Dash Compact Air Fryer review

Best for small families

Dash Compact Air Fryer review
(Image: © Dash)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Dash Compact Air Fryer is the best air fryer for small households. Despite its compact size, it’s still a strong performer.


  • +


  • +

    Compact size

  • +

    Baskets are dishwasher safe

  • +

    Available in a range of colors

  • +

    Great for chicken wings


  • -

    Can’t fit a whole chicken

  • -

    Hot exterior

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Dash Compact Air Fryer: Specs

Size: 8.1 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches
Capacity: 2 quarts
Controls: Analog
Modes: AirFry
Smart features: None

Small families don’t have to buy a huge appliance to get crispy foods. Not only is the Dash Compact Air Fryer smaller than most, it’s also very reasonably priced. With two dials for control, it couldn’t be easier to use and the basket can be cleaned in the dishwasher where it won’t monopolize too much shelf space. It comes in a range of colors as well so you can fit it in with your kitchen theme. 

Be mindful that its compact size means it can’t fit a whole chicken though. As you will see in our Dash Compact Air Fryer review, it’s one of the best you can buy if you prefer to air fry smaller portions. 

Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Price and availability

The Dash Compact Air Fryer is available at Amazon for $49.99 in black, white, gray, red, and aqua and at Target for $49.99 in red and aqua.

Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Design

With its cylindrical shape and glossy finish, the Dash Compact Air Fryer has quite a sweet appearance.

Dash Compact Air Fryer review

(Image credit: Dash)

Like all air fryers, the basket handle protrudes from its front. Its control panel consists of two dials, one on top to set the temperature and another on the front to set the timer. On your countertop, it will take up about the same amount of space as a coffee maker, measuring just 8.1 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches.

Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Cooking performance

On our tests, the Dash Compact Air Fryer scored full marks for chicken wings, which is where it excelled. It also scored adequately for Brussels sprouts, frozen French fries and breaded chicken, although results were not as crispy as some larger models. It fell down on cooking scratch French fries though, which were not as crisp or moist as others we’d seen. 

Dash Compact Air Fryer review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Dash suggests preheating for three minutes before air frying. There’s no preheat setting; you simply set your desired temperature and then the timer to heat the oven before you add your food. Once you add your food to the basket, you simply reset the timer.

Like other manufacturers, Dash says that the air fryer’s capacity is the amount the basket can hold, which in this case is 2 quarts. However, one pound is the maximum we’d recommend cooking at once if you want even results. The diameter of the basket is just 6.25 inches, which definitely doesn’t give you enough room to make fried chicken for more than 2 people at a time, especially as you get better crisping if you leave some room between the pieces for air to circulate.

In the Dash, food needed more time to cook than it did in other models considering its size, and for the most part, it didn’t brown and crisp evenly. This meant that we had to stop and shake more than once during cooking to get good results. Brussels sprouts, frozen fries, and breaded chicken came out moist and tender, but not quite as crispy as from bigger models. The Dash really excelled at cooking chicken wings though, which came out browned and crispy as well as moist and juicy in 25 minutes. In spite of an extended cooking time of 24 minutes, homemade French fries never came close to the taste and texture of the deep-fried kind. This is where the compact air fryer lost most of its marks.

A whole chicken would not fit in this oven and no mention is made of cooking one in the manual. Only one hamburger fit in the bottom of the Dash. It came out browned and juicy, but took 23 minutes to cook, whereas most air fryers needed 10 to 13 minutes.

Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Ease of use and cleaning

It couldn’t be simpler or more obvious to set the two dials for time and temperature. However, because they’re not digital, they are hard to set precisely. There is a 400°F setting, but the other temperature settings are 320°F, 250°F, and 170°F which are not commonly called-for temps and there’s no 350°F which is the other temp you’re most likely to use. It’s easy to pull the basket out of the unit and replace it; a small removable rack on which food is placed sits in the basket. 

As it cooks, the bottom of the Dash gets quite hot to the touch, with the lower front-side reaching a temperature of over 143°F. Even though the handle and the dials remain at room temperature, you do have to be careful when working with the Dash because of this. The air fryer has a sound rating of 60.6 dBA, which we were surprised by considering its size. This is louder than the average reading we got for full-size air fryers. It’s roughly the same volume as the level of conversation in the kitchen.

The basket and its rack have a nonstick coating and are safe for dishwasher cleaning.

The manual is easy to read and understand. It contains a short cooking chart and a small selection of enticing recipes.

Dash Compact Air Fryer review: Verdict

Small families will be happy with the space-saving Dash Compact Air Fryer. It doesn’t brown and crisp as well or as quickly as larger models, but with some trial and error, it gives good results. It’s one to buy if you love chicken wings though — we can’t deny its performance there.

You can’t find an easier to use or less complicated model on the marketplace. Plus, not only is the Dash compact, it’s lightweight at 5.6 pounds, so it’s easy to store if you don’t use it all the time. But for those short on counter space, this is the model to get.

Sharon Franke

Sharon Franke is a journalist who specializes in testing and writing about kitchen equipment. A thirty-year veteran of the Good Housekeeping Institute, Sharon also worked as a professional chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. In her free time, she is an avid home cook who is in the process of mastering the art of baking sour dough bread.