NuWave Bravo XL Air Fryer Review: Good Countertop Oven or Hype?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Mar 14, 2019

The NuWave Bravo XL Air Fryer is a smart countertop oven that features a combination of 12 pre-programmed cooking settings, an integrated digital temperature probe, precise time and temperature control, and Flavor Infusion Technology (FIT)—all to help you cook perfect meals, every time.

According to the website, the device’s spacious interior allows you to cook up to a 10-pound chicken, a 6-pound roast, 13-inch pizza, or nine slices of toast, quickly and easily. And its air fry feature allows you to cook with maximum nutrition and flavor, without fat, oil, or additional calories.

By combining all of these features, the Bravo XL’s compact design can help you replace many other cooking devices, save space, and spend more time with your family and friends.

Can you realistically expect the NuWave Bravo XL Air Fryer to help you make fabulous meals, as advertised in their commercial? Even then, is it necessarily the best model for your needs?

We’ll help you find some actionable answers in this article, starting with Bravo XL’s functionality.

Taking a Closer Look at How the NuWave Bravo XL Air Fryer Works

Between their website, mini infomercial, and user manual, NuWave provides a great deal of information about how Bravo XL works, as well as many of the recipes it can cook. We strongly recommend reading through everything to make sure you have a complete idea of what to expect.

With this in mind, we’ll provide a high-level overview here.

Bravo XL’s Internal Details

The 1,800-watt (120 volts, 15 amps) Bravo XL is classified as a countertop device. Although with a 20-inch by 11-inch by 15-inch measurement and a 17-pound weight, it certainly has some heft and will take up some space in your kitchen.

NuWave Bravo XL Air FryerTo help make cooking faster and easier, the NuWave Bravo XL Air Fryer features 12 one-touch presets, a knob for precise temperature and time control, heat-safe construction, a digital display to let you know what’s going on, and an integrated temperature probe. Credit: NuWave, LLC

On the inside, you’ll find a light, two heavy-duty easy-glide cooking racks, non-stick enamel broiler rack and baking pan, a chrome-plated air fry basket, a dishwasher-safe crumb/drip tray, and an integrated digital temperature probe.

NuWave advertises that Bravo XL’s five built-in quartz heating elements (three on top and two on bottom) are responsible for its cooking prowess.

Pro tip: You’ll also want to keep Bravo XL’s rear exhaust vent at least several inches away from the wall, which will take up additional space. Make sure you also mind overhead cabinets that could become damaged by the hot steam it releases.

Bravo XL’s Exterior and Cooking Presets

You can independently control the device’s top and bottom heating elements from Bravo XL’s stay-cool exterior for optimal cooking results. Here’s how NuWave describes it:

“By pressing the Top/Bottom button, you can select whether you want to cook with the top heating element, bottom heating element, or both at the same time. Broil with the top heater, bake with the bottom heater, or roast with both. The possibilities are endless.”

To the right of Bravo XL’s heat resistant tempered glass door and cool-to-touch handle, you’ll find 12 different function buttons (more on that below) and a dial to make adjustments based on your cooking needs.

We didn't test the device ourselves, although the website indicates that you just press the button corresponding to your function, and use the dial to manually adjust the temperature in 5-degree increments or the time in one-minute increments.

You can press start to begin cooking immediately or delay the function by up to 24 hours, as well as adjust fan strength between three different speed settings.

Here are the different parameters found in each preset function:

Function Settings
Air Fry Default Temp: 360°F, Default Time: 15 min., Heat Source: High Fan (Level 3), Rack Position: 1, 2, or 3
Broil Default Temp: 500°F, Default Time: 10 min., Heat Source: Top (100%), Rack Position: 1 or 2
Reheat Default Temp: 350°F, Default Time: 10 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%), Rack Position: Any
Frozen Default Temp: 325°F, Default Time: 20 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%), Rack Position: Depends on desired result.
Waffle Default Temp: 400°F, Default Time: 4 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%), Rack Position: 2 or 3
Grill Default Temp: 400°F, Default Time: 15 min., Heat Source: Bottom (100%) w/preheat, Rack Position: 1
Bake Default Temp: 350°F, Default Time: 25 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%) w/preheat, Rack Position: 2 or 3
Dehydrate Default Temp: 100°F, Default Time: 2 hrs, Heat Source: Low Fan (Level 1), Rack Position: Depends on desired result.
Roast Default Temp: 310°F, Default Time: 25 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%) w/preheat, Rack Position: 1
Toast Default Temp: 310°F, Default Time: 3 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%), Rack Position: 2 or 3
Pizza Default Temp: 450°F, Default Time: 15 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%) w/preheat, Rack Position: 2 or 3 Note: Times and temps will vary based on the pizza’s size. Also, a pizza stone is optional and isn’t included with the Bravo XL.
Bagel Default Temp: 310°F, Default Time: 3 min., Heat Source: Top/Bottom (100%) w/preheat, Rack Position: 2, 3, or 4

Even if you have no experience, NuWave tells us that you can insert the integrated probe and Bravo XL will cook until the internal temperature is reached (within 1-degree increments), thereby delivering consistently optimal results.

During the process, the Bravo XL lets you know what’s going on via its digital display menu. To pause at any point, just press the start button once and then again to resume cooking.

After Bravo XL is finished, it will beep three times, and the display will indicate "END." If you’re not ready to eat, you can press the “Warm” button to maintain a constant 140-degree temperature for one hour.

NuWave recommends cleaning your Bravo XL after each use, which involves wiping the inside and outside with a damp cloth and glass cleaner if you prefer. The racks, pans, basket, and crumb tray are top-rack dishwasher safe.

How Does Bravo XL “Fry” without Using Any Oil?

Because you’re not dipping food into boiling oil, which quickly creates delicious a crust on the outside and seals in moisture, Bravo XL doesn’t actually perform any frying.

Instead, it uses a combination of quartz heating elements and three different fan speeds to quickly circulate hot air around the food.

Many online customers report—at least in the instance of pre-fried foods like french fries, cheese sticks, fish sticks, and so forth—can deliver much of the same taste and texture as traditionally fried foods. Just keep in mind that you’ll still have to use a minimal amount of oil—typically about a tablespoon.

In the instance of the Bravo XL, NuWave dubs this process Flavor Infusion Technology (FIT) and tells us that their Triac digital switch is responsible for maintaining its precise, consistent control over temperature.

Combined with the “adjustable power to the top and bottom heating elements as well as the superheated cyclonic air,” NuWave advertises that the Bravo XL locks in “flavor and juiciness, and improves crispiness, while cooking out unhealthy fats and oils.”

With this said, based on what HighYa readers and third-party online consumers report, we think it’s important to maintain realistic expectations about the results Bravo XL will deliver for foods that aren’t already pre-fried.

Is there data to support NuWave’s claims about reduced fat and calorie content, though?

Is Air Frying a Healthier Cooking Technique?

Writing for the Cleveland Clinic, registered dietician Kylene Bogden explains that air fryers can offer a time-efficient method of helping people reduce their calorie intake by 70 to 80 percent, on average. It can also make some foods (like veggies) taste better for picky eaters, and won’t smell up your home for hours afterward.

Still, registered dietician Natalie Rizzo, emphasizes in a Women’s Health article that, “it's important to note that air-frying isn’t healthier than other non-frying cooking methods. (You're still eating fried food, here.)”

Instead, she recommends limiting air fryer use to no more than once per week.

How Much Does the NuWave Bravo XL Air Fryer Cost?

The Bravo XL Air Fryer costs three payments of $59.99 or a single payment of $179.97, plus free shipping to the lower 48 states.

The website indicates that you can also purchase the NuWave PIC Flex and 9” Duralon frying pan for an additional shipping fee during checkout.

All orders include the owner’s manual with 48 different recipes, many of which are also listed on the website.

NuWave offers a 90-day money-back guarantee on the Bravo XL, as well as a 3-year limited warranty from the date of purchase. You can request one by calling 800-658-2714 or emailing help@nuwavenow.com.

NuWave Bravo XL vs. Competing Air Fryers

Given their potential health benefits compared to traditional frying methods, air fryers have surged in popularity over the last several years.

Most come with many of the same core features as Bravo XL, including cyclonic action to cook with less oil and fat, digital touchscreens, multiple one-touch functions, drip trays, multi-layer racks, start/stop buttons, adjustable temperature settings, and easy cleanup afterward.

Still, there are some meaningful differences between models, including price, power, the number of presets available, and other special features.

Here were some of the most popular options listed on Amazon at the time of our research, as well as several models the HighYa team has investigated in the past:

Brand Price Wattage # of Presets Special Features
NuWave Bravo XL $179.97 1,800 12 Integrated digital probe, 1-cubic-foot capacity
Ninja Air Fryer $119.99 1,550 4 105°F–400°F temperature range, 4-qt. capacity
GoWise USA $79.99 1,700 8 180°F–400°F temperature range, 5.8-qt. capacity
COSORI Air Fryer $119.99 1,700 11 170°F–400°F temperature range, 5.8-qt. capacity
Yedi Total Package XL Air Fryer $124.95 N/A 7 5.8-qt. capacity, iOS and Android mobile app
Power AirFryer XL $142 1,700 8 6-qt. capacity,
Power Air Fryer $199.96 1,700 8 Cooks up to 400°F, up to 8-qt. capacity (depending on model), available in 3 colors
Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer $68.98 1,300 N/A 16-qt. capacity, features a transparent glass bowl
Cooklite Aero Fryer $87.89 N/A N/A 4.8-qt. capacity

As with any other product—cooking-related or otherwise—the best options are primarily determined by where you place your emphasis.

For example, if the cost is your number one factor, the Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer’s $68.98 price tag is almost three times lower than Bravo XL’s, which is outpriced only by the Power Air Fryer in our table above.

On the other hand, if your primary goal is to achieve one-touch functionality and precise temperature control, this isn't something you'll get with the Big Boss. Instead, Bravo XL's 12 different presets wins out from a functionality perspective and is also the only model among close competitors that features a digital probe, if this is important to you.

The Bravo XL tops the list power and space-wise as well, with its 1,800 watts and comparatively cavernous one cubic foot (29-quart) capacity. The Big Boss's 16-quart capacity comes in a distant second, followed by Power Air Fryer at eight quarts—but with a $20 higher price tag.

Should you go ahead and place an order?

Our Final Thoughts About the NuWave Bravo XL Air Fryer

The Bravo XL offers a lot of essential features, including 12 preset functions, a digital display, a control knob for precise temperature and time adjustments, and multiple racks and trays, not to mention a three-year limited warranty from NuWave.

Speaking of which, the Bravo XL comes from a reputable manufacturer with many years in business, along with mostly positive online customer feedback related to some of their other devices, such as the NuWave Oven, Oven Pro Plus, and Brio. They also back their air fryer with a 90-day refund policy and three-year limited warranty.

Just keep in mind that based on its size and distance requirement from walls, Bravo XL doesn’t exactly come with a small footprint, so make sure you have sufficient room in your kitchen before placing an order. Also, at 17 pounds, it probably won’t be inexpensive to ship Bravo XL back to the manufacturer if you give it a try and end up dissatisfied.

» Related: A Complete Guide to Buying Multi-Cookers (Plus Tips, Tricks, & Recipes)

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