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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 September 2012
This is the compact model for 1-2 people. That is for a full meal but if your just doing veggies you can do enough for up to 3-4 people.

This is fantastically simple to use, I have used a Tefal before so didn't need the manual but you fill the base up with water to the line that corresponds to the time you want the machine to run. Sound complicated? You want 30 mins fill to the 30 mins line. The machine will boil the water and steam until the water runs dry and the like a kettle boiling dry the machine will turn off. You do need to turn it off at the wall if you want the machine to be actually fully OFF. I don't like leaving things turned on anway and this machine is MEANT to be used and then packed away, so if your using it properly, no power switch shouldn't be an issue!

Talking of packing the machine away. Once cleaned the steaming baskets just turn over upside down and stack within each other, then you take that stack of baskets and pop it over the base and put the top on. It all stacks into a very small space and is excellent for popping in a cupboard or in my case leaving it on top of the microwave oven under the cabinets. Neat and tidy.

Here is a tip if your cooking chicken, fish or pork pop it on a plate first as the white stuff that oozes out of those meats is a pain to clean from ANY steamer I have used, save yourself the trouble and pop it on a plate as I say. Otherwise its easy to clean.

Great for veggies, you can't beat steamed veg, best way to cook and keep in the best of the veg and you also don't need salted water which is even healthier. Add a little salt after cooking if you desire it.

I cook a lot of chicken, fish and veggies in mine, they are also great for warming hot dogs and if you fancy something different pop a home made beef burger on a plate, let it cook and for the last 3 mins pop some cheese on top, for a steamed burger (they're all the rage in certain states in America!)

Also why not peel an apple or a pear and pop them in for a quick tasty dessert? Sprinkle with a little cinnamon when just taken out and maybe some squirty cream? Feeling adventurous? Try a home made steamed pudding.

Oh and if your always burning the potatoes you can't burn them in a steamer! LOL
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on 23 October 2012
As they say, the design is perfect when you cannot remove anything else. This model has nothing you won't use unlike other models you pay for extra to never use.

It does not have:
-any buttons;
-any switch;
-any beeping sounds;
-any timer;
-any programs.

It has:
-steam making part;
-3 containers with holes + 1 little container with no holes (must be placed inside a bigger one);
-a small indicator suggesting how much water you need for it to work for 10 mins, 20 mins, etc (plus a few pictures with typical foods).

You just plug it in and it starts generating steam. You won't even need a manual, if you remember you need to pour water in the very bottom part, on top of which there's an extra plate for collecting water going down during the steam generating process.

It will fit all kitchens, yet it is big enough as it has 3 bowls. Really, a masterpiece.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 August 2015
A good steamer that is easy to use. Things like vegetables taste great (flavour is lost if you boil them) and can be cooked in 30 minutes. Root vegetables like potatoes take 40 minutes or so so put them in first and let then cook whilst you chop cabbage or broccoli for example which you can add for the last 30 mins. If you are in a hurry, slice potatoes thin like dauphinois and it will cook in 30mins. Beware putting frozen peas in part way through as this will slow the cooking of anything in the same or lower tiers.

It is easy to clean, unless you cook fish or meat which seems to stick a bit and can be difficult to clean. For meat and fish use a little olive oil wiped in the tray before putting it in and this will help to stop it sticking. You are supposed to be able to dishwasher the trays, but the plastic degrades and develops hair line cracks. This happens after about 3 months of everyday use and dishwashing with finish tabs. We got new trays under guarantee for this reason. The cracks will grow and eventually the clear plastic tiers will fall apart. If you only want to use one tray and will dishwasher it, then go for a steamer that is not tapered like this one, then you can dispose of a tray and use a different one instead.

The element will attract scale in hard water areas unless you use filtered water. The wire ball descalers are good though, so you can put one in the bottom to reduce scale and this also seems to help existing scale go brittle and flake off.

I hope this was helpful.
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on 3 February 2014
I bought this for my Mum, who has very bad arthritis and has a job lifting even small saucepans. She has really taken to the steamer, she puts all her veg in one basket and 20 mins later the are cooked. No more lifting dangerous pans for her.
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on 27 January 2013
This steamer replaces an old pan-top one that we have used and abused for literally decades, but which is now well past its best. We used an electric one on holiday and thought it was great idea so bought this one. It was reasonably priced and a decent size for two adults with big appetites.
It arrived well within the stated delivery time and was in good order.
As for working it - it is not perfect, you fill the water container according to how long you want it to work for - eg potatoes take 40 minutes, so fill to the 40 minute line. You can add extra layers during cooking of you wish to add other foods that do not take as long. BUT the timing lines are not that accurate, and certainly for potatoes and cabbage are not really long enough - not a major problem, just something you need to get used to with practice after all as they say on ready meals these days - all cooking devices vary and may take more or less time than suggested!
the lid used as a drip tray works well as does the staking system, and it packs away small very well with the cooking trays inside one another and upside down on the base, all very effective.
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on 13 June 2015
As a steamer the item works, it steams. However, this item is not fit for frequent use, or prolonged use. After having this item since the end of March it has developed cracks on one of the baskets. The item has not been dropped or roughly handled. The item is used daily to steam vegetables for about ten minutes and then placed into a dishwasher or hand washed. Originally, the cracks started out as hairline cracks, then over time these cracks have got bigger and holes are starting to develop along the cracks. There is many, many hairline cracks around the lip of the basket and I'm sure all of these, overtime, will turn into major cracks until the basket actually splits and becomes unusable. As the baskets are different sizes its not possible to use one of the upper baskets on the bottom - this would at least extend the life of the product. As it stands I'd say this product is fit for about 3-4 months of daily use before the baskets crack to the point of needing to be replaced. The photos of the cracks were taken just over 3 months after purchase. I never, ever write reviews, but considering how defective this product is I feel it warrants warning others about the defectiveness of it.
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on 19 April 2012
this item is big enough to steam for up to four people when you use the three tiers. we have had no problem up to now and i see nothing that will change my mind. a good item that i would recommend to anybody.
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on 16 October 2012
I bought this item a month or two ago and I use it nearly every day. I look at a saucepan and then put the steamer on. It is ideal for me as I live on my own. I normally cook meat, veg and potatoes as a main meal and it does this admirably. It doesn't seem to overcook the food and of course once it is loaded and switched on you can leave it and do your own thing. It sounds a buzzer when it has finished. I think it is great and I would recommend it to any one that is cooking for themselves.

The real down side to the steamer is Tefal and there short sighted approach to creating documentation. Yes there is an instruction book but it is next to useless apart from the safety information. It must be in an hundred languages and yet it manages to tell you nothing. The book relies on symbols, there own symbols and if you don't know the code you are stuffed. The hardest thing I found to cook was rice. I went through the small instruction book with the many languages and the confusing symbols several times and could not work out the quantities to use. There was one symbol that looked like a box of porridge oats being emptied into a bowl with some numbers next to it. Well apparently the box is not porridge it is rice and so eventually I had the right amounts.

Well despite the instruction book this is a wonderful cooking aid and I am glad that I chose to buy it.

Tefal Mini Compact VC130115 Steamer, White
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on 10 September 2013
This appears to be a product with high reviewer rating, nevertheless as compared to my old cheap Russel Hobbs steamer, I have found a couple of significant disadvantages.

Cons:

a) Yes, the three containers fit inside each other reducing the required storage space significantly, however for me this is a major design flaw. Basically because the size of the three containers is slightly different from each other they can only be arranged in a single way. The smallest one has to be at the bottom and the largest one at the top, always. This creates a problem.... As with all steamers, food in the bottom one cooks faster, therefore often you need to rearrange the order the containers after a few minutes, to ensure that food in the top container is also cooked properly. Some other times you need to remove the bottom one, and/or the middle container after a few minutes of steaming and leave only the top container. Unfortunately the design of this steamer makes this impossible. The medium size (middle) and larger size (top) container do not fit to the steamer's base! To continue steaming food in the top container you would actually need to, empty and clean the bottom container, transfer the food from the top container to the bottom container, and continue steaming it in that one. It is a significant problem!

b) The instructions manual is rather poor. Based only on pictures it not so easy to understand the details. The presence of a timer and heater cut-out function is not even mentioned (or if it is it is not obvious), so I had to spend time to test things out.

Pros:

a) The three containers slide/fit inside each other saving lots of cupboard space. If space is an issue this steamer is what you need (otherwise you may be better off with some other steamer whose containers are interchangeable).

b) The black insert collects oil and juices keeping the base cleaner than with steamers which do not have this feature.

c) There is a water level indicator window and markings indicating what is the steaming time to run-dry from each level.

d) When the steamer runs dry, the light switches off, an audible alarm sounds, and the heater is powered down which is good. The heater turns on again when it cools down (e.g. by filling the container with cool water.)
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on 19 April 2011
Tefal is a tried and tested brand, like the way this steamer is stored within itself but when it is put together for use is is plenty big enough for one person or small family. the water level timer is useful, bottom line I would recommend this product.
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