Buying Guide

Ninja Foodi vs Instant Vortex: Which Air Fryer is Better?

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I’ve become hooked to the air fryer craze like most people, but I’ll be honest, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. You’re not alone and this is exactly where you need to be. In this in-depth article, I’ll compare the Ninja Foodi and the Instant Vortex Plus, two of the most reviewed air fryers. I’ll give you my well researched take on which is best by going beyond the cool names,  and overhyped reviews.

You’ll learn:

  • How they both perform during food tests.
  • The differences in design, functions and ease of use.
  • What I like and dislike about them.

I’ll also compare their prices, capacity, warranty and much more so keep reading to get the full details.

Why should you trust us?

We spend days, weeks and sometimes months testing each product we review. We understand that consumers deserve to know everything about a product before deciding to purchase it or not. We connect with industry experts and manufacturer’s and best of all, we test the products ourselves.

Aside from being a home cook myself, I’ve spent more than 290 hours testing kitchen appliances.  Specifically for these two air fryers, I’ve tried a variety of food items and not just for eating them after. Here’s a quick comparison chart of Instant Vortex Plus vs Ninja Foodi.

Comparison Chart

Model

Instant Vortex Plus

Ninja Foodi

Brand

Instant Pot

Shark Ninja

Capacity

6 Quartz

6.5 Quartz

Item Weight

15.72 LBS

27.68 LBS

Color

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

Founded

2010

1993

Where It’s Made

China

China

Voltage

120 Volts

110 Volts

Wattage

1500 watts

1460 watts

Dishwasher Safe

Yes

Yes

Functions

6

10

Non-stick Coating

Yes

Yes

Dimensions

‎14.92 x 12.36 x 12.83 inches

14.2 x 16.8 x 13.1 inches

Ninja OS301 Foodi 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer

Specifications :

  • Brand: Ninja
  • Model name: OS301 Foodi 10-in-1
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 6.5 Liters
  • Item Dimensions 13.58 x 13.58 x 12.99 inches
  • Weight : 27.68 Pounds

Check Price on Amazon

Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer

Specifications :

  • Model Name: Vortex
  • Brand: Instant Pot
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Item weight: 12.08 Pounds
  • Color: Black

Check Price on Amazon

How we tested both air fryers. 

I did a handful of cooking tests with different varieties of food including vegetables, frozen fries, white sandwich bread and of course, chicken wings. This was to test both the performance and ease of use of the air fryers. I’ll go through my findings below!

Naturally, I did the wings first because I got to eat them right after.

Chicken Wings

First, I preheated the Vortex per the instructions in the manual but the Ninja Foodi didn’t need to be preheated. I seasoned the chicken wings and brushed them with a little oil. Then, I put them in each air fryer basket and cooked them for 10 minutes on each side.

I compared the results and the wings were cooked thoroughly in both models but there was definitely a much better crisp with the wings from the Ninja Foodi. I think because it had a little more room inside, the wings were able to cook faster and more evenly.

White Sandwich Bread

I conducted this cooking test by placing 4 slices of white sandwich bread in each model. Using the bake function, I toasted and the  compared the results. The bread from both had been browned nicely, although another minute would have made them too crisp and dry. I also didn’t turn the bread to be toasted on both sides.

Frozen Fries

I like my fries done the old fashioned way, deep fried in lots of oil. That being said, the fries had a slightly better texture from the Ninja Foodi. I was a bit worried that the fries in the center wouldn’t get the same crisp as the others so I tossed them around about 5 minutes into the cooking time. The fries tasted great and I couldn’t tell the difference from deep fried fries – minus the shocking amount of oil I didn’t use.

Vegetables

Finally, I tried a handful of vegetables. Because zucchini, eggplant and carrots are high in water content, I cut them into 1 inch cubes so they wouldn’t get mushy. I was sorely disappointed that the Instant Vortex Plus didn’t have a function specific to vegetables. The Ninja Foodie has a sauté/steam function that made the veggies cook perfectly.

The bake function on the Vortex with the same temperature and timing made worked out almost the same. It would have been nice to have a function specific to delicate foods.

Key Differences

Design

Both air fryers are easy on the eyes with their shiny, stainless steel colour. Both have dishwasher safe baskets and non-stick coating so that made them easy to clean overall. The Vortex Plus boasts a distinctive air fryer appearance, with a stainless-steel trim wrapped around a high-gloss black body. The bottom of the appliance is made up of a deep drawer with a massive vertical handle, while the top is made up of a slanting touchscreen with a silver scroll control dial.

The Ninja Foodie has an awkward shape with two side handles and a non-removable lid. It has a similar glossy finish as the Vortex. It comes with a nesting broil rack for broiling meats and a Cook and Crisp plate for steaming vegetables and making food extra crispy. I much prefer the pull out basket that the Vortex has versus having to lift the Foodi basket.

Ninja foodi air fryer:

 

Instant vortex air fryer:

 

Company History

SharkNinja was first known as Euro-Pro back in 1994 when the company was originally founded by Mark Rosenweig and his parents. The name really represents two parts of the company. Shark produces household cleaning appliances which is what the company started with and then in 2015 they expanded into the Ninja kitchen appliances.

There are five air fryers in the Ninja Foodi collection, varying in size, functions and design. SharkNinja made its mark in the industry by having the air fry function that Instant Pot had not mastered when they just started out.

Instant Pot, a leading brand in housewares that has attracted a cult following since 2010, was founded by Robert Wang. He and former colleagues spent 18 months perfecting their design of the first Instant Pot.

The original Instant Pot was created to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice or porridge cooker, yogurt maker, sauté/searing pan, steamer, and food warmer. It was a huge success and several models have been added since then.

Where It Is Made

Both models are manufactured in China, a leading hub for making kitchen appliances.

 Collections

Here’s a list of all the models of the Instant Pot. The number of functions vary by the model.

10-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker

 7-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker

11-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker and air fryer

7-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker

9-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker

 multi-use programmable pressure cooker with control over WiFi

10-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker

 6-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker

15psi pressure cooker

10-in-1 multi-use programmable slow cooker

10-in-1 multi-use programmable slow cooker

8-in-1 multicooker

‎9-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker

There are five models in the Ninja Foodi air fryer collection.

Capacity

The capacity of both these air fryers are truly impressive. Both can handle multiple cooking processes at once and are among the biggest on the market.

The Ninja Foodi has a larger cooking capacity with a 6.5 quart basket that can fit a 6-pound chicken. Whether it’s fish, fries, vegetables or a whole cake, the Ninja Foodi won’t disappoint when it comes to capacity.

While the Vortex Plus has a smaller interior, the wide, shallow pan of the Instant Vortex makes for even cooking/crisping. I’m happy with the overall capacity because I fit an 8-inch baking tray in and had no issues.

The only drawback with the capacity is that these kitchen beasts do take up a lot of counter space. That isn’t so bad when you think of the multi-functions of each model. I would happily box away my crockpot and toaster oven to make space if I needed to.

Controls

When it comes to controls, one model really outshines the other. The Instant Vortex Plus has easy to use buttons and a time and temperature dial but there are limitations I don’t like. You can only grill for 40 minutes and dehydrate for 72 hours. I can’t begin to understand why, but there is no touchscreen power button. I had to switch the appliance on and off and the power point to try the various cooking tests. The touchscreen is very glossy so I had to regularly wipe off my fingerprints.

The Ninja Foodi’s intuitive and user friendly control panel has all you need. It has the start, stop and power buttons on the touch screen. It has pre-sets but you can also choose your cooking time, which is great.

Cleaning

I found the Ninja Foodie the easiest of the two to clean. All its removable components are dishwasher safe including the basket and inner pot. The air fryer lid can’t be removed and it was a pain to clean. You’ll need a flexible brush to clean between the actual lid and the grate. It saddens me to say that it’s always going to be the messiest lid and the most used. I used soap, warm water and a non-abrasive sponge and it cleaned right up.

Vortex Plus’s user’s manual stated not to immerse it in water so I washed the basket with dish soap and a sponge. One drawback I experienced was removing the cooking tray. There’s nothing to really hold to remove it. At least there was no issue with the non-stick coating.

Noise

In a smaller kitchen the noise level of the Ninja Foodie could be a bit scary when using the pressure cooker feature. It doesn’t sound like a normal whistle that you’re probably used to.  Actually, it almost sounds like a car’s air conditioning.

On the other hand, the Vortex Plus makes very little noise. You can still hear a lot of beeps but it’s not microwave loud. I found both models to be annoying in the noise department.

Ninja foodi noise testing video:

Instant vortex noise testing video:

Warranty and Guarantees

If you purchase the Ninja Foodi from authorized retailers like Amazon, Costo or Walmart, a one year warranty will cover repairs or the replacement of your model. SharkNinja will replace defective air fryers with one of equal or greater value.

This warranty does not cover normal wear and tear of wearable parts (such as blending vessels, lids, cups, blades, blender bases, removable pots, racks, and pans), which require regular maintenance and/or replacement to guarantee correct operation of your machine. At ninjaaccessories.com, you may purchase replacement parts. Their customer service number is +1-866-826-6941.

SharkNinja will pay to have your air fryer shipped to them but they will charge a return fee.

Honestly, a one year warranty for an item I plan to have for years isn’t very impressive and the Vortex Plus comes with the same 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. The same conditions also apply for repairs and replacement of models.

Price

It’s no surprise that the Ninja Foodi is more expensive. This multi function beast can replace a pressure cooker, toaster and a traditional toaster oven. On Amazon, you can get one of these for $199. What can I say? Guilt free cooking doesn’t come cheap. It hasn’t disappointed in it’s performance promises so it’s a fair price.

In a not-so-surprising comparison, the Vortex Plus costs $159.99 on Amazon. It’s OdorErase technology and compact fit and finish is well worth it.

Should You Buy The Vortex Plus Or Ninja Foodie?

It’s time for the big recommendation, but first, let’s recap:

  • The Ninja Foodi has 10 functions while the Vortex Plus has 6 functions. There are both designed with a stainless steel finish.
  • Both models have removable dishwasher safe compartments but the Ninja Foodi’s crisper lid is a bit difficult to clean.
  • The control panel is the Ninja Foodi is much better because it’s easy to navigate and actually has a power button. You can also choose your own cooking times and still use the pre-sets if when you want to.
  • Instant Pot has been around since 2010 and have become a reputable brand in its own right. SharkNinja started the kitchen appliance branch of the company in 2015. What they had over the Instant Pot in the beginning was the air fry function.
  • Both models are overall in a middle range when it comes to air fryer prices but the Ninja Foodi is the more expensive of the two, costing $199 on Amazon. The Vortex Plus costs $159.99 with significantly less functions and more drawbacks.

The Ninja Foodi is definitely the one to add to your kitchen repertoire. It justifies its large size by being super useful to cook a variety of dishes way faster than more conventional means.

I must say that the Instant Vortex Plus is more counter top friendly if you have a small space. However, with all its functions and exceptional performance, I highly recommend the Ninja Foodie. It crosses off having a pressure cooker and a crockpot. The fact that the air frying and pressure cooking are done in separate parts of the appliance makes for perfectly crisped fried foods and juicy meats and soups.

Other Competition

Gourmia 6 Quart Digital Air Fryer GAF698

Gourmia 6 QuartSpecifications :

  • Brand: Gourmia
  • Control Method: Touch
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Item Weight: 5.42 Kilograms
  • Has Nonstick Coating: Yes

Check Price on Amazon

If you’re looking for a smaller, more compact air fryer that holds 6 quarts, the Gourmia Air Fryer is worth some consideration. At only $109 on Amazon, and weighing 11.92 pounds, this air fryer is inexpensive and light but does its job well.

Similar to the Vortex Plus and the Ninja Foodi, this air fryer is dishwasher safe and has a touch screen control panel. It doesn’t air fry as evenly as the Ninja Foodie and the mandatory preheating is annoying but overall it’s a decent appliance that doesn’t take up much counter space.

COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo 5.8QT Max Xl Large Cooker

COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo 5.8QT Max Xl Large Cooker Specifications :

  • Model NameAir Fryer Max XL(100 Recipes)
  • Brand: COSORI
  • Capacity: 5.8 Quarts
  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight11.9 Pounds

Check Price on Amazon

The first thing I noticed and appreciated about the Cosori was its design. Unlike most air fryers on the market its square shape serves more than the egg shaped models. It holds 5.8 quarts and has a cookbook of 100 recipes. It weighs 11.9 pounds and has a power rating of 120v/1700w.

It was 13 settings you can use so I think it’s perfect for beginners. Like with most air fryers with pre-sets, not all the settings are accurate so cooking will be a trial and error process until you get the hang of it.

A few drawbacks of the Cosori Air Fryer is that it doesn’t cook as evenly and it takes a little longer. It’s a fair trade for the budget friendly price.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Large 6Qt 11-in-1 Air Fryer

Specifications :

  • Brand: Instant Pot
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Color: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Item Dimensions 13.58 x 13.58 x 12.99 inches
  • Control Method: Touch

Check Price on Amazon

The Instant Pot Air Fryer gave the best results of the three competitors. At 6 quarts, 11 functions and a sturdy lid that never overheats, this air fryer is highly recommended. The price is close to the Instant Vortex at $148.99 and it works just as well with only a few more drawbacks. The Instant Pot cooks evenly and is not louder than a blow dryer.

It has a sous vide function that’s great for rare and medium rare steak. I have all confidence in it’s temperature control because the food is never dry. There’s no need to flip fries using the Instant Pot Air Fryer. They brown evenly and the texture is fantastic. I can honestly recommend this as one of the best air fryers I’ve tested.

Ninja Foodie FAQ

Can it cook frozen foods?

Yes! Frozen meat, veggies and other food items can be cooked in this air fryer.

Can it replace my crockpot?

It does have a slow cooker function that’s great for tender and juicy meat.

Does it cook rice?

The Ninja Foodi isn’t designed to cook instant rice but yes, it does cook rice.

Can it make soup with the lid off?

Yes, the sauté setting is great for making soups and you don’t need the lid.

Vortex Plus FAQ

Does it smoke?

No. I tried the white sandwich bread and had no issues so it’s safe to say the air fryer won’t overheat and smoke. There was also no blast of hot air when I opened the fryer after each cooking test.

Can this appliance be used with a 220V power source?

No. The manual says to use 120 volts.

How do I get rid of the plastic smell?

The plastic smell should go away after the test run but if not, run it three more times without food.

Does this tell you when to turn over or shake?

It does alert you when to turn food but shaking is not recommended.

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