A blender is a versatile kitchen appliance, allowing for a seamless kitchen experience. Whether you are whirling up fruits and veggies for smoothies or making a pitcher of frozen margaritas – a quality blender should be able to process everything into creamy smooth perfection. Besides smoothies and icy drinks, blenders can also make sauces, dips, spreads, soups, desserts, baby food, purees, and even grind coffee and nuts. With the right blender, you can even grind your own flour.
However, choosing one can be intimidating with the many types, settings, styles, brands, sizes, and more. If you’re contemplating buying a new blender, you might be wondering what kind you must buy or how you would know which is most suitable for you.
Here are the essential factors to consider when buying a blender for your kitchen:
Types of Blenders
Probably the first thing you must consider is the type of blender you want to buy. From there, you can choose from a myriad of choices – different brands, different features, and models.
Here are the different types of blenders, along with their pros and cons:
1. Countertop Blender
Countertop blenders are probably what comes first to mind when you think of blenders. As the name implies, a countertop blender is designed to be placed and used on the kitchen counter. It comes with a stationary motor and a jar that varies in size, but it can usually serve more than two servings of smoothies. Generally, they have large capacities of 64 oz. (almost 2 liters), so they are a great option for making drinks for a family or a party.
Countertop blenders are great for keeping smoothies, ice, and other ingredients from flying around – containing them neatly inside the jar so there would be no messes on your countertop.
The leading countertop blender brands include Vitamix, Kitchenaid, Cuisinart, Breville, Oster, and Blendtec.
- Great for serving drinks, shakes, and smoothies. Countertop blenders make the best drinks around.
- They usually have multiple speed settings and pulsing options that make blending various ingredients effortlessly, ensuring that everything is blended and the mixture is smooth.
- Depending on the features and blades, the right countertop blender can be able to chop, blend, liquefy, and grind like a food processor. For most recipes, you can use a blender as a food processor, but it won’t work for everything.
- While older blender models are known to be challenging to clean, the newer versions of countertop blenders are easier to maintain and clean. Generally, adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid to a blender with water and blending it for a few seconds would be enough to clean it.
- Because they are pretty bulky, they need their own space on the countertop. If you’re using them every day or if you have a spacious kitchen, it won’t be an issue. But if you have a small and already crowded kitchen and you only want them occasionally, it can be an annoyance.
- Some are not designed for blending hot liquids because most of them are made for blending cool or room-temperature ingredients only. Blending may cause a huge pressure to build up for steam from hot ingredients, which can cause an explosion.
2. Immersion Blender
Immersion blenders, also known as stick blenders, feature a stick that has a chopping blade at one end and a safety handle at the other. You only have to put the immersion stick deep into the pot or bowl, where you have to blend the ingredients.
Normally, immersion blenders are used for blending soups and hot liquids. It’s also great for making protein shakes, using powdered milk, or mixing instant pudding.
- Because you can put them straight into the pot while cooking, there’s no pressure build-up from steam. You will be less likely to end up with soup on your kitchen walls or third-degree burns.
- They are easy to clean, and most are dishwasher-safe.
- It’s not as bulky as countertop blenders, so you can easily store them in your kitchen cabinets or drawer when not in use.
- You need to maintain pressure on the button while you’re using it. While it’s an essential safety feature since the blade is exposed, it can also be tiring to use for longer blending periods.
- It’s not great for making seed-free smoothies. Also, if you want to make fresh fruit or vegetable smoothies using an immersion blender, expect it to be chunky. It will do a great job blending, but there will always be a little texture left.
- They are usually low in power, so they are not capable of blending hard fruits and vegetables.
3. Single-Serve / Bullet Blenders
The single-serve or bullet types of blenders are personal blenders with a single-serving jar shaped like a bullet. The jar is flipped outside down to connect with the motor base, and it is pushed down to blend. To use it, you fill the bullet-shaped container with ingredients, put the lid with the chopping blade to the top, then turn the whole thing upside down and insert it into the base of the blender.
Bullet blenders are designed for chopping up fruit, ice, and nuts to create fantastic, healthy smoothies. But if you want to make a pancake batter or an omelet, it can also do it. They are also great for making baby food. These blenders come in different sizes, but most have the capacity to make a single-serve drink (or double for those with more giant jars).
NutriBullet, Magic Bullet, and Ninja are the brands that popularized bullet blenders.
- The main advantage of this type of blender is speed. Bullet blenders are designed to turn your chunky ingredients into a smooth liquid in seconds.
- These are safer to use than most blenders because the blades are protected within the bullet casing. There’s no way to touch the blades while the blender is working.
- Some models come with a to-go lid so that you can bring your freshly blended smoothie anywhere.
- They are not created equal. Some can pulverize ingredients like chia seeds or raspberries, but most will not. If you want high performance, look only at the leading brands.
- It may usually leak due to user error. Most users do not attach the blade unit firmly enough to the container, so when it blends the ingredients leak. However, if you screw them on too tight, you may prevent leaks, but you would have a hard time getting the blade head off again.
4. Portable blender
Portable blenders are the newest type of blender in the market. Often confused with personal, single-serve blenders – portable blenders are actually different. This type of blender has a clear glass tube (the cup) with one end that screws to the base that contains the motor and the blade. The other end screws into the lid. They are smaller and lighter than the average hydro flask, making them portable. It is also rechargeable and comes with a rechargeable battery charged using a standard USB charger. Since there are no cables involved, you can move them around while operating it.
Portable blenders allow you to actually blend anywhere you want; meanwhile, not all bullet blenders are rechargeable because there are many corded models on the market. This means if you lack one ingredient for your smoothie, you can buy it on the go and blend it at your destination! It’s also a great blender for parents to make baby food on the go.
PLeaking is a usual concern, so ensure both ends are tightened before putting anything inside.
- Obviously, its portability is one of its most significant advantages. You can stow it easily on your gym bag or backpack like a water bottle to have a freshly made smoothie whenever you like.
- You can charge it anywhere because it uses a standard USB charger.
- not as high-powered as other blenders. It’s best to “help out” your portable blender by slicing your fruits into easy-to-blend pieces.
5. Hand mixer
In its most basic sense, hand mixers or hand blenders are the electric versions of the old-fashioned egg beater. They may have different attachments, but in the end, they are simply a mixer designed for beating ingredients together. It has different speed dials, and its range of attachments make it a perfect tool for whipping ingredients, desserts, and other baked goods. The most well-known brands include KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach, and Cuisinart.
- It’s lightweight and can be easily used by any newbie who doesn’t work in the kitchen.
- Because they don’t have cutting blades, you don’t need to hold them down constantly to make them work, unlike with an immersion blender.
- They are easy to clean.
- It’s also an economical and easy-to-store batter blender option for bakers compared to a large mixer.
- Since there’s no cutting blade, you need to ensure that the ingredients you put are chopped to the size you want before adding them.
- They are not designed to mix heavy dough like shortbread. Trying to do so may cause excess wearing of the attachments and the motor.
6. Stand Mixer
Also known as cake mixers, stand mixers are typically used for making cakes. They have the same function as hand blenders but are far more powerful. They also come with different attachments to make them versatile tool. This type of blender will be a helpful tool for a serious home baker.
- The powerful motors will be able to mix up and blend the heavy and sticky dough.
- It has variable speeds to allow just the right amount and power needed to mix a specific recipe.
- They are big, bulky, and heavy, so they may need a dedicated countertop space because they aren’t something you want to pull in and out of a cupboard if you’re going to use them often.
- They can be expensive, making it only a practical choice if you are baking a lot.
7. Commercial blender
If you’re looking for something powerful because you will be heavily using your blender, choose a commercial-grade blender. They come with a more powerful motor and are made with durable materials. These types of blenders are designed to accommodate more ingredients at once. Often used in commercial settings like food service establishments, these blenders are designed to create blended foods and drinks more than once a day.
When checking out commercial blenders, check the warranty if you are going to use them in a commercial kitchen. Some blenders are labeled as commercial when they are designed only for high-use home users rather than high-use commercial ones.
- It’s the best option for high usage, thanks to its robust motor and sturdier build.
- They can blend and whip up a mixture in less time and effort compared to other blenders.
- It can handle most things from soft cooked ingredients to roasted nuts for making butter.
- It’s more expensive than regular countertop blenders.
- Depending on the ingredients you add to the blender, it can still be hard to clean, even if the manufacturer claims the model is self-cleaning.
No single right option can do every function perfectly and will cater to all your blending needs in the future. But it’s not hard to find one that will work for your primary blending and food prep needs, then work out which option will work best for your other needs.
The type of blender you may choose will ultimately depend on the purpose you intend to use it and how often, so you can have a good indication of the build quality you will need.
To determine what type of blender to buy, assess the purpose. There are many reasons to buy a blender. Do you have a big family who loves to drink fruit shakes after dinnertime or kids who love milkshakes during afternoon snacks? You probably need a countertop blender that can make a batch of shakes and smoothies. Do you need to make daily green juice for your personal cleansing diet? A bullet blender may suffice. Do you need to be able to blend while in the car to save time in the morning? You may need a portable blender. Do you need a blender just for preparing drinks for occasional house parties? Getting a commercial-grade blender won’t be a practical option.
Your use and purpose will dictate what the best type of blender to buy is. It will also further clarify the size, power, speed, and maintenance of the blender you need. From there, you can check the models available in the market that comes with the features you need and the price that’s reasonable for you.
For homeowners, it’s always exciting to buy a new appliance for the house. But finding that it doesn’t fit in your intended space can be a buzzkill.
Blenders may not take as much space as a washing machine or a refrigerator, but still, you want to be able to have a place for storing it and still have a working space for preparing stuff you are going to put inside it. If you have a spacious kitchen, getting any kind of blender might cause any issues, but if you have a cramped or small kitchen, then make sure the blender you are going to buy will have a space to call home.
For countertop and commercial blenders and stand mixers – make sure you have enough space for them in your countertop, and make sure it’s proportional to the space of your kitchen as well. You don’t want a bulky blender in a studio apartment where it would sit too close to your coffee maker and your induction stove.
For blenders that are to be used occasionally or blenders that are sleeker (like immersion and portable blenders) – see to it that you have a free space in your cupboard or kitchen cabinet and drawers to stow them away.
Besides size, consider capacity, too. A single-serving or portable blender can be fine if you want a quick, individual serving. But if you want to blend in batches, countertop and immersion blenders might be what you need. You don’t want to end up blending again and again just to serve smoothies to your family for one meal, but you also don’t want a large jar to clean for blending a shake for one.
When looking for blenders, you will see anywhere from 300 to 1,000 watts or even greater since manufacturers claim that higher wattage means better performance. However, it’s not always the case because how the blade is assembled and the shape of the container are also big factors. The exception is immersion blenders, where higher wattage translates to more consistent results.
Going for models with 500 watts is generally enough for the typical blender workload, like blending smoothies and making milkshakes and purees. But you may consider a more powerful motor if you have other purposes like crushing ice, making nut butter, and grinding spices.
High-powered blenders are awesome – they function faster and produce better blending results for a fraction of the time compared to typical blenders. However, they are expensive and large. High-powered motors are often commonly found in commercial blenders. And as incredible as they are, they come with an annoying quality: they are super loud. With such a powerful motor, these types of blenders blend at a higher volume than traditional ones. It may take you by surprise the first time you use one, so if the noise is an issue, take some more time to assess if a high-powered blender is worth buying for your home.
Speed and Torque
Speed controls for blenders vary from 2-17. Ideally, you only need blenders with between 3 and 10-speed settings for home and personal use. Less than three won’t give enough control while going for more than ten-speed settings is unnecessary. With a dozen or more, it can get difficult to distinguish the difference from one speed to the next.
You may not have these settings for portable and single-serve blenders, though. Sometimes, models only come with one speed setting for blending, and that’s fine if your biggest consideration is the size of the blender, especially if you are the only one who will use it.
However, a pulse button is essential. It can immediately stop or start blending to give precision when blending delicate ingredients. For portable blenders with only one speed setting, sometimes the on button is also the pulse button. Some high-performance blenders come with conveniently pre-programmed settings, like smoothies, hot soup, and whole fruit juice.
Another essential factor to consider is the motor blades’ torque — the force that causes something to spin around the center. The higher the torque of the motor blades, the less likely they will strain or get stuck when they meet resistance. If a blender can crush tougher items like pineapple chunks, root vegetables, nuts, and even ice cubes without straining, then you know that it has pretty great torque.
Controls and Functions
Choosing a blender depends on your needs and preferences. If you just need a basic blender, then the three-speed and pulse/turbo functions will do fine.
But if you want to get the most out of your kitchen experience, you might as well buy a blender with more controls and functions. Some models offer up to seven speeds (or even more), allowing you to do more things, such as chop, grind, liquefy, mix, and whip.
You can find touchpads as the newest in blenders, while some still prefer traditional push buttons. Some blenders also come with dials for speed control.
Material of the Jar
The jar, pitcher, or cup is essential to your blender. It’s where you put the ingredients, and it’s where the blended product is also kept. You have to give ample consideration to what material it is made of. Blender jars are often made of these three materials: glass, plastic, and stainless steel.
Glass – Besides looking and feeling high-end, glass blender jars are more stable than plastic. It’s resistant to discoloration and scratches, and it doesn’t absorb odors. It also usually comes with measurement markings. However, it can be heavy to carry and fragile, so it needs more careful handling. Those cheaper blenders with a glass jar might be made of low-quality glass that may shatter.
Plastic – It’s lighter, durable, and will not break in case you accidentally knock it over. Blender manufacturers use food-grade plastic in making the product. Like glass containers, plastic jars often come with measurement markings. However, they can scratch and are more prone to absorb food odors. They are also harder to clean compared to glass and stainless steel, especially if you add greasy ingredients like oil.
Stainless steel –A stainless steel blender jar looks sleeker and modern, and it is also sturdy. However, you can’t see the contents inside, so you have to stop and see if everything’s blended or liquefied. Plus, stainless steel blenders tend to be more expensive and usually do not have the measurement markings the glass and plastic blenders do.
Some blenders come with multiple attachments with different blades, which means they can be used for more than one task. When looking at these kinds of blenders, consider buying one with additional whisk functions.
Of course, you may not need to look into it if you have only a specific need for a blender. If a blender without additional attachments is fine with you, looking at those with other attachments may entice you to buy something you don’t really need.
If you want a blender that crushes ice, they tend to be more on the premium side of the price scale due to the more power a motor needs to perform this function. You can find blenders that crush ice from commercial or countertop blenders.
Ease of Cleaning
When looking for a blender, always visualize how you are going to clean it. If it has a conventional design, cleaning would be an easy task. It can self-clean without a hassle – you just have to pour in some water with dish soap in the pitcher and “blend” at high speed. But not all blenders support this mechanism.
Also, some blenders are dishwasher-friendly, while some are not. If you rely on the dishwasher for cleaning stuff, then you must look for dishwasher-friendly models. If you are going to hand-wash them, make sure the blade won’t get in the way, and choose products with easy-to-clean designs.
If you can afford it, it’s best to choose blenders with features that can make blending and food prep easier.
Some blenders have cool features, like the Oster Fusion Blender’s special motor, which drives the blades to rotate in alternating directions. This feature enhances the flow and blending of food and thus prevents the contents from getting stuck inside the jar. Hamilton Beach has some models which feature the “wave-action” technology, which helps the food to continually draw down into the blade, which results in a consistently smooth texture — great for making smoothies or soups, salsas, or spreads.
Some units have to dispense spouts which make pouring liquefied foods and beverages a lot easier, but it can add to your dishwashing chores. Plus, the level of contents inside the jar could be remarkably greater than the level of the dispensing spout. Blendtec has a few models with state-of-the-art features like an illuminated touch-screen interface, pre-programmed cycles, and a capacitive touch slider where you can adjust the motor speed even while the blender is running.
When buying anything, price is undoubtedly the most crucial factor. Several brands claim that their blender models are the best, but all of them differ in price and quality.
The blender’s price ultimately depends on its power, material, performance, and features. A high-power blender may cost from $300 to $1,000. Meanwhile, low-intensity blenders can range up to $150. Immersion blenders may range from $30 to $250.
In comparing blender prices, the motor speed is not necessarily what makes one blender cheaper than the other or more expensive than the other. But the features set a blender’s price apart from its competitors. First, decide which type of blender suits your needs to help you buy the blender that will be worth your money.
Then, look at its functions and features. Decide which of them will be the most important to you. Blenders come with different features that add convenience if you aim to use the blender regularly. Buying a high-end blender with lots of additional features might be a waste of money if you’re only going to make smoothies with it.
You may also consider buying a unit that comes with accessories like a dispensing spout and a tamper, which may save you from buying other kitchen tools.
Warranty is an indicator of the quality of the product. Long warranties indicate that the manufacturer is confident that their blender can function without issues for a long time. Most high-performance blenders would come at a premium price but will also offer years’ worth of warranties. Some can last up to 10 years. Meanwhile, budget blenders might cover the warranty for a year only.
Wherever you plan to buy a blender, make sure there is a warranty so that you can return it in case it malfunctions without your fault.
Buying from reliable blender brands will most likely give you high customer satisfaction. Brands may have the cleverest ads, but ultimately, they get established by the quality they offer. Well-known blender brands like Vitamix, Cuisinart, Ninja, Oster, KitchenAid, Blendtec, Hamilton Beach, and others became popular because they consistently provide reliable blender models. Some big appliance brands like LG and Sharp also offer blenders, and you may want to consider them.
Buying products from brands with high customer satisfaction rates ensures quality, lessening your risk of getting a faulty blender or one that won’t work only after a few days or months of use. Also, you will run a lesser chance of a fraudulent purchase, especially if you buy online.
If you need more tips and recommendations, you may also check out our Guide to Choosing the Right Blender for Your Needs.