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Tefal's first dual-zone air fryer has a quirky design – here's why our reviewer was won over by it

 Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer .
Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer .

With so many air fryers flooding the market, choosing the right one for you is, at best, daunting. And just when you thought you’d decided on two drawers instead of one, along comes the Tefal Easy Fry Dual Air Fryer & Grill to confuse things.

This model is equipped with two drawers - which, if you’re new to air fryers, means it has two completely separate cooking zones. But unlike most others, it has a big 5.2-litre drawer alongside a more compact 3.1-litre drawer.

So you might be wondering why they would make an air fryer that doesn’t split the capacity evenly, and whether you should choose this over one of the best air fryers that favours the standard design with equal drawers.

I’m no stranger to reviewing air fryers, in fact, I’ve tried so many, that there are some that I barely remember using. But I’m pretty sure I’ve never tried one of the best dual zone air fryers with unevenly sized drawers. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty around, there are. But having not tried one myself, I was interested in using this one and see if I preferred it to the ones with two equal-capacity drawers. Here’s how I got on when I had it in my home for a week.

Tefal Easy Fry Dual Air Fryer & Grill product specs:

Tefal Air Fryer
Tefal Air Fryer
  • Capacity: 8.3 litre total (5.2 litre/ 3.1 litre split)

  • Modes: Air fry, grill

  • Presets: Fries, chicken, vegetables, fish, dessert, dehydrate, manual, grill

  • Weight: 7.8kg

  • Size: (H)30.5 x (W)41.8 x (D)40.2cm

  • RRP: £199.99 (stainless steel)/ £189.99 (black)

Unboxing, setting up and first impressions

I was pleased that when I opened up the box, there was no polystyrene in sight. Just cardboard inserts that can go straight into the recycling. Once out and on the worktop, it felt a little wider than some dual drawer air fryers, but otherwise, it’s a pretty standard size and shape.

The left hand drawer is the larger capacity drawer. And this is also the only side that offers the grill function. As such it has a more robust griddle style insert tray in the bottom of the basket. Whereas the smaller basket on the left has a pretty standard removable perforated tray that slots in.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

The touch sensitive control panel is simple to use, so I got to grips with it very quickly. The left drawer is number 1 and the right is number 2. By pressing the number that corresponds to the drawer, you can then select the cooking time and temperature settings for each side. And if you want them to finish together, simply press ‘sync’ and the side with the shorter cook time will automatically be paused so that they finish in sync.

The only thing that I struggled to figure out was how to start up basket 2 without basket one also cooking. The instructions in the manual didn’t seem to tally with what the machine was doing. But I eventually figured out that by pressing and holding the start/stop button while on basket 1, this switched it off and I could just programme basket 2 to cook. And given that basket 2 is much smaller, it makes sense to use this side if you're just air frying something small.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

There are several time and temperature presets for common foods, like fries, chicken, and vegetables. These provide a good starting point, especially if you’re new to air fryers. But for added flexibility, the presets can be adjusted, or you can choose the manual mode. And to further help you when starting it up there’s a small recipe booklet included in the box along with some cooking charts with suggested times and cooking temperatures for lots of foods.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

The air fry temperature can be set anywhere between 40 - 200C in 5C increments, but the grill temperature is set at 200C. And the timer can be adjusted in 1 minute increments between 1-60 minutes.

What's it like to use?

For my first attempt, I cooked a couple of sausages using the grill mode and air-fried some Brussels sprouts simultaneously. The instruction booklet advises that sausages take 16-20 minutes to grill at 200C. And since I was only cooking two, I set the timer to 16 minutes.

In the small drawer I added raw Brussels sprouts that I’d cut in half and lightly coated in oil. For these I selected the vegetable preset which automatically sets the air fryer to cook for 20 minutes at 180C. Then I pressed the sync button so they’d be ready at the same time as the sausages.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone air fryer
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone air fryer

The grill takes 10 minutes to preheat, then alerts you to add the food, at which point I popped the sausages on the grill plate. The small drawer was initially paused and then cooking started part way through the grill preheat. There’s no built in preheat for the air fryer function, it just starts cooking immediately.

During cooking I gave the sprouts a couple of good shakes and turned the sausages a couple of times. Near the end of the cooking time, I decided the sprouts were still a bit firm and thought it might be worth increasing the cooking temperature for the remainder of the time. But I didn't think it was an option. I later discovered that if you press the start/ stop button, this pauses cooking and allows you to adjust the settings.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

Nevertheless, the sausages cooked really well under the grill, they browned evenly and didn’t dry out. And I could easily have fit several more in the drawer. The sprouts were cooked and edible, but next time I’d increase the temperature to achieve a more well roasted flavour and texture.

Whole chickens roast nicely in air fryers, I know this from previous attempts. Plus there’s a recipe for roast chicken in the little recipe book that came in the box, so I used that as a guide. The recipe suggests 50 minutes at 160C for a 1.3kg chicken.

My 1.5kg chicken fit comfortably into the larger drawer, and I placed it in breast side down to start with. I decided to set the timer to 60 minutes to account for it being a bit bigger than the one in the recipe. Then I added halved tomatoes to the small drawer and opted for the vegetable preset (the same one I used for the above sprouts).

I made use of the sync button again to ensure the chicken and roasted tomatoes were ready at the same time. And I opted to put the tomatoes on baking paper so they’d be easy to remove. Then I set a timer on my phone to remind me to turn the chicken over after 30 minutes.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

Turning a whole hot chicken is a bit of a faff and required a big spatula and pair of tongs, but once I got hold of it, it was easy to turn. There are several loud beeps at the end of cooking which means you won’t miss it finishing, but could be annoying in situations where you’re trying to keep the noise down.

The roast chicken was beautifully cooked. The skin was golden and crisp, and the meat had a lovely tender texture. My husband actually commented on this being one the best air fried roast chickens he has tried. The tomatoes were softened and baked through, with some starting to become lightly charred at the edges.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

All in all, it was quicker, easier and less mess than roasting a chicken in the oven. And this is where having one side larger than the other really came into its own. The chicken wasn’t crammed into the drawer, so roasted particularly well.

I used the small right hand drawer on its own a couple of times, it’s nice to know you can use less electricity by choosing this side when cooking small foods or individual portions. It worked well for a frozen breaded spicy bean burger. I popped it in at 200C for 20 minutes, giving it a turn after 14 minutes.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

The breadcrumb coating was super crunchy, much better than it would be if oven cooked. And although it was only 5 minutes quicker than it would take in the oven, given that there was no preheat, I think that’s not a bad result at all.

I also used the small basket to air fry two little jacket potatoes at 200C for 20 minutes. I’d given them 5 minutes in the microwave first, and then coated them in oil and salt before air frying to crisp up the skin. It worked a treat, the skin was crisp and crunchy and very tasty.

Lastly I made homemade chips in the big drawer and heated fishcakes from the supermarket in the smaller side. I cut up the chips and after soaking for 30 minutes in cold water, I dried them and coated in oil and some salt.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

I made about 500g - enough for two people - but when I tipped them into the large drawer, it looked like barely any. I’d say there’s plenty of room to make chips for up to six people in there. I selected the fries preset which cooks them for 30 minutes at 180C. Meanwhile, I put the fishcakes into the small drawer and put it on for 20 minutes at 190C and used the sync finish button.

Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home
Testing the Tefal Dual Zone Air Fryer at home

During cooking, I gave the fries a shake when prompted halfway through, and again about 5 minutes before the end of cooking. They browned and crisped nicely and the fishcakes cooked perfectly too, with a great crunch. My only criticism is that the chips cook much faster in my usual air fryer, so this one feels a bit slow, especially considering the fact that I hadn’t filled the drawer very full.

How does it compare to similar models?

For roughly the same price the Instant Vortex Plus VersaZone has a marginally larger capacity. But instead of two drawers, it has one large drawer that can be divided into two separate evenly sized cooking zones. So it offers a different type of flexibility. It cooks really well and even has six cooking modes to choose from, including grill.

If you need a more budget friendly option, a good alternative is the Lakeland Dual Basket air fryer. It’s a similar overall capacity, though this is split across two evenly sized baskets. Admittedly, it doesn’t offer a grill function, but at under £100 it’s a steal. And it does benefit from viewing windows in the front, so you can watch your food as it cooks.

Cleaning

Thankfully both the baskets and the inserts in the bottom are dishwasher safe. So I didn’t have to spend ages scrubbing out sausage fat or chicken grease. But that said, they are also non-stick and if you’ve cooked something that’s not very messy, like fishcakes, the basket just needs a quick wash in the sink.

The touch control panel shows finger marks, but the occasional buff with a microfibre cloth keeps it clean. The rest of the exterior of the stainless steel model that I had, stayed looking fairly clean.

Should you buy the Tefal Easy Fry Dual Air Fryer & Grill?

Ultimately it’s a decent air fryer that cooks well, some things like chips took longer to cook than in other air fryers, but it’s still quicker than an oven. The main selling point for me is the uneven size drawers.

This setup offers plenty of scope to cook a wider variety of foods than you might be able to cook in an air fryer with an even split. It was nice to be able to air fry a whole chicken without cramming it in or having to buy the smallest chicken I could find. But whether you should choose this over a model with two even size drawers will depend on what foods you like to cook and whether it’ll work for your household.

Arguably the grill function is another reason to buy it, but a lot of things that you might grill, like sausages or bacon, air fry well too. That said, if a grill function appeals to you, then this model will tick that box. But keep in mind that plenty of other air fryers offer multiple cooking functions including grill. They just don’t come with the griddle style plate.