The T-fal ActiFry requires as little as a single tablespoon of oil, providing an easy, healthier alternative to traditional deep frying. Its self-stirring design makes it useful for cooking a variety of foods, including stir-fry dishes and risotto, and dishwasher-safe parts make for easy cleanup. Some reviewers note durability concerns, however, particularly related to the plastic components.
Versatile multi-cooker. The T-fal ActiFry is a low-fat multi-cooker that offers a healthier alternative to the deep-frying method of cooking by using less oil than traditional deep-fryers, or even no oil at all. Amazon.com owners are impressed by the authentic deep-fried taste it produces, but not all reviewers agree. A blog post at MotherNatureNetwork.com says french fries cooked in the T-fal have a "completely different flavor profile" than restaurant fries but are still enjoyable. This 1,400-watt multi-cooker has a maximum capacity of 2.2 pounds, ample enough to make about four servings.
A breeze to clean, operate. The T-fal ActiFry requires very little oil, typically just 1 tablespoon, which is why there's no drainage system. Its single temperature setting is controlled by a simple on/off switch. The ceramic-coated, nonstick pan removes for easy cleaning, and the pan, paddle, lid and measuring spoon are all dishwasher-safe. The exterior of the unit stays cool to the touch, so burns are less likely. Yet it's somewhat bulky and difficult to store, according to a review at MotherNatureNetwork.com.
Added convenience. The T-fal ActiFry has a countdown timer with a buzzer and a paddle that automatically rotates to stir the food, offering practically hands-free cooking for a variety of dishes. A lid reduces the risk of messes and splatters, even where more oil is used, and an odorless filter minimizes cooking odors. The ActiFry includes a lid, measuring spoon, lid and removable pan.
Plastic components. The outer lid and paddle of the T-fal ActiFry are made of plastic, leading to some complaints about potential BPA exposure; some owners also express concerns about heat melting the plastic components. While the fryer's exterior generally remains cool during use, a blog post at MotherNatureNetwork.com says the plastic lid tends to get warm. Amazon.com owners complain of broken lids and malfunctioning heating elements. A few had to pay shipping costs to get replacements under warranty, while others report good experiences with customer service. The ActiFry is backed by a one-year warranty.
1. Mother Nature Network
Harris says the T-fal ActiFry produces fries with "a completely different flavor profile" than traditional deep-fried fries, but her family enjoys them nonetheless. She loves the fryer's self-stir feature and how easy it is to use, but says the plastic housing gets hot.
Review: Review of T-Fal Actifry: The low oil 'fryer', Kimi Harris, March 7, 2013
At Amazon.com the T-fal ActiFry earns 4 stars out of 5 after more than 320 owner reviews. They appreciate the low-fat alternative to deep frying, and many say the fryer produces an authentic deep-fried taste. However, a few post complaints about durability.
Review: T-fal Actifry Low-Fat Multi-Cooker, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013
The T-fal ActiFry is one of five deep fryers named in this roundup, where Harlan notes its ability to produce deep-fried flavor without oil for a healthier meal. This is a very brief overview of the fryer's features, however, and there's no mention of testing.
Review: The Best Deep Fryers, Jessica Harlan, Not dated
This short discussion thread asks for opinions from T-fal ActiFry owners. Problems noted include the stirring paddle and plastic construction, which may contain BPA. Another user is pleased with its performance.
Review: T-Fal Actifry, Contributors to Chowhound.com, As of September 2013