Chefree AFW01 Air Fryer Review
A 6-in-1 cooker that offers healthier frying as well as replacing your toaster and grill.
While a rack gives the Chefree AFW01 Air Fryer an extra toasting function, it’s unlikely to replace your toaster just yet. Similarly, the window and light are potentially handy features, helping save heat by not having to open the drawer as often – but would benefit from improved visibility. As a fairly compact air fryer, the AFW01 does most things well that it should – grilling, baking and air frying produced good results – but its additional functionality needs more thought. If you like the idea of a window but with a clearer view, the Tower T17076 might be a good option.
- Compact worktop footprint
- Dehydrate function
- Viewing window and internal light
- Rack doesn’t keep food in place
- Only heats to 200°C
- UKRRP: £129
- CapacityTakes up to 5-litres of food in the single basket.
Air fryers can also be grills, ovens and even dry out fruit. Chefree’s AFW01 Air Fryer does all this and includes a bread rack so it can be your toaster too. Given that it’s not much deeper or wider than a four-slice toaster (though it’s quite a bit taller), this can effectively free up some much-needed worktop space, which could be ideal if your kitchen is on the compact side. This means that the AFW01 can be your go-to for all meals of the day, from a toasted breakfast right through to a quickly grilled lunch and a lower-fat air fried dinner.
Design and features
- 6 preset programmes
- Bread rack
- Fiddly settings
Compact air fryers can often be slim yet tall, creating volume but not much flat space for grilling. However, the AFW01 Air Fryer manages to offer a good amount of flat space inside yet isn’t so tall that it can’t tuck below a wall cabinet. Beyond its shape, it’s much like most air fryers. There’s a pull-out drawer with a roomy crisper plate that could easily fit a couple of steaks or six drumsticks, and a control panel above. Frustratingly, only some of the control panel is touchscreen, meaning that you can’t just hit a button for a function, but instead, have to scroll through the programmes one by one using a mode button. None of them have a preheat option, so you’ll need to add on a few minutes to each.
Also on the control panel is the light button, which illuminates the cooking cavity for a minute, thanks to a window within the drawer. The window itself is small, slightly tinted, and obscured by a handle, so it’s not always easy to see how brown the food actually is.
During testing, I found it was much more accurate to open the drawer to check, which slightly defeats the point. There’s also the option to cook manually, toggling time and temperature buttons (up to 60 minutes for normal cooking, 1-24 hours for dehydrate, at 60-200°C). It’s not clear if any of the removable elements are dishwasher safe as the instructions advise handwashing. However, as the window is prone to getting greasy and becoming more obscured, it’s a chore to keep this part of the basket spotless.
- Bread rack but no toast programme
- Simple to switch programmes
- Setting not clear for frozen food
The performance of the AFW01 Air Fryer was good overall but there are some areas that could use improvement. For example, as there are no recipes, or guidance for cooking different types of food, I was unsure what programme to use for frozen food, although as 200°C was the highest temperature available, this seemed like the best option.
I started by using the included rack to toast bread. The rack sections are quite wide, so I could also toast bagels and thicker breads. The downside is that the slices I put in it slipped out of the rack as I closed the air fryer’s drawer. I was also only able to add three slices as the front section was narrower and the slice wouldn’t fit the cavity.
Unsure which temperature to use, I chose the bake programme (150°C, which is the average temperature of a toaster); however, all this did was dry the bread out as the heat was fanned around rather than being direct. I swapped to the roast programme (190°C), which browned the bread but also dried it out further. The result was very crisp toast that lacked moisture and was unpleasant to eat. Subsequent attempts at toasting were slightly more successful but unable to replicate my toaster’s speed and performance.
One aspect of the air fryer I did like was how easy it was to swap programmes – all you need to do is hit pause, then use the mode button to scroll to the one you want and start it again.
Next, I made fresh chips using rinsed and dried chipped potato tossed in a little oil. Chefree estimates that there’s five litres of cooking capacity in the basket, but realistically, you’ll only be able to realise this for certain foods, such as a joint of meat or cake, rather than fresh chips. You might be able to squeeze in a very small chicken but most will be too tall to fit comfortably when the drawer closes.
I added about half a basket of potato on the air fry setting (200°C for 20 minutes). There is meant to be a shake alert halfway through the programme but it’s so quiet that I didn’t hear it. Instead, I shook the drawer every few minutes or so. The results were mixed, with some pieces emerging pale and slightly raw, while others were crisp and browned with a bubbled surface and soft inside.
Moving onto steak, I used the grill programme to cook quite a thick piece of meat. The default programme for this was 6 minutes at 200°C, so I added two more minutes and turned it over halfway through cooking. The steak was still quite pink in the middle, great for someone who likes a medium rare level of doneness but it would need more time for a well-done result. The steak was still juicy and not dry.
Finally, I used the manual cooking mode for frozen hash browns on 200°C. They took around 17 minutes to brown and crisp up. This is slightly longer than I would expect them to cook in an air fryer with a dedicated setting for frozen foods.
With my review sample, I either had to wait for the programme to finish, or remember to stop the fryer manually before removing the drawer entirely. If I took out the drawer before cooking has stopped, an error code 888 appeared on the screen and the fryer wouldn’t start another programme – instead, needing to be unplugged for two hours before it’ll function again. Chefree has assured me that the current batch of air fryers do not have this software error.
Should you buy it?
You’re looking for a compact air fryer that still has good capacity, to help with mid-week family dinners or when entertaining.
This is your first air fryer. A lack of guidance means mixed results until you get the hang of capacity, cooking time and temperature.
The AFW01 Air Fryer isn’t one for those new to air frying – you’ll spend a fair bit of time trying different programmes to get the best results. However, with more guidance, this compact air fryer could be really useful in your kitchen, with a big plus being that it doesn’t take up too much countertop space. Its bread rack may well end up buried at the back of a cupboard, but for air frying, grilling, and baking without turning on your oven, it’s has potential. If the idea of extra functions is appealing, or you need more capacity, consider the Ninja Foodi Max or something else from the best air fryer list.
How we test
We test every air fryer we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main air fryer for the review period
We cook real food in each air fryer, making chips, frying sausages and cooking frozen hash browns. This lets us compare quality between each air fryer that we test.
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The basket takes a maximum of 5-litres, which is enough food for a couple of people.
There’s a bread holder for this function, although results were mixed in our tests.