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The Ninja Professional: An Excellent Upgrade to Your Clunky Blender

As more people hop on the smoothie bandwagon, the blender wars have heated up and customers are no longer content with the low-quality versions usually found at big-box stores that cannot stand up even to the easiest jobs.

Furthermore, Amazon reviews will make sure to single out any contenders that make unpleasant gritty protein shakes or leave chunky pieces of ice in smoothies. Since we are using our blenders more than ever, we want them to do their job!

Thus, here is the review for the Ninja Professional, an excellent upgrade to your clunky blender.

The Ninja Professional 

Ninja 1

The Ninja, with its combination of innovative design and sturdy construction aims to be an upgrade to the clunky blenders of the past.

So, if you are used to struggling with cheap box-store models that are difficult to clean, get pieces of food stuck in between their blades and that cannot seem to blend even the softest foods, then you will notice a huge difference with a Ninja.

Ninja promises to literally pulverize through large quantities of ice and frozen fruit with sharp stainless steel blades powered by a mighty 1100-watt motor that will ensure a smooth blend every time.

This newer model also comes with two super convenient Nutri Ninja cups with to-go lids that are perfect for making single-serving smoothies, blending sauces and marinades and will make cleanup even more hassle free by eliminating the need to use the larger pitcher every time and allowing you to drink from the same cup in which you blended your smoothie. 

If you are currently researching blenders you will notice plenty of reviews comparing Ninjas to Vitamix blenders that will make you question whether a Ninja will work fine for you or if you should just go ahead and shell out $400 for a fancy Vitamix.

But we believe that these comparisons are a a bit unfair as Vitamix is a professional kitchen gadget made with the needs of chefs and commercial establishments in mind, while the Ninja - although advertised with the word “professional” in the name - was designed mostly with morning smoothies and Sunday afternoon margaritas in mind.

While most people who upgrade to Vitamix never come back to a Ninja, the same can be said for people who upgrade to Ninjas from conventional blenders.

We like to think of the Ninja as a budget-friendly alternative to more expensive professional blenders and a powerful step up from classic kitchen models.


A quick look at the Ninja’s Basic Specs

Ninja small to go cup blending
  • 3 Blending Speeds
  • Pulse Setting
  • Single Serve Option
  • 1100-watt Motor
  • 3x Total Crushing Blades
  • 1x Nutri Ninja Blades
  • 72 oz Pitcher
  • 2x 16 oz Nutri Ninja Cups
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • 1 Year Warranty

Ninja's Highlights

Here are the features that set the Ninja apart from other run-of-the-mill blenders:

The Blades

The most important part about the Ninja is that it comes with two sets of super sharp and strong stainless steel blades: one Total Crushing system that will fit the large pitcher and a smaller single set of blades for the Nutri Ninja Cups. The Total Crushing blade features a set of three stacked blade sets that will easily cut through large amounts of ice and frozen fruit and ensure even blends, while the Nutri Ninja blades will fit the to-go cups are better suited for smaller portions.

Motor

A powerful 1100-watt motor that can stand up to tough jobs like crushing ice and blending frozen fruit.

Extra Large Carafe 

Fits 72oz of liquids, making it one of the largest pitchers of any blender in the market. The large size makes it great for blending multiple servings of smoothies and perfect for entertaining and making large batches of drinks.

Single Serve Setting 

Perfect for blending smaller, single-serving portions of smoothies and shakes with an easy and quick set-up.

Nutri Ninja Cups with To Go Lids 

Easy and convenient: using the same cups for drinking as for blending will cut down on cleanup and make drinking your smoothies on the go or storing them in your fridge for later even easier.

Pitcher Lid 

Features a locking system that prevents the blender from working without it. A small opening for pouring out liquids makes using easy and mess-free.

Dishwasher Safe Parts 

Makes cleanup quick, easy and thorough.

What users have to say about the ninja Professional

Pros

  •  Excellent at crushing ice and frozen fruit 
  • Large pitcher allows for blending in bulk
  • Sturdy, no slip base prevents vibration and “walking”
  • Blade design moves ingredients around well enough that they don’t get stuck in between them and there is rarely a need to scrape the sides in order to mix everything
  • Makes smooth and frothy drinks
  • To-go cups reduce the amount of items to clean up and make using the blender even easier

Cons

  • Difficult to clean by hand because of the sharp blades, square design of the carafe and its large size
  • Loud
  • Blades will lose sharpness over time and the overall especially when you use it a lot for frozen fruit or ice
  • Not good for blending things in very small amounts
  • It doesn’t have a vent, so ingredients must be cooled off before being processed to avoid pressure-buildup
  • Replacement parts can be expensive

Which Foods is the Ninja good for?

  • Smoothies
  • Crushing Ice
  • Sauces and Marinades
  • Frozen Drinks
  • Nut Butters
  • Hot Ingredients
  • Blending Leafy Vegetables

Ninja 3

Conclusion

The Ninja brings a myriad of improvements that are well worth the money for just a small price difference from other blenders. 

While it is not a commercial-grade quality product, it is definitely a major improvement from big-box models.

Therefore, if what you are looking to do is up your smoothie and frozen drink game and have a machine that is capable of handling tougher jobs that a regular blender, you don’t need to shell out for a more expensive brand as the Ninja will work perfectly in your kitchen.

Your Bread Machine Buying Guide

Bread: it’s truly a labor of love. There’s the mixing, the kneading, the resting, the kneading again, the slapping, the shaping and rolling and then some more resting again. It’s definitely a lot of work for which most people don’t have the time for and the reason why most of us purchase bread that is already made.

However, as Americans become ever more conscious of the ingredients in their food and start following alternative eating habits such as low-carb or gluten free, interest in homemade bread has started to grow.

This has brought about the comeback of bread machines, an expensive niche product when they first came out in the 90’s that has now become a highly sought-after kitchen appliance.

Quick Bread Machine Comparison

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews.


Why you should be making your own bread

breads

The biggest advantage to making your own bread is the control that you get over what goes in it. Most store-bought bread is a processed product that is quite far from being real bread and is laden with additives to preserve texture, shape, color and flavor and stop mold growth. 

In addition, it’s normally made with low quality flour or one that has a low nutritional profile such as the bleached white variety. Even breads that claim to be “whole wheat” are mostly white flour with a small amount of whole wheat flour mixed in and plenty of sugar courtesy of the addition of corn syrup, rice syrup or molasses. 

The second most important advantage is all the time and money that it will save you. When scaled down to price-per-serving, making your own bread is much more affordable than buying it at the store.

The initial purchase of the necessary ingredients you’ll need plus the bread machine will definitely represent more money up front. However, you will quickly recoup your investment over time, especially considering the fact that you will be making a more high quality product that would also cost a lot more when purchasing prepared.

Last but not least is the satisfaction you get to feel after throwing all your ingredients into a machine, go do something else - maybe even go to work - and come back to a delicious, warm loaf of bread you can actually feel good about eating the next day for breakfast. 


WHY USE A BREAD MACHINE

bread with jam

Bread machines take much of the guesswork - and actual work- from making bread. They take care of the mixing, kneading and baking parts of the process with easy-to-follow instructions and minimal intervention from the user.

Bread makers are not only useful for making bread loaves from start to finish but also for making dough that you can use for pizza crust or other types of bread such as focaccia.

Most machines have a dough setting that will essentially knead the dough for you. All you need to do once it’s finished is rest it and then pop it into your oven for low-effort homemade bread.


Beyond bread

dough

One quick Google search on bread makers will show you that they mostly make the types of bread loaves that are normally sliced and packed for sale at supermarkets. Although the bread made at home is of a higher quality and is made with better ingredients.

This doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to homemade white loaf bread. There are plenty of ingredients you can experiment with to create unique flavors and textures. You can try using oatmeal flour, making cinnamon-raisin loaves or baking Parmesan-rosemary bread that will take your lunchtime turkey sandwich from lunchbox staple to a crave-worthy concoction. 

More than producing loaf-style bread at home, we believe that the true value of a bread machine lies in the endless possibilities that their dough cycles offer.

In fact, many people own bread machines for the dough cycle alone and do not use them for baking at all. Dough cycles allow you to skip the labor intensive part of kneading dough for French bread, pizza crust, pretzels, dinner rolls, etc. and just rest it once it’s been processed for the amount of time your recipe requires before baking.

Many bread machines also include jam settings that will allow you to add jam to the repertoire of items you can make healthier versions of at home. 


Who benefits most from a bread machine

bread shop

Bread machines are a great kitchen gadget for those who want the satisfaction of making their own bread or dough for other baked goods but don’t have the time for it. Or for those who may have physical limitations that make it difficult to do it.

People who live in areas that are far from supermarkets or bakeries or in which finding specialty products can prove difficult, will find it extremely convenient to be able to make bread to their preference without having to drive an hour to the nearest store or settle for unhealthier options.

Likewise, those that are in places where it may be difficult to find healthy versions of foods that have been made unhealthy by mass production or fast food restaurants such as pizza, cakes, jams and other baked goods will reap plenty of benefits from being able to make better and more delicious varieties of these foods at home.

Bread makers are especially useful for people who have food allergies or restrictive diets and who often have trouble finding baked goods with ingredients that are safe for them to consume.

These machines not only allow people to control all ingredients that go into the finished product but also provide for a more affordable way to access things such as gluten-free breads and nut-free baked goods that can run expensive in many places.


bread Machine shopping guide

Bread machines are more popular and widely available than ever. Nearly every kitchen appliance brand has their own version of them and most machines share similar settings for different types of breads. 

They also have delay timers that are useful for programming the time at which you want your loaf to start baking. Still there are a couple of things that you keep in mind when shopping for one:

Size and Weight

Some bread machines can run quite heavy and large. Pay attention to how much counter or cabinet space you have to devote to your machine and check whether its weight is comfortable enough for you to lift it.

Kneading Settings

Kneading dough is a tough job so make sure that your machine’s paddles can stand up to the job, especially if you’re going to be using heavier dough such as gluten-free.

Heating

A machine with good heating settings will ensure an even bake and avoid heavy, dense loaves.

Removable Pan

A removable pan may be the thing that marks the difference on whether you use your machine or let it waste away in a corner as it will make cleanup much easier.

Fruit and Nut Dispenser

This feature is especially useful if you plan on making sweet breads such as banana loaves or just add nuts to your savory breads as it will add these ingredients at the right time without you having to add them yourself.

Top 5 Best bread machines

1. Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker

Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker

A long-time gold standard, this Japanese-made machine promises perfectly baked loaves every time thanks to a combination of dual kneading blades that knead dough to perfection and dual heaters located both in the bottom and in the lid to bake it evenly.

The Virtuoso has a multitude of settings including vegan, sourdough and gluten-free and three different choices for crust: light, medium and dark. In addition, kneading, rising and baking times are customizable for further experimentation.

Users appreciate its good kneading action, which makes it a great machine for those who are interested in baking breads that have tougher dough such as low-carb and gluten-free.

Although it comes with a hefty price tag, we definitely consider it a sound investment if you’re serious about making your own bread.

Pros

  • 14 Pre-programmed settings
  • 3 memory settings
  • 13-hour delay timer
  • Rapid courses 
  • Custom courses
  • Dual kneading blades 
  • Dual heaters
  • Easy-to-read LCD display 
  • Large viewing window
  • Jam, cake, and dough courses
  • Gluten-free cycle
  • Non-stick bread pan

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Large - takes a lot of counter space
  • Push buttons are reported to wear out with time

2. Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker

Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker

If you’re interested in other possibilities that having a bread machine at home can open for you, the Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker is a great option.

Aside from offering options for baking loaves from 1 pound to 2 1/2 pounds, this bread maker is also great for making dough for pizza crust, focaccia, pasta dough and even jam.

It comes with a fruit and nut dispenser that makes it easier to automatically add flavor and nutrition to your breads and a collapsible paddle that reduces the hole in the bottom of the loaf that so many other bread machines leave. 

Pros

  • 13 Pre-programmed settings
  • 3 Crust color options
  • 9 Custom settings
  • Gluten-free cycle
  • Easy-to-read LCD display
  • Pause button
  • Automatic fruit and nut dispenser
  • Non-stick bread pan
  • Makes up to 2.5lbs loaves

Cons

  • Complaints with the Collapsible Bread Paddle
  • Expensive
  • Size and weight

3. Cuisinart CBK-200 2-lb Convection Bread Maker

Cuisinart CBK-200 2-Lb Convection Bread Maker

The Cuisinart Convection Bread maker has a couple of features aimed at giving you a wonderful loaf of bread.

Its convection feature circulates hot air  to allow for even baking and better color though 16 different cycle options that include low-carb and gluten free options.

The artisan option allows dough several cycles of rising and cooling which create  a better texture on your bread and crunchier crusts.

Pros

  • 16 Pre-programmed settings
  • 3 Crust colors
  • Gluten-free cycle
  • Convection feature
  • 15-minute Pause
  • 12-Hour-Delay Start
  • Removable Lid
  • Handles on the sides of the machine
  • Interruption recovery

Cons

  • Size and weight
  • The LED back screen is not back-lit
  • The dark crust may be too dark

4. Oster Bread Maker

Oster Bread Maker

This compact, budget-friendly option is perfect for those who have small counter space or smaller families or who just aren’t sure whether they will be using their bread machine often enough to justify a larger investment.

Although it’s small, the Oster Bread Maker packs over 12 different bread settings and three crust levels plus the same 13-hour delay timer that can be found in more expensive models.

It features an especially useful Expressbake cycle which will produce a 2 pound loaf in an hour.

Pros

  • 3 Crust settings
  • 13-hour delay timer
  • Warm setting
  • Expressbake cycle
  • Compact size and lightweight
  • Affordable
  • User-friendly
  • Non-stick pan
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • Only 9 pre-programmed settings
  • No gluten-free setting
  • Loud beeping signal for adding ingredients can’t be silenced

5. Hamilton Beach Bread Maker

Hamilton Beach Bread Maker

Another budget and small space-friendly option, this bread machine is perfect for first-time users.

It’s easy to operate and even easier to clean up with a removable dishwasher safe, non-stick pan and paddles.

It features 12 different bread settings and includes a very useful manual with detailed instructions and a repertoire of recipes using Bob’s Red Mill products.

Pros

  • 12 Pre-programmed settings
  • 3 Crust settings
  • Gluten-free cycle
  • Delay timer
  • Compact size
  • Affordable
  • Non-stick pan
  • 2 Kneading paddles
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • Bit noisy when mixing and kneading
  • The non-slip feet aren’t non-slip enough
  • Knead paddle comes loose 

Conclusion

There is quite a lot of that could be included in a review on bread machines. However, knowing all of the above should give you the ability to choose the best one for you and your family. While determining which one is best could depend on your specific circumstances, all of the bread makers mentioned above come highly recommended.

While it could take some time to figure out which bread machine is the best for you and your family, this should be worth it over time. Therefore, being patient before making your decision could be the best approach.

Instant Pot Reviews: Which One Is Worth Getting

Over the past few years, Instant Pots have become increasingly popular. This has been driven by the various benefits they can offer when cooking. However, it often opens the question as to which Instant Pot is best.

This is a question that many people would have thought of, with a significant number of them looking for an Instant Pot comparison. There is quite a considerable number Instant Pots to choose from, which means that there could be a lot to include in a review.

There are a few Instant Pots that stand out from the rest. This should mean that they’ll come up in almost any Instant Pot review that you find. While choosing which one is best may be somewhat of a personal decision, there are several that come well recommended.

Quick Instant Pot Comparison

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews.


How instant pot Works

Food preparation takes time. It also takes an understanding of how to perfectly prepare different dishes and foods for the ideal meal. Cooking with an Instant Pot is like cooking with any other types of pressure cookers. So, if you are trying to Google, "how to use or how to cook with a pressure cooker" than you have come to the right page.

Cooking with an Instant Pot does not take long to learn and master. It only requires patience and a willingness to adjust the settings for your own needs. There are many different ways to use an Instant Pot, and some of them requires experimentation with your recipes.


What To Look For In An instant pot


Though pressure cookers are fairly simple machines, there are still a couple of factors that you should look for before you purchase one to ensure that you are getting the most out of your money.

Here are a couple of features and benefits that you should consider when deciding which Instant Pot to buy:

Programmable Features

If you are always in a rush or on the go, you might want to look for a Instant Pot that comes with programmable features. Programmable features completely eliminate the need to set up your pressure cooker every time you use it. With a single push of a button, you can easily cook a meal the way you want it to be.

Cook and keep heat

Once the food cooks, it goes into a warming mode where the machine keeps the food consistently warm and fresh. So even if you’re going to eat it after a few hours, it still has a perfect temperature.

Lid

The Instant Pots come with the standard lid, which has a valve that you must seal when pressure cooking and it locks for safety. Once the food is cooked and the valve releases all pressure, the lid unlocks and it is safe to open.

Accessories

Find out what is included in the purchase of the Instant Pot and what accessories are available if you decide to get it later. Some Instant Pots will include accessories like trivet in the package. Instant Pots also have other accessories you can buy separately like tempered glass lid for slow cooking, different types of inner pots and many more. There is also the new air fryer lid that transforms your pressure cooker into an air fryer. These accessories can help you maximize the use of your Instant Pot.

Size and Capacity

When it comes to a pressure cooker, you need to buy the one that really suit your needs. If you are only cooking for a small family, a smaller Instant Pot (6 quart) is the most practical option. On the other hand, if you have a big family, you definitely need something with a bigger capacity (8 quart).

Energy-Saving Features

With all the electronic features pressure cookers these days, it’s imperative that you look for those with energy-saving features. This way, even if you keep your food warm all day, it won’t consume a lot of energy. Compare energy ratings so you know which one is the most efficient.

Footprint

Does the Instant Pot look clunky? Does it take up a lot of counter space? If you don’t have a lot of counter space, it’s better to get a more compact Instant Pot.

Top 5 Best instant pots

1. Instant Pot Duo

Instant Pot IP-DUO60

The Instant Pot Duo has been a top-seller on Amazon for quite a significant amount of time. There have been a variety of factors for this popularity, with many of these concentrating on its features. Alongside this are the various settings that you can take advantage of.

For example, there’s a setting to make yogurt, which is something that you might not see with some alternatives. You’ll also have much more control over the cooking pressure, as you can choose from between high to low. This could mean that you’ll be able to cook a variety of different dishes with it.

You should also have an extensive amount of control over the cooking temperature. This should mean that you’ll have a considerable amount of personalization when you’re cooking. Alongside this is the fact that you shouldn’t have to worry about cooking different dishes correctly.

There’s also a large handle on the lid, which should make opening and closing it quite easy. This means that you shouldn’t have to worry too much about checking the food while it’s being cooked.

Pros

  • Like getting 7 appliances for price of 1
  • Fourteen different smart built-in features
  • Cook high or low with pressure cooker
  • Yogurt made easy 
  • 6 Quart capacity
  • 12 Preset Temperatures

Cons

  • No settings for sterilizing or making eggs or cakes
  • Some quality issues - test presets when you get it

2. Instant Pot Lux

While many of us will want an instant pot with all of the bells and whistles, some might prefer a more basic approach. This should typically mean that it will be much easier to understand and use. Much of this is seen with the Instant Pot Lux, which is the standard option to consider.

Despite being more basic than many of its alternatives, it still offers six cooking settings. This should be as much as you would need, which helps to make it a recommended choice. However, it should be noted that you wouldn’t be able to pressure cook on a low heat, which could be a significant negative.

While this could be an issue for some people, it mightn’t be a significant one for most conventional cookers. Alongside this, the Instant Pot Lux should save you a lot of time when you’re cooking, as getting through various dishes should be a breeze.

One of the last notable benefits here is that it should be somewhat more affordable than many other options. As such, it could be one of the more cost-effective choices on offer.

Pros

  • Like getting 6 appliances for price of 1
  • Twelve different smart built-in features
  • Top selling item on Amazon
  • One of the easiest models to use (great for new users)

Cons

  • Pressure cooker only works on high
  • Less features

3. Instant Pot Duo Plus

As attractive as the Instant Pot Duo may be, many of us might want a little bit extra. This is where the Duo Plus shines, as it has everything the more basic option has, plus much more. This is something that many people would have guessed from the name.

There’s quite an extensive number of benefits and features that could make this an appealing option. One of the more notable is the sterilize program, which should mean that you’ll be able to pasteurize milk while also cleaning baby bottles and much more.

Another prominent difference between the Instant Pot Duo Plus and its standard alternative is its display. This is much larger here, which could be helpful for many people. Coupled with this is the fact that it’s much brighter. This could mean that it’s easier to read and use.

Changing the settings is also much easier than the Duo. This is because you wouldn’t need to switch the Duo Plus on and off to change anything, which is a minor problem with the Duo.

Pros

  • Like getting 9 appliances for price of 1
  • Fifteen different smart built-in features
  • Makes cakes and eggs with push of a setting button
  • Easily sterilize baby bottles and toys

Cons

  • Only works up to 4 hours for the pressure cooker

4. Instant Pot Ultra

The Instant Pot Ultra has been gaining a significant amount of attention in recent years. Much of this has been because it offers quite a considerable amount of customization. This could make it a recommended option for any chefs who might want to experiment somewhat.

Alongside this are the pre-set temperatures. With there being 21 on offer, there’s many more to choose from than you might find with many other instant pots. There are a few other unique features to use with this option.

Prominent here is that this uses a smooth dial to change the settings instead of a variety of buttons. As such, changing many of these options and temperatures should be much easier and more straightforward than could be seen elsewhere.

Perhaps the last benefit seen with the Instant Pot Ultra is that it includes a steam release reset button. This should help make it much safer than some of the other options. As such, it’s something that you might want to use regularly if you buy the Instant Pot Ultra.

Pros

  • Like getting 10 appliances for price of 1
  • Sixteen different smart built-in features
  • Programming made easy with dial controls
  • 21 different temperature settings

Cons

  • Not the best value for the money

5. Instant Pot Smart WIFI

The Instant Pot Smart Wifi contains many of the features that you might expect with each of the other models. However, it outdoes each of these by adding in smart technology and much more. This should mean that you’ll be able to do much more with it than many others.

Perhaps the largest draw of this is the Wifi connectivity that it has. This should mean that you’ll be able to set and control your settings from anywhere. It also means that you should be able to monitor your dish when it’s cooking.

This can be done from anywhere, so you shouldn’t have to be tied to the house if a particular dish takes several hours to cook. The Instant Pot app is also included with this, which offers over 750 recipes to try out. This could be an attractive thing for quite a significant number of people.

There’s also a variety of pre-programmed settings that you can use. These should be accessed with one touch, which should mean that they’re easy to start using.

Pros

  • Like getting 8 appliances for price of 1
  • Thirteen different smart built-in features
  • Wifi connectivity allows you to control remotely
  • Over 750 Pre-Programmed recipes

Cons

  • Not ideal for first time users of InstantPot (get cheaper model first)
  • Only as good as your wifi network

Conclusion

There is quite a lot of that could be included in a review on Instant Pots. However, knowing all of the above should give you the ability to choose the best one for you and your family. While determining which Instant Pot is best could depend on your specific circumstances, all of the Instant Pots mentioned above come highly recommended. Thus, you shouldn’t go wrong by choosing any of the above Instant Pots.

You will still need to put a significant amount of time looking through an Instant Pot comparison. By doing so, you should be able to make sure that you know everything possible before making the right and most informed decision.

While this could take a certain amount of time to figure out, this should be worth it over time. Therefore, being patient before making your decision could be the best approach.

Though this will mean that you’ll have to spend a lot of time going through a review on Instant Pot, it is well worth it.

5 Awesome Asian Rice Cookers That Will Make Your Life Easier

If you’ve ever scalded the bottom of a pot of rice, wasting rice and creating messy cleanup for yourself, you know that the simple task of cooking rice (or cooking black rice) can sometimes be a real hassle. 

I cooked rice on the stovetop for more than 30 years before I got sick of inconsistent results and cleaning burnt-on remnants. I finally wised up and bought a rice cooker, and my life has been so much easier. Rice comes out perfect every time, and clean up is a breeze.

If you’re like me and you make rice at least two times per week, then you should invest in an Asian rice cooker. They make life easier, rice tastier, and save you time. Here’s a list of five awesome Asian rice cookers that I’ve found:

Quick Comparison: Top Asian Rice Cookers 2019

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


Zojirushi NP-NVC10

Zojirushi is top on my list with this state-of-the-art rice cooker that makes multiple types of rice and porridge, has a setting to soak and steam rice, can toast rice with its “scorch” function, and uses induction heating for higher, more precise temperatures than conventional rice cookers.

All of Zojirushi’s newest rice cookers use what they call “fuzzy technology”, meaning that the cookers monitor the contents of the cooking pot and makes adjustments based on the type of rice and the temperature. Ladies and the gentlemen, the future of rice cookers has arrived.

The NP-NVC10 takes fuzzy technology to a whole other level; Artificial Intelligence-level. This cooker learns from your previous setting choices and tries to cook foods to your preferences. Basically, this rice cooker outsmarts humans (and conventional rice cookers) to make sure you get perfect food every time.

This rice cooker is made in Japan and comes in a metallic brown finish. The cooking pot has a non-stick coating, so clean up is easy. This Zojirushi model will make you wonder why all of your other small cooking appliances are so “basic”. And for around $$$ (on Amazon), it had better.


Tiger 10-Cup Micom

Tiger Corporation is based in Japan, where it ranks as as a top-name in rice cookers (along with Zojirushi). Tiger’s new 10-cup Micom cooker is made in Japan and features a sleek stainless steel and black finish. This rice cooker has technology similar to the Zojirushi “fuzzy logic”, so it is constantly monitoring your food to make sure it is cooking it at the right temperature.

It not only cooks your favorite types of rice, but it has a slow cooker function that allows you to cook soups and stews, porridge, and risottos. I get hungry just watching their video!

What really sets this rice cooker apart from others is that it has a synchronized cooking function (called “tacook”) that makes sure that all these features and functions work together to produce your complete meal at one time. If this doesn’t make your life easier, I don’t know what will!

Tips: I usually use slow cooker to make hot dogs, you can test.​ I think it is awesome.

The Tiger JAX-T18U-K sells for around $$ on Amazon.


Hamilton Beach

The folks over at TheSweethome.com did hours of research to find the best rice cooker, including talking to Asian experts in rice making. Their final recommendation was this Hamilton Beach 7-cup model (it holds up to 14 cups of cooked rice).

This stainless steel unit looks more like a slow cooker than a rice cooker, but is said to make delicious Japanese rice that is comparable to models that are much more expensive. You can also make beans and pasta using its steam dish.

In terms of features and functions, the Hamilton Beach rice cooker, which is only $28.99 on Amazon, has a delay-start mode that goes up to 15 hours, warming function, a heat/simmer mode, and delivers a finished product faster than many of the more expensive cookers from Tiger and Zojirushi.

This rice cooker makes clean up easy with its non-stick, dishwasher safe cooking pot and a removable lid liner.

If you’re not looking for “futuristic technology” rice cookers, like the Zojirushi and Tiger at the top of this list, then this rice cooker is truly a great choice. It was the one chosen after hours of research, it simply makes great rice, and it does all of this at a bargain-level price. If it weren’t for those (admittedly very neat) “fuzzy logic” features, then this rice cooker would be at the top of the list.


Zojirushi NS-ZCC10

Zojirushi makes our list again with this cooker that is made in Japan and is just the right size for a couple or small family. You can put 5 ½-cups of uncooked rice into this cooker, which will result in about 10 cups of cooked rice.

This cooker makes the following types of rice: sushi, brown, mixed, and porridge. It also has a steam function, so you can steam foods like fish and vegetables while cooking your rice (or just on their own).

Although there are a lot of buttons to play with on the front of this rice cooker, they lend themselves to the many features that I love, including: a delay timer (so your rice doesn’t start cooking too soon), a programmable beep to let you know when the rice is finished, and warming cycles that you can extend in case you’re not ready to eat yet. 

This rice cooker comes with everything you need to make great rice, including a spatula, spatula holder, and two measuring cups. It also has a retractable cord, so the entire unit can sit neatly on your countertop. This model sells for around $$ on Amazon.


Lotus Foods

Here’s something you don’t see often: a rice company that makes and sells their own rice cooker!

Lotus Foods’ 12-cup rice cooker got my attention over at Ezvid.com, where they ranked it the easiest rice cooker to clean, even though the inner pot is made from stainless steel and isn’t treated to be non-stick.

The use of un-coated stainless steel makes this a standout cooker because the pot won’t rust or tarnish, and food odors won’t be absorbed and transferred to other dishes. At around $, you’re paying for a higher-quality cooking material, but you are getting a unit with fewer features and functions. 


Don’t Knock It Until You Try It

There are plenty of rice cooker nay-sayers out there; people who think that rice cookers are a waste of money, and that cooking rice in a pot on the stovetop isn’t all that complicated. My experience is that I didn’t know what I was missing until I tried a rice cooker.

If you’ve never cooked rice in an Asian rice cooker before, I really encourage you to give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that there is a much easier way to prepare a household staple.

Do you use a rice cooker to save you time and hassle? Did your rice cooker make it onto this list? Leave me a comment and share your rice cooking experiences.

Best Over-The-Range Microwave Reviews (2019): Our Top-Rated Space-Saving Models

An over-the-range microwave usually takes the place of a range hood. It is placed directly above your range or cooktop. You get the best of both worlds with these microwave ovens because they have the smoke-eliminating functions of a range hood but also delivers the features of a traditional oven. If you want your kitchen to have a streamlined look, you should consider getting this appliance, so you don’t have to spend money and allot a space for two different appliances.

There is no shortage of over-the-range microwave ovens out there so choosing one might feel a bit daunting. But don’t worry because this guide will help you determine which of these appliances would fit in your kitchen just right.

We checked out over-the-range microwave ovens with energy-efficient features, durability, ease-of-use and many other factors. Find out more about our recommendations in this article.

Quick Comparison: Top Over Range Microwaves 2019

Product Quality Price Our Rating

Sharp R-1214 1-1/2 Cubic Feet Over-the-Counter Microwave

A+ $$$  

GE RVM5160DHWW Hotpoint Over-The-Range Microwave Oven

A $$$  

Samsung Stainless Steel Over-the-Range Microwave

A- $$  

Whirlpool WMH31017FB 1.7 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

B+ $$  

LG LMV2031ST Stainless Steel Over-the-Range Microwave

B $$$  

**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Benefits Of Having An Over Range Microwave

best-over-range-microwave

Via https://www.wayfair.com

An over-the-range microwave has a number of benefits that once you experience, you may never get to live without. Perhaps my favorite thing about over-the-range microwaves is how they can help lessen the clutter in your kitchen.

If you are a cook that likes to use a lot of kitchen tools, you’d be surprised as to how much counter space over-the-range microwave ovens can save you. Think about it this way, some microwave ovens take up so much counter space that when you remove them, you can place both a coffee maker and a blender in its place.

Another thing that I like about over-the-range microwaves is that they’re harder to reach for children. If you’d like to lessen the occurrences of finding your child stuffing things into the microwave, an over-the-range microwave will certainly help you get the job done.

There’s also the fact that over-the-range microwaves don’t come with cords that can just add to the clutter and can sometimes be a cause for minor accidents when other things get tangled in them.

You can also save money by simply opting for this 2-in-1 appliance instead of buying a separate microwave oven and range hood. It makes your kitchen look more organized as well.

Things To Consider When Buying An Over Range Microwave​

best-over-range-microwave

Via http://blog.yaleappliance.com/

Before going out there to check out what the market has to offer, you might want to learn a few more buying tips. Here are a few things to consider so you can choose the right one for your needs:

  1. Size and space

To get the best over-the-range microwave for your home, you should first measure the available space in your kitchen. If you constantly prepare meals for your family or a large group of people, you ought to go for an over-the-range microwave that’s no smaller than 1.2 cubic feet. Over-the-range microwaves in that size can easily accommodate large casserole dishes. Consider the size of your cooking dishes at home. An over-the-range microwave that cannot fit any of the dishes you have certainly won’t do.

  1. Time-saving features

Another thing you should look out for in over-the-range microwaves are features that can take a lot of time off the whole cooking process. Such features include automatic defrost functions and pre-programmed settings for certain types of food. One modern feature that some over-the-range microwave ovens now come with is a handy sensor that figures out how long your food should be cooked depending on how much steam the food emits during heating. This is a convenient feature that can make cooking a lot easier, which is great if you aren’t really that good of a cook.

  1. Energy consumption

As for wattage, try and choose a microwave that can be powered with 1000-watts. Such microwaves can cook your food really quickly with minimal energy consumption. Compare energy consumption so you can determine which of these over-the-range microwave ovens won’t cost you a lot of money to run.

  1. Ease-of-use

Try to choose an over-the-range microwave that you can easily maneuver. If you’re not into LCD screens and more advanced pieces of technology, then you might as well go with a simple one that has a plain dial. Otherwise, you should go for advanced models that come with all the bells and whistles. Just make sure that you’ll get something that you can enjoy using.

  1. Color and Design

If you have stainless steel appliances at home, it makes sense to buy an over-the-range microwave oven that is also stainless steel, so you can have a cohesive look in your kitchen. If you choose one with a different color, it will stick out like a sore thumb amidst all your other kitchen appliances.

The 5 Best Over Range Microwaves In The Market

Let’s get down to the features and functions of the best over-the-range microwave ovens out there:

1. GE RVM5160DHWW Hotpoint Over-The-Range Microwave Oven

GE RVM5160DHWW

The GE RVM5160DHWW is one of the best over-the-range microwaves that you will find in the market today for a low price. This highly affordable machine is packed with a set of useful functions including pre-programmed defrosting and highly adjustable power level functions that would ensure your food is well-heated.

Aside from having a bunch of useful functions, this over the range microwave oven is also very energy efficient since it only runs on 950-watts of power. It can also quickly get rid of smoke and steam from your cooktop.

Pros

  • Is very energy efficient at 950 watts
  • Evenly heats food because of rotating the base
  • Comes with programmed defrosting and power level functions
  • Can accept two cooking times for mid heating changes
  • Can quickly remove smoke and steam from the cooktop

Cons

  • Is a bit slow at heating up food
  • can be a bit hard to maneuver for the first time

2. Samsung Stainless Steel Over-the-Range Microwave

Samsung ME16K3000AS

The Samsung ME16K3000AS Over-the-Range Microwave is one large oven that can fit even the largest of your plates because it comes at a size of 1.6 cubic feet. What’s great about this machine is that despite its larger-than-average size, it doesn’t cost much to operate. It’s highly energy efficient since it runs on only a thousand watts of power.

Other interesting features of this microwave is that it comes with 10 power levels that you can easily set to ensure any type of food you put in will be completely heated. It also comes with an incandescent cooktop lighting for easy viewing, a rotating turntable, and an automatic defrost function.

Pros

  • Is very energy efficient at 1000-watts
  • Has 10 power levels
  • Has an eco mode preset
  • Has a rotating turntable
  • Has an automatic defrost function
  • has an incandescent cooktop lighting

Cons

  • Doesn’t come in several colors
  • Is a bit slow at getting rid of smoke

3. LG LMV2031ST Stainless Steel Over-the-Range Microwave

LG LMV2031ST Stainless Steel Over-the-Range Microwave

This sleek-looking microwave oven can easily blend well in modern kitchens. It’s an affordable oven that people on a tight budget will love. But despite its comparatively lower price, it packs a punch when it comes to features. Operating on 1,000 cooking watts of power, this can effectively heat up your food without gobbling up a lot of energy. It also has a competent 400 CFM venting systems that can eliminate smoke and odors from your house.

Perhaps one of the things that make this over-the-range microwave stand out from the rest is its sensor cooking. It ensures that you get the right cooking temperature and time. It’s also fairly easy to clean, great for people who don’t like to do a lot of cleaning.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Can heat up food well
  • Energy efficient
  • Has a good venting system
  • Integrated with sensors
  • Touchpad is nice to look at
  • Has a good design
  • Huge interior

Cons

  • Some said they could have made the touchpad a bit bigger
  • There were customers who had difficulties installing it

4. Sharp R-1214 1-1/2 Cubic Feet Over-the-Counter Microwave

Sharp R-1214

Another reliable over-the-range microwave is the Sharp R-1214 Stainless Over-the-Counter Microwave. This machine is only powered by 1100 watts and can offer you easy and effortless heating with its smart and easy sensor technology.

It also comes with an automatic touch control panel fitted in a color lighted LCD display. What’s great about this microwave is that it comes with several handy features such as a minute plus function, keep warm, popcorn, and hot water. It’s also quite large and can fit most casserole dishes.

Pros

  • Is large and can accommodate large dishes
  • Comes with a 14-inch turntable
  • Comes with smart and easy sensor technology
  • Comes with an LCD display
  • Comes with a minute plus, keep warm, popcorn, and hot water function

Cons

  • The exterior can easily get dirty
  • The vent doesn’t get the smoke and steam out really quick

5. Whirlpool WMH31017FB 1.7 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Whirlpool WMH31017FB 1.7 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

With 1.7 cubic feet of capacity, this black over-the-range oven is versatile enough for a small to medium-sized family’s heating and cooking needs. It features a recessed turntable where there are handles that will make it easier for you to put in bigger plates and bowls. It has all these nifty buttons that you can use to safely and accurately operate the microwave oven. You can also take advantage of its hidden vent, which is a great feature if you like simplicity in your kitchen.

You can choose from 2 different fan speed settings, so you can determine the best speed to keep your kitchen ventilated. This one also has a control lock function, so you can avoid accidentally touching the buttons and starting it.

Pros

  • Has quick touch settings
  • Has defrost functions
  • Versatile – can reheat and even roast
  • The glass turntable is recessed
  • Has quiet and effective fan settings
  • The underhood lighting offers two different settings
  • Bigger than others

Cons

  • Some said its size made it difficult for them to install

The Verdict

We know that even with these options, it can still be difficult to find one that will best fit your needs. Allow us to help you out even further.

Get the GE RVM5160DHWW Hotpoint Over-the-Range Microwave Oven if you are looking for a trusty white microwave oven that has all the defrosting and heating functions you need. It won’t fail you and is a good fit for those who like white kitchen appliances.

If you would like to use your big plates, you should go for the Samsung Stainless Steel Over-the-Range Microwave. It can accommodate bigger plates and bowls so there is no need to transfer your food to smaller microwave-safe ones. This also has a good price tag, not too expensive but not too cheap as well.

If you have a modern kitchen and you prefer something that looks sleeker, get the LG LMV2031ST Stainless Steel Over-the-Range Microwave. It has a nice finish and the touchpad feels and looks modern. It doesn’t lag behind when it comes to interior space. It can still accommodate large plates and bowls, so you aren’t missing out.

If you are looking for something with more features, the Sharp R-1214 1-1/2 Cubic Feet Over-the-Counter Microwave is a great option. The features are modern and impressive. While there are other microwave ovens, Sharp R-1214 1-1/2 Cubic Feet Over-the-Counter Microwave is the best over range microwave that can blend easily and well in contemporary kitchens. It is slightly more expensive than the previous ones, but you are getting your money’s worth as this can last you for a long time.

The Whirlpool WMH31017FB 1.7 Cubic Feet Over-the-Range Microwave Oven is also a nice choice for those looking for large interior and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to heating and cooking functions. It is energy-efficient and isn’t too expensive.

Whatever you choose, you are bound to be happy with your decision. Just go ahead and click the links of the products you are thinking of getting to learn more about what others are saying about them.

If you are completing your kitchen essentials, make sure you visit our homepage. You can find buying guide and product reviews to help you choose the best products, equipment, wares and tools that you can rely on in your kitchen.

Microwaves Made In The USA: American-Made Appliances We Love In 2019

Microwaves Made In The USA - American-Made Appliances We Love In 2019

Microwaves have come a long way since they first hit the consumer market in the 1960s. Today, you can purchase a reliable microwave at any department or home goods store, some for less than $100.

The low price of these standard microwaves is partly because they are mass produced overseas, even though surveys show that 8 out of 10 American consumers want to buy items made in the USA, whenever possible.

While many appliance manufacturers have taken to making their microwaves in China and other Asian countries, you can still find microwaves made in the USA – and some snazzy ones, at that.

If you have a little more room in your budget, and you like the idea of a microwave that really stands out and has cool features, look no further than these 5 super cool microwaves.


Top 5 Microwave Brands in the USA

1. Big Chill’s Retro Microwave

Big Chill is a company out of Boulder, Colorado, and they make those colorful retro appliances that you see on television (like Monica’s refrigerator on Friends, only better.)

Big Chill’s only has one microwave model, the Retro, which is still made in their Boulder factory, and sells for around $600. It’s a 1,200-watt microwave with 1.6 cubic feet of space.

The retro microwave’s outer finish features a mix of stainless steel and another color, so it fits into today’s modern kitchens, as well as vintage-style kitchens. It comes with these little silver feet that give it a space-age look (although you can get it without the feet, if you’re planning to put it above your range).

The coolest thing about this Big Chill microwaveis that it comes in your choice of eight standard colors, like turquoise and buttercup yellow (standard colors are for the price already mentioned), or one of 200 custom colors (for an upcharge).

If you’re looking to spice up your kitchen with a colorful microwave, you’ve got to check this one out. It does everything a regular microwave does, it just looks cooler doing it.


Dacor

Dacor is a kitchen appliance manufacturer that hails from Costa Mesa, California. They’re well-known for their “Microwave In-A-Drawer”product, which comes in three models that sell for around $1,400.

You can install these drawer microwaves under a counter or above a wall oven. We can’t help but love this concept; in the era of open concept, it just screams “modern kitchen”.

In terms of practical uses, the microwave-in-a-drawer is ADA compliant when installed under a counter, meaning it is accessible for persons with disabilities, in particular those in wheelchairs who can’t reach items on standard-height counters.

The unit features child safety locks, so you won’t have to worry about your little ones (or your pets) getting into it if you install it under the counter.

You obviously can’t just buy one of these Dacor models to replace your current microwave; a little re-modeling will need to be done if you don’t already have the right size space with electrical components built in. If you’re due for a kitchen remodel, though, you should definitely consider a Dacor microwave.


3. Wolf’s Drop-Down Door Microwave Oven

Wolf (part of Sub-Zero/Wolf) has locations in Madison, Wisconsin; Phoenix, Arizona; and Richmond, Kentucky.Wolf has been around for over 80 years and has a background in supplying quality commercial kitchen equipment.

They make three types of microwaves: standard swinging door, drawer, and drop-down door.The drop-down door microwaves look like a wall oven, and can be installed in a wall or under the counter, which makes for a great space saver.

A standout feature of the newest Wolf microwaves is the warming feature, which keeps foods at your desired ready-to-serve temperaturefor up to 90 minutes.

Wolf microwaves aren’t cheap; the drop-down door models start at around $1,700. At that price, you’ll get a quality, commercial-grade microwave with features that you won’t find on a less expensive consumer-grade machine.


Viking makes most of its products in Greenwood, Mississippi. The company has spent the last few years reinventing itself and the quality of its products (and has won a number of awards as a result).

Like Wolf and Dacor, Viking makes a drawer microwave that installs under the counter or in a wall. The control panel on their Undercounter DrawerMicro Oven looks just like the control panels on most wall ovens you’ll find in stores today, which is a nice change from your standard microwave design.

For $1,579, you get a sleek stainless steel drawer microwave with touch controls to open and close the drawer, child safety locks, a “warm” mode (up to 30 minutes), and a pretty impressive product warranty.


Amana’s Commercial Microwave Ovens

You might know the Amana brand for its consumer appliances, like refrigerators, ranges, and dishwashers, all of which are widely available at big retail stores throughout the United States.

What you might not know is that Amana makes a bunch of high-powered microwaves for commercial use. And most Amana commercial microwaves are made in Cedar Rapids, Idaho.

What makes these commercial microwaves so cool is that they look really basic on the outside, but have tons of high-powered programs that make cooking just about anything really easy. Check out this video to see how a huge bin of rice comes out perfectly cooked in just ten minutes (skip ahead to minute 1:00).

Amana also makes a model with a door that slides up , instead of out and to the side. This design is great for small restaurant kitchens, and keeps coworkers from the dangers of a swinging door!

While it’s true that most of us have no need for a commercial unit like these, we thought that these cool designs and features deserved a mention in our list of super-cool microwaves.

Not Your Mama’s Microwave Oven

It’s nice to see that these high-tech appliance makers have continued to make microwaves in the USA, even though labor is cheaper abroad. A recent stat says that US output has doubled over the span of the last 30 years, so maybe the tables are turning.

Although they are pricy, we think these microwaves offer some impressive alternatives to the standard countertop units that you find at the big department stores.

What do you think? Do you agree that these are some pretty cool microwaves?Would you consider buying one for your home? Leave a comment or point us to other cool microwaves that are made in the USA.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

http://stillmadeinusa.com/appliances.html

http://companyweek.com/company-profile/big-chill

http://www.b4usa.com/wolf-appliance-inc/

http://www.subzero-wolf.com/company/careers

The Only Complete Cuckoo Rice Cooker Reviews You Need To See

Cooking rice can be a bit frustrating if you haven’t had any experience cooking it before. I personally tried cooking rice in a pot and ended up with raw or overcooked rice too many times.

It’s a good thing rice cookers were invented to help us cook rice perfectly every time. If you want to get perfectly cooked rice every time, but don’t have any clue about rice cookers, do read on.

This complete cuckoo rice cooker review will let you in on the different things you need to know to get the best rice cooker for your home.

Quick Comparison: Top Cuckoo Rice Cookers 2019

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


Best Pizzelle Maker Reviews (2019): The Top Irons To Buy For Home

A pizzelle maker is a great addition to a baker’s cooking arsenal, particularly those who love making cookies. Not many people know that a pizzelle is one of the first cookies ever made. Its origins traces back to centuries ago. 

Pizzelles make for great snacks during Easter and Christmas. But there’s no reason to reserve making these cookies for special occasions only, especially when you can easily make a batch at home with the right pizzelle maker at your disposal. You can make a big batch for your friends and family or even whip up some for a party.

If you are currently looking for a nice pizzelle maker that you can add to your kitchen, you are definitely in the right place. In this article, I will be sharing with you a bunch of information about how to make pizzelle, how to use and clean pizzelle makers, how to choose pizzelle makers, and a list of the 5 best pizzelle makers you can buy online today. We chose these products based from their reliability, ease of usage and value for the money. Read on to find out more about pizzelle makers.

Quick Comparison: Top Pizzelle Maker 2019

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


How To Find The Best Blender: The Only Vitamix 5300 Reviews You Should See

Ever tried looking for a blender online or in your local supermarket? If you have, I’m sure you must have encountered the brand Vitamix. Vitamix is a brand that has become well-known in the culinary world because of the high-quality blenders that fall under its brand.

One Vitamix blender that has become quite popular is the 5300. The Vitamix 5300 is a product that seems like a great buy, but if you want to find out for yourself whether this product can help you get a bang for your buck, I encourage you to read on.

This article is a complete Vitamix 5300 review that will let you know all about the Vitamix 5300’s features, the benefits of owning a blender, and other types of blenders that you should check out.

Quick Comparison: other blenders you should checkout

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


Best Microwave Under $100 (2019): Reviews Of Our Favorite Budget Models

Nothing can compare to the convenience of having thoroughly-heated food that feels and tastes as if it was just freshly cooked without actually having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It is mainly for this reason why I believe that we should be very thankful for the creation of microwaves.

Having a microwave at home lets you consume leftover food as if they are cooked fresh. No food will ever be wasted because you can use this device to reheat your frozen meals and make them taste as good as when they were freshly-cooked.

You can also whip up new dishes with the help of this nifty appliance. From casserole dishes to roasted meals, the microwave oven will not fail you.

There are plenty of options out there. The more features are integrated in the oven, the more expensive it gets. However, there are also a more affordable choice. If you are on a tight budget, don’t worry because there are plenty of microwaves out there that should be within your budget range.

We looked for the best microwave ovens that are priced lower than $100, which should be an ideal price range for those who are on a tight budget. Although they are cheaper, these ovens can still be relied on when it comes to durability, heating properties and efficiency.


Quick Comparison: Top Microwave Under $100 2019

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.