The Actifry™ pan handles are prone to breakage; and it’s down to a design flaw.
The Actifry handle has a flap to it, which goes over the side of the frying pan, and on the inside of the frying pan makes a “seam.” Screws are then passed through holes in the flap (and the side of the frying pan), thus securing the handle to the pan. The inside seam bit is vital: it’s when the paddle passes food items past that seam, that items run up against that inside seam, and flip over.
You might think, oh well, I’ll just press on without the handle, lifting the pan out with oven gloves, etc, but uh-uh — without that inside seam part to cause food to turn over, your food just won’t cook right in that pan. So while you could get by without the lifting aspect of the handle on the outside, you can’t get by without the flipping aspect to the handle inside.
Before I start, I want to say that I’ve written here about procuring replacement handles for Actifry pans in case you want to go straight there and skip discussion of the issue.
The first handle to break on me was on my Family Sized Actifry. It broke in April 2014, exactly two years to the month after purchase. (In the first year, when it was our only Actifry, it was probably used 7 to 9 times a week; in its second year, during which a 2 in 1 Actifry became our main Actifry and this one became an “overflow” one, it has probably been used 2 to 3 times a week.) We were lifting a batch of roast potatoes out of the machine and the handle fell off and the pan thudded about 6 inches (15 cm) down to rest on the counter, so no harm was done, and we still had the main 2 in 1 Actifry to work with and keep us going.
The handle broke at the top part of the flap that connects the inside seam part with the actual handle part. My guess (I’m no engineer) is that the plastic just became brittle over time from all the intense heat and use. You’ll see from the picture (above) the inside seam flap to the right, where the top part came off taking the top part of a screw hole with it.
Anyway, I ordered a new pan from T-Fal Canada, which arrived very quickly and everything went back to normal.
Come July of that year, 2014, 3 months later, and then the handle on the 2 in 1 (purchased June 2013) went, for exactly the same reason.
Above is the picture of it exactly as it fell while I was lifting it across the glass stove top (the machine is off to the right in the picture; I was just doing 1 cup of French Fries in it for breakfast as breakfast fries :} )
You’ll see the top connecting flap broke in exactly the same place as the Family Sized handle had.
Now, though this handle went after only a year, I’d have to say that because it’s a 2 in 1, with the top tray, which lets us use it for so many more things, that it has been used in its first year a heck of a lot.
Anyway, I called T-Fal Canada, and ordered a replacement pan for it, but this time I did one thing different: while confirming the order by email with the woman who took my order over the phone, I emailed back the picture of the broken Family Sized handle, and said it might be an issue SEB / T-Fal might want to look into, because both times the hot pan fell for me, it was only a few inches about a safe surface — I’m not sure what would happen if some poor soul happened to be carrying a hot pan of risotto across the kitchen floor.
In any event, the woman was very nice and wrote back and said, oh, you say the handle broke on your Family Size pan? I’m going to send you a replacement handle for it, free of charge. Which she did, even though it was way out of warranty. Which was great of her, though I wish I’d known in April I could order a handle instead of a whole pan, argh.
Anyway, thankfully I’d kept the handle-less Family Sized pan in the basement, so we attached the replacement handle to it, and now have a spare Family Sized pan ready to go for the next pan related emergency on the Family Size. And when my next 2 in 1 handle goes, I’ll know just to order a handle.
I’ve written here now about replacement handles for Actifry pans.
Anyway, to circle back to my first sentence, why do I call it a design flaw? Well, because the plastic flap seems vital to the handle staying on the pan, but also seems vulnerable to high heat — which is gonna be happening in an Actifry. A lot. I hate to say it, but I imagine that a German engineer just mighta conceived that whole handle connecty bit somewhat differently. Seb / Tefal really should look at a different way of attaching the handle, because handles flying off hot pans full of hot food might not generally be considered safe.
p.s. Notice from the photos that the Family Sized pan has 2 holes in it for the handle; the 2 in 1 pan has 3 holes in it for the handle.
* Actifry™ is a registered trademark of SEB, France.