In our tests, the Cuisinart CSB-175 Smart Stick pureéd all the ingredients to create an acceptably silky soup in just 30 seconds, which was not always possible with some of its mid-range counterparts. The smoothie wasn’t blended to perfection, but its texture was above average with just a small mattering of kales.
The lack of a whisk attachment prevented it from passing the egg-beating test, but this didn’t impair our blender’s advantage in preparing mayonnaise. The excellent ability to grind almonds even boosted its appeal a bit further.
Given its awkward design, however, this blender cannot give us the best blending experience overall. When it comes to clean performance, it doesn’t live up to our expectations, either.
Nevertheless, the Cuisinart CSB-175 Smart Stick is a good, well-built hand blender for this price point. Certain problematic issues will drive customers away, but we are all not.
Things We Like
- Powerful enough for a wide range of tasks
- The ergonomically-designed handle makes the blender easier to maneuver
- The included 24-oz beaker allows for easy gripping and drip-free pouring
- The release button is really helpful during assembly and disassembly
- The specially designed blade can be used to emulsify sauces
Things We Don’t Like
- The stainless steel blending shaft will damage non-stick coatings
- Fairly complicated to use
- The blade guard doesn’t prevent splashing very well
We’ve been reviewing blenders for years and the increasing demand for quick, green meals left us wondering when we might see a good immersion blender capable of making silky blends out of solid nuts, leafy vegetables, and frozen fruits. On paper, the Cuisinart CSB-175 Smart Stick looked like it might answer that call. To find out for sure, we bought this handheld appliance of our own accord and put it through a series of tests. Spoiler alert: we got some unexpected results.
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7.4Performance: Pretty Good
As a mid-powered blender, the Cuisinart Smart Stick is designed for certain kinds of blended drinks, including cocktails, milkshakes, and fresh fruit smoothies. It can even handle thicker blends such as hummus or sorbet without too much trouble.
7.0Hot Soup Purée
Despite being among the least expensive mid-range blenders on our testing list, this Cuisinart is plenty quick, taking only 30 seconds to give us a pot of soup. Still, we were just moderately satisfied with its performance. The soup was not well pureed enough to look entirely smooth. After we drained it through a strainer, we noticed many foods still remained unprocessed. For the best pureés maker, we recommend the Vitamix 5-speed.
7.5Frozen Fruit Smoothie
Although the Cuisinart CSB-175 Smart Stick could pass this test in 1 minute and 20 seconds, it had a very hard time grinding frozen fruits. By comparison, its counterparts — the Braun MultiQuick-5 — could turn all the ingredients into a green silky smoothie without a struggle.
The Cuisinart’s smoothie was acceptable but didn’t have the smoothest texture. It came out rather lumpy due to kale chunks. Our straw got clogged now and then with bits that were still too big.
Coming off the other tests, we didn’t expect much out of our Cuisinart when it came to making mayonnaise. For the most part, we agreed that a whisk attachment would emulsify sauce far better than any ordinary blending shaft. But as it turned out, of all the blenders we tested, the Cuisinart was the fastest to yield a creamy, mouthwatering sauce. It even beat the Braun’s whisk attachment by about 30 seconds, though in both cases, the mayonnaise’s texture was essentially the same.
Still, there was a minor drawback. When the mayonnaise began to thicken, our blender suctioned itself tightly to the beaker’s bottom, making it a bit trickier for us to move the blending wand around. Nevertheless, given this blender’s outstanding performance, this issue wasn’t a true dealbreaker and should be tolerated.
This Cuisinart performed fairly well in this test. Besides being the fastest contender, it also blended quite uniformly. While it did create suction and cause a humble mess when we lifted the blending wand upward, it sustained a nice vortex, so our liquid didn’t overflow. In contrast, some models, such as the Hamilton Beach 2-speed and the Mueller Ultra-Stick couldn’t produce the consistent vortex. This caused the liquid to overflow excessively when we turned them up to higher speeds.
Of all the blenders we tested, only machines with whisk attachments could draw enough air into the egg-whites to create a stiff peak. The Cuisinart's ordinary blending shaft, on the other hand, just gave us a cloudy liquid made of two layers: bubbly film and eggy water. We awarded this blender no points for this test.
8.5Design: Thoughtful-Crafted for the Price
This Cuisinart is a well-priced device to suit the needs of many users, though there are some limitations in its overall design that entirely dissatisfied us. Like most immersion blenders, it can only run for a limited amount of time (60 seconds) before needing a break to prevent its motor overheating.
Speed and Controls
At first sight, we thought this blender would be very easy to use since its two-button interface looks really intuitive.
Unexpectedly enough, we couldn’t figure out how to activate the device until we consulted the user manual. Not only that, but we also needed quite a lot of practice to operate it smoothly. Unlike others, this blender has an additional locking button which acts as a safety mechanism.
The locking button must be held down along with the operational button. That paired-button operation forced us to use two hands in some cases — certainly not what we’d call user-friendly.
The Cuisinart Smart Stick also allows us to switch between the two speed options (Low and High) with the slide control. We’d prefer more than two settings since multiple speeds give us more control over the food’s texture.
That being said, the slider also makes this blender more complicated to use, especially when the dial’s location is entirely separated from the On/Off button. It’s tough for one person to use the blender, adjust its speed, and hold the beaker at the same time, so we had to stop blending to speed up or slow down.
The Cuisinart’s blade has two prongs: one sharp and the other blunt. Although it isn’t as high quality as the Vitamix, it can withstand consistent use. It even defeated its higher-priced counterpart in our mayonnaise test despite being the underdog.
A metal housing partially covers the fixed stainless steel blade to keep splashing to a minimum. This blade guard, however, left much to be desired in our test due to its awkward design. Rather than being a solid piece like others, it has several small holes which significantly degrade the shielding’s effectiveness.
Not only that, but the metal blade guard also caused scratches on the blender’s original beaker in its smoothie task. This is too awful even to be imagined.
In the Box
- Motor body
- Blending shaft
- 24-oz beaker
- User manual
The Cuisinart CSB-175 Smart Stick set includes 4 items: a blender motor body, a blending shaft, a 20-ounce beaker, and a user manual. Before using your blender for the first time, make sure to clean it thoroughly following the user manual’s instructions. For safe operations, you should also comply with all the basic safety precautions issued by the Cuisinart manufacturers.
Stylish and portable, the Cuisinart CSB-175 Smart Stick offers a delicate balance of weight, size, and aesthetics. With a reasonably sized blending shaft, it doesn’t have any difficulty operating even in deep pots. Plus, it is compact enough that it fits easily into a drawer for storage.
Although this blender is mostly made of plastic, its motor body looks and feels as solid as the stainless steel wand component. Even so, it may become discolored with use.
The stainless steel blending wand is built well enough to endure regular use. So far, our blades have shown no signs of rusting or dulling, but we have found a user’s complaint about her blade that snapped in half after just two months of use.
The controls are of decent quality. They are easier to press than those of the Braun MultiQuick-5 and seem to be much more durable than the Mueller Ultra-Stick. Other than an awkward power button (to be discussed later) we were quite pleased with this unique design.
Made of eco-friendly food-grade plastic, the beaker is entirely safe for use with any ingredients. It’s top-rack dishwasher-safe but doesn’t resist shattering, so we still recommend washing it manually to avoid any possible damage. Since it isn’t designed to withstand high temperatures, you also shouldn’t use it to blend hot liquid.
Besides the measurement marks, a wide pour spout is also a nice feature of Cuisinart’s beaker. When we used it to pour out the smoothie, we experienced less spillage than with other blender jars.
The power cord has a reasonable length. Its plug is polarized so it will only be inserted one way into your outlet. For ultimate cable management, Cuisinart also included a nylon zip tie.
Extra Accessories: Not Included
The Cuisinart doesn’t come with any accessories other than the 24-oz pitcher.
7.8Usability: Fine and Not Really Impressive
Cuisinart packs its blender with many unique features to create the most enjoyable blending experience for the users, and we appreciate this effort. However, none of its things really impress us, with the exception of the blender’s cleanability.
7.6Ease of Use
At first sight, we thought this blender would be very easy to use due to its simple-designed interface.Unexpectedly enough, however, we couldn’t figure out how to activate the device until we consulted the user manual. Not only that, but we also needed quite a lot of practice to operate it smoothly.
Unlike others, this blender has an additional locking button which acts as a safety mechanism. The locking button must be held down along with the operational button. That paired-button operation forced us to use two hands in some cases — certainly not what we’d call user-friendly.
Given that the dial’s location is entirely separated from the On/Off button, it’s also quite tough for use to use the blender, adjust its speed, and hold the beaker at the same time. More often than not, we felt very annoyed when having to stop blending if we wanted to speed up or slow down.
Another drawback was that all sorts of our blending motions, from stirring to drawing up, weren’t performed with ease. In particular, when the mayonnaise began to thicken, the blender suctioned itself tightly to the beaker’s bottom, making it a bit trickier for us to move its blending wand around.
Likewise, in the hot soup test, the suction force created by the blender was so excessive that it entirely threw off our momentum when we were struggling to pull it out. Together with the absurdly-designed blade guard, this caused us lots of splatter every single time we moved our hand. Indeed, no other blenders we tested created as much mess as the Cuisinart.
There was also a problem in the smoothie test. At some points, this blender demanded we temporarily stop to dislodge the food trapped in its blade guard’s holes. And since blending frozen fruit was a prolonged procedure, it took a toll on the motor. Therefore, we had to let it rest every 60 seconds, and this was so inconvenient.
To set up our blender, we attached the blending wand to the motor body until they clicked. When blending was complete, we removed the wand by pressing the release button and pulling it out. The pulling force is relatively large compared to other blenders we’ve had our hands on, so this one was tough to disassemble when our hands were oily.
The Cuisinart’s handle has nothing particularly special. It doesn’t have a rubber layer (like the Vitamix or the Braun MultiQuick-5) to help you maintain a grip. On the bright side, it is ergonomically designed to protect your hand from fatigue.
Since the blending wand isn’t dishwasher-safe, it demands manual scrubbing after use.
Following each test, most of the food residue rinsed off effortlessly under our running tap. We removed more stubborn remnants using a soapy sponge. Along the way, we didn’t have as much difficulty scrubbing the backs of the blades as we experienced with the Vitamix.
About your guide
Tina Pham is a staff writer and reviewer, with five years of experience in the industry. As a passionate amateur home cook, she loves to discover practical cooking solutions, and has made it her mission to bring her findings to every kitchen. Her ultimate goal is making cooking more of a pleasure for all.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef passionate about delicious and healthful foods. At HealthyKitchen101, she develops recipes and collaborates with our Research, Testing, and Review lab to evaluate the performance of cooking appliances. Her assessments add a strong authoritative voice to our product scoring process.