Tefal OptiGrill Lightning Review: It's A George Foreman With Laser Eyes

OptiGrill Lightning Review: It's a George Foreman With Laser Eyes

It's been a brutal day at work, you have no energy to cook, and you just want your dinner to take care of itself. With this meat-sensing indoor grill at your disposal, it kind of will.

What Is It?

It's an indoor, electric grill with a built-in optical cooking sensor.

Who's It For?

The culinarily incompetent.


It is an evolved form of the George Foreman grill you had in college. The OptiGrill's brushed stainless steel exterior measures 37cm x 33cm x 18cm. It's angled, like a Foreman, to pour rendered fats into a dishwasher safe collection bin below. Both grills are removable and machine washable, which is handy for cleanup. Plus, the upper plate is independently hinged from the rest of the unit, to prevent it from pinching the up-slope side of whatever you're cooking.

The big selling point? The automatic cooking functions, which are controlled from the front handle. The system includes six programs: burgers, poultry, sandwiches, sausage, red meat, and fish, as well as a manual mode. The stages of your food's doneness are indicated by the colour-changing circle on the right side of the handle.

Using It

Plug it in, press power and select your preferred meat type. Wait for the unit to heat up -- it emits an audible beep when ready -- then put the meat in, close the lid and wait. As the food cooks, the indicator light changes from green to orange and the unit will beep whenever a level of doneness -- rare, medium, well -- is reached.

The Best Part

Cook times, when using manual mode and ignoring the sensor readings, were quite good. The grill heats rapidly, cooks evenly, and is easily cleaned thanks to its pull out griddles.

Tragic Flaw

This thing under-cooks like you wouldn't believe. It performed commendably with grilled cheese sandwiches, burger patties and chicken breasts, but had no idea what it was doing with sausages, steaks, really anything more than an inch thick. And good luck if you want to cook something with a bone in it: seared bone, raw meat, nom. What's more, as soon as the Opti sensor decides the food is done it automatically shuts off the heat so you either have to switch over to manual mode or say to yourself, as I did, "forget this gimmicky mess" as you finish cooking you meal on the stove like a adult.

This Is Weird...

Sure hope you enjoy deep grill marks, because everything comes off this grill looking like a panini.

Test Notes

  • Two links of Italian Sausage, 1/2 length of hanger steak, two chicken breasts, two hamburger patties and two grilled cheese sandwiches were harmed in the reviewing of this product.
  • This thing is gigantic -- it takes up plenty of storage/counter space. Heavy too.
  • Needs 41cm of head space to open fully.

Should I Buy It?

It's a really big, really expensive ($200, seriously) indoor grill. But of course this one has a sensor that may or may not try to feed you half-cooked pork products, so there's that.

Tefal OptiGrill

  • Dimensions: 37cm x 33cm x 18cm (approx)
  • Weight: 4.5kg (approx)
  • Cooking Modes: burgers, poultry, sandwiches, sausage, red meat and fish
  • Price: $199.95 RRP in Australia


    Thanks for the review. Going to pass on this. Pity, Tefal usually get things pretty right.

    Ummm yeah... I was intrigued by it when I first saw it, then I decided it kinda looks like an ugly-arse multifunction centre.

    I gotta disagree with you on this one. It cooks food perfectly, and we had trouble getting those nice grill marks on our meat, but I think there's an special button for that.

    I do agree with the size though.

    But for us, who hate having to cook stuff like sausages indoors, and them taking forever, this is awesome.

    google "optigrill review" and filter for results in the last month and there are 6 other freely accessible reviews of the unit.

    all those reviewers who cooked steaks and sausages appear to have achieved good results.

    also one reviewer wrote "Keep in mind that T-Fal doesn’t recommend cooking meat that’s more than 1.5 inches-thick, nor meat with bones which can cause uneven heating". a comment in the gizmodo review that particularly thick or bone filled meat is an acknowledged limitation of the unit would have been nice...

    hopefully someone i know buys one so i can see it in action myself because i kinda want one :/

    R U Kiding, I Brought the Optigrill about a month ago and it has been used almost every day to cook almost everything, Steak, Port chops, Chick Kebabs, Fish, Prawns, Scollaps, Sausages, Bacon, Sandwichs, even crumbed steak. My housemates love it as we all like our steak cooked differantly and its sooooo easy to keep clean. Only down side i can think of is i wouldnt use it to cook eggs.

    Nothing wrong with the optigrill, I was glad i could get it with the 20% off coupon from bed bath. I unboxed it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKdRtOKmtx8

    Generally happy with the Optigrill but disappointed that it doesn't sear steak...like it says on box. Any advice?

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