The appearance of the units are quite different and will of course be down to personal preference. However, my money is on the Philips Air Fryer with it’s clean cut lines and pod shape. While everything is hidden away when cooking, this is likely to mean that children will be less inclined to try and watch their tea go round and round. On the opposite side, you have to pull the basket out to check on the contents and shake when cooking some items and the basket can need a good pull to get it out.
The Philips appears to be faster than the Tefal, but both take longer with chips than any other food which maybe fresh or frozen. Given the way these machines work, you are going to get splatter from both of them. With the Tefal this will be on the clear lid (which has been known to discolour and crack), with the Philips this will be mostly on the splash guard below the grill element, but the obvious parts of both machines are dishwasher safe.
As indicated, the Tefal has come in for a battering because of the need for replacement parts. Given the price, one would hope everything would work for longer, but that’s the price you pay for the new technology. That said, I think that Tefal have improved the stirring paddle that seems to have been at the root of the problems. The newer FZ7000 series no longer has a clip on paddle that was prone to break, instead it has a click and lock one that is far better. The Philips is far to new to have a history to draw on, so we will have to wait and see.
While both machines will cook chips, french fries, wedges, meat and poultry, there are a couple of differences. For example, in the Tefal Actifry you can produce stir fries and currys because of the paddle and a hidden heat element. The Philips Air Fryer can’t do stir fries but will make you a nice sausage roll, bake a muffin, cake or quiche cook stuffed vegetables and brown off pre-baked bread. Basically, you need to decide where you tastes lie – do you prefer mostly savoury foods or would you like the convenience of baking in a worktop sized mini oven? If the latter, you may find that the baking tray you require is an additional add-on for some models. I believe it’s around £18 to buy separately.
The other major difference is that the Philips has a smaller capacity than the Tefal of around 20%. So if you are looking for a family sized model go for either the standard Tefal or the larger family sized model.
Taking a quick look at the De’Longhi Roto Fry, you can only cook foods that are suitable for deep fat frying as there are no more options. De’Longhi do have a good reputation though so if you just want it for chips with a bit less fat, go for this one as it’s cheaper.
The price of course is a major concern. The Philips Air Fryer can retail at £85+ . Some wholesale companies can offer a better deal, so try here for the Philips model. However, in monetary terms, the Tefal ActiFry now retailing for a minimum of £95 depending on the model. There is also the Duronic AF1 /B Healthy Oil Free Jet Fryer Multicooker that is new to the market and can be found similarly priced. If you are interested in the De’Longhi Roto Fry, the cheapest I have found it is around £65, but it is more limited in terms of what you can cook and will use more oil to do so.
For me, I’m still unsure. I like the look of the Philips, the size and it’s versatility, the price of the De’Longhi is the best but not the fact it only cooks deep fried food albeit in less oil than normal. The Tefal Actifry is more tried and tested, but comes with a questionable reliability record for some of the parts, namely the paddle and lid. No doubt these components have improved in the later models and you can purchase these parts separately should they break outside the guarantee period.