Air fryers have become increasingly popular in recent years as a healthy alternative to deep frying. Two of the most popular air fryer models on the market are the Instant Vortex and the newer Instant Vortex Plus. But which one is better?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the key features, performance, size, and other details of the Instant Vortex vs Vortex Plus to help you decide which is the best choice for your needs and budget. We’ll look at factors like capacity, temperature range, functions, ease of use, and more.
By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to choose the right Instant Vortex air fryer for your kitchen.
Instant Vortex Overview
The Instant Vortex is a 6-in-1 air fryer that debuted in 2018. It was one of the first air fryer models introduced by Instant Brands, the maker of the popular Instant Pot.
Here are the key specs and features of the Instant Vortex:
- Capacity: 4 qt basket
- Temperature Range: 95°F to 400°F
- 6 built-in smart programs: air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate
- 1400W heating element
- Digital touchscreen with presets and customizable settings
- Dishwasher safe basket and tray
- 12″ x 12″ x 12″ dimensions
The 4 quart basket capacity is large enough to cook meals for 2-4 people. The wide temperature range allows you to air fry, roast, bake, broil, reheat leftovers, and dehydrate fruits, vegetables, and meats.
The touchscreen control panel makes the Vortex easy to program and monitor during cooking. The preset smart programs provide recommended times and temperatures for common foods like french fries, chicken wings, chips and more.
Overall, the Vortex offers versatile performance and consistent air frying results in an easy-to-use package. It’s a great choice for households that want a multipurpose countertop oven that can air fry foods with a crispy texture using little to no oil.
Instant Vortex Plus Overview
The Instant Vortex Plus is the next generation model that was released in 2020. It builds on the success of the original Vortex with some key enhancements:
- Capacity: 6 qt basket
- Temperature Range: 95°F to 400°F
- 7 built-in smart programs: air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, dehydrate, and sync
- 1700W heating element
- Oval design for more cooking space
- Advanced touchscreen with custom programs
- 13″ x 15″ x 14″ dimensions
As you can see, the Vortex Plus steps up with a larger 6 quart basket capacity, expanded programming with a “Sync” function, and more powerful 1700 watt heating element.
The oval-shaped basket offers 25% more capacity than the previous round design for cooking more food at once. The “Sync” function allows you to simultaneously air fry and roast in the main basket and top tray.
Like the original, the Plus has user-friendly presets and customizable settings. The bigger touchscreen is easy to navigate. Overall, the Vortex Plus offers added versatility for larger families or meal prepping.
One of the biggest differences between the Instant Vortex and Vortex Plus is capacity:
|Instant Vortex||4 quarts|
|Instant Vortex Plus||6 quarts|
The Vortex has a 4 quart round basket, while the Vortex Plus steps up to a 6 quart oval-shaped basket.
The increased 6 quart capacity provides around 25% more cooking space. This allows you to cook larger batches of foods like fries, nuggets, roasted vegetables and more.
The 4 quart Vortex can hold about 2 pounds of french fries or over a dozen chicken wings. The Vortex Plus can hold closer to 3 pounds of fries or 20 chicken wings.
So the Vortex Plus is better for larger families, meal prepping and cooking for gatherings. But the standard 4 quart Vortex may still be sufficient for many 2-3 person households.
Both the Instant Vortex and Vortex Plus have wide temperature ranges from 95°F to 400°F. This allows for maximum versatility – from low dehydrating to high temperature air frying and roasting.
However, there is a slight difference in the heating elements:
|Instant Vortex Plus||1700W|
The Vortex Plus steps up to a more powerful 1700 watt heating element, compared to 1400W in the regular Vortex.
In practical terms, this more powerful heating allows the Vortex Plus to preheat quicker and recover heat faster when batch cooking. This improves performance when cooking large batches.
So the Vortex Plus gets hotter faster for crisper air frying results. But both models still have the same wide temperature versatility needed for all your cooking tasks.
Both the Instant Vortex and Vortex Plus come with a range of pre-programmed cooking settings:
|Cooking Program||Instant Vortex||Instant Vortex Plus|
The Vortex Plus adds an extra “Sync” function that allows you to cook two separate foods at once – like fries in the main basket and chicken wings in the top tray. This isn’t possible on the regular Vortex.
So the Vortex Plus pulls ahead with 7 smart programs vs just 6 on the original model. But both still cover the core air frying functions.
In addition to differences in capacity and programming, the Vortex and Vortex Plus do have some design variations:
Size and Shape
The Instant Vortex has a round 12″ wide basket and compact 12″ x 12″ x 12″ footprint. The Vortex Plus steps up with a larger 13″ x 15″ x 14″ oval-shaped design.
So the Vortex Plus takes up more counter space but offers more cooking interior room. The oval shape is better suited to cooking larger roasts, whole chickens, or pork loins.
Both models have digital touchscreen displays for programming, adjusting settings, and monitoring cook times. However, the Vortex Plus has a larger, more advanced display with better responsiveness.
The display on the Vortex Plus is easier to read and navigate between functions. It’s brighter and more intuitive to use.
The Instant Vortex comes with just the multi-level air fry basket and tray. The Vortex Plus includes a rotisserie spit and forks in addition to the fryer basket and tray.
So you get some bonus accessories for roasting with the pricier Vortex Plus model. Both units work with the brand’s oven accessories, which can be purchased separately.
Ease of Use
In terms of ease of use, the Vortex and Vortex Plus operate very similarly:
- Digital control panels are intuitive with preset smart programs
- Settings like temperature and time can be easily customized
- Interior baskets/trays are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
- Interior light allows you to monitor cooking progress
- Both include cooking charts in the user manuals
- The auto-off safety feature prevents accidental overcooking
The Vortex Plus model may have a slight ease of use advantage thanks to the bigger and better display. But both are designed to be user-friendly, with a minimal learning curve required.
As you’d expect, there is a difference in price between the Instant Vortex and Vortex Plus models:
|Instant Vortex Plus||$129.95|
On average, the standard Vortex retails for around $100, while the Vortex Plus sells for $130. So you’re paying about a $30 premium for the upgrades on the Plus model.
However, the larger capacity alone makes the Vortex Plus a better value for many households. Sales and discounts can also bring the price difference closer to just $10-20.
Overall, the Vortex Plus delivers more for the money, but the regular Vortex still offers solid performance if you’re on a tight budget.
Verdict: Which is Better?
So which is better, the Instant Vortex or Instant Vortex Plus? Here is a quick recap of the key differences:
- Capacity: The Vortex Plus has a larger 6 quart oval basket versus 4 quarts for the regular Vortex. Winner: Vortex Plus.
- Programs: The Vortex Plus adds a “Sync” mode for cooking two foods at once. Vortex Plus edges it out with 7 programs vs 6.
- Power: The 1700W heating element on the Vortex Plus heats up quicker than the 1400W Vortex. Faster preheat and heat recovery.
- Design: The Vortex Plus is bigger with a more spacious oval interior. The digital display is also improved.
- Price: The Vortex Plus costs about $30 more on average. Worth it for most buyers.
Overall, the Instant Vortex Plus is the better air fryer with more cooking capacity, faster heating, and bonus features like the “Sync” mode.
The only reason to consider the regular Vortex is if you’re cooking for 1-2 people and want to spend a little less. For most households, the Vortex Plus is the way to go for juicier meats, crispier fries and wings, and bigger batch meal prepping. It earns its “Plus” name and delivers an upgrade in every way that counts.
To expand the capabilities of your Instant Vortex air fryer, here are some recommended accessories:
- Extra fryer baskets and trays – Useful for quickly air frying multiple foods
- Vortex oven rack – Adds more interior levels for cooking proteins and sides
- Vortex drip pan – Catches drippings from proteins and oils from fried foods
- Silicone pot holders – Protect hands when removing hot items
- Air fryer cookbook – Unlock the full potential with recipes tailored for the Vortex
Investing in a few handy accessories can help take your Vortex air frying to the next level.
The Instant Vortex Plus edges out the original Vortex across the board with bigger capacity, more programs, faster heating, and bonus accessories.
While the Vortex remains a good option for smaller households, most buyers are better off stepping up to the Vortex Plus. It can tackle larger recipes and batches with juicier, crispier results.
If you want the very best that Instant Brands has to offer in air frying technology, the feature-packed Vortex Plus is definitely worth the small premium in price.