Immersion, personal and countertop blenders are kitchen staples. Here’s all you’d want to know about how to make an informed blender purchase.
A blender is one of those appliances that should be in every kitchen, but isn’t necessarily something you have to spend a lot of money on. Buying a blender can be a daunting task due to the myriad options, styles and types available, but it doesn’t have to be.
Before you start shopping for a blender, it’s important to identify your needs, so ask yourself: “What type of blender do I need?” If you’re going to be making icy island libations, you’ll need a countertop blender. Are smoothies more your speed? Then a personal blender will be ideal for you. And finally, if you’re a soups and sauces person, then look for a handheld or immersion blender.
A standard countertop blender can cost as little as $30 for a very basic model, to $300 or more for a very high-end one. This is the type of blender you see in most homes. They are traditionally the most powerful blenders and the containers have the highest blending capacity – between 5-8 cups or more, so they are ideal for families who will need to blend large amounts of food. They are generally very sturdy and stable appliances due to the (usually) heavy glass container, which can break if dropped.
A countertop blender is the most versatile option and can run the gamut of tasks you may need it for - ideal for mixing, puréeing, chopping and crushing ice for drinks. They are usually available in an array of colours, so you’re sure to find the right one to suit the décor or colour scheme in your kitchen.
You’ll also have the option of many speed settings, from three to as many as 16. But be careful, more speeds aren’t always better and a large number may just cause confusion as there is sometimes very little difference between speeds.
Controls vary from touchpads to push buttons, dials to switches, all of which perform the same duties. Personal preference is what rules here, although touchpads are the easiest to clean.
In essence, a personal blender is simply a smaller countertop blender that is more compact, quieter and blends quantities meant for just one or two people. Prices for personal blenders can range anywhere from $20-$100. The power levels are similar, but it doesn’t have as many speed settings or as high-capacity. They are ideal for smoothies, sauces and single-serve drinks with little or no ice. They also fit perfectly in smaller kitchens with a dearth of counter space because they store neatly in cupboards. Convenience is the major benefit of personal blenders because the blending usually takes place directly in a cup that doubles as the blender jar. Therefore, you can simply add your ingredients, blend, then drink it directly out of the container – no extra dishes to clean.
The container is often made of plastic, which makes it more lightweight and harder to break, but over time it can get scratched and sometimes may hold the smells of some foods.
Personal blenders generally have less speed settings, and in many cases there is only one: on. This can obviously limit your ability to make some foods, but keep in mind that personal blenders are not designed to do the same jobs as countertop blenders so you shouldn’t expect them to handle heavy-duty tasks.
Handheld/immersion blenders are priced similarly to personal blenders - $20-$100, but they are very different products. A handheld/immersion blender is a small, long handheld blender that’s put directly into a pot, bowl or glass to blend the contents. They’re great for blending hot foods like soups without having to transfer the liquid to another vessel. Immersion blenders take up very little space and clean up very easily – just put the end in warm, soapy water and turn it on for a few seconds.
Many immersion blenders come with attachments for other tasks like grinding spices or chopping foods and are also handy for mixing smoothies, milkshakes, and powdered drinks. One drawback is you usually have to hold down a switch to keep the blades running continuously, which can be tedious and time-consuming. Immersion blenders tend to complement a countertop and personal blenders rather than replace them.