As Seen on TV: Stirrers

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The infomercial says, "It stirs, so you don't have to. The RoboStir drops into any pot or pan. With the touch of a button, it automatically starts to stir. "

This RoboStir infomercial goes on to say this gadget can be used on a variety of foods and that it "covers every inch of the bottom of the pan."

To test, Consumer Reports bought ten for $10.95 each plus shipping and handling. Tester Bernie Deitrick used them to prepare various foods, including cheese sauce and tomato sauce … as well as sautéed onions and garlic. Testers also evaluated a second battery-operated stirrer - the StirCrazy for $5.

Bernie says, "The concept is pretty simple. But for foods that really need to be stirred, they're not very effective."

When the cheese sauce began to thicken, the RoboStir slowed down and then just stopped. And when it came to the StirCrazy, the same thing happened.

Both stirrers did keep moving in the tomato sauce, but only in a small area. The result - scorched tomato pieces stuck to the pot.

Sautéed onions and garlic were another challenge. Here the stirrers stayed in the middle of the pan - pushing the onion and garlic to the side!

Bernie explains, "Once the onions and garlic were pushed to the side, the oil would be splashed from the pan onto the stove."

And another problem with the RoboStir - it claims to have three speeds, but there was only one speed on all ten Consumer Reports tested.

Consumer Reports says one of the warnings with the RoboStir says it "should never be left unattended while in use." But doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose?

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