Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
An interesting contraption that happens to work very well
on 18 February 2014
What an interesting contraption this is, and if I'm honest one I hadn't realised existed before seeing it here on Amazon. An aluminium cylinder with a rotating rubber grip on one end and a removable rubber cap on the other, using Mastrad's nutcracker is as simple as lifting the cap off, placing a nut inside, replacing the cap and then turning the grip until the nut cracks. The grip is linked to a rotating metal jaw inside the top section of the nutcracker, so turning the grip turns the jaw, which in turn presses the nut against the nutcracker's rippled interior, hopefully breaking it. Because the grip and the jaw are connected by an internal gear mechanism, each turn of the grip exerts a lot of pressure on the nut, so you don't need to be strong or dextrous to use it.
As the cap is left on during cracking, there's zero chance of any bit of shell exploding out over the carpet or into your eye, while a plastic window in the cap lets you see the cracker's progress as you turn the grip. Once the nut is cracked, the best way to go about things is to turn the nutcracker upside down while holding the cap on, then pull the cap from the body, leaving the nut and shell in the cap, ready for separating; it's a fiendishly simple yet very reliable system that has yet to fail on me.
Not everything is rosy in the land of Mastrad, though. Some awkwardly-shaped nuts take a little manoeuvring to get into the correct place to be broken and it also has to be said that some nuts just don't break particularly cleanly - hazelnuts crack very well, walnuts less so, with almonds somewhere in between. I'm yet to try my old favourite, the brazil nut, but I suspect that with its hard, irregular shell it may prove something of a challenge to crack the shell without taking the nut with it. Another point to note is that while the internal jaw is metal, the nutcracker's interior is plastic, and given that the interior takes half of the brunt of the cracking process it would seem to be the weak link here. There's also some 'play' in the rotating grip, which is by no means a problem but it does make you wonder how the grip is connected to the body and how much use (and abuse) it can put up with.
But although the Mastrad does have its quirks, they're no more prominent or serious than those on any other nutcracker, and certainly not enough to prevent me from wholeheartedly recommending it. Prior to buying the Mastrad, I had considered a bewildering array of nutcrackers of all kinds from various manufacturers. I settled on this one partly because it intrigued me and partly because it struck me as a clever alternative to the standard 'lobster' nutcracker I had been using, and it is indeed proving a great alternative to that one.