If you’re like us, your cabinets and countertops are chock full of small appliances – from blenders to coffee makers to food processors. As companies create more must-have items (sous vide machines, anyone?), we often wonder if they think our kitchen cupboards have endless capacity. Not all foodies live in large kitchens, and all those gadgets can be difficult to store.
Ninja has has a possible solution — the Intelli-Sense Kitchen System ($220 on Amazon right now), which does away with multiple appliance bases and is a blender, food processor, and food spiralizer all in one. Not only that, but the system takes the guesswork out of how long you should blend, puree, or chop your items, as it has built-in smart technology that detects when the chopping or blending should be finished.
We put the system to the test to find out if it’s as smart and space-saving as it promises to be. Here are three things we love about the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System, and one thing we dislike.
Versatility: It crushes! It purees! It turns your homemade pasta into fun shapes!
If something is billed as a “crusher” in the kitchen, it’d better deliver. The Ninja’s total-crushing pitcher setting does just that. The high-powered blender grinds up ice cubes like they’re fruit in under a minute.
We made several smoothies, with ice added, over the course of a month, and rarely found even a tiny ice cube. This device was perfect for making ice-cold cocktails like daiquiris or margaritas.
The food processor attachment impressed us as well. We pureed cauliflower in the device on the high setting and enjoyed a pleasant, smooth texture. Just make sure that you have enough of what you want to puree in the cup, or the blades will miss the stuff on the bottom once it gets close to puree texture. Luckily, the device has a large cup and a small cup for this very purpose, in case you only have a little bit to chop or puree.
If something is billed as a “crusher” in the kitchen, it’d better deliver.
Whether you have it on the blender setting, or processing setting, this device is loud, but the blade rotation is surprisingly fast. The chopping features comes in handy for things like dicing onions. Sometimes we find that food processors either decimate your vegetables immediately, or they dice inconsistently. The Intelli-Sense system finds the right compromise.
We were most excited to try out the spiralizer, which finely cuts vegetables like carrots into, well, spirals. Our dinner guests were impressed with the fancy-looking carrots in the salad. The device can also handle pasta dough, cutting it into fettucine, but we didn’t have opportunity to test that feature. The spiralizer isn’t the headline feature, but it’s nice to have.
Smarts: Intelli-Sense has intelligence
Beyond its abilities as a solid three-in-one appliance, the device also has some brains.
A menu pops on the Ninja’s large LCD screen, and the menu will be different, depending on which attachment you connect. For the blender setting, you have options like low, high, and pulse. For the processor attachment, you can choose from puree, chop, or other options. Push the “high” button on the blender, and the device will whiz to life.
There’s also no need to push the stop button, as the device detects when its job is done and shuts off automatically. It took time to trust the Ninja, but the feature never let us down. You can hit a button and walk away.
Fewer bulky appliance bases in your cupboards
Instead of thinking of this device as a food processor, a blender, and a spiralizer, think of it as a single base with attachments that do all these things.
Instead of lugging out a blender with a base for smoothies, a food processor with a base for dicing vegetables, and a machine with a base for cutting pasta for your dinner party, you can keep one base on your countertop (if you have the room, otherwise, just store it in your cabinet) and switch out the accessories that go with it. Nifty.
That said, there’s a lot of accessories to keep track of, which is our one gripe with this device.
Honey, have you seen the spiralizer? You know…the twisty thing?
We love that this system rolls a blender, a food processor, and a spiralizer together. But the system comes with a lot of extra stuff to store and keep track of, and we had a lot of trouble keeping it all together in our testing kitchen. It’s too bad that none of the accessories can be used for more than one function, and Ninja doesn’t provide a storage solution.
To give you an idea of the number of items we’re talking about, here’s a list of what the system comes with:
- A 72-ounce capacity blender pitcher, a blade, and lid.
- A 24-ounce single serving blender cup with a lid.
- A 64-ounce food processor bowl with a blade, plus a smaller capacity bowl and blade with a lid.
- A spiralizer with two cups, two different blade choices, and a lid.
- And a steel brush to clean the small, hard to reach spots.
Once you take things apart and start washing them, you’ll find that there’s a lot of little pieces you’ll want to make sure you keep together, and that’s not easy. Where do you store bonus blades and lids? To be fair, one could argue that if we had three different devices instead of one, there would be just as much to keep track of. But we still wish that there less parts to worry about getting lost in our kitchen utensils drawer. Couldn’t we have the same lid for all the devices?
Despite the chaotic mass of parts, we still recommend this multi-use kitchen system. It’s powerful. The Intelli-Sense feature works well. And we now have more room on our countertop to fill with the next must-have small appliance.
DT Editors' Rating: 4/5
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