Hands-on review: Cuisinart Cordless kitchen appliances
Image credit: Cuisinart
These kitchen electricals free you from a wall socket, but are you likely to get more use out of them?
The future is electric and, wherever possible, cordless. Cars are fast going electric to steer away from burning fossil fuels (though do bear in mind the carbon footprint of their manufacture) and every gadget imaginable is moving from mains to cordless. Which is why Cuisinart has just launched a range of USB-rechargeable kitchen electricals for cordless convenience.
I tested four models from the new range: a hand blender, hand mixer, blender and wine opener. The idea is that going cordless makes them easier to store (no tangles) and easier to use (no fiddling around) so you’ll use them more. That’s broadly true, but is it worth it?
First up was the Cuisinart Cordless Pro Hand Blender (£100), a stick-style blender for making soups and sauces. It comes with the stainless steel blender foot plus two other attachments: a single whisk and a mini chopper.
I found this the most useful of the Cuisinart range. Stick blenders are the most versatile kitchen electrical and this one was powerful enough. I use a mains-powered stick blender a lot for making soups. It’s a Philips that also retails for around £100. This cordless rival blended soups and whisked meringues well. I always find the chopping attachment too small to be of much use – they’re good for blitzing herbs or turning a single slice of bread into breadcrumbs, but I could do the same job quickly with a kitchen knife and there’s less to wash up.
A 130-minute full charge gives around 20 minutes of continuous use. The speed isn’t variable and it’s not as powerful as a corded model, but it’s powerful enough. It’s surprisingly slim, light and easy to store. I liked that there was no risk of melting the cable on a saucepan. What’s more, it’s easier to wash because you can dip the end in the sink and blitz it clean. The controls are slightly annoying, though: you have to press one button to unlock it, then another to blend.
Next was the Cuisinart Cordless Power Hand Mixer (£90) with a traditional two-whisk design. It has five speed settings and, again, a 130-minute full charge gives around 20 minutes of continuous use. Its two whisks are shorter but stiffer than the one that comes with the stick blender. This made it better for whisking stiffer stuff like mash, but it was no better for meringues.
The beaters are dishwasher safe, but again we just dipped them in the sink and whisked for a moment to clean them. You can sit the whisk on its back for storage, saving space. Personally, I wouldn’t buy this mixer because the Cuisinart Cordless Pro Hand Blender does it all and more. It’s only worth considering if you love two-whisk models.
Third was the Cuisinart Cordless On-the-Go Blender (£100) which is a small drinks blender, a bit like a NutriBullet, with a 450ml Tritan (BPA-free) cup, sippy lid and even a blade cover. The idea is that you could take the whole thing with you in a bag and blend on the go. In practice, travelling with the blender base would mean double the space and more than double the weight. It’s a fine plan for weekend luggage, but not something to lug every day. A two-hour charge blends around eight smoothies.
My verdict was that it was great for milkshakes and some smoothies, but the lower power (compared with a corded model) meant it didn’t have the oomph for blending chunky frozen fruit, ice cubes and nuts. It’s fine, though, providing you don’t do heavy-duty blending.
Finally, the Cuisinart Cordless 4-in-1 Wine Opener (£80). It’s an electric corkscrew plus extra gadgets: foil cutter, aerator and vacuum sealer. A two-and-a-half-hour hour full charge opens up to 50 bottles. The corkscrew works brilliantly and effortlessly. The foil cutter and aerator (a spout to go in the neck of the wine bottle) both work fine. The vacuum sealer was so-so. It’s a clever design, using a pump at the top of the gadget to evacuate air - like a VacuVin, only electric. The accompanying rubber bung also has a little date indicator.
However, I had two problems. The first was idiocy: the second time I used it, I absentmindedly pressed the bottom of the gadget to the bung, not the top... and a corkscrew duly appeared and ripped out the bung, permanently piercing it in the process and rendering it useless. It was a stupid mistake but easily done and easily avoided by design. They could, for example, make the top of the bung a different shape that couldn’t fit in the corkscrew. The potential error could, and should, have been designed out. The other issue was that some bottle necks had a slightly wider internal diameter and the bung didn’t fit them well, where a VacuVin bung does. These tended to be screw-top bottles, but you would still want to use the Cuisinart bung to preserve any wine at the end of the night.
If you want cordless kitchen electricals, the new Cuisinart range impresses. The real question is whether or not to go cordless. Mains-powered versions are cheaper and often more powerful, plus there’s an environmental consideration.
Whether it’s a blender or an electric vehicle, rechargeable tech uses lithium-ion batteries to store electricity that’s hopefully generated from a renewable source. There are environmental and human rights issues connected to mining lithium and extracting other elements, such as the cobalt used in some Li-ion batteries. The batteries also degrade over time. Some of us have an old sewing machine or even a food processor handed down through the generations. These Cuisinart gadgets won’t last for many decades.
That doesn’t mean we should avoid Li-ion batteries, but it does mean we should use them only where needed, while we clean up those industries. While we do need rechargeable batteries in our phones, and lots of them in our cars, do we really need them in our blenders?
My personal conclusion was that the Cuisinart Cordless Pro Hand Blender was impressive enough to be worth using, but I wasn’t convinced by the need for the others.
From £80 cuisinart.co.uk
A stylish hand blender, two-whisk blender and food chopper. Each in red or black. Features are similar to the Cuisinart, but the hand blender lacks the whisk attachment that makes the Cuisinart such a good all-rounder.
From £119 kitchenaid.co.uk
Save around 80 per cent by going corded. It’s worth weighing up the pros and cons. Corded appliances like these are reliably ready to use, but the tangle of wires does make storage a bit messier and it is possible to melt a wire on a really hot pan.
From £12.99 argos.co.uk
Waring Bolt cordless blender
Only two UK brands – Cuisinart and KitchenAid – have launched home cordless kitchen hand tools so far. Expect more soon. Meanwhile, professional chefs can buy this big beast, 44cm long, which offers 50W of cordless power and can mix and puree up to 15 litres.
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