Blenders Buying Guide
Blenders are necessary in most used kitchens today. From smoothies to blending soups, there is usually a reason to turn to one. In addition, because they often sit out on the countertop for regular use, their looks are just as important to most kitchen owners. Selecting one often focuses on features, power, looks, as well as the construction. Having something that is easy to use and clean will make a big difference in the long-term.
What to Expect
Look for a blender that is easy to use and dependable. Some models are not meant to be versatile for harder items like ice. You may also want to consider the following before making your decision about which to buy. How often will you use the blender? Those who use it three or more times per week are most likely to leave it out on the countertop. You will also appreciate a stronger model with more power behind it.
How much counter space do you have? Most blenders take up about the same amount of space as a coffee maker. However, sturdier and larger models are available for those who want to give up counter space for more function.
What types of foods will you use in it? Some are designed for specific needs, such as smoothies. Others can handle anything from vegetables and fruit to dough for bread or cookies.
Keep in mind that price does play a role in quality with blenders. You will find that higher-priced models may come with more power and a sturdy construction whereas lesser expensive models offer minimal features and just overall functional options. However, you can find moderately priced blenders within most price points.
Types of Blenders
There are two main types of blenders. However, there are many variations between the two. Consider the following as well, as how you plan to use the blender, before making your decision.
The most common type of blender is the countertop version. These are going to provide virtually all options necessary for most users. This includes mixing, chopping and pureeing. Most also handle ice, though be sure of this before you make a purchase. Some feature glass containers while others have plastic pitchers. Size is another key factor. Most offer between four and eight cups of usable size. Glass tends to be easier to clean and maintain. Look for speed options, too. Most countertop blenders offer between 8 and 16 speeds. More does not mean a better product since this does not often play a role in the overall finished product. You may also want to consider blenders with programmable features.
Also known as immersion blenders, these work very well to give the user more hands-on control. Rather than featuring a container, these are wand-like devices with a spinning blade on the bottom. You can then insert them into pots or bowls to blend whatever is within it. These are ideal for larger soups or sauces where pouring the hot liquid into a pitcher is not a good idea. Immersion blenders are best suited for smaller applications and tasks rather than big projects. Some are highly durable while others are not. Compare the amount of speed and power in them before making a buying decision. If you do not want to give up counter space and you do not use a blender off, this type can work well.
Key Features to Look For
Blenders come with numerous features. More features do not mean they are a better product, though. Before making a buying decision, ensure the features available fit your specific needs and therefore make them worth buying. Also, it's a good idea to check if you could replace the fault blender part before purchasing a new one. The following are some features worth considering.
Power or Watts
One of the biggest contributing factors to the effectiveness of a blender is the amount of power or wattage the system has. Some low-end blenders have about 300 watts, ideal for softer foods. Others have 1000 or more. These are best for situations where there is a large quantity of product or the product is raw or hard, like ice. Keep in mind, though, that the difference between a 900-watt and a 1000-watt blender is not much. It is far more important when purchasing immersion blenders.
There are many types of controls and keypads on blenders. Look for those that are durable and easy to clean. Smooth surfaces rather than push buttons are often a better choice. However, a dial can be a good option as well. Models with a simple on/off switch are less ideal because they provide far less control over the mixing.
Most blenders offer various speeds. Speeds control the type of grinding. Having between three and 16 is normal but not all are necessary. Look for those that offer the type of power you desire, such as puree or ice crushing. A pulse setting is also a nice feature since this will provide you with the most control over the process.
Look for an opening that is large enough for the types of items you plan to put into it. It should have a smaller opening plug that is ideal for adding items to the already spinning blender. Also, look for a comfortable handle and a spout for easy pouring.
Most blenders operate by spinning a blade at the base of the pitcher. This is normal, but look for those with a durable design. Those with an attached blade seem to be stronger and sturdier than those that are not. However, attached blades are harder to clean.
Some of the newer or more selective use blenders feature a spigot on the front. This allows you to draw the fluid from within the blender without pouring it. Some are very fragile and break or clog easily. Others are durable enough for regular use.
Selecting a blender is a personal decision based on use. However, for the longest lifespan, select a sturdy blender designed with the features you are most interested in, based on how you plan to use it. You can expect to pay from $50 up to several hundred for a high-end model.