Top positive review
627 people found this helpful
I love my Duet, hope it's reliable
on May 1, 2002
I have been shopping for a new blender to replace my 1985 Osterizer, which has been leaving big chunks of ice in frozen drinks. I saw a really interesting consumer-oriented cooking show on the local PBS station one Saturday afternoon - they taste test their recipes on the public and test kitchen equipment. They had a test segment on blenders and claimed the fiftydollar Osterizer unit was the best, had the strongest motor and did a better job than even the hundredplusdollar blenders. I went out and bought one (actually, I got the Oster version of the Duet, with the blender and a food processor attachment). I quickly returned the Oster unit because 1) It could not a crush ice in frozen drinks and was actually worse than my 17 year old, worn out blender - it's pretty hard to suck a 3/4" ice rock up a straw; 2) Did not circulate thick liquids well unless stirred with a spoon through the hole in the top cover; 3) It was loud as heck; and 4) the food processor attachment was nearly useless because it was very small, only had a chopping blade and had no feeder - you unlatch the processor, empty out the one cup or so of chopped food, put more food inside, re-latch the processor lid and put back on the blender base.
After reading some of the reviews here, I was pretty much set on the similarly priced (one c-note) Kitchen Aid so I went to my local department store to look around and a bright and bubbly teenage sales clerk came up and asked me if I needed help. I almost said no (I can read the box myself) but instead decided not to exercise age discrimination and asked if she had any recommendations for blenders. Surprisingly, she said "Yes, I tested a bunch of them for a Christmas present for my dad a few months ago and the Cuisinart was definitely the best. It does the best job of crushing ice, is easy to clean up and my dad loves his!" Given that it came with a small food processor attachment for the same price as the Kitchen Aid and I had a 30 day return policy if I didn't like it, I decided to give it a shot. Here's my observations:
1) It blends great. It has as much power as you would ever need and frozen drinks come out smooth and frosty, they way they should. No more small icebergs clogging up the straws. You can dump a tray full of ice cubes into the blender, hit the "Ice Crusher" button, and it will give you a pitcher of finely crushed ice in about 30 seconds. Thick liquids still circulate well in the wide pitcher body.
2) It's quiet. I would say this blender puts out only about half the volume of noise that my old Oster unit or the newer one I returned did. Maybe there is a quieter unit on the market, but for the other reviewers complaining about the noise, I have to ask what they expect when blending ice cubes. No doubt, it makes more noise turning ice cubes into a liquid form than, say, a pot on the stove, but it is easily quiet enough to make a smoothie or margarita after midnight in an apartment without waking the neighbors.
3) The food processor works great. Sure it is smaller, at a 3-4 cup capacity, than the big 11 cup processors, but otherwise, it works exactly like its bigger brothers that made Cuisinart famous for the past several decades. I think the reviewer complaining about the processor must have had a few too many dacquiris or margaritas from his/her machine when he/she criticized this accessory. The feeding tube is a complete necessity for chopping more than a cup of food or using the grating and slicing blades (which work extremely well). So what if it sticks out a few inches? I used the processor to make hash browns for eight people for Easter brunch, and it did a great job of chopping the onions and shredding the potatoes; I did have to empty the moderately sized processor container twice while shredding the potatoes, but it only took about two minutes to turn eight medium-large potatoes into uniformly shredded hash browns.
4) It's easy to clean. The base unit just wipes clean, with no protruding buttons or difficult channels to clean out. The pitcher is also easy to rinse clean.
A big caveat: the reliability. I did not read the reviews here about the easily breakable plastic motor locking ring on the blender base until after my 30 day return period ended. So far, so good (I'm giving it a ***** rating based on my own experiences and am not going to let other reviewers' experiences change my score) but I really hope, knock-on-wood-fingers-crossed, that Cuisinart cured that defect by the time it got around to manufacturing my unit. It does have a heavy, very steady base and feels like a well made unit.
I hope I get many years of happy use out of my Duet, but will report back if I suffer the same problem that others have experienced.
Eventually, my Duet's blender unit failed, perhaps somewhat differently than others have reported. After about six years of frequent use, the black plastic gear ring on the bottom of the blender container that meshes with the drive unit in the base locked up on me and would not turn on the bottom of the blender, meaning the blade inside the blender to which it is attached would not turn. I contacted Cuisinart and bought a new one for around $10 or $12 shipped, took the old one off, installed the new one and in a few minutes had it running again good as new. I still really like the unit and think it is terrific. Spending a dozen dollars on a simple replacement part for an item we use so frequently is not unreasonable and I'm not lowering my score as a result of that temporary problem. In 2007 there are now a lot more higher end blenders available than there were when I bought this Cuisinart in 2001 and I'm sure some of them have even stronger motors and are slightly more quiet. However, this is still a very good unit and the hundred bucks I spent on it was money very well spent. Nowadays, I've seen this blender-food processor combo available for as low as half what I paid on sale and as low as fortybucks refurbished, so I doubt that there's anything on the market that is even close to being as good of a value.