The Pitch: "Make the perfect mini burger every time"
April 2009. The Big City Slider Station is advertised on TV as an easy way to make up to five mini burgers in a matter of minutes. The station consists of an aluminum pan with individual patty compartments that can be used on any stovetop. Its lid is designed to trap heat and cook burgers evenly, eliminating the need for flipping. In user reviews for the Slider Station, most owners say it's fun and easy to use, and the mini burgers taste good. However, some customers who have used it multiple times say the build quality isn't great, making this kitchen gadget something fun to use for Super Bowl parties rather than every day.
In reviews, the Big City Slider Station easily cooks up juicy mini-burgers in just a few minutes and creates less of a mess than frying or grilling. Cleaning this infomercial gadget is a bit trickier; its nonstick surface isn't dishwasher-safe and cleaning inside the grooves is tricky. Some customers who have used the Big City Slider Station multiple times complain that the nonstick surface peels off after awhile, sometimes right onto their food.
Several TV stations give the Big City Slider a shot to see if it works as advertiesed. A reporter from KDKA in Pittsburgh tests the Big City Slider Station at a viewer's home, and is happy with the burgers themselves, although the pair have some trouble getting the gadget clean. WVEC in Norfolk, Va., and WGHP in Greensboro, NC, test it with professional cooks, and both have positive results. A YouTube.com user posts a video in which he tries the Slider Station on burgers and eggs. He is happy with how convenient it is and how good the food comes out. Customers on Amazon.com bring a serious problem to attention: While most find the Big City Slider Station easy to use, the nonstick coating has a tendency to peel off after a few uses.
1. KDKA (Pittsburgh)
Yvonne Zanos tests the Big City Slider Station at a viewer's home and, despite a few minor complaints, she and the viewer are pretty pleased with the results. The burgers take a few minutes longer to cook than the instructions indicate, but they come out tasty. They find the Slider Station to be less messy than frying in a regular pan. Cleaning the Slider Station isn't as easy as the commercial makes it look, as it's hard to get inside the grooves. They determine that the Big City Slider Station works as promised, though clean up is a bit of a hassle.
Review: Does It Really Do That: Big City Slider Station, Yvonne Zanos, March 5, 2009
2. WVEC (Norfolk, Va.)
Sandra Parker brings the Big City Slider Station to a professional cook for a test run. He finds it easy to use, though the cooking time is a few minutes longer than advertised. Once done, the burgers pass his taste test and the Big City Slider Station gets a double thumbs-up.
Review: Does it Work: Big City Slider Station, Sandra Parker, March 31, 2009
3. WGHP (Greensboro, NC)
Melissa Painter also brings the Big City Slider Station to a professional cook for a test. He finds it easy to use, though he's only moderately pleased with the results. He says the burgers look boiled and taste like they were cooked in a skillet. The Big City Slider Station gets a mediocre review since it works as advertised, but they call it a "novelty item" that will likely go unused.
Review: Deal or Dud: Big City Slider Station, Melissa Painter, March 19, 2009
In this video, a user puts the Big City Slider Station to the test on burgers and eggs. He's pleased with the results, claiming the Slider Station is easy to use and makes good food. His one complaint is that it's tricky to clean inside the grooves, but he still gives it a high overall rating.
Review: Big City Slider Station at StarReviews, "StarReviewsDotCom", March 27, 2009
Around 20 customers review the Big City Slider Station on Amazon.com. A handful give it the highest possible rating, saying it's easy to use and creates tasty, juicy burgers. Most reviews are negative and claim that the non-stick coating peels away after a few uses, sometimes right onto the food. Dissatisfied customers also complain that the Slider Station is difficult to clean.
Review: Big City Slider Station Review, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Chef Basket is a "cooking dynamo" with dozens of kitchen uses, according to the commercials. The actor using it in the infomercial quickly demonstrates several uses (not quite dozens) of the wire-mesh device. It easily handles heavy loads of potatoes, and flawlessly boils then safely transfers noodles from a pot of boiling water to a serving dish.
Reviews we found tell a different story, though. On the positive side, users say, the wire-mesh device collapses flat for easy storage, and it serves as a good steamer. Otherwise, reviewers find little else good to say about the Chef Basket. It's flimsy and the basket's holes are too large for pasta. So disgusted was YouTube kitchen tester Jack Scalfani that he stops his test midstream. Vowing to return it immediately to the store, he laments, "If I can only cook rigatoni, this basket's useless." However, not all reviewers are disappointed. A tester in one TV report says "… overall it was pretty good, the infomercial was pretty right on." She is clearly in the minority though.
Amazon.com user reviews, though mixed, lean toward the extreme negative end of the scale. Even many of the "positive" reviewers highlight the Chef Basket's flaws. The most revealing test is Scalfani's, which illustrates the Chef Basket's greatest flaws: its poor fit in the pot and holes that are too large for cooking most types of pasta.
1. WXIA (Atlanta)
Reporter Karyn Greer asks viewer Christy David to test the Chef Basket. David likes its compact design and says it makes a "perfect" steamer, but it's not a very impressive strainer -- most of the elbow macaroni she placed in the device fell through the holes. She also notes that while it makes a good colander for washing vegetables, she has concerns about the structure's durability, calling it "wobbly." Although David gives it "one thumb up and one down," Greer notes that one of the station's directors owns one and really likes it, giving it "two thumbs up."
Review: Try it Review: Chef Basket, Karyn Greer, May 24, 2011
2. KIDK (Idaho Falls, Id.)
KIDK reporter Tommy Noel asks baker Shannon Hill to test the Chef Basket. It didn't work well for small pasta but did transfer other foods -- such as large pasta, potatoes and steamed vegetables -- easily from the pot to a dish as seen on the TV commercial. Hill concludes that "overall it was pretty good, the infomercial was pretty right on."
Review: The Chef Basket, Tommy Noel, January 31, 2011
Not far into his review, Jack Scalfani abandons testing and cautions viewers, "…don't buy this, this thing's a failure." Before losing most of his penne pasta through the basket's holes, he complains about its poor fit in the pot saying, "My evaluation is already a failure because you should never fill a pot of water to the top."
Review: Chef Basket (product review), Jack Scalfani, April 22, 2011
Reviews among users commenting on the product's Amazon.com page are mixed, but most are clearly disappointed. Even among the favorable reviews, customers say that there are many pots that don't fit the Chef Basket, and sometimes the device gets very hot even though it's not supposed to.
Review: TeleBrands Original Chef Basket, Deluxe, Contributors to Amazon.com
If you love hard-boiled eggs but hate having to peel them, Eggies could be just what you need. Just crack a raw egg into one of these small plastic cups and then drop it into a pot of boiling water. Once finished, simply remove the top and tip the cup over to reveal a perfectly cooked egg.
Unfortunately, Eggies aren't all they're cracked up to be. The process of assembling each egg cup is complicated, owners say, and each Eggie must to be greased before cooking -- a potentially time-consuming process. Eggies also tend to create a mess because large eggs may overflow, and improperly sealed cups may leak while cooking. Some reviewers also complain that eggs prepared in Eggies don't always come out fully cooked and are hard to remove in one piece.
A reporter at KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., tests Eggies and gives them a failing grade, saying they are time-consuming to prep, messy and hard to remove cooked eggs from. A reviewer at KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., has slightly better results, but notes that eggs stick to the cups. Eggies are also reviewed by a reporter at Boston's New England Cable News; she gives the product a grade of D because it takes twice as long as boiling eggs usually does and creates a big mess in the process.
Owners aren't much happier; most reviewers on Amazon.com give Eggies a 1-star review, finding it overly complicated, time-consuming and messy to use. Reviewers on BedBathandBeyond.com have similar complaints, and even those who get decent results with Eggies say that it's easier and less messy to just boil eggs the old fashioned way.
1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Reporter Lauren Keith tests Eggies at a viewer's home and has terrible results. She says greasing each Eggies component is time-consuming and messy. Whenever she cracks an egg with a large yolk, it spills over the cup, and the amount of water necessary for Eggies to work causes the pot to boil over on to the stovetop. While boiling, one of the cups comes loose and leaks egg white into the pot. When removing the cooked eggs, they do not slide out easily; Keith needs a utensil to get them out of the Eggies cups, and some of the eggs are not fully cooked. Due to the amount of time necessary and the mess created to use Eggies, Lauren gives the product an F-minus and says she would rather peel hard-boiled eggs.
Review: Does it Work Wednesday: Eggies, Lauren Keith, Updated Aug. 10, 2011
2. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)
Chad Garneau tests Eggies and finds that cracking the eggs into the cups is a bit messy. After boiling the eggs, they do not come out easily, and he needs a utensil to remove them, ruining the smooth texture. The cooked eggs are misshapen, Garneau says, and he deems Eggies a 'dud.'
Review: Deal or Dud: Eggies, Chad Garneau, Aug. 4, 2011
3. NECN (Boston)
Leslie Gaydos puts Eggies to the test with a viewer. They find assembling and greasing all the Eggies before use to be very time-consuming, and cracking the eggs into the cups is often messy. The first batch of eggs they put in boiling water spill all over the pot, so they try a second batch, this time putting the Eggies in warm water and then bringing it to a boil. The second batch cooks better, though some of the cups come apart in the water. The eggs do not slide out of the cups easily and all of the eggs are not fully cooked. Leslie gives Eggies a D, saying that while it can produce cooked eggs without shells, it takes more than twice the time necessary to make regular hard-boiled eggs and creates a huge mess.
Review: Eggies: Does it Work?, Leslie Gaydos, Aug. 17, 2011
About 325 customers review Eggies on Amazon.com, and an overwhelming majority give it the lowest possible rating. The most common complaints are that the product is time-consuming and messy. Assembling, greasing and boiling Eggies requires more time than boiling and peeling regular eggs. Some of the cups don't seal tightly, so they leak while cooking creating a huge mess in the pot. Customers also complain that large eggs don't fit in the Eggies cups, so the raw egg spills all over. Many find that cooked eggs do not slide out of the cups, and a utensil is needed to scrape them out. Most reviews say that Eggies will cook an egg properly, but it's much easier to boil eggs normally and deal with having to peel the shells.
Review: Eggies Hard Boiled Egg System, Contributors to Amazon.com
More than 30 customers review Eggies, and most are unhappy with the product. Complaints are similar to those expressed by owners at Amazon.com.
Review: Eggies Hard Boiled Egg Cookers - Set of 6, Contributors to BedBathAndBeyond.com
The EZ Cracker is advertised as an easy way to crack eggs without making a mess. The gadget consists of two plastic handles, rings on both sides and a claw. When you place an egg into the EZ Cracker, the two rings hold it in place. Once you squeeze the two handles together, the claw cracks the egg open, allowing the egg to drop into your bowl. The EZ Cracker includes an attachment that's designed to separate eggs and peel hardboiled eggs.
For cracking eggs neatly, the EZ Cracker gets mixed reviews. Tests show that it usually works well for cracking one or two eggs, and then it starts to get messy. After the first few eggs, it begins working inconsistently, leaving bits of shell in with the eggs about half the time. Cleanup can be time-consuming, as it is not dishwasher-safe. It's also slow; tests show that cracking eggs by hand is faster. Most reviewers give the EZ Cracker a firm a thumbs-down when it comes to using the attachment to separate eggs or peel hardboiled eggs. It sometimes works well at separating eggs, but it's not very consistent.
We found the most thorough tests of the EZ Cracker at TV station KNXV (Phoenix), where the gadget is used to crack a dozen eggs. The egg separator attachment isn't tested here, since it was defective and wouldn't attach properly. The separator is tested at StarReviews.com, where the EZ Cracker is reviewed in detail, listing both pros and cons. It is also tested at TV station WXIA (Atlanta) with equally mixed results.
Tests at a third TV station, KWCH (Wichita, Kan.), are interesting because reviewers use a stopwatch to find out if the EZ Cracker saves more time than cracking eggs by hand (turns out, it doesn't.) Time is also of the essence in the review at KDFW (Dallas), where the EZ Cracker is tested by a chef. The review at WTSP (Tampa, Fla.) is the most enthusiastic we found, but the tester only tries it a couple of times. We also found useful owner-written reviews at Amazon.com, where the EZ Cracker earns the lowest possible average rating.
1. KNXV (Phoenix)
This video test of the EZ Cracker shows that out of a dozen eggs cracked, shells got into the mix half of the time, leading reporter Daphne Munro to give the product a thumbs-down. The egg-separating attachment was defective so it couldn't be tested.
Review: EZ Cracker Claims to Keep Shells out of Eggs, but Will It?, Daphne Munro, April 15, 2010
This reviewer says the EZ Cracker does crack eggs without getting bits of shell in them, but works inconsistently when it comes to separating egg whites or peeling hardboiled eggs. The EZ Cracker is deemed comfortable to use, but inconvenient to wash since it's not dishwasher-safe.
Review: EZ Cracker Video Review, "StarArthur", Jan. 4, 2010
3. WXIA (Atlanta)
In this review of the EZ Cracker complete with video, volunteer tester Maureen Cochran says it's useful for cracking eggs, since it keeps hands clean. However, it fails completely to peel hardboiled eggs, and isn't easy to use as a separator.
Review: Try It Review: EZ Cracker, Karyn Greer, March 1, 2010
4. KWCH (Wichita, Kan.)
Three women test the EZ Cracker, timing it against the traditional method of cracking eggs by hand (the latter proves to be faster). Two of the women conclude that the EZ Cracker isn't worth the trouble since it needs to be rinsed off after just a few uses to avoid breaking the yolk. The other woman says she likes the EZ Cracker because it does a better job than she can -- even though it doesn't work perfectly. Tests here don't cover the separator attachment.
Review: EZ Cracker, Kim Setty, April 2010
5. KDFW (Dallas)
This video review shows the EZ Cracker being tested by chef Ryan Collerosi, who says he cracks about 5,000 eggs a week. He says the EZ Cracker is a good product for home use, although it's actually slower than doing it by hand. The separator attachment is also judged effective, but it's only tested on one egg.
Review: Deal or Dud: EZ Cracker, Steve Noviello, March 3, 2010
6. WTSP (Tampa, Fla.)
This review gives the EZ Cracker a thumbs-up not only for cracking an egg but also for separating it neatly. Christie Bruner notes that it didn't work so well the first time she tried it, but she got the hang of it on the second try.
Review: Try It Before You Buy It: The EZ Cracker and EZ Scrambler, Gene Yagle, April 27, 2010
The handful of users reviewing the EZ Cracker here give it the lowest possible average rating of 1 star, saying it's a lot easier to crack and separate eggs by hand.
Review: As Seen On TV EZ Cracker and Egg Separator, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2010
The Pitch: "A revolutionary new microwaveable cooker for pasta."
April 2009. According to the manufacturer, the Fasta Pasta microwave cooker will cook all kinds of pasta to al dente perfection in less time than the conventional stovetop method -- without boiling over or causing pasta to stick. And according to reviewers, this is one as-seen-on-TV gadget that really does work as advertised on the Fasta Pasta infomercials. The rectangular plastic container features a detachable lid with measuring holes on one end and a strainer on the other.
In reviews, the majority of users uniformly praise the Fasta Pasta microwave cooker, saying it does exactly what the manufacturer claims. They agree the Fasta Pasta is affordable, easy to use, and love that they don't have to boil water on the stovetop. Not all who try the Fasta Pasta cooker are completely thrilled, however. Some reviewers complain that the Fasta Pasta boils over during the cooking process (something the manufacturer says can be avoided as long as you don't cook with the lid on) or that the pasta sticks together and doesn't taste as fresh as when cooked on the stovetop. A few users say the measuring grids on the Fasta Pasta are hard to read and that the container does not fit in all microwaves. But on the balance, owners say this gadget is a time saver; we found fewer negative reviews for the Fasta Pasta than for many infomercial products.
Many online retail sites, including Amazon.com, Cooking.com and QVC.com, feature a diverse amount of consumer feedback, comprising mainly of positive reviews of the Fasta Pasta. Testers weigh in on other sites, such as, OurFamilyLikes.com, CNET and AssociatedContent.com. Meanwhile, chef and barbeque sauce pitchman Jack Scalfani offers a video review of the Fasta Pasta on TheBestSauces.com.
More than 85 people review the Fasta Pasta, and the overwhelming majority give it a perfect five-star rating, saying it cooks pasta quickly and easily. Many say the instructions are simple, the container strong and easy to store. Other reviewers say they like the fact that you can strain and rinse the pasta in the same container. Some negative reviews note that it's hard to cook for a large crowd since you can only cook up to four pasta servings at one time. They also say the water-measurement lines are a bit difficult to see when water and pasta are added to the cooker, which can affect the consistency of the pasta.
Review: Fasta Pasta The Microwave Cooker, Contributors to Amazon.com
A handful of consumers comment on the Fasta Pasta microwave cooker, and all of them say they would purchase the product again. A couple users say the device cooks pasta "perfectly," although one person notes that the Fasta Pasta isn't big enough to cook enough food for large groups.
Review: Pasta Cooker by Fasta Pasta, Contributors to Cooking.com
This anonymous review augments its step-by-step review of the Fasta Pasta microwave cooker with several large photos of the product in use. The reviewer praises the space-saving design and ease of use, particularly the built-in portion guide and strainer. The writer also offers some tips for use. The verdict? "For only about $10, Fasta Pasta is well worth it - it's ease of use and simplicity make it much more valuable than that."
Review: Review of Fasta Pasta Microwave Cooker, Editors of OurFamilyLikes.com, March 9, 2009
This instructional video features Jack Scalfani, barbeque sauce pitchman and host of the web show "Cooking with Jack." Scalfani walks viewers through the process of using the Fasta Pasta, explaining clearly how to measure portions, cook pasta and drain it. After testing the product, Scalfani declares that the Fasta Pasta makes perfect portions based on the instructions. After trying the pasta, he says its "flawless" with just enough thickness and it is a "winner."
Review: Fasta Pasta -- Product Review, Jack Scalfani, July 7, 2008
Thursday Bram, a member of the CNET Blog Network, explains how to use the Fasta Pasta but it is unclear if she actually tries the product. Bram says the product is ideal for settings where cooking options are limited to a microwave, such as a college dorm room or on a boat or RV. She says the cooker is "reasonably priced."
Review: More Pasta, 'Fasta', Thursday Bram, October 9, 2008
Nearly 320 users rate the Fasta Pasta microwave cooker, and the overwhelming majority are pleased with the product. Owners say the directions are easy to follow, and the device is a great addition to any kitchen, especially for the elderly who have trouble lifting heavy pots. Other users say the pasta cooks to perfection and it is great for during the summer when you do not want to turn on the stove. Among the few complaints that users cite: pasta sometimes sticks and tastes rubbery, the water boils over, and the lid does not always stay on.
Review: Set of 2 Fasta Pasta Microwave Pasta Cookers, Contributors to QVC.com
After several uses, reviewer Mark Whittington says the Fasta Pasta microwave cooker is an exemplary" product that works as advertised. He says the Fasta Pasta is more convenient and less messy that cooking pasta by boiling it in a pot and then draining in a colander. Whittington also mentions a few cautionary points, such as not overloading the container with pasta, and notes that the measuring grid marks are hard to read.
Review: Fasta Pasta Microwave Cooker Product Review, Mark Whittington, Dec. 21, 2009
The Pitch: "A deep-dish pizza oven, quesadilla press, omelet maker or pancake griddle all in one stylish package."
April 2009. The George Foreman 360 Grill is different from earlier George Foreman grill models in several ways. Most noticeably, the grill is circular and comes with removable, dishwasher-safe cooking plates for easier cleaning. A tilt function helps to drain grease away from food, and a floating hinge allows for thicker cuts of meat.
Advertisements make much of the fact that the George Foreman 360 can cook a wide variety of round foods (pizza, quesadillas, omelets, pancakes), but reviews don't find any advantage to the round cooking surface. In fact, some users say it just cuts down on the total amount of cooking space. Reviewers find both pros and cons for the removable plates.
The George Foreman 360 Grill's plates are indeed easy to clean, according to reviews, but some users say they had a hard time getting the plates attached. Some reviewers, including Roger Hibbert at Wired.com, say the hot plates popped off during cooking, which is dangerous.
However, Hibbert notes that the George Foreman 360 Grill works perfectly, at least when cooking panini as he does. Other reviews say the 360 grill does a great job with quesadillas, burgers, pork chops, fish, vegetables and eggs. One blogger even gets good results baking desserts in the deep-dish plate, although another blogger finds the 360 compresses his deep-dish pizza too much.
According to reviews, the George Foreman 360 Grill works quickly because it cooks on both sides at the same time. However, that design can also make steaks cook too much, writes Erik Sherman on his blog Flash in the Pan: "If you like rare or medium-rare meat, then this can get tricky. The grill will cook far faster than you're used to because both sides are getting heat simultaneously. Because of the speed, you won't get the same degree of grilling char marks on the surfaces, and if you look for those, a steak or burger will have already sailed into well-done territory."
Reviews say the George Foreman 360 Grill has a sliding heat-adjustment switch that lowers heat enough to cook delicate foods like eggs. However, some users say the 360 doesn't seem to get as hot as other George Foreman grills, even when it's on high. Some users find the switch itself flimsy or inaccurate.
Wired.com provides an extensive review of the George Foreman 360 Grill. A review on Erik Sherman's Flash in the Pan blog is shorter, but still informative. User reviews for the 360 at Amazon.com are generally positive, but several flaws are reported: dislodging grill plates and a gluey residue from the top sticker. The Blackberry Rambles blogger lists several ambitious foods she has cooked successfully in her 360 Grill. DailySpark.com recommends the 360 Grill as part of its healthy-cook gift guide.
Roger Hibbert say he loves the original George Foreman grill, but finds problems when he tests the George Foreman 360 Grill version. It cooks nicely, but Hibbert finds it flimsy and dangerous. He has difficulty securing the cooking plates to the heating elements. While he is using the grill, one of the hot plates pops off and hits his foot.
Review: George Foreman's Latest Grill Leaves You Feeling Burned, Roger Hibbert, Nov. 14, 2008
The George Foreman 360 Grill earns an average of four stars (out of five) from more than 100 consumers who post reviews at Amazon.com. Most reviews are positive, although some owners also complain that the sticker on top is messy and the cooking plates won't stay attached.
Review: George Foreman 360 Removable 5 Plate Grills, Contributors to Amazon.com
3. Flash in the Pan
Sherman, a blogger who has written for Saveur, shares some short but insightful comments on his blog after testing the George Foreman 360 Grill. Its big surface area cooks several items nicely, but Sherman finds it tends to cook steaks too quickly and makes dense pizza.
Review: Product Review: George Foreman 360 Grilling Machine, Erik Sherman, Dec. 19, 2008
4. Blackberry Rambles
Stoodley writes a blog about her everyday life on an island in the Canadian Pacific. She gushes over her new George Foreman 360 Grill, and describes how various foods (from chocolate chip cookies to chicken breasts) turn out well when she cooks them on the 360.
Review: 360 Reasons to Love George, Linda Vandewark Stoodley, March 16, 2009
The George Foreman 360 Grill is the most expensive item on the holiday gift list of this health blog. Romine includes only a one-paragraph write-up for each gift idea, but she notes that the 360 is bigger and better than the George Foreman grill she used in college to cook everything.
Review: Holiday Gifts for the Healthy Cook from $8 to $150, Stepfanie Romine, Dec. 10, 2008
The Pitch: "Knocks out up to 55 percent of the fat absorbed during frying!"
April 2009. The George Foreman Lean Mean Spin Frying Machine, promoted by the former heavyweight champ, promises in its infomercial to spin the fat away from foods after frying. The commercial says the machine will get rid of "up to 55 percent of the fat," although the fine print says the average is 38 percent.
The spin-fryer really does get rid of a noticeable amount of fat, reviewers say. One blogger posting to UnamiMart.com who test-fried several frozen foods in the George Foreman said her french fries turned out perfectly. Her Korean dumplings looked pretty greasy, but they tasted oddly dry as if they had been baked instead of fried. Mozzarella sticks were dry, too, and the spinner damaged several during the spinning process -- a complaint we found in other reviews.
Unlike other fryers, the George Foreman fryer has a lot of parts (which feel flimsy, according to some reviews). The machine has a lid that remains closed during the frying and spin cycles. Reviews say this lidded design cuts down on spatters and odors, but it makes it difficult to stir or monitor food, especially since the viewing window gathers steams quickly.
Some users find the fryer basket too small, mainly due to the spindle in the middle. "You can forget about frying anything very large, like a fish fillet," writes Jessica Harlan at About.com. Like some other users, Harlan says the fryer "wobbled precariously" but did not tip or spill during the spin cycle. Some users say the fryer basket doesn't stay in the spin cycle position -- it keeps falling back down into the grease.
A Google search turned up plenty of glowing "reviews" for the George Foreman fryer that appear to be thinly disguised sales pitches -- a common marketing practice we've seen with products that are sold on TV or the Internet. But a cooking-equipment expert at About.com and a food blogger at UmamiMart.com both conduct reputable tests of the George Foreman fryer. Amazon.com offers informative reviews from real-life users; Walmart.com attracts very few user reviews, and most of the ones at Target.com are over the top, with no criticism at all and similar language, making us skeptical of their origin.
Harlan, About.com's guide to cooking equipment, fries chicken tenders in the George Foreman and gets good results. However, she finds several flaws in the fryer's design. On the spin cycle, the machine wobbles on her counter, which she remedies by using nonskid feet. She thinks the fry basket is too small, preventing users from cooking larger foods. Condensation builds up quickly on the viewing window, making it difficult for her to monitor the cooking process. In addition, she says the dials are unreliable and difficult to push. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Review of George Foreman Lean Mean Spin Frying Machine, Jessica Harlan
This anonymous reviewer tests three frozen foods in her new George Foreman fryer: Korean mandoo dumplings, french fries and mozzarella sticks. The fries turn out well, but some of the mozzarella sticks break and the dumplings retain too much oil. Although the dumplings and cheese sticks taste too dry after spinning, she recommends the fryer anyway. This review includes lots of photos of the fryer parts and the food.
Review: Appliance Review: George Foreman Lean Mean Spin Frying Machine, "Sonja", Feb. 1, 2009
The George Foreman Deep Fryer averages four stars (out of five) with about 40 user reviews posted here. There are a few questionable reviews here and there (one is identical to a review at Target.com) but several are extremely thorough, balanced and helpful. The majority of users are impressed with the fryer's ability to remove the fats from food, while preserving moisture and flavor. A few of the reviews do echo Jessica Harlan's complaints at About.com -- that the machine doesn't stay in place and the frying capacity is limited. Several users complain that the fryer takes up too much space and isn't very durable.
Review: George Foreman GSF026B Deep Fryer with Smart Spin Technology, Contributors to Amazon.com
There are only a handful of reviews posted here for the George Foreman fryer, and they are mostly negative. User complaints vary -- the frying capacity is too small, the basket doesn't stay in place and the machine itself is difficult to operate. The fryer earns an average score of two stars (out of five).
Review: George Foreman Lean Fryer, Contributors to Walmart.com
About half of the roughly 10 user reviews posted here are suspiciously positive -- they include buzzwords from the commercial ("Knocks out the fat!"), repeatedly criticize McDonalds' fried food, and the reviewers themselves don't review any other items on the website. Of the remaining two reviews, one is balanced and fairly positive, while the other finds the fryer's spin cycle scarily vigorous.
Review: George Foreman Lean Mean Fryer, Contributors to Target.com
The Grillex is a circular metal appliance that sits over a gas or electric range. Thread your meats and vegetables onto the five included skewers, arrange them inside the Grillex's perimeter, and the heat source cooks the food Brazilian barbecue style. When used outside, the company says, you can place a piece of charcoal in the grill basket to provide a more authentic barbecue flavor (Note: We could find no reviews for this use of the product).
While reviews of the Grillex are limited, one comes from a trusted source: Good Housekeeping magazine, which asked an intern to try the Grillex in his dorm room. He says the Grillex was easy to set up and -- with a nonstick pan and no mess on the stovetop -- was also quick to clean. It comfortably held 4 pounds of meat and vegetables and, best of all, produced food that was delicious, juicy and flavorful. A handful of consumer reviews posted on Amazon.com are equally complimentary, with one user saying: "I was skeptical about feeding eight people, but if you use all the pieces it comes with, you really can cook about 4 pounds of meat." The only drawback of the Grillex is that when used indoors, the results lack the authentic char that's typical of traditional Brazilian barbecue. A couple of users on Amazon.com say they wish the Grillex came with more baskets and skewers (which can be purchased separately).
1. Good Housekeeping
Posted by Paul Hope but written by a Good Housekeeping intern, this article describes the author testing out the Grillex in his dorm room. He says the product was easy to set up and clean, and he was able to load 4 pounds of different meats and vegetables around its perimeter. His verdict: "The results were delicious, although only the peppers and onions were slightly charred. As promised, each meat stayed juicy and kept its unique flavor."
Review: How to Grill Indoors All Year Long, Paul Hope, Dec. 3, 2010
Only a handful of users rate the Grillex on Amazon.com, but all of them have positive things to say. One reviewer says, "I was skeptical about feeding eight people, but if you use all the pieces it comes with, you really can cook about 4 pounds of meat." Some minor complaints are about insufficient baskets and skewers. One owner says vegetables sometimes slip off the skewers, but this can be prevented if you use toothpicks provided with the product.
Review: Grillex US-10 Indoor Brazilian Portable Barbecue Grill, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Gyro Bowl is advertised as every parent's dream: a spill-proof bowl for kids' snacks. The colorful plastic bowl and surrounding handle are designed to mimic the behavior of a gyroscope, keeping the bowl upright no matter how it's carried. In the commercial, young kids toddle, run and skate while toting (and dropping) their snack-filled Gyro Bowls, which never spills and never breaks.
Unfortunately, when put to the test, the Gyro Bowl's claims just don't hold water. The contents of the bowl stay in place when handled carefully, reviewers say, but when the Gyro Bowl is shaken, swung or dropped, snacks spill out. Food also tends to get stuck in the bowl's suspension apparatus, causing it to stop rotating. Many users also complain that the Gyro Bowl breaks when dropped.
A reporter for KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., tests the Gyro Bowl at a daycare center and finds that the snacks spill no matter how the children handle the bowl; furthermore, the bowl breaks when dropped down some stairs. A reporter at KDAF in Dallas reports a similar experience -- the Gyro Bowl works when handled carefully, but spills it contents when it is swung or shaken. A third reviewer, at KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., has similar results and dubs the bowl a "dud." A reporter for DailyFinance.com tries out the Gyro Bowl with several children of different ages, finding that it breaks easily and only works when used gently. Reviewers on Amazon.com are mostly disappointed with the Gyro Bowl, too. Though some owners like it, they admit it isn't spill-proof.
1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Reporter Lauren Keith brings the Gyro Bowl to a local childcare center and has a group of toddlers put it to the test. When the children jump or drop the Gyro Bowl, the snacks spill all over the place. Lauren also notices that some snacks get trapped in between the rotating bowls, and when she tests the Gyro Bowl's indestructibility claim by tossing it down some stairs, it breaks. The Gyro Bowl earns a grade of D in this test.
Review: Does It Work Wednesday - The Gyro Bowl, Lauren Keith, March 15, 2011
2. KDFW (Dallas)
Reporter Tommy Noel brings the Gyro Bowl to a classroom of 3-year-olds for testing. The bowl works fine when the children walk carefully with it, but when they swing, shake or drop it the contents spill all over. The classroom teacher gives the Gyro Bowl a grade of C-plus, saying that it really doesn't do what it's advertised to do.
Review: Does it Work? - The Gyro Bowl, Tommy Noel, Sept. 22, 2011
3. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)
Chad Garneau tests the Gyro Bowl with a viewer and her 3-year-old daughter. When the bowl is held and twirled gently the contents stay inside, but when it is knocked onto the floor everything spills out. The testers find that the Gyro Bowl makes just as big a mess as a regular bowl, and deem it a "dud."
Review: Deal or Dud: The Gyro Bowl, Chad Garneau, April 28, 2011
Lisa Kaplan Gordon puts the Gyro Bowl to the test with three children ranging in age from 18 months to 4 years. When the bowl is handled gently it works fine, but when it's shaken and dropped by the older children everything inside of it spills. It also doesn't take long for one of the plastic tabs holding the rotating bowls together to break off. Gordon says that the Gyro Bowl isn't nearly as kid-proof as it claims to be.
Review: Gyro Bowl Review: Never Spills? Yeah, Right, Lisa Kaplan Gordon, Feb. 24, 2011
Close to 140 owners review the Gyro Bowl on Amazon.com; most are disappointed with the product. The most common complaints are that the contents of the bowl spill easily, the rotating bowls get stuck and the bowl breaks easily when dropped. The few somewhat satisfied customers say that the Gyro Bowl does reduce the risk of spillage, though it is not spill-proof.
Review: Gyro Bowl Spill Resistant Kids Gyroscopic Bowl with Lid, Contributors to Amazon.com
Several owners say that they bought the HealthMaster Elite because they like and trust Montel Williams, who puts his name (as part of his Living Well line of products) on the HealthMaster blender. Williams claims that the secret behind the HealthMaster blender is its "high-speed, digital emulsification system" which pulverizes all types of fruits and vegetables in seconds. In addition, he says, the blender will "naturally cook" soups and sauces with the heat generated by its blades. The 1,100-watt blender features six stainless steel blades for wet and dry blending, topped by a 70-ounce glass pitcher.
Both Amazon.com and QVC.com user reviews deliver mixed ratings for the HealthMaster blender. The most common complaints are that the motor emits a burning electrical odor, overheats and burns out, causing the HealthMaster blender to stop working altogether after only a short time. Users also cite a litany of complaints about rust-prone blades, leaky pitchers and noise. HealthMaster blender fares a little better with QVC.com customers; less than half say that they would recommend it.
Although it doesn't address the HealthMaster's durability issues, an excellent product review can be found at the foodie website SeriousEats.com, where writer Nikki Goldstein whips up dishes from the HealthMaster recipe book, including a pizza dough, a red pepper pesto sauce and ice cream. Some of the recipes work and others utterly fail. Goldstein concludes that the HealthMaster works well as a basic blender, but needs more horsepower, is overpriced and is way too big for the average kitchen countertop. The HealthMaster Elite (on the product website) costs $200 plus shipping and handling fees, which add nearly $40 to the cost.
One common denominator in many of these negative reviews is the sense of regret; customers really like pitchman Montel Williams, and many of them say that they hoped the HealthMaster would help them live a healthier lifestyle. Going by the number of folks who purchased it, there really is room for another high-power blender on the market. Unfortunately, until its quality is improved, the HealthMaster Elite isn't it. Check out our report on blenders for a roundup of the most reliable models.
Out of about 200 user reviews, the vast majority say they are disappointed in the performance of the HealthMaster Elite, with phrases like "piece of junk!" and "do not buy!" commonly bandied about. More than half of the posters give it only 1 star, saying that the motor overheats and burns out and that the container blade gets rusty. Those posters who have a working unit claim that it is obnoxiously loud, leaks and gives off a burning electrical odor.
Review: HealthMaster Living Well/Montel Fruit-and-Vegetable Emulsifier, Contributors to Amazon.com
QVC.com customers post a majority of negative reviews about the HealthMaster, claiming that the motor burns out after only a few uses, that it overheats and emits a burning electrical odor, and that the glass pitcher leaks and the bottom plate rusts. However, a little more than 40 percent of users do report success with the HealthMaster blender.
Review: HealthMaster Fruit & Vegetable Emulsifier from Montel Williams, Contributors to QVC.com
Nikki Goldstein tests the HealthMaster by whipping up three diverse dishes from the HealthMaster recipe book -- a pizza dough, a red pepper pesto sauce and ice cream. The sauce comes out great, while the dough stalls the unit once but then turns out fine. The ice cream, however, doesn't fare well because the friction in the base of the unit heats the ice too much to stay frozen. She also finds that the user manual contradicts the recipe book; while the recipe book includes several types of dough, the user manual says that the HealthMaster shouldn't be used for dough at all, and Goldstein finds that even a loose banana-bread dough can cause the unit to switch off every few seconds. Goldstein concludes that the HealthMaster works fine as a basic blender, but it's overpriced and way too big for many counters.
Review: Gadgets: HealthMaster Elite by Montel Williams, Nikki Goldstein, Sept. 30, 2010
4. Infomercial Review
This consumer site features a long page of nearly 100 user posts about the HealthMaster blender; nearly all of them complain that it leaks, smokes, burns out or stops working. Many are also dissatisfied with the customer service.
Review: Health Master Reviews, Contributors to Infomercial-Review.org
Out of 10 user posts, the majority say that the HealthMaster blender is too loud and too big, or that the motor burned out on theirs. A couple of posters, however, say that their HealthMaster does what it's supposed to and works well with fruits and veggies.
Review: Health Master Reviews, Contributors to As-Seen-on-TV-Reviews.net
Just a few users post their experiences with the HealthMaster Elite. One says that it's a great blender for fruits and veggies but is too loud and emits burning smells; one says that theirs broke down; and another says that they've already gone through four HealthMaster units that broke down this past year.
Review: Tristar Montel Williams Healthmaster Fruit & Vegetable Emulsifier, Contributors to Epinions.com
This slicer produces good results, but figuring out how to use it can be tricky.
Slice an entire banana in one quick motion, safely and easily.
Reviewers generally agree that the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer does what it claims to do: produce perfect, even slices with minimal effort. Samantha Adair of the web series "Set the Table" declares in her video review that the Hutzler produced "the best banana slice I've ever tasted," and her assistant notes the slices are "the perfect width." TheDigitalCourier.com's Nick Thomas is also impressed with the Hutzler's slicing performance, saying his wife was astonished at his newfound ability to produce "flawless and symmetrical" banana slices.
Many Amazon users are equally impressed; one in particular is thrilled about no longer needing to mark bananas with a ruler and pencil. However, several reviews warn that for best results, it's important to peel the fruit before slicing. Thomas says that trying to slice a banana with the skin on produced an "instant banana smoothie;" other reviewers at Amazon report having successfully sliced unpeeled bananas, but slices must then be peeled individually.
Most reviews indicate the Hutzler 571 is very easy to use. Adair's video review notes it requires "hardly any pressure at all," and many reviews on Amazon.com compare it favorably to other methods of cutting bananas, such as an axe, a hammer, throwing the banana at a ceiling fan, or biting off individual pieces and spitting them out.
However, some Amazon users are frustrated by the limitations of the Hutzler when it comes to banana size and shape. One owner complains the size of the slicer is "unrealistic," and another recommends bringing the slicer to the store with you in order to select bananas that will fit. The shape of the slicer poses another problem. Several users point out it curves from left to right, making it unsuitable for bananas that curve the other way. One user recommends simply buying the left-handed model 571C along with the standard 571B.
A final issue relates to cleanup: A disgruntled professional ninja only gives the Hutzler 1 star because it's "impossible to clean," and another review complains it "stays sticky for days." A few reviews suggest putting the slicer in the dishwasher may fix this problem.
Multiple reviews at Amazon.com describe the Hutzler as "lightweight and durable." One reviewer reports no damage after tossing it onto both carpeted floors and area rugs. However, several owners grumble that the Hutzler is not as durable as a true military-grade slicer. One owner warns that it is "not designed for field use," while another describes the Hutzler 571 as "acceptable" but not "ruggedized for the harsh demands of combat banana slicing." Several users are also disappointed that bananas are not included.
One of the most common complaints we encountered concerning the slicer is inadequate documentation. One owner complains the instructions were in Japanese and he had to request an English version. Another owner found the directions "too complicated and vague": They did not explain the banana must be peeled first, nor did they indicate which way to position the slicer for cutting. Thomas was also disappointed with the vague instructions, but he says that a call to the company's toll-free number (1-800-GO-BANANAS) put him in touch with a "pleasant, helpful operator" who walked him through the process step by step.
Review Credibility: Excellent The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer has generated a veritable firestorm of controversy on Amazon.com, with more than 2,800 reviews ranging from the wildly enthusiastic to the utterly disparaging. Fans of this banana slicer call it "the real deal" and "the greatest kitchen utensil ever," with praise for its precision and ease of use. Detractors, by contrast, complain the slicer doesn't come with (sufficient) instructions; it can only handle bananas of a certain size and shape; and the fruit must be peeled before slicing. Several reviews compare this model (favorably or unfavorably) to the older 571A, which appears to be discontinued.
Review: Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2013
Review Credibility: Good Columnist Nick Thomas provides a detailed review of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer he received as a Christmas present. Thomas calls this product "a kitchen Godsend," saying it has put "consistently sized banana slices at my fingertips." However, he does note it is necessary to peel the banana for best results. Thomas also warns the slicer doesn't come with detailed instructions but says the company's help line provides excellent service. Thomas compares the Hutzler favorably to other banana slicers on the market, but it does not appear that he has actually tried any of them.
Review: Thomas: The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, Nick Thomas, Jan. 16, 2013
Review Credibility: Good "Set the Table" is a web-based TV series in which food plays a major role. Samantha Adair, an actress in the series, gives an enthusiastic review of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer in this video. She and an unnamed assistant note it takes "hardly any pressure at all" to produce perfect, even slices, declaring the result "the best banana slice I've ever tasted." However, there is no direct comparison between this and other banana slicers.
Review: Banana Slicer Review, Samantha Adair, Dec. 31, 2012
Hearthware, the manufacturer of the NuWave Oven Pro, claims that it cooks faster and uses much less energy than a conventional oven. Using infrared technology, convection and direct heat, this countertop oven can cook a 15-pound turkey, a whole chicken, frozen pizza or french fries. It even promises to bake cookies, cakes, cheesecake or pies. However, reviewers say it's not the best for baking, but it does a nice job with chicken and fish.
In tests at a major consumer magazine, the NuWave Oven Pro does in fact use less power than a conventional oven, and it turns out juicier, browner meats and fish. Owners say this countertop cooker is easy to use and clean, and it doesn't radiate heat throughout the kitchen. The NuWave Oven Pro does not have to be preheated, which saves energy, and meats don't need to be defrosted, which saves time.
On the downside, reviewers say the NuWave Oven Pro tends to dry out potatoes and other vegetables, and it doesn't do a very good job with cakes, pies or pizza. Owners call the digital controls intuitive, but we read many complaints about the list of recommended cooking times, which is said to be far from accurate. Several users recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked. These faults aside, most owners are satisfied with the NuWave's performance; it would make a good substitute for a microwave or toaster oven.
The NuWave Oven Pro doesn't really look like an oven; instead, it has a round, plastic dome covering the heating element and fan. It measures 14 inches across and 16 inches high. The Nu-Wave Oven Pro comes with three extender rings, which allow you to create more room at the top of the oven. It comes with two cooking racks, a ceramic baking pan, a chart of cooking times for various foods, an instructional DVD and recipe cards.
Editors at ConsumerReports.org have put the NuWave Oven Pro through its paces, as has reporter Liz Crenshaw at Washington D.C.'s NBC affiliate. Another hands-on cooking test can be found at WalletPop.com. We also read detailed owner reviews at Amazon.com, Buzzillions.com and Viewpoints.com.
Editors prepare a variety of foods in the NuWave Oven Pro, including meat dishes, sandwiches, apple crisp, frozen fries, pizza and vegetables. As is usual with this publication, testing is rigorous and thorough. You must be a subscriber to read this review.
Review: Does Infrared Have Sizzle?, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2009
Contributors posting to ConsumerReports.org's free Home and Garden blog leave mostly positive comments about the NuWave Oven Pro. One reviewer says that he has owned his NuWave Oven Pro for seven years and recently upgraded to a deluxe version.
Review: Tell Us about Your NuWave Oven, Contributors to ConsumerReports.org
Gordon tests the NuWave Oven Pro and deems it "the real deal" and highly recommends it. She says it lives up to its claim to fame of cooking frozen meat, poultry and fish without defrosting. Also, her testing finds that it crisps reheated pizza crust, hard boils eggs and delivers on its promise of roasting a turkey straight from the freezer. On the down side, she reports that not all foods cook more quickly in the NuWave oven, that the cooking times listed in the guide are unreliable and that cakes don't come out as well as those baked in a conventional oven.
Review: NuWave Oven Pro Review: It's the Real Deal, Lisa Kaplan Gordon, Sept. 16, 2010
4. WRC (Washington, D.C.)
Reporter Liz Crenshaw enlists the help of a home cook, Lisa Warren, who uses the NuWave oven for a month prior to the broadcast segment. Warren cooks salmon and asparagus, a thick chicken breast, a frozen steak and vegetables, with good results each time, although the chicken needs to cook longer than expected. She tells Crenshaw that she would "absolutely" buy a NuWave Oven Pro.
Review: Does NuWave Oven Pro Really Make Cooking a Breeze?, Liz Crenshaw, April 13, 2009
The NuWave Oven Pro earns an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars in more than 150 user reviews. One particular benefit that's mentioned repeatedly is that meat doesn't have to be defrosted before cooking. Several owners say that the plastic dome atop the unit cracked, and one owner complains that the outer ring cracked twice. A few owners complain about strong-handed sales tactics from NuWave when calling to order directly from the company, as well as high shipping charges and multiple accessories that are offered, each with their own shipping charge. The majority of reviewers, however, are very pleased with this countertop oven.
Review: Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-Controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com
At Viewpoints.com, the NuWave Oven Pro earns an average of 4.21 stars out of 5 in approximately 100 owner reviews. Most owners say that the NuWave Oven Pro turns out juicy steaks, pork roasts, chicken breasts and other meats. Reviewers say that food cooks quickly, and cleaning up is easy, but some note that the unit is big and bulky. Quite a few negative reviews echo other reviewers' complaints: the dome cracks easily, shipping charges are very high, and, with the recommended cooking time, the inside of meat or poultry can still be undercooked.
Review: NuWave Oven Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Owner-written reviews posted to Buzzillions.com award the NuWave Oven Pro an average of 4 stars (out of 5) in more than a dozen reviews. Several reviewers say it cooks meat well and uses less electricity than a standard oven, but one consumer says that the cooking times the manufacturer provides left him with raw meat.
Review: Hearthware Nu-wave Pro Digital Black Oven, Contributors to Buzzillions.com
Reviewer Robbie Britt raves about the NuWave Oven Pro's performance; a pork roast turned out "luscious" and "crisp," and cleaning was "a breeze." Overall, Britt says this product is "as advertised" and "reliable."
Review: Product Reviews: Nu-Wave Oven Pro, Robbie Britt, Jan. 22, 2008
This anonymous reviewer notes that the company's list of recommended cooking times is often significantly off the mark. In his view, the best dishes to prepare in this device are whole turkeys, potatoes, beef and whole chickens. He finds it easy to clean and recommends it for Thanksgiving dinners.
Review: NuWave Oven Video Review, "Imaginepower", Feb. 18, 2008
Editors of KitchenContraptions.com, a cooking blog, test the NuWave Oven Pro by preparing spareribs. They find the controls intuitive and the oven easy to use. Editors also find the oven convenient and cost-effective because it uses little power and does not radiate heat. They conclude that the NuWave Oven Pro delivers on its promises.
Review: Review: Nuwave Pro Digital-Controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven, Editors of KitchenContraptions.com, June 26, 2008
The Pitch: "Withstands extreme heat up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit"
April 2009. The Ove Glove is advertised as being an improvement on the traditional oven mitt, able to withstand temperatures up to 480 degrees. Like a firefighter's gloves, the Ove Glove is made of Dupont Kevlar and Nomex, and is supposed to be flame-resistant. Unlike an oven mitt, the glove has individual fingers, allowing for additional dexterity. Based on user and professional reviews, the as-seen-on-TV Ove Glove works as advertised.
The majority of Ove Glove users find it both easy to use and better at protecting their hands than traditional oven mitts. Most users say they feel little to no heat coming through the glove when using it. They also say that the individual fingers, which are tipped with silicone, makes gripping hot pans and dishes easier and helps to prevent accidental slipping. A small percentage of users are displeased with the Ove Glove oven mitt, however, with the most common complaints being that they can't hold onto hot pans any longer than they could with an oven mitt and that the glove may actually catch fire if used near an open flame. Nearly all users warn against using the Ove Glove while handling hot liquids; the glove material isn't waterproof, and hot liquid can seep through.
Several news programs put the Ove Glove to the test to see if it really works as it promises. KIDK in Idaho Falls, Id., brings an Ove Glove to a professional kitchen, where it receives the highest possible rating for allowing a staff member to work quickly without being burned. KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., tests the Ove Glove in a restaurant that works with pans heated up to 400 degrees, and it passes both the heat and flame resistant test. KOMO-TV in Seattle goes to a viewer's home to try out the Ove Glove, and finds it superior to the pot holder it's tested against. Customer reviews on Amazon.com and InfomercialRatings.com are primarily positive, with only a select few having a negative experience.
1. KIDK (Idaho Falls, Id.)
Tommy Noel brings the Ove Glove to a professional kitchen busily preparing for a Thanksgiving feast and has one of their cooks try it out. She likes how it fits and that it covers her whole hand. After using the Ove Glove to remove several pans from the oven, she declares that she prefers it to the oven mitts the kitchen usually uses, although Noel notes that she stills wear a mitt for handling a large pan. The chef sums up her opinion by saying the Ove Glove will help to make work in her busy kitchen go faster, and she gives it a perfect score of five.
Review: Does it Really Work? - The 'Ove' Glove, Tommy Noel, Dec. 1, 2008
2. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)
Kevin Kelly brings the Ove Glove to a local restaurant that specializes in making dishes that require their pans to be heated up to 400 degrees. One of their cooks uses the Ove Glove to handle these hot pans, and says that he doesn't feel any heat from inside the glove. In accompanying video of the test, the chef holds his gloved hand over an open flame on the range to see if the Ove Glove is really flame-resistant. He says he doesn't feel any heat and the glove doesn't catch fire. For this Deal or Dud test, the Ove Glove is declared "definitely a deal."
Review: Deal or Dud: The Ove Glove, Kevin Kelly, Feb. 6, 2009
3. KOMO-TV (Seattle)
Connie Thompson has a viewer try the Ove Glove in her home, testing it against a regular pot holder by holding a hot baking dish with each until her hand gets too hot. The Ove Glove wins, hands down; the tester is able to hold the dish for 30 seconds in front of the hot oven without any problem. She decides that she would pay the Ove Glove price and replace her pot holders. Thompson warns that the Ove Glove should not be used when wet, and it is not waterproof, so it should be used carefully when handling hot liquids, as they will soak through the glove if spilled.
Review: The 'Ove Glove' – Does It Work?, Connie Thompson, Jan. 13, 2004
More than 50 customers review the Ove Glove on Amazon.com and most are impressed with its performance. Nearly all of the reviewers like how the glove protects the entire hand from getting burned and find that the silicone grips make moving hot dishes very easy. One reviewer says she uses the Ove Glove to turn burning logs in her fireplace, and doesn't mind that the glove gets so dirty since it is machine-washable. The handful of customers who aren't pleased with the Ove Glove say that they weren't able to handle hot dishes or pans for any length of time and fail to see how it's any better than regular oven mitts. Many reviewers, both positive and negative, warn that the Ove Glove is definitely not waterproof, and to be careful when handling hot liquids as they will penetrate the fabric.
Review: Ove Glove Hot Surface Handler, Contributors to Amazon.com
Around 15 customers review the Ove Glove on InfomercialRatings.com and most are happy with how it handles removing hot dishes and pans from an oven. Some reviewers also say it's great to use when getting close to the grill or handling hot skewers while barbecuing. A few reviewers say that the Ove Glove isn't as flame-resistant as it's claimed to be, and they have burned a hole in the glove when getting it too close to a fire. A handful of reviewers also say that the Ove Glove did not allow them to handle hot dishes any longer than a regular oven mitt would, and say they would only use it to quickly remove things from an oven.
Review: Ove Glove Reviews and Ratings, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
The Pasta Express is an insulated plastic tube that you fill with boiling water to cook pasta and other foods like shrimp, hot dogs and vegetables. A strainer under the top lid lets you drain the liquid after the food is cooked, so you can serve it right from the Pasta Express. It's advertised as saving both cooking and cleanup time (since all the parts are dishwasher-safe). Instead of bringing a big pot of water to boil to cook spaghetti, you boil just enough to cover the pasta in the tube. The 8-cup Pasta Express holds up to a pound of pasta, and it's often sold with a smaller 5.5-cup tube for smaller servings.
Tests show that the Pasta Express cooks shrimp and asparagus well. However, reviews are oddly mixed when it comes to pasta; some testers say it works fine, while others say spaghetti gets glued together and cooks unevenly, with decidedly yucky results. For example, a tester at KDKA (Pittsburgh) found the spaghetti gummy and undercooked at the recommended seven minutes. However, leaving it in another four minutes did get it done. One participant at The Cutting Board forum reports that she gets good results with pasta only if she follows the instructions exactly.
Aside from the mixed reviews for cooking, the Pasta Express has a few other drawbacks. One reviewer at Epinions.com notes that it uses polycarbonate (No. 7) plastic, a type that's not usually recyclable and may contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to cancer and other health problems, according to the Environmental Working Group. Also, the lids can be hard to secure, posing some risk of burns from the boiling water.
We found the best comparison review of the Pasta Express at KOMO (Seattle), where the tester times it against cooking spaghetti in a pot of boiling water. Testers at KOMO and at KLTV (Dallas) also try to cook items other than pasta. Tests at KDKA (Pittsburgh) provide a clue about getting past the gummy undercooked stage. Reviews at KBTX (Bryan/College Station, Tex.) and at KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) are worth noting because the tests are performed by professional Italian chefs. We also found useful owner-written reviews at Epinions.com, Amazon.com and The Cutting Board forum.
1. KOMO (Seattle)
Reporter Connie Thompson compares cooking a pound of spaghetti in the Pasta Express with cooking it in a pot of boiling water to test claims that the Pasta Express saves time. It does save a few minutes, she says, cooking from start to finish in 15 minutes. Thompson also tries cooking hot dogs and frozen vegetables in the Pasta Express, and is sold on it -- partly because she finds cleanup easy.
Review: Does It Work? Pasta Express, Connie Thompson, Aug. 31, 2006
2. KLTV (Dallas)
The Pasta Express gets a thumbs-down after reporter Joe Terrell finds that it takes 20 minutes and a second pouring of boiling water to finish cooking spaghetti. Attempts to cook asparagus and carrots fail; the only success is with shrimp. Customer service also proved poor, since delivery took a month despite paying for express shipping.
Review: Pasta Express: "Does It Work?", Joe Terrell, Aug. 26, 2007
3. KDKA (Pittsburgh)
This brief review reports that spaghetti cooked in the Pasta Express at the recommended seven minutes was gummy and undercooked. Leaving the pasta in for another four minutes did get it cooked, but reporter Daniela Pampena says the pasta is "not that great." However, asparagus cooked well in it.
Review: Pasta Express -- Does It Really Do That?, Daniela Pampena, May 2006
4. KBTX (Bryan/College Station, Tex.)
Reporter Meredith Stancik asks an Italian chef to test the Pasta Express. After seven minutes, the spaghetti is glued together and gummy, so the owner gives the Pasta Express the lowest possible rating.
Review: Does It Work: Pasta Express, Meredith Stancik, Nov. 6, 2007
5. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Tests by a professional pasta chef find that the Pasta Express cooks spaghetti to a perfect "al dente" texture in eight minutes, and cooks shrimp well, too. The overall grade goes down to a B-plus, though, because carrots just won't cook.
Review: Does it Work: The Pasta Express, Lauren Keith
Nearly two dozen owners review the Pasta Express here, giving it quite a low average rating. Only two users are pleased with it. Others say that pasta not only takes longer to cook this way, but clumps and cooks unevenly. One notes that the polycarbonate (No. 7) plastic may contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Some find the lids are tricky to fasten securely.
Review: Pasta Express, Contributors to Epinions.com
7. The Cutting Board
Several users evaluate the Pasta Express at this forum. Only one reports that it works, but she says it requires more attention to follow the instructions exactly, than it does to cook pasta on a stove. A less satisfied buyer says she turned her Pasta Express into a vase.
Review: Product Reviews: Pasta Express
At the time of our report, only three users review the Pasta Express here, unanimously giving it the lowest possible rating for long cooking times and inedible results.
Review: Tristar Pasta Express, Contributors to Amazon.com
This critical review notes that the Pasta Express doesn't save any cooking or cleanup time, and that pasta cooks unevenly in it, ending up gummy, stuck together and not cooked thoroughly.
Review: Pasta Express Review, Editors of AsSeenOnTVCritic.com
10. Coolest- gadgets.com
This brief review notes that the Pasta Express might be useful for a college dorm room, since there's no need for a stove.
Review: Pasta Express, "Mike", 2006
An irate reviewer reports that the "locked" lid on the Pasta Express spilled boiling water on her hand, burning her. Quite a few other complaints are posted here about customer service from the product's distributor, Tristar.
Review: Pasta Express Caused Blister Burns, Contributors to PissedConsumer.com, April 12, 2008
This review notes that the bottom lid can be hard to snap on, but is enthusiastic about the Pasta Express overall. The site does sell this product, so the review isn't necessarily objective.
Review: Pasta Express Review, Editors of TVTopTen.com, April 14, 2006
This brief article explains the various plastics that can be labeled No. 7, and refers to the BPA controversy but without any detail.
Review: Facts About Plastic #7, Editors of Earth911.com
This long, detailed article includes a lot of information on studies showing probable health problems from the BPA often used in polycarbonate (No. 7) plastic.
Review: Bisphenol A, Contributors to Wikipedia.org
The Perfect Brownie baking set consists of a 7-by-11-inch open-bottom pan, a bottom sheet, a serving tray and the main innovation -- a grid that shapes the brownie batter into 18 perfect squares, then lifts out for easy serving. The size is right for most packaged brownie mixes. Though the set is advertised as nonstick, the instructions require spraying the pan, bottom and dividers with nonstick cooking spray. To minimize leaks, you should preheat the pan for five minutes before adding batter, place a cookie sheet underneath it or line it with foil.
Reviews of the Perfect Brownie set are mixed, but more positive overall than negative. Even enthusiastic testers say you can bake fine brownies in an ordinary pan rather than spending $20 on this specialty pan. Reviews are also mixed about whether or not the metal divider improves the texture of the brownies by baking them more evenly. The set comes with a set of stencils for decorating brownies, but few reviewers mention these as a plus. Some users report a lot of leakage, others very little or none at all.
The main advantage of the Perfect Brownie set seems to be the dividers themselves, which do produce even squares, so this might be an advantage if you have a hard time cutting brownies evenly in a normal pan. All the pieces are dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is easy. Overall, we think that the set isn't timesaver, since it takes more time to coat all the dividers than to cut the brownies by hand.
We found the most illuminating reviews of the Perfect Brownie set at TV stations that provide video clips of their tests. Jeff Jumper's test for KPLC (Lake Charles, La.) is the most enthusiastic. The review at KDFW (Dallas) is also favorable, but the tester at KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) gives the Perfect Brownie a thumbs-down. A detailed review at AssociatedContent.com also recommends cutting brownies by hand instead, while a sketchy reviewer at StarReviews.com finds no drawbacks at all. At Amazon.com, nearly 60 users are also divided in their ratings.
1. KDFW (Dallas)
Reporter Steve Noviello asks a volunteer tester to try out the Perfect Brownie pan in this "Deal or Dud" segment. Tester Jennifer Wilkin is skeptical, but ends up giving the Perfect Brownie pan a thumbs-up as "pretty cool." All the brownies do turn out square. Wilkin coats the pan and all the dividers with a coating of nonstick spray; despite this, one of the brownies sticks a little.
Review: Fox4 Features: Deal or Dud: Perfect Brownie Pan, Steve Noviello, Sept. 9, 2009
2. KPLC (Lake Charles, La.)
This review, which includes a step-by-step video demonstration, concludes that although a standard baking pan makes brownies that are just as good, the Perfect Brownie does make them easier to serve. Jumper experiences minimal leaking, but says you could line the pan with foil to avoid it. He likes the fact that the pieces are dishwasher-safe, making cleanup easy.
Review: Does it Work? Perfect Brownie, Jeff Jumper, 2009
3. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Tester Kris Brook gives the Perfect Brownie a grade of C-plus, noting that the serving tray tends to slide off the pedestal and it's just as easy to cut brownies with a knife. The total price including shipping is close to $30, which strikes her as way too much.
Review: Untitled, Lauren Keith, Sept. 16, 2009
This detailed review advises against buying the Perfect Brownie Pan. Following the instructions, Ashlee Thacker coated and floured the pan and dividers -- 54 sides in total --and says it was quite a chore. She found that the brownies still tended to stick to the bottom. Thacker also tried out the stencils, and says they created a big mess.
Review: The Perfect Brownie Pan Set is Not So Perfect, Ashlee Thacker, Jan. 13, 2010
This enthusiastic review, accompanied by a video demonstration, gives the Perfect Brownie set the highest possible rating. The reviewer uses a light coating of butter rather than nonstick cooking spray.
Review: The Perfect Brownie Baking Pan Review, "Dan", Aug. 2009
Close to 60 owners review the Perfect Brownie set here, with about two-thirds expressing satisfaction. Pleased owners say the set produces great-tasting brownies with perfect edges, and makes serving and cleanup easier. The major complaints are excessive leaking and uneven baking. It's not clear why some owners get very good results, while others don't.
Review: Perfect Brownie Set, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Pitch: "The world's first spatula-free pancake maker"
March 2009. The Perfect Pancake, according to the manufacturer, is the world's first spatula-free pancake maker. The design is simple: a shallow, nonstick pan with a hinged, slightly convex lid. No spatula is required -- just flip the whole pan over and you'll have "perfect" pancakes. However, the majority of user reviews we found are consistently critical, stating the Perfect Pancake is a big disappointment. For starters, many consumers say, the nonstick surface isn't exactly nonstick, and the batter spills out of the small sides of the maker, creating a mess. Other reviewers say the Perfect Pancake is too time-consuming to be worthwhile, because you can only make one pancake at a time.
On the other hand, some reviewers say the Perfect Pancake is easy to use and very lightweight. A few reviewers praise the product for being kid-friendly and well suited for families that like to cook together. Others say the Perfect Pancake does a better job of making thick and fluffy pancakes than using a pan and spatula. Still, the balance of reviews indicate that the Perfect Pancake is a good idea that's not really worth the trouble.
Many sites, such as InfomercialRatings.com, Epinions.com, MrBreakfast.com, and AsSeenOnTVCritic.com contain a wealth of professional and consumer feedback, both positive and negative. Testers also weigh in at Cook's Illustrated magazine and KOMO, a Seattle TV station.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Editors at Cook's Illustrated magazine (a publication known for rigorous and balanced testing) tries out the Perfect Pancake with a healthy dose of skepticism in this brief review. The results are less than perfect, with editors complaining primarily about the amount of time it takes to cook a single flapjack with the Perfect Pancake. The editors suggest using a high-quality nonstick skillet instead of the Perfect Pancake.
Review: The Perfect Pancake, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, July 2003
2. KOMO-TV (Seattle)
Connie Thompson follows a Perfect Pancake owner as he tries the product for the first time. The consumer complains that flipping the pan results in batter spilling. With some practice, he is able to produce the ideal pancake, but he adds that he's not sure the Perfect Pancake is worth the price. Thompson notes that viewers who have tried the Perfect Pancake say they too have trouble flipping the pancake without the batter spilling.
Review: Perfect Pancakes?, Connie Thompson, Aug. 31, 2006
This user-review site, which features ratings for many infomercial products, contains about a dozen reviews for the Perfect Pancake. The majority of owners give the Perfect Pancake a negative rating of just one or two stars out of a possible five. Many users complain that when you flip the Perfect Pancake, the batter splatters out the sides between the lid and the pan. They also note that only one side of the pan heats up at a time, so the pancakes take a long time to cook. Another common complaint is that the product is poorly made. On the positive side, some reviewers say the heart-shaped batter ring and the batter dispenser are great additions to the Perfect Pancake.
Review: The Perfect Pancake Reviews, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
More than 35 Perfect Pancake owners at Epinions review the product, giving it an overall rating of just two stars (five stars is a perfect rating). Negative reviews focus on the poor quality of the product and the amount of time it takes to cook one pancake. Others say the Perfect Pancake doesn't flip and the pan easily scratches. Some users say the product is easy for children to use and the Perfect Pancake works better when cooking eggs than pancakes.
Review: The Perfect Pancake, Contributors to Epinions.com
MrBreakfast.com reviews all things breakfast and gives "golden eggs" as a rating. The user reviews are both positive and negative, with more than half of owner complaints claiming the batter sticks to the pan and the product is poorly made. The positive comments include the size and heartiness of the pancakes and that the Perfect Pancake also makes great sandwiches, such as tuna melts and grilled cheese.
Review: Perfect Pancake Maker, Contributors to MrBreakfast.com
AsSeenOnTVCritic.com editors test the Perfect Pancake by making pancakes, a process that results in their calling the device "perfectly useless" and "a major disappointment." The unnamed reviewer notes that the instructions caution users to cook only on medium heat or lower, so each pancake takes seven minutes to cook and the pancake batter sticks to the pan. On the positive side, the reviewer does say the included batter dispenser is "OK." A few user reviews are also available on the site, all of them critical.
Review: Perfect Pancake, Editors of and contributors to AsSeenOnTVCritic.com
The Pitch: "Fresh, healthful food has never been so easy to prepare. Set it and forget it!"
April 2009. The Ronco Showtime Standard Rotisserie and BBQ Oven is a countertop rotisserie cooker that legendary TV pitchman Ron Popeil claims will produce crisp-skinned chicken; juicy, deeply browned roasts and moist fish fillets, as well as tender vegetables.
Reviews say that the Ronco Rotisserie is one as-seen-on-TV product that actually works. Even reviewers who had problems with the rotisserie say that it does a great job cooking meat, particularly whole chickens. Owners say that the Rotisserie really is as easy to use as it looks on the infomercial – when the timer goes off, meat is done cooking. Some owners note, however, that deeply browned chicken requires them to adjust cooking times upward. Interestingly, several users say that they find spinning food unexpectedly mesmerizing to watch.
We did read some complaints about the Showtime Standard Rotisserie. Most focus on the machine's build quality, namely Teflon coating that wears off and that rods squeak as they turn. Ronco's customer service also is criticized by a few consumers. We also read that the Showtime Rotisserie eats up countertop real estate and gets quite hot during cooking. Despite these flaws, most owners agree that this rotisserie is a good value.
The Ronco Rotisserie weighs 28 pounds and plugs into a standard electrical outlet. An automatic three-hour timer shuts the oven off once the cooking cycle is complete. The rotisserie comes with food ties, two flavor injectors, Teflon-coated drip tray, thermometer, non-stick roasting basket, one spit rod, four kabob rods, a carving fork/knife, rubber gloves, instructional video and recipe booklet. Be aware that Ronco sells several versions of this oven with different exterior finishes and differing accessories.
We read the best review of the Showtime Standard Rotisserie in The Wall Street Journal, where it goes head-to-head with four other countertop ovens. To see what owners are saying about this device, we turned to Epinions.com, where we found more than 170 user reviews. We also read candid owner reviews at Amazon.com, InformercialRatings.com, ConsumerAffairs.com, Sears.com, and Egullet.org.
1. The Wall Street Journal
Reporter Lisa Kalis orders five countertop rotisseries, roasting a chicken in each. The Ronco Showtime Compact isn't easy to assemble (it takes five attempts to get a small chicken centered on the rods), but it does turn out a chicken that is better than a regular oven-roasted bird. The skin is crispy and the flesh juicy. Kalis gives it the Journal's Best Overall award. This rotisserie also cooks the chicken in the shortest amount of time of all rotisseries tested.
Review: Catalog Critic: The New Spin Doctors, Lisa Kalis, Jan. 14, 2005
The Ronco Showtime Rotisserie earns an average of 4.5 stars out of five in about 175 reviews at Epinions.com. The majority is happy with this rotisserie, which users say turns out moist and flavorful meats. We read some complaints, which are divided between Ronco's customer service and the difficulty of cleaning this machine. But even owners who post negative reviews of this rotisserie say it turned out delicious food.
Review: Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Ronco, Contributors to Epinions.com
More than two dozen contributors to Amazon.com give the Ronco Standard Rotisserie overwhelmingly positive reviews. The majority says it turns out evenly browned, juicy meat, and it's easy to use. Users say that they can't stop staring at the Ronco Rotisserie as the meat spins, and clean-up is easy because the drip tray, spit and basket are dishwasher-safe.
Review: Ronco Showtime Standard Rotisserie and Barbeque Oven, Contributors to Amazon.com
Having prepared a wide variety of meats and vegetables in the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie, the anonymous editor of this gadget-review blog gives this machine his highest rating. Chickens and rib roasts prepared in this unit are difficult to resist, he writes, but because vegetables shrink, they sometime fall out of the cooking basket. Small roasts and steaks "tend to be a little dry," notes the reviewer.
Review: Review of the Ronco Showtime Standard Rotisserie and BBQ Oven, Editor of TVGadgetJudge.com
Contributors to this food forum discuss the merits of the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie. The consensus is that it does a very good job roasting chicken, but some contributors say it's a pain to clean. One reviewer says that he has to cook a large chicken for 90 minutes in order to achieve crispy, well-browned skin.
Review: Domestic Rotisserie, Contributors to Egullet.org
Diana Rattray, About.com's guide to Southern food, offers a favorable review of the Ronco Showtime Indoor Rotisserie. She finds it easy to assemble and notes that grease drips off while the spit rod turns – "a real plus for the health-conscious," but notes that it's heavy, and it's also difficult to keep the interior clean. She deems the accompanying video and instructions "excellent." (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Product Review: Ronco Showtime Indoor Rotisserie, Diana Rattray
Reviews here give the Showtime Rotisserie above-average marks for performance. Many say it's easy to use, and it turns out moist, perfectly cooked chickens, turkeys and roasts. We read some complaints about the spit rod, which is said to be squeaky, and the rotisserie's build quality, which is said to be only fair.
Review: Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven Reviews and Ratings, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
Sprinkled among the roughly 10 reviews here are comments about the Showtime Platinum Edition Rotisserie. The majority is very happy with Ronco's rotisseries, which are said to turn out moist, tender meat.
Review: Reviews of the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven, Contributors to Sears.com
Scattered complaints here about the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie center on Ronco's customer service; some owners who sent their rotisseries back to the manufacturer say that they have not received replacement units.
Review: Complaints about Ronco Showtime BBQ Rotisserie, Contributors to ConsumerAffairs.com
The Pitch: "Dice, chop and mince in seconds"
March 2009. The Slap Chop is a handheld, cup-shaped mini food chopper. The more slaps you give the chopper's plunger, the finer its W-shaped blade dices. According to the website, the Slap Chop will easily dice, chop and mince nearly any fruit, vegetable, herb or nut in your kitchen. For the most part, the Slap Chop infomercial claims hold true, though users say it works better on some produce than on others. It does a great job of chopping most vegetables and nuts, but it doesn't work well on tomatoes; the blades don't easily cut through a tomato's skin and tend to pulverize it into a pulp. Potatoes are also a problem, as they are too hard and usually get stuck in the Slap Chop's blades.
Despite its general functionality, the Slap Chop gets mixed reviews from those who try it. A reporter for WBRE in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., tries out the Slap Chop, and finds it works well on most of the foods it's tested on. However, he gives it a mediocre review due to its inability to chop tomatoes and the availability of cheaper, comparable products. A tester for WXIA in Atlanta is also unimpressed with the Slap Chop because it's unable to chop tomatoes and potatoes. Jack Scalfani creates a video for Break.com in which he successfully uses the Slap Chop on a variety of foods and even finds a way to dice tomatoes (by chopping half a tomato facedown, rather than face-up). Users on the consumer-review site JennyReviews.com are all very happy with the Slap Chop, finding it easy to use on nearly everything and easy to clean too.
1. WBRE (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
Jeff Chirico puts the Slap Chop to the test with radio personality Sue Henry and her communications class at King's College. They try it out on a variety of foods, and find that it works great on onions, celery, carrots and walnuts. When tested on a tomato, however, the Slap Chop turns it into a pulpy mess. It also has trouble with a potato, which gets stuck in the chopping blades. Overall, the students give the Slap Chop a middling grade of "OK" since it works well on chopping some products, but not others.
Review: Tuesday Tryout: Slap Chop, Jeff Chirico, Jan. 27, 2009
2. WXIA (Atlanta)
In her "Try it Before You Buy It" segment, reporter Karyn Greer has viewer Tim Carlson try the Slap Chop in his home, and he's less than impressed with the results. He tries it on various ingredients for salsa, and likes how it chops an onion and makes removing the skin easy. The Slap Chop falls short when used on a tomato and potato: It has trouble cutting through the tomato's skin and winds up liquefying it, while the potato gets caught in the blades. Carlson gives the Slap Chop a thumbs-down, calling it "more of a time waster than a time saver."
Review: Try It: Slap Chop, Karyn Greer, March 18, 2009
In a video he created for Break.com, Jack Scalfani tests the Slap Chop in his own kitchen. He likes how it chops celery, garlic and nuts, though he warns that you have to actually slap it; slowly pushing the blades down causes the food to get stuck. When using the Slap Chop on half a tomato laying face-up, it has trouble cutting through the skin and makes a mess of the tomato. When he puts the other half face down, it does a better job of cutting the skin and dicing the tomato. However, Scalfani finds the Slap Chop doesn't work well on onions and he's left with messy pieces of skin.
Review: Slap Chop -- Product Review Video, Jack Scalfani
This website is dedicated to reviews of various products and services. The reviewer is impressed with the Slap Chop, and likes it better than similar products because of its W-shaped blades, which chop evenly sized pieces. A handful of customers also review the Slap Chop on JennyReviews.com; they are all very happy with its performance and say it's very easy to clean.
Review: Slap Chop Reviews, Editors of and contributors to JennyReviews.com
The Slice-O-Matic is advertised as a kitchen gadget that will save you time and effort while preparing meals. Simply place a piece of product into the circular chamber, push down on the handle and the internal blade cuts your fruit or vegetable into even slices that land in a catch container below. The blade can be adjusted for various thicknesses, and it can be swapped out for an included julienne blade.
However, most users say the Slice-O-Matic is more trouble than it's worth. Some find it difficult to assemble and disassemble for cleaning (it must be hand washed). It also tends to strain, jam or break when slicing heavier fruits and vegetables. Many owenrs complain that the slicing chamber is too small to accept certain types of produce -- onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and large potatoes -- and the produce that does fit tends to come out unevenly sliced. The julienne blade is particularly hard to install and keep in place; when it does work, reviewers say, the slices are too small. Users overwhelmingly say that between its flimsiness, uneven slicing and need to be hand-washed, there's no advantage to using the Slice-O-Matic over a regular knife.
A reporter for WVEC in Norfolk, Va., tests the Slice-O-Matic at a viewer's home and finds that the directions are hard to follow, it slices unevenly and the julienne blade is a hassle to install. Reviewers at KDAF in Dallas has slightly better luck in their test but gives it a grade of C for being flimsy, saying it might be a good tool for children to use in the kitchen. In another TV review, a reporter at WPMI in Pensacola, Fla., deems the Slice-O-Matic a dud, saying it's useless for slicing larger produce. A group of journalists try out the Slice-O-Matic for Ohio.com and say that while it's no better or easier than using a knife, it might appeal to people who like having gadgets. Customers on Amazon.com are far less forgiving, with most giving the Slice-O-Matic the lowest rating, saying that it breaks easily when slicing harder vegetables and can't even fit many commonly used fruits and vegetables.
1. WVEC (Norfolk, Va.)
Reporter Sandra Parker asks a nutritionist to test the Slice-O-Matic on a variety of produce. She finds both the assembly and usage directions difficult to follow. Once she has the gadget assembled, she slices some cucumbers and carrots, which come out uneven. She tries to swap the slicing blade for the julienne blade but can't figure out how to get it to stay snapped in and eventually gives up. When asked if the Slice-O-Matic works, she says no.
Review: Does it Work? The Slice-O-Matic, Sandra Parker, Nov. 8, 2011
2. KDFW (Dallas)
Tommy Noel brings the Slice-O-Matic to a local sandwich shop, where the owner is eager to see if it will save time with vegetable preparation. He says the slicing blade works pretty well, though the julienne blade is tricky to install and produces smaller slices of potato than he would like. He says the claim that the Slice-O-Matic is as easy to use as a toaster doesn't hold up when trying to slice harder vegetables, which need a little more muscle. When asked to grade it, he gives the Slice-O-Matic a C, saying it seems flimsy for serious chopping but would be a good way to get children helping in the kitchen.
Review: Does it Work? Slice-o-Matic, Tommy Noel, Nov. 17, 2011
3. WPMI (Pensacola, Fla.)
Kelly Foster tests the Slice-O-Matic with the owner of a local restaurant. She finds it easy to use, but it takes longer to slice than the commercial promises. She also says it's too flimsy and lightweight to handle a large amount of slicing, while larger produce items like tomatoes and onions don't even fit into the slicing chamber. When trying the julienne blade, she says the slices are too small and uneven. Ultimately, she says the concept of the Slice-O-Matic is good, but since it's too small and lightweight, she deems it a dud.
Review: Deal or Dud: The Slice-O-Matic, Kelly Foster, Dec. 2, 2011
Lisa Abraham, a food writer for the Beacon Journal of Akron, Ohio, tries out several As Seen on TV kitchen gadgets, including the Slice-O-Matic, with fellow journalists. She says that it works better producing thicker slices than thinner, though switching the thickness setting and changing the blades are tricky. She's also disappointed that larger produce -- like bell peppers -- won't fit in the Slice-O-Matic's chute. Abraham sees no advantage to using the Slice-O-Matic over a regular knife and says to skip it, while the other two testers say it might work for people who love gadgets.
Review: Does It Work: Eggies, Yonanas, Babycakes Donut Maker, Slice-O-Matic, RoboStir, Lisa Abraham, Nov. 23, 2011
Over 50 customers review the Slice-O-Matic on Amazon.com, and an overwhelming majority give it the lowest possible rating. Common complaints say that it's difficult to assemble and disassemble; it's flimsy and tends to strain or break with heavier produce; the slicing chamber isn't large enough to hold larger fruits and vegetables; and it's no quicker than using a knife. A few customers say it works for slicing smaller vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots.
Review: Slice-o-matic - Cuts Your Prep Time in Half - As Seen on Tv, Contributors to Amazon.com
Unlike most non-stick cookware, which uses Teflon or a similar substance, StoneDine's surface contains microparticles of stone. The company claims their cookware is 10 times stronger and will last 10 times longer than other non-stick pans.
Unfortunately, StoneDine doesn't specify the nature of its testing methods, and the drill press test in the infomercial is, according to a fine-print disclaimer, merely a simulation. Nonetheless, many owners say their StoneDine cookware is well worth the high price and comparable to any quality cookware set. Owners praise StoneDine for its easy cleanup, non-stick properties and ability to produce healthier meals with less fats or oils.
Other than shady pricing and unhelpful customer service, the most common complaint among dissatisfied owners is that the non-stick quality does not last. While many swear it lasts as long as one year, there are a notable amount of customers who claim their cookware has become sticky and useless as soon as two weeks after purchasing. A few fans of the StoneDine pots and pans argue the reason for this is that users do not follow care directions, which direct owners to never use soap. The set includes a 12-year guarantee, but users have little luck claiming it. At over $400 (after shipping and handling) with such poor customer service and no return policy, the durability is a big risk to take.
According to user reviews, confusing marketing and a hefty price overshadow StoneDine's merits. A number of customers complain they weren't aware of the total price until after their StoneDine set was delivered. The initial order (Est. $38 plus $28 shipping and handling) is only a 30-day trial offer. If you don't send the set back, you'll be billed the balance (in nine monthly payments) for a grand total of nearly $400, plus the shipping and handling cost. Only in very small print at the bottom of the page does the website clarify this policy. Customers report being told by customer service agents that they cannot process order cancellations. Buy from a reputable local retailer to avoid this pricing mess.
StoneDine cookware is listed on Amazon.com in several configurations. This listing, in particular, contains the 8-piece set plus free 11-piece knife set from the original infomercial. Fifty-four customers give it a high rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Other StoneDine listings garner similar ratings.
Review: StoneDine - Non-Stick Stone Cookware, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2013
2. As Seen on TV Reviews
This website allows consumers to review products sold via infomercials. Of the 11 users posting reviews for the StoneDine cookware set, most are enthusiastic and praise its non-stick properties. However, there are a couple of complaints about StoneDine's marketing practice of not including the total price in the infomercial and only mentioning it in fine print at the bottom of the web page.
Review: Stone Dine Reviews, Contributors to As Seen on TV Reviews, As of August 2013
3. The SciMark Report
This blog post is written by an entrepreneur who invents telemarketing products. StoneDine, he says, is too expensive; it's priced too high to be successful. The value of this post comes from the large number of comments describing owners' experience with shady infomercial pricing and unhelpful customer service.
Review: Review: StoneDine, Jordan Pine, March 9, 2010
This in-depth technical review based on actual testing should be read critically, as the website admits to being a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, meaning they earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Often this leads reviewers to be more favorable than they should.
Review: Stonedine Cookware Review, Editors of CeramicCookwareReviews.org, Not Dated
There are a handful of postings about StoneDine on GardenWeb.com, with one in particular describing in detail a customer's frustration with the ordering and pricing process. A few others contend, however, that StoneDine is well worth the price and works great.
Review: Stonedine Cookware, Contributors to GardenWeb.com, As of August 2013
Viewpoints.com contains feedback for StoneDine from three users and one poster who has not purchased it but shares insight into the misleading pricing. They give it a rating of 80 out of 100. Other cookware brands receive an average score of 90 at this site.
Review: Stonedine Cookware Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of August 2013
Owners say that it is easy to wash and season the StoneDine according to instructions. One fried a piece of cheese (just as in the infomercial) and it slid out effortlessly. Other owners have fried eggs and sausage with the same good result and claim that the StoneDine is a keeper.
Review: Stonedine Cookware, Contributors to SparkPeople.com, As of August 2013
The Pitch: "Simply rub with a few quick strokes for a hassle-free peeled potato"
March 2009. Tater Mitts resemble ordinary rubber kitchen gloves, but the palms have an abrasive scrubbing surface designed to remove the skin of a potato. According to the infomercial, Tater Mitts can peel a potato in eight seconds. However, those who put Tater Mitts to the test find that preparation time actually increases because the potatoes need to be boiled first (a step that the infomercial fails to mention). Users do say, however, that the gloves protect their hands from nicks and cuts.
When used on a boiled potato, Tater Mitts usually do remove the skin in roughly eight seconds, as the advertising claims -- but boiling the spuds adds several minutes to the process, users note. Reviewers also complain that the pebbled peeling surface on the mitts tends to rub off, in some cases into food. Tater Mitts only come in one size, and most users say they're too big. In addition, users find the mitts difficult to clean as the potato peels get caught in the rough surface. A small portion of reviewers who don't mind having to boil the potatoes first are happy with Tater Mitts. Likewise, those with arthritis or similar conditions find Tater Mitts easier to use than utensils. On the whole, most users agree that they'll stick with the traditional and faster methods of using a knife or peeler.
KLRT in Little Rock, Ark. and KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., try out Tater Mitts in professional kitchens, and both find that Tater Mitts don't save time over traditional peeling. A reviewer for Wired.com is completely dissatisfied with his Tater Mitts experience due to the time issue, the fact that the rough surface rubs away so easily, and the difficulty in getting the mitts clean. Customers on InfomercialRatings.com echo the common complaints that the Tater Mitts don't save time, are poorly made and hard to clean, and are too large for most to use comfortably. The only positive Tater Mitts customer reviews come from those who have medical conditions that prevent them from using traditional utensils to peel potatoes.
1. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)
In one of his weekly "Deal or Dud" segments, Kevin Kelly puts Tater Mitts to the test with a professional cook, who deems them a "100% dud." Tater Mitts claim to be able to peel a potato in eight seconds, but the potatoes need to be boiled first. When the boiled potatoes are ready to be peeled with the Tater Mitts, he finds the eight seconds claim to be false. They eventually peel the potato, but not any faster than using a knife and a peeler. Kelly determines that Tater Mitts can help to avoid the nicks and cuts that come with traditional peeling, but they don't save any time.
Review: Deal or Dud: Tater Mitts, Kevin Kelly, July 8, 2008
2. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Lauren Keith also tests Tater Mitts in a professional kitchen, and having a slightly more positive experience, gives them an overall grade of "B". She finds that having to boil the potatoes first just adds to the time Tater Mitts claim to save. The mitts do remove the skin off some boiled potatoes in just a few seconds, though a lot gets stuck in the gloves' rough surface, making cleanup a hassle. Some of the material from the gloves also rubs off with the potato skin, which concerns the restaurant owner who participates in the test. They decide that Tater Mitts are not helpful for cooking in restaurants as the boiling factor doesn't save time in the peeling process.
Review: Does it Work? Tater Mitts, Lauren Keith, May 30, 2007
Roger Thomasson reviews Tater Mitts and finds that they aren't as great as they're advertised to be. They do peel a few boiled potatoes quickly, but having to boil the potatoes beforehand increases the prep time by several minutes. After finding "little blue pebbles" from the mitts' surface mixed with the potato peels, as well as worn patches on the mitts after one use, he questions the durability of the product. Cleaning the potato residue from the mitts is difficult, and they are never fully clean. Due to the boiling factor not saving any time, the flimsy construction, and the difficult cleanup, Thomasson doesn't recommend Tater Mitts and gives them a rating of just two out of 10.
Review: Tater Mitts, Roger Thomasson, July 5, 2007
More than 20 customers review Tater Mitts on InfomercialRatings.com, and most of them are disappointed with their experience, giving the gloves only one or two stars out of a possible five. The fact that the potatoes need to be boiled before they can be peeled is the main complaint. Since the commercial doesn't factor in boiling, consumers discover that the Tater Mitts are not a time-saver in the end. Others complain that the mitts are too large for their hands and are difficult to clean. A couple of customers with medical conditions that make utensil use difficult are pleased with Tater Mitts, but most agree that using a regular knife or peeler is both faster and easier.
Review: Tater Mitts Reviews and Ratings, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
The Titan Peeler is a handheld kitchen tool with dual stainless-steel serrated blades, designed to peel very thinly. The basic kit includes a multi-bladed julienne tool, and sometimes it's sold with an accessory that converts the Titan Peeler into a mandoline slicer.
The TV ad claims that the Titan Peeler cuts food-preparation time because it can slice while being pulled or pushed in a back-and-forth motion. Some users say this makes the peeler more versatile, while others find this awkward or dangerous. Several reviewers conclude that an ordinary peeler is actually faster to use.
In tests we found, the serrated blades peel and slice tomatoes well, and are tough enough to peel the skin of a pineapple or butternut squash. The peelings are very thin, so no food is wasted. However, the serrations do leave marks on the food, which might bother some users. Using the Titan Peeler to slice food gets mixed reviews, especially when it comes to cheeses. Overall, reviewers disagree about whether or not the Titan Peeler is worth the money, but they agree that the sharp blades make it very easy to cut yourself if you're careless.
Reviewers say you are better off buying the Titan Peeler at a store than online. If you order it from the official Titan Peeler website, some users complain, shipping charges are higher than the cost of the peeler itself. What's more, we found many complaints from owners who say their credit cards were charged without first seeing the final cost of the order. Users also report that it's very difficult to cancel orders and that shipping charges are not refunded -- even if the product is never received.
The Titan Peeler blades are advertised as carrying a lifetime warranty. However, with such extreme complaints about the Titan Peeler website, it seems unlikely that warranty fulfillment would prove satisfactory. One user reports that he bought a defective peeler, but the company wanted to charge $10 to exchange it for a new one.
We found the most thorough and critical review at Popular Mechanics, where Harry Sawyers not only tests the Titan Peeler on a pineapple and several vegetables, but also compares it with some other competing peelers. Quite a few TV stations review the Titan Peeler; we found the best review at KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), where three deli employees test it. Tests at KIDK (Idaho Falls, Idaho) include a timed race to see if the Titan Peeler really does save prep time. Owner-written reviews at Amazon.com, Walgreens.com and at RootsToTheSea.com are useful, as are complaints about the Titan Peeler website's ordering, pricing and refund policies -- posted at ConsumerAffairs.com and at RipoffReports.com.
The Titan Peeler is reviewed in detail here, based on peeling tomatoes, onions, a cucumber, pineapple and a butternut squash. The peeler is judged effective but expensive compared with several good competitors. The serrated blades are good for tomatoes and tough skins, but leave ridges after each stroke. After using it on a cucumber, Sawyers says "its surface looked like a wall with a badly painted faux finish." The main criticism is based on the shipping and handling charges -- which exceed the cost of the product itself -- when ordering online or by phone.
Review: Does the Titan Peeler Work? As Seen on TV Lab Test, Harry Sawyers
2. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Lauren Keith asks three women who work in the deli at a local grocery store to try out the Titan Peeler. Although the women say it does a decent job on potatoes and apples, they end up with a carrot that's shredded rather than peeled. These testers report that it doesn't save time, and is awkward and dangerous to use; two of them cut themselves while using the device.
Review: Titan Peeler: Does It Work?, Lauren Keith, June 9, 2009
3. KIDK (Idaho Falls, Id.)
Tom Hersh, owner and manager of a local diner, tests the Titan Peeler on a potato, carrot, cucumber and two cheeses. Slicing cheese results in uneven, unattractive slices, but the Titan Peeler peels the vegetables easily with less waste than an ordinary peeler. A timed test, though, shows that peeling is faster with an ordinary peeler than with the Titan.
Review: Does It Really Work? Titan Peeler, Tommy Noel, April 9, 2009
4. WMBF (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
Local chef Darren Daugherty tests the Titan Peeler for this review, finding it effective in peeling and slicing a tomato as well as slicing cheese, peeling and julienning a cucumber, and slicing a potato thin enough for potato chips. The only caveat is that the sharp blades are too dangerous for kids to use.
Review: Untitled, Editors of WMBF, June 26, 2009
This anonymous blogger posts photos of the Titan Peeler peeling and making julienne cuts on a carrot, potato, cucumber and apple, as well as slicing cheese. She finds it effective in peeling and julienne slicing as long as the tool is pulled toward the user. It also does a good job of slicing cheese, but slicing vegetables into small pieces is awkward. She reports that she's continued to use the Titan Peeler, finding it useful and worth its price. A few readers add comments; one says the manufacturer wanted $10 to exchange a defective unit.
Review: Utitled, "Cheryl", March 7, 2009
6. KCBD (Lubbock, TX)
This article gives the Titan Peeler and its julienne accessory a thumbs-up on all counts. Testers find it effective for slicing and shredding potatoes, carrots, zucchini, cheese and chocolate.
Review: The Titan Peeler: Does It Work?, Editors of KCBD, June 17, 2009
A clear majority of the dozen-plus owners reviewing the Titan Peeler here are quite happy with it. Some find it awkward to use, and even the enthusiastic users note that it can be dangerous.
Review: Titan Peeler, Contributors to Amazon.com
Several people complain that the official Titan Peeler website takes credit card information before providing a total, so they were charged for Titan Peeler orders they never completed. The company only refunded the price of the peeler, not the large shipping and handling charges. Complaints also cover poor customer service.
Review: Titan Peeler, Contributors to ConsumerAffairs.com
9. Ripoff Report.com
Complaints here echo those at ConsumerAffairs.com and cover a wide time span, indicating that problems have not been resolved.
Review: Titan Peeler, Contributors to RipOffReport.com
There are only two reviews here, but both give the Titan Peeler a perfect 5-star rating.
Review: Titan Peeler and Julienne Tool, Contributors to Walgreens.com