Shopping for a Blender
Types of Blenders
The two primary kinds of blenders available are stand (or upright) blenders and handheld, which are 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 doing so with 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 cubes. 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. Keep in mind that if you try to crush hard foods in an under-powered unit, you may burn out the 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. If you're trying to crush hard items, use the pulse function. 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 high up on the list of things to consider when picking out a blender. Commonly asked questions include, which blender is the easiest to clean and can I put my blender in the dishwasher. Both are 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.
The construction and materials used for your blender are important aspects to consider. 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 because they last a long time without needing to be sharpened.
Lastly, if you don't have a lot of counter space or want to consolidate your small appliances, choose a blender with multiple attachments, which include a standard pitcher, a food-processing bowl, chopper and a to-go cup. Having a variety of attachments allow you to make the most out of one machine.