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Tower Vortx Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer (T17099) review: An air fryer with good looks and great results

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £160
inc VAT

Another competent air fryer from Tower with dual-basket cooking


  • Good dual capacity
  • Decent results when compared to oven cooking
  • Easy to clean


  • Build quality nothing to shout about
  • Confusing instructions

The Vortx Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer is one of three new additions to the brand’s already extensive air fryer range, which now stands at a whopping 21 in total. All three of the latest models are dual-sided air fryers, with compartments that work completely independently of each other.

This particular model has one large 5.2L basket and one 3.3L basket for smaller portions. It has six preset functions for a variety of common meals, allowing you to start the cooking process in just a couple of taps, as well as manual settings for time and temperature. Add an affordable, mid-range price point into the mix and you’ve got a decent all-rounder.

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Tower Vortx Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer review: What do you get for the money?

The Vortx Duo is a dual-capacity basket air fryer, with an 8.5L capacity split over two baskets. In real terms, this means it can cater for up to four people, depending on the meal. In the box, you’ll also find two “grill plates”, which simply slot into the baskets and act as a rack for any items that won’t cook so well in the basket – chicken breasts or burgers, for example. You can position the grill plates at any height within the basket, allowing you to create a double layer, so you can cook both on top of the plate and underneath it.

There’s a responsive touchscreen up front and this gives control over all aspects of cooking. You can use it to choose from eight cooking presets that automatically select the time and temperature for you; these include options for chips, steak, chicken, sausage, drumsticks, prawns, pie and cake. Alternatively, you can do things manually by selecting a temperature between 80ºC and 200ºC, and a cooking time of up to 60 minutes.

It is rather large and heavy, measuring 42 x 36 x 31cm (WDH) and weighing 8kg, but its plastic and stainless steel finish looks pretty stylish and it received quite a few compliments from friends and family during testing.

It’s similar in size and price to Tower’s other newer models (the £160 9L Vortx Vizion and the £150 9L Vortx Dual Basket) but is smarter-looking than both, in my opinion. The main differences lie in their basket configuration and overall design because, under the skin, they’re essentially the same device. Both have twin 4.5L baskets and all-black plastic bodies, with the Vizion benefitting from clear windows that allow you to see your food as it’s cooking.

They also both have ten preset functions, rather than the Duo’s eight. Ultimately, though, the differences are minimal, so which one better suits your needs will simply come down to style and whether you prefer two equal sized baskets or one big and one small.

Alternatively, if you’re willing to up your budget a little, you might also want to consider the Ninja 7.5L Dual Zone air fryer (£199). This comes with two baskets that work independently or together, and has six functions for things such as air frying, roasting and dehydrating.

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Tower Vortx Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer review: What’s good about it?

What sets this air fryer apart is its asymmetric basket configuration. The bigger basket offers a more generous capacity than if they were split equally, making it ideal for larger items or bigger portions. The smaller basket is useful if you’re making a meal for one and don’t need to use the entire air fryer.

The benefit of this is that it’s both speedier to clean and saves energy. In testing using a power meter, the smaller 3.3L basket used a mere 0.38kw/h compared to 0.79kw/h heating both baskets for an hour at 200ºC – that’s an energy saving of almost 50%.

They’re also completely independent compartments, which makes it easy to keep different elements of your meal separate. For example, if you wanted to cook your fish and vegetables in the same fryer, you could set one basket going and then add the rest of your meal to the second basket at a later time. The flipside of this, though, is that there’s no option to link the baskets together, so you’ll have to set each section individually, even if you plan on cooking the same thing in both.

In testing, I found the Vortx’s cooking results to be excellent. Not only were cooking times speedy, my food was cooked through and evenly browned. In a mere 13 minutes, the air fryer produced two juicy, evenly cooked chicken breasts – when slightly flattened to an even size. Similarly, 500g of homemade chips (cut and parboiled) came out well cooked and crispy using the “fries” preset, which takes 20 mins at 200ºC with no preheating required. I saw the best results when I shook the basket a couple of times during cooking, as this allowed every bit of surface area the chance to brown.

Another thing I like about the Vortx Duo is that it is very easy to clean. The non-stick coating means most foods just slide right out and any residue left over requires minimal elbow grease to remove. The grill plates are dishwasher safe, and although you need to clean the baskets by hand, they’re easy to get clean.

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Tower Vortx Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer review: What could be better?

While the performance is impressive, I wasn’t quite as impressed with the build quality; it feels a tad flimsy in places. In particular, the stainless steel sections of the body are very thin and I was concerned about them picking up dings and dents. The plastic handles don’t feel as good as they look, either, and I have some concerns about their longevity.

Another, smaller, issue surrounds the learning curve. If you’re new to air frying, you might not find this model particularly intuitive to use; there are a lot of symbols and quirks to get your head around. Unfortunately, this isn’t helped by slightly confusing instructions. While all of the information you need is there, the layout isn’t very logical, which contributes to making the Vortx Duo more difficult to use from the get-go than it should be.

Once you’ve got the knack, it’s fine, but the instructions and fryer itself could do with some improvements.

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Tower Vortx Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer review: Should you buy it?

Despite these niggles, there’s not much else here I can criticise. Once you’ve got your head around the instructions, it’s straightforward enough to use and, while it’s annoying there’s no one button to set both baskets going collectively, this isn’t the end of the world.

I was seriously impressed with the results from the Vortx Duo. However, if you can afford to bump your budget a little higher and don’t mind sacrificing some capacity or those grill plates, the 7.6L Ninja Foodi Dual Zone remains my preferred choice. The results aren’t that much different but the design and build quality is a little better and it generally feels a bit nicer to use.

Saying that, if your budget is set and you’re on the hunt for a dual basket air fryer that’s good-looking, easy to clean and can cook a variety of things quickly and easily, then you could do a lot worse than the Vortx Duo Capacity Basket Air Fryer.

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