As far as affordable air fryers go, the Nuwave 3-quart air fryer is worth considering, especially if you like digital controls. However, there are a few little issues to be wary of before you make the choice.

Is it easy to clean? Is the fry basket really non-stick? What’s the issue with the “stuck” drawer? Do the pros outweigh the cons?

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What Interesting About The Nuwave 3-qt. Digital Air Fryer?

At first sight, the Nuwave 3-qt Digital Air Fryer is a tidy-looking pod-style (as opposed to oven style or instant pot style) air fryer with a shiny, rounded shape and a digital control panel. It has a drawer-style basket with a large handle.

NUWAVE BRIO 3-Quart Digital Air Fryer cooking package with one-touch digital controls, 6 easy presets, precise temperature control, recipe book, wattage control, and advanced functions like PREHEAT and REHEAT

What makes it different from some other popular models in the same price bracket is the style of controls. Instead of manual dials, it has buttons and a digital control screen. This is great for accuracy and makes for a sleeker construction.

As well as temperature and time controls, it has 6 automatic settings for different kinds of food for one-touch setup. The choices are fries (for things like hand-cut sweet potato fries), frozen fries (the kind that come in a bag), nuggets, steak, poultry, and fish. It also has a reheat function button which is pretty handy for heating up cold leftovers. I think this is especially great if you don’t have a microwave.

What do Other Customers Say?

The reviews for this air fryer – in the aggregate – are not amazing, but we don’t think that makes it a bad purchase. Let me explain:


Easy to clean and use: contrary to a few negative comments, many people have commented that the Nuwave 3-qt is very easy to use and clean. This makes sense as all it takes is the touch of a button or two and a wash in the dishwasher. (However, as we learn below, others have found that food sticks to the basket, erasing the “easy-clean” charm).

Great tasting food: happy customers have raved about the tasty, crispy food they’ve made with their Nuwave 3-qt. Crispy fried chicken is mentioned quite a few times, it seems to be the benchmark for a great air-fried dish. 


Drawer-close issues: people have experienced an issue with how the unit detects that the basket is closed. They’ve found that even when the basket is secured, the unit doesn’t register it and won’t turn on.

Quits working: some unhappy customers have found that after a while the air fryer simply quits working, won’t turn on, and is rendered a frustrating nuisance in their kitchen.

Food sticks to the basket: some negative reviews have described how food has become stuck to the bottom of the fry basket. The reviewers have noted that this happens despite using an oil spray.

What are the Technical Specs?


Power 1300 watts
Cooking capacity 3 quarts
Timer the timer is controlled with up/down arrow buttons in increments of 1 minute. You can also hold down the arrows to speed though the time options faster. The timer has a default time of 15 minutes when the machine is turned on. There are two different maximum times depending on the temperature chosen:

  • 100 to 345 degrees Fahrenheit: the timer has a maximum of 99.59 hours
  • 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit: the timer has a maximum of 1 hour
Temperature control the default temperature is 360 degrees Fahrenheit when the machine is turned on. The minimum temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the maximum temperature is 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature can be adjusted in increments of 5 minutes.
Special features In the box, you receive the unit, the base tray, the fry pan basket, and a fry pan basket net. The control panel has a key at the top with food symbols (i.e. symbols of steak, fries, etc.) and the appropriate times and temperatures. Below this, you will find the digital display screen and buttons. The six buttons are labeled: menu, pause/cancel, start, preheat, reheat, and on/off. Above this, you will find the timer with up/down arrows and the temperature control with up/down arrows.

Automatic, preset functions: there are six different preset functions that have their own time and temperature. The “MENU” button lets you scroll through the preset functions which are: fries, frozen fries, chicken nuggets, steak, poultry and fish. Once you’ve selected your desired button you simply press the “START” button.

Preheat: this button gets the unit nice and toasty before the food is added. Press this button and select your desired temperature. The unit will then reach the desired heat, then “READY” will be displayed. Now you’re ready to load the basket with food, slot it back into the cavity, then the unit will begin to count down your desired set time.

Reheat: great for heating up leftover meals or the odd slice of pizza. The default temperature is 360 degrees Fahrenheit and the default time is 4 minutes.

Temperature: the little thermometer symbolizes the manual temperature control. There are “up/down” arrows that increase and decrease the temperature between 100 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Timer: the little clock symbolizes the manual timer control. There are “up/down” arrows which increase and decrease the time between 1 and 99.59 minutes depending on the temperature chosen (see above)

Colour Black

Dimension and weight

Size  8 x 8 x 13 inches
Weight 14.75 pounds

How do You Use It?

There’s a bit of cleaning involved before your first use. But first, you must remove all the plastic and stickers once it comes out of the box. Give the basket and base tray a rinse with soapy water and wipe out the interior and exterior of the unit. Then you’re good to go.

The cooking process is easy so long as you don’t encounter one of those irritating “basket issues”. It’s really just a matter of spraying the basket with oil, adding the food, and selecting the cooking time, temperature, or preset.

You can give the basket a shake during the cooking process to ensure an even result and to prevent food from sticking. When you take the basket out of the unit during the cooking time, the unit will pause automatically for 5 minutes until you replace the basket.

How do You Clean it?

Reviewers have noted that food gets stuck easily to the fry basket, making clean-up more cumbersome than it needs to be. The manufacturer recommends soaking the fry basket to soften any caked-on food.

If you are washing by hand, use a soft cloth or brush with hot, soapy water. Don’t use any metal brushes or scrubbers as you might scratch the non-stick coating.

The base tray and fry pan basket can be put into the dishwasher but the manufacturer recommends using the top rack only.

The exterior of the unit just needs a wipe with a damp cloth if need be.

Where Can You Buy Replacement Parts?

You can purchase the Nuwave 3-Quart accessory set from Target. It includes a non-stick baking pan and a double-layer rack. All parts are safe for the dishwasher. Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and Kohl’s also stock this set.

What’s the Warranty?

One-year limited warranty. However, there have been a few issues with this as it doesn’t cover the non-stick coating on the basket.

Does it Come with a Recipe Book or Cookbook?

The manual contains a collection of recipes.

Verdict: Is This Air Fryer For You?

While it is very affordable and has some great features for the money you pay, there are better models out there for your time and cash. We’d recommend the Cosori for only a slight increase in price but a large increase in performance.

The risk of encountering a sticky basket and clunky drawer is too high to settle for this model. A good alternative is something from the Phillips range. The price is only marginally higher but the design is very similar but with better quality and less irksome issues.

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