Treats such as fries and chicken wings are delicious, but as they’re usually deep-fried in gallons of oil, they’re unsuitable for those looking to keep their calorie consumption down.
This is where an air fryer can help. It uses hot air to crisp and evenly brown foods to create much healthier versions of your favorite fried foods. Instant, the brand behind the Instant Pot multi-cooker, is now one of the biggest names in the air fryer market, and its Instant Vortex Plus model previously topped our list of the best air fryers.
Now the brand has unveiled a new and improved version, the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer with ClearCook and OdourEase, which builds on the air fryer with the inclusion of a window in the frying basket, a light in the cooking cavity and a filter to remove smells - and has superseded the standard Vortex Plus at the top of our listings.
Unsurprisingly, with more features, it’s more expensive than its predecessor too. With both air fryers still available, will spending $30 / £30 more on the list price of this handy kitchen gadget really make a difference when it comes to creating crisp crunchy fries?
We pitted the two Instant Vortex Plus air fryers head-to-head by cooking up both homemade and frozen fries, along with chicken wings to find out, to help you choose the right appliance for your kitchen.
Best Instant Vortex Plus and Instant Vortex Plus 6-in1 air fryer deals
Read on to discover how these two air fryers compare – or, if you’ve already decided which of the two you wish to buy, check out the best prices for each right now:
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty on just how these air fryers differ when it comes to features and performance, let’s start with price.
Instant’s air fryers are some of the more expensive designs on the market right now, as the average air fryer will set you back between $60 / £50 / AU$100 and $100 / £100 / AU$250. The Instant Vortex Plus is the cheaper of two, and will set you back $119.95 / £119.99 / AU$269, while the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer is slightly pricer at £149.99 / $149.99, and isn’t currently available in Australia.
The Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer is also available in a two basket version, known as the Instant Vortex Plus Dual Drawer Air Fryer, which has two separate cooking cavities so you can cook two different foods at once and is priced at $179.99 / £199.99.
The two air fryers have strikingly different designs. The Instant Vortex Plus looks similar to its sibling, the Instant Vortex, with a square design that combines black plastic with chrome accents, including a stylish metal top.
There are touch controls on the front of the air fryer, at the top that let you select the desired cooking mode, while a dial lets you adjust the cooking duration and temperature, in increments of three degrees. Below this sits the frying basket with a crisper plate to hold to the food during cooking.
The Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer with ClearCook and OdourEase, however, has a slightly more compact design, and is 3 inches narrower than its predecessor, but almost an inch taller.
It has an angled front, where you can find the touch controls to select the cooking mode, and a dial that lets you tweak the cooking duration and temperature, this time in one-degree increments.
It has far fewer chrome accents than the Instant Vortex Plus, instead opting for a glossy back finish on the majority of the air fryer.
Below this is the frying basket, although, unlike the Vortex Plus, this model has a plastic window in the front that, when coupled with the light in the cooking cavity, lets you keep an eye on your food while it's browning. Inside the frying basket is a crisper plate, and both components are dishwasher-safe, unlike on the Vortex Plus where only the crisper plate can be cleaned in a dishwasher.
Both air fryers have a 6-quart / 5.7 liter capacity and offer a cooking temperature range from 95 F / 35 C to 400 F / 205. The pair can cook for up to 72 hours on the lowest temperature settings, although when used at maximum temperature, both offer a cooking duration of up to 60 minutes.
Features on test
When it comes to crisping and browning foods, both air fryers excelled when it came to preparing fries and chicken wings. Both turned out crisp, crunchy homemade fries that had soft, fluffy potato inside, and succulent chicken wings that combined juicy meat with a crisp skin.
The pair can also both roast, bake, grill, reheat, and dehydrate, as well as air fry. In fact, the air fryers were identical when it came to cooking, it’s the additional features that really sets the pair apart.
We found the ClearCook window, along with the light in the cooking cavity of the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 air fryer, extremely useful for keeping an eye on food during cooking.
It was easy to see how things were progressing, compared to with the Instant Vortex Plus, which required us to open the frying basket, subsequently reducing the temperature of the cooking chamber, and affecting how evenly the air fryer browned and crisped foods.
The OdourErase technology, which uses built-in air filters to reduce cooking smells wafting through your home, also excelled at reducing cooking smells when using the air fryer. The Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer was also slightly quieter in use than the Vortex Plus, measuring just 51.7db on our decibel meter, compared to 64db.
When it comes to choosing the best air fryer, both the Instant Vortex Plus and the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 with ClearCook and OdourEase can turn out crisp crunchy fries and chicken wings, and are speedier than using traditional cooking methods.
If you can stretch to the additional $30 / £30 the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer with ClearCook and OdourEase is well worth the extra investment. Not only does it let you keep an eye on your food easily without expecting the evenness of browning and crisping because of temperature fluctuations in the cooking chamber, it also reduces smells emitted and is quieter in use too.
However, for those on a tighter budget, the Instant Vortex Plus is still one of the best air fryers on the market right now.
- Prefer stews and curries to fries and chicken wings? Then check out the best Instant Pot deals.
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Carrie-Ann Skinner was formerly Homes Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades of experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, stand mixers, and coffee machines. Carrie is now a copy editor at PWC.