Ninja Double Stack XL Vs Ninja FlexDrawer: Which to buy?on June 14, 2024 at 14:52 Tech Advisor

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A dual-drawer air fryer will let you get away from the oven for all but the largest meals and will make cooking cheaper and simpler. But they’re big appliances and you need to ensure that the one you buy will work for you.

Ninja makes some of the most innovative air fryers around. If you’re looking for a dual-drawer air fryer that’ll give you the most cooking flexibility, two of your best bets are the Ninja Double Stack XL and the Ninja FlexDrawer.

Each offers a different take on the standard dual-basket air fryer design. Typically, two-basket appliances offer two standard-size cooking drawers, usually 4-5L/4-5QT each. You can see all our top recommendations in our round-up of the best dual-drawer models we’ve tested.

The Double Stack XL and the FlexDrawer offer much more cooking flexibility than a standard air fryer – but they do so in completely different ways. In this article, we’ll compare the two so you can choose the right one for you.

If you’re in the US, the equivalent air fryer to the UK’s FlexDrawer is the FlexBasket, which has a similar build but is a smaller, 7QT model, which can fit 2lbs of food in each 3.5QT basket. It’s a big step down in terms of cooking capacity from the UK model, which offers the equivalent of an 11QT capacity.

In the US, the Double Stack XL is called the DoubleStack XL but is otherwise the same model.

The key reason to buy

The Double Stack XL

This air fryer is a countertop space-saver. We reckon it’ll save you around 20cm/8in along the length of your countertop (when compared to the FlexDrawer or a standard dual-drawer model). We’ve got more information in our dedicated article.

In addition, each of the two drawers of the Double Stack can cook two layers of food, thanks to the wire racks that come with the appliance, potentially doubling the cooking space.

The FlexDrawer

This air fryer has a unique twist. Its two, 5.2L separate cooking sections can be combined into one, 10.4L cooking “megazone”, by removing the divider between the two. This gives you the option to cook large joints of meat and bake full-sized loaves of bread or cakes in your air fryer.

Air fryer design and dimensions

Both air fryers have a typically robust Ninja build. Unlike Ninja’s specialist combination air fryer, the Ninja Foodi Max Health Grill, the Double Stack and the FlexDrawer are almost entirely plastic. Neither model is ugly but they are functional-looking at best, with a no-frills design that won’t bring any aesthetic flair to your kitchen.   

What the Double Stack XL offers is lots of cooking space for a smaller countertop footprint. Its dimensions are 38.5 (H) x 28 (W) x 47cm (D) / 15.14 (H) x 11.25 (L) x 19.22in (W), which are roughly standard for dual-drawer models.

Emma Rowley / Foundry

The difference is that Ninja has flipped a conventional dual-drawer air fryer on its side, so that the cooking drawers are one above the other. It’ll takes up much less of your kitchen countertop, width-wise, although it is a bit deeper and may jut out beyond the line of your other countertop appliances. It’ll fit under standard kitchen cabinets with plenty of room to spare.

Neither air fryer has a viewing window, so you’ll need to open the drawer to check on your food, which isn’t ideal when baking.

Externally, the FlexDrawer has a fairly conventional dual-drawer design, except that it features a single, large drawer, split in two. Its dimensions are 32.7 (H) x 49.6 (W) x 31.6cm (D).

Emma Rowley / Foundry

The smaller US FlexBasket has dimensions of 11.26 (H) x 11.81 (W) x 11.26in (D).

Cooking controls and modes

Both models feature an intuitive, easy to use digital display and dial and button controls.

Emma Rowley / Foundry

The Double Stack XL has fewer modes than many other air fryer models:

Air fry

Max crisp (for frozen food)

Bake

Roast

Reheat

Dehydrate

But you can adjust these functions by time and temperature so that they cover almost anything you’d want to cook in the appliance.

The FlexDrawer has an additional setting, for proving dough. This makes sense, given its larger capacity. Here are its cooking modes:

Air fry

Max crisp (for frozen food)

Bake

Roast

Reheat

Dehydrate

Prove

You can also adjust these modes by time and temperature.

In addition, both air fryers have Match and Sync functions. Match allows you to programme one drawer and instantly copy the cooking instructions to the second drawer. Sync lets you programme two separate cooking programmes but ensure that they finish at the same time, so there’s only one alarm to worry about, no need to keep food warm, and you can dish up both drawers at the same time.

Neither model has a shake alert. A shake alert is an alarm that goes off 50-60% of the way through the cooking programme, to remind you to shake up your fries. It’s a feature we missed while using both of these models.

Cooking capacity

The Double Stack XL has a cooking capacity of 9.5L/10QT, split over two drawers, with two layers each. What this means is you can separate protein and vegetables in each drawer, allowing you more flexibility in the cooking space. If you tend to cook meals that comprise a protein and two or three types of vegetables, this will be a good option for you.

Emma Rowley / Foundry

The FlexDrawer has an even larger, 10.4L capacity overall, which can handle much larger volumes of food, making it the better option for roasts and baking.

Downsides

The Double Stack XL is an excellent air fryer – but it’s not perfect. During our time testing it, we found that, because the heat sources are at the back of each drawer, it cooked certain types of food (fries, roast potatoes) unevenly. This is compounded by the fact that there’s no shake alert. Instead, you’ll need to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to shake up food midway through cooking.

Emma Rowley / Foundry

The FlexDrawer also lacks a shake alert and it has one other limitation, thanks to its design. If you need to open a drawer to check on food, you’ll obviously expose both sides to the cool air, which could affect baking or proving.

Neither model has a viewing window to check on cooking food without opening the drawer.

Price and availability

The Ninja Double Stack XL is widely available in both the UK and the US.

It’s an expensive appliance in the UK, retailing for £269.99. At this stage, there’s no price advantage from choosing any retailer, with an over/under difference of around £1. It’s available from Ninja, John Lewis, Argos and Currys. This makes it around £50 more than the FlexDrawer and £90 more than the Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone, both of which are comparable models in terms of functionality and cooking space. Whether it’s worth it or not to you really depends on how much you value a bit more counter space.

In the US, it’s a bit less pricey, with an MSRP of $229.99. You can buy it from Ninja, Amazon and Walmart, among other retailers. Again, it’s around $50 more than the FlexBasket, which is only an 7QT appliance in its US incarnation and just slightly more than the 10QT two-drawer Foodi.

The Ninja FlexBasket has an RRP of £269.99 but is currently available from a number of retailers for £219. You can buy it from Ninja, John Lewis, Argos and Amazon.

In the UK, the price difference makes the FlexDrawer a much more appealing option, as long as you have the counter space to stand it.

In the US, the smaller, 7QT FlexBasket is available from Ninja, Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon for $149.99, down from $180. Again, this makes it an attractive option, although its cooking capacity is significantly less than that of the Double Stack.

Verdict

Both air fryers are among the best double-drawer models you can buy.

They’re easy to use and provide clever cooking solutions. The Double Stack is the better option if you want to cook a number of smaller sides separately, but at the same time. Still, even though it has the advantage of a smaller countertop footprint, it doesn’t produce quite such even results.

The FlexDrawer is best for baking and roasting larger volumes. It produces great results and is significantly less expensive. Overall, we think it’ll be the better choice for most people and would be our top recommendation.

It’s a tougher choice in the US, where the FlexBasket is smaller, but if a 7QT capacity is enough, it’s an excellent appliance at a great price point.

To see all of our most recommended air fryers, have a look at our round-ups of the best air fryers overall, the best air fryer ovens, the best Ninja air fryers and the best dual-drawer air fryers.

Air Fryers

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