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T-fal ActiFry (White)
T-fal ActiFry (White)
Offered by Hometech BOSCH Small Appliances
Price: CDN$ 249.99
5 used & new from CDN$ 249.99

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fries, but product needs improvement, Sept. 24 2013
This review is from: T-fal ActiFry (White) (Kitchen)
We've had our Actifry for about 2 years. It makes great fries, much lower fat than deep-frying and more convenient than making the fries on a baking sheet in the oven. As others have said, the fries do tend to jam up (especially at first while the potatoes are still very hard) so you can't leave it running unattended. Takes about 20 minutes to half an hour to make a batch, and they really are crisper and nicer if you soak the potatoes for about 20 minutes first and then pat them dry really well before they go into the machine. Otherwise they are kind of steamed.

Sadly, the hard plastic stirring arm could use some improvement. Over time I guess it's gotten brittle and yesterday I dropped it onto the countertop after I had removed it from the machine. It broke apart at the thinnest point. T-Fal doesn't have any replacements available.

Ridgid Tools 31180 1-1/4-Inch-To-2-1/2-Inch Capacity 10-Inch-To-17-Inch Heavy Duty Telescoping Basin Wrench
Ridgid Tools 31180 1-1/4-Inch-To-2-1/2-Inch Capacity 10-Inch-To-17-Inch Heavy Duty Telescoping Basin Wrench
Price: CDN$ 52.99
13 used & new from CDN$ 49.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Did the trick!, March 14 2012
I replaced our kitchen faucet with a fancy new one, and finger-tightened the 1-3/4" (roughly) nut in the tiny space between the sinks and the back wall of the cabinet. Still the darned thing wobbled and water was seeping under the faucet since the rubber gasket was not being pressed down firmly on the counter top. Regular wrenches and pliers wouldn't fit.

I bought two basin wrenches at local hardware stores, trying to grab hold of the thing and turn it, but they only worked on nuts up to 1-1/2". Finally I learned that you need a special "big jaw" basin wrench for these. Even the two plumbing supply stores I tried didn't have any solutions.

This tool did the trick. It grabbed hold of the nut well, but I could only turn it in little tiny increments because of the narrow area to work in -- every time it turned a bit the head of the wrench would whack the back of the cabinet so I'd have to let go and grab it from another angle. Took me less than five minutes all told and the faucet is nice and tight. The sliding bar at the bottom that you can use to push or pull when turning the wrench is extremely helpful; it put lots more pressure on the twist than if I'd just been turning the handle itself.

I wasn't keen on paying so much for a hand tool that I'll probably never need again, but it's cheaper than repairing the rot that would have resulted if the base of my faucet had kept letting water get underneath. And after all the money and time to install the new faucet, it's much nicer to have it seated properly than having it wobble around.

DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
Price: CDN$ 822.49
5 used & new from CDN$ 822.49

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great coffee, quality problems, March 4 2012
I got my Magnifica five years ago as a gift. Coffee was wonderful...some customizable functions, crazy easy to use and to keep clean. I absolutely loved it.

However, from the beginning, it had an internal leak, with about a teaspoon of water dribbling onto the counter each time I pulled a shot. Since we lived more than a day's drive from a warranty service centre I just kept it on a tray and ignored the drip. I couldn't froth milk (this was my first espresso machine) so I figured it was something I was doing wrong and just kept lovin' the coffee.

After five years (used only on weekends because it is soooo noisy to run that an early morning espresso on a workday would have woken the whole house) the leak became worse...almost a quarter of a cup of water leaking into the drip tray each time I used it. I had read that the gaskets go over time and would need replacing, so I took it into a repair center. They found a hairline crack in the piston and had to rebuild it. By the way, they explained, that was why it wouldn't froth milk...the steam had been escaping from the piston from day one, so there was not an adequate amount coming out of the wand. A hundred dollars later, my machine worked as good as new...better, since I could froth milk! It was like Christmas had come all over again!

One week later, the power went completely. I took the Magnifica back to the repair shop, and now they've told me that there is corrosion on the electronic boards, likely due to the leak. Plus a valve needs replacing. Estimating about $400 to repair (he commented that the parts for DeLonghi are quite costly...the new circuit board is about $250 and the new valve is another $45). I'm going to walk at this point and am shopping for a new machine. I believe the whole mess was caused by a defect in the first place, but of course it is well out of warranty now. My lesson? Don't just make sure you have a warranty, make sure it's one you can actually use re: where you have to send or take the unit. If I'd been able to attend to the leak in the first place, I would probably still be enjoying my machine.

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