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 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 19 February 2012
July 2012 Update. Ive had this Actifry now for just over 5 months where I have used it about twice a week. Ive cooked various things in it, chips of course, sweet potatoes, oven chips and veg too.
During the 5 months Ive had two problems with it:-
Firstly, don't put runny honey in it with the oil to give the food a honey glaze. It bakes like baked on grease onto the paddle and discolours it to a brown stain (much like your old oven tray gets) and it won't come off!
Secondly, after I had washed the clear plastic lid recently, one of the clips that go into the main part of the lid body on the unit itself had snapped clean off and the other had cracks forming right round it. I called amazon to complain about the clear plastic lid and they immediately sent me a replacement. Note you have to send the old one back of course where they let you arrange the date for the complimentary Courier to come and get it. They use Yodel
I have now got my replacement and am keeping a cautious eye on the lid clips. I also rang Tefal and they said broken lid clips is not a known problem, but he'll send me a free lid as its still under warranty. So Ive got a new Actifry and a spare lid on the way.
Still - all in all its alright but Im downgrading it to 4 star because of this potential lid clip cracking problem after only occasional use across 5 months or so.
Feb 2012: We've had our Actifry Family now for just over a week or so. During that time we've been experimenting with different ways we can do chips and also tried doing some roast potatoes and a stir fry.
Chips are excellent, although we have a long way to go to try and get them to come out in different qualities by using different types of oil etc and doing them for different lengths of time.
One thing I will say is that another reviewer of this particular version, namely the 'Family' size, stated that if it's not filled full it does tend to push the food around in a circle. This is not completely true and it does turn it over for some of the time and then pushes it around for some of the time. However when filled to capacity it performs in exactly the same way - where it does both pushing the food around / turning it over during the length of time you set it to. So this would be appear to be normal during its operation. Therefore those of you thinking of getting the Family sized one don't be put off. It happens whether it's partly or completely full and the same will probably happen with the two other sizes available - both the 1kg and the 1.2kg version - (where the 1.2kg version is known as the Actifry 'Deep' or 'Plus' Fryer).
There are other reviewers that say its noisy. I don't agree with this at all as ours just makes a noise that kind of resembles the sound of a quiet hairdryer coming from a different room in the house, which certainly isn't noisy.
So all in all from the short experience we've had with it so far its a great product even though its expensive. At the time I ordered ours from Amazon, (5th Feb 2012), Amazon themselves were doing it at a reasonable £149.99 but they've stopped that now. So do shop around and definitely don't pay full price for it, ( I believe it's RRP is a rip off £250!).
Also please note one other thing - before you buy it do make sure in advance you have got room in the kitchen to store it somewhere as its quite a big and chunky piece of kit. To help you go to Argos website who give the dimensions. They say its approximate size is Size H27.6, W38.9, D46cm which is about right.
So happy and healthy Frying you fellow (and potential) Actifryers!
All the Best.
on 4 January 2015
Purchased my activity 14 month's ago. When using it a few weeks ago it caught fire and nearly burned down my kitchen. I really like the machine but when I googled it I found there has been 400+ similar faults with this machine. I returned it to Teafal and the refuse to admit there is a problem. They say a residue of oil was sucked into the element and caused the fire. They have refused to replace the machine free of charge, but will sell me another at a reduced price. Do I really want another one?
Enjoy you Actifry but watch it like a hawk it's dangerous!
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 3 October 2012
This is our second actifry. We love the product but it is alot of money for a kitchen appliance that breaks so quickly. The first one's paddle stopped turning - we bought a replacement but that didnt work. The second one, bought only 8 months ago, has broken on the top of the paddle - OK - it still worked though. The handle of the pan itself has now snapped off (resulting in chips on floor and a happy dog) and is unuseable. Its as if the plastic is getting really brittle and snapping, but surely this was tested at the development stage? Disappointing for a product from such a well known and trusted manufacturer.
on 16 August 2014
We have had ours for around 14 months and it now wont turn on, Its ok i thought it is under 2 year warranty!! Phoned Tefal to have it repaired and conveniently the UK only get 1 year while most of world gets 2 years!!! They are willing to sell us a new one at a discounted rate...how good for them..how bad for us!!!! We have used this about 20 times and i have read on-line other people all have the same issue right after the warranty has passed....BUILT IN OBSOLESCENCE!!!! Dont touch with a barge pole unless you want to be buying a new one every year!!!