Do they work? Gadgets put to test

Precision Nuwave 2 Induction Cooktop

Unless you never watch television, it's hard to imagine you haven't seen at least a snippet of the infomercial selling the NuWave cooktop.

The Beacon Journal has tested products from NuWave before and found them to be of good quality. This cooktop is no different; it works fine. Because it's portable, it uses the same electricity as any countertop appliance. All induction cooktops require compatible cookware; this one came with a 9-inch skillet.

There are other benefits — the cooktop stays cool, and it allows you to set the burner to a specific temperature, something you can't do on a gas or electric stove.

The testers questioned its necessity to people who already have cooktops in their homes. At $99.99, it's a pretty expensive hot plate.

Verdict: It depends

EZ Pockets

This pair of nonstick, sectioned baking pans claim to produce "perfect, personal pies and pockets, every time!"

The testers paid $19.99 for the set and were pleasantly surprised with how well they worked. Place pie dough, pizza dough or puff pastry dough in the pan, fill the pockets, cover with another layer of dough and use the crimper to seal and cut the dough to form the pockets. Both pans have grooves, and while it can be tricky to get the crimper lined up over the grooves when they are covered with dough, once in the grooves, it worked fine.

The pockets baked to a perfect golden-brown and came out of the pan neatly and easily.

Verdict: Snap it up

Stone Wave Microwave Cooker

This cooker claims that its secret to producing gourmet meals in minutes is its "unique steam-release chimney and domed lid design." Few gourmet meals have ever come out of a microwave, and the testers found that this cooker is no better than any others with steam vents on their lids.

Many of the included recipes fell short. An omelet came out with the eggs still liquid in the center, and when cooked for a longer time, it was rubbery. A recipe for a baked onion failed, with the onion not cooking through and the bouillon cube not dissolving the way it was promised. A chocolate souffle was spongy — what you expect from a microwave.

There were other issues too. The box touts its "stay cool handle," but the instructions warn that the handle can get hot. With a $9.99 price tag, it's cheap enough to try if you are looking for a single-serving microwave cooker. But it doesn't perform any better than other microwave cookers do, and in some cases, it was worse.

Verdict: It depends


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