1,187 of 1,201 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2009
I bought one of these 21 months ago and was delighted with it. Chips were great even oven ready ones cooked evenly and crispy.
Then one day whilst cokking chips I was alerted to a burning plastic smell. I detected the source, the Actifry was melting, it was glowing red and black smoke poured from it and some flames started to appear. I switched off at the mains. it terrifies me to think what might have happened if i had not been in the kitchen at the time.
I went on the web to track down Tefal to report the problem and was amazed at the number of reports of the Actifry catching fire, it was even reported on Watchdog as being a problem. Tefals response so far has been we can sell you another one for 30% discount or give you an address where you can get it repaired (at my expense).
Please please if you are going to purchase this be very careful, especially if you have children around.
793 of 813 people found the following review helpful
Like a couple of the other reviewers I haven't deep-fried a chip for years because of the smell and mess of a traditional deep fat fryer, never mind the dangers of the old style chip pan.
I actually first found out about this product by watching the Gadget Show and was blown away by the idea. First thing I did was check out the Internet for reviews and much to my surprise it seemed like the real deal. If it's getting praise on the Delia Smith forums you know you're onto a winner.
I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and it's been a joy. So far I've done wedges, chunky cut unpeeled chips and skinnier peeled chips. The chunky unpeeled chips were my favourite - delicious with garlic and herb dip. The trouble with wedges being that they have too many points and edges which with the constant tumbling leads to "chipping" as they crisp. I've also used it to cook Aunt Bessies frozen chips and it does a far better job than the oven and only takes about 25 minutes. Don't add extra oil when doing frozen chips!
I haven't tried anything exotic meatwise, just some thin sausages. Throw them in at the same time as skinny chips or a little later with chunkier ones. Top it off with some onion at 15 mins to go and mushrooms for the last five minutes. Straight to the plate and slap a fried egg on top. Bliss.
On the bad side it is pretty noisy and takes up about a foot by a foot and half of bench space but it's so easy to keep clean I just stow it in it's box on top of the cupboard when I'm not using it. And because there aren't a couple of pints of boiling oil being used I'm confident enough to just set it tumbling and go and watch TV/read a book/work on my opera while it does its stuff.
This is the first kitchen gadget I've bought for ages that's actually exceeded my expectations.
409 of 425 people found the following review helpful
I have owned one of these for a couple of months and have not regretted it for a moment. I do not like deep fat fryers so have previously relied on oven chips or baked my own chips in the oven, until this great item came along.
The chips really do taste like they have been deep fried and take about 40 minutes to cook. The quantity you can produce is reasonable for two people, probably three, and you do only need a spoonful of oil to do so.
It is really easy to use and wash up (the tray lifts out and the lid is removable). It comes with a recipe book that indicates you can cook lots of other things in it, such as chicken, but even if you only make chips I'd say it is a good buy.
Other than the size, which seems a little on the bulky side, the only other drawback is that the noise of the timer is drowned out by the noise of the machine when it is working. The machine is not noisy overall; you do have the sound of the air circulating around the food but I would say it is no more noisy than the sound made by my fan oven in operation. The 'problem' is that the timer is just too quiet to be heard unless you are standing right by the machine and the actifry stays running and cooking the food until you switch it off. I have overcome this by using my oven timer to alert me when the food is ready but I think it is a small design fault (I sent one actifry back as I thought the timer was so quiet it was faulty, but the replacement is exactly the same).
Best bits: the food produced and it is easy to use and clean.
Not so good: timer seems redundant and it is a bit bulky.
See my comment below about the longevity of the design.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2008
The Tefal Actifry is a functionally superb piece of kitchen eqiuipment. We took ours to France in the motorhome. No residual smells inside and we even cooked with it outside! Having chips with your barbecue attracts a lot of attention though. Everybody wanted to know where we bought it etc. One thing that we noticed is that although it is very expensive here, they are actually more expensive to buy in French Hypermarkets, although Tefal is a French brand.
The chips honestly don't taste like deep fried chips, but they do taste very good - lovely and crisp on the outside. Also good are little new potatoes, or salad potatoes, sprayed with 1 cal butter-flavoured spray 'fat' and 'roasted' in the Actifry. The calorie saving is very significant but they are still really tasty. We have also, when pushed for time, cooked oven chips in the Actifry. They have a much better taste and crispness than when cooked in the oven and children will eat them, whereas they generally hate oven chips!
The Actifry is also easy to clean and feels much safer to leave on when children or animals are around.
The areas for improvement are:
aesthetic design: it's the ugliest piece of kitchen kit that I have ever allowed to cross my threshold! You have to have a fairly large storage space because you wouldn't want it on view when not in use.
construction: as people have remarked, the clear plastic bits do feel very flimsy, although we have managed to avoid breakage so far
manageabilty: I also found that the casing does get very hot indeed.
The cool to the touch claim is untrue, I'm afraid.
capacity: despite the bulk of the machine, portion sizes are really child-sized in the eyes of true chip-lovers (my man!)
I have to recommend it as a good buy though, but would advise that you don't get one as a substitute for an existing fryer. Wear that one up first unless you are very wealthy !!
In the meantime, wake up British manufacturers and make a cheaper, better version, with a more interesting name and sleek shape !!
114 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2008
I read up a lot about this product and got very mixed opinions. However I went ahead and bought one and love it!
You can cook so many things in it and they have all turned out lovely so far. There are no smells from it and it is so easy to clean.
Practically all of my family have tested the food from it and everyone has been very impressed - so much so that several of them have purchased one for themselves.
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2008
I have now tried skinny chips, chunky chips, potato wedges (with & without skins) and parsnips wedges. Boy have I been busy, NOT! Chop, wash, dry, place in actifry and walk away :) Everything has been crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. The cooking times have had to be worked out by myself depending on the volume cooked but 1kg would normally take me 45 mins (40 mins stated in the recipe book).
I have been 110% happy with the cooking results of the Actifry and today had my first meal using alternative carbs since receiving this as a Christmas present!
It's hard to estimate what 1kg of chips looks like but depending on what you're having with them whether it's enough for 2, or possibly 3 adults. Possibly enough for a small appetite family of 2 adults & 2 young kids.
The timer is VERY quiet and as other reviews have suggested I use the oven timer instead. This is the only part that actually needs improvement on the unit and as it's not electrical (it's battery operated) it therefore doesn't turn the actifry off when the timer is up. If you're in the kitchen when the timer goes off then you'll hear it but if in a different room watching the TV you'd miss it.
Even though the price is high for the actifry I would still reccommend ANYONE to buy this whether they are conscientious of their fat intake or not.
114 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2007
Everything that people have said is true. The Actifry really does what it says. Great for chips (I also use it to dry the chips) and I've made some of the recipes included with success. The timer is not only quiet the Actifry doesn't stop when the time is up. Better to use a kitchen timer. However, one of the clips holding the central portion to the base has just broken off and it seems to me this is very likely to happen to others. Possible one could get away with not removing this central part for cleaning. I will return the machine after Christmas and get another but I do think this will happen again.
SEE my comment on how the design has changed.
171 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2007
Haven't been able to cook real chips for decades. Deep fat fryers are a pain, and the smell may be attractive before, but it lingers. This thing will cook chips using any kind of oil - we like olive oil, but sunflower and sesame are also good. And you only need a tablespoon (or 2) of it.
The chips take longer than regular deep fat frying, or oven chips, but the results are clean and as crispy as you like. I reckon it uses less electricity than a fan or conventional over would to make the same number of oven chips. Basically it's a 1400 watt fan oven with a device for tumbling the chips to spread the oil and the heat evenly. The cooking cavity is closed so there is no smell, and the whole thing comes apart for cleaning (which you can do in a dishwasher if you like).
It says you should rinse and dry the raw chips before cooking, and that's tedious but worth it. I also give the chips a minute or two in the fryer before adding the oil, which appears to dry them finally.
You can spice up your chips with paprika, herbs, or curry powder added to the oil before you sprinkle it on.
The only downside is the cost (high because there is no competition, I guess) and the redundant timer which as another reviewer said is too quiet plus it doesn't actually stop the cooking anyway. Other than that, if you can afford the space and the money, I'd recommend it.
208 of 218 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2009
The Actifry is a can't live without kitchen appliance, however expect it to break. Many of the great reviews are from recent purchasers, I agree that this is a fantastic machine that does exactly what it claims. I am a careful person and have owned my Actifry for 15 months, the lid broke (hinge cracked and fell off) after 6 months luckily this was within the Tefals warrantee period, as they usually cost £40 + P&P for a new lid. Now the paddle has just broken, the Actifry won't work without it, they cost from £17.95 + P&P to replace, I'll have to pay for this, as Amazon won't cover this. I have read many reviews and have spoken to other owners, many have reported faults with cracked/misted/scratched lids, stained/fractured/snapped paddles, and sparks/fires from the machine. So make sure you buy from a retailer who offers an extended warrantee, if they charge it's worth paying for, just read the negative reviews on the internet, they're all about the poor level of manufacture rather than the machines ability to produce great food. I shall be buying a new machine (more money than sense I guess), I've decided to pay a little more and get it from John Lewis or Argos, I'll just wait for a good offer. If you're concerned that this appliance is expensive, then I wouldn't recommend you buy it, as you'll need to buy spares to keep the machine operatng, these are expensive, they amount to nearly the same price of the appliance.
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2008
I bought the Actifry for one reason alone: less oil meant less odors, and I can't stand the smell of fried oil on clothes. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Not only does it not let out any of those horrible oil vapors that settle on everything, but it makes the horrible sight of left over oil a thing of the past.
You do need to adjust your cooking habits in order to use it effectively. For instance, it will take its time, which depending on quality and quantity can be anything from 25 to 45 minutes (I think more oil -- say 2 spoons instead of one may help speed things up a bit, but haven't tested this so don't take my word for it)
This means that instead of preparing a salad, fish or meat and then preparing the chips, with the actifry it saves time to throw the potatoes in and prepare the other dishes while it fries them. It is far more forgiving than a traditional frier with regards to the need to pay attention to it: leaving the chips in for 5 minutes longer will not result in them turning to coal. And Actifry itself will not burn your kitchen down or spill hot oil on you or your family. All this means you can concentrate on other tasks without stress while it does its thing.
A word of warning though: turn it off leaving your chips in with the lid down, even for a couple of minutes, and they will loose their crispness. You should be ready to serve them when they are done... or, just turn it off a couple of minutes early and turn it back on a couple of minutes before serving. I found re-activating the airflow for a bit will generally restore the crispness. It is for this reason that I think the timer not stopping the device when it goes off is actually a good thing. Okay they could have had it pop the lid open too, but honestly it never bothered me so far.
The great thing about the small amount of oil is that you can afford to use organic oil for frying. I used olive oil at first, but never got the right results. Edges and small sized sticks would burn by the time the rest of the chips where done. So I followed the advice in the book and used sunflower oil with very noticeable results. It doesn't taste the same, but it delivers a crispier, even, frying without burned edges. I plan to try other oils as well and perhaps mixtures (even a third of olive oil would make the edges burn -- okay, it is the healthiest of them all, but it is much more so in its raw form, best use it for salad dressings!)
I was glad to read another reviewer's comment about not peeling the potatoes. I do this too and I'll second the suggestion, you really can't tell the difference and it is much more nutritious -- do wash the potatoes *really* well though and cut out any soiled bits or abnormalities. And be very careful about the potatoes you use. Make sure they are certified to be pesticide free. Potatoes grow in the ground and absorb all the chemicals sprayed on the field, most of which stay *in* the skin. So unless you are sure they are free of such substances it's far healthier to actually peel them!
It is a bit noisy but it is only a problem if you are right next to it while trying to talk on the phone or listen to the radio. It's the only time I notice the sound it makes.
This is one of the best appliances I've ever bought, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. But we don't all like our chips the same so try to have a taste before buying.