Finding the right blender for your needs can seem complicated because there's lots of models, different types of blenders and features which you may or may not need. But choosing the right blender really comes down to making decisions as to function and capacity - basically looking at what you will use it for. I'll take you through the various types of blenders so you can better decide what's best for your kitchen.
1. Types of Blenders
There are basically two types of blenders - the jug/jar counter blender which is the most common and the stick model which is also called a hand or immersion blender. Your first buying decision will be to decide which function better meets your needs. That being said, many households have both types of blenders. If you choose a jug blender, you'll then need to decide on size amongst other features. And though there are similarities, blenders are not food processors, unless they are designed to handle this additional function.
- Difference Between Blenders and Food Processors
- Before You Buy a Blender
- Stick, Hand, Immersion Blender - Definition
- Kitchen Blender - Definition and Use
Counter or Stand Blenders:
They are the most common style of blenders, have a stand-alone design with a jug/jar to blend the foods in. This type of blender comes in either a compact personal size for small batches or single servings, or in the more common 48 oz capacity, though you can find some in-between sizes. Some common uses include blending pancake batter, sauces, puddings, dressings, smoothies, frozen drinks.
- Pros: More functional; best for crushing ice (with proper blade) or making smoothies
- Cons: Awkward for blending hot foods or a much larger capacity; usually more expensive than stick blenders
Stick (Hand, Immersion) Blenders:
Hand blenders have become quite popular and though most are corded, there are some cordless models on the market. Stick blenders use a hand-held operation and are very handy for pureeing or blending small batches right in a bowl, or taking lumps out of the gravy by blending in the hot roaster. Some hand blenders come with chopping accessories which increases their function as a handy food prep tool.
- Pros: Best for small batches or blending right in the bowl, pot; single hand operation; cordless models offer lots of convenience, portability; easier to store
- Cons: Limited function, need care cleaning
It really depends on what you want to do with your blender, but these are the most important features to consider:
- Sufficient power to meet your needs. For blending sauces, dressings, dessert mixes, 300W is sufficient, but if you want to blend icy drinks, you'll need a blender with at least 500 watts.
- Ice crushing blade - for blending/crushing ice in smoothies or other drinks
- At least three speeds (counter blender)
- Stainless steel blade assembly
- Direct drive motor operation is the most durable
- Designed for easy removal of blade assembly for cleaning
- Pulse operation
- A spout (counter blender) - read how a spout design can make pouring easier
- Blender Jug or Jar - Definition
3. Blender Bells and Whistles
- Drink from the jug design (personal blenders)
- Chopping accessories (hand blenders)
- More variety of speeds - puree, blend, mix, liquify
- Multifunction design with food processing functions
- Preset function for icy drinks
- Dispensing spigot can be handy, but it's also another part to clean
- Blending enhancements to better move foods in and out of the blades
- Glass vs Plastic Blender Jugs
4. What Not to Buy
A hand blender is not a good choice, if making smoothies is your main reason for buying a blender. Choose either a personal model or standard size blender with an ice-crushing blade. Avoid multifunction units if you have no interest in using the chopping attachments; a solid, standard size jug blender would be a better choice.
A blender is one of the most economical counter appliances and it offers lots of value in a durable, convenient kitchen tool. While prices do vary with types and included accessories, most blenders are well below $100 and you can find stick blenders for around $30. But you will pay over a hundred for heavy duty blenders and even more for those with food processing functions.
6. Blender Reviews
With different types, capacities and features, it can be difficult to find the right blender. To find the best blender, read blender reviews:
To help others make good blender buying decisions, take a minute and review your current or previous blender:
7. Blender Care, Use and FAQ's
A blender can become an essential appliance in your kitchen, but most tend to limit its use without meaning to. Be creative, read blender recipes and books to get the most out of this handy appliance. And follow my tips on use to make sure you're not overextending blender capability and enjoy this versatile and fun to use appliance.
Though there are similarities, blenders and food processors are different appliances with each their own functions. A food processor is a handy and time-saving appliance, but before buying one, there are a few things to consider so that you buy the size and type that meets your particular food prep needs.
9. General Appliance Tips
What to do if your appliance has been recalled or you've upgrade to a new model. And there are reasons why it's a good idea to inform manufacturers of problems or areas where appliances could be improved. Remember to review your product manual and keep it handy - it has lots of use information, as well as key tips on how to properly care for your new appliance.
- Appliance Disposal and Donation Options
- How to Handle Appliance Concerns
- If Your Appliance is Recalled - What to do
- Appliance Safety Tips
- 10 Reasons to Read Your Appliance Manual
- How to Choose a Great Appliance Gift
- Pros and Cons of Extended Service Agreements
- Need Buying Tips for Another Appliance?