Tried & Tested

Tefal’s air fryer may be cheap on energy, but is it any good?

Air Fryer
Gilly Ferguson,-Writer

Will this air fryer really save you time and money? And how will it handle cooking a traditional Sunday roast? We put it to the ultimate test with a family of four...

What is it?

Air fryers are increasingly popular kitchen appliances used to fry foods (case in point: #airfryer viewings on TikTok have reached nearly five billion). Most commonly, it’s meat and potato chips that hit the heat, but (spoiler) Tefal ActiFry Genius XL 2-in-1 YV970840 Health Air Fryer, £210 loves a sauce, too. Ideal for cooking on the cheap, estimates that air fryers can cost half as much to run as a conventional oven, which is why the world’s bonkers for them right now (hello, cost of living crisis). 

So, how do air fryers actually work? Well, here comes the science bit: like a miniature fan oven, air fryers circulate hot air around the food, producing a crunchy, crispy exterior, thanks to a chemical reaction known as Maillard. 

But what makes Tefal ActiFry Genius so, um, genius is its ‘2-in-1’ technology, which allows you to get all parts of a meal ready at once, so that nothing’s cold, nor overdone – for example, if you’re cooking crispy chips and juicy chicken, the ‘2-in-1’ programme will beep to tell you when to add the chicken to the top tray. That way, everything will cook together and be ready at the same time, making you look like a profesh without the graft.

Also, its (actual) Genius smart settings take all the guesswork out of cooking, which is supremely useful for useless cooks, like myself. There’s even an automatic stirring feature and automatic ‘keep warm’ mode. TBF, I wouldn’t be surprised if it also unloaded the dishwasher, fed the dog and put the kids to bed for you, too*. Oh, and because it’s Tefal, it’s non-stick and easy-clean. Winning.

[*Sidenote: It won’t, yet.]

Why do you need an air fryer?

1. Healthy cooking –  Air fryers are a healthier alternative to deep-fat fryers, so if you eat chips, chicken goujons or roasties on the reg, making the switch to air technology is a smart move. How? Air fryers significantly decrease the amount of oil absorbed into foods and less oil equals fewer calories consumed. You could even make doughnuts and get healthier-ish results.

2. High speed – Touted as the kitchen gadget for making dinner in 15 minutes, air fryers get hot immediately and cook food faster (chicken thighs took 40 minutes in our usual oven, plus 5 minutes to heat up, but only 20 in the air fryer). 

3. Low cost – According to a Uswitch report published in October 2022, air fryers are cheaper to run than traditional ovens – approx 14p per day, compared to 87p per day for electric cookers. As energy bills soar, this money-saving, energy-saving alternative is a useful way to save cash. However, it’s also important to note that the running cost will vary, based on your energy tariff, location and the size of the air fryer you’re using.

Does it work?

Is the air fryer the best appliance to save cash when cooking? It’s hard to say. Sure, it was cheaper to use than our oven, but how does it fare when rustling up much-loved family fare? Here’s how we got on with staple Sunday roasties…

The Air Fryer Vs The Oven (*cue dramatic music*)

Air fyrer
  • Time: 27 minutes
  • Taste: Delish dry crisp
  • Cost: 34p
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Taste: Delish, less crisp
  • Cost: 62p

So, how efficient is the air fryer, really?

  • It’s quick! Our roasties took 30 minutes to cook, instead of the usual 60 in the oven
  • It costs less
  • Our tatties tasted as delish as usual, and a touch less greasy (so we ate more, obvs)
  • The best bit? You can put it in the dishwasher. I mean, actual Genius


Having said that, once I’d navigated the lengthy instructions (not my strong point) and powered up the air fryer, I was surprised by how noisy it was. It also takes up a lot of space – not surprising really, when you think that you’ve got a small fan-assisted oven on your kitchen countertop. 

And here’s the thing, it is a small oven of sorts, and as such, will only cook as much as a small oven can. Fine for small meals, smaller families, students, single home-owners or house shares, but for families of four or more? Let’s put it this way: You won’t be able to cook Christmas lunch in this. Or a full Sunday lunch for that matter. If you like your roast chicken with trimmings, you’ll still need to turn ye olde oven on. And it’s not a case of filling the basket to the brim either: if the air in the air dryer can’t circulate, it won’t cook evenly.

The metrics that matter

Egg Emoiji


Air fryers are more energy-efficient than most convection ovens because they cook food faster, fact
Plate Emoji


Our roast tatties tasted the same as our oven-cooked ones, only less oily!
Money Emoji

Value for money

At £210 it’s not cheap but, over time, air dryers are proven to be cheaper to run than traditional ovens, although how much money they’ll save you varies

Is it worth it?

Yes, for the right household. Does the air fryer offer a quick and cost effective way to cook? Absolutely! Will I use it in real life? Perhaps…

For fast, 15-minute kids’ meals (when they’re ravenous-verging–on-feral and I can’t dish out their dinner quick enough), it’s ideal, but for regular family roasts? Honestly, no – it’s too small for cooking large family meals in. I’d recommend it for couples or single households looking to cut costs – because, ultimately, air fryers will help you save money – but this isn’t the gadget for us.

Related Articles

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus Smartwatch
Tried & Tested: Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus Smartwatch
Read more
Skandinavisk Jul Scented Candle
Tried & Tested: £25 sustainable Christmas candle
Read more
The hot mini heater for less than £50
The hot mini heater for less than £50
Read more
More stories