Size: 11 x 13 x 13 inches
Capacity: 5.8 quarts
Weight: 15 pounds
Modes: Sear, 100 Presets, Grill, Warm
Smart features: None
If you want more control over the cooking process, then you’ll love the NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer. In addition to 100 preset programs, it offers multi-stage cooking, has a sear function, comes with a probe for cooking to exact temperatures and a basket divider for cooking two things at once. However, all this functionality makes it rather complicated to operate.
If you read our full NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer review, you will see the strengths and weaknesses behind this design and how it performed when air frying some everyday recipes.
NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer: Price and availability
NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer: Design
The NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer is a large boxy appliance. The control panel is on top of the machine which is angled downwards to make it accessible. The buttons for the various functions are large and well marked. On the top, some programs are listed for guidance, which makes it look cluttered as there’s 20 of them. Because of its size, measuring 11 x 13 x 13 inches, and weight of 15 pounds, it’s not easy to move this appliance around if you don’t want to give it a permanent home on your countertop.
NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer: Cooking performance
During our tests, the NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer scored relatively well across the board, especially for air frying Brussels sprouts, for which it achieved top marks. We have seen better browning and crisping from other models, but the results were very tender and moist. It fell down somewhat on its performance with the chicken wings it produced, which again weren’t very browned or crisped. However, it roasted a chicken well, achieving full marks for this.
It is complicated to program the NuWave because it has so many functions. Before you even begin cooking, you need to read the manual carefully and then keep it nearby for reference. For pre-programmed cooking, there’s a button labeled “Program”; once you select it, you enter a number from 1-100 for the various presets. Twenty are listed on the machine itself, but you need to refer to the laminated Quickstart Guide that comes with the air fryer for the other 80. You can also create up to 50 presets, assign them numbers, and save them into memory. Another option is to program the oven for multi-stage cooking, which means it will automatically switch from one temperature to another. When you are cooking something like chicken or steak that you want cooked to a specific temperature, you can use the probe.
Once you do set it to cook, the NuWave immediately goes into a preheat function. Conveniently, after the preheat period, it gives you 5 minutes to add your food before it begins to cook. You can cancel the preheat setting which comes in handy if food needs extra time — meaning you can get straight to cooking without preheating.
Although the basket has a 6-quart capacity, the manufacturer suggests not filling it more than 4/5th full, but we suggest cooking no more than one pound of food or as much as can fit on the bottom of the basket in one layer. For best results, halfway through cooking it’s recommended that you shake or turn over your food; the NuWave beeps three times to alert you to rearrange your food.
The NuWave did an excellent job of air frying Brussels sprouts, scoring full marks for this. Breaded chicken cutlets, frozen and made-from-scratch French fries came out somewhat unevenly browned and crisped, but did stay tender and moist. The only real disappointment was chicken wings, which barely browned and crisped in the 20 minutes it took them to cook through.
Using the temperature probe, we roasted a whole chicken, which cooked to a perfect doneness and came out with a crackling skin on the top and sides in just 55 minutes. As we rarely find that roast chickens brown on the bottom unless they are turned during cooking, we were more than satisfied with this result.
In the NuWave, we cooked four 4-ounce hamburgers. After preheating, they cooked in 13 minutes. In spite of the grill function on this air fryer, they appeared broiled rather than grilled; they were juicy and browned, but didn’t have the deep crusty browning that a grill or even a skillet imparts to burgers.
NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer: Ease of use and cleaning
While the buttons on the control panel are easy to read and press, programming this air fryer is complicated. There is an inner and outer basket that you can easily pull out of the unit and replace. When you want to separate them for cleaning, you simply press a button.
Most of the exterior surfaces, including the handle and panel, stay cool enough that they can be touched without causing a burn, but the bottom of the front reached a temperature of 151.7°F in operation. As it air fries, this appliance has a dBA reading of 63.4, which is louder than the average air fryer — about the equivalent to a room air conditioner.
Both the exterior and the interior baskets are coated with a nonstick finish and can be cleaned on the top rack of the dishwasher. The stainless steel grid on the bottom of the basket can collect gunk and can be difficult to clean however.
With this air fryer you get a very detailed use and care manual as well as a laminated Quickstart Guide that includes extensive cooking charts and codes for the presets. Nuwave also provides a soft-cover cookbook with 40 recipes. You can also download the NuWave Cooking Club app to see the recipes.
NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer: Verdict
The NuWave Brio 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer does a good job of air frying, with the exception of chicken wings. It offers a lot of preset programs as well as many options for customizing your own cooking preferences. However, so many choices could be overwhelming and confusing for some. It’s necessary to refer to the manual often to figure out how to take advantage of the various programming choices. Some cooks will like the versatility while others will just find this product too complicated to use.
Compared to the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro, which also comes with a lot of functions, the results were very similar, although NuWave’s model scored better for made from scratch and frozen French fries. Breville’s air fryer was better at producing breaded chicken, however NuWave was much easier to clean and the exterior didn’t grow as hot. The NuWave is not a bad price either, considering the versatility it offers.