Aldi 8L Ambiano Air Fryer review
Quick verdict: One of the signature Aldi Special Buys is its Ambiano Air Fryer, but there’s plenty of competition in this space. Is it a bargain or is it a bust? It turns out it’s good value for money.
- Cooks tasty food easily and quickly
- Non-stick, easily removeable basket
- Big enough for family meals
- Only a 30-minute timer
- Basket and Pan re-entry is annoying
- Durability concerns
Aldi Special Buys need no introduction. There are very few of us in Australia that, at one time or another, haven't stood in a queue outside the shop's glass doors on a Saturday morning, eyeing off your fellow consumers. Trying to second guess whether they too are after the same item you are. Ready to race, like seagulls for hot chips.
Speaking of hot chips, the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer is always an eyecatcher when it appears in the catalogue. The popular appliance dons the front cover and at just $89.99, looks like a deal too good to be true. So, I got one and put it through its paces to discover where it sits amongst the best air fryers in Australia.
Note that Aldi has released a few sizes in its Ambiano Air Fryer range over the years. You may have come across the small 2.5L or a massive 16L appliance. Previously 10L and 3L models have come and then been discontinued, too. This review pertains to the 8L Ambiano Air Fryer.
- Good features for the price
- Easy to clean and use
- Only 30-minute timer
- No window into food
Like many Aldi products, the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer is surprisingly rich with features given its price. I won't list them all here, but I'll highlight some key attributes that caught my eye.
It has seven preset cooking functions - fries, roast meat, prawns, dessert, chicken, steak and fish – all operated via a responsive LED touchscreen. This is certainly comparable to other entries in the market and even at the upper end of the budget range. Drawing 1800W of power, it can get to temp and cook faster than many other air fryers, too.
Indeed, while the 30-minute timer is a little short for our liking, the removable basket, overheat protection, non-stick coating and high-speed hot air circulation are all what you would expect from air fryers upwards of double the cost.
The 8L capacity is also great; it can take a pie or a chicken or a meal of that kind of size with ease – you can even place some vegetables about the edge. The cooking range of 800C to 2000C is also well within expectations and it certainly hits that temperature with ease from my testing.
Where you miss out is in some premium luxuries like a spit style rotator and app or recipe support (aside from a small booklet). There's no transparent viewing window, which – as I will detail later – becomes a problem when checking the food isn't awfully user friendly. You won't find variances in cooking functions like you do on some models. For example, on top of bake, fry, roast or grill modes. And you certainly don't get anything as fancy as Philips' Smart Sensing Technology.
There's only a one-year warranty, too.
But should you expect such features at this price? In reality, you'll have to be look at air fryers well beyond the budget range if you want to start ticking off these kinds of advanced features.
- Singular black colour looks good
- Basket simple to remove
- Screen easy to see and use
- Short power cord
You've only got the one colour option with the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer; black. And that's just fine. It hides the grime that comes with being a kitchen appliance and disappears into the shadows of your bench area.
Functionally, I'm impressed by how simple the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer is to use. The basket enters through the front of the air fryer itself via a sturdy handle. It requires only marginal effort to pull it out and put it in, but it's a loose entry and I will talk a little bit more about that in the next section.
The basket itself sits in a larger pan and can be released from its bigger brother with a simple button press. This component isn't loose at all and clicks in and out very nicely indeed - although the plastic cover that sits over the button to protect it from grime (or sneaky little hands) is cheap and wobbly. This cover is, however, inconsequential to the actual cooking function.
This system of removal makes for easy cleaning. The manual and the website all stop short of calling these elements dishwasher safe, so that is something to consider. However, the 8L capacity is quite large and I'm not so sure they'd fit that handsomely into any dishwasher anyway. Certainly not with all the dirty plates, cups and bowls that pile up at the end of one of my family dinners.
I feel I would be tempted to handwash regardless, and the non-stick surface on both removable elements, and inside the chamber itself, make that straightforward.
On top of the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer, a simple LED touchscreen gives you all the information you need. I had read some complaints about previous Aldi Air Fryer models whereby the touchscreen wasn't very responsive, but I've encountered no such issues. In fact, quite the opposite. Choosing presets, and adjusting the timer and temperature are a cinch.
There's not much to complain about in regard to size, either. Yes, it's a decent-sized appliance and you're going to need to think about whether you have the bench space to house it. It's bigger than a coffee machine, for example, but certainly comparable to other air fryers of this capacity. Plus, being sideloading, you don't have to worry about overhanging cupboards getting in the way.
Perhaps more of a pain is the short 1m long power cable. Is that long enough for your kitchen's setup?
- Delivers tasty food quickly
- Easy to clean and use
- Takes experimentation to get cook times right
- No re-entry guide for pan
The kinds of "what's the catch" things you look for when buying a cheaper product didn't materialise with the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer. It's not overly noisy, for example. It does a good job of trapping the heat inside its shell, too. Indeed, while the surface of the appliance became quite hot to the touch (although not hot enough to burn), it wasn't radiating significant heat. This is important when you have it placed next to cabinetry or splashbacks.
It's so fast, too. The 1800W of power no doubt plays a role here, but I was caught off guard with the first few things I cooked - even from frozen - as I undersold just how quickly it gets going. I had a super tasty serving of fries, from frozen, in about 15 minutes. And they were a little overdone! Indeed, I think it will take quite a few uses to get the hang of the optimal cooking times – especially when you're not utilising the presets or are using unusual weights.
The loud, unmistakable five bleats the air fryer gives off once your meal is done is welcomed, too. Although the 30-minute timer is a little limiting. Especially when combined with the 2000C max temperature as you can't leave things that need more heat in the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer longer than instructed to make up the difference.
It's hard not to be impressed by the quick, painless and tasty food this little power-packed air fryer can deliver, but I do have one significant gripe about its performance. The pan itself, as I mentioned earlier, comes out easily enough – just pull the handle. But putting it back in is a chore. There is no guide, so you basically need to fish around, pushing and prodding, and hoping you don't break something in the process.
Eventually it does lock into place. Maybe I will get used to it and hit the right spot every time, but it's damn annoying. Not a dealbreaker, but annoying. Especially as you want to open and shut it a few times during a cook to monitor the food's progress as it can cook faster than expected and there's no viewing window.
At least the computer is smart enough to turn the air fryer off, and then back on, when the pan is opened and closed. I just sure hope my inelegant attempts to resettle the pan don't ultimately break it – I will update this text if it does.
Should you buy the Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer?
- Buy it if your look for a quick, easy and cost effective family-sized air fryer..
- Don't buy it if you want all the trimmings in terms of features and the promise of long-term reliability.
They say you get what you pay for, but at $89.99, with the Ambiano Air Fryer from Aldi I feel like you get a fair bit more value than you might expect. It's good bang for buck. Looking online at other people's experiences, there's a an equal mix of people saying that their Aldi Ambiano Air Fryer didn't last too long and those who have happily used it for years. So that's a risk you're taking at this price range, too.
I will update this review as my experience evolves. But as it stands, if it wasn't for the restricted availability it would be a contender in our budget category for best air fryers in Australia.
What you're missing out on at this price is the promise of years of reliability, luxury bonus features and some finesse in a few elements of the design. What you're getting, however, is a more than functionable air fryer with a great family-sized capacity and all the essential features you need. I was surprised by its performance and look forward to many crisp, delicious meals to come.
Pricing and availability
Being this is an Aldi item, and a Special Buy no less, availability is scarce. You need to try and snap one up in the week they're on sale. Alternatively, there is a secondary market for Aldi products from people who make impulse buys or upgrade down the track. So if you're too late to grab one from Aldi directly, you can consider marketplaces like eBay.
Images: Chris Stead
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