Tower T17025 Compact 1.5L Air Fryer review

A super-small air fryer for making modest meals

Tower T17025 Vortx
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

If you want an effective air fryer for one or two people and have very little countertop or storage space, this is a decent option. The Vortx is quiet in operation and simple to use, and although the basket and drawer aren’t dishwasher safe, both are easy to clean. Its compact size does mean compromises by way of limited capacity and relatively low power. Provided you don’t overfill the basket, it makes excellent chunky chips and chicken wings, but at 900W it's less powerful than many rivals, with its small size making it best suited to solo cooks and couples.


  • +

    Doesn’t need much space

  • +

    Simple to use

  • +

    Easy to clean


  • -

    Very small capacity

  • -

    Easy to block airflow

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One-minute review

The Tower T17025 Vortx Compact 1.5L Air Fryer is a small, affordable and effective air fryer that’s a good option for small kitchens and small meals. Limited capacity makes it unsuitable for frying entire family feasts – we found that two average portions of chunky chips filled the entire basket – but it’s a good option for making sides or foods such as chicken wings, roasted vegetables or fish. Unlike larger models, however, it doesn’t require much cupboard or countertop space.

As you’d expect of an appliance at this price, the Tower doesn’t arrive packed with fancy features or the ability to turn its hand to other kinds of cooking. It’s largely well designed – although the text size on the temperature dial is difficult to read – and it’s easy to use and quick to clean. However, its compact form also means it’s all too easy to overcrowd the basket, and if you do so – blocking the side vents in the basket (unlike some other similar fryers, the basket here is only mesh on its underside) – then you'll block airflow and end up with uneven results. When the airflow isn’t impeded, however, the results are good. 

If you’re looking to get the best air fryer you can find on a budget, and prioritise a small footprint above all else, then this is a decent option. However, if you can spare a little more space then models just above it in Tower’s range are more powerful – 1,400W compared to 900W – and have more useful capacity, up from 1.5L here to 4L. And they’re not significantly more expensive, although with Black Friday looming it would always be worth an idea to keep a look out for any emerging Black Friday air fryer deals to save some more money.

Tower T17025 air fryer review

(Image credit: Future)

Tower T17025 price and availability

  • List price: £81.03

The Tower has a list price of £81.03 in the UK, although we’ve seen it retail for less than £40: at the time of writing, it's available from for £72.93 with free delivery. There’s a standard one-year guarantee, extendable by a further two years if you register online. 

It's also available to buy from Amazon UK and Currys although, at the time of writing, the Tower T17025 was out of stock.

Tower T17025 design

  • Simple layout
  • Temperature dial is difficult to read
  • Analogue timer with 30 minutes maximum

Air fryer design doesn’t get much simpler than this. The Tower Vortx looks like an elongated motorcycle helmet and has a locking drawer with basket in the lower half, a temperature dial above it (80 to 200ºC) and a timer dial above that. The timer is analogue and lasts for up to 30 minutes. There are a handful of quick reminders for times and temperatures – frozen chips, chicken drumsticks, prawns and so on – and it’s all reassuringly straightforward. We’d have preferred a more legible temperature dial, though; the small print and low position make it very difficult to read.

Tower T17025 air fryer review

The text on the temperature gauge is very small and hard to read, even in a bright kitchen. (Image credit: Future)

The basket and tray are simply designed and easy to clean; neither is dishwasher safe, but we found that hot soapy water cleaned oil and grease without issue. There’s an effective lock to keep the basket in place when you don’t want to separate it, and removing the two automatically shuts down the fryer. The fryer will also shut down when the timer reaches zero.

The Tower Vortx is super small, which makes it ideal for cramped kitchens: it’s just under 30cm high, with a depth of 20cm and a width of 22cm. Rated capacity is 1.5L, but we found the basket was pretty much full with 500g of food.

It’s quiet in operation, with our decibel meter reading 58dBA at the highest temperature settings. That's quieter than a normal conversation between two people; it’s considerably quieter than our microwave, albeit louder than our fan oven.

Tower T17025 performance

  • Steak-cut fries are brilliant
  • Chicken wings stay moist and tender
  • Skinnier fries blocked the airflow

In addition to freestyle cooking, we have three standard tests we run to test all air fryers we review. We cook 500g of freshly cut 1cm-thick fries, 500g of frozen steak-cut fries, and a bucket of chicken wings in separate sessions to see how the fryer fares. Where stated, we follow the guide times and temperatures from the manual. The Tower manual doesn’t mandate a pre-heating period, but does gently suggest a three-minute warm-up, so we did that each time. 

The results with the Tower Vortx were mixed. Our frozen fries – McCain Gastropub ones – were an absolute triumph, perfectly cooked in 20 minutes with beautifully fluffy interiors and crisp, consistent browning on the outside. Those chips have their own coating, so we air-fried them without any oil. If you do the same, note that the coating does leave a pool of oil at the bottom of the tray, so be careful opening it. 

Our home-made fries were a disaster. Despite multiple shakes, the recommended light spray of cooking oil, and a full 30 minutes at 200ºC, the results was very uneven: some fries were desiccated and others barely warmed. The problem appeared to be airflow: our standard 500g of 1cm-thick fries filled the basket, blocking the grooves and leaving little room for the hot air to circulate.

Tower T17025 air fryer review

Our skinnier fries didn't cook well, despite multiple shakes and extra time: some were burnt while others were barely cooked. (Image credit: Future)

The Tower redeemed itself with our chicken wings, albeit only a few of them: the basket was full having tipped in just five wings, some of which we had to stand up vertically. However, 18 to 20 minutes at 180ºC without any extra oil delivered crisp brown skin and beautifully moist chicken that fell off the bone.

Tower T17025 air fryer review

Wings were a great success, although we could barely fit five into the basket with enough room for air to circulate. (Image credit: Future)

The heating element here is 900W, which is relatively low, but it’s fine given the small size of the cooking area. 

Tower T17025 score card

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Price and availabilityYou can’t complain about the price here: as if the RRP wasn’t low enough, this Tower is widely available for even less.5/5
DesignIt’s a very simple device so it’s easy to use, but the temperatures are in tiny writing and the drawer doesn’t quite fit flush.4/5
PerformanceThe very small capacity means you’re very limited in what you can cook, and even modest amounts of food can limit airflow.3/5

Should I buy?

Buy it if...

You’re cooking just for you

The capacity here is a quoted 1.5L, but that’s volume; Five chicken wings is all it took to fill the basket.

You’re only cooking sides

Unless you want to wait 20-odd minutes for each part of your meal, this air fryer is best used alongside other cooking methods – for example, to cook veg while you sear a steak.

You have a small kitchen

Many air fryers are massive, but this is small enough to tuck away in a corner or cupboard.

Don't buy it if...

You’re cooking for a family

We found the Tower was only just big enough to cook two portions of chips or two smallish chicken breasts.

You want to cook multiple things at once

This is a single-drawer air fryer, so it doesn’t have enough room for multiple foods.

You like lots of fresh-cut skinny fries

Despite lots of shaking and lots of time, our home-made skinny fries cooked very unevenly. We achieved great results with steak-cut fries, but our 1cm fries blocked the airflow.

  • First reviewed: October 2022
Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.