Shopping for a Blender
Types of Blenders
The two primary kinds of blenders available are stand (or upright) blenders and handheld (also called immersion or stick) blenders. An upright blender includes a base or stand with a motor and an upright pitcher with a blade inside. Stand blenders are a great option for making smoothies or blending cool liquids and foods. Handheld blenders are simply a handle with a motor inside and a guarded blade that can be immersed into liquids or semi-liquid foods in a bowl, pitcher, pot or other container, to blend or mix. This design makes pureeing a hot soup or mixing a large bowl of liquid much more feasible than an upright blender.
When buying a blender, you want to consider the amount of power (measured in wattage) the blender has. In general, a more powerful motor will tackle harder foods or ice. Hand mixers or lower powered blenders start at around 200 watts, while high-performance blenders (the kind used by professionals) top out around 2,000 watts (or 2 horsepower). Keep in mind that if you try to crush hard foods in an under-powered unit, you may burn out the blender's motor.
Speed is another feature you want to consider. If you plan to blend a variety of foods, invest in a machine with multiple speeds; if you want to fine tune the mixture, shoot for variable speeds. A pulse function can help in crushing hard items. In fact, the pulse function is often the most versatile, allowing ingredients to settle before continuing to chop them.
More Blender Considerations
Cleaning is usually pretty high up on the list of things you might be thinking about when picking out a blender. You might ask yourself “which blender is the easiest to clean?” or “can I put my blender in the dishwasher?”. Great questions! You may find clean up to be easiest with a blender that has flat, touchpad controls. Luckily, for both convenience and safety reasons, many blenders feature a dishwasher-safe pitcher and removable blades, so you can skip the hand washing all together.
Take a look at the construction and materials used for your blender. Solid, durable materials as well as rubber feet help keep your machine stable while it's operating. Blender pitchers are available in glass, metal, or high-grade plastic options, and you’ll want to make sure the pitcher lid has a tight seal to avoid sticky messes. Look for a stainless steel blade in your blender for long-lasting use without sharpening.
Lastly, if you don't have a lot of counter space or just want to consolidate your small appliances, find a blender with multiple attachments, including a standard pitcher, a food-processing bowl, chopper, or a to-go cup, so you can make the most out of just one machine.