With the ability to steam and grill as well as air fry, this Tefal Easy Fry 3in1 has a lot to offer. It takes up more space than most air fryers, but if you regularly cook for a crowd, its roomy air fry basket will make it a welcome addition to your kitchen. And at under £200, it’s reasonably priced given the large capacity and additional steam and grill functions.
No need to preheat air fryer
Sleek touchscreen interface
Exterior doesn’t get too hot
Steam and grill functions
Takes up a lot of space
Parts can’t go in dishwasher
Poor instruction manual
Why you can trust Ideal Home
It’s not uncommon for air fryers to incorporate other cooking functions such as bake and dehydrate. But as the name suggests, the Tefal Easy Fry 3in1 FW201827 Air Fryer, Grill & Steamer has the unique ability to both grill and steam foods as well as air fry.
At just under £200 it’s not the cheapest you can buy, but the 6.2-litre capacity will allow you to cater to up to eight people. Plus the grill and steam functions mean you’re getting three appliances in one, which helps avoid the dreaded kitchen clutter.
The downsides are that it's big and bulky so it won’t be suitable for smaller spaces, plus the instructions lack detail so you’ll have to be comfortable with a bit of trial and error. That said, I tried it out for two weeks in my own home, cooking for two, and once I got used to it, I was impressed with the performance, and would be happy to rank this as one of the best air fryers. Everything I cooked was a success, I even made a delicious crumble.
Like most appliances, it’s not without its quirks so read on to see what I enjoyed most and what I think could be improved.
- Material: Plastic
- Colour: Black
- Capacity: 6.2 litre
- Modes: Air fry, grill, steam, fries, nuggets, chicken, fish, roasted meat, vegetables, dessert
- Weight: 7.9kg
- Power: 1900 Watts
- Size: (H)39.9 x (W)32.4 x (D)40.7 cm
- Cable length: 120cm
Helen is a regular contributor to Ideal Home, reviewing appliances to let us know what they're worth. She lives in a village in Buckinghamshire and reviewed this air fryer from her own kitchen, which is in a 17th-century cottage with unnervingly low beams that make her glad to be short. She was sent this air fryer by AO.com and tested it by using it to cook all sorts of everyday foods for herself and her husband. AO.com were happy for Helen to donate the air fryer to a worthy cause after the review.
Unboxing the product
The Tefal Easy Fry 3in1 is a large capacity air fryer so I wasn’t surprised when a hefty box turned up. I was however, disappointed to open it up and find it was sandwiched between two large chunks of hard-to-recycle polystyrene and I can only hope Tefal are making plans to follow many other brands who have managed to switch these protective inserts for cardboard versions.
Now, I’ve reviewed lots of air fryers, including large capacity models and I’d say that once I got this one on the kitchen worktop, it felt like one of the biggest. In actual fact the footprint probably isn’t much different to other large capacity air fryers, but because it’s so tall, it appears to be much bigger overall.
The black plastic exterior is very shiny and reflective, it’s controlled via the touch sensitive LCD display, so when switched off there are no visible buttons, this makes for a sleek, uncluttered appearance. One of the first things I noticed was that pushing the cooking drawer back into position after opening is awkward and clunky, it has to be lined up perfectly, which means it’s more fiddly than most. Admittedly this became easier the more I used it.
It’s supplied with two interchangeable inserts for the cooking drawer, one for air frying and another, heavier grill plate. And because it can also be used as a steamer, on the top there’s a removable water tank.
Given that the inclusion of a grill and a steam function make this air fryer a bit more complicated to use than most other standalone air fryers, I was disappointed with the instruction manual. It’s mostly pictures, with very little written information. There is a leaflet containing some cooking time and temperature tables, but even here, the different foods are shown as illustrations which aren’t always easy to interpret.
Thankfully the control panel is pretty intuitive to use and the clear time and temperature symbols next to plus and minus signs made it easy to figure out how to adjust the settings. Although to adjust these during cooking, you have to hit the pause button first, which took me a minute to figure out. And my general first impression is that there will be a bit of trial and error involved in using the grill and steam settings to begin with.
I like the blue colour of the LCD display, but some of the symbols for the preset modes aren’t very obvious, for example the one for nuggets looks a bit like sliced potato to me. After playing around with them, I was pleased to see the time and temperature settings within the presets are adjustable. However, it’s not always clear what cooking mode each preset uses and it took me a while to figure out that the vegetable preset uses the steam function, while the fish and the roast meat presets both use a combination of steam and air fry. A more thorough instruction manual would be really useful and definitely would have saved me time trying to figure out the various settings.
There is a QR code supplied which takes you to an online recipe book containing 30 recipes, including starters, mains, and desserts. And despite not necessarily wanting to try all the recipes, I did find it useful for extra guidance when deciding on time and temperature settings, so would recommend having a look.
Using the air fryer
If you’re the kind of person that hates appliances with noisy beeps, you ‘ll love this one. The beep to signal the end of cooking is so quiet I sometimes missed it even when I was in the same room. In terms of other noise, when air frying it’s around 55dB which is slightly quieter than my kitchen extractor fan on its middle setting.
I tried lots of foods using the air fry mode. One of the things I love most about this air fryer is that it doesn’t ask you to preheat it first, so it’s quick to get started.
Air frying bacon took 8 minutes at 190oC, there’s easily enough space for four slices, but if you overlap them slightly you can probably squeeze in six. I turned the bacon after six minutes and when it was cooked the fat had rendered perfectly and the meat was succulent.
Another favourite of mine is the air fried cheese toastie – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I set it to air fry at 190oC for 10 minutes and put in two sandwiches, with the outside of the bread buttered. After a turn midway through, I was rewarded with crispy, crunchy bread on the outside and oozy melted cheese in the centre. Plus, it’s nice to have enough room to fit two sandwiches side by side.
To cook some frozen breaded chicken tenders, I opted to try the nuggets preset for ease. It cooks at 200oC and the preset time is 18 minutes. I turned the tenders after 7 minutes and took them out after just 12, which is far quicker than the 20-25 minutes they’d have taken in my oven. Not to mention the fact that the coating was perfectly crisped and golden.
To give the dessert preset a try I defaulted to the recipes that are available via the QR code. There’s one for apple crumble, so I gave it a go. It’s worth noting that you need a dish that’ll fit inside the air fryer for this one. First the fruit gets cooked in the dish for 15 minutes using the dessert setting, then you add the crumble topping and cook for the same time again.
When making fresh chips I soaked them in water for 30 minutes before drying and coating in one tablespoon of oil. I used the chips preset and gave them a shake after 15 minutes. Then after 23 minutes, when the chips were close to being done, I pushed them to one side and added in some frozen scampi. Six minutes later I turned the scampi pieces. At the end of the 35minute preset time, the chips were crisp and golden as was the scampi. Air frying different foods together is a great way to make the most of a large capacity air fryer like this one when you’re not cooking for lots of people.
One of the few things made clear in the instructions is that the grill will need to be preheated for 15 minutes before you add any food. This does make it less convenient than air frying, but it allows the grill plate to get nice and hot, and means you’re more likely to get the chargrilled bar marks on your food. But annoyingly, if you open it during the 15 minute preheat, the timer goes back to the start.
First, I tried grilling a selection of chopped vegetables, including onion, pepper, courgette and mushroom. I sometimes cook this selection in a griddle pan, so wanted to see if this would achieve similar results. After the preheat I piled in 1.3kg of veg - so quite a lot - and started it up.
A lot of steam was emitted from the back during cooking, and I opened it up twice to stir the veg before taking it out after 20 minutes. I had trouble with the timer resetting every time I opened the drawer, which was frustrating, and I couldn’t figure out why it was happening.
The result was similar to when I roast veg in the oven, nicely cooked with a few charred edges but it wasn’t really bar-marked. Plus, quite a few pieces had fallen through the grill plate and a puddle of liquid had accumulated under there too, so I couldn’t tip the veg out for fear that the liquid would come with it and I had to fish the rest out of the puddle, which was a shame.
On a separate occasion I grilled two large Barnsley lamb chops. After the preheat I set it to 200oC for 10 minutes and placed the chops on the grill plate along with a couple of long red peppers. The peppers were done after 7 minutes, they were soft with slight charing at the edges, but very little in the way of bar marking.
The lamb chops took 10 minutes, and I turned them mid-way through. The result was two beautifully cooked chops with slightly blush meat in the centre and crisp, well rendered fat along the edge. Any excess fat dripped down below the grill plate and the chops had some bar marks, but they weren’t very prominent. Nevertheless, they tasted great.
To steam broccoli, I made use of the vegetable preset, which is 100oC for 25 minutes. There was no indication that you should preheat it, so I cut a whole head of broccoli into florets, popped it on the air fry plate, filled the water, and started it up.
Side note, the instructions recommend that you use purified water in the water tank, like we’ve all got some of that kicking around. At best you might use water from a Brita filter, but I didn’t, I used good old tap water.
During steaming it’s very quiet, I’d describe it as a low purring sound (it was around 40dB). I was reluctant to check on progress too frequently as I didn’t want to let all the steam out, but I did check a couple of times and give the broccoli a stab with a fork to see how well cooked it was. I took it out after 14 minutes and it was nicely cooked with al dente stalks. Very little water was used in this time, and none ended up in the water collection drawer at the base.
Steam air frying
The fish preset uses both the steam and air fry cooking modes, so I gave it a go with a couple of salmon fillets. It wasn’t entirely clear whether it was steaming or air frying first or whether it was doing both in combination. So I didn’t mess with any of the settings. I simply added the salmon skin side down – again, this was a guess as I wasn’t sure which way up to put it - and started the fish preset.
I left it for the full 11 minutes and at the end the salmon was just cooked enough, it was moist, flaky, and still a little pink in the centre. The skin hadn’t crisped, maybe I should have put it skin side up, or most likely the addition of steam means it won’t crisp up either way.
None of the removable parts can go in the dishwasher, which is a shame. Granted, the drawer is so big it would take up loads of space in your dishwasher, but I would like to have been able to put the removable grill and air fry plates in. Everything is non-stick, so none of it is too tricky to wash by hand, but the grill and air fryer plates have lots of fiddly grooves and holes that are best cleaned with a brush.
At the base of the air fryer, below the cooking drawer, there’s a small pull-out drawer that collects excess water during steam programmes. So this will also need emptying and cleaning after steaming cycles.
There is a self-clean function, it uses water from the water tank and takes around 30 minutes, I tried it out and I didn’t really see the point if I’m being perfectly honest. However, by adding water and vinegar to the water tank, it also works to descale the internal steamer parts, which is important to maintain optimum performance, so I would use it for that reason. But again, the pictorial instructions lack detailed information such as how often to use this function.
The closest comparison that I’ve tried is the Ninja Foodi Health Grill and Air Fryer, which is also a combination air fryer and grill. The Ninja is a great air fryer and grill, but it doesn’t have the steam function, instead it offers bake and dehydrate functions. Plus, the Ninja is more expensive with a smaller capacity.
If you’re looking for a multi-functional cooking appliance, the next best thing would be a multi-cooker. One example is the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-cooker which offers nine cooking functions including air fry, steam, slow cook, pressure cook, grill, bake and more all for just £60 more than this Tefal air fryer. But, the Tefal still offers a larger air frying capacity, so it all comes down to what you need.
Should you buy the Tefal Easy Fry 3in1 FW201827 Air Fryer, Grill & Steamer?
If you want a large air fryer and you’re likely to use the steam and grill functions, then it is a good multi-functional addition to your kitchen. If however, you don’t think you’ll get much use from the steam and grill functions then it may be unnecessarily bulky.
Given the capacity I think it’s fairly priced and virtually everything I made in it was a success. But, you’ll only really get the best from all the functions if you’ve got the confidence to experiment, because the instruction manual is sparse and lacks detailed guidance, so trial and error is necessary until you get the hang of it. After that though, you’ll have a great appliance that can be used for all manner of foods.
About this review, and the reviewer:
With years of reviewing household appliances under her belt, it’s amazing that Helen still loves cooking and still manages to find appliances that surprise her. When she’s not in the kitchen she’s usually either doing some kind of DIY or exercising.
At Ideal Home, how we test products is of paramount importance, which is why this air fryer was tested at home by Helen for a number of weeks before she came to a verdict within this review.
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After completing a Home Economics degree, Helen went on to work for the Good Housekeeping Institute and has been reviewing home appliances ever since. She lives in a small village in Buckinghamshire in the UK.
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