 x D11.38
Rating: 5/5 stars in our Instant Mini Vortex review
This petite (and lightweight) 2-quart air fryer ticks all the boxes for style and size and is TikTok-approved, too. It comes in four fun colors and is great if you rely on your oven and stovetop for most jobs but want to speed up the process of cooking sides. It's simple to use, sturdy, and smart enough to remember your last-used setting. Oh and it's easy to clean.
Please note this company is currently filing for administration, but this product is still available for purchase. Note that your communication with the brand and warranty may be affected during this period.
Google Assistant compatible
Capacity: 2.1 quarts
Dimensions (in): H10.5 x W8.3 x D10.1
Quite often, air fryers have wayyyyyy too many cooking functions for specific foods we'll never heat. So it's nice to have a small air fryer that keeps things simple. Though we haven't had first-hand experience with this product, we have reached out to Cosori for a sample, so you won't have to wait too long for a review. Going by highly-rated reviews on Amazon, this quiet convection oven sounds promising! I've got a good feeling we'll be adding this to our Cosori air fryers edit.
Capacity: 2.6 quarts
Dimensions (in): H11.3 x W10.7 x D8.7
Rating: 4/5 stars in our Dash Digital Tasti-Crisp review
If you're looking for a budget-friendly and easy-to-use air fryer to reheat and air fry smaller batches of food, then the Dash Digital Tasti-Crisp Air Fryer 2.6qt is for you. Our freelance reviewer Alexandra found that the best use of this small air fryer is cooking frozen food such as appetizers, fish (including salmon), and chicken. It cut down the defrosting time of meats, poultry, and fish significantly. And, in one sitting, you could have a meal prepared without wasting any time. It also comes in five colors.
Where to buy the Dash Compact Air Fryer
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.