I was late to the air fryer craze. Very late, as I’m learning now.
The first air fryer was introduced in Germany back in 2010, but they really didn’t catch on much until 2017. And then the pandemic hit, and by 2022, sales in the US alone surpassed $1 billion, 20% more than in 2021. Now, close to half of all American households have an air fryer.
If you’re like me, waiting until 2023 to finally add one to your kitchen, the good news is you have lots of choice. But that’s kind of the bad news as well because the amount of choice is a bit overwhelming.
After a ton of research, I decided on the Ninja DZ201, and after using it for a few months, I’m very happy with my choice. So I thought I would share my findings with you!
The Ninja DZ201 is dual-zoned, large-sized, full-featured air fryer. Despite lacking a grill feature, it has almost everything you could want. Other than that, it’s a perfect choice for any kitchen and much more energy-efficient than using your oven every day. And you’ll want to use it that often!
Want to know more? Keep reading!
My Review of the Ninja DZ201 Air Fryer
Let me start off with a bullet list of the features and specifications of the unit and then dig a bit deeper into the important bits, adding my thoughts.
- Extra-large 8 Quart / 7.6 Liter Capacity
- 2 independent cooking baskets that allow you to cook two different foods using two different methods, at the same time
- Smart Finish, which allows you to cook two different foods and have them finish at the same time
- Match Cook, that allows you to copy settings across both baskets
- 6 cooking functions, including air fry, air broil, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate
- Temperature range of 105°F (40.5°C) to 450°F (232°C)
- 13.86″D x 15.63″W x 12.4″H / 35.2 x 39.62 x 31.5 cm; 8.16 Kilograms
- 1690 watts
Number of reviews:
- Amazon.com – 19,838
- Amazon.ca – 14,574
- Amazon.co.uk (AF300UK) – 19,932
Clearly, it’s very popular!
Okay, let’s talk about the highlights.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) on the DZ201 is about $200 US. That’s not a bad price, but it may be out of some people’s budget.
But there’s good news! Most Ninja products are on sale at least three or four times a year, and they’re typically significant sales.
For example, when I purchased mine in the spring of 2023, it was 45% off.
So if, after reading this review, you decide this is the air fryer for you, don’t be too hasty in making your purchase. There may be a sale just around the corner.
The air fryer comes assembled, so there really isn’t any work involved when it comes to that. However, there are several recommended steps to take before using it for the first time.
- Like any other cookware or appliance that will touch your food, it’s recommended to thoroughly wash the baskets and or trays in hot soapy water before using the air fryer for the first time.
- Additionally, you’ll want to burn off the plastic smell before cooking anything in the unit. It’s recommended that you run the air fryer at high heat two or three times for 10 or 15 minutes each time to burn off any residual offgassing.
I’ve read many complaints about terrible plastic smells coming from air fryers, and I will admit that for the initial five minutes of use while following the step above, I did smell the burning plastic smell.
However, that was the first and only time. So make sure you follow that step.
One of the reasons why I wanted this model was because of its capacity – and the versatility of that capacity. At 8-quarts (nearly 8 liters), you can cook a lot of food.
Do you need to have a large family or household to make this size worthwhile? No, absolutely not! My small household does a lot of meal prep and freezer cooking, so that means I have the room to cook and freeze larger quantities.
With 2 4-quart drawers I can either double up on one food or cook 2 different things at a time. I could even air fry something in one basket while baking something in the other! And have them complete at the same time. Which would be more helpful for something like meat and vegetables than your main meal and dessert, but you get the point.
Are there any drawbacks to having the extra capacity?
Yes. If you have limited counter or storage space, a bigger air fryer may be a problem.
The Ninja DZ201 DualZone is a full-featured air fryer that offers the following functions:
- Air Broil. In this mode, the fan speed is altered, and heat is concentrated from the top down, giving food a little bit of a crispier finish.
- Air Fry. That crispy crunchy texture that we’re all looking for without deep frying.
- Roast. This allows you to use the unit as a roasting oven for tender meat and more.
- Reheat. No need to use the microwave to warm up your leftovers, you can do them in your air fryer while maintaining their crispy finish.
- Dehydrate. You can dehydrate meat, fruit, and vegetables for healthy snack
- Bake. Cookies, cheesecake, the sky’s the limit.
On top of the different cooking methods there are several functions that help you adjust cooking time.
- Smart Finish. This allows you to automatically sync cook times between the two zones, ensuring they finish at the same time even if they have different cook times.
- Match Cook. This allows you to automatically match the settings in both zones, allowing you to cook a larger amount of the same amount of food. Additionally, you can cook two different foods while using the same function, temperature, and time.
- Start/Pause. After starting, you can pause cooking in order to flip your food or shakes a basket. Once done, simply press the button again to restart.
- Standby Mode. If your unit is powered on but you’ve had no interaction with it for 10 minutes, it will automatically enter standby mode.
- Hold Mode. If you are using the Smart Finish mode, while one zone is cooking, the other zone will hold until they can eventually sync together.
I’ve used both the Smart Finish and Match Cook functions, and the first is a game changer. While cooking any meal with multiple dishes — on the stovetop, in the microwave, in a traditional oven — there’s something of an art involved. It can be tricky timing everything just right, so that everything finishes cooking all at the same time.
The Smart Finish function takes the guesswork out of that. Simply key in your cook times, and the two baskets will finish cooking at the same time.
The versatility this unit offers when it comes to the six preset cooking functions is outstanding. If I had to find a drawback when it comes to functions and features, I’d say it might be that depending on your cooking habits in your household, you may never use all six functions. Not that that’s a bad thing.
Ease of Use
First off, this doesn’t typically fall under the ease-of-use category, but it makes sense in my mind.
Because of its size, this isn’t a lightweight air fryer. So it might not be easy for some people to lift it from one place to another, assuming you don’t just plan to leave it on your countertop.
To be specific, it weighs 18 pounds or 8.16 kg.
With that out of the way, this unit is user-friendly with an intuitive control panel featuring easy to understand presets including the cooking functions and temperature settings. However, there is some resistance to the control panel buttons, so anyone with mobility issues in their hands, perhaps something like arthritis, may find the buttons difficult to press.
Personally, I like the resistance. It ensures me the unit is sturdy and that the buttons underneath the control panel display probably won’t give out any time soon.
There’s no getting around this one. Air fryers are noisy. Although, if you have or have ever used a traditional convection oven, the noise and air fryer makes is nothing in comparison to that.
Air fryers are essentially convection ovens, and convection heat is heat that is moved around by fans so that your food is cooked evenly. And we all know that fans make noise.
It’s not as noisy as my range hood fan on high, and I don’t need to yell over it, but yes, it is a bit noisy.
How Well it Cooks
I haven’t baked anything in it yet, so I can speak to that, but so far everything I’ve made has been a success. But part of that may be because I’m one of those people who reads manuals and, well, I write about air fryers, so I know all the best practices!
Everything I’ve cooked so far has been a success, with one near disaster. Many air fryers will beep halfway through their cooking time to remind you to shake or flip your food. The Ninja air fryer does not have that feature, so you’ll need to watch the time.
If you have recipes that you typically cook in the oven, it can take a bit of trial and error to convert temperature and time to your air fryer.
However, I did find a handy conversion chart that will do that for you. It is only in Fahrenheit, so for those of you who cook in Celsius, you’ll need to do a little bit more math, but at least it’s a starting point.
Even after cooking messy, greasy foods like bacon, cleanup has been easy.
Although the baskets and trays are marketed as dishwasher safe, I personally prefer to hand wash them. The trays are nonstick, so you need to use caution, but they clean up easily.
I’ve done several deep cleans, which involves wiping down the interior of the unit as well as the heating element in the top of the unit, and other than having to turn it over onto its side or back to reach the heating element, it’s a simple task.
What I Find Annoying
For the most part, I love everything about this air fryer. But there is one thing that drives me crazy.
The beeping. It seems like it never stops beeping.
Every time you press a button the unit emits a loud beep. It beeps when the timer is up — not just one beep, a series of beeps. The bad news is, there’s no way to turn off the beeping or even turn down the beeping. So keep this in mind if you cook in an environment where the beeping would be a problem.
Summary: Ninja DZ201 Air Fryer
If you’re like me, and you’re late to the air fryer game, know that Ninja air fryers rank among the most popular, and for good reason.
If you have the space and the muscles to lift it, buy it. You’ll like it!
Hopefully this review has been of assistance. While you’re here, why not check out some of our related posts below? Perhaps we can help you with something else.