To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer review: A brilliant sub-£100 fryer

Our Rating :
£59.99 from
Price when reviewed : £75
inc. VAT

Impressive performance, ample capacity and a keen price see the Tower Vortx 5L Digital emerge as a straightforward winner


  • Compact but capacious
  • Great value
  • Impressive performance


  • No extra features or functions
  • Styling is a tad pedestrian

The Tower Vortx 5L Digital is a solid, affordable air fryer from reliable British kitchen and homeware specialists Tower. Offering users an invitingly large 5L capacity and a sensible, straightforward design, this is a cut-price air fryer which delivers air frying efficiency at a price which won’t break the bank. 

While cheaper options were few and far between when this appliance category first launched in the UK, the options for capable, budget-friendly air fryers have expanded in recent years, and models such as the Vortx 5L Digital are leading the way. The only thing that remains to be seen is how it stands up to our range of air frying tests.

Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer review: What do you get for the money?

Retailing at £75 direct, the Vortx 5L Digital fits snugly into the budget air fryer category and can often be picked up even cheaper if you manage to snag it on a sale. It’s a single-drawer air fryer with a 5L capacity, measuring 27 x 33 x 32cm (WDH) and weighing 4.9kg. In the box, you get the air fryer itself, as well as a removable non-stick crisper plate and an instruction booklet.

The exterior of the Vortx 5L Digital is made from hard black plastic and houses the appliance’s control panel, which consists of an LED display and a number of touch screen buttons. With these buttons you can adjust the cooking temperature to between 50ºC and 200ºC, set it to operate for up to 60 mins, and select from a number of presets for common items such chips, fish, steak, chicken, vegetables and more.

Neatly balancing capacity, performance and price, the Vortx 5L is hard to beat for general value. However, there are notable options on either side of it in terms of price. On the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Tower T17023 2.2l Air Fryer (£30) is a compact, straightforward air fryer that will get the job done if you’re looking to cook for one or make small portions of sides – though at this price point, don’t expect any bells or whistles.

READ NEXT: The best air fryers you can buy

In terms of more expensive options, the Ninja AF160UK (£170) is slightly more capacious and has extra settings for roasting, dehydrating and reheating. The AF160UK also has its unique Max Crisp function, which is designed to be used on thinner, frozen foods and allows the air fryer to boost its cooking temperature up to 240°C. 

If you want to maximise the power and versatility of your countertop cooker, our most highly recommended air fryer is the Instant Vortex Plus (£150). The Vortex Plus boasts two 3.8l cooking drawers, clear viewing windows, internal lights, a max cooking temperature of 205°C, plus settings for roasting, grilling, baking and more. Also of note are its handy Sync Finish and Sync Cook features: Sync Finish ensures both drawers finish in unison, regardless of temperature or cook time, while Sync Cook mirrors the settings on both drawers, for when you want to cook two portions of the same thing.

Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer review: What’s good about it?

Upon first inspection, the first thing that jumped out to me about the Vortx 5L was its dainty footprint. Where some air fryers are squat, wide or awkwardly rounded, this Tower air fryer is squared off and tall, giving it a more modest countertop footprint. In fact, it doesn’t take up significantly more room than its lower-capacity sibling, the Tower T17023 2.2L. As someone who operates out of a kitchen that’s on the smaller side, that’s a big plus point for me.

While it doesn’t take up that much more space, the Vortx Digital certainly has a much roomier interior than the T17023. Its 5L capacity trumps that of many single-basket air fryers, giving you enough space to cook hearty portions of sides for multiple people, or several main items, with room for about 5-7 small chicken breasts. Other things I noted during setup were its solid-feeling crisper plate, an accessory where many budget models cut corners, and its easy-to-use digital touch controls. These controls allow you to access the air fryer’s range of preset cooking options for items like steak, vegetables, drumsticks etc., as well as its time and temperature controls and handy preheat setting.

Out the gate, the Vortx 5L proved to be a very solid performer. Oven standards like frozen chips, spring rolls and hash browns turned out beautifully crispy and golden. A batch of halloumi fries particularly impressed: put on at a lower temperature and for less time than the packaging suggested for oven cooking, they still turned out crisp and perfectly coloured. Meaty mains ranging from chicken breast to bacon turned out nicely browned and juicy. Rounding out my tests, I tried some vegetables. Some honey-glazed carrots chopped lengthwise took about 18 minutes at 200°C, darkening nicely at the edges while remaining tender inside.

Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer review: What could be better?

The Vortx 5L Digital doesn’t offer any extra features, functions or design touches of note. Models like the Instant Vortex Plus (£150), with its dual drawers, clear viewing windows and handy sync features, or the Ninja AF160UK (£170), with its Max Crisp mode, both offer something a little more than the usual, helping justify their place on your countertop.

The final criticisms are mostly superficial. The Vortx’s solid, plastic casing isn’t quite as robust or handsome as what you’ll get with more premium models, which offer things like stainless steel trims, physical dials and weightier, more high quality components.

READ NEXT: The best air fryers for two people

Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer review: Should you buy it?

The Tower Vortx 5L Digital holds its own against pricier models, taking up minimal worktop space while providing ample cooking capacity and easy-to-use controls. Crucially, it produces consistently impressive results on everything from frozen snacks to glazed vegetables and chicken breasts. At this price, it’s simply fantastic value.

Read more