The Tower T17026 is amongst the smallest of its kind. Compact is in the name and certainly in nature. The capacity is a mere 1.6 litres, yet the power is 1000W, this is on the low side for an air fryer, but given the small size, it packs a good amount of cooking power into the T17026.
Tower have been making kitchen equipment for over 100 years. They don't have the brand recognition of Phillips, Tefal or Salter, but are still a quality company in our eyes. You get a one year warranty period as standard, then two years more if you register within 28 days of purchase. Tower's line of air fryers range from budget to deluxe and small to large. The Tower T17026 fits comfortably into the small and budget category.
Out of the box the Tower looks like a regular piece of kitchen equipment, nothing too flashy or vulgar in its black and silver colour palette. The light-up LCD screen is a change from some of the other Tower air fryers, it will tell you how long is left on the timer and also what the current temperature is at.
The curved shape is nice, it fits alongside my mason jars of flours and seeds. Standing 36cm tall and 25cm in width and depth means it is comparable to a kettle in size or a toaster in countertop footprint.
Using the VORTX air circulation to air fry chips, chicken and vegetables gives a good flavour. I found the size to be a bit on the small side if cooking for more than two. This is definitely not a family-sized air fryer, more suitable for a single person or couple with petite appetites.
The basket is circular shaped, making it easy to clean, those with rectangular or square-shaped baskets tend to accumulate crispy edges and little bits more easily. The basket is also dishwasher safe, so you can pop it right in. This is where the size becomes a positive thing, as you can squeeze it in alongside other pots and pans.
To air fry something, you add a little oil to the food in the basket. Other manufacturers provide accessories like spray bottles or basting brushes, but Tower offer no such features. The non-stick coating is a bit of a godsend, because the Tower has no shake reminder timer or alert system, so if you forget about the chips they could get a little crispy.
Cooking with the Tower T17026 is simple and easy, the thing works straight out of the box with minimal setup time or construction. Tower provide a manual and there are some recipes in there, but the internet as a whole has proven to be a greater source of inspiration for cakes and dehydration ideas.
Aside from the size which is a natural part of the model, the Tower lacks a timer with a lengthy duration. The one fitted only lasts for 30 minutes, this is standard amongst Tower's budget versions of their air fryers. There are also no preset cooking options on the Tower, so for baking or for chicken recipes you'll have to figure it out yourself; with a little help from the manual and the internet.
If you're seeking an air fryer to use as a food dehydrator, this could be annoying. You can run the Tower without a timer, but you'll have to remember to set some other timer as dehydration can take up to twelve hours.
What isn't a downside is that running an air fryer for that amount of time is far cheaper than running a conventional oven for the same purpose. 1000W is a minuscule draw on power and will provide you with up to 800g of dehydrated snacks for little to no cost, around £2 if you work in Pounds Sterling. Compare that with the bougie snacks in the supermarket and see how much you could save, or even begin to enjoy.
If you're looking for a small and compact air fryer, the Tower T17026 is certainly a good pick. But do think about if you're ever going to want to cook for more than just you on your lonesome. Tower offer some very similar, but slightly larger versions of their T Series, which you might be minded to check out.
Looking at its cooking abilities, the Tower has the capacity to air fry, grill, roast and bake with the best of them. But everything is just going to be that little bit smaller. Not one for the record books, but a good purchase nonetheless.