When the Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer showed up on my doorstep I was initially impressed by how different it looks from other air fryers on the market. While air fryers are typically large in size, they rarely offer a capacity as generous as 11 litres. The Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer stands apart from this because of its basket-free design, instead opting for a wire mesh selection of trays that slot into the inside of the fryer much like a traditional oven.
Take a look at the best air fryers for more top picks
I put the Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer Oven to the test for a month, cooking up chips, fishcakes, and whole rotisserie chickens in the process. Overall I was impressed by this 5-in-1 air fryer, but thought that it lacked some of the convenience of a regular air fryer when it comes to frozen food and family meals. What I loved the most was the rotisserie setting, which made it easier than ever to make delicious, juicy and evenly cooked cuts of meat. Even though it was a little fiddly in other areas, for this function alone I think it’s a worthy addition to any kitchen. Keep reading my Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer Oven review for the full verdict.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Reasons to buy:
- It has a huge capacity
- Reasonably priced
- Sleek controls
- Two great colours
- Comes with five functions
- Includes everything you need to cook multiple meals at once, and rotisserie
Reasons to avoid:
- It only fits smaller rotisserie items
- Air frying is a bit uneven
- The trays are fiddly to clean
Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer Oven
The Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer has five different cooking modes and a multi-shelf design to help you layer up different levels of a meal. It’s a capable air fryer, but while the lack of baskets is a winner for increased capacity, it does make the cooking process more fiddly. If it fits your needs, there’s a lot to like.
Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer: Specs
Power: 2000 watts
Capacity: 11 litres
Included: Three wire mesh cooking shelves, drip tray, rotisserie fork, rotisserie attachments
Modes: Air fry, bake, roast, dehydrate, rotisserie
Size: 44.2 x 38.4 x 36.2 cm
What’s in the box with the Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer? Well, the first thing to note is that it is truly an immense machine. My prized Ninja Foodi was previously my largest kitchen appliance, but with an overall size of 44.2 x 38.4 x 36.2 cm, the Tower Vortex truly took the crown. With that you do get an 11-litre cooking capacity, which is well above standard, and all the attachments you need to get started.
Tower kindly sent me the rose gold Tower Vortex, which is a pretty piece of kit with black exterior and rose gold accents. The door opens forward like a conventional oven, and because it’s made of glass you can also peer through it and see how your food is doing. There’s a button on the top the display to turn on the internal light and take a look, which means you won’t have to open the door to take a peek.
Instructions are included, but they could be more thorough. Figuring out how to use the rotisserie function took some significant guesswork (but luckily I’ve included my tips below in this Tower Vortex air fryer review). It would also be nice if Tower included some recipes with this air fryer, which is something you’ll find with many other market contenders.
Cooking in the Tower Vortex air fryer
The Tower Vortex has a digital control panel that allows you to select from eight cooking modes. These autocook functions are designed to cook fries, steak, drumsticks, fish, shrimp, roast chicken, rotisserie and dried fruit at the push of a button, but you can adjust the temperature and timings as you wish. The timer will work for up to 60 minutes, which is more than enough time for many meals.
I used the Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer to cook frozen chicken fillets, which cooked at the same time as recommended for cooking in a standard oven. I did need to turn halfway though to make sure the result was crisp and even, but I would do this in a standard basket air fryer too.
Bacon cooked brilliantly in the Tower Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer. It took eight minutes at 170 degrees for the fat to render out completely, and it had the taste and texture of fried bacon, but without the added fattiness.
Pulling out the trays is a little fiddly. I found myself using oven gloves, as with a standard oven, to be able to put items in the oven and take them out without scalding myself. That’s one fault with a multi-level air fryer design, because you can’t use the handle of a drawer to access the food without touching the cooking element itself.
Air frying chips in the Tower Vortex
The Tower Vortex is marketed as an air fryer, but it’s certainly unconventional when compared to the likes of Ninja, Philips, Cosori and other top air fryer brands. For a start, it’s not got a standard drawer front with an air frying basket. Instead you place your food on the wire mesh trays and insert them into the air fryer as you would a regular oven.
In my books, the one true test of an air fryer is its ability to make crispy chips from scratch. It’s how I test every air fryer, much to my family’s enjoyment. I tossed some potato wedges in some oil and spices and spread it across the three internal shelves. Cooking took around 35 minutes, which is 5-10 minutes more than I’d expect an average air fryer to take to cook potato wedges. The process also required some attention, because I had to switch the shelves around to make sure each one cooked evenly. As with a regular oven, the shelf closest to the top of the fryer cooked faster than the lower two, so it took two rotations to make sure every shelf got some time at the top of the oven.
When cooking in a basket air fryer I’m used to taking the basket out half way through the cooking time to give my food a shake and make sure it’s able to cook evenly, but this is a lot less time consuming than removing shelves and switching them around.
My fries came out well, but not as well as they come out when I cook them in my Ninja Dual Zone air fryer. The Ninja is about £100 more than the Tower Vortex, so the Vortex put up a good fight.
The Tower Vortex’s rotisserie function
The true standout of the Tower Vortex’s design is its in-built rotisserie function, so I bought a small chicken and slathered it in harissa paste to test this. The initial setup is a little fiddly. You need to push the rotisserie bar through the chicken, then push the forks as far as they’ll go along either side, with the sharp prongs sticking into the chicken itself. Then, just fasten into place and insert into the machine.
It’s important to make sure the Tower Vortex’s drip tray is always in place when you’re cooking in it, and this is especially true with rotisserie. A lot of juices and fat fell into the tray when cooking, which would be great for adding to a gravy or stock if you don’t want to lose that punchy flavour.
My chicken barely fit into the Tower Vortex. It was close, and I had to string up the wings and legs to make sure they didn’t splay out and cause the chicken to get stuck. Although the chicken looked fairly wedged, I was able to select the rotisserie function and watch it begin to spin. It cooked fast, and was fully done in just over 45 minutes. I wouldn’t attempt to cook a supermarket’s definition of a “medium” chicken in this air fryer, because my “small” really felt as large as it could accommodate.
When cooked, I used the handy rotisserie fork to lift the chicken out of the oven. It’s a shame there’s no equivalent to make it easier to remove the trays.
The end result was truly delicious, some of the best chicken I’ve ever cooked. Tender, succulent, perfectly even, and crispy skin all over. The charring in my image is a result of the harissa paste, but I’ve also used the Tower Vortex for a regular Sunday roast chicken and it did a spectacular job of a simple, un-flavoured chicken for this too.
I paired my harissa chicken with some sweet potato fries and a crunchy coleslaw. The Tower Vortex really did take all the faff out of the chicken cooking, which gave me time to make some delicious extras. It also minimised the number of trays I needed to clean up, afterwards.
Cleaning the Tower Vortex air fryer
The Tower Vortex 2000W 11-litre 5-in-1 digital air fryer is simple enough to clean. The shelves and drip tray are small and lightweight. It took a little scrubbing to remove stubborn parts, but for the most part it was a painless process.
The inside of the Vortex is a little trickier. The door becomes covered with grease after a few uses, so you’ll need to clean the inside as you would a standard oven.
Should you buy the Tower Vortex?
If you’ve got the space in your kitchen and need a seriously large air fryer, the Tower Vortex is a top choice. Its multi-level design has some perks over a conventional air fryer, including the ability to cook a number of items at once and rotisserie chicken, pork or kebabs. However, removing the shelves can be fiddly and if you cook across various levels, some things will cook faster than others.
I’m a big fan of the Tower Vortex, especially its ability to make a cracking roast chicken. Since receiving it I’ve been spending more of my Sundays sat on the sofa, and less time prepping a roast, because the Vortex is a stress-free way of achieving a perfectly cooked roast every time. I do think it’s a shame it can only fit smaller cuts of meat, but it will do well for a family of four.
About this review, and the reviewer
Millie Fender heads up all things small appliances at Future. There’s nothing she loves more than testing out the latest and greatest cooking gadgets, for indoor and outdoor use, from toasters to air fryers. She reviewed the Tower Vortex from her own kitchen, testing it rigorously for a month before writing this review.
Millie lives in South London and is constantly squeezing more appliances into her modest kitchen. If it makes it onto the kitchen counters full time, you know an appliance is worth the hype.