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As a concept, Salter’s XL Digital Steamer & Air Fryer is brilliant, offering two healthy ways of cooking that complement each other. However, the execution leaves something to be desired: it’s a big appliance that requires more maintenance than your average air fryer, requires clear space overhead when steaming, and has a few flaws. There’s little guidance as to how to get the best from it, which is disappointing. Work past these quirks, and the reward is excellent: tasty, nutritious food cooked easily and efficiently.


  • Multifunctional appliance
  • 6 preset programmes
  • Digital touch controls


  • Drawer tricky to shut
  • Takes up a lot of worktop space
  • Steam function requires maintenance

Key Features

  • Cooking capacitySalter XL Digital Steam Air Fryer has a family sized 6.5-litre drawer.
  • Cooking modesIt features six different automatic programmes, plus three cooking modes.


Steaming food locks in vitamins and minerals but can’t brown it; air frying food requires little to no oil, but prolonged high temperatures can reduce nutrition.

The Salter XL Digital Steamer & Air Fryer unites the best of both healthy cooking methods in one handy appliance, allowing you to steam food gently before adding flavour and colour with a crisp finish.

This means you can steam then grill veggies and fish, roast chicken faster, or switch from making steamed dumplings to perfectly cooked ribs with one machine. And, if you already have a steamer and an air fryer, its 2-in-1 abilities could free up some worktop space.

Design and features

  • 1-litre water tank
  • Busy control panel
  • Family sized capacity

The Salter XL Digital Steamer & Air Fryer demands a decent chunk of space in your kitchen: not only is it 39.2cm tall, but the width is almost the same at 40.5cm and the depth 32.4cm. The required space around it, when in use, is just as substantial: it’ll need at least 20cm behind, space in front to pull out the drawer and, when steaming, it can’t be used below cupboards or shelves.

It is, however, attractive to look at: finished in glossy black, its 6.5-litre capacity drawer features a matte silver handle that matches the trim, and the water tank is unobtrusively positioned on top. When not in use, all that shows on the display is a discreet power button.

Salter XL Digital Steam Air Fryer on counter
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This changes when the digital touch display is turned on. The control panel is a mess of icons and buttons, featuring six preset programmes, including pizza, fish and vegetables, a button each for steaming, air frying and steam and air fry combined manually, one to alert when water is low, one for steam cleaning itself, and one called Set, which is only for when you’re using the combined programmes.

Salter XL Digital Steam Air Fryer controls and screen
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This means that even though the air fryer is actually straightforward to use, it’s not especially intuitive – a problem that’s compounded by a display that switches itself off if you pause to check a time or temperature of a recipe.

It’s not clear if the drawer and its non-stick tray inside are dishwasher safe: only hand washing is recommended in the instructions. Cleaning it by hand was simple enough, but it’s worth noting that the steam function adds to the maintenance: running a cleaning programme after each use, emptying the drip tray, and regular descaling.

Salter XL Digital Steam Air Fryer drip tray
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)


  • Programmes can be toggled while cooking
  • Minimal guidance for steaming
  • Can be tricky to programme

One of the best aspects of the Salter XL Digital Steamer & Air Fryer is its ability to steam as well as air fry. However, it’s also the most ignored aspect in the instructions and supplied recipes. None of the recipes include steaming, while the time and temperatures are supplied for the combined programmes but neglect to suggest the quantity of food for each one.

For example, the chicken programme is set for 10 minutes of steaming, followed by 25 minutes of air frying, but doesn’t state if this is for a whole bird and a suggested weight, or if it’s more suitable for pieces of poultry. The same is true for the meat, fish and vegetable programmes, meaning there may be some trial and error when working out how best to cook different foods.

It’s important to note that the programmes steam first and then air fry; the two tasks aren’t run at the same time. With Ninja’s steam capable products, such as the Ninja Speedi, they use steam during air frying, to give crispy and succulent results in only the same time that it normally takes to air fry.

In testing, the combined programmes presented another problem: how to alter them. While there are buttons to toggle the time and temperature for the steaming, the display doesn’t show the air fry setting. Instead, there’s a Set button to adjust the air fry time and temperature – confusingly, this is its only function, and you won’t need it to set any of the single method programmes. And, as previously mentioned, if you’re not fast enough when setting, the display will turn itself off. This happened several times during testing and was frustrating. Another issue I experienced was that the drawer often didn’t close smoothly, and needed a firm shove to close properly.

Once I started cooking with the air fryer, I found there was a lot to like. I especially appreciated that the time and temperature could be altered at any point, even during the combined programmes, as this gave greater flexibility. There’s also no need for preheating and the combined programmes switch from steam to air frying automatically. The steaming temperature is fixed at 100°C, but you can air fry between 80°C-200°C and it’ll run for up to 60 minutes overall. While the air fryer has 1700W of power (with the steamer 900W), smaller-capacity air fryers can also come in at this wattage, so I factored this in when working out cooking times.

I started by air frying hash browns using the manual air frying setting: the instructions suggested 15 minutes at 200°C, which I thought was too short. After the cooking time had elapsed, the hash browns were hot, but not crispy.

Salter XL Digital Steam Air Fryer hash browns
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Five more minutes at the same heat crisped them up well though while leaving the inside soft.

Next, I cooked a steak using the combined steam and air fry meat programme. This was set at 10 minutes of steam followed by 30 minutes of 190°C air frying. I felt that this would be more suitable for a joint of meat, so altered it to 5 minutes of air frying.

On balance, less steaming would have been sufficient: while the steak emerged well browned, the meat was a little tough, on the side of well done, and less juicy than if it had just been grilled or air fried.

Salter XL Digital Steam Air Fryer steak
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s similarly minimal guidance for the chips programme, which doesn’t include steam and is set at 200°C for 15 minutes. It’s not clear if it is more suited to making chips from fresh potatoes, or is aimed at oven chips from frozen.

A table in the recipe booklet suggested that 20 minutes or more would be more suitable for chips from scratch, so I used this duration for cooking fresh chips tossed in a small amount of oil. This proved to be a good option: they emerged golden overall, crisp at the ends and consistently fried.  

Salter XL Digital Steam Air Fryer chips

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Should you buy it?

You want versatility

Steaming and air frying offer greater cooking versatility in the kitchen without having to buy multiple appliances.

You don’t have much worktop surface

This is a very big appliance that needs a lot of room for storage and in use.

Final Thoughts

There’s no getting away from the fact that by bolting on another cooking method to an air fryer, the Salter XL Digital Steamer & Air Fryer has become more complex. It’s trickier to set, there’s increased maintenance, and more chances of overcooking food until you’re familiar with it. Greater guidance for the programmes and a few dedicated recipes would be an improvement, as would a less stubborn drawer.

That said, if you can navigate those obstacles, the advantages are big, and it’s sure to appeal to confident cooks and those keen to eat more healthily. However, for a simpler experience, you may want to try a single-function appliance, such as Dualit’s Air Fryer or something else from the best air fryer list.

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How we test

We test every air fryer we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main air fryer for the review period

We cook real food in each air fryer, making chips, frying sausages and cooking frozen hash browns. This lets us compare quality between each air fryer that we test.


Does the Salter XL Digital Steamer & Air Fryer steam and air fry at the same time?

No, it steams first and then air frys; it can also just steam or just air fry.

Full specs

Quiet Mark Accredited
Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Stated Power
Number of compartments
Cooking modes
Total food capacity
Special features

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