I purchased this lovely handheld blender from Cuisinart for one purpose: making homemade baby food. I had intended to purchase a food mill, but was not happy with the reviews I had read on the leading product on the market, so I turned toward handheld/stick blenders.
Recommend this product?
I didn't need much in the way of bells and whistles, but I wanted ease of use, reliability, and ease of cleaning. The Smart Stick delivered.
Tell Me More About Why You Like the Smart Stick, you say:
In terms of ease of use, you simply press the button on the motor unit, snap in the "stick", and press the big thumb button to puree your way to mashed carrots, peas, and anything else you need to obliterate. The cord is long enough that you can easily reach your way to soup pots, etc, if you need to puree soups. The handle is pretty big but not too heavy. You can use it without a lot of strength, without having to make a tight squeezy fist, and without putting a ton of pressure on the button. (If you suffer from limited motion due to arthritis, etc, this unit will be quite easy to use.)
It comes with a 16 oz "mixing beaker" (looks like a carafe to me!) if you prefer to use that as well. For baby food use, I found the "beaker" to be very handy. I just dumped in a little solid food at a time, and beat it to death with the Smart Stick.
Operation is not terribly complex. There are two speeds: on and off. Push the button to blend, let go to stop.
As for cleaning, that's a snap, too. The handy carafe beaker is dishwasher safe, as is the stick/shaft. I christened my Smart Stick on a batch of peas, and the dishwasher nicely took care of the green goo.
Reliability is hard to assess with the unit being less than a month old, but it seems pretty sturdy. The shaft, blade, and blade guard are all stainless steel, and seem to be of good quality. Then of course there's the Cuisinart name - I've never been let down before. The unit comes with a 3 year warranty with all the typical stipulations and legalese. I'm not going to be using it for hours on end every night, so I am sure it will last me for as long as I need to make baby food.
The instruction manual also comes with some recipes (some of which look quite delish) and tips for effective use and avoiding the splattering of green goo all over your ceiling. So, that's useful too.
In terms of the end product - my baby food came out nice and mushy and puree-licious. Baby loved her fresh green peas. I found that it did a quick, clean job, and easily got all my peas to the same consistent level of "mush" craved by toothless 6 months old everywhere.
What May Be Missing:
I wouldn't call out "cons", per se, since the unit does meet my needs. However, there are some things it does not have:
- variable/multiple speeds. YOu can control the chunkiness of your end product only by controlling the length of time you smash it, and the amount of liquid you use. Again, it meets my needs just fine, but if you need really granular control over blending speed, you may wish to look elsewhere.
- plastic blade guard. The blade guard is very durable stainless, which is perfect for my use. However, if you intend to use this puppy for soups and blending in the pot, you'd need to exercise caution to keep from scraping the bottom of the pot with the scalloped edges of the blade guard.
Both of those features are available in other models on the market (such as the higher end Braun units and a lower-end Toastmaster unit I saw in the store). Ultimately, I purchased this unit because it seemed sturdy and useful for my needs, and the price was right. It cost 29.99 at your local big "sheets and napkins and other stuff" kind of store, and of course you can always find a 20% off coupon for stores like that, making the unit VERY affordable.
Above all, an excellent product at an excellent price. Some additional features can be found in other units at different price points, but I am quite satisfied with my Smart Stick. It delivers everything I need, and the baby says "gooahhhbleh", which means "I really like my blended peas, Ma!"
Amount Paid (US$): 29.99