An Honest Review of The PowerXL Air Fryer Grill
When you're investing in a new kitchen appliance, there's usually a lot to consider. You may want something that takes up minimal counter space. Or you might want a product that performs multiple functions. Maybe you're trying to cook more complex dishes, or looking for appliances that save time. Ultimately, you want your kitchen tools to be functional and helpful, allowing you to cook with ease. But with so many different appliances to choose from, how do you know which ones will meet your needs?
When my original convection oven was on the fritz, I knew it was time to consider a new oven-type appliance. I've also always wanted an air fryer, so I decided I'd get an air fryer/convection oven duo rather than buying two separate appliances. After some research, I purchased the PowerXL Air Fryer Grill.
What is the PowerXL Air Fryer Grill?
This air fryer/grill combo is an 8-in-1 tool. It consists of eight functions: air fry, air fry/grill, grill, broil, bake, toast/bagel, reheat, and pizza. This model doesn't include a rotisserie feature, but there is a version that offers that too. It really seemed like a tool that would do it all. (I mean, a pizza function?!) Also, the fact that it offers the features of my old convection oven plus air-frying capabilities made me think it was exactly what I was looking for.
My PowerXL Air Fryer Grill came with a bunch of accessories, including a nonstick grill grate, two crisper trays, a baking pan, a drip tray, and an oven/pizza rack, along with a cookbook to help get me started. (I didn't spring for the deluxe option, but that one also comes with an egg/muffin tray and a nonstick griddle plate.)
There are three knobs on the unit that control various functions. The first allows you to adjust your temperature (up to 450 degrees), the second knob is for your cooking function, and the third knob is the timer, which can be programmed to cook for up to 120 minutes. (For anything longer than that, you'll need to skip the built-in timer and use a separate kitchen timer.)
The fact that it has all these capabilities in one appliance makes it stand out, particularly because of its relatively small size—at 12.5" x 10," it's about the size of a standard toaster oven.
Based on all of the above, I was confident it was going to be convenient and easy to operate. But after several uses, my experience of cooking with this tool has been a little disappointing. Read on for my review of the PowerXL Air Fryer Grill.
The Pros and Cons of The PowerXL Air Fryer Grill
The price tag
If you're looking for value, you've found it: the model I have is currently available for around $129 on Amazon. That's a good price for a multi-functional kitchen appliance that helps you eliminate the need for multiple appliances, not to mention all the accessories that come with it. But there's some truth to the fact that you get what you pay for, and depending on your needs, it might be worth paying a little extra for a higher-end appliance if you can afford to make the investment.
The versatility of this appliance definitely makes it appealing to those who don't know how to cook or don't have the time. But once I started using my PowerXL, I got the sense that each function isn't as powerful as it should be, leading me to wonder whether I'd have been better off buying separate appliances after all.
I wanted an air fryer to make cooking easier, and because it can simulate deep-frying using significantly less oil. This air fryer oven tries its best to meet the crispiness of a regular air fryer, but I found that it doesn't cook evenly when you're air frying. It seemed as though the back of the mesh fry basket might burn or really crisp some of the food, while the food in the front is still trying to cook.
For example, I tried air frying cauliflower gnocchi. The directions on the bag told me to coat the gnocchi in olive oil and then place it in the air fryer basket (or the crisper tray) in a single layer, heat the appliance to 400 degrees, and cook the gnocchi for 13-15 minutes, mixing halfway through. That's exactly what I did.
Lo and behold, my gnocchi was golden brown…on some sides. The other sides? Well, they were either more dried out or just starting to crisp. I still ate it, but each gnocchi piece had an uneven texture. Some pieces were dry, others were mushy, and some had a nice crisp. Even when I took bites of the same piece, I felt like my mouth was adjusting to all the different textures. I will say the flavors were there, but that didn't compensate for the uneven cooking.
Is it possible that human error was to blame? Absolutely. Maybe I misread the gnocchi instructions. However, in subsequent attempts to cook different foods, I had the same experience. The PowerXL air fryer function simply did not cook evenly.
When I tried to use the PowerXL Air Fryer Grill for baking, I ran into a similar problem.
I tried easy-to-bake cheddar biscuits inside the air fryer grill, and baked them according to the box directions. As with the gnocchi, the final product was tasty. But the biscuits were dry on the outside and undercooked on the inside. And the cheese on top was straight-up burned.
I've since tried biscuits, croissants, and even garlic bread, and each time, the outside was overcooked but the inside was too doughy.
As for that fancy pizza function? I tried to reheat some and—you guessed it!—the crust came out burned, while the middle of the pizza was cold.
It's worth noting that there are multiple rack slots in the air fryer grill, but I did not attempt to cook more than one food at a time, because I was concerned that if I did, nothing would come out properly cooked (especially if the foods require different timing, heat, and/or function).
Is The PowerXL Air Fryer Grill Worth It?
Overall, does the PowerXL Air Fryer Grill get the job done? Yes, technically. Does it get the job done the way I was hoping it would? No.
I've tried different temperatures and functions; I've tried flipping the foods over while cooking them. Nothing seemed to help. There's only one dish I've been able to perfect using this device, and that's a cheese quesadilla on the broil setting. It comes out crispy in the right places, while the cheese gets gooey, and nothing overcooks because it takes about five minutes.
If you're trying to choose between an air fryer and a convection oven, my recommendation after using the PowerXL Air Fryer Grill would be to try a different model or go with two separate appliances. Although you won't get the benefits of multiple functions, you will get the benefit of fully cooked food.
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