While many of the air fryers we tested had some great features, the NuWave Brio combined the most of those features into one appliance to outshine the competition. The Brio was able to churn out batch after batch of crispy fries and chicken wings during our tests. The final results were almost perfect. There were just a few spots that were a little lighter or darker, depending on the batch, but this air fryer was impressive for its consistently crispy and evenly cooked results overall.
This air fryer had the best controls of all the ones we tested. We set it up and started making food quickly. It was noticeably easy to use in almost every way. Details like a built-in cord wrap to cut down on clutter and a chime that informs you when the basket is in place and ready to cook are part of what sets it apart from other air fryers. It was hard to tell if the basket was in the right spot in other air fryers.
You get many extras with this unit, including a baking pan and muffin cups so you can make desserts in addition to snacks and meats. There are also additional racks to facilitate roasting and grilling. Since the Brio is much more compact than your oven, and most toaster ovens, it can do all of these tasks very quickly, albeit in limited quantities.
This one is a little above average in its capacity and well below average on overall dimensions, which is just what you want. One complaint people have about these machines is that they take up a lot of room and only do one thing. The Brio takes up a little bit of room and does a lot of things.
The NuWave was easy to use but not easy to clean. The air fryers that prepared the crispiest and most evenly cooked chicken and fries were the ones with wire baskets – like this one – instead of thick metal baskets with large holes cut out of them. Unfortunately, the wire basket ones were harder to clean. We struggled and scraped at first but then decided to soak them all for a bit. The Brio's basket was still harder to clean than a lot of others, but the crispy food it produced was worth it. Although we cleaned it by hand, this basket can go in the dishwasher.
One other drawback is the Brio is pretty loud. There were a couple others that were louder, but this one was noticeably noisy. It is not something you would think of right away when preparing to purchase an air fryer, especially since deep-fat fryers are loud too, but it is somewhat annoying to have to talk over the Brio. If you prefer an air fryer that generates less noise, consider the Power Fryer XL.
The Brio is great in terms of safety considerations. It shuts itself off at the end of a cycle and stays securely in place thanks to skid-resistant feet. In our tests, it remained cool to the touch, even when it was mid-cycle.
The warranty only lasts for a year. That is fine, though some machines offer longer ones.
The NuWave Brio air fried more evenly than most from one end of the basket to the other. Also, this machine adds a level of multitasking and ease of use that sets it apart. The Brio can air fry, bake, roast, broil, toast and grill right out of the box, and it has a smart interface and a compact design. Cleaning the wire basket is a little bit of a pain, but the level of crispiness was worth it.