The Tefal 8-in-1 Multi Cooker has a whole host of functions; it's a rice cooker that does much more than cooking rice. Its eight programmes are: quick rice, white rice, brown rice, grains, porridge, slow cooking, steaming, dessert. Plus it has an automatic keep warm function. It's simple to use and most functions can be programmed with a delayed start – the exceptions being slow cooking and pudding.
If the programmes appeal, it represents superb value for money as it costs little more than a standalone slow cooker or rice cooker. It's well made and its multiple functions will save you space as well as time in the kitchen. Aside from a few bits that are fiddly to clean, the Tefal won't disappoint.
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The Tefal's build quality is impressive for a mid-priced cooker. The machined steel finish is very fingerprint resistant and practical, while the big handles and detachable cable let you carry the whole thing to the table for serving. It comes with a rice paddle, measuring cup and steaming tray.
Controls are intuitive; you won't need to look at the instruction manual. Press the menu button to select a programme and then the up and down arrows to adjust time if you want a delayed start. For example, you can tell it you want your rice to be ready in anything from 2 to 15 hours, in 1 hour increments.
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Design and materials are generally better quality than its (already impressive) predecessor, but there are a couple of niggles. The cup markings on the inside of the non-stick metal pot are hard to read. The spoon holder on the side takes up too much space (but can be removed).
The condensation collector is now at the back, which leaves it out of sight (good) and out of mind (bad – it's easy to forget to empty it, which means it might overflow the next time you cook). There's also a "micropressure valve" on the top that needs occasional washing, but removing it to do so is fiddly.
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The controls are intuitive, though, and the delayed start option is superb – why don't more cookers have these? You can very easily set it so that your rice, porridge, veggies etc. are ready at the right time. There are two minor criticisms though: you can't delay the start of a slow cooking programme (for example, to prepare a dish the day before you want to eat it, but only cook it for 10 hours) and delayed start only lets you set food to be ready from 2 to 15 hours, in 1 hour increments. What if you want your rice in 1 hour's time? Or in 3.5 hours? Still, very few cookers offer a delayed start, so the Tefal is a vast improvement in this respect.
And the results are superb. Overnight chilli was cooked perfectly, even though the Tefal's instructions don't tell you whether to follow a recipe's cooking times for a "low" or "high" slow cooking. Rice was timed beautifully and washing up the cooking pot was no bother at all.
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Yes, despite a few tiny niggles the Tefal is the best multi-cooker we've tested yet. And it's multi-talented: it takes the place of multiple gadgets, saving you space as well as time. It's also superb value for money, costing little more than a standalone slow cooker or rice cooker. But if you simply want a slow cooker on a budget, consider the more affordable Lakeland Brushed Chrome Family Slow Cooker.
The multi-talented Tefal cooks up a storm – serving up rice, porridge, slow-cooked dishes, steamed veggies, puddings and more in style.
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