This air fryer is unconventional, but its spinning paddle is perfect for hands-free cooking. With no pre-heat needed and a super handy viewing panel, while it’s not perfect for every home, the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 does much more than air fry.
Fries are amazing
You can do a lot with it
The paddle can get in the way
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This Tefal Actifry Genius XL is the result of two weeks of testing. I use the best air fryers for just about everything, from the bacon for my brunches to the chips for my dinners, so each and every one that I test is thoroughly used before I write up my thoughts.
My first impression of the Tefal Actifry Genius XL was that it really is very large. I had just finished reviewing the Instant Vortex Mini Air Fryer, so to move onto a circular, space-age-looking air fryer was a shift. It does not have a tray, so oil and juices don’t drip away from food. This means that your food is more likely to have plenty of flavour, but it also lacks the low-fat appeal of a basket fryer.
Tefal YV970840 Actifry Genius XL 2in1
Why you can trust Ideal Home
Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 specs
- Material: Plastic
- Colour: Black
- Capacity: 1.7kg
- Modes: 9
- Weight: 5.1kg
- Power: 1300 watts
- Size: 48.9 x 38 x 29.5 centimetres
The Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 looks like no air fryer I’ve ever tried. It has curved sides, and a handy viewing window that allows you to watch your food as it cooks. The control panel sticks out of the top of the machine and is touch-operated.
The controls are a little confusing, you can toggle between the upper layer and the lower layer, and pick from one of nine settings: chips, breaded items such as nuggets, desserts, nachos, fish and meat, chicken legs, stir fry, ‘world foods’ (very ambiguous) and pie. This automatically picks a temperature (from 90 degrees to 210) and time (which goes up to 60 minutes) for you, so all you need to do is press ‘go’.
Cooking chips in the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1
The Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 is well-known for making delicious chips. How? Well, the lever in the main pan slowly turns throughout the cooking cycle, keeping your chips continually moving and cooking evenly.
You just use the green spoon to measure out your oil, which I then poured on top of the potato wedges, before sprinkling on some paprika seasoning and starting the cycle.
The end result was very crispy chips, with deliciously even coating and a well-cooked exterior. They were finished in 20 minutes, which is slightly less than the chip setting estimated.
Cooking meals in the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1
My favourite air fryer, the Ninja DualZone, has two zones for simultaneous cooking. This allows you to cook two elements of your meal simultaneously, which is great for keeping different flavours, textures and cooking styles in your dish. It’s also very handy for different cooking times, because you can sync easily.
The Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 has a similar idea, with the option of cooking in the bottom of the air fryer first, and then choosing a different setting for the top level of the fryer for your protein. If you want to cook both on the same cycle, it’s also possible to just add the top layer above your lever and get cooking. I did this when making buffalo cauliflower (one of my favourite dishes) by adding curly fries on top.
The paddle kept my cauliflower moving constantly, which resulted in delicious and evenly-cooked cauliflower. I did miss the drawer element of a regular air fryer though, because cauliflower gives off some moisture which was unable to drip away in cooking.
I wasn’t crazy about the shape of the cooking surfaces for certain types of meat. When cooking bacon for example, I had to form a strange lattice shape and then go in and adjust once the slices had shrunk slightly to make sure they all cooked evenly. If you want to cook steak in this air fryer, I think you would struggle to fit it into the doughnut-shaped cooking surface.
Cleaning the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1
Attachments are very easy to remove and clean by hand. The bottom pan even has a flip-out handle that makes pouring crumbs away very easy. You can also place them at the top shelf of the dishwasher, but because they’re so large I recommend just cleaning by hand. It won’t take long.
Should you buy the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1?
There’s so much you can do with this air fryer. Aside from chips and proteins, the paddle would be great for stir fry or fried rice. Even just some roasted veggies would come out amazingly. And while I didn’t try it with roast potatoes, if my chips are anything to go by, I’m sure they’d be amazing.
You do trade off some of the other perks of air fryers when you buy the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 though. For one, it's quite large, so it won’t slot neatly onto your kitchen counter. Another thing is the lack of basket, because fat won’t drip away from your meals as it cooks, which means the low-fat element of air frying is dimmed slightly. Not entirely though, because these chips really did come out amazing with just one tablespoon of oil. I even felt like they could’ve used a little less oil.
I’m not totally sold on the shape, because it makes it hard to cook some of my air fryer favourites such as bacon and toasted sandwiches. If you want an air fryer that will allow you to experiment with different cuisines and cooking modes completely hands-free though, it’s a good pick. It also regularly goes on sale in Black Friday air fryer deals.
About this review, and our reviewer
Millie Fender heads up all things small appliances at Ideal Home. There’s nothing she loves more than testing out the latest and greatest cooking gadgets, for indoor and outdoor use, from toasters to air fryers. She reviewed the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 from her own kitchen, testing it rigorously for two weeks before writing this review. Tefal loaned Millie the Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 for the sake of this review, and she returned it after publication.
Millie lives in South London and is constantly squeezing more appliances into her modest kitchen. If it makes it onto the kitchen counters full time, you know an appliance is worth the hype.
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Millie Fender is Head of Reviews at Ideal Home. She joined Ideal Home as an Ecommerce Editor in 2021, covering all of the site's small appliance and cookware shopping content. Millie formerly worked at Top Ten Reviews, another Future site, where she produced review and buying guides across a range of home products, from fridges to blenders. As Head of Reviews, her job is to test all the wackiest product launches, whether they're air fryers, bread makers, or juicers, and give you her honest experience.
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