They dice, chop, juice, mix, grind, make soup and crush ice. Blenders are one of those kitchen wonders that tend to cause heated debate. Some say “meh,” while others insist they couldn’t live without their blender. Let’s do a deep dive into what’s behind this kitchen appliance.
It’s fair to say that people who don’t think much of a kitchen blender probably haven’t used it much. Used properly, it makes food preparation much more efficient. Once you start using one, you’ll reach for it more often.
You need to own an appliance first. <a href=”https://www.juicersplusblenders.com/buying-a-blender-guide/”>Choosing a reliable blending machine</a> isn’t a simple task if want one that really can help you kick up your kitchen expertise.
They give you the power to make smoothies a staple of your diet. Suddenly, you’re the master of making your own sauces, <a href=”https://www.juicersplusblenders.com/best-blender-for-juicing/”>juices</a>, and purees. Blenders add amazing diversity to your daily meals.
The purists among us will say are only two kinds of blenders – countertop or immersion. But there is a wide variety of both types. You can customize it as you like for your use in the kitchen.
How do you decide what you need? Let’s look at the strengths of each blender category.
Different Types of Blenders
There are four main types of kitchen blenders, each uniquely suited for certain purposes.
This type of blender is a contender if the kitchen counter space is not an issue. It’s also called a “jug blender.” These kitchen helpers have a motor and a fan in a base. A gear attachment powers spinning blades inside the blender’s jar, or container./p>
Many blender manufacturers offer additional attachments for even more functionality. But basically your blender is best suited for liquids. You get at least one “jar” made of glass, stainless steel, plastic, or porcelain./p>
They feature measurements to help you add the correct amount of ingredients. A tight-fitting lid seals everything when the mixing process begins./p>
Conventional blending machines feature motors with wattage ranges between 300 and 1500 watts. A blender featuring a 500- to the 700-watt motor will easily handle your everyday tasks./p>
Most models have at least 3 and up to 16 speeds. More speed options offer precise settings for specific tasks. You’ll want a slow speed to crush ice, compared to a much faster speed to make whipped cream./p>
A countertop blender is made to live where you place it – and it’s usually because it gets used regularly. Manufacturers have gotten smart about it. Today’s countertop blenders are stylish and attractive. You won’t want to hide it in your pantry./p>
Conventional Full-Size Countertop Blenders
A standard blender is sufficient for most of us. They cost between $30 and $150, offering the functions an average cook wants.
This type of blending appliance utilizes inexpensive materials. That makes it affordable and easy to find. You can buy one online, in a home improvement store, and many retail stores.
You won’t have to baby it, but don’t expect a super-long life and excellent performance. It might puree sauteed mushrooms into a creamy consistency, but it might not have the power to heat up the soup. Do you need that function when the stovetop is only a step away?
A standard countertop blender is the right choice if you want something bigger than a personal blender but can’t afford a heavy-duty blender. (By the way, “personal blender” means it’s small.)
Your conventional countertop blender should take care of most of your kitchen needs. Keep in mind that it was made for blending liquids (or some occasional ice crushing for smoothies). High-end blenders let you do interesting things like turn peanuts into peanut butter.
That might be too much for your less expensive conventional blender. Be sure to read the instructions and understand the appliance’s limitations.
Light and easy are what these blenders are all about. If you use it the way you see professional chefs to on those cable shows, it’s going to have a short life.
But are you actually going to make flour from wheat grain with your blender? Go with a conventional blender. It’s likely all you need.
Take a step up if you want to move to the next level in kitchen creations. The extra money you’ll spend will mostly go towards the upgraded motor. It’s better to spend more money upfront. Otherwise, you’ll replace it after only a short period of time because you demanded too much from it.
Not everybody needs a specialty blender. There are a lot of choices if you need the additional power and performance they provide. You’ll pay more, of course, but you won’t have to strain to notice a difference.
What makes a conventional blender to huff and puff is a piece of cake for a specialty blender. Chop without getting mush, and even grind. Cashew butter instead of store-bought peanut butter?
Why not! These blenders are designed and manufactured to be durable, noiseless, and long-lasting. It’s why you will find them in restaurants.
A more powerful motor and efficient blade mix things without the need to start and stop. The power and speed mean that the effect of the friction comes to play. You can actually use these blenders to heat.
Single-Serve or Personal Blenders
Are you a breakfast smoothie person? It’s become the go-to solution for after a workout or a breakfast-to-go. And buying them at the gym or on the way to work is an expensive proposition. Making them at home in your single-serve or personal blender saves money.
Manufacturers are rushing to flood the market with them and they’ve thought this through. Personal blenders typically offer multiple containers (or the option to buy more).
Some provide container lids, making it super-easy to make a smoothie with you. There’s a tradeoff for this convenience. They’re not much help if you want to do anything else, like puree a pot of sauce. The capacity can be limiting, too.
This may be the best choice if smoothies are all you want. At this price point, it will be effective at handling soft vegetables and most fruits. Be aware that it’s not meant to be an appliance you’ll pass on to future generations.
Commercial Heavy-Duty Blenders
It really wasn’t that long ago when there were only three major television networks. It also used to be a lot easier to compare just the handful of blender manufacturers. That’s not the case anymore, even when it comes to high-end blenders.
You do get what you pay for, and these blenders are proof. They hold more ingredients and have more powerful motors. Some can even accomplish what you might think only a food processor is capable of doing.
A pulsing option allows you to make intricate sauces and your own pasta dough. These blenders move you past the limitation of liquid ingredients.
The only downside is the cost – the Vitamix 5200, one of the higher quality blenders, runs well over $400. But it’s worth every penny if you can afford it. Here are some of the advantages of a commercial heavy-duty blender.
Food Blenders: These commercial blenders were crafted to withstand continuous operation. They can blend milkshakes or smoothies with ease. They also can reduce almonds to creamy butter.
Choose a commercial food blender when you need a high-volume operation.
Bar Blenders: Yes, bartenders depend on blenders made especially for their needs. And you don’t need a special permit to snag one for yourself. They’re just the thing for whipping out your trademark piña coladas. Just keep in mind they’re made for making beverages, not peanut butter.
High-Performance Professional Blenders
What is a professional blender, anyway? Generally, it just means that the appliance was designed to be more rugged. It can stand up to the heavy use of professional chefs. It’s better suited for kitchen enthusiasts.
Be ready to make a deeper investment, though. This category of blenders costs a lot more than those found at your local department store.
You’ll appreciate the return on investment. Professional models cost several hundred dollars, starting at about $200. They can reach the $1,000 price range (although blenders at that price point are outliers).
High-performance blenders accomplish heavy-duty tasks like grinding nuts. They can finely mince veggies from whole pieces. Why core and chop those veggies? Just toss them in and press the button.
They also provide smoother results. Many people prefer the texture of soups and smoothies made in a professional blender. What’s the reason for this noticeable difference?
In most cases, it’s a much more powerful motor. Add this to quality materials like stainless steel containers and laser polished blades. You have a kitchen appliance that’s ready to help you take your cooking to the next level.
They’re also more likely to come with a warranty, which lets you know you can count on them for several years at least.
Immersion Hand Blenders
Is it ridiculous to have more than one blender? Not when you make it an immersion handheld blender. You might also hear it called a hand blender or a stick blender. They work differently than the other blenders on our list.
Hand blenders don’t have blender jars or containers. You’ll use the container your food’s already in. Lower the rotating blades into a pot or container. Turn it on. Blending magic.
You’ll have fewer things to clean. You also will appreciate being able to conveniently tuck this blender into a drawer.
There is a learning and experience curve that comes with this blender. It doesn’t have a lid. Using it incorrectly can cause a mess. It’s called an immersion blender, but a more appropriate word is “submersion.”
Small or quick jobs beg to be accomplished with your immersion blender. A choice of mixing attachments can quickly save a hollandaise sauce that separates. Just don’t expect an immersion blender to replace your countertop blender.
Single-Attachment Hand Blenders
A hand blender is an immersion blender. Single-attachment hand blenders typically feature two speeds. They live up to their name by offering just one attachment. Most are not known for durability.
Go with this choice if you just want a smoothie in the morning.
Planning some heavy-duty blending as you channel your inner Julia Child? Spend the extra money and purchase a more powerfully diverse blender.
Multiple-attachment hand blenders
The extra money takes you a step up and offers versatility. The shape and handle look the same as a single-attachment hand blender. The upgrade rewards you with more speeds and accessories.
You’ll appreciate the whisking and chopping accessories. It’s what makes immersion blenders your new helping hand with baking and sauce-making.
Battery-operated hand blenders
You’ll only be able to move a countertop blender as far as the cord reaches. Do you have an older kitchen where outlets are hard to find? A battery operated blender makes more sense. It’s also a consideration if you have children and need to keep electrical cords out of the way.
Battery-operated hand blenders weigh more than plug-in models. You’ve got the extra weight of rechargeable batteries in the handle. The difference isn’t all that much. It’s worth it to be rid of an electrical cord.
Types of Blender Capacity
- Mini.Personal blenders generally have a capacity of 20 ounces. It makes them most suitable for single servings, and probably not a good idea for batches.
- Small.These hold 20–35 ounces of liquid. You could get away for making a smoothie for two people. They’re also handy for mixing up a batter or blending the soup.
- Medium.Medium blenders give you more leeway because they can hold from 36–50 ounces. Do you have a small family? This is probably the choice for you.
- Large.Large blenders have an average capacity of 51 to 65 ounces. Quantity is what they do best. You’ll feel comfortable using it to whip up a big batch of margaritas for your next party. Cooks love the extra capacity for making quick work of prep work for dinner parties.
- Extra Large.Blenders at this size offer 66-ounce capacity or even more. You would be challenged to overwhelm it. The size means they often are professional-grade (meaning more expensive). They’re a wise investment if a blender is a frequently used appliance in your home.
Blender Jar: What’s It Made Of?
One thing people tend not to think about is the jar or pitcher material. They’re more interested in the power of the base motor. Give some thought to this area. You’ll have three options.
Plastic Jar Blenders
Companies like Vitamix and Blendtec insist on plastic. They say it supports the high-powered, high-speed blending of their machines. (Vitamix does offer a glass jar – but you’ll have to buy it as an accessory.)
This isn’t cheap plastic, by the way. Polycarbonate plastic is extremely durable and lightweight. It’s something to consider if you’re blending 64 ounces of hot soup.
Less expensive blenders with plastic jars may be prone to scratches and show wear and tear over time. Plastic can also absorb food odors or leach chemicals from the plastic into your food. It’s up to you to read the manufacturer’s recommendations on usage.
While plastic pitchers don’t have all the benefits of glass they still can be a good choice. It may be your only choice if the blender you fell in love with doesn’t have a glass pitcher.
Glass Jar Blenders
Some people like blenders with a glass jar. They believe it’s healthier than any plastic option (BPA Free or not). A glass jar will stay nice and clear for many years.
Tempered glass is also stronger than plastic material. Plus it doesn’t discolor or get scratched up from blending. A glass blender jar can also handle hot liquids. The measurement markings will be visible on the glass as well.
Glass is more environmentally friendly than plastic. But it’s heavier and more expensive to replace if you break it. It also might be an expensive option on higher-powered, higher-capacity blenders.
Stainless Steel Jar Blenders
There’s a third option if you don’t like plastic and are wary of breakable glass. There are stainless steel jars. They also a blender jar that fits a Vitamix base and that can be modified to work with a Blendtec machine.
You’ll pay nearly as much for it as a higher-end countertop blender. It’s as lightweight as plastic and nowhere near as fragile as glass. What might not like about the stainless jars is that they are not transparent.
That’s likely the reason they just aren’t very popular. Don’t you want to see what you’re blending?
What to Look for When Shopping for a Blender
So, now you have a better idea of options as you decide on a blender. This is what most blender owners say you should look for:
Power. Most people understand that electricity is measured in wattage – but what it really means? Wattage is the measurement of how much work electricity does per second.
Higher wattage means the better the power. When considering a blender, most experts advise finding a model with a base of no less than 350 watts. Be prepared to go higher, though.
Conventional blender motors will offer between 300 and 500 watts. A more expensive high-performance blender can have a motor rated at 1,000 watts or more.
Immersion blenders tend to drop as low as 100 watts. Be sure to know what you’re buying. What good is a wimpy immersion blender that can’t even get rid of the lumps in your gravy?
The wattage rating is important, but it’s not the whole story. Blade design plays a role, too.
Versatility. Some blenders can do much more than making smoothies. If you’re an adventurous cook, you may want to invest in a more versatile performance blender. You’ll pay more, but you can do more.
Most countertop blenders give you multiple settings. It might just be LOW/MEDIUM/HIGH or scenario settings. Do you know what “8” on the dial of that high-priced blender means? A machine with preset functions makes more sense.
Cost. Will a $50 blender do the same thing as a $500 blender? Absolutely not – but maybe you don’t need what that $500 blender has to offer. There are still plenty of options for conventional, immersion and personal blenders.
A good rule of thumb is to determine your budget based on how much use this kitchen appliance will get. If you plan to use it a lot, spend the extra money for a powerful blender.
You’ll get better results. Professional blenders use quality, durable materials. You’ll be using it for a longer period of time.
A blender dedicated to specific tasks will pay for itself quickly. Think of the savings if you’ve developed the expensive habit of a post-workout smoothie.
Size. There are two main considerations when it comes to size. Where in the kitchen will it live, and how much does it need to hold? Kitchens are already full of stuff. They tend to be the main gathering place in most homes. You already have plenty of non-kitchen items on the countertops.
Is there room for a blender? Even if you’ve got a big pantry or kitchen closet where it can live, do you want to put it away? How will it remind you to use it? Ponder this blender dilemma. Then complicate it even further with the addition of an immersion or hand blender.
Here’s what’s going on when the container for your blender is larger than you need. You lose space. You have more to clean. You may even be wasting food.
You’re going to have to play Goldilocks with your blender choice. There is a size that’s just right – and it likely depends on use.
Ease of Cleaning. There are kitchen cooks who swear by their food processor until it’s time to clean it. Then they swear at it. How easy will it be to clean your blender? Some people want everything to go in the dishwasher. Your large capacity blender jar may not fit.
The containers sold with single-serve blenders tend to be safe to put in the dishwasher. Immersion blenders clean up quick and easy. Hold it under hot running water or pulse it in a sinkful of soapy water.
Don’t automatically assume that high-performance blenders are more difficult to clean. The likely concern is whether it fits in your dishwasher. You’ll want to confirm it should go in the dishwasher in the first place.
Winding It Up: Which Blender Type is Right for You?
Who knew you had so many choices? Most people who splurge on higher-end models say they’re pleased with the decision. They feel that the extra cost is worth it. Those who don’t use their blenders often say they’re just as happy with a more affordable brand.
It’s a kitchen productivity tool. Like any tool, it’s only a benefit to you if you use it. Now you know what a blender can do.
You also know why you might want to consider a professional model. Or even upgrade to a stainless steel jar instead of an immersion blender.
Your challenge isn’t affordability. There’s a blender at practically every price point. It’s deciding what to buy to accomplish what you need it to do. And now you know what each type is capable of doing.