Given the current climate and the cost of doing everyday things, like using water or turning on the oven becoming a concern, I was eager to get my hands on one of the best air fryers. Yes, I know, adding another appliance to the mix of a coffee machine, microwave, kettle, and toaster, may not seem the most beneficial for my energy bills. But if I choose to cook the majority of my meals in it, rather than turning the oven on, I figured I could save some money. After all, the air fryer is 1500 watts and my oven draws around 3500 watts, by comparison. Though I’ll save the technical talk for later.
The Dreo model I reviewed is one of the smallest we’ve seen on the market, so not only is it a cost-effective air fryer, but it’s also space-saving. If you’re cooking for yourself, or one another and don’t have a large kitchen space, then this one’s for you. And if you like the modern look, then its appearance is particularly pleasing too. Dreo (opens in new tab) is a leading brand in the smart-tech industry, so there’s no surprise this air fryer is stylish, with a sleek LED screen that's simple to navigate all of nine pre-sets and many more adjustable settings. Another impressive quality, considering it retails for just under $90 in the US.
So far, it sounds good, but believe me: it only gets better when it comes to cooking. The only downside? The pre-set programs are a little hit-and-miss - it’s not something you can’t work with, though. Putting performance, design, and function to the test, I cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner, preparing everyday recipes and some unconventional foods you can cook in an air fryer. See how they turned out…
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Dreo air fryer: the important stuff
- Weight: 7lbs
- Dimensions: H19.4" x W11.6" x D9.4"
- Temperature: 100°F to 450°F / 40°C to 200°C
- Power: 1500W
- Capacity: 4 quarts / 3.8 litres
- Cooking modes: Fries, steak, chicken, fish, bread, vegetables, dehydrate, reheat
- RRP: $89.99 / £84.99
- Colour: Black
- Cleaning: Dishwasher-safe, nonstick tray
- Comes with: User guide, reference guide, cookbook, and removable tray insert
Louise is the Ecommerce Writer at Real Homes and has tested her fair share of appliances, bedding, and decor. Currently, she's been lucky enough to try out some of the best energy-efficient buys, including low-cost air fryers, the best electric blankets, and more. Being a renter and flat sharer in a small three-bed high-rise she's always keen to find small-sized products that are great value for money. And if they claim to save on the energy bill, then it's undoubtedly worth the scope out.
She's been using this air fryer for nearly a month, so while we can't confirm her bills are any less (every little helps, right), she's happy knowing it's a better alternative to turning on the oven. She is a 'flexitarian', which means she's cooked mainly veggie meals amongst a few meat dishes. And she's not a fussy eater, so Louise is willing to try whatever can go in the air fryer.
Unboxing the Dreo air fryer
Being a small air fryer, the box was relatively small and light. Easy enough for the postman to carry up a few flights of stairs. In fact, it says ‘perfectly portable’ on the box itself, which sums it up nicely. I was disappointed to open the box to quite a lot of polystyrene packaging cushioning the product. A more eco-friendly option couldn't have been used here instead I feel. On top sat a small packet including the user guide, reference guide, and cookbook.
The cookbook features over 50 recipes, which is perfect if you’re struggling with meal ideas or are unsure of what is possible to make in an air fryer.
After taking it out of the box, the Dreo was easy to assemble. Simply pop in the removable tray and unravel the plug. Notably, the design of this air fryer is different to others I’ve come across or that we’ve tested on Real Homes. The cylinder shape looks stylish and its sleek black exterior makes it look more luxurious than an air fryer needs to be. The lack of buttons and switches replaced with the LED screen also adds to the clean, modern look. My kitchen is fairly new, with shiny white cabinets and backlit lights. I also have a number of black appliances, which the Dreo air fryer ties in with seamlessly. Black is the only color available, but it would work great with any similar-style kitchen space.
Our first impressions of the Dreo air fryer
We cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this air fryer.
Once plugged in, the air fryer will light up with symbols and settings, all of which are listed in the reference guide and are really quite simple to work out. There are pictures for ease of use. Otherwise, there is a temperature sign indicating the heat it will cook at and the time it takes. You can adapt and change these with the arrows accordingly. The temperature ranges from 100°F to 450°F which is a much larger scale range compared to other small air fryers, like the Instant Vortex Mini which goes up to 400°F.
The tray of the air fryer is quite large, considering its compact design. It’s big enough to cook for two and even a few items at a time. For any more food, you might have to do more than one air frying session, and I definitely wouldn't recommend it for more than a family of four. It's quite deep too, so I do wish it had come with an additional tray to stack more than one food type. The tray is easy to remove and wash, as well as the removable draw, which is released using the button on the handle.
You may have heard of the cooking a boiled egg in an air fryer hack, which made me wonder what breakfast pieces I could create in the air fryer. Besides the obvious sausages, bacon, and frozen hash browns for a big breakfast, I found myself quickly heating up my pastries before I dashed off to work. Usually, I’d eat them cold since I’m not prepared enough to give the oven enough time to heat up before I’d need to leave. But what’s better than a hot pain au chocolat? A quick pop in the tray, and turn on using the custom settings of 385°F for 5 minutes, and it melted the chocolate and crisped the pastry to perfection. In fact, I prefer the outcome to heating one up in the oven.
While I didn't use any pre-settings when it came to breakfast, cooking lunches like bread, toasted sandwiches, and jacket potatoes require taking advantage of the recommended times and temperatures from Dreo. I used the bread function for example, which cooks at 356°F for 8 mins. It baked my ciabatta well, with a crisp outside and fluffy middle. I found cooking a jacket potato a little more difficult, and perhaps would opt back to the part microwave, part oven bake I’m used to. The potato cooked a little too well on the outside, and not enough in the middle. The heat needed to be lower and the time longer.
Otherwise, I found reheating foods a total breeze. I set the air fryer at an average of 385°F for eight minutes. It did take a few check-ups to see how it was doing and trial and error to how long to leave it in for, before I decided that around six minutes heated up my leftover pizza and melted the cheese in my toastie perfectly.
Arguably a go-to for any food lover to cook in the air fryer is fries. Be it skin-on, sweet-potato, or frozen curly fries, air fryers are known for quickly making near to deep-fried standards. With this being a smaller capacity model, I chopped up around 7oz of sweet potatoes, which cooked enough for two small portions. The pre-set fries program cooks at 385°F for 20 minutes. What I do like is the shake feature, where the machine beeps and alerts you to shake the fries halfway for an even bake. On another occasion, I cooked frozen french fries instead, which worked great. However, the sweet potato came out a little too dark for my liking, with the smaller ones being slightly burnt. Nonetheless, they were tasty and I could easily switch up the settings next time.
Cooking veggies and vegan foods
With this, I cooked veggies (for me) and meat sausages for my friend. Then large portobello mushrooms and asparagus seasoned with parmesan for the sides. I used the steak setting for the sausages, which worked great for both the meat-free and pork sausages. The vegetable setting cooked the sides well too, crisping the asparagus and mushrooms without drying them out. As you may have guessed, I couldn't cook these all at once. It took me three sessions, first cooking the fries, then the meat and veg. But considering the quick cook time, none of the foods went cold while I cooked the rest.
It’s clear this air fryer isn't designed with big families in mind, as you’d have to do more than a few rounds of cooking - not ideal. But if you’re a single-person household or are cooking for yourself and a friend, like I was, then it’s a better alternative to heating up the whole oven. Otherwise, it's great for cooking side dishes only.
What's the Dreo air fryer like to clean?
Cleaning up after a full meal is pretty simple, especially if you have a dishwasher. I took out the removable drawer and the insert and popped it in with the rest of my plates in the dishwasher. It cleaned fine, even with the crumbs and seasoning spills left from the vegetables. Since I rarely use oil on the foods I fry, they came out as clean as new. If you do have a smaller dishwasher, however, the drawer may take up too much room. Cleaning it by hand might be more efficient. I’ve rarely had to wipe it down either. Despite the LED display screen, it’s barely smudged or streaked. In fact, it still looks good as new.
How much does the Dreo air fryer cost to run?
Using an energy price calculator that calculates the running cost of electric items using current tariffs and rates, the Dreo air fryer of 1,500 watts would cost 0.35 cents in the US and 0.85 pence per minute in the UK.
For an average cooking time of 20 minutes, that's almost 7.5 cents or 0.17 pence. Pretty impressive. We've done some more research too, into an air fryer vs an oven when it comes to keep costs down.
Should you buy the Dreo air fryer?
If you have the budget to initially buy, find yourself cooking for you or just one other, and have a small kitchen space, then there’s no reason why you shouldn't get the Dreo air fryer, in my opinion. It’s great for quick meals, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, cooking food just as good (if not better) as it does in the oven. Besides, it’ll save you money in the long run, since an air fryer costs much less to use than your oven. The pre-sets are a little hit and miss and it may take more than one attempt to get the perfect bake, roast, or fry, but once you’ve figured it out, you’ll have mastered air fryer food forever.
On the other hand, if you have more than two mouths to feed and would benefit from a larger air fryer then the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer review might be better for you. And there are some simpler options out there, with a one-button approach to use, you may prefer. The Ninja Bullet air fryer, for example, is a low-tech, low-cost option.
For a smart-looking, good-performing air fryer to help you cut down on costs, then the Dreo air fryer is the best you can get. For a fair price, it’s an investment we now can’t do without.
How does the Dreo air fryer compare against other models?
Taking multicookers out of the equation, the Dreo air fryer is right up there as one of our favorite appliances on the market in the UK right now. It's cheaper than the Lakeland Digital Crisp air fryer, and holds much more than T-fal Easy Fry Compact Digital Health Air Fryer.
About this review and the reviewer
Louise is a foodie, and enjoys cooking at home. But with less time on her hands due to long office days and busy weekends, cooking in the oven isn't always the most convenient option. With her current household bills on the rise too, she’s committed to trying anything she can do to save energy at home. The Dreo air fryer has hence been a practically useful product for her to test. Whether she’s throwing in some frozen food after work or reheating her leftover pizza from the night before, she’s been getting her use out of having it at home.
If you’re wondering about our testing method, and how we compare air fryer performance fairly, then our air fryer tested methodology page might be worth a read. Louise has followed this procedure for her review of the Dreo model. To summarize, she used the air fryer for a prolonged period before writing and cooked a range of meal types to cater to all kinds of eaters. Using it at least once a day, it's been thoroughly tried and tested to find all pros and cons possible. Since she’s been able to keep the product, it’s now kept in her kitchen, next to other appliances she’s trying out too.