on 19 May 2011
I have had one of these for 3 months and barely a day goes by without my using it. Not only does it cook potatoes (whatever shape, chips, roast, little square ones you buy from marks and spencer food hall etc etc)beautifully, but it 'dry frys' bacon, sausages, meatballs, skin with chicken on to perfection too with no smell and hardly any washing up, you just rinse the non stick pan out...It is a dry fryer after all, so I find it doesnt lend itself to foods you would normally slow cook, like spag bog and chilli.
You wont regret paying the relatively steep price for this product. If mine ever conks out I shall go and buy a new one. Couldnt say that for most of the other kitched gadgets I have bought in the past. Do buy the bigger one though, it will serve you better in the long run once you get used to cooking more than the fabulous low fat chips it makes.
The downside, (more of a note to the manufacturer this), the plastic dome cover is potentially vulnerable to break at the weak spots, long before the machine itself would give up, it would be nice to know replacements parts were available easily and cheaply.
PS a Batch of chips takes approx 20mins, sausages also take 20mins come to think of it (!) but its worth mentioning that beacause the machine has a paddle inside that constantly turns the food, so you literally leave it to it and everything comes out evenly cooked on all sides.
I've had an Acti-Fry before but it was an older model and I only had it for a little while.
I bought the family model as it has two major benefits over the other models, apart from the size that is.
The first benefit is that it has an automatic cut off once the timer has reached zero which the other models do not, so if you forget your chips your ok, it will turn itself off, the chips keep warm in the residual heat of the machine for a good while.
The second benefit is a little more obscure, the family version has a plastic ring that fits around the top of the pan, this overhangs the pan itself and for things like a stir-fry it keeps all the contents inside the bowl, I found on the other models it tended to want to escape :-)
I use my Actifry mainly for chips, roast potatoes, chicken wings and stir-fry food. It is excellent at all of them.
You can do other things like chicken nuggets but some more moist foods will shed their breadcrumbs due to being moved all the time before the coatings have hardened in the heat, that is the price you pay for low fat cooking I am afraid.
I have also owned a Philips Air Fryer and while it was ok, it wasn't great at making chips like the Actifry and also oil built up on the internal parts and made it smoke a lot, there is no smoke with the Actifry.
I would advise against dishwashing the parts of this machine, hand wash them, it only takes a minute. Dishwashing will encourage the plastics to crack, its just something that happens, same thing happens to the Morphy Richards three zone steamers I buy, all are great machines, I have had more than one of each, but all of them suffer this cracking over time, all you can do is hand wash to slow the rate of deterioration, although if any parts do fail, at least getting spares is now easy via Amazon. Treated well the machine will last, treated badly and like most things, it won't.
Home made chips in this are just out of this world, I use Maris Piper and sunflower oil, try mixing in some paprika to your oil if you want something different.
Chicken wings are stunning, crispy if you wish (I do!) and pop in some Montreal Steak Spice for an amazing flavour or lightly toss in barbeque sauce (in the pan) and run for 2-3 mins to thicken the sauce and make sticky wings. You'll love them!
Yes, chips take longer in here than frying, but then your getting the benefit of healthy eating and they are delicious too in my opinion.
No the machine isn't perfect it doesn't instantly cook chips silently but it does make cracking chips that have very little oil (probably less than mashed with a dab of butter!) and does it very well.
I have been lucky enough to have been using the Tefal Actifry for a week now and have got to say that I am thoroughly impressed with this clever kitchen gadget. I have seen it advertised since it's launch and have wondered whether it is a great a machine as testers and salesmen have claimed.
I am happy to say that I have not been disappointed. This is a versatile kitchen cooker which most people would use again and again. It is great for a wide variety of foods and even though most reviews talk about how well it cooks potatoes, producing chips and roasts using only a tablespoon of oil, it can also be used to make many other meals, including curries, stir fries, risottos,and desserts, the only things that aren't recommended for cooking in it are dishes which use alot of liquid and freshly battered food. You will have to experiment with it when cooking your own recipes, the machine does come with a very limited recipe booklet with 12 recipes and a cooking time chart at the back which covers times for potatoes, meat/poultry (fresh and frozen), frozen ready meals such as paella or stir-fries, fish/shellfish, vegetables and fruit desserts eg bananas, strawberries, apples and pineapples. I am disappointed in the free booklet, and have looked to see what is available to buy, however there is a gap in the market, apart from a couple of books by Paul Brodel, there seems to be no other cookery books. I have spent sometime looking online where a lot of owners post their own recipes. Saying this you could use Tefal's recipe book and pick their curry recipe and use the cook times but alter it to other casserole type meals e.g. sweet and sour chicken. The rotating blade which sits inside the pan ensures that whatever you are making is evenly cooked and browned. You basically pop whatever you are cooking be it chips and sausage (they both fit in the pan together) set the cooking time, for sausage and chips we set it for 45 minutes and hey presto, off the blade goes, you can go and do something else and when it beeps your food is ready.
The Actifry itself is slightly noisy when on but there is not steam or spitting with it, meaning that it seems a very clean way to cook with. The machine itself does take up quite a bit of bench space. I have found keeping it next to my hob is the best place for it, because it reduces the amount of pans you need, in fact you often don't need your hob, so you could sit the fryer on the hob whilst it is cooking (as long as you don't turn your hob on!)
I can see why it would be popular with people who have caravans or mobile homes, it will offer you the chance to cook most foods and will help save on going out to the chip shop! As a family gadget it is great, if the kids want chips and nuggets you can cook them in the same pan and at least the chips are much reduced in fat content. It cleans really easily, the central pan pops out and it is non stick so really easy to wash. Because it has the pad to stir the food, the non stick shouldn't get chipped as you don't need to use utensils in it apart from removing your cooked food.
The only thing I'm not sure about is whether or not it is a energy saving item, it obviously is if you use your oven and hob alot as you won't use them as often. Whether or not is it cheaper than a slow cooker, I'm not sure.
Overall, I can see why so many people rave about the Actifry and why many people would buy another if their's stopped working :)
I have now been using this fantastic piece of kitchen equipment for over 1 month and I can't recommend it enough. The more you use it the more you realise how much you can do with it. You can adapt alot of recipes from any of your cookbooks to work in the Actifry. For example I use the Mexican Food Made Simple book by Thomasina Miers and instead of roasting veg in the oven and then adding it to a mixture in a pan, I just cook it all together in the Actifry. It is such a clever gadget, and you can do a wide variety of dishes in it. Just look at your recipe and think how you could cook it in the Actifry, play about with the cooking times. What I would say is the more you use it the more confident you will get. Can't recommend it enought. Great device.
Just a final note this is so easy to clean, the clear lid detaches and washes with a little soap and water, the pan cleans really easily and there is a plastic lip which helps contain splashes which encircles the pan, this comes off the pan easily and cleans nicely. I really can't stress how great a kitchen gadget this is.
on 29 May 2011
I've had this for a fortnight and to date simply using it for making roast potatoes but mainly chips. You really have to follow the little guidebook as it's totally different to cooking with deep fat fryers. To start off everything is already assembled and only needs a quick wash with a tiny drop of washing up liquid on a new cloth leave to dry thoroughly.
I cook for mostly 3 people (0.6Kgs using 9 medium-sized potatoes) and with my preference for sunflower oil, it's recommended you use 1/2 of the supplied spoonful for chips, only use 1 spoonful for 1.5KGs. Even though the first time I used this it came out tasty and crispy, I did slightly overdo it to try to get it evenly coloured a nice golden colour. Only took 28mins with no pre-heating needed at all as the paddle keeps the chips turning. After getting used to this fryer I've now settled on the right timing. That is the only setting you need to worry about, there are no temperature controls which takes the hassle out of cooking. If your cooking frozen chips you don't even use any oil!
Cooking chips is as simple as:
1) place dried chips in pan
2) put 1/2 tablespoon of oil over top of chips
3) close lid
4) turn on
5) select timer according the amount of chips to cook
6) wait for timer to beep (this stops the cooking process unless you add additional time)
7) turn off the fryer (and at the wall) and serve straight onto plates
I haven't cooked vegetables or meat yet simply because when your doing chips and steaks there isn't room or time. You should check the recipe book as you can cook most things your oven can (bar cakes etc lol), quite amazing!
Ok the fryer sounds noisy but I love there isn't any horrible steam rising up at all, and you can see nearly every chip through the sturdy plastic lid (be careful not to touch top as it's very hot. Cleaning it is minimal and everything comes apart. Love the metal washable filter that never needs replacing. And the smell is amazing as the taste of the chips - very refreshing. I've used a famous crispy oil on my old chip pan and they never came out as delicious as these or anywhere as crispy. If you've ever cooked oven chips because of the taste and health benefit, this is certainly a step up from that and unlike oven chips - they are never dry.
The price is typical of these types of fryers but the fact the chips are crispy every time and your always using new oil is well worth the initial outlay. I should have bought one of these ages ago.
on 3 April 2013
I first got one of these a few years ago and was quite pleased with the way it cooked chips. Though it made a lot of noise and took ages.
It cooked other food less well, such as a chilli we made. In fact the food was cold when finally completed and had no less fat than the way we would normally have cooked it.
After a few months, small parts started to break. The paddle no longer clipped into place, the handle broke, then the clear lid, then the mechanism that caused the paddle to rotate. SO we got a new one (thanks to Amazon's excellent customer service).
The new one has lasted longer. But a year later it has died in the same way.
The problem is the quality of the plastics being used. The material that connects the paddle to the center spindle is made of a type of plastic that actually seems to melt after a period of use! Now the cursed thing doesn't rotate properly so the food doesn't get cooked properly!
Tefal really need to look at these issues and address them. Now I have a large, expensive, noisy and useless cooker sat on my worktop.
A complete waste of money!
on 6 May 2014
UPDATE 23rd October: The Actifry broke down for the second time in early August. On 13th August I took it to Le Clinique du Petit Menager for repair. I was advised that I would be contacted when it was ready for collection. I returned to Le Clinique some three weeks later to be advised that the equipment wasn't ready because "everyone is on holiday", and was once again told to wait to hear from them. I contacted Le Clinique shortly before I left for holiday on 28th September - by now the equipment had been with them for around 7 weeks. I was told it was not ready because it required a new motor, and I should wait for them to contact me. I left for my vacation, returning on 18th October. I contacted them on 20th October, to be advised that the equipment is not repairable, and that they would be obtaining a new model for me - and - surprise, surprise - I should wait to hear from them. How long - I asked - and was told one, maybe two or three weeks.
I HAVE SERIOUSLY HAD ENOUGH. Apart from any other consideration my warranty period will expire within the next two or three weeks, and I can see myself being left hanging, and then being told - sorry - your equipment is no longer covered by warranty.
I paid 262 euro for this product - whichever way I look at it, this is not a cheap piece of kit. I bought it less than 11 months ago, and three of those months have been spent in the repair shop.
Unfortunately, my French isn't sufficiently fluent for me to enter into a discussion / argument about the disgraceful length of time the equipment has been with Le Clinique in Cahors - nor to explain my anxieties about the warranty period expiring, so once again I have turned to Tefal.com, Facebook, Twitter in an effort to provoke some sort of satisfactory response.
UPDATE 4TH August. Advised the equipment must be returned to the service centre for "assessment" to see if it's considered to be suitable for repair. Can't believe this standard of after-sales service from an international company with a fine reputation. Two breakdowns in less than 12 months - can this possibly be considered normal or satisfactory? NO, of course it can't. I'm not even seeking a refund, I just want a machine that works.UPDATE 4TH August. Advised the equipment must be returned to the service centre for "assessment" to see if it's considered to be suitable for repair. Can't believe this standard of after-sales service from an international company with a fine reputation. Two breakdowns in less than 12 months - can this possibly be considered normal or satisfactory? NO, of course it can't. I'm not even seeking a refund, I just want a machine that works.
UPDATE 31st July. Having finally raised someone from Tefal in France I took the Actifry to our nearest service centre in Cahors, a 60 mile round trip which I had to undertake twice at my own expense. Two weeks following the repair the equipment broke down - AGAIN. I have been unable to provoke a response from Tefal.fr - AGAIN - and have just contacted Tefal.uk - AGAIN - in an effort to get something done. I am not prepared to continue with this model. Two breakdowns in less than 12 months is simply not acceptable for something that cost the best part of £200 - so the battle for a replacement now begins. I'll update again when I know the outcome.
I live in France at the moment, and bought this model in November 2013 from Amazon France. I was generally pleased with the results (though chips are notably soggy rather than crisp) until ...
Some weeks ago whilst cooking potato chips it simply stopped. Nothing, zilch, zero, kaput. My best efforts failed to generate a response from the equipment and as it was outside the 30 day period for return to Amazon I started the process of contacting Tefal. If it weren't so tragic it would be comical. I visited the Tefal UK site. I was directed to the .com site. The French site offers no language option, fair enough, but it was a slow process for me to translate. However, such is life and I managed it. There is no telephone number on the .com site. The only UK line provided on the co.uk site is an 0845 number, which I am unable to call from France. I have now sent a number of emails to Tefal France which have provoked no response whatsoever, not even an automatic one. I have now resorted to the Tefal Facebook page, which has also failed to provoke a response thus far. My nearest Tefal dealer is a 200 mile round trip - and whilst I'd be prepared to undertake this if I knew the dealer would oblige with more than a Gallic shrug, I'm not prepared to do so unless Tefal confirm to the dealer that this is a repair to be undertaken under the terms of the guarantee. Frankly I think the after-sales service is a disgrace. WHY make it so difficult to make contact?
I'm about to email the Tefal UK to see if they can help.
So, in conclusion, would I recommend the Tefal ActiFry? Based on the fact that it's useless after a few weeks of light usage, combined with the comically atrocious after-sales service, NO, I WOULD NOT.
on 22 May 2011
Had the normal size actifry which produced brill potato wedges but not enough for 4 so bought the family version which did not appear that much bigger, but I was wrong. These feeds my family of 4 comfortably as the space just seems to be better allocated. A bit pricey though and was hoping it would come down in price but couldn't wait any longer really. A great product and a great service from Amazon who disatched it very quickly.
on 21 October 2011
Here's a little tip for you all. Once your spuds are cut and ready, bung 'em in the microwave for a few minutes, 4 should do it. This saves on cooking time and makes sure even though the chips are brown that they are indeed fully cooked.
My Acti-Fry (Family model) died out of warranty after approximately forty (40) uses. Thankfully I wasn't treated to the same pyrotechnics as other customers. The thermostat or/and fan failed.
Tefal won't undertake out of warranty repairs directly but, instead, gave me contact details for a company in Manchester who provided me with three repair options: £40, £51 or £61 depending on the carriage and collection service used. They explained to me that a number of the machines can't be repaired and if this is the case in my instance, the repair cost will still be charged as an inspection fee.
Tefal offered to sell me a new one for 40% of the recommended retail price - £149. When I explained to them that I could buy a new one for cheaper/around the same price from Amazon and that nobody sold the Acti-Fry Family for anywhere near the recommended retail price, they explained that they were not in competition with Amazon so did not need to price match! When I asked if they could sell me an extended warranty this time they explained that they do not provide an extended warranty on the Acti-Fry. I wonder why.
Would I buy again? Well, Tefal's customer service is not great and the whole idea of an out of warranty repair is, as I see it, a bit of a no go. The Acti-Fry is clearly not designed or expected by its own manufacturer to last and yet it is expensive enough to avoid being just thrown away - especially because it may not last much longer than the standard one year warranty.
I really did look after the unit very well - cleaning it thoroughly after every use and making sure that the metal oil/grease filter was clean and free of oil. So it is very disappointing to be honest.
Sure, it does produce great results when it works but for the money I should expect something more robust and long lasting. Forty uses is pretty poor (imagine a forty use kettle!)
So I will probably look elsewhere and try a different product with a similar profile. Philips AirFryer maybe.
I had my eye on this for a while and pulled the trigger on this 1.5kg model when Amazon dropped the price dropped. Having read reviews and negative press on the fan failure and burnout problem I was - and still am - a bit reluctant to look at the device too positively. I actually didn't unpack the fryer for a few weeks because I was thinking about returning it.
Anyway, upon unpacking it I was surprised to see a high quality bound and colour instruction/recipe book. It contains genuinely useful and accessible information including the fat breakdown of various cooking oils - omega 3 content of the different oils and so on. The book has a low level French culture/French food theme and the English language translation is not always great. In parts the English translation seems to have been made by a non English speaker. Minor point but a number of the recipes, in terms of seasoning suggestions and ingredients, sound a bit odd to the British ear: mussels in an Actifry? Better regionalisation of recipes would be welcome.
I've used the unit to cook chips, chicken nuggets, chicken and mince meat/chilli and curry.
As a chip fryer it is, frankly, remarkable. My first attempt results were impressive enough - and even a usually picky eater three year old agreed - but with experimentation in terms of cooking time, oil amount, potato cut and potato type the results are even better. Yes, it is just about possible to get something approaching the texture and taste of fish and chip shop chips by using a little more oil than strictly required and by reducing the cooking time. Potato choice is also important - King Edwards and "floury" (non waxy) varieties are best. You do have to wash them and dry them before use. The preparation time is worth it.
Fast food style chicken nuggets can be made easily - the chicken nuggets are much crispier than when cooked in an oven and they do taste as if they have been deep fried.
The unit is noisy when in use and this is due to the fan. It's not too bad - it isn't distracting but you will be aware the fryer is working.
Unlike the smaller capacity version this one also has a timer which switches the device off when it is finished.
I do question how long the device will last for though. It's reliant on a mechanical fan and, according to some of the negative reviews, I don't think there's a fail safe state whereby if the fan fails the device turns off. The fail safe seems to be that the heater burns out.
Reservations aside the device is amazing and one of the best - and most useful - gadgets I have ever bought.
It's especially good if you have picky eater children. Whilst it would be great to think that steamed vegetables and five a day is a realistic option it simply isn't the real world choice for many young children. This device at least means that low fat versions of home cooked fare (chips and roasters) can be cooked with a far superior and more appetising taste than their high fat equivalents.
I would probably buy another one if this one lasts even a couple of years.
on 19 April 2012
Had the Actifry for just under 10 months now and I'll be contacting Amazon shortly as it's falling to bits. It has been used probably 5 days a week but mostly only to cook a small (toddler sized) portion. Couple of times a week it gets used for the 4 of us to do either chips or roast usually frozen as fresh is too much hassle and never came out that great even when even sized, well rinsed and dried.
the good points firstly. After a bit experimentation with various brands we settled on McCain french fries and it produces these bang on perfect every time, 10 minutes for anything up to a couple of portions, 15 to 20 if for everyone, give them a shake in the middle. Sausages as well it does a treat.
Now the bad points, as mentioned above it's falling apart. At least one of the restraining clips in the handle has snapped as the handle now flexes and wobbles alarmingly with even a modest sized portion. It's never had anywhere near the 1.5kg it is supposed to handle probably less than 1 kg max. The little clear cover that sits on the lid around the handle started falling off after a couple of weeks and now the lid has a crack running from one of the front catches up and across the top working its way to a corresponding crack on the other side. When the 2 meet then it won't be useable. Nearly £200 and it doesn't even last a year!
Would I buy another? Not the tefal design too many issues, will try another make if Amazon refuse to replace it I think.