The T-Fal Actifry uses a stirring paddle to prevent hot spots in the air-frying process, and it seemed to work alright, at best. In our tests we got some evenly cooked chicken wings and fries, though it did take longer than other units to get to that result, and the food was less crispy than many competitors. We cooked the same quantity of chicken for the same amount of time in each of our air fryers, but when we popped open the lid on the Actifry, the chicken looked too pale on the first try. It always needed a little more time. The final results were pretty good, but not enough to justify the Actifry's relatively high price. For a more economical machine, check out the GoWISE Touch Screen.
This machine was full of quirks – some excusable and some not. For one thing, it was the loudest by far. All of them were louder than we thought they would be, but this one was overwhelming. All of the air fryers also produced more smoke than we expected, including this one. It is also very wide and takes up a lot of counter space. All of that is excusable.
What is inexcusable are the controls, which consist of a small digital timer and an on/off button. That's it. There is no way to set your temperature. There are suggested cooking times in the manual to compensate and guide you to proper preparation of different foods, but having a little more control as a user would be nice. The other air fryers offer a dial or digital controls for temperature.
Other quirks include the lack of an automatic shut-off. Most competitors shut down after finishing a cycle. This one stays hot. It also gets too hot on the exterior. This one was hottest to the touch, even right after turning it on. That is not ideal, especially if you have kids at home.
The Actifry has a nonstick coating on its pan and agitator that make them very easy to clean. The lid is the only problem. It is integrated with the electrical systems so you cannot submerge it. We wiped it down but it never seemed fully clean.
This machine always took longer than competitors to finish a batch of food and has many other inconveniences. This might be an OK option if you have very low-slung cabinets because it is short and wide. Generally speaking, though, we found better options for less money.