In multi-cooker circles, the Instant Pot is king.
Its name has become so synonymous with making fast, healthy meals that 'instant pot-cooking' is often used to describe any recipe or meal made in a multi cooker, regardless of the make or model. The brand itself has been dubbed a religion, and the global Instant Pot Facebook Community has more than 2 million members.
In lieu of testing the Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer, for this guide we’ve used our expert knowledge to run through its pros and cons to help you decide if its the right multi-cooker for you.
We’d expect to see it discounted during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019, and we’ll be updating our best Instant pot deals page as and when these savings go live. If it’s a regular Instant Pot you’re interested in, you can read more in our Instant Pot Duo buying guide.
The Bottom Line: Whereas a standard Instant Pot is a slow cooker and pressure cooker in one, with added features such as the ability to sear/sauté and steam your food, Instant Pot’s recently released Vortex range instead focuses on air-frying. The Instant Pot 6-Quart Vortex Air Fryer is the most basic in the Vortex range – which also includes the 6-Quart Vortex Plus and the 10-Quart Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven – and has air frying, baking, roasting, and reheating modes.
Pros: The Vortex Air Fryer offers more modes than a regular air fryer and effectively acts like a mini oven. This, coupled with its large capacity, means the Vortex can be used in place of your regular oven, or as an overflow for parties/when you’ve got family round. You can switch between modes at the touch of a button and the Reheat option is not only an alternative to microwaving food, it’s a feature rarely seen on air fryers.
Cons: The 6-Quart Vortex Air Fryer doesn’t offer any of the slow or pressure cooking features, nor the full range of modes seen on the standard Instant Pot range. It’s also not available outside the US. When choosing between the Instant Pot and the Instant Vortex, you’ll ultimately need to assess which cooking modes you use most. Alternatively, if you want all the cooking features in one machine, you can buy an Instant Pot Multicooker.
Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer: everything you need to know
The Instant Vortex range is available in three different versions. All three help you create healthier versions of fried and baked foods using very little, or no oil, from fresh or frozen. They each have manual temperature and time controls, however, the number of modes on each rises on each model.
Presets: The 4-in-1 Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer has the fewest modes. It has a six-quart basket, which Instant claims is capable of holding a 2lb pound bag of fries or a four-pound chicken – more than enough for a family of four – and it lets you air fry, bake, roast and reheat.
The 6-in1 Instant Vortex Plus 6-Quart Air Fryer adds broiling and dehydrating to the mix, while the 7-in-1 Instant Vortex Air Fryer Oven looks more like a standard oven, with shelves and a pull-down door, and it comes with a rotisserie attachment.
The range’s maximum temperature reaches 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
Design: With many rival air fryers defaulting to a round three-quart basket, the rectangular, six-quart draw makes the Instant Vortex more appealing for larger families (or big eaters). This does mean its overall size is larger than these smaller air fryers, though, so you’ll need the space to accommodate it.
This is key if you’re buying this to sit alongside your regular Instant Pot, due to their different uses. Compared to a standard Instant Pot Duo, the Instant Vortex needs around two inches more on each side.
The touch controls are all well-labeled and the dial means you can set the time and temperature without having to repeatedly press plus and minus buttons, as is common on rivals.
Reviews: Online reviews largely praise the Instant Vortex for making “delicious” and “amazing” food. Many reviewers say they “love” the machine’s versatility, how easy it is to use and clean.
Each of the accessories and pots on all three models are dishwasher-friendly. There are few one- and two-star reviews, and the majority of these bemoan its size.
Conclusion: The Instant Vortex is very different to the Instant Pot, in terms of size, shape and functionality, so this isn’t simply an upgrade on the original. Instead, Instant has used its expertise to enter an entirely new category and, with this, is offering a handful of standout features, namely a large capacity, easy-to-use controls and a reheat option. Beyond these features, little separates the Vortex range from similar, rival air fryers so buying one will come down to budget and brand loyalty.
TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.
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Victoria Woollaston-Webber is a freelance journalist, editor, and founder of science-led health, beauty, and grooming sites, mamabella and MBman. She has more than a decade of experience in both online and print journalism, having written about tech and gadgets since day one for national papers, magazines, and global brands. Victoria specializes in beauty gadgets, as well as small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, blenders, and mixers, plus all things baby and toddler. When she’s not testing the latest must-have beauty product, she loves Lego Architecture, murder mysteries, and chasing after her four-year-old.