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Smeg Professional Blender review
1:25 pm | May 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Juicers & Blenders Small Appliances | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Smeg Professional Blender: two-minute review

The Smeg Professional Blender is a sleek, high-end appliance with an impressive array of functions: nine blending speeds, four presets, plus a Pulse and Auto Clean mode. It comes with 1.5 liter Tritan jug, a fixed blade, vacuum pump attachment, tamper, spatula, and cleaning brush. I tested one out to see how it compares to the rest of the best blenders on the market. 

This model is known by different names in different territories: 

  • US model: BLC01BLMUS Professional
  • UK model: BLC02BLMUK High Performance
  • Australian model: BLC02BLMAU High Performance

For this review I tested the UK model; note there might be minor differences between different countries' versions. 

Smeg as a brand is perhaps best known for its juicers and espresso machines, but it also makes a small selection of blenders – elsewhere in the range you'll find the entry-level Smeg personal blender and a mid-range Smeg jug blender. The model I tested for this review is the brand's high-end jug blender.

Unlike the brightly-colored and bubble-shape of the majority of the Smeg appliance range, the Professional blender is more sleek and subtle. It's powered by a 1400W motor, and has a row of preset buttons along the top of its aluminum and plastic base. These are then controlled via an intuitive LCD dial on the front. 

Thanks to the blender's slim design, it fits comfortably under kitchen cupboards, even with the jug attached. While its relatively low weight makes it easy to move around your countertop, and store. However, the fact the blades aren't removable makes things tricky when it comes to cleaning and getting blended food out of the jug.

Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

For this review, I used the blender to make a range of drinks and food, including a smoothie, a sauce and hummus. I also used it to crush ice. For the items that had preset functions, namely the smoothie and the ice, the performance was near-perfect. However, for the items for which I had to use the blender's Manual mode, the performance was hit-and-miss. For its premium price ($429.95 / £499.99 / AU$799), I expected slightly more consistent results.  

However, all things considered, the Smeg Professional Blender looks great and works well. If you can afford it, and especially if you've previously been put off by the bright designs of the rest of the Smeg range, it will be a decent investment that should last you a long time. 

Smeg Professional Blender review: price & availability

  • List price: $429.95 / £499.99 / AU$799

At time of writing, there are three models in the Smeg BLC01 blender range and the Professional version is the most expensive, with a list price of $429.95 / £499.99 / AU$799. For this price you get the blender base with a fixed blade, a 6 cup / 1.5 liter Tritan jug, a vacuum pump attachment, tamper, spatula and cleaning brush.

This price makes the Professional model significantly more expensive than other high-end models from the likes of Ninja and Nutribullet. In fact, many rival models, including Ninja's Foodi Power Blender system, offer a much wider range of accessories, blades and settings for half the price. 

In the US, the Smeg Professional Blender is available in black (BLC01BLMUS) or white (BLC01WHMUS) and is sold at Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, plus a number of third-party retailers. You can see the full-range of retailers on the Smeg website.

In the UK, the appliance is known as the Smeg High-Performance blender and it's available directly from Smeg, AO, Robert Dyas and Amazon. Its black model is sold under code BLC02BLMUK, while its white version is BLC02WHMUK. 

In Australia, the black (BLC02BLMAU), and white (BLC02WHMAU) models, plus an emerald green (BLC02EGMAU) version are sold as the High-Performance blender from Smeg, and Amazon. 

If you want a Smeg blender but can't stretch to the Professional model, the entry-level PBF01 Personal blender costs $169.95 / £109.95 / AU$199. It only makes single serve drinks and has just two blending speeds but it's more compact. Alternatively, the mid-range, 50s style Smeg BLF03 Jug Blender costs $299.95 /£179.95 / AUS $362. It has the same 1.5L BPA-free Tritan Jug seen on the Professional model, and a range of presets, but only four blending speeds. It also lacks the vacuum, and Auto Clean feature of the Professional.

With the Smeg Professional blender you're largely paying for the brand and style. The performance is solid, the range of blending options is good, and the vacuum attachment and Auto Clean features are welcome. Yet none of these are revolutionary. This does mean the price of the Smeg Professional blender is a little excessive, but at least you know you're getting a quality appliance from a trusted manufacturer. 

  • Value for money score: 3 out of 5

Smeg Professional Blender specifications

Smeg Professional Blender review: design & features

  • 1400w motor, 1.5 liter BPA-Free Tritan jug
  • 9 blending speeds + 4 presets, Pulse, and Auto Clean
  • Sleek design, but blades are fixed

Smeg is as renowned for the design of its appliances as it is for their functionality. The BLC01 blender is no exception. However, unlike the bubble-shaped, brightly colored designs seen across the majority of the Smeg range, the Professional blender looks much sleeker and more high-end.  

There are hints at the iconic 'Smeg' shape, but they're more subtle. The base has smooth, curved lines with either a white or black plastic panel on the back, and an aluminum panel on the front emblazoned with the Smeg logo. I was sent a black model to review and it fit in seamlessly with my other metal and black appliances and cream units. 

Inside the base is the 1400W motor which produces a max spin of 22,000 RPM. Below the Smeg logo is a circular dial with an LCD display. The power button is on the left-hand side of the base, and along the top is a row of buttons that each relate to the blender's different presets. 

From left to right these buttons are:

  • Smoothie
  • Green smoothie
  • Frozen dessert
  • Ice Crush
  • Autoclean
  • Pulse

In addition to these presets, you can manually select from one of nine blending speeds in Manual Mode. 

Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

Size-wise, the blender measures 16.6 x 6.6 x 8.9 inches / 42.1 x 16.8 x 22.5 cm (H x W x D) and this means it should fit comfortably under most kitchen cupboards, even with the jug attached. Adding the vacuum pump to the top of the jug extends its height to 20.5 inches / 52.1 cm. 

Weight-wise, the base and jug together weigh 14.5lb / 6.6 kg and this makes it easy to move around your countertop, or if you want to store it in a drawer or cupboard. It then has anti-slip feet on the bottom of the base, and a 3ft / 1m cord. 

Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

The jug slots on and off the base easily; there is no fiddly twisting or locking it into place like on most blenders. I was concerned it would move during use but it never did. A lid with a silicone seal slides on top, with a small, twist-off cap that is used to add ingredients mid-blend. 

When making green smoothies, or any drink where you want to retain the nutritional value of your ingredients, the battery-powered vacuum is attached in place of the twist-off cap. 

Smeg traditionalists may not like the sleeker, less conspicuous design of the Professional blender but I'm a big fan. It looks more professional and the small touches such as the smooth dial and discreet controls make it feel premium and closer in design to what I'd expect for the price point.

In fact, my only real complaint about the design is that the blades aren't removable. This means that cleaning the Smeg Professional Blender can be tricky, and somewhat dangerous. I couldn't guarantee that the jug and undersides of the blades were as clean as I'd like when washing by hand. Thankfully, the jug is dishwasher safe and the blender comes with a dedicated Automatic Cleaning mode. So this is a minor point.

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Smeg Professional Blender review: performance

  • Didn't fully blitz kale or seeds 
  • Makes perfect crushed ice
  • Presets perform better than manual settings

With each of the appliances I review, I begin by seeing if I can navigate the different controls and settings without looking at the Quick Start guide or instruction manual. This gives me an idea of how intuitive they truly are and the Smeg Professional blender passed the test. 

The icons on each of the buttons are fairly obvious. My only confusion came from knowing what the difference was between the standard Smoothie button and its Green Smoothie equivalent. Pressing each of these presets brings the LCD display to life and it shows the blending time for the selected setting and an icon of either a single person (for Single Serve drinks) or a group of people for the Family Serve option. You can turn the dial to switch between these two modes before pushing the dial in to start the blend.

Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

The default time for a Single smoothie is 30 seconds. This increases to 45 seconds on Family Serve mode (other default settings are listed in the manual). You can, at any point, turn the dial to increase or decrease the speed. If you'd rather use the Manual mode, simply turn the dial (without any presets selected) to cycle through the nine speed settings. Then push to start.

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Making a kale, blueberry and banana smoothie in the Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender

(Image credit: Future)
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Making a kale, blueberry and banana smoothie in the Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender

(Image credit: Future)

For my first test, I made a kale, blueberry and banana smoothie mixed with almond milk. I pressed the Green Smoothie button, due to the presence of kale, turned the dial to select the Single Serve mode and pushed the dial to start the blend. The resulting smoothie looked far from appealing, but it tasted delicious. 

The texture was thick and slightly gritty, and I could see small flecks of kale floating in the drink but this didn't take away from the enjoyment of drinking it. I had worried I'd be able to feel the kale in my mouth, but the overall texture of the smoothie meant the whole thing went down, well, smooth. 

Making crushed ice in the Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender

(Image credit: Future)

Next, I used the blender to create crushed ice using the Ice Crush setting. This setting causes the blender to operate in short bursts for 35 seconds to crush the ice to a powder. It worked fantastically and created perfectly even and smooth powdered ice that was perfect for margaritas, or slushies.

Lastly, I used the Smeg blender to make tahini, before using the tahini to make hummus. I toasted sesame seeds, poured them into the jug and blended them at Speed 6 in Manual mode for 20 seconds, until they had a crumbly texture. I added olive oil and blended for a further two minutes until the tahini was smooth. I then added the tahini, garlic cloves, oil, lemon juice, drained chickpeas, a pinch of ground cumin and sea salt into the blender and blitzed the mixture for 10 seconds on Speed 4. I removed the lid, used a spatula to scrape the mixture from the sides and blended for another 10 seconds. 

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Making hummus in the Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender

(Image credit: Future)
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Making hummus in the Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender

(Image credit: Future)

After 20 seconds, the mixture had barely blended. I repeated the above step five more times – and even then there were still lumps of chickpea and an inconsistent texture. What's more, trying to get all of this mixture out from beneath the blades was difficult and I ended up having to wash a large portion away because it wasn't possible, or safe, for me to remove it, even with the provided cleaning brush. 

Smeg BLC01 Professional Blender in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

Finally, in terms of noise, the blender averaged around 80dB on lower speeds. During my hummus test, this increased to 85db, on average, and during the Ice Crush test, the decibels soared to 95db+. On Manual Mode, Speed 1 produced around 69db, while on Speed 9 the average reading was 90db. 

From my experience, this blender performs much better when you use the presets than when attempting to make something manually. If you only plan to use the blender for these set purposes – smoothies, frozen desserts and crushing ice – I can barely fault it. If you want it to function closer to a food processor, you may be disappointed.

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Should I buy the Smeg Professional Blender?

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if...

How I tested the Smeg Professional Blender

  • I used it to blend drinks and food
  • I checked the noise level
  • I assessed how easy it was to clean

I used the Smeg Professional blender in my own home for two weeks, making smoothies, sauces, hummus and crushed ice. 

I assessed how simple it was to set the blender up, how easy and intuitive it is to use, how well it performed different tasks, its noise levels and how easy it was to clean. 

I’ve been reviewing home and kitchen appliances for more than 15 years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on when assessing how well a product such as a blender performs. 

Read more about how we test.

  • First reviewed May 2024
Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review
9:00 am | May 15, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances Vacuums | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner: two-minute review

The Miele DuoFlex HX1 is part of the European brand's HX1 range, pitched as the brand's most affordable cordless vacuum cleaner. The DuoFlex HX1 is available in five different iterations. They're the same core vacuum with the same main cleaner head, but in a range of colors and with varying tools and accessories included. That means you can choose the model that suits you, without having to shell out for extra tools that you don't really need.

Miele is a European brand that has a long history of designing practical vacuums that stand the test of time. It's still best known for its plug-in vacuums, but will no doubt be hoping the HX1 range will earn it spot on TechRadar's best cordless vacuum ranking.

On test it felt well-built, sturdy and robust, but heavy and cumbersome. It's designed to be as powerful as Miele's bagged vacuums, and I found the dirt collection was good on the higher power level. The HX1's ability to automatically detect different floor types and adjust its suction in response takes the fuss out of vacuuming around your home. I also appreciated the clever self-cleaning filter. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum laid out on the floor, surrounded by attachments

(Image credit: Future)

However, these innovative features are let down by some issues with the basics. The small dirt bin, messy emptying process and the short battery life are frustrating and mean this vacuum cleaner is best suited to smaller homes and those with predominantly hard floors. 

For this review, I tested out the HX1 Cat & Dog version, the USP of which is a handheld 'Electro Compact' brush. I found this did a great job of removing hair from pet bedding and thoroughly cleaning upholstery. However, the small dust bin limits this vacuum's suitability for pet owners, especially if their four-legged friends shed a lot. Read on for my full Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: price & availability

  • UK: from £449, available now (launched summer 2024)
  • US: from $599, launching June 2024
  • Australia: price and launch date TBC

Each of the five models in the Miele DuoFlex HX1 range is priced slightly differently. It's the same base model for all versions, but the accessories included differ. Hop to my model comparison table to see exactly how they compare, but price-wise the UK range runs from £369 to £499, with the Cat & Dog model I reviewed is £449. There's plenty of scope to choose the model that's right for your home and lifestyle.

The Miele DuoFlex HX1 range launched in summer 2024 in the UK. At time of writing, that's the only territory it's available in, but it is due to launch in the US in June 2024, at $599 for the standard HX1 model. It will also be available in Australia, but we don't have pricing information yet.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner specs

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum model options

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: design

  • Sturdy build, tools supplied vary by model
  • ComfortClean system removes the need to wash filter
  • Dust cup is small at 0.3L

The various models in the range are available in different colors. The Miele DuoFlex HX1 Cat & Dog comes in obsidian black and space gray, which is just a fancy way of saying it's essentially a black and gray vacuum – arguably a bit dull. That being said, not everyone wants a bright and lurid vacuum. And while the look is understated, the vacuum itself has a sturdy quality. It feels well built, as do all the tools.

The 'MultiFloor electrobrush' is the HX1's standard cleaning head. Additionally, all models come with a dusting brush and crevice nozzle – both of which can be stored on the wand of the vacuum so they're always to hand when needed – and a large upholstery nozzle. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner with tools attached

(Image credit: Future)

Beyond those tools, the extras depend on the model you go for. The special addition for the Cat & Dog version I had on test is a small 'Electro Compact brush', designed specifically for tackling pet hair on upholstery. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

The vacuum switches on via a button on the front of the handle, so there's no uncomfortable trigger to worry about. A second button below it enables you to switch between the two power levels. 

The charging cable can be plugged directly into the vacuum, or, if you're installing the wall bracket it can be included in this setup so the vacuum automatically charges every time it's docked on the bracket. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

While many vacuums now include washable lifetime filters, Miele has developed an even better solution with what it calls the ComfortClean self-cleaning function. By turning the ComfortClean cap, the fine dust filter is cleaned in place. Any dirt that's removed from the filter makes its way into the dust bin and gets emptied out with the rest of the debris into your trash.

The dust bin is emptied easily via a flap that releases the dirt into the trash. But the small 0.3 liter dirt capacity will definitely be off-putting for some households.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: performance

  • Dirt bin fills up frustratingly fast, and emptying it can be messy
  • Feels heavy and a bit cumbersome, but maneuvers well
  • Suction is good and auto power switching is effective

When reviewing the Miele DuoFlex HX1, a few things were obvious even from the first use. This vacuum feels weighty, and I'm not just talking about vacuuming overhead. It has a heaviness even when vacuuming floors, which I think is down to the balance and the position and/or the angle of the handle.

Furthermore, the handle felt pretty chunky in my small hands, verging on uncomfortable. But I'm a 5ft 3in woman, so I got my 6ft 2in husband to try it out. He found the handle size to be more appropriate to his hand size. Though he felt there was less space under the handle and his fingers were a bit squashed. He also commented on the appearance of the vacuum which he liked, but I'm less keen on.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

Maneuverability was good on all floors. The main floorhead automatically detects carpet and increases the suction in response. This auto switching function works effectively, and I found it really took the thinking out of maneuvering between floor types, though the down-side it that it drains the battery (more on that later).

Edge cleaning along baseboards is fine on the lower power setting, but much better on the higher setting. Even when I deliberately sprinkled debris along baseboards, it was thoroughly sucked up on the higher suction, which isn't always the case with cordless vacuums.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner sucking up oats near the skirting board of the reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

I've got both carpeted and wood stairs and the HX1 coped well with both. However, in general, even on hard floors, it was rare that I could vacuum a whole room on the lower suction. Generally, I felt the need to increase the power to the higher level to be certain of a thorough clean. And again, this impacts the amount of cleaning time you get before the battery dies.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

After just five minutes of vacuuming a bedroom carpet, that wasn't all that dirty, the small dust bin was full up. The loose carpet fibers quickly fill the small bin, and while it doesn't fill up this fast on hard floors. If you've got a very busy house with children and pets, the dirt bin is not likely to be big enough. Similarly for larger homes, the frequent need to empty the bin will become very tedious.

Further to that, emptying out the dirt wasn't always straightforward. While the catch releases the base of the dust bin, the dirt doesn't always fall out. Often hair gets tangled around the pre-filter and sometimes debris gets stuck behind it. The pre-filter then has to be pulled out by hand to fully release everything, so it can certainly be a messy task.

The ComfortClean system is great for unclogging the filter, but every three months the filter has to be removed and tapped on the side of the trash. Once again, this is very messy to do.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 filter

(Image credit: Future)

The noise level is pretty typical for a vacuum. When using the hand tools it's around 70dB, rising to 80dB on the higher suction level. With the multi-floor brush in place you can expect a noise level in the region of 75-80dB depending on the floor type and power level.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 tools

The main floor cleaner head is referred to as the MultiFloor ElectroBrush, but there are a range of supplementary tools, which I'll comment on more here. The tools you get will depend on which version of the HX1 you opt for. The smaller of these tools can be attached directly to the vacuum for use as a handheld vacuum, or they can be fitted to the end of the wand for a longer reach. However, as a handheld vacuum in the car the HX1 felt bulky.

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Dusting brush for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Dusting brush (included with all models) (Image credit: Miele)
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Upholstery nozzle for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Upholstery nozzle (all models) (Image credit: Miele)
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crevice nozzle for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Crevice nozzle (all models) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 4 of 7

Electro Compact tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Electro Compact tool (Cat & Dog / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)
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Universal brush tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Universal brush (Extra / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 6 of 7

Flexible crevice nozzle XL tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Flexible crevice nozzle XL (CarCare / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)
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Flexible suction hose tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Flexible suction hose (CarCare / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)

The dusting brush (included with all models) was handy for dusting shelves, but depending on the angle and the height of the shelf, isn't always the most comfortable method of dusting. I also used it on some of my car dashboard, but it couldn't reach into tighter spots. 

The wide upholstery nozzle (all models) means you can cover large surfaces at speed. I quickly vacuumed two sofas, but did need to increase the power to the higher level to effectively remove all the dust clinging to a velvet sofa.

Vacumming a sofa using the crevice tool on Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

The crevice nozzle (all models) is a good length and the rubber end is a nice touch that means it won't damage or scratch anything. I found it particularly helpful for getting into hard-to-reach spots in the car.

The Electro Compact handheld brush is only included in the Cat & Dog version I tested, and the TotalCare version. On test, I found it was good for thoroughly cleaning my carpeted stairs. I also used it on my car mats, but found it couldn't reach everywhere in the foot wells. It works well on upholstery too and is designed for vacuuming up pet hair.

The nozzles from the HX1 range that I didn't test were the universal brush (Extra and TotalCare models) for cleaning sensitive surfaces, and the flexible crevice nozzle XL and the flexible suction hose (both CarCare and TotalCare only) designed to help you reach further into awkward areas in the car and the house. 

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: battery life

  • Short run times
  • Vacuuming carpet drains battery
  • Only three lights to indicate battery level

Vacuuming carpeted floors on the higher power setting is the fastest way to drain the battery. The Duoflex HX1 managed 11 minutes of vacuuming carpets on high power before the battery needed a full recharge. However, the surprise came when vacuuming carpets on the lower power level. Despite being on a lower suction, the battery lasted for a pretty pathetic 13 and a half minutes. 

On hard floors I was able to vacuum continuously on the lower power level for 21 minutes before the HX1 ran out of juice. This is the longest run time you'll get on floors, which is only enough time to blitz round two to three rooms, depending on the size of your rooms and how thorough you're being.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner, shot of the upper side showing battery life indicator lights

(Image credit: Future)

You'll get a longer vacuuming time when using the non-motorized hand tools, such as the dusting brush and crevice nozzle. But it still only offers up to 55 minutes, which will be on the lower power level.

When switching between all the hand tools, including the mini motorized tool, as well as switching between the power levels, the battery lasted just long enough for me to fully vacuum a Volkswagen Golf. But the car wasn't super dirty and if it had needed a more thorough, detailed clean, I would have had to do it in stages.

During testing, the battery recharge took between three and three and a half hours, which is in line with Miele's specs (which state 210 minutes).

Should you buy the Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Miele DuoFlex HX1

  • I tried every tool supplied
  • I used it on multiple surfaces throughout my home, as well as in my car
  • I timed the battery life

I used the vacuum in my own home for around a week. During that time, I tried all the various tools on a variety of surfaces. I vacuumed area rugs, carpet and hard floors, as well as upholstery, stairs, and even hard surfaces like shelving.

In addition to simply vacuuming, I took notice of ease of use, maneuverability and comfort. I also tested its performance on very specific tasks, like picking up that hard-to-reach debris along baseboards and in the corners of the room.

I reviewed my first vacuums over 15 years ago at the Good Housekeeping Institute in London. Over the years I've reviewed well in excess of one hundred vacuums. It really doesn't take me long to assess a vacuum and pinpoint its good features, as well as the less desirable qualities that are worth knowing before you buy.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

Dyson WashG1 hands-on review
8:00 am | May 14, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Comments: Off

Announced today, the Dyson WashG1 is a wet cleaner designed to get your hard floors sparkling clean. 

Having cemented its reputation as the brand behind some of the best vacuum cleaners around, the WashG1 represents the brand's first dedicated wet cleaner for hard floors. (It builds on the success of combi-vacuum mop the Submarine – read our Dyson V15s Detect Submarine review for more on that one.)

Most wet cleaners use suction, but during its research phase, Dyson found that this approach tended to lead to clogged mechanics, tricky maintenance, and machines emitting bad smells when in use. So rather than suction, the WashG1 uses a triple-pronged attack of hydration, agitation, and separation. So: it adds water, uses rollers to rub at the dirt, and then splits wet and dry waste to make disposal easier.

It's designed to be used with just water, although you could add a floor cleaner liquid if you wanted. It will work on any hard floor but isn't suitable for carpets or soft flooring. 

Dyson WashG1

(Image credit: Dyson)

I had a chance to try one out ahead of its launch, on a visit to Dyson's Malmesbury campus, and overall I was impressed. There's no getting around the fact that a wet floor cleaner isn't quite a sexy as say, a new haircare launch (see: Dyson Airstrait) but it's quietly innovative and engineered with plenty of care and creativity, as we've come to expect from this brand. It also makes sense that Dyson explores this area, given the popularity of hard floors worldwide.

I'll update this hands-on article with a more detailed review when I've had a chance to try it out fully, but for now, read on for my first impressions on the Dyson WashG1.

Dyson WashG1: price & availability

The Dyson WashG1 will have a ticket price of £599.99 in the UK and $699.99 in the US. It will set you back AU$999 in Australia. We also don't have exact launch dates available for the US and UK, although it's said to be arriving 'later this year [2024]'. That said, the Wash G1 is available to buy direct from Dyson Australia from May 14, with the machine becoming available from authorized retailers at a later unconfirmed dated.

Dyson WashG1: design

  • 3 hydration modes, plus a boost mode and a self-clean cycle 
  • Lightweight design with minimal dock
  • Separates wet and dry debris for easier disposal

If you're imagining a bulky, unwieldy cleaner, you don't need to worry. The WashG1 is streamlined and lightweight.

Let's start at the bottom. Here, you'll find the cleaner head, which is about the size of an A4 piece of paper, but thicker (of course). Underneath are two microfiber rollers for wet spills, with a plate that presses into them to squeeze out dirty water. These use high-density microfiber, designed to be super-absorbent and grippy, and the rollers extend almost completely to the edge of the cleaner head, to help you get closer to the edges of rooms.

There are also secondary rollers with big nylon bristles (like those in a vacuum cleaner), designed to tackle debris and hair. A mesh inside siphons off the solid waste and channels it into a little tray that sits in the upper part of the cleaner head.

Dry waste tray on Dyson WashG1

Dry waste, like these oats, collects in a tray (Image credit: Future)

Clipped to the handle are the two water tanks – one for clean water and the other for dirty. Each holds a liter of water, which is designed to cover up to 290 square meters of floor. The tanks clip easily on and off the handle, and each is individually sealed with a screw top to prevent spillages.

Clean and dirty water tanks on Dyson WashG1

The clean and dirty water tanks clip on and off the handle (Image credit: Future)

The charge stand is very minimal. It's only marginally bigger than the cleaner head itself and very lightweight – it actually feels slightly too insubstantial to me, but then it seemed to work fine in use.

Dyson WashG1 in use

The charge stand (in the background) is very minimal (Image credit: Future)

There are three different hydration modes, as well as a no-water mode and a Max mode, which adds even more water and is designed for ingrained dirt. The user selects which mode they want based on the type of flooring and how dirty it is. A button on the handle lets you cycle through the options, indicated by water droplet graphics on a screen that sits on top of the handle (Dyson is in the habit of adding little screens to all of its products at the moment, and the WashG1 is no exception.) You can activate the max boost by holding the same button down.

Screen showing mode in use on Dyson Wash G1 handle

Press the mode button to cycle through the different wash modes, or hold it down to activate boost (Image credit: Dyson)

There's also a self-clean mode. This takes two minutes and can be activated when the WashG1 is on its charge stand. It runs clean water through the mechanism and over the rollers, uses a brush bar to remove any lingering solid debris from the rollers, and then does a no-water run to dry everything off a bit. It's designed for everyday maintenance after each use but must be supplemented with periodic deep cleaning (this is normal for wet cleaners).

Rollers on Dyson WashG1

The rollers can be removed for deep cleaning (Image credit: Future)

To deep clean, the rollers can easily be removed from the cleaner head. The water tanks can also be removed and are designed to be easy to clean – there are no sharp corners where grime could build up, and they're large enough that you can easily get your whole hand in there.

The rollers won't last forever. Exactly how often they need replacing depends on how much you're using the product, but Dyson estimates it at a minimum of six months.

Dyson WashG1: performance

I had a chance to test out the WashG1 on a tiled floor at Dyson's Malmesbury HQ, seeing how well it tackled spillages of unidentified yellow and red sauces (at a guess, ketchup and mustard, but I skipped the taste-test) as well as oats.

It easily tackled wet spillages – these disappeared completely with a single pass with the WashG1. It also picked up the oats with little fuss, although sometimes it'd take a couple of passes to get them all.

A Dyson engineer also demonstrated its use on a dried-on stain that had been there a few hours. It took quite a few passes before the marks disappeared, but it's worth noting that they didn't use Max mode (which is designed for these kinds of stains).

The rollers run right up to the edges of the cleaner head, which means you can get nice and close to the edges of the room. That's useful because there are no attachments for precision cleaning, as you'd find with vacuum cleaners, for instance.

Cleaning head on WashG1 cleaner

The rollers run almost up to the edge of the cleaner head (Image credit: Future)

It doesn't feel especially aggressive in its agitation – the engineers explained that they found the best way to tackle ingrained spillages was by adding more water, hence the 'Max water' mode. In terms of noise levels, I'd it's say quieter than your average vacuum cleaner.

The splitting of wet and dry was effective based on my testing time, and it makes getting rid of the waste simpler. Rather than trying to flush everything down the toilet, dry waste can be tapped into a bin (which is a bit gross, but unavoidable) and the dirty water can be poured down the kitchen sink.

There were occasional unexpected dribbles of water when the WashG1 wasn't in use, like when getting the WashG1 off its dock or into place, the floor was left slightly wet, too. 

Dyson WashG1 in use

(Image credit: Future)

The WashG1 felt lightweight, comfortable to use, and easy to maneuver. Like Dyson's vacuums, cleaner head pivots fully so you can navigate around chair legs, around obstacles, and even under furniture.

The screen will sometimes display graphics showing you how to use the WashG1. I didn't find these graphics super easy to follow, but equally this device is pretty simple to use, so I'm not sure how useful the graphics will be in the long term.

Overall I was impressed by the WashG1 and I think it's a promising start for Dyson's first dedicated wet cleaner. I'll update this hands-on review with a more in-depth version when I've had a chance to try it out thoroughly at home. 

Hands-on review: May 2024

GHD Duet Style review
12:00 pm | May 12, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Hair Care Home Small Appliances | Comments: Off

GHD Duet Style: two-minute review

The GHD Duet Style promises to be a game-changer, because it can dry and style at the hair at the same time. In theory, it could make for worthy, somewhat more affordable alternative to the Dyson Airstrait (which launched after the Duet), but on test it falls a little short in places.

Throughout my trial, I tested the Duet Style on a range of hair states: soaking wet; damp, towel-dried hair; and second-day hair. Compared to my regular hairdryer, which takes my hair from wet to dry in around four minutes, the Duet Style took an almost painful 15 minutes – the slowest hair dryer I've ever used. (In comparison, in our Dyson Airstrait review, we found this drier-straightener was a genuine time-saver.)

The issue with the Duet Style is that because you have to section your hair and dry each section individually. Even then, it takes multiple passes over each strand to truly dry it effectively. If it takes this long on my long, thin hair, I dread to think how long it would take on thick or coily hair. It's not going to be troubling our best hair dryer guide any time soon. 

Using the Duet Style on damp hair took an average of nine minutes, while using it bring life back to my second-day hair took less than two. The latter has quickly become my favorite way to use the Duet Style. The hot air reaches 300F / 150C, while the plates heat up to 360F / 180C. Like all GHD stylers, there's only one temperature setting.

Once your hair's dry, pressing the Shine Shot button turns off the hot airflow and turns on the plates. After 20 seconds, you can then run the Duet Style over your hair like you would with standard straighteners to knock out any remaining frizz and add a dose of shine.

The styles created with the Duet Style last noticeably longer than they ever have when I've blowdried my hair in the past. I have naturally curly hair, and typically a hint of humidity sends it into a frizzy frenzy, but the Duet Style improved this. The only downside is that you have to sacrifice the volume, body and bounce you only really get from a traditional blow dry.

GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

I'm also not a huge fan of the Duet Style's size and weight. It measures 16.7 x 12.8in / 42.4 cm x 32.5cm (H x W) and weighs 1.5lb / 675g. This makes the styler cumbersome to maneuver around your head and near-impossible to create flicks or curls, like GHD promises, significantly reducing the Duet Style's versatility.

This extra weight also means you have to hold the end of the tool for stability and to stop your arm from aching, but the styler has a tendency to get hot during use, making it uncomfortable to grip for long periods. On the plus side, the large size does allow you to tackle bigger sections of hair at once. 

Size and weight issues aside, the GHD Duet Style's controls are simple and easy to use and the fact it creates styles that last is a major selling point. If you're looking for a one-stop shop for drying and straightening your hair, and you're a patient person, the Duet Style could be a good option. However, if you value speed, maneuverability, and styling versatility, or you have thick hair, you might be better off sticking with your trusty hairdryer and straightener combo.

GHD Duet Style review: price & availability

  • List price: $399 / £379 / AU $595
  • Available: US, Australia, UK and Europe

The GHD Duet Style is available in black or white as standard, and at time of writing there's also a limited-edition Elemental Blue colorway, which forms part of GHD's recent Color Crush collection.

The standard model costs $399 / £379 / AUD$595, making it the most expensive GHD styler on the market. In the US, the Color Crush version costs the same as the standard model, at $399, yet in the UK and Australia the price for the blue model rises to £389 and AUD$605 respectively. All three regions sell the blue version with a leather storage case. 

You can additionally buy the black GHD Duet Style as part of a styling set in the US. This kit contains the styler, a 'lizard velvet' storage case and the GHD Sleek Talker heat protect spray yet still costs the same, at $399. 

Within the wider GHD range, the Duet Style most closely resembles the $269 / £209 / AUD$370 GHD Max in terms of design, and is closest in price to the $299 / £309 / AUD$500 cordless GHD Unplugged. Yet stands apart from all of its siblings, as well as the vast majority of the market because of its 2-in-1, wet-to-dry features.

The only other like-for-like styler wet-to-dry styler is the Dyson Airstrait. The Airstrait is available in the US and UK for $499.99 / £499.99 and is due to launch in Australia later in 2024. The Airstrait offers the same wet-to-dry features as the Duet Style but doesn't have the flat iron hot plates seen on the GHD model. 

The GHD Duet Style is available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and across Europe, and is sold directly from the GHD website, but also via plenty of third party retailers. 

Given that the choice of wet-to-dry stylers is limited, and the GHD Duet Style is significantly cheaper than the Airstrait, despite featuring hot plates, it represents decent value for money. You're effectively paying for advanced, cutting-edge tech and innovation and getting a GHD hair dryer and flat iron styler for the price of one. That said, you could still a separate hair dryer and flat iron with change to spare, so it depends on your needs. 

  • Value for money score: 3 out of 5

GHD Duet Style hair dryer review: design

  • Large and heavy paddle-shaped design
  • Easy to use controls
  • Well-placed air vents 

The GHD Duet Style is notably larger and heavier than the average styler, measuring 16.7 x 12.8 in / 42.4 cm x 32.5 cm (H x W) and weighing 1.5lb / 675g. The hot plates each then measure 0.6 in / 1.7cm wide. This makes it a bulky piece of kit and not the easiest of stylers to move around the head. It also makes it a pain to store.

GHD Duet Style hair styler with other GHD stylers to show how the sizes compare

(L-R) GHD Unplugged, GHD Chronos and the GHD Duet Style (Image credit: Future)

The plates sit either side of a central air vent on both the upper and lower arms of the styler. These vents are covered in a grid that disperses the hot air evenly onto your wet hair as you pass it through the dryer. There are then two thin air vents built into the arms of the Duet Style. These are used to dry the hair above and below the styler as it moves through the hair. A small but welcome, and smart, addition. 

Grille between the plates on GHD Duet Style hair styler

(Image credit: Future)

Design-wise, the Duet Style closely resembles the GHD Max, thanks to its wide, paddle-shaped design, albeit with a much thicker handle. This handle is where the motor and filter for the drying element sits and this filter is attached to the Duet Style's 360-degree, 8.8ft / 2.7m cord. Its minimal, easy-to-use controls are then found on the top of the styler's arm.

These controls consist of a power switch surrounded by a white LED ring, above a Shine Shot button. The switch controls the dryer element of the GHD Duet Style and can be used on wet or damp hair. The Shine Shot button controls the hot plates and should only be used on dry hair. Both controls are accompanied by a short beep that signals that the styler is ready for use. I'm a big fan of this auditory feedback and I miss it when I use other stylers without it. 

Control switch on GHD Duet Style hair styler

(Image credit: Future)

The hot airflow on the GHD Duet Style maxes out at 300F / 150C while the plates operate at 180C / 360F. GHD stylers only ever offer one temperature setting. This is the optimum temperature, according to GHD, because it's hot enough to mold the hair into shape, while causing minimal damage.

While the GHD Duet Style has a built-in filter, it doesn't offer a cleaning mode (like the Dyson Airstrait) so you'll need to keep it free from dust and build-up over time. GHD recommends using a soft toothbrush to keep this filter clear. 

It may not be the most stylish, or compact styler, but the GHD Duet Style's design is well considered. It shares the premium look seen across rest of the GHD range and there are small touches and accents that elevate its appearance. 

  • Design score: 3.5 out of 5

GHD Duet Style review: performance

  • Slow drying times
  • Difficult to maneuver and use for long periods
  • Long-lasting styles 

The GHD Duet Style takes a bit of getting used to. Not just because it's unlike any styler I've used before, but because it goes against everything I'd ever been told about using stylers on wet hair. For my Duet Style review, I tested the styler on wet hair, straight from the shower; on damp towel-dried hair; and on second-day hair. 

My favorite way to use the Duet Style is on second-day hair. It brings my style back to life without having to rewash it, and it gives more precision than a traditional hair dryer without having to resort to straightening it or similar.

From wet to dry, the GHD Duet Style took significantly longer than it does with a regular hair dryer – almost 15 minutes compared to the average of four. If you have long, thick or coily hair, this could exceed 30 minutes or more.  Taking my hair from damp to dry then took, on average, nine minutes and produced a similar finish. 

GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

These lengthy times are largely because you have to section the hair, and dry each section in turn. GHD advises that you hold the dryer near your roots for three seconds to dry the hair closest to your head before passing it over the lengths, which adds to this time. It then takes multiple, slow passes over each strand of hair to dry it effectively. I had hoped, after spending this long drying my hair, that I'd be ready to leave the house, but my hair lacked the shine and finish I'd have expected. 

Thankfully, the Duet Style's Shine Shot came to the rescue. Press the button, wait 20 seconds and the Duet Style becomes a flat iron styler. You then run it over your hair to knock out any remaining frizz and add shine.   

The biggest selling point of the Duet Style, however, is that whichever way I use it, my style lasts much longer than when I blow dry it. I have naturally curly hair and usually, as soon as it gets even a hint of humidity, it becomes frizzy and the curls return. This was noticeably improved while using the Duet Style. It isn't the cure for frizz, but it's close. 

This does come at the sacrifice of body and movement though. The root drying vents help add volume at the roots but you don't get the same movement or bounce as you do with a regular blow dry. What's more, there's not much you can do about this. The Duet Style is too large and unwieldy to move around the head easily, or twirl it around the hair in the same way you would with a barrel brush. No matter how hard I tried, I never managed to add flicks or curls or achieve the versatility that GHD promises.

Cable on GHD Duet Style hair styler

(Image credit: Future)

Given the size and weight of the styler, it's also necessary to hold the end of the Duet Style while passing it over your hair to keep it steady and to manage the weight. This can get uncomfortable as the styler gets hot and you have to avoid the hot air coming out of the side vents.

It's not so hot that it burns you, but it's hot enough for you not want to hold it for long periods. There are strips of rubber edging to help with this but they're too narrow to really make a difference, and these rubber strips tend to attract a build-up of leftover heat protector and styling products easily. If there is one plus side to the Duet Style's large size, it means you can dry large sections of hair at any one time. Helping to counteract the long styling times.  

  • Performance score: 3.5 out of 5

Should I buy the GHD Duet Style?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

First reviewed: April 2024

Nutribullet Ultra blender review
12:38 pm | May 10, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Juicers & Blenders Small Appliances | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

UK: view at Nutribullet.co.uk

US: view at Nutribullet.com

AU: View at Nutribullet.com.au

Nutribullet Ultra review: two-minute review

The Nutribullet Ultra is the brand's most advanced, and expensive, personal blender. Compared to the others in the range, it's more powerful, quieter, and boasts a touchscreen operation with 30-second and pulse functions, rather than the usual twist-to-blend approach.

I tried it out to see how it compared to the rest of the best blenders on the market right now. For this review, I tested the UK version. This model is also available in the US under the same name, and Australia as the Ultra 1200. (Note: there may be minor differences depending on territory.)

Overall, I was impressed. The lower-frequency noise it emits is certainly not whisper-quiet, but it is noticeably quieter than the model down (read about that one in my Nutribullet Pro 900 review). 

The 1200-watt motor and improved blade design worked as intended, blitzing ingredients instantly, creating silky smoothies and textured dips. It performed well for all recipes I was making, but I did have to intervene on occasion, with the ingredients lower down being blended smoothly, but those at the top never reaching the blades. On the occasions that this happened, I added more liquid and gave the cup a shake to get things moving again.

The design is still recognizably 'Nutribullet', but an updated version, complete with a glowing interface that only comes alive when the cup is clicked onto the base. Press the solid circle icon for a 30-second blitz, or hold the dashed circle to pulse. Although cool to look at, I found these controls a little too sensitive – I had to make sure my fingers didn’t accidentally touch them when I was putting the cup on the base.

At ticket price it costs $149.99 / £149.99 / AU$189.95, but there are discounts to be have if you buy at the right time. It's the priciest individual Nutribullet blender, but it looks and feels premium, and I think the upgrades are worth the expense. Read on for my full Nutribullet Ultra review. 

Nutribullet Ultra review: price & availability

  • List price: $149.99 / £149.99 / AU$189.95
  • Launch date: 2023
  • Availability: worldwide 

Nutribullet sells a wide range of personal blenders, jug blenders, food processors and juicers. The cheapest option, the Nutribullet Go portable blender, costs from $15.99 / £29.99, but the Nutribullet Ultra is the brand’s premium blender, and more expensive. At list price, it's $149.99 / £149.99 / AU$189.95, although at time of writing, discounts were available in some territories. At the time of writing, you can purchase it direct from Nutribullet, or via third party retailers like Amazon.

I think its price is reasonable for a personal blender that has a high-end finish. It feels well-made and the improvements over the rest of the Nutribullet range feel worth the extra investment. The blade is designed to last longer than an entry-level Nutribullet blender, so you could be making savings in the longer term, too. 

  • Value for money score: 4.5 out of 5

Nutribullet Ultra review: design

  • Redesigned 'Rapid Extractor Blade' for fast and effective blending
  • Includes two Tritan Renew cups, made from 50% recycled materials 
  • Stylish glow interface for pulsing and blending 

The Nutribullet is very easy on the eye. It comes with a sophisticated graphite finish base with touch interface (other personal Nutribullets don't have this), and it looks high-end on the countertop. Suction cup feet stop it from shifting about when in use. Setting up the Nutribullet is easy and intuitive – all the parts twist or click into place nicely.

It comes with a 1200-watt motor and a ‘Rapid Extractor’ blade, with a stainless-steel platform and titanium coating. This is designed to increase longevity of the blade – Nutribullet says it'll last for up to five years – as well as ensuring your blends are fast and effective. This blade is sharp, so you’ll need to take care when washing it, but its design makes it very effective at breaking up ingredients. 

Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

The included cups both come with to-go lids, which is great for smoothie-lovers who want to just blend and go, without having to decant to another container. They are at the larger end of Nutribullet's range – you don't get the single-serve 'Short' cup (18oz / 511ml), but you do get the 'Tall' (24oz / 680ml) and 'Oversized' (32oz / 900ml) cups. That's good news if you want to tackle larger blending jobs, but you can purchase all cups separately, so it shouldn't be a decision-maker when choosing which Nutribullet to go for. 

Cleaning

In terms of cleaning, the cups and blade are dishwasher-safe. However, it's worth rinsing everything off immediately after use, because if you leave food to dry on the blade, it can be tricky to get off. There have been times when I haven’t rinsed the cups before popping them in the dishwasher and they’ve come out dry with caked-on pancake mixture residue left on the inside, and the inner nooks and crannies of the blades are tricky to get into if food gets dried on, too (a small brush would be useful for this).   

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Nutribullet Ultra review: performance

  • Quieter in operation than your average blender 
  • Excellent for smoothies and hummus, struggled a little with ice
  • Food can get stuck to the sides

The Nutribullet Ultra is one of the most satisfying personal blenders I’ve tried. It looks and feels premium, and this is reflected in the performance too. To give it a good trial, I made both homemade humus and a berry smoothie to see how well it could blend to a smooth finish and pulse for a more textured finish. The berries were frozen to get a good indicator of how well it crushes frozen ingredients, but I also tested it to see how well it could grind a batch of ice cubes too. 

Nutribullet highlights how quiet this blender is. While it's not something you’d want to turn on next to a sleeping baby, I did find the Nutribullet noticeably quieter in operation compared to other blenders I've tested. While making a berry smoothie on the 30-second blend setting I measured it at an average of 88.9 decibels using the Decibel Meter App. Comparatively, I measured the Nutribullet 1200 Pro+ at around 93.3 decibels on a similar blend, and my Ninja 3 in 1 Food Processor with Auto-IQ at a lofty 99 decibels.

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Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)
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Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)
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Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

I adapted Nutribullet's own recipe for Easy Hummus to see how well the Ultra performs when tackling chunky chickpeas, garlic and combining them with smoother ingredients such as tahini and oil. Unlike other Nutribullets I’ve tried, which start blending when you twist the cup and into place, the Ultra waits for you to press the start buttons before it turns on. If, like me, you’re someone who likes to go at their own pace when prepping in the kitchen, this is something you’ll no doubt appreciate. 

The blender has a ‘glow interface’ and the two touchscreen buttons appear when you click the cups into place on the base. It’s worth noting that the buttons are quite sensitive and I did find myself accidentally starting the blender on the odd occasion. The main blend setting only runs for 30 seconds, however, so if you do accidentally press it, it won’t run for long and is easy to stop. 

On my first go, the chickpeas got stuck at the top of the cup and I realized I hadn’t included enough liquid for it to blend effectively. After adding a bit more oil and a splash of water, I was able to tap the pulse setting to create short, intermittent pulses until the humus reached the semi-smooth texture I was aiming for. 

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Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)
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Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)
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Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

Next up, I made a Triple Berry Smoothie using frozen berries, almond milk, nut butter and banana. I popped in all the ingredients and pressed the blend button, which whizzed for 30 seconds. I made sure I put in enough liquid to stop the frozen berries getting stuck, although the spoonful of peanut butter wasn’t playing ball and got stuck to the side of the cup. I managed to scrape this off the side (unfortunately there’s no spatula in the kit) and pressed blend for another 30 seconds. The result was a super silky smoothie, with all the berries nicely broken down. 

Nutribullet Ultra blender in reviewer's kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

Finally, I filled the larger 900ml cup with a batch of ice to see how well the device could handle frozen cubes. I pressed the start button and within 30 seconds of blending only the base of the cup had managed to crush any ice. I gave it a shake, but the ice wouldn’t move, so a little water was needed to loosen the ice and ensure all the ice got crushed. 

  • Performance score: 4.5 out of 5

How do the Nutribullet personal blenders compare?

Should you buy the Nutribullet Ultra?

Buy it if...

You want a fast and quiet blender 

The 1200-Watt motor and base on the Nutribullet Ultra is designed to operate at a lower sound frequency. While it’s not completely silent, it’s one of the less offensive designs I’ve tried in terms of noise levels. 

You want to make smoothies for two

The Nutribullet Ultra comes with both a 900ml and a 700ml cup, which each have 'to-go' lids. A generous smoothie serving is around 300ml, so you've got room for two and blending space in there. Alternatively, one mega protein shake. 

You want a blender that looks stylish on the worktop

With its streamlined charcoal grey finish and touch interface, the Nutribullet Ultra looks and feels premium. Rather than hiding it away in the cupboard after use, it’s a design you’ll be happy to keep on display on the countertop.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget 

There are cheaper Nutribullet blenders available if you're happy to sacrifice the fancy touch interface, extra power and quieter motor. The original Nutribullet 600, for example.  

You want simple and fast control  

Other Nutribullet blenders start blending as soon as they're twisted into place, but the Ultra has two control buttons. This is a pro or con depending on how simple you want the blending process to be.  

How I tested the Nutribullet Ultra

I have tested an array of blenders before, including the Nutribullet 900, and know what makes for a good design – be it a personal blender or a traditional jug blender. To get a good feel for the Nutribullet Ultra, I used it to make a smoothie and dip. I was keen to see how well the hard ingredients such as chickpeas and cold ingredients such as ice and berries could combine in their respective recipes. The Nutribullet Ultra claims to have optimised blades for quieter blending so I also measured its noise levels using the Decibel Meter App on my phone to see just how quiet it can perform. Finally, I wanted to know whether the device was easy to maintain and so I washed each part after use and wiped down the base.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

Ninja Double Stack air fryer review: half the footprint, double the fun
11:49 am | May 8, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Air Fryers Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: | Comments: Off

Ninja Double Stack air fryer: two-minute review

The Ninja Double Stack air fryer demonstrates once again that the brand is king of convection cooking, offering blazing cooking speeds in a clever form factor that serves to address the needs of smaller households and keen cooks the world over. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best air fryers I’ve ever used – and I’ve used a fair few at this point. 

Shopping for the perfect air fryer can leave you feeling a bit like Goldilocks, and especially if counter space is at a premium in your kitchen. A two-drawer model like the Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone technology might be perfect for the number of mouths you typically have to feed, but these are typically behemoths. Alternatively, you could opt for one of the best small air fryers, but then these often have a meager, sometimes single-portion only capacity.

It’s been my perennial issue as a single-person household that regularly has guests. My kitchen is fairly compact, so I've been incredibly limited for space when I’ve tested larger models like the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Dual Air Fryer. That’s why since I learned about the Ninja Double Stack air fryer – styled as the DoubleStack in the US – I’ve been itching to get my hands on it. 

Ninja Double Stack air fryer in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

As the name suggests, the Ninja Double Stack air fryer stacks its two cooking drawers stop one another instead of side by side, as we tend to see in dual-basket air fryers. Instead of a top- or front-mounted dashboard, a small panel juts out to the right side of the device, hosting all the functions and controls you’ll need to operate the Double Stack. Plus, Ninja has even thrown in two extra racks, which can be slotted in above the main crisper plate, giving you bonus surface area to cook with – though the grill spacing makes these far better for larger food items. 

Just like other products in the Ninja line, I saw great results from the Double Stack air fryer, from delicious fluffy fries to perfectly crispy chicken and succulent salmon. It should be no surprise, but I was concerned before trying the device that the cooking quality may have been compromised by the new design. Thankfully, there were no cooking compromises that I could detect. The only real down-side is the price, which is on the high side for a dual-basket air fryer – but for those who need to protect their previous counter space, it's well worth the extra cost. Here's my full review.

Ninja Double Stack air fryer review: price & availability

  • List price: XL (8.3qt / 9.5L): $229.99 / £269.99 / AU TBC
  • Availability: UK and US – Australia TBC

At time of writing, the Ninja Double Stack is available in the UK and US. In its XL 8.3qt / 9.5L capacity, it has a list price of $229.99 / £269.99. Availability and pricing in Australia is TBC. There should also be a standard, 6.7qt / 7.6L model to go alongside the XL model reviewed here, but since the devices were first announced earlier this year, we haven't heard anything about it. 

The Double Stack XL is a fair bit more expensive than comparable double-drawer air fryers like the Instant Vortex 9-quart air fryer, which costs $199.95 / £199.99 / AU$399, but for the price difference, you get an as of writing one-of-a-kind device offering superior performance and maximum air frying potential.

It comes with two non-stick, dishwasher-safe drawers and crisper plates, two stainless steel racks and a recipe guide.

  • Value for money score: 4.5 out of 5

Ninja Double Stack air fryer specs

Ninja Double Stack air fryer review: design

  • Space-efficient design, with two drawers stacked vertically
  • Side-mounted dashboard
  • Two extra stainless steel racks doubles the cooking space

For anyone with a smaller kitchen or who prefers a more compact setup, the Ninja Double Stack is a revelation. It’s the first air fryer to stack two drawers vertically to optimize counter space, and the inclusion of its two stainless steel racks doubles the surface area available for cooking. The air fryer is available in one colorway; a sophisticated slate gray shell, with ridged silver handles. It’s simple and subtle, and I personally prefer that to the glossy black cladding many air fryers opt for. 

Ninja Double Stack air fryer in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

To account for those who might have lower-hanging cabinets, the controls for the Double Stack are mounted to the right of the air fryer, which does add 2in / 5cm to the overall width. However, it’s fairly unobtrusive, and unless you plan on having the right side of the air fryer flush to the wall shouldn’t pose a problem (reminder that you should be leaving at least 5 inches of space around an air fryer if you don’t want to make one of the biggest mistakes of air fryer cooking).

The side panel offers all the usual Ninja air fryer features. There’s a screen at the top which shows the timer for each drawer as well as the temperature setting. Beneath are numbered buttons to individually control each drawer, as well as a list of the six presets for air frying, roasting, max crisp, reheating, baking and dehydrating. Each setting has a light indicator next to it to show which mode is currently selected, and you can tweak the settings using the temperature and time buttons in tandem with the roller dial. Lastly, you’ll find the Double Stack Pro, Sync and Match buttons above the power and stop / start buttons. 

Ninja Double Stack air fryer in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

Its two dishwasher-friendly 5qt / 4.75L baskets have individual handles, so you can fully manage each drawer independently. However, if you’re using the two stainless steel trays on top of the base crisper plates, it might be a little more annoying to flip and adjust your food mid-cooking cycle. Ninja has made efforts to ease this slight drawback by adding handles to the trays, making them nice and easy to quickly remove. 

It’s worth noting that the back of the baskets each have a grate with fairly large holes, so it’s not suitable for cooking high volumes of liquid – we recommend against cooking these kinds of dishes in an air fryer instead of one of the best instant pots, regardless, but some users do like to break convention. These holes also mean that if you shake particularly oily, batter-laden or otherwise messy foods, some liquid may splash behind the baskets onto the back of the air fryer. It’s a very small issue judging by my testing so far, so long as you keep on top of cleaning the Double Stack. 

  • Design score: 5 out of 5

Ninja Double Stack air fryer review: performance

  • Same fantastic performance as other Ninja air fryers
  • Perfectly crisp chicken wings and fluffy fries
  • Time and effort-saving Sync and Match settings

Before I tested the Ninja Double Stack air fryer, I was a little dubious about how its performance would hold up against other Ninja models I’ve tested. Surely, there would be a compromise to vertically stacking the drawers, otherwise, it would have been done far sooner, right?

Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Double Stack. Everything I cooked came out just as good as I’d expected, with perfectly crispy chicken wings without the need for a drop of oil, and gorgeous fluffy fries with the perfect amount of bite. There was a small degree of unevenness; fries towards the back of the basket cooked ever so slightly faster than the front, but it was to such a small degree I don’t think most users would notice.   

Chips / fries in Ninja Double Stack air fryer

(Image credit: Future)

The Double Stack offers six cooking modes – Air Fry, Max Crisp, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate, and Reheat – all of which work just as well as in other Ninja air fryers. The different modes all have different temperature and time limits, but the Double Stack can reach temperatures of 450F / 240C and cook for up to an hour. It doesn’t require pre-heating, meaning you can get straight to cooking. 

Food cooked on the stainless steel trays seems to fare just as well, though you do lose the benefit of the crisp trays’ surface area. For some foods, that’s a benefit; you don’t always want foods to cook via contact as well as convection, which was definitely the case for the chicken wings I cooked across both types of trays. 

Chicken in Ninja Double Stack air fryer

(Image credit: Future)

You’ll also have to think about the overall temperature setting of each basket and put foods with like-for-like cooking times and temperatures in each basket, or open up the trays to add in food later. This can be slightly annoying at times; I had to strategically plan how I cooked four tapas dishes to make sure I’d optimized both the strengths and weaknesses of both types of tray, as well as the cooking times and temperatures of each dish. It’d still opt for this rather than heating up a whole oven, though.

Chicken cooked in the Ninja Double Stack air fryer

(Image credit: Future)

In case you’re new to the world of Ninja air fryers, it’s worth highlighting the Sync and Match cooking modes, which work to ensure your food all comes out at the same time. Simply select your cooking mode, set your time and, if you’re synchronizing the two baskets, select the cooking times for each, and you’re all set.

Unlike other dual-drawer models I’ve tested, including Ninja’s Instant Vortex 9-quart air fryer, there’s virtually no heat leakage between the two trays, which is excellent news if you’re working with very precise foods or just don’t want to waste energy by passively heating two areas when you only need one. 

Ninja Double Stack air fryer in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

On the down-side,  you can’t cook larger foods like pizzas or whole chickens in the Double Stack like you can in wider air fryers with larger cooking cavities. It’s the natural trade-off with its smaller footprint, and there are plenty of options that do cater to that need, if that's your priority. While Ninja claims the XL model I tested can feed eight people, I’d say that’s a little ambitious unless you’re padding out the meal with non-air fryer foods too. 

  • Performance score: 5 out of 5

Should I buy the Ninja Double Stack air fryer?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Ninja Double Stack air fryer: alternatives to consider

How I tested the Ninja Double Stack air fryer

  • I used the Ninja Double Stack air fryer for two weeks 
  • I used it to cook all of my meals, including chicken wings, fries and salmon
  • I also tested the different cooking functions

I used the Ninja Double Stack air fryer as my main countertop cooker for two weeks, using it to cook everything from fries to chicken wings, salmon and even cauliflower cheese. I evaluated how each food item cooked across all four trays, using different settings to see how well each function performed. I assessed how succulent meat and fish were after cooking against how well the outside crisped, as well as the evenness of the browning, and how well fries managed to retain their internal fluffiness while still achieving crispy skin. 

In addition to the cooking, I evaluated how easy maintenance was; is it easy to clean the baskets and trays both with and without a dishwasher, are there any extra considerations for cleaning, and how easy is the device to actually operate. 

I’ve been testing air fryers for two years, and in that time I’ve tried everything from premium to affordable, single-serve to full family models. This experience combined with my love of food and cooking help to inform my findings in every review.

Shark HydroVac Cordless review: a very effective vacuum-mop
2:10 pm | May 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances Vacuums | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Shark HydroVac Cordless review: two-minute review

The Shark HydroVac Cordless is a multipurpose cleaner that vacuums and mops at the same time. For this review, I tested the UK version, but there are equivalent models in the US and Australia (there are minor differences in specs, but essentially this is the same product):

There are plenty of reasons to admire this product. It’s powerful, and can tackle lots of different types of wet and dry debris on hardwood flooring, as well as freshening up door mats and rugs. This means you can do away with your traditional mop – should you be able to prize yourself away from it – and condense the number of cleaning tools you need. 

It cleans by sucking up the spillage as you push back and forth until the area is left looking clean and smelling fresh. It’s capable of tackling mess such as milky cereal, baked beans and biscuits. It works fast too. We'd expect nothing less from the brand behind many of the best vacuum cleaners on the market. 

It's not quite perfect. It doesn’t come with a crevice attachment, so you’ll need to use the vacuum’s head to get right up to the skirting and into corners, which can sometimes be tricky. And while it has a self-cleaning feature to keep the insides smelling fresh, you will also need to keep on top of the vacuum’s maintenance and clean and dry the dirty water tank and brush roll after every use, which can be a bit of a pain.

Overall, I was very impressed with pick up – both on finer dust and larger wet debris. I also like how easy the vacuum is to store on the charging dock so that it’s conveniently ready when you need it. It gives you a decent 25 minutes of runtime too – all in its handy cordless design. If you're on a tighter budget and don't mind a cable, there's a corded version that's cheaper. 

That's the short version – read on for my full Shark HydroVac Cordless Cleaner review.

Shark HydroVac Cordless Hard Floor Cleaner review: price & availability

  • List price: US$359.99 / £329.99 / AU$399.99
  • Launched: 2023
  • Available: worldwide

While Shark sells small appliances worldwide. The cordless model I tested is the UK version, which has a list price of £329.99. The US version (WD201) has a list price of $359.99, but at time of writing was discounted to a far-more-affordable $199.99. The Australian version (WD210ANZ) has a list price of AU$399.99.

 If you’re looking to spend a little less and don’t mind a corded model, you can get a corded version in the UK and US. In the UK, this is the WD110UK and costs £279.99, in the US it's the WD161 and costs $249.99. Note that Shark recommends that you replace the filter and brush roll every six months, which is an ongoing cost. 

Two-in-one vacuum cleaner/mops can vary quite a bit in price, with the cheapest starting around £150 / $190 / AU$285 and going up to around £350 / $440 / AU$665. While the Shark HydroVac isn't the cheapest option on the market, the design has a lot of premium features, and I'd say it's good value for money. 

While Shark offers discounts at peak sale times throughout the year including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, at the time of writing the product is being sold at full price.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Shark HydroVac Cordless cleaner specs

Shark HydroVac Cordless Hard Floor Cleaner review: design

  • LED headlights illuminate hidden debris
  • Ample 500ml water tank
  • Stylish charcoal grey design plus compact charging dock

The Shark HydroVac Cordless Hard Floor Cleaner WD210UK has a stylish charcoal grey finish and sleek body. The body is relatively light at 3.95kg, and the design includes an antimicrobial brush roll and a 500ml water tank.

Although you can't wall-hang this device, it does come with a docking station where the cleaner sits neatly when not in use. It’s the size of a standard cordless vacuum, so while it won't take up too much room, it helps if you have a large room or separate utility area to store it.

Shark HydroVac Cordless floor cleaner plugged in and charging

(Image credit: Future)

What I instantly liked about the two-in-one cleaner is how easy it is to get set up. Attach the body to the head by following the simple instructions provided. When it's ready to go, fill the tank with water and add some of the cleaning solution provided. The LED control panel on the cleaner is simple to read and provides info on battery life and cleaning solution levels.

This cleaner is designed for use on both wet and dry messes, and a variety of floor types. You start it up simply by leaning the handle of the device back.

Close up of dirty water tank on Shark HydroVac Cordless floor cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

There are two modes. In hard floor cleaning mode, it'll vacuum when you're pushing forwards and wash when you pull back. The device automatically starts in this mode when you turn it on. You can also switch to a freshen mode using the button at the top of the handle. In this mode, it seems to mop lightly in both directions. There's a self-cleaning mode that you can activate by pressing the start button once the device is on its stand. You’ll need to supplement this with your own cleaning, however – I'll get into that more in the Performance section.

Shark HydroVac Cordless floor cleaner with LED lights illuminating the floor

(Image credit: Future)

When the device starts, LED headlights illuminate to help you see hidden debris as you vacuum.

It’s worth noting that while the Shark HydroVac Cleaner can be used on low-pile carpets rugs, the brush roll won't work on plush/thick long pile. If you’re after a cleaner for a thicker carpet, you’re better off taking a look at the Shark CarpetXpert Deep Carpet Cleaner EX150UK.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Shark HydroVac Cordless floor cleaner review: performance

  • Effective cleaning on sealed hard floors
  • Quite noisy in use
  • Lightweight and easy to move about

If you’ve ever tested a cordless vacuum cleaner, you know how bulky they can sometimes feel. But I found this design reasonably lightweight and well balanced. It's easy to drive around the floor – both on hard flooring, mats and rugs. The head of the vacuum is wide enough to make good progress in just a few strokes, but not overly chunky.

On a full charge, it ran for 25 minutes, which was long enough for me to do a refresh of my hallway, dining room, living room and kitchen before needing to refill the water and pop it back on the charger.

Shark HydroVac Cordless floor cleaner on a wooden floor

(Image credit: Future)

In hard floor cleaning mode, the simple push-pull action is a joy to use, and perfect on the days that I simply needed to quickly pep up my dusty dark walnut hardwood flooring. I found it also worked well on tougher messes – for example when the kids had brought mud into the hallway, or spilt cereal under the kitchen breakfast table (Cheerios are the bane of my life!).

The HydroVac also managed to clean up baked beans on vinyl flooring within seconds, as well as sucking up digestive biscuit crumbs with ease, and always leaving a fresh smelling surface behind. The suction is powerful and I was impressed with just how quickly it got to work.

I also tried refresh mode on a doormat and my Persian carpet. I was a little apprehensive as I've tried wet-dry cleaners in the past that have left my carpet sodden wet. Luckily, the HydroVac didn’t leave too much residue behind. While it’s hard to tell whether it makes any real difference when freshening mats and carpets, I think the fact that it leaves behind a trace of multi-surface cleaning solution with odour neutraliser reassuring.

On the down-side, I found the Shark HydroVac could get quite noisy – ramping up to 83.1 decibels in use and really packing a punch for a minute or so when it’s in self-cleaning mode. Comparatively, I measured my Dyson V15 Detect Absolute at 76.4 decibels.

Maintenance

The HydroVac has a self-cleaning mode, which can be activated when it's back on its charging base. This helps freshen up the inside mechanisms and cleans the brush roll. That's useful because the antimicrobial brush roll can take a bit of a battering, depending on what you’re cleaning. Straight after cleaning up beans and biscuits it was looking rather dirty, for example.

Close up of brush roll on Shark HydroVac Cordless floor cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

That said, you will need to then empty the dirty water tank and also leave the brush roll out to dry for up to 24 hours before using it again. If you forget to empty the tank after use, the dirty water tank will start to smell as I found out on one occasion..

However, you'll also have to do your own maintenance work. After every use, I had to empty the dirty water tank and take off the brush roll (often clogged up with food or hair) to clean myself and leave it out to dry. While this is relatively easy, it is something to bear in mind if you think that the self-cleaning mode here does it all.

  • Performance score: 4.5 out of 5

Should I buy a Shark HydroVac Cordless?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Shark HydroVac Cordless Hard Floor Cleaner

I used the Shark Hydrovac in my home for six weeks. In my home, walnut hardwood flooring runs through the hall to the dining room and living area and it’s prone to looking dusty if not cleaned regularly. I used the Shark Hydrovac to clean the floor daily. I also used it on the vinyl tiles in the kitchen and upstairs in the bedroom where we have laminate hardwood flooring.

I tested how well it did on targeted areas and scattered a section of the room with large oats – to mimic large debris – and a mixture of flour and crushed biscuits – to mimic finer dust. I was keen to see how quickly and effectively it could clean up the area. I also used it to clear up a baked beans spillage on the vinyl flooring in my kitchen and measured the noise levels of the vacuum using the Decibel Meter App on my iPhone. Finally, I also used it in freshen mode to clean the small carpets and doormats throughout the ground floor of my home.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed: May 2024

T3 Featherweight StyleMax hair dryer review
6:10 pm | April 26, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Hair Care Home Small Appliances | Tags: , | Comments: Off

T3 Featherweight StyleMax hair dryer: two-minute review

The T3 Featherweight StyleMax is a, tech-packed hair dryer from the innovative LA-based haircare brand. It comes with four nozzles included, and offers custom heat and speed automation. It's powered by T3's Digital IonAir technology, which combines an ion generator, smart chip and custom fan to deliver fast drying times and reduce frizz. This is meant to result in efficient and hair-friendly drying, with less heat damage. I tested one out to see how it compares to the rest of today's best hair dryers. Does it live up to the brand's promises? 

Unfortunately, not quite.  It dries hair relatively quickly, depending on the Style Mode and attachment, but these drying times aren't exceptional. The Styling Concentrator attachment delivered the best results on my fine hair, giving me a sleek and bouncy style without compromising too much on drying speed. 

The Diffuser also performed well, enhancing my natural curls with volume and body. However, the Smoothing Comb didn't work as well as I'd expected and hoped, and I often burned my scalp while using it. A problem I experienced much more with the T3 Featherweight StyleMax that I have with any other dryer I've used in the past. Similarly, the attachments have a tendency to become excessively hot during use, making it difficult to change mid-style, or even rotate the best angle. Elsewhere, the Volume Boost made very little difference. More's the pity. And while the Style Modes are useful and versatile, they can be difficult to master and a little confusing.

Despite these issues, the T3 Featherweight StyleMax has several things going for it. The Cool Shot button is great for locking styles in place and you don't have to press and hold it like you do on so many of its rivals. The hair dryer's overall performance also led to softer, healthier-looking hair over time. 

Overall, the T3 Featherweight StyleMax is a mixed bag. It offers a range of advanced features and attachments that make it versatile and appealing for various hair styling needs. Yet, its performance and design quirks put me off from using this as my everyday hair dryer. Instead, I'll likely reserve it for special occasions when I have extra time to complete my style. 

T3 Featherweight StyleMax hair dryer review: price & availability

  • List price: $199 / £170 for Featherweight StyleMax + 4 attachments
  • Available in the US and UK

Price-wise, the Featherweight StyleMax is at the top end of T3's hair dyer range, sitting alongside the T3 Aireluxe with a list price of $199.99 / £170. That puts it in TechRadar's upper-mid price bracket.

There’s an impressive amount of tech built into the Featherweight and this, coupled with its wide range of features and attachments (it comes with four) goes some way towards justifying its cost. The performance falls a little short of what I’d expect for that amount of money, but you can’t really put a price on healthy hair so if you can afford it, it’s not a bad investment. In TechRadar's T3 AireLuxe review, that model gained 4.5*, and at the same price it's hard not to recommend that as a better place to put your money... although it's true that model doesn't come with so many functions and settings.

The Featherweight is significantly cheaper than high-end models like the Zuvi Halo and Dyson Supersonic, and on par with older premium dryers like GHD Air and the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium range.

You can buy the Featherweight StyleMax in the US and UK directly from the T3 website. It's also available via Amazon and Ulta in the US, and Amazon and Beauty Bay in the UK. 

  • Value for money score: 3.5 out of 5

T3 Featherweight StyleMax hair dryer review: design

  • Five heat modes + Cool shot
  • Volume Boost button
  • Customizable presets for different hair types

The design of the T3 Featherweight StyleMax is a cross between the traditional, long-barrel hair dryers of old with the shorter, more compact shape of modern stylers, like the Dyson Supersonic and Zuvi Halo. It measures 7.6 x 2.9 x 11.2 in / 193 mm x 740 mm x 284 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 1.04lbs / 471g without any nozzles attached, and not including the chunky, 2.7m / 9ft cord. 

If you're looking for something to travel with, this probably isn't it – it's a bit bulky for slinging into a suitcase. The brand does have a travel-sized option that might be better for frequent flyers – head to TechRadar's T3 Afar review for more on that one.

Included with the Featherweight are four attachments: a Drying Concentrator, for rough drying your hair; a Styling Concentrator that smoothes as it styles; the SoftTouch 3 Diffuser for adding volume and definition to curls and waves; and a Smoothing Comb designed to lift roots, or stretch and detangle curls and coils. 

T3 Featherweight hair dryer with attachments

(Image credit: Future)

The design of the Featherweight StyleMax is a blend of traditional and modern, and looks like an elongated version of the T3 Fit hair dryer – the brand's compact option. There's a choice of three colors – white, graphite, and satin blush. I reviewed the white model, which has rose gold accents around both the grill at the front of the barrel, and the filter on the rear. The dryer is largely made from plastic with metal on the grill, and rubber at the bottom of the handle where it joins the cord. I'm not a fan of the bubble-like curved barrel. It doesn't look bad, but it does feel a bit cartoon-like, which is a bit at odds with the higher asking price. 

Technology-wise, the Featherweight StyleMax uses the brand's Digital T3 IonAir Technology. This comprises an ion generator that 'saturates' a super-wide airstream, powered by a custom-designed fan. A smart chip then keeps the heat consistent. This ionic technology uses negative ions to break the water molecules on your hair into smaller particles that evaporate faster, and this is what helps to dry the hair quickly.

The majority of control buttons are then found on the rear of the handle, below the filter. These controls, in order from top to bottom, are as follows: 

  • Hair input indicator icon
  • Hair Input and Style Mode selection button
  • Heat settings
  • Speed settings 
  • Power button 
  • Volume Booster  

Close up of buttons on T3 Featherweight hair dryer

(Image credit: Future)

Starting at the top, the hair input indicator icon consists of three wavy lines of increasing thickness. These each represent a different hair type ranging from fine on the left, to medium in the middle, and coarse on the right. You input your hair type using the Hair Input button and the corresponding wavy line will be illuminated. 

This Hair Input button then doubles up as the Style Mode selection button. Around the button are four icons which correspond to the four Style Modes. Moving clockwise from top left, these icons are: 

  • Rough Dry: for use with the Drying Concentrator.
  • Smooth: for use with either the Styling Concentrator and a paddle brush, or the Smoothing comb. 
  • Volume: for use with the Styling Concentrator and round brush.
  • Diffuse: for use with the diffuser.

The Drying Concentrator delivers a wide airflow to quickly, and roughly, dry your hair. The Styling Concentrator nozzle has a thinner outlet, compared to the Drying Concentrator, and this helps direct airflow onto individual sections. You can use this with a paddle brush to create smooth and sleek styles, or pair it with a round brush to create volume, body and bounce. 

The SoftTouch 3 Diffuser diffuses air to add volume and definition to curls, waves, and layered styles, while the Smoothing Comb directs the airflow through vented teeth to lift roots, smooth strands, and stretch and detangle curls and coils. These attachments all twist and lock easily into place on the grill.

When you select a Style Mode, the Featherweight will automatically select the most appropriate heat and speed settings to suit both the attachment, as well as your hair type and styling needs. At any point you can up the heat or drop the speed etc. manually using the standalone heat and speed buttons. 

T3 Featherweight hair dryer

(Image credit: Future)

These heat and speed buttons are each surrounded by indicator lights that correspond with the relevant settings. There are five thin light strips around the heat button, which correspond with the dryer's five heat settings. The speed button is encircled by three light strips which represent the Featherweight's low, medium and high speeds. 

The last button on the rear of the handle is the Volume Boost button. Pressing this boosts the speed and strength of the air flow to help you add volume into the hair and at the roots.  

And finally, the Cool Shot button is found under the grill on the front of the handle. The majority of the best hair dryers I've tested over the years require you to press and hold the Cool Shot button but once you've pressed the one on the T3 Featherweight it stays on until you turn it off. This is a small but hugely welcome addition. 

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

T3 Featherweight StyleMax hair dryer review: performance

  • Switching modes can be confusing
  • Mixed styling results 
  • Often burned my scalp or hand 

To test the T3 Featherweight StyleMax, I trialled each mode and attachment in turn multiple times over the course of a month. I timed how long it took the hair dryer to dry my fine, long, naturally curly hair, and how well it created each of the promised styles. I also experimented with manually adjusting the settings to see how differences in temperature and speed impacted the results.

To get started with the dryer you need to input your hair type. Start by pressing the Power button. Then press and hold the Hair Input button and cycle through the three options until the correct hair type line is illuminated. Next, select your preferred Style Mode by pressing the selection button again until the corresponding icon is illuminated. It helps to have the relevant attachment connected before making this selection, but it's not necessary. 

T3 Featherweight hair dryer

(Image credit: Future)

Two seconds later the dryer will start. There is always a two-second delay when switching settings, so don't be alarmed if the dryer seemingly turns itself off and doesn't come back on straight away. The lights surrounding the heat and temperature buttons show which settings have been automatically selected. If you don't feel like the heat or speed is adequate you can manually change the settings, but this will disable whichever Style Mode you've chosen. 

It took an average of 4 minutes 58 seconds to dry my hair using the T3 Featherweight StyleMax without any nozzles connected. Despite being a rough dry, my hair was surprisingly soft and relatively frizz-free, compared to how it looks and feels when I rough-dry it with other hair dryers.  

Next up, it took 6 minutes 12 seconds to dry my hair using the Drying Concentrator with the Rough drying mode selected. My hair was soft with a small amount of frizz but I got frustrated with how long it took to reach this result. Especially as there was little difference compared to drying my hair without an attachment. For me, the Drying Concentrator adds very little to the dryer and I regularly found the speed too low for my needs. 

The Styling Concentrator produced the best results, without having to sacrifice too much on drying speed. It took 5 minutes 9 seconds to create a sleek style with my paddle brush, and 5 minutes 45 seconds to finish a bouncy blow dry with a large, round brush.

Concentrator nozzle on T3 Featherweight hair dryer

(Image credit: Future)

The diffuser works very well and my curls were soft and full of body and bounce, while the Smoothing Comb helped to add a small amount of volume when blow drying my hair straight, or when separating my curls. My biggest complaint about the Smoothing Comb is that I often burned my scalp while using it. 

In fact, I burned my scalp more while using the T3 Featherweight than I ever have during all of my years writing hair dryer reviews. Just as I regularly had to turn up the speed to achieve the power I wanted, I often had to turn down the heat, or be much more careful about how close the hairdryer got to my head during styling. 

Similarly, the attachments become too hot to touch during styling so you have to wait until they've cooled down to remove them. This makes it difficult to switch attachments mid-style. For example, if I want to create a blow dry with the Styling Concentrator and then add volume at the roots with the Smoothing Comb, I have to wrap a towel around my hand to remove the first nozzle before attaching the second. This isn't a major problem, but it is an inconvenience. 

Speaking of volume, this button doesn't seem to make a huge difference. It increases the speed of the airflow to give your hair and roots extra lift but I noticed very little difference between when it was enabled and when it wasn't. And considering my fine hair needs all the volume it can get, this was disappointing. 

Overall, none of the Style Modes or settings produced a ready-to-go finish. I still had to run straighteners over my hair to remove any of the remaining frizz. However my hair felt much softer than it does normally and by the end of the review period, it looked and felt healthier.

  • Performance score: 3.5 out of 5

Should I buy the T3 Featherweight StyleMax hair dryer?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

First reviewed: April 2024

Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone technology review: competent, but not flawless
4:24 am | April 23, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Air Fryers Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: | Comments: Off

Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology: One-minute review

Instant has long been a leader in the air fryer space and its latest model, the Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology (also called Vortex Plus VersaZone Air Fyer 8.5L in the UK and Vortex Plus Versazone XXL Air Fryer 8.5L in Australia) aims to make air frying even more versatile, thanks to a large capacity basket that can be divided into two separate sections. 

A large 9-quart / 8.5L basket makes it an obvious choice for families, with plenty of capacity to comfortably feed four, but singles and couples will also appreciate the compartments – which are 4.5q / 4.25L each – to cook mains and sides in one go. Moreover, the intuitive cooking programs ensure everything finishes cooking at the same time. 

I found Instant’s latest air fryer a joy to use and it made me fall in love with cooking again. It does most of the grunt work for you with consistently good results… just as long as you know how to use some of the dedicated programs. I had to go through a bit of trial and error with my first few cooking sessions, but once I learnt them, there was no stopping me.  

The expansive cooking basket does mean it’s a physically imposing air fryer of course, so if you lack kitchen counter space or don’t have much in the way of storage, you may struggle to find a proper home for it. I do think it’s attractive though, as much as an air fryer can be, so I had no issue leaving it on my kitchen counter. If you do need to store it away, I found it to be relatively lightweight, so moving it in and out of cupboards shouldn’t prove too much of an issue. 

Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology: Price & availability

  • List price: $199.95 / £199.99 / AU$399
  • Available directly from Instant Brands and third-party retailers
  • Regular sales and bundles

Considering its size and raft of features, the Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology is competitively priced in my opinion, especially when compared to its closest rival in the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket 11qt / 10.4L dual air fryer. It’s available directly from Instant in the UK and Australia along with a host of third-party retailers. While it is listed on the US website, you’re not able to buy it directly. Instead you can find it from retailers such as Walmart. 

It was launched in July 2023 and, since then, has gotten some discounts – directly from Instant and at third-party retailers. The offers tend to change, but if this air fryer is of interest, I'd recommend waiting to pick it up during a big sale like Black Friday, which makes it even better value than it already is.

Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology: Design

  • One 9qt / 8.5L basket that can be divided into two zones
  • Large enough for a family of four
  • Simple touchscreen and manual controls

Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)

The Instant Vortex VersaZone is a large machine, make no mistake, although with its dimensions coming in at 15.9 x 12.5 x 15.1in / 40.3 x 31.7 x 38.4cm, it is smaller than its Ninja competitor. However, the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket does have a larger capacity for the individual compartments to justify its size. The VersaZone is lighter too, tipping the scales at 7kg, meaning most people shouldn’t have too much of a problem manoeuvring it around their kitchen. 

You do of course need to factor in extra space for airflow at the rear, as well as in the front so you can actually open the basket to get your food in for cooking. I was able to find a perfect permanent spot for it in my kitchen, but those with smaller counters and who are limited on space may have to carefully consider if this is the best air fryer for you. 

I feel the Instant Vortex VersaZone to be quite an attractive air fryer – as attractive as air fryers can be anyway – employing just a single physical button in the form of a control dial on its front surface. All other controls are handled via a touch-sensitive panel on the front. When not in use, all you see is the shiny black top section, the basket handles and the silver control dial. This, coupled with the angled design of the top section, make it a slick-looking machine, and certainly helps to disguise its size compared to if it was a large black box. 

Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)

Do note that the shiny nature of the top section does mean the Instant Vortex VersaZone is a serious fingerprint magnet. When you’ve been handling food before putting it into the cooking basket and using the touch control panel, you’ll soon find it builds up a large fingerprint collection, so you’ll be spending a lot of time keeping it clean. 

The main basket has a removable tray and a divider, the latter fitting into the former to split the compartment into two equally sized cooking sections. There are some rubber grips on the cooking tray and divider that help them to stay in place during cooking, but they do provide a fair amount of friction, so be prepared to use a little more force than you may have initially assumed to get them into place.

The air frying basket, cooking tray and divider are all dishwasher safe, making clean-up relatively easy. However, if you don’t have a dishwasher, then you’ll need to factor in the sink space required to wash the whole basket. 

Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology: Performance

  • Large basket makes cooking a meal a breeze
  • Good results achievable once you learn the functions
  • Pre-heating times can be annoying

The Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology can air fry (obviously), roast, bake, grill, dehydrate and reheat various foods. Each program has its own default settings, including the minimum and maximum temperatures they reach. The grill program reaches the highest maximum temperature of 450°F / 232°C for a maximum of one hour. Air fry, roast and bake can all reach a high of 401°F / 205°C for an hour also. 

Anytime you wish to use the Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology, it needs to spend a few minutes preheating before it notifies you when to add food. While I can appreciate this is needed, it became increasingly annoying that the air fryer needed to preheat when I went to make a second dish immediately after a cooking program had finished. I found this a bit strange, since the cooking basket would surely have still been hot. I also noticed the preheating time for the second cooking session wasn’t that much quicker than the initial preheat from cold. 

The Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology also has SyncCook and SyncFinish modes to help streamline your cooking and to ensure certain dishes don’t go cold while you wait for something else to cook. SyncCook allows you to use both cooking compartments and have them cook with the same time and temperature settings. SyncFinish is used when you have two separate dishes on either side of the divider that require different cooking times, but you want them to finish at the same time. 

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Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)
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Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)
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Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)
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Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)

I used the SyncFinish mode the most, as I would cook a chicken breast or a piece of salmon, for example, on one side and some green beans or asparagus on the other. Setting up SyncFinish is simple: a quick double press of the control dial puts it into dual cooking mode and from here you can adjust the time and temperature individually for both sides. Once you’ve made your adjustments, just press the SyncFinish button, followed by Start, and you’re away. The side with the shortest time will remain on hold while the other preheats and begins cooking. The Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology will then begin preheating the second cooking section so that it’s ready to begin cooking when the time remaining aligns on both sides. 

Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)

The aforementioned chicken breast came out juicy and tender, while the salmon was buttery soft and fell apart when I cut into it with a fork. I did have a few teething problems when cooking some hand-cut sweet potato wedges however. I hoped they would come out crispy but, upon my first try, they did seem a little raw still. I put this down to both shortening the cooking time I would normally use for an oven, and the wedges themselves being relatively thick in size. 

Throwing some chicken tenders into the basket also proved successful. What was especially handy (and as I've been noticing more and more with food packets lately) is that they had specific air frying instructions on the pack. I followed these to a tee and the results were sublime. They were hot, the breadcrumbs had a great crisp to them and they were juicy inside. 

It did take me a bit of time to adjust to cooking with an air fryer compared to a conventional oven or frying pan, predominantly with cooking times as opposed to temperatures. I had expected the Instant Vortex VersaZone to cook food slightly quicker than the old-school method but, in reality, it took the same amount of time or occasionally longer. I found this to be a fair compromise as the cooking results were superb. 

I also tried out the bake function to make some chocolate chip cookies. I loved the fact the basket was big enough to cook what most people would call a batch, but what I would call a single serving. I've made these cookies before, using a fan-forced oven to bake. I followed the same recipe, cooking time and temperature using the bake function on the Instant Vortex VersaZone air fryer but found they came out slightly under baked. If I were to bake them again, I would keep the temperature the same but leave them in for a few minutes longer. 

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Cookie dough before and after being baked in the Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)
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Cookie dough before and after being baked in the Instant Vortex VersaZone Air Fryer

My batch of cookies needed a bit longer to bake compared to a fan-forced oven (Image credit: Future)

The only niggle I found with the SyncFinish and SyncCook functions were that they won't allow you to change temperatures and cooking times midway through the program. During an instance when I was cooking a chicken breast on one side and broccoli in the other, I wanted to adjust the temperature of the meat, but with the SyncFinish function activated, this wasn’t possible. You first have to cancel the program, make your adjustments and then start it again – this also causes the air fryer to preheat again. 

My advice here would be to make sure you know the exact temperature and time you want before pressing the all-important start button.

Should I buy the Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested the Instant Vortex 9-quart Air Fryer with VersaZone Technology

  • Used air fry, roast and bake presets
  • Cooked salmon, chicken, fries and vegetables
  • I used both the dual zone and the large single basket 

I used the Instant Vortex VersaZone air fryer to cook a variety of food. I would most often cook some meat or fish in one side of the basket and some accompanying vegetables or potatoes in the other. I also attempted to bake some cookies. This allowed me to test the various synchronised cooking functions of the air fryer, as well as determining how well it actually cooked food. 

I also used it for more basic cooking tasks, such as air frying hash browns or fries for a quick hot snack. 

Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer review
12:00 pm | April 20, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer: two-minute review

The Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer – also known as the Revlon SmoothStay Coconut-Infused hair dryer is lightweight, flexible and budget-friendly, and it dries hair fast and effectively. Revlon is well-known for selling a wide range of hair and beauty products, and the SmoothStay is one of its latest hair dryer designs that’s both reasonably priced and versatile. If you're looking for the best hair dryer but don't have a lot to spend, this is definitely worth your consideration.

The Revlon SmoothStay Coconut-Oil Infused Hair Dryer box

(Image credit: Future)

The model features ceramic tourmaline ionic technology to help reduce static and frizz, and smooths your locks every time you use it; I certainly noticed that the heat flow left my hair feeling nicely dried and tame. The hair dryer also has a triple-coated ceramic coconut-oil infused grill to help enhance shine and achieve a frizz-free finish. It’s hard to know if this is entirely capable of adding that extra bit of shine, but having used the SmoothStay a number of times, I was pleased with how quickly it blow-dried my hair as well as the sleek results. 

At 1875W, the hair dryer is powerful, and if you’re someone who prefers that their hair dryer to be at peak temperature from the moment you press the button, you won’t be disappointed. There are two speed and three heat settings to choose from, depending on how hot you like the blast of air. The cool shot is also quick to chill, which means there’s no hanging around when you want to fix your hair to flick up the ends or set in specific styles.

Revlon SmoothStay Coconut-Oil Infused Hair Dryer with smoothing concentrator

(Image credit: Future)

I think one of the best features of this hair dryer is the unique concentrator nozzle that comes in the box, which is shaped like a comb. It’s designed to help you smooth your hair as you dry it and makes blow-drying easier. I found I had to use quite a bit of force to connect the nozzle to the body of the hair dryer at first, but I soon got the knack of snapping it firmly in place. I used the nozzle together in tandem with a wet brush to smooth out my wavy hair. There’s also a volumizing diffuser in the box that attaches easily and looks like a good size to define curls on both long and short hair. 

Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer review: price & availability

  • List price: $29.99 / £30
  • Available in UK and US

Unlike most powerful hair dryers that feature ionic technology, the Revlon SmoothStay comes in at an excellent price. We’ve found it on Amazon for a reasonable $29.99 / £30 (currently reduced to £20), and you can also pick it up directly from Revlon or at select local retailers such as Argos in the UK. In the box, you’ll find a concentrator comb nozzle and a volumizing diffuser to help enhance your finished results.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer specs

Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer review: design

  • Includes concentrator comb and diffuser
  • Hanging ring included
  • Removable end cap for easy cleaning

The SmoothStay Coconut Oil Infused Hair Dryer is finished in Revlon’s signature black colorway and features red accents. It matches the Revlon One Step Air Straight and the Revlon One Step Volumizer Plus 2.0 Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush in terms of design.

I found the Revlon SmoothStay comfortable to hold. The even distribution of weight makes the hair dryer feel solid and robust, but it isn’t so heavy that you run the risk of suffering arm ache with extended use.

The SmoothStay features a good mix of controls, which is just what you would expect from a premium hair dryer. There are three heat and two speed settings conveniently placed on the inner side of the handle, plus a separate cool shot that seals hair cuticles when styling. The controls sit in place securely, so there’s no risk of accidentally knocking them while in use.

A hand holding the Revlon SmoothStay Coconut-Oil Infused Hair Dryer with accessories on show

(Image credit: Future)

The hair dryer is made from plastic and offers a good grip; I was able to hold the handle of the hair dryer comfortably. It also comes complete with a grill that’s triple-coated in ceramic infused with coconut oil, to help create a smooth and shiny finish to hair.

A hanging hook can be found at the top of the cable, making the hair dryer easy to store on display. While the 1.8m cable is ample, I’d have liked a little more length. I was previously using a hair dryer with a 3m cable, and a bit more room to maneuver with the Revlon SmoothStay would have been welcome.  

In the box, you’ll also find a concentrator comb nozzle and a volumizing diffuser.  I found the comb nozzle a little stiff – it required quite some force to snap it into place, although I’m sure it will ease over time. The shape of the nozzle is well designed, since you can use it like a comb to help guide the airflow for a smoother finish. The volumizing diffuser is also large enough to gather long hair.

A hand holding the Revlon SmoothStay Coconut-Oil Infused Hair Dryer to show the removable end cap

(Image credit: Future)

The removable end cap of the dryer is a nice touch, since it protects your hair while in use, but can be removed easily for cleaning. The diffuser can also be cleaned in warm, soapy water and rinsed when required. I used argan oil on my hair and managed to get some onto the body of the hair dryer, which resulted in noticeable fingerprint marks. Thankfully, these were easily wiped off with a damp cloth and buffed dry to remove all trace of the oil.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer review: performance

  • Ceramic tourmaline ionic technology for smooth results
  • Volumizing diffuser included in the box
  • Coconut-oil infused grille to limit frizz and add shine 

Having recently had my wavy, mid-length hair dyed a shade lighter than natural, it was left rather more dry and frazzled than usual and in desperate need of taming. When I first used the Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer, I was surprised by its power and pleased with how smoothly it dried my hair.   

As mentioned, there are three heat and two speed settings to choose from, with a cool shot close to hand, too. Unlike some hair dryers I’ve tried that take a while to get to temperature, the Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer reaches the desired temperature, whether hot or cold, instantly. It's good to know that while the hair dryer can get very hot, it does include a safety feature that will cut the power if the temperature exceeds the optimum drying level. 

The benefit of it getting hot quickly is that it produces fast results. When using the dryer on my own hair, I used the hottest level; but found this temperature a tad too hot when drying my 10-year-old’s hair, so I selected a more comfortable and steady level 1. Using the Decibel Meter App, I measured noise levels at 81.3dB on the hottest setting, which is around average.

Revlon SmoothStay Coconut-Oil Infused Hair Dryer with diffuser attachment

(Image credit: Future)

The hair dryer features ceramic tourmaline ionic technology, which is designed to reduce static and frizz, and enhance shine. My hair felt smooth after use and had a nice weight to it – possibly the result of the coconut-oil infused grille, which also helps to achieve sleek results. While I still had to resort to using my hair straightener after drying to further tame my wavy hair, the Revlon SmoothStay definitely made my hair feel more manageable.   

My favorite feature of this hair dryer has to be the concentrator comb nozzle. It helped to evenly guide the airflow to smooth and straighten my hair. Used alongside a wet brush, it offered greater control over the final result. 

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Should you buy the Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Revlon SmoothStay hair dryer review: alternatives to consider

How I tested the Revlon SmoothStay hairdryer

I have tested a wide range of hair dryers over the past few years, as well as speaking to a number of hair stylists to find out what matters to them when choosing a hair dryer to use in their salons. With this in mind, I feel that I have gathered good insight into what makes for a decent hair dryer.

I have medium-length, wavy hair that’s prone to getting very frizzy when it dries naturally. I was keen to see whether the Revlon Smoothstay could calm my hair as it dried and leave it feeling salon fresh. I used it over the course of a month with the concentrator nozzle and a wet brush to blow-dry my hair. I also used it on my kids' hair – I was keen to see how well it could tackle the very straight flyaway hair of my young daughter and whether she found the noise levels comfortable.

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