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All-in-one kitchen appliances

An all-in-one kitchen appliance is an automatic, set-and-forget machine that can do everything from mixing and whisking to cooking (unfortunately they don’t wash up after themselves). We put five of these machines through 14 tests – whisking egg whites, melting chocolate, kneading dough, chopping carrots, making mashed potato, cooking a stew and more. We also assessed how easy they were to use and clean.

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Celebrity chefs are singing the praises of their all-in-one kitchen appliances. MasterChef winner Brett McGregor calls his all-in-one “the most versatile piece of equipment in my kitchen”. But do they live up to their price tags?

What we found

We were impressed by the overall performance of the all-in-ones. They were all very good or excellent at chopping vegetables, making breadcrumbs, kneading short crust pastry and dough, grinding sugar, melting chocolate, steaming vegetables and rice, and crushing ice.

But the results weren’t so great when we cooked a stew. Only the BioChef MyCook BCMC and NewWave Thermo Chef Natura did a good job – the others were OK (the sauce was watery and in some cookers the meat was a bit chewy). The NewWave also struggled in a couple of tests – it was very poor at emulsifying mayonnaise and its mashed spuds were grainy and watery.

Even if you’re not a master chef, a good all-in-one should be simple to master, that’s why ease of use makes up 60 percent of our overall score. The Thermomix TM5 was the easiest to use. It’s very easy to clean and all the accessories are dishwasher-safe. It has integrated scales so you can measure ingredients as you go. It also has a programmed recipe book that lets you follow a recipe on its screen. There’s an alert after each stage of cooking is completed (although this can get annoying because it won’t stop until you’ve attended to it).

The KitchenAid Cook Processor KCF0103 is easy to use and clean although unlike other models it doesn’t have scales for quick measuring.

The other models were only OK to clean – in some machines heavy batters and doughs were difficult to scrape out.

When cooking at high temperatures, it’s important these machines have a cut-out that stops blending or mixing at high speeds when the temperature is above 60°C. We don’t recommend either of the top-scoring models because they don’t have this feature.

Do you need one?

All the tested all-in-ones were very good performers. But because of their hefty prices, it’s worth considering what appliances you already have and what cooking tasks you do most often – a food processor, benchtop mixer, or multi-cooker may be all you need. All-in-ones are also big, so they take up lots of room in your kitchen cupboard or bench. They also have limited availability – some are available only online or by home demonstration.

Test results

  Thermomix TM5 KitchenAid Cook Processor KCF0103 BioChef MyCook BCMC Optimum ThermoCook NewWave Thermo Chef Natura
Price ($) 2370 2299 1799 1800 870
Overall score (%) 91 80 76 73 69
Performance (/10) 9.5 8.3 9.4 8.9 8.0
Ease of use (/10) 8.8 7.8 6.3 6.3 6.2
H x W x D (cm) 34 x 33 x 33 35 x 32 x 38 29 x 37 x 34 31 x 39 x 27 30 x 34 x 28
Weight (kg) 7.7 8.5 7.1 5.2 6.3
Max bowl capacity (L) 2.2 2.5 2.0 2.0 2.0
Temperature range (°C) 37-120 up to 140 40-120 37-120 37-100
Noise (dB) 71 72 82 82 82
Lid lock Yes Yes Yes YesA Yes
Measuring cup lock No No No Yes Yes
Speed cut-out No No Yes Yes Yes

GUIDE TO THE TABLE PRICE is from a May 2016 survey. SCORES Performance (40% of overall score) and Ease of use (60%) made up of using the controls, the instructions, performing general tasks, how noisy it is, and how easy it is to clean. FEATURES Lid lock AThe lid can be incorrectly locked into place and still operate, which is unsafe.

Thermomix troubles

Consumer complaints about Thermomix products prompted Australian watchdog Choice to submit a mass incident report to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The report included 18 cases that resulted in medical treatment and eight people were hospitalised, some in a burns unit. Most cases involved the Thermomix TM31, which has been superseded by the TM5. We want to hear about any incidents this side of the ditch about any Thermomix models. Email belinda@consumer.org.nz with your comments.

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