PowerXL Maxx Air Fryer Review - Consumer Reports (2024)

Small-kitchen-appliance brand PowerXL is a power player in the air-fryer market. And the Special Edition PowerXL Maxx 4 Quart is a good example of why its offerings of countertop cookers have become so popular. This small-capacity model (similar to the PowerXL Classic Fryer on the manufacturer’s site, but sold on Amazon and Walmart) earned solid scores in Consumer Reports’ tests because it’s relatively quiet and easy to clean. At home, it was terrific at reheating food, cooking meals, and turning out crispy fries. But it’s not the easiest air fryer to use, and, at more than $100, seems overpriced.

Notable Features

  • One-button design. The PowerXL Maxx comes with four programmed settings: french fries, fish, chicken, and steak. But instead of the one-touch presets you’ll find in other air fryers, the PowerXL Maxx designated just one button for all your options. One touch—fries. Two touches—fish. You get the picture. Some might like the streamlined look, but we found it annoying.
  • Rapid-heat technology: Delivering up to 400° F of hot air, the PowerXL Maxx is able to serve up perfectly crispy results. Though we’ve seen similartechnology from the competition, our at-home assessment found that the PowerXL Maxx’s heat delivers an exceptionally even crisp on fries, wings, and roasted vegetables—even without flipping.

How Well Does the PowerXL Maxx Air Fryer Work?

Our engineers scrutinized the PowerXL Maxx in the lab and we also tried it at home. Here’s what we found:

The PowerXL Maxx excels at delivering crispy, nicely cooked food in a fraction of the time it would take in your oven. And compared to other air fryers we’ve evaluated, it does a better job at cooking foods that aren’t in a single layer. This means you can save time and make more in one cooking cycle. The rapid-heat technology revived leftovers, no problem, and roasted broccoli with a nice char and crunchy bite. Boneless chicken breasts were tender, and french fries came out with a perfect pillowy texture.

Food performance aside, this model also aced CR’s lab tests. You’ll hear the internal fan of the air fryer while your food is cooking, but the sound is subtle enough that it quickly fades into the background. That’s why it earns a Very Good score on that test.

Though the grill plate does have nooks and crannies that can easily trap food, we found that most debris fell through to the bottom of the basket when we cooked with it at home. Hot, soapy water after use quickly gets both the basket and the plate clean, but the nonstick surfaces are also dishwasher-safe.

The PowerXL Maxx’s design took some getting used to; it was difficult to know where to touch at first, and the relatively small icons were hard to decipher. Not having a one-touch digital display for its four presets is downright frustrating at times. When your puppy is begging for attention and you’re still trying to answer late work email, it’s better not to have to play round robin with your air fryer.

What’s more, the programmed settings overcompensated for the time needed to make the food. Testers noted in the lab that the temperature inside tends to run hotter than displayed, so as with most basket-style air fryers, you’ve got to check it from time to time.

Consumer Reports has full test results for the PowerXL Maxx and dozens of other air fryers.

Who Is the PowerXL Maxx Air Fryer For?

The PowerXL Maxx air fryer is ideal for couples and singles looking to put dinner on the table a little quicker. The basket is simply not large enough to efficiently turn out meals for a crowd, but the measured 2.5-quart capacity can fit two chicken breasts, a filet of fish, and roughly two servings of vegetables. It’s also great for those with small kitchens, given its relatively small footprint, and its light weight makes it easy to move from cupboard to counter. Nevertheless, we didn’t find a feature that truly justifies the premium price, though it’s worth noting that the preheating phase on this model was a tad shorter than other air fryers we’ve evaluated.

How Consumer Reports Tests Air Fryers

Our engineers first judge the model based on how easy it is to use the buttons and/or dials and the size and clarity of the lettering on the unit.

They also evaluate noise levels, a test that involves placing the air fryer on a butcher-block counter in the lab. A sound-level meter takes multiple measurements of how loud each air fryer gets during operation, noting the noise at its peak.

Finally, to test how easy cleanup might be, the engineers cook french fries and chicken nuggets, and then take notes on the cleaning process, paying close attention to cracks and crevices that can trap food or otherwise make for difficult cleaning.

PowerXL Maxx Air Fryer Review - Consumer Reports (1)

Tanya A. Christian

Tanya Christian joined Consumer Reports as a multimedia content creator in 2021, bringing with her more than a decade of experience in the home and lifestyle space. As a content manager for small kitchen appliances, home remodeling products, and the sleep category, she’s happy to provide readers with recommendations on great design, helpful cooking tools, and smart ways to achieve better sleep. Follow her on Twitter @tanyaachristian.

PowerXL Maxx Air Fryer Review - Consumer Reports (2024)

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