The Pitch: "Store anything airtight so it stays fresh for weeks."
April 2009. Chef Tony's Smart Lidz are advertised as being able to fit onto any sized container. They use "space-age polymers" to create an airtight seal that will keep contents fresh for weeks. The lids are supposed to keep their seal in the refrigerator, freezer and the microwave. Most users who buy Smart Lidz find that they aren't the great solution they claim to be, but a few have success using them to seal containers.
When initially affixed to containers, Smart Lidz will create a seal easily, but it's tricky getting them to maintain that seal. An essential step in the directions isn't shown in the infomercial: The lid should be lifted a second time after it's affixed to release any additional air. When this step is followed, the lids seem to remain sealed for longer. Several users complain that Smart Lidz lose their seal when they're put in the refrigerator. One user found that the lids remain sealed if affixed when wet; she recommends running Smart Lidz under water before using them. Many users find the Smart Lidz material is flimsy and stretches out after a few uses, and some even punctured holes in their lids on initial use. It appears that Chef Tony's as-seen-on-TV Smart Lidz are not microwave-safe as advertised, as one reviewer found that her lid lost its tautness and developed a hole after being used in the microwave.
Several TV news organizations test Smart Lidz with mixed results. Reporters at KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., and KIDK in Idaho Falls, Id., both put Smart Lidz to the test and find that they don't hold their vacuum seal and puncture too easily. A staffer at KDKA in Pittsburgh has a slightly better experience and finds that the lids remain sealed some of the time, but they don't work in the microwave. Another Pittsburgh TV station, WTAE, posts a video on YouTube.com of a Smart Lidz test conducted at a viewer's home; in that test, the reporter finds that the lids do work if pressed hard enough. Customer reviews on Amazon.com are mixed, with the reviews being either completely positive or completely negative, and one user offers a tip that may make Smart Lidz work properly.
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1. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)
Kevin Kelly puts Chef Tony's Smart Lidz to the test in his own kitchen, and deems them a dud. After pressing a lid over a bowl of salad, it loses its vacuum seal within the first minute. When attempting to affix lids on other containers, he notices that the lids won't seal because there is a hole in them. Due to their inability to hold a seal and the flimsy manufacturing, Kelly isn't at all impressed with Smart Lidz.
Review: Deal or Dud: Smart Lidz, Kevin Kelly, Sept. 25, 2008
2. KIDK (Idaho Falls, Id.)
Tommy Noel brings Smart Lidz to a local restaurant, where he and the chef test them to see if they really work. The lids seem to hold their seal initially, but when knocked to the floor as seen in the commercial, the lids pop right off. After a few uses, Noel says the Smart Lidz material is no longer taut, making a vacuum seal difficult if not impossible, and one of the lids already has a tear. Noel and the chef give the Smart Lidz a poor rating.
Review: Does it Really Work? – Smart Lidz, Tommy Noel, April 10, 2008
3. KDKA (Pittsburgh)
Yvonne Zanos tries Smart Lidz out with a mother of two to see if they create a vacuum seal and if they're microwave-safe. The two have trouble getting a lid to seal on a wavy-edged bowl but have better luck with other containers. A spill test is conducted by tossing the sealed containers on the floor, and they find Chef Tony's Smart Lidz only hold their seal some of the time. They then realize there's a step in the instructions that the commercial doesn't mention: After a lid is pressed down once, it must be lifted and pressed again to release any trapped air. After doing this, the lids seem to work better, but when they take a container out of the refrigerator, they find the seal is broken. After being heated in the microwave, the lid is floppy and there's a hole in it. They determine that Smart Lidz work like basic lids, but they don't create a vacuum seal and they aren't safe for the microwave.
Review: Does Is Really Do That: Smart Lidz, Yvonne Zanos, July 14, 2008
4. WTAE (Pittsburgh)
In this video, a reporter for WTAE in Pittsburgh tests Smart Lidz at a viewer's home. They give the lids a good review and find that they create a tight seal and can support up to 7 pounds (as claimed in the Smart Lidz commercial). Their only complaint is that the directions are misleading about how firm one needs to be when sealing bowls.
Review: Test It Tuesday: The Smart Lidz, Andrew Stockey, June 3, 2008
Around 10 customers review Chef Tony's Smart Lidz on Amazon.com, and they either give them the highest possible score or the lowest. Those who are happy with Smart Lidz say they work as advertised and never lose their seal. The primary complaint from those who don't like Smart Lidz is that they lose their seal once they're put in the refrigerator. One user thinks she found a solution to this problem and suggests running the lids under water before sealing them onto containers -- they seem to hold their seal better in the refrigerator if affixed while wet.
Review: Chef Tony's Smart Lidz, Contributors to Amazon.com