Though I do the occasional product review on the blog, I’ve not done this kind of a review before. A couple of months back the people who make the Tecnora brand of kitchen appliances (Remember this coffee maker?) called to ask me if I was interested in doing a comparison review one of their mixer grinders. I agreed, after reiterating my usual conditions including the one that I would call it as I saw it, and my post would not be favouring their product unless it proved itself.
They sent me the Tecnora Avatar FP550 mixer grinder and two others, the Panasonic MX AC220 and Preethi Blue Silver Leaf. I’m a South Indian with Tamil roots who mostly cooks the food that I grew up eating which means that my mixer grinder has to be good enough to tackle jobs like grinding idli/ dosa batters among others, dry roasted spices, into chutney powders or into fine pastes for things like sambar and chutneys. So I put them all to test doing some of these kitchen jobs that I usually delegate to my own kitchen machine.
So, what would I look for in a mixer/ grinder if I was looking to buy one? Apart from it having the requisite blending/ grinding capabilities, I would consider aesthetics somewhat but mostly look at how much space it would take up on my kitchen counters, how utilitarian it would be design wise, and if spills and the jars could be cleaned up easily.
I have compared the three machines based on the certain basic and technical specifics I would look for while buying a mixer/ grinder, and then how well they handled the kitchen jobs I put them up to. Finally, I have summed up the review with my overall impression of each machine.
All three Mixer/ grinders have plastic bodies and come with steel jars. Tecnora and Preethi both have removable blades and come with an additional whipping blade and spatula, while Panasonic has fixed blades. The Panasonic has push button controls for the different speeds and pulsing/ whipping while Tecnora and Preethi have rotary knobs.
All three Mixer/ grinders have plastic bodies and come with stainless steel jars and blades. The Tecnora and the Panasonic have safety locking systems for the jars as well as locks for the lids on the jars.
Comparison of Features :
Comparison of Blending/ Grinding Tasks :
Note that for this comparison, all blending/ grinding tasks were done with same quantities of ingredients and the machines were run for the same amount of time.
The blending/ grinding tasks undertaken were –
1. Making Strawberry Milkshake from scratch with fresh fruit, sugar, milk and vanilla extract;
2. Dry grinding roasted spices to a coarse powder for Milagapodi (a.k.a Gunpowder);
3. Wet grinding roasted spices and coconut to a smooth paste for Varatharaitcha Sambhar;
4. Wet grinding rice and lentils for Idli batter.
My Overall Impression :
Tecnora Avatar 550FP –
The overall design is quite good and I appreciated how much little space it occupies. I found it the quietest of the three and it worked the most efficiently for blending and grinding jobs. The safety locks on the jars allow for a more or less hands free operation, and the safety lock feature for the machine itself ensures the motor will not run unless the jar is locked into the base. The lids of both jars have a stirrer which can be used to push down splatters on the lid while grinding, without opening the jar and this is a distinct advantage. Removable blades make for easy cleaning of the jars. I would say this was the best of the three machines at blending/ grinding.
Panasonic MX AC220 –
Though the machine itself occupies the most space and the jars are quite bulky with a very broad base, which detract from the machine aesthetically and also in terms of storage. From a practical point of view though, I found the design of the base of the jars made it easy to clean the underside of the jars. This machine does quite a good job of blending/ grinding. I felt the design of the top part of the base where the jar attaches to it, the best as it makes it very easy to clean spills. I also quite like the single hand release feature of the safety locks on the lids of the jars. This machine came a close second.
Preethi Blue Silver Leaf –
This machine did a reasonably good job of grinding, but was the loudest of the three machines. The machine comes with three jars which I don’t see as an advantage as I usually use only the small chutney jar for grinding spices and chutneys and the largest jar for grinding larger amounts. The removable blades do make for easier cleaning of the jars. The jars or the machine have no safety locks, and they also provide a rather small plastic screw top jar for storing food in the fridge which is superfluous to my mind. I’m not sure I would consider this particular one as an option if I was looking to buy one.
Disclaimer : This review was done on request from Tecnora. Due judgement has been applied and I have done my best to remain objective and unbiased while writing this review. This review is my personal opinion so please exercise your own discretion.