Pros: Much more convenient to use than a blender most times, and with great attachments!
Cons: The motor does not seem as durable as we'd like; the whisk broke very early
My wife and I got married in late 2011, and in advance of our wedding we started getting all kinds of gifts from friends and family. For a little while, we debated whether we would jinx ourselves by using the presents before our wedding, but after a pretty short time our impatience won out and we started using our shiny new kitchen tools. One of the most useful things that we got was the Cuisinart Smart Stick.
We'd had a hand blender before, but it was a cheap one without a detachable head, which made cleaning something of a chore. When we opened up the Smart Stick, we immediately gave our old one to my mother (who had been wondering about hand blenders, but didn't want to invest in one without trying it first) and started using the new one. It worked beautifully! The two places that the Smart Stick stands out are in blending hot things on the stove (like soups, for example) and in acting as a food processor for small things so that we don't have to dirty up the whole big food processor. It quickly and easily blends things directly in their pot, so we don't have to worry about the awkward transfer of boiling liquid to and from the blender (and cleaning of the blender, which can be an ordeal itself!). Whether the Smart Stick or another, I advise everyone who asks that they need a hand blender in their life.
Hand blenders have become an essential tool in our kitchen, but the Smart Stick is a particularly versatile one. This model comes with three attachments: a blending attachment, a whisk, and a mini food processor. It's these attachments, especially the blender and food processor, that make the Smart Stick really shine.
Each function of the Smart Stick uses one-button operation. There's no variable speed setting to worry about. You simply put on your preferred attachment, plug it in and go. Every time we're using the Smart Stick, we're only ever really interested in pureeing, so we don't have any need for slower settings that wouldn't chop as finely. This device makes short, clean work of blending tomatoes, squash, potatoes, and anything else that you might have in a hot pot on the stove. Even if we only used it for those few things, it would still be worth it. The Smart Stick also comes with a measuring/blending cup, which is handy for quickly measuring out and blending up small amounts of cold things.
The whisk attachment simply spins to help you whisk things very quickly. We already have a couple of other tools in our kitchen that do this, so we never really incorporated this function into our routine, but it seemed to work pretty well when we did.
The miniature food processor works wonders when we only need to chop or mix a small quantity, and we don't want to drag out the big monster food processor. A button near the middle of the handle detaches the current attachment, and the new one snaps on easily and quickly. After that, the food processor works just like any normal food processor, and it works beautifully. We like to use it to make small batches of sauces or salad dressings.
Since the main components are detachable and dishwasher safe, cleaning is very much a breeze. The handle rarely gets dirty, and if it does, it only takes a quick wipe with a paper towel or damp sponge to get it clean again. In the case of the blender attachment, a quick run under the sink immediately after use is almost always enough to get it almost completely clean.
I wish I could say my praise was entirely unqualified, but it's not. The whisk attachment on our Smart Stick broke after only a few months of infrequent use. The housing for the attachment will still attach to the handle, but the whisk no longer stays in the housing. We used it very infrequently, so it wasn't a major loss, but it was still disappointing.
Not too long ago, while using the food processor attachment, we noticed a bit of acrid smoke seeping out of the handle, presumably emitted by the motor. We stopped using it and set it to the side for a while, and we haven't had any problems with it since, but we're still quite wary that the motor could go at any time. We use the tool regularly, but we've only had it for about a year and a half, and if the motor gave out completely it would be very disappointing.
The Bottom Line
Despite a few concerns about component durability, the Cuisinart Smart Stick is a wonderful addition to any kitchen. It has quickly made itself nearly indispensable to us, and we trust that it will for anybody who chooses to give it a try.