I recently sat through a cooking demo press event at Panasonic HQ for the Panasonic High-Power ZX-1800 Blender, and was admittedly skeptical. (Hi, that’s me with my arms folded across my chest.) First of all, I do not tend to think of Panasonic as makers of top-of-the-line kitchen appliances. TVs, cameras and electric toothbrushes? Sure. A blender, not so much. And I’m super picky when it comes to my appliances in terms of both style and function.
Well after tasting the most velvety butternut squash soup, chopped, pureed, blended and served hot all right from the blender, I was definitely intrigued if not totally convinced. That lead me to take one home to see for myself if it was too good to be true.
Call me a convert, because the Panasonic High-Power Blender is my new favorite kitchen appliance, and easily the most technologically impressive blender I have ever seen. Now I know why it got so much buzz at its International CES launch last year
Not only is this thing gorgeous, sturdy, and super premium looking, I guarantee the pro functionality is like nothing you’ve ever tried. With easy touch controls and an unbelievably powerful 19,000 RPM motor (which is like Superman-spinning-the-earth-backwards fast) I am blown away by the Panasonic blender which can make everything from creme brulee to soups, nut butters, purees of all kinds, baby food, and of course, frozen drinks.
(Seriously, seeing it make quick work of a pitcher full of ice cubes is a thing of beauty.)
I think that home cooks who want a good degree of control will like that while there are six pre-programmed settings for various tasks along with a manual setting, you still have the ability to manipulate the settings with a dial (as opposed to say, a Blend-Tek) should you want a longer or shorter cycle for any given task.
Hey, we all like our gazpacho with different degrees of chunkiness. That’s okay.
As for my family, we’ve been making a massive pitcher of smoothies each morning that lasts a couple of days ,and for the first time, my picky kids are actually finishing them without a single complaint about “pieces of stuff” (sigh) like blueberries or strawberries. Beyond that, it’s getting me excited to try out more kinds of cooking, without having to haul out the Cuisinart and figure out where I’ve hidden all the blades.
I find the included tamper tool handy, plus, the resin pitcher is dishwasher safe (though I still hand-wash it) so it’s fairly lightweight with no risk of smashing it to bits — uh, like I did with a previous blender I had owned. Another feature in the plus column for families.
In the con column, this thing is humongous. And that’s potentially a challenge for those of you with smaller kitchens or limited counter space, like my fellow New York parents. The combo of a very tall base plus a huge pitcher means I can’t even fit it on my kitchen counter under the cabinet if the pitcher is on the base without sliding it forward to the edge.
Also, the 61-ounce size of the pitcher is great for big batch blending, but it also means it might be unwieldy in some fridges. I measured the pitcher alone at 10″ tall so make sure you consider the height of your tallest fridge shelf to be sure it will fit.
Shown in my fridge for size comparison: Taller than a milk carton.
Also, I do have to admit, I think the included Ice Jacket accessory is…ridiculous. I suppose if you’re in the south and you’re serving cold blended, milk-based drinks or margaritas outside all the time and need to keep them cold, it could come in handy. I’ve even seen some reviews saying as much. But for the rest of us, it’s like one of those things that will sit in a drawer because you don’t use it, but feel guilty about throwing it out. (Tip: a Konmari tidying mindset can help with that.)
I’d encourage Panasonic to ditch it, lower the price by a bit, and offer it as an add-on accessory.
Speaking of prices, all the fabulousness of a professional, high-tech blender does not come cheap. So those of you who look for $89 blenders should be prepared for sticker shock. The MSRP is a whopping $599.95. But wait! Before you pass out, know that it’s greatly discounted at retailers.
I found the Panasonic High-Power Blender at Amazon (edited, no longer avail at Bed, Bath & Beyond) for just $499.99 with free shipping. Nice savings, but still a big splurge. So as fantastic as this is — and it truly exceeds my expectations for a blender in every way — it’s really for those of you who value pro appliances, will use it constantly, and truly want a blender that finally does the job it’s supposed to do, and more. A lot more.
Panasonic. Who knew?
(Update Dec, 2016: The price is now around $236! Go and get your blender!)
Find the Panasonic High-Power Blender at Amazon at our affiliate Amazon at at a great price, or find out more at the Panasonic website. Thanks so much to the company for hosting us at a press demo and sending CMT a unit for review consideration.