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Save yourself the headache and buy Paderno's original tri blade version instead. Really.
on September 21, 2014
Let me begin this review by establishing a bit of credibility. I am a long time proponent of the original Paderno Tri Blade slicer. I have one of the top (5 star) reviews of it here on amazon (http://smile.amazon.com/review/R1WN790YI25X21/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm), use it often, know its strengths and weaknesses, have a small blog of spiralized recipes, and genuinely think it is one of the greatest kitchen gadgets ever invented.
So it was that I was very eager to get my hands on this brand new Paderno Slicer.
At first glance this looks like an incredible upgrade of the tri blade slicer. While keeping the basic premise the same, Paderno has done a major design overhaul. It truly looks like it would be a huge functional improvement. But looks can be deceiving.
With the original slicer some people complained that they lost too much of the veggie to the center coring blade. Paderno answered this complaint by making the central coring blade significantly thinner. Unfortunately, this thin blade is just not strong enough to hold the softer veggies in place while spiralizing. With the original slicer I was able to effortlessly spiralize 10 cucumbers in less than 15 minutes. With this upgraded version the cucumbers kept popping off the center coring blade and the net result was that instead of cucumber "noodles" I had mangled cucumber bits and short cucumber half circles. That was with the widest noodle blade. I had a tad more success using the flat ribbon blade on the cucumbers, but it still wasn't ideal. The noodle cutting blades didn't seem as sharp, either. As a result of all these changes, it took me longer to spiralize than it had with the original slicer. Far longer.
Onions fared better with the widest noodle blade. I assume this is because of their firmer texture. Likewise carrots, Radishes, Kohlrabi and similar "hard" veggies will fare better than the cucumbers or zucchini. There is a very thin blade which works well with the firmer vegetables and if you want angel hair carrots this updated slicer will do a very good job. In fact, the angel hair blade is a real positive improvement but you have to make sure to use firm veggies. My cucumbers turned to mush with the angel hair blade. In truth, I wouldn't expect this to be a good blade for cucumbers though.
This updated version comes with a little catch basin for the noodles as they come off the spiralizer. It was one of the suggestions I made in my original review. But here we find a design flaw.... first of all, I can't imagine what the engineers at Paderno were spiralizing that would fit in this little "trough." One normal sized cucumber easily will overflow that basin when sent through the spiralizer. Also, the design of the machine leaves a bit of a black hole where all the veggies fall. There is no way to get a plate or bowl under the part of the spiralizer that the veggies fall from. I had more vegetables on my counter than I ever had with the original spiralizer. There was an awful lot to clean up when I was done.
Speaking of cleaning up.... the original spiralizer was very easy to clean. Yes, you had to be careful not to manhandle the blades lest you draw blood, but beyond that, it cleaned and dried fairly effortlessly. This upgraded version has a lot of parts and many more construction nooks and crannies to clean. Cleaning it is not an awful job but it is a bit more cumbersome. It also takes a long time to dry because water finds its way into all the nooks.
Are any of the improvements worthwhile? Yes, I suppose so... because the core cutting blade is significantly smaller, you can now spiralize narrower veggies like the little finger carrots. Also, the "teeth" that hold the vegetables in place are a better and sturdier design. Another plus is the design of the blade storage as well as how it the blade plates now slide in sideways. I liked this sideways design... it seems a bit safer somehow. I like the little door that covers the plates that are not in use, and I kind of like the fact that they labelled the plates with squiggly little graphics to show what size and shape noodle each blade plate will make.
But here's the BOTTOM LINE.... None of these improvements are at all useful if the actual purpose of this gadget can't be achieved and honestly, the machine failed with softer veggies. It seems to me from the feedback I get that the most frequently spiralized veggie is zucchini and for that this machine just doesn't compare to the original. If you're looking for a spiralizer for only carrots, potatos, kohlrabi, radishes, onions and other firm veggies and fruits then this would be an acceptable choice. But for me, I most often like to spiralize cucumbers, zucchini and other softer textured veggies and this spiralizer just can't handle those. For my money I want a spiralizer that can handle all the veggies. I will stick with Paderno's original spiralizer. It has kept me happy all these years. Hopefully Paderno will send their engineers back to the drawing board. I will look forward to their next upgrade.
I am changing my rating from two to three stars because it does work okay with the firmer veggies. I still swear by this company and love the original spiralizer.