Tower's T17023 Compact Air Fryer is a small, fully enclosed air fryer intended for home use. It has a 2.2-litre capacity, which is definitely on the small side. If you were looking for a mini-deep fat fryer, this air fryer from Tower is a healthier and more versatile alternative. You can air fry foods, you can also replicate a grilling, roasting and even baking, there are a whole range of cooking methods to emulate and exceed.
Tower include a booklet which instructs you in the various methods, but most essential to know is the amount of oil one adds to the basket will determine what cook method is used. The air will circulate in the Tower air fryer no matter what, so it is the oil added that dictates the crispy outcome.
Tower makes a variety of air fryers, in many different sizes and styles. The T17023 is one of their closed system fryers. Other versions eschew the black casing for an open, glass bowl set up. The T17023 is ensconced in a shiny black plastic, it looks like a kitchen gadget, it works like a kitchen gadget, it would easily be confused with a coffee machine or a contrived toaster.
The key benefit of the Tower T17023 is its rapid air circulation system, known as the VORTX fry technology. Hot air rises, as we know from schoolroom physics, the Tower pushes this hot air down, creating a vortex, or VORTX as the marketing department thought the spelling was the correct way.
Amongst the other features are an analogue timer, which runs for 30 minutes. And that's pretty much it. Very simple, if a little too simple. If you want to dehydrate items in the Tower you will have to set your own timer - it is thankfully not essential to set the timer to start the cooking process.
The ventilation on the Tower T17023 is pretty good, although this could be due to the size of the machine. It doesn't take as much oil or fat to begin with, and when using without adding fat you only get a small breeze of hot air. Still, I prefer to use all air fryers in a well-ventilated environment, like under or close to the extraction fan above my hobs.
Thankfully the Tower is easy to clean. The basket is plastic but has a metal handle coated in that material found on the handles of pans. You can give it a strong wipe down, or put it in the dishwasher. The circular shape prevents too much build-up of gunk mid-fry.
Tower have a one year warranty as standard, which increases to two-years if you register your product with them. Their website also includes digital versions of manuals, and recipes to augment those provided with the air fryer itself.
The Tower isn't super powerful as far as air fryers go, despite being small the wattage, 1000W, is on the low side. Most air fryers aim to have around 1300-1500W. Chips are ready in ten minutes, meat dishes in fifteen and vegetables can be dehydrated for a few hours. This is still quicker than conventional ovens, but moderately slower than more powerful air fryers.
What this means in practice is that to get the same effect, crisping and browning, as another fryer, you'll likely need to use some cooking oil. Adding this via a spray or basting method increases the fat content in your food, something air frying traditionally tends to reduce.
Don't get us wrong, you're still drastically reducing the content compared to a deep-fried version, but it isn't great for strict dieters. Something similar, but with more power, might be preferable in this instance. We've compared a selection of acti-fryers and air fryers already within these pages.
This capacity of air fryer is not large enough to feed a family. If you're a couple or single person (read as single chef) you'll probably be satisfied with the capacity.
As far as the looks go, you can tell this is the cheapest that Tower have to offer, minimal curves and just-there ergonomics add to the overall bulky volume of the thing.
I wouldn't recommend the Tower T17023 for a family, if you're looking for an air fryer to feed the whole street you'd be better off with one of Tower's 12-litre models. However, if you're a singleton or a couple who want to reduce their energy bill and their fat intake, the Tower might be the right option.
What would make the Tower a superior version of itself is a longer timer, something which would permit care-free, overnight dehydration. This makes delicious, healthy snacks. All in all it's a good shot from Tower, who've been around for over a century, but it won't be big enough for many to use to their satisfaction.