Hands-on: Tefal Actifry Mini review

Pocket-lint last tested a Tefal Actifry appliance five years ago and while the technology itself has changed little in the meantime, the latest fryer is perhaps better suited to many British homes.

The Tefal Actifry Mini is the company's smallest in the range yet. Its compact form factor means it fits into more-snug places and it comes with a cleaner, simpler design than its older siblings, so might suit those who prefer a neater kitchen aesthetic.

Like the entire Actifry range, the Mini requires only a spoonful of oil to fry chips or other foods. That means it doesn't add much additional fat to a meal and keeps calories down. For example, one portion of freshly made chips comes out at around 110 calories.

It uses a combination of hot air and a rotating paddle to ensure all chips are cooked evenly with the minimum of oil. The non-stick pan inside does a splendid of job of ensuring the chips - or other foods - are tossed and turned effectively and the end results are very impressive indeed.

The Mini version has a smaller capacity than its stablemates, with a claimed maximum load of 600g being enough for two people. We actually found that three could get a decent sized portion; four if you cut down a little per person and replace some with a salad, for example.

Use is as simple as can be. Put your raw food into the pan inside, close the lid and there are time up and down buttons and a stop and go button. You can change the time at any point. It's a bit like a super-simplified Microwave in operation.

Its a doddle to clean too. Without much excess fat at the end of the process, you just have to wipe it down. A little washing-up liquid helps, but you only need to wipe and rinse the pan, paddle and protector. A removable filter inside the unit will need a wash occasionally, but that's easy to remove.

Perhaps because of its size, the Mini also has the benefit over older fryers in cooking time. A full pan of chips takes anywhere from 18 to 20 minutes, while other recipes, such as stir frys and even curries, are detailed in an included (excellent) cook book.

One slight downside is that it takes longer to cook frozen fries or chips than a conventional oven, but we found it to do so more evenly.

The Tefal Actifry Mini is available from John Lewis in the UK for £169.95, both in store and online.