BEABA Babycook Review
Pros: Dishwasher safe parts, safety lock
Cons: Higher price, hard to clean steam tank, poor puree quality
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
BÉABA (pronounced bay-ah-buh) is an international company that creates products for the juvenile industry with technology and design in mind. Started in 1989, BÉABA has created products with safety, functionality, ergonomics, and parents' needs in mind. In 2012, they formed the Peek-A-Boo holding company and began acquiring other baby-related brands. BÉABA is now expanding into other categories of the juvenile industry.
The Babycook earned an average score for puree quality.
The puree consistency is where many of the food makers struggled, and the Babycook also had difficulty. For many of the food products, we tested the Babycook managed a smooth puree or only smaller bits and some skins still intact. This would be acceptable for slightly older babies but might cause problems with first-timers learning to eat.
It did struggle with some of the foods like kale, rice, and pasta. It seems like pasta should be soft enough to be easily blended, but it still had fairly food size pieces in the final product. The Babycook did its best work with fruits but oddly not bananas and avocado, which are already pretty soft and should, in our mind, blend smoothly with ease.
Ease of Use
The Babycook earned an average score for ease of use.
The Babycook has two settings: steam and blend. The product has six parts, and it takes an average amount of time for the food to be processed and ready to eat compared to the competition. It can make up to 4.7 cups at one time, which is nice and means you will have meals for the future.
Unlike some of the competition, this food maker requires transferring the cooked food from the steamer to the blender, along with the remaining liquid. The process isn't complicated, but we had trouble getting the blender to sit on the machine consistently. It took us several tries every time, which grew annoying.
Blending is done by twisting the knob and is a 5-second pulse on and 5 seconds off process. Much like other blenders, we reviewed with this same method we feel confident technology has come far enough for a blender to run consistently without fear of motor overheating and wish all the food makers allowed this.
Health and Safety
The Babycook earned a below-average score for health and safety. The directions for this product indicate it should be run three times through the steam cycle before use. We assume this reduces the occurrence of artificial tastes being introduced to food. We followed the directions and had no problems with plastic, chemical, or metal after taste that we found on some of the other steamers. The Babycook has a stainless steel water reservoir, and the containers are free of BPA, lead, and phthalate. However, we caution parents that even BPA-free plastic has been shown to potentially leach chemicals into food, especially when the plastic is heated. We would prefer the containers to be made of glass, but we do like that the reservoir is stainless steel instead of plastic.
There is some concern about mold or other problems related to the inaccessibility of the water tank, which you can't even really see into much less clean properly. Reviewers reported a brown film developing inside the chamber that they could not clean or even verify that it had been thoroughly cleaned, given the limited access of the small water hole. This feels like a design error and indicates that at some point, you may need to toss the product due to lack of cleanliness.
The Babycook has some features for safety, but given that you need to transfer food from the cooking container to the blender, there is still a chance of burns from the steam that escapes upon transfer. You can wait until the food cools, but most parents will probably want to transfer and blend right away. The best way to avoid burns is to avoid locking the lid with the palm of your hand, which might be the most intuitive way to operate the container.
Other safety features include locking the bowl in place to operate by pressing on the heat-resistant zone on top of the locking arm. If the bowl is not locked properly, the product can't be turned on.
Ease of Cleaning
The Babycook earned a slightly below-average score in this metric, mainly due to the water tank and its small opening that prevents thorough cleaning. The steam tank descaling uses vinegar and water or Babycook cleaning products when the steam button turns red. Our concern is that since you can't see inside the tank, and you also can't scrub the inside, ensuring it is appropriately clean will be a challenge.
Also, when we used the Babycook the first time, it leaked out of the bottom near the blade area, and it was difficult to clean because the area is too narrow for fingers to fit in.
With that said, the everyday cleaning of this unit isn't too bad, with all of the parts being dishwasher safe, including the bowl, lid, basket, mixing cover, and blade. However, BabyGearLab recommends handwashing plastic items to help prevent possible degradation of the plastic that can occur when repeatedly heated in a dishwasher.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz