Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone Air Fryer AF400UK review

We put the Ninja Dual Zone AF400UK through its paces to see if it really is the best of the bunch

Image of Ninja Dual Zone air fryer during testing at test centre
(Image credit: Ninja)
Ideal Home Verdict

In short, the Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone AF400UK 9.5L Air Fryer is as good as the hype suggests, with plentiful space, incredible cooking power, a sleek interface and easy-to-use controls. Granted, it is more expensive than other dual zone models on the market, but it's the blueprint for almost every feature these competitors have - and does it better too.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Stylishly designed

  • +

    Straightforward, no-nonsense controls

  • +

    Large cooking space

  • +

    Incredibly powerful

  • +

    Excellent results

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can be difficult to find in stock

  • -

    No glass windows to check on progress

  • -

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If there's one air fryer that encapsulates the hype that these small appliances have had over the last year, it's the Ninja Foodi MAX. Available in two sizes (7.8L and the larger 9.5L), this air fryer has made a serious impact on how lots of households get their cooking done. It's even inspired a fresh wave of the best dual-zone air fryers hitting the market in recent months.

While there's no doubt the Ninja Dual Zone has received plenty of attention, we wanted to see if the performance measured up. To test, we put it head to head against competition from the other best air fryer brands out there, such as Tower at our testing facility. 

Keep reading to see how this pick of the best Ninja appliances fared, and to see if it's worth fighting your way through the ongoing Ninja stock issues to get your hands on one.

Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone AF400UK 9.5L Air Fryer product specs

  • Material: Aluminium, Plastic 
  • Colour: Black
  • Capacity: 9.5 litres
  • Modes: Max Crisp, Roast, Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate and Air Fry
  • Weight: 8.8kg
  • Power: 2470W
  • Size: 32.5 x 41.5 x 27 cm (h x w x d)

Who tested this air fryer?

Molly Cleary
Molly Cleary

Molly is the Ecommerce Editor for Ideal Home and is always on the lookout for the next must-buy product for your home. Covering all things appliance related, with an emphasis on air fryers, she regularly heads to Future's Test Facility in Reading to thoroughly put products through their paces. 

She tested the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer in Reading alongside the Tower Vortx 9L Dual Basket Air Fryer with Vizion Windows and Smart Finish, the Tower Vortx 11L Dual Cavity Air Fryer with Vizion Windows and Smart Finish, and the  Vortx 9L Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer with Smart Finish. 

First impressions 

In the past, members of the Ideal Home team have tested and written extensively about the Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone, so we thought it was high time that we dedicated a full day to testing this air fryer out with a variety of different foods. We didn't unbox this model, as it's been residing at our test centre for some time already.

Coming in with fresh eyes to the Ninja Dual Zone, it's fair to say that while it takes up a considerable amount of space on a countertop, it's by far the nicest-to-look-at dual zone model we tested that day. 

Image of Ninja Dual Zone during testing at test centre

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

The Ninja favours a dial over a touchscreen system (like the Instant Vortex Dual Zone has), which makes operating it really simple. You're not restricted by the preset temperatures or timings either, as you can use the two sets of arrows to set your own cooking course. 

Each of the non-stick drawers are clearly labelled with a one and a two, to save you from getting confused when you're trying to replace them, and the dial lets you choose from the six functions available: that's Max Crisp, Air Fry, Roast, Reheat,  Dehydrate, and Bake if you need a reminder.

The other controls of note are the 'Sync' and 'Match' buttons, which is where the Ninja Dual Zone really comes into its own. The Sync function means that the two baskets will finish at the same time regardless of the timings or temperatures of the individual drawers, while Match means that whatever you apply to one basket will be auto-applied to the other, cutting down on programming time. 

Thankfully, that's it when it comes to controls, making simplicity a huge benefit of this air fryer. The haptics and sounds this appliance makes also won't grate on you unless you're very sensitive to machine noises.

Cooking Quorn nuggets and sweet potato fries 

The holy grail of air fryer food, the humble nuggets and chips combo was our first test with the mighty Ninja dual-zone air fryer. Straight out of the freezer, the nuggets were supposed to take 15 minutes in the oven, while the sweet potato fries should've taken 20.

I set the actual timings of both in the Ninja to 10 minutes and 15 minutes respectively instead, to test out efficiency, and used the 'Sync' setting so that they would be done at the same time to serve up. In practice, that meant that the drawer with the nuggets was held for five minutes before the cooking began. It's a pretty convenient setting, as it means you don't have to return to your air fryer to program it again or remember to chuck the nuggets in. 

Image of Ninja Dual Zone during testing at test centre

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

As you can see from the photos, the Ninja was so powerful that even after I'd shaved 25% off of the timings, the chips and nuggets were still somewhat overcooked. As well as being a reflection on my lax timekeeping, this goes to show just how powerful the Ninja is. 

This first test taught me it's wise to scale down by half and then check on the progress with the Ninja, as it works so quickly and with so much heat, that it's better to be safe than sorry.

Cooking fish and mediterranean veg 

A little more nutrition was on offer in our next test, a piece of frozen fish and frozen veg medley. These foods were an opportunity to test the Match function as they were both meant to take 20 minutes in the oven, but I scaled down by half and went for 10 minutes on Air Fry for both. 

Image of Ninja Dual Zone during testing at test centre

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

Once again, the Ninja proved just how powerful it was in this test. After just ten minutes, the fish was nicely done but the veg was potentially more well-done than would be desired. It's definitely a lesson to be vigilant with checking on cooking progress while you're still on the learning curve with this air fryer. 

The fact that you can't peer in on what is inside due to the lack of windows is what makes the Ninja a slightly less convenient buy for me than the Instant Dual Basket air fryer, but it's undeniable that the sheer power available with the Ninja is much higher. On the whole, though, this just goes to show just how worthwhile this air fryer is if you want to seriously cut down on cooking time and save on your energy bills.

Cooking fish fingers and bacon 

Image of fish figners and bacon in air fryer

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

Finally, we tested two more quick meal staples for good measure: fish fingers and bacon. This was another example of where the Sync function came into its own, with the bacon being set for eight minutes while the fish fingers needed 12. 

This was definitely the most successful test, mostly due to more vigilance on my part with checking on the progress of both baskets. To prevent curling, I'd also recommend turning the bacon over at least once if you're going to use the Ninja. 

Cleaning 

Once you do splash out on the Ninja, you're going to want to know how to clean it so keep it looking pristine. My top tips for this air fryer would be to separate the grill and the basket elements out and to clean them separately, and to invest in a Dish-o-matic to make the whole process a lot easier. 

Cleaning all of the dual-zone air fryers I was testing on this day was pretty similar, with both baskets needing a good scrub in the sink to get rid of grease and residue, especially as the last test in the series was cooking bacon.

Luckily, the baskets and grill element of the Ninja are also dishwasher safe if you can't stretch to the fuss of handwashing. There are loyal Ninja fans who say that the non-stick surface of the baskets can deteriorate with frequent dishwasher use, so it's up to how you proceed once you get your hands on one.

How does it compare to similar models?

Image of Ninja and Tower air fryers side by side on countertop

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

On the day of testing itself, it was plainly obvious that the Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone was by far the superior appliance. It was the nicest to program, while some of the Tower models had oppressive beeps and stiff drawers and it had by far the best cooking ability. It was the fastest and achieved an incredible crisp on nuggets and fish fingers, with the quality of the machine itself also being standout. 

The other point of comparison is, of course, the price of the Ninja comparably. This bigger model, the 9.5L has an RRP of £229.99 but has been very difficult to find at that price in recent months due to overwhelming demand. Resale prices from third parties can often reach over double. 

The Tower air fryers we tested that day had a lower initial RRP (ranging from £159.99 to £149.99) and are often discounted in sales periods, or else you can nab a deal using our Ninja Kitchen discount codes.

Should you buy the Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone?

If you can find the Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone in stock and it's within your budget, there's no doubt in my mind that you should invest in this air fryer. It's unbelievably speedy at cooking a whole range of foods, has so many functions to make use of, and is well-made, meaning it's built to last. 

If you're cooking for a family or you love to experiment with different foods, this dual zone model is the way to go. However, if you're in a smaller household or on a tighter budget, the other Ninja superstar, the Ninja AF100UK is well worth your consideration too. 

About this review, and the reviewer 

Molly tested this air fryer at Future's test facility before writing this review, in accordance with Ideal Home's testing criteria. Ideal Home's Head of Reviews, Millie Fender has also had extensive experience with this air fryer in the past and has helped inform the view shared in this review. 

This air fryer was kindly sent to Future by Ninja, who have allowed us to keep hold of the product for long term testing so that this review can be updated in the future to see if it stands the test of time. 

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.