Y our grandmother didn’t have a lot of kitchen choices or options. The appliances were simple. Take that big counter blender she has, for example.
It was big and loud. It probably had a couple of speed settings. That was it. Maybe the only good thing going for it was that it was built like a tank. It’s still working after all these years.
Fast-forward to the present. These powerful and versatile appliances do more than blend smoothies or whip cream. They can grind coffee, heat soups, and even make peanut butter.
What You Should Look for When Buying a Blender?
You’ve got some big choices in front of you if you’re in the market for a blender. The options can be overwhelming.
Knowledge is power. You can make the right decision when you have all the information in front of you. It’s why I’ve compiled this guide. Here’s what you should know to choose the right blender.
1.What type of blender do you really need?
There is more than one type of blender. You might be familiar with the traditional countertop blender. It’s the kind your grandmother used. We’ll start with the most common and popular type.
It’s a permanent kitchen appliance. Most offer multiple speeds and straightforward operation. They tend to be less expensive than high-performance blenders because they’re less powerful.
Many people keep their blender on the kitchen countertop, so space is a consideration. The base of the unit contains its motor.
Countertop blenders can feature a large number of speed settings. Even professionals tend to use slow, medium, fast, or super-fast speeds. You may only need 3 to 5 speeds.
These are hand-held blenders. They’ve become inexpensive, so many people buy one in addition to a countertop blender.
The immersion blender gets inserted into the food you want to blend.
You can use a hand blender in pots or pans, as well as bowls. It works best for making smoothies or pureeing soups. Their motors aren’t powerful compared to a countertop version.
Some immersion blenders are cordless and rechargeable so that you can stow them in a kitchen drawer.
The name says it all. These blenders are designed for single servings. They’re just the thing for power shakes or smoothies in the morning.
Most feature containers or cups that are meant to be used for blending and drinking. Many also have caps so you can make a smoothie and take it with you.
These small blenders usually have only 1 or 2 speeds. They’re inexpensive compared to most countertop blenders. They are not a good substitution for a traditional countertop blender if you do a lot of cooking.
These blenders offer the features of a countertop blender, but on steroids. Unlike other blender types, it can process hard and soft ingredients. Some can grind wheat into flour.
High-performance blenders have powerful motors and high price. Their base is often larger than a traditional countertop blender.
2. What type of “blender personality” you have?
The type of blender you need might depend on the sort of “blender personality” you have. Which of these fit you?
I’m a chef-in-training
Sure, blenders are great for smoothies. But you’ve been known to crack open a cookbook and make a sauce from scratch. You want a multifunctional blender that helps out with soups and sauces. It would also be great if it could chop and grind.
You’ll need a high-performance blender not only for the powerful motor but the larger capacity. High-performance blenders also can double as food processors. Some can even heat.
I’m a health nut
Healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies or protein shakes are the only things you make in a blender. Then you really need only a personal blender – especially if you only make them for yourself.
I’m a mixologist
Ice can be tough on blender blades. It also can overwhelm and burn out the motor. A personal blender or low-power countertop blender isn’t the right choice if you enjoy making frozen drinks. Choose a high-powered countertop blender, or a high-performance blender if you can afford it.
3. Where will you put it?
You can use an immersion blender anywhere because it goes to where you need it. Most personal blenders are small enough to store in a cupboard.
The average countertop blender and its upgraded high-performance cousins can create a problem. Some are too big to be placed on kitchen countertops that have upper cabinets.
The standard distance from counter to upper cabinets is 18 inches. Many countertop blenders may just barely fit in this space.
Make sure you have sufficient space for the blender you plan to buy.
4. How big a blender do you need?
We’re not talking about dimension when it comes to size. It’s the capacity of the blender’s container that counts. Capacity will determine the number of ingredients you can process in the blender jar or container. How many servings do you usually need to make? It’s an important consideration.
- Standard size: Most standard countertop blender containers (also called jars) hold 48 to 72 ounces. You’ll be able to prepare drinks for 6 to 9 people.
- High-performance: They’re more powerful, and they’re bigger. Some high-performance blenders can hold up to 145 ounces.
- Individual servings: Personal blenders hold just 8 to 20 ounces. They’re not a good idea if you’ve got a family or you want to experiment in the kitchen.
One size does not fit all. Manufacturers know this. It’s why many offer blender containers in larger or smaller sizes. They will fit on your blender’s base.
5. What type of blade should the blender have?
This is the part of your blender that processes food. You may not have much choice about the shape or design. Manufacturers tend to make that decision for you.
You’ll notice that some brands have just two flat blades that angle upwards at the edge. Others may feature four blades that have an almost spiral shape. Some blades are blunt, while others are very sharp.
Each of these designs gives the appliance a different blending “personality.” Some blades are better at pulverizing dry ingredients into a powder. Other blade designs do a better job of masticating food to create silky-smooth consistencies. Most blender blade configurations are multifunctional.
High-quality stainless steel blades are the best material. It offers better performance and will resist corrosion.
Be aware that not all blender manufacturers offer containers with removable blades. Some owners prefer removable blades. They can be easier to clean.
6. How powerful should it be?
People often struggle with this question. Is it possible to buy a blender that’s too powerful? You’re not planning to use it to crush rocks and twigs.
The concern goes the other way. You need a blender with enough power to process what you plan to put in it. Soft fruit smoothies don’t need the power of a high-performance blender. But you wouldn’t want to try chopping up nuts in your personal blender.
Yes, I’m asking you to look into the future and think about what you might someday use your blender to make. Don’t sell yourself short if you can afford to buy a higher-power blender. It offers future versatility.
Here are some power range suggestions:
300 watts: Most basic countertop blenders offer this power rating. You’ll be able to chop all but the hardest of ingredients. Blending shouldn’t be much of a problem.
500 to 700 watts: Now you’re getting into the range of true versatility. A blender with this much power can process soups and take you beyond liquids.
Over 700 watts: Moving past 700 watts allows you to work with dry ingredients. Make your own peanut butter. Process grains into flour. The extra power means you won’t be limited if you want to explore. It also gives you the ability to make large quantities. You will pay more for this extra muscle.
7. How much noise do you mind?
A blade is spinning up to 20,000 RPM or more means they are revolving at speeds of up to 270 miles per hour! You don’t expect them to be whisper-quiet, do you?
The combination of the motor, blades, and processed food add up to a certain amount of noise.
Normal conversation happens at a noise level of between 55 and 60 decibels (dB).
Perdue University measured a food blender and other kitchen devices. They determined that at 88dB, the average blender was even louder than garbage disposal. Constant exposure to this level of sound would cause damage to your ears after 8 hours.
More power in a blender means it will be louder. But high-performance blenders also feature quality materials that dampen noise. Look for manufacturers who promote their use of sound absorption features.
All manufacturers should be able to provide you with the operational sound level of their appliance.
8. What type of settings does it need?
Some of us just prefer to push a button. Others want precise control. It’s why there are cars with automatic and manual transmissions.
Blenders are the same way.
Some manufacturers give us the choice of leaving speed and power up to the blender. Others let us make those decisions ourselves. Which do you prefer?
Buying a blender with a series of buttons for speed offers convenience. Some brands achieve the same thing with rotary clicking dial. The settings don’t select speed. They select the type of blending you want or the kind of food you’re making.
High-end blenders have sophisticated control interfaces. They allow you to select specific food descriptions. Are you making a pasta sauce?
Just punch it in. Some high-end blenders turn this into an automated process. Want a smoothie? Pick that “recipe.” The blender will create it using the optimal speeds.
The biggest you’ll have to make is whether you want precision or manual speed control
Blenders have various types of control panels. Some feature buttons and switches. Others have dials or even touchpads. Some blenders have digital displays. These are the ways you’ll operate your blender.
Many people find that 3 to 5 speeds are sufficient. If you want more options, you’ll have more exceptional control over speed.
9. How easy is it to clean?
I love cleaning things, said no one ever.
Most blender manufacturers feature containers and blades that are dishwasher-safe. But not all dishwashers can accommodate the larger capacity blender jars.
Make sure you know the limitations of your dishwasher before you make a blender choice.
Many people prefer to wash their blender jars by hand. Be careful of the blades if you go this route. You don’t want to cut yourself.
Some high-performance blenders can clean themselves. Add liquid dish soap and water, and let it run. A quick rinse and you’re done.
Online reviewers advise paying attention to the ability to remove the blender blades.
Don’t forget the exterior. You’ll clean the container, blades, and lid every time you use it. The rest of the blender will need an occasional wipe-down. Blender bases with smooth exteriors and minimal crevices will be easier to maintain.
10. Does the lid fit tightly?
It may seem like a strange thing to have to consider. But it’s essential. A firm-fitting blender lid prevents unnecessary spills. What you’re making may be hot. Keep in mind that a high-performance blender will churn contents fast enough to heat it with friction.
Most blender lids feature a removable cap located at the center of the lid. It lets you insert ingredients while blending. It also helps to equalize the pressure that may build up as you process food.
11. What can you afford?
A lot of times, it all comes down to cost. How much can you afford to pay?
The good news is that there’s a blender for every budget. You’ll find them priced from an affordable $20 to an astounding $1,000.
Power, durability, and quality materials determine the cost. A less expensive blender is often enough if you plan to use it only to make smoothies. More expensive brands offer versatility, along with power. You can knead the dough, grind spices, and make nut butters.
12. What about the warranty?
You hear it all the time. You get what you pay for. The warranty for your blender gives you assurance and peace of mind.
A warranty is a promise by the manufacturer to protect your purchase. They’ll either replace it or refund your money.
Inexpensive blenders are made with lesser quality materials and low-power motors. They tend to have short warranties. A high-quality blender can feature a warranty offering protection for ten years or more. That’s a strong indication that the manufacturer has confidence in their product.
Read your warranty carefully. Some items, like the motor, may have the most extended protection. Other things may have shorter coverage because they are expected to wear out and be replaced.
The most popular blender brands and manufacturers
This brand is all about being budget-friendly. Their blenders perform well for the low price point.
This company’s founder set out to make the most powerful kitchen blender on the market. You’ll pay for this muscle. Prices range from $400 to $1,100.
This Australia-based company manufactures a wide range of kitchen appliances. They are mid- to high-range, priced between $100 to $400 for personal, immersion and multipurpose models.
It’s a well-respected kitchen appliance brand name. Cuisinart’s range of blenders gets positive reviews online.
Hamilton Beach makes low- to mid-priced blenders. Users give them high ratings for durability.
KitchenAid is known as a reliable home appliance brand. Its blenders are moderately expensive. The KitchenAid Pro Line series of blenders feature a 3.5 horsepower motor.
These blenders feature a unique blade. Ninja claims the design pulverizes ice into snow. The company is known for its personal and countertop models.
This company specializes in personal blenders for smoothies and shakes. Prices range from about $80 to $150.
Ask your grandmother about an “Osterizer.” This brand has been around for a long time. Their blenders are low- to mid-priced. Check them out if you want a retro look for your kitchen appliance.
This company offers commercial and consumer versions of its blenders. They’re powerful and popular. Prices range between $250 to $650.
Your blender takeaway
Yes, you do need to reach a specific price point to find a blender that’s both powerful and versatile. But for many people, a blender that does a great job doing just a few things is all they need.
Does it make sense to buy a high-performance blender if all you want is an occasional breakfast smoothie? On the other hand, what good is an inexpensive mini blender that can’t crush ice for a pina colada?
What you’ll use it for determines the features you need. Those features will determine the price.
- Cover all the bases with a full-sized countertop blender. It’s the most common and popular type. You’ll find the widest variety of price points based on power, craftsmanship, and versatility.
- Consider a personal or immersion blender if you truly believe you’ve got no other need for this kitchen appliance.
- Get a high-performance blender if you are adventurous in the kitchen. The more significant price tag rewards you with more power and capacity. You can do more and make more. Quality materials and craftsmanship mean it’ll last longer, too. It’s why your grandmother’s blender is still around.
Do you have any questions about choosing the right blender? Let us know in the comments section below!