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 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 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.
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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
The Pitch: Gets You Softer, Better Water Using the Power of Citrus!
The Verdict: We'd be less skeptical if they showed us their "testing."
The nuvoH2O claims to produce softer water by using citric acid rather than sodium. However, experts in water technology say getting softer water from a salt-free system is impossible; the only way to soften water is to use sodium. A salt-free system like nuvoH2O produces conditioned, not softened, water.
While a small percentage of users say they see some improvement in scale deposits, or say their water seems to taste or rinse better after installing the NuvoH2O, the majority are disappointed, saying the Nuvo does not even come close to living up to its claims. In addition, plenty of experts point out that, except for one study that was sponsored by Nuvo, there is no independent, third party testing to back up the claims made by the company. We saw a few test results posted by owners who tested their water "before and after" NuvoH2O and found no discernable difference in their water.
Those who are most satisfied seem to be homeowners who don't have very hard water to begin with and who primarily want to control scaling. Even then, many say, you need to change the cartridge more frequently than the recommended every six months -- most say three months is better for optimum de-scaling. Unfortunately, that can add up. The base price of the basic NuvoH2O system is $650, and replacement cartridges are around $100. The reason that most people try the Nuvo in the first place is because water softeners are so pricey -- they can run in the thousands of dollars -- but if you have to replace cartridges that frequently your costs will add up quickly, and you still won't have a water softener.
NuvoH2O also claims to be easy to install, but most of the reviews we saw beg to differ and recommend you hire a plumber to do it for you. Customer service is reported as responsive in trouble-shooting problems, but many customers who returned the Nuvo within the 90-day money back guarantee period say they had long delays in getting their money back.
Hard water is a very real issue for some people, but NuvoH2O is not the answer to your problem. Experts say the only way to effectively deal with hard water is to have a qualified plumber test your water and find the water softening unit that fits your particular issue. If you're leery of salt-based softener systems, there are ways to work around having hard water that don't require a purchase, just some lifestyle changes, such as:
Some studies indicate that hard water is healthier because of its higher mineral content, so that's something to consider as well before buying a water softener. However, we can't recommend the NuvoH2O simply because its main selling point -- which is that it softens water -- is false advertising.
In more than 125 reviews, the NuvoH2O earns an overall average rating of 3.2 stars out of 5, with most owners saying it simply does not work as advertised. A number of the most positive reviews come from plumbers who sell the system, which, as some point out, gives them a built-in bias.
Review: Nuvo H20 DPHB Home Salt Water Softener System, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2015
Mark Timmons, who has been working in the water-treatment industry for more than 38 years, addresses water-related questions on USWaterSystems.com, a site that sells water-treatment filters and accessories. When a contributor asks specifically about the nuvoH2O system, Timmons asks him to send a before and after water sample and finds no change in softness (in fact, TDS levels went up). The customer ultimately requested a refund from NuvoH2O.
Review: Does Nuvo H2O Soften Water?, Mark Timmons, Feb. 15, 2014
Editors at WaterWyzard.com "Fail" the Nuvo H2O system, and give it an overall rating of 2.5 stars out of 5. They note that this is not a water softener and that media replacement is pricey. Its final grade is "fail."
Review: Nuvo H2O Review, Editors of WaterWyzard.com, Not Dated
This forum discussion thread was started in September 2009 by a Consumer Reports member to find out if anyone had experience with salt free water softeners, such as the NuvoH2O. The last post was made in March 2014. The general consensus is that salt-free systems like the NuvoH2O do not live up to their hype.
Review: Salt Free Water Softeners, Contributors to ConsumerReports.org, As of February 2015
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: Go green and get healthy!
The Verdict: Save some green and buy a different ceramic pan.
The Orgreenic skillet seems to be the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of pans. For every reviewer who says they love it and that it works exactly as it claims to, there is another who says their Orgreenic fry pan was the worst, stickiest nightmare they've ever experienced from egg one. And there are thousands of videos online to back up both claims. It almost makes us wonder if these Orgreenic skillets are being manufactured in two different places, with one factory turning out amazingly wonderful pans, the other making a poor copy.
To begin with, the infomercial for the Orgreenic skillet is pretty dang impressive -- omelets and eggs slide right out with a flip of the wrist! You can clean even burnt-on messes with a feather duster! It makes perfectly fried chicken without a drop of oil! If it ever dulls or damages, they'll replace it under the lifetime warranty!
And plenty of happy users say that's all true, but just as many others say their Orgreenic pan was not nonstick from the first use. Others say it was fine at first, but after just a few uses it became increasingly sticky. In fact, ceramic skillets are not the best choice for nonstick pans -- one expert refers to ceramic pans as "stick resistant" rather than nonstick. It seems that this is the case for the Orgreenic skillet as well. Users say they do actually work pretty well if you use a bit of oil; contrary to the claims made in the infomercial.
The Orgreenic skillet also gets poor reviews for durability, with many saying the nonstick surface began to chip or peel after just a few weeks. It does come with a lifetime warranty -- the company says it will replace it even if it's your fault -- but you have to pay for shipping both ways. Plenty of owners note that it costs about the same to just buy a new pan and it's much faster than waiting for the replacement.
As with all ceramic skillets, the Orgreenic 10-inch fry pan may just have a bit of a learning curve to it. It has to be seasoned with oil before first use and some users say you should re-season it occasionally. Reviewers also say you should not use cooking sprays on ceramic pans, as they tend to degrade the nonstick properties.
If you do decide you'd like to give an Orgreenic pan a try, we recommend you stay far away from the official website. Plenty of people who have purchased either by phone or through Orgreenic's site say they were the victims of unwanted charges and that the shipping times are extremely long -- eight to 10 weeks in some cases. There are also many complaints of incorrect shipments or of customers ordering one skillet, but receiving -- and being charged for -- entire cookware sets. It's more expensive to purchase the Orgreenic skillet though their website as well. As of this report date, the 10-inch skillet is $19.99 plus $7.99 shipping and handling for a grand total of $27.98. It's $19.99 at Walmart and you can walk out the door with it.
In addition to the 10-inch skillet, Orgreenic makes fry pans in 8- and 12-inch sizes, as well as a full line of cookware and bakeware. Reviews for all of Orgreenic's cookware are similar to the 10-inch pan -- feedback is evenly mixed between those who love it and those who hate it. Orgreenic says their cookware works on all types of stovetops, but those with induction cooktops say it is not suitable for induction cooking.
The biggest selling point of all ceramic skillets is their material, ceramic is not a coating and contains no PFOA. What Orgreenic doesn't tell you is that PFOA has been phased out of all cookware, so there's nothing healthier about an Orgreenic skillet than any other. If you really want to try a ceramic skillet, or just need a great nonstick pan, we recommend taking a look at our separate report on skillets. T-fal makes a very highly rated line of fry pans, both nonstick and ceramic, that in some cases cost less than an Orgreenic skillet.
ConsumerReports.org includes the Orgreenic 10-inch skillet in this test of non-stick skillets and cookware. It is ranked and compared to 18 other frying pans based on testing that includes cooking evenness, nonstick food release when new and after a period of usage, ease of cleaning, and handle comfort and sturdiness.
Review: OrGreenic Ceramic Green Nonstick 10" Kitchen cookware, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
The Orgreenic 10-inch Fry Pan earns an overall average rating of 2.9 stars from more than 1,450 reviewers, with more 1-star than 5-star reviews. Many say that food sticks badly, either at the outset or after only a few uses; quite a few also note that the nonstick surface chip or peels within a fairly short period of time. Others say it works well -- but you have to use oil.
Review: Telebrands Orgreenic Frying Pan, 10 ", Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2015
More than 180 users review the Orgreenic 10-inch fry pan, giving it an overall rating of 3.3 stars out of 5, and 61 percent would recommend it to a friend. Quite a few owners say it's a great pan and they love it; but just as many others say it quickly loses its nonstick qualities and food burns easily.
Review: As Seen on TV OrGREENic 10" Frying Pan, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of February 2015
This very long forum discussion thread was started in December 2009 by a Chowhound contributor looking for input on the Orgreenic cookware after seeing an infomercial. As of September 2014, people were still weighing in, offering opinions and comments. Feedback is mixed; some love Orgreenics and say it's a great nonstick choice, others disagree, saying it does not work as advertised.
Review: OrGREENic Cookware?, Contributors to Chowhound.com, As of February 2015
In this video report, three writers test the Orgreenic 10-inch fry pan, finding that it needs oil to be truly nonstick. They also note that its energy saving claims don't add up when you consider that not everything can be cooked over high heat. All three suggest you skip this purchase.
Review: Does It Work? Orgreenic Ceramic Green Non-Stick Fry Pan, Lisa Abraham, June 12, 2012
Jack Scalfani hosts a popular YouTube cooking show that also includes product reviews. In this episode, he tests the Orgreenic 10-inch pan, putting it through the same types of cooking drills as in the infomercial. He comes away extremely impressed, saying it does perform as advertised, although he can't speak to long-term durability.
Review: Orgreenic Cookware - As Seen On TV, Jack Scalfani, June 7, 2012
The Pitch: Prepares all of your favorite slow-cooked meals in a fraction of the time!
The Verdict: Of course it does, because it's a pressure cooker, not a slow cooker, and not the best one at that.
Comparing a pressure cooker to a slow cooker is disingenuous, at best, but that's the least of our problems with the Power Pressure Cooker XL. It also claims that it "Meets USDA standards for canning." The USDA begs to differ, and in November 2014 it issued a statement via its offshoot organization, the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), saying they do not recommend electric multi-cookers for safe canning. The Power Pressure Cooker XL is an electric multi-cooker, also known as countertop or electric pressure cookers.
But back to the slow cooker claim: the Power Pressure Cooker XL contends you can whip up succulent, wholesome meals with one touch of a button, 70 percent faster. Their pitch implies that they mean faster than a slow cooker, but that makes no sense as slow cookers and pressure cookers are two different products and are used differently.
All pressure cookers are designed to cook food faster than traditional stovetop or oven methods, and many also double as slow cookers and/or rice cookers as well. The Power Pressure Cooker XL brings nothing new to the table and, compared to other countertop pressure cookers, gets very poor reviews from owners for durability. Those who ordered from the Power Cooker's official website also complain of bad customer service and extremely long shipping times. It's also more expensive if you go that route, $99.99 plus $29.99 shipping and handling -- nearly one-third the price of the cooker -- for a grand total of $129.98. Walmart sells it for $80, as of this review date.
Having said all that, the Power Pressure Cooker XL really does cook like it says it does, and those who are happy with it say they love how quickly it cooks delicious, succulent roasts and other large cuts of meat and poultry. It also excels at soups, stews, broths and more. Like virtually all electric pressure cookers, the instruction book is reported as short on specifics, so there is a learning curve, and many users say it's helpful to purchase a separate cookbook. However, if you do purchase this product, we strongly recommend that you do so at a local retailer, like Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond; both stores carry it at most locations, or go to a reliable online source such as Amazon.com. Owners who go that route are much more satisfied than those who purchase it from the Power Pressure website.
We love pressure cookers, and there are few countertop kitchen appliances more awesome than the electric pressure cooker, but we suggest you forget about the Power Pressure Cooker XL. There are a lot of countertop pressure cookers that get much better reviews, like the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 (Est. $140). Yes, it's a bit more expensive, but it can also make yogurt and it has a stainless steel pot. If you prefer nonstick, the Fagor 6-qt. Electric Pressure Cooker (Est. $90) is a good choice that gets better reviews overall than the Power Pressure Cooker XL. We discuss several excellent electric pressure cookers in our separate report on pressure cookers.
If you want to can, a stovetop pressure cooker is a must. Our Best Reviewed canner, the All American 921 21-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner (Est. $210)), and a less expensive model, the Presto 01781 (Est. $90) are both great choices. Do not use electric pressure cookers for canning. They may claim they're safe, but until the product is tested and approved by the NCHFP, don't risk it. Food borne illnesses are not something you want to take a chance with.
Power Pressure Cooker XL Reviews
Highya.com editors take a close look at the claims made by the Power Pressure Cooker XL, and they also review input from their consumer reviewers (there are 208 as of February 2015). They say that, since so many of the complaints they receive from their customer reviewers are related to shipping and customer service, if you want to purchase the Power Pressure Cooker, it's best to do so at a local retail store, not from the Power Pressure Cooker official site.
Review: Power Pressure Cooker XL Reviews, Editors of Highya.com, Not Dated
The Power Pressure Cooker XL gets more than 265 reviews at Walmart.com, where it earns an average rating of 4 stars out of 5; and 84 percent would recommend it to a friend. Owners say it's easy to use, and they like that they can make very large portions.
Review: Power Pressure Cooker XL, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of February 2015
Nearly 195 reviewers weigh in on the Power Pressure Cooker, giving it an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Owners love how quickly it cooks and how easy it is to use. Several note that the instruction book is not helpful for food items that are not part of a specific recipe.
Review: Power Pressure Cooker XL, Contributors to BedBathandBeyond.com, As of February 2015
In more than 110 customer reviews, the Power Pressure Cooker XL earns an overall average rating of 3.3 stars out of 5. There are many complaints regarding durability issues, burned food and inadequate, confusing instructions. However, more than half of the reviewers love the product and say it works as advertised.
Review: Power Pressure Cooker XL Flavor Infusion Technology 6-Quart, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2015
Laura Pazzaglia is an expert resource on the topic of pressure cooking and canning. In this article she discusses in-depth why electric pressure cookers are not suitable for canning, including a link to a discussion she has on the topic with Eric Theiss, spokesperson for the Power Pressure Cooker XL, in which, as she points out, he never directly confirms that his product has been inspected and approved by the NCHFP.
Review: Consumer Alert: No Pressure Canning in un-tested Multi-cookers, Laura Pazzaglia, Jan. 19, 2015
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 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