Blenders are a vital appliance in any kitchen. Whether you’re looking for the best type of blender for smoothies or you want to blend baby food, this is a handy tool. Many blenders are capable of crushing ice, grinding fruits and vegetables or even pureeing. So, they can be versatile for many tasks in your kitchen.
However, when you start shopping, you will quickly find there are various types of blender on the market. This can make choosing the right blender for your purposes a little tricky. Fortunately, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed, as we have compiled a guide on the different types of blenders.
Blenders typically fall into main categories and here we’ll explore the common types in each group along with some specialty options, and which ones are best suited to which tasks.
This is the most common type of blender. They are basically a handheld stick with a chopping blade and safety guard on one end and a comfort handle at the other. For this reason, immersion blenders are often called stick blenders.
One of the reasons why immersion blenders are so popular is that they are typically quite inexpensive. Additionally, they don’t take up a lot of room. They can be easily stored in a kitchen drawer without needing to take up any countertop space. This makes them a great option if you have limited space or a smaller kitchen.
The best use for an immersion blender is to blend hot liquids and soups. You don’t need to worry about decanting hot liquids into a jug, you can simply blend it in the pot. Immersion blenders are also a good option for quick mixing. So, if you want to blend a power and liquid, such as using powdered milk, making instant pudding or creating a protein shake, you can easily accomplish this with an immersion blender.
Another great reason to have an immersion blender is that they are easy to use with small quantities. While small amounts of food, such as baby food may stick and not blend properly in a regular size blender, you can easily create a smooth finish using an immersion blender.
Easy Clean: Most immersion blenders are dishwasher safe, but even if you choose one that isn’t, you can just blend a little hot water and dish soap and you can easily clean yours.
Less Steam Risk: Since you put an immersion blender straight into your pot, there is no steam pressure build up. So, there is a lower risk of splattering your kitchen walls with soup or suffering from burns.
You Need to Maintain Pressure: As the blade is exposed, pressure on the button needs to be maintained to operate the blender. This is a safety feature, but it can be difficult if you have little hand strength
May Not Create a Smooth Finish: While many immersion blenders can do a great job with baby food or soup, if you want to have a seed free smoothie or want to crush ice, you are not likely to be satisfied with the results.
Single serve or bullet blenders are a personal blender. This type of blender was made popular by the Nutribullet, Magic Bullet and Ninja product lines.
These blenders are available in a variety of sizes, but most can make a single or double serving of a smoothie or drink.
What makes this type of blender unique is how it works. You put the ingredients in the “bullet” shape container, then screw a chopping blade to the top and turn it upside down to insert it into the blender base.
These personal blenders were the original smoothie maker. They are great to chop up ice, nuts and frozen fruit to create a perfectly smooth drink. You can even make a quick pancake batter. They are only suited to very liquid recipes, but you can also puree baby food.
Very Quick: The main advantage of a single serve blender is the speed. They can quickly turn chunky ingredients smooth in a matter of seconds.
Secure Blade: Another advantage is that the blade is securely contained in the bullet container, so you cannot access the blades during operation. This makes them okay for children to use.
Different Quality Standards: While there are some excellent single serve blenders on the market, there are some that may struggle to pulp raspberries or blend seeds.
Leaking Issues: Leaking can be a common problem, particularly if you don’t attach the blade unit firmly to the container. This can be a difficult balance, as you need to screw it on tightly to avoid leaks, but have it loose enough so you can remove the blade head.
Travel blenders are a relatively new type of blender on the market. These should not be confused with single serve or bullet blenders. Travel blenders have a clear glass tube that screws into a blade base containing the motor. At the other end, you can screw on a lid.
These blenders are smaller than an average flask and are quite lightweight, making them highly portable.
Although the adverts suggest a travel blender can be used to make a fresh smoothie in your car, you’re not likely to want to deal with cartons of milk or preparing fresh fruit in your vehicle.
However, travel blenders can be a great option for your office or at the gym. You can create a protein shake for your workout or enjoy a midmorning smoothie at work. They are also a great option to make baby food on the go.
They are easy to fit in your diaper bag and you don’t need to stress about finding suitable food when you’re out and about. If you’re eating at a restaurant, you can add some veggies from your plate together with a little water to create instant baby food for your little one.
Superb Portability: The blade and motor unit operates using a rechargeable battery. Most models can be recharged with a standard USB charger, so you can enjoy a truly portable experience.
You Can Move It Around: Since the travel blender is a self-contained, lightweight unit with no cables to worry about, you can move it while it is running to avoid bits being stuck on the sides.
Leaking: While travel blenders are relatively new to the market, there are complaints starting to emerge about leaking issues. Since you may not be using it where you can easily wipe down surfaces, you will need to ensure that both ends are sufficiently tightened.
Cleaning: Although it is convenient to blend on the go, this can create cleaning issues, particularly if you need to remix foods or drinks.
Countertop blenders are a great option for preparing drinks. The leading brands in the market include Kitchenaid and Vitamix, but there are some excellent, less well-known brands.
Generally speaking, countertop blenders have almost a 2 liter or 64-ounce capacity. This makes them a great option if you make drinks for parties or the whole family.
However, you need to be careful if you want to blend hot liquids. While most have lids that seal well, many countertop blenders are only designed for cool liquids. So, while the lid may keep ice and smoothie ingredients from splattering your kitchen walls, there can be a steam pressure build up, putting you at risk of scalding.
Versatile: Many countertop blenders have the ability to mix almost anything. There are usually multiple speeds with a pulse option to make blending easier and ensure that everything is well blended.
Fairly Easy to Clean: Although older countertop blenders were difficult to clean, newer models do not have this reputation. Many models are dishwasher safe, but others simply require adding some dish soap and water before you blend for a few seconds.
Bulky: Since countertop blenders are powerful and have a large capacity, they tend to be bulky. This is not much of an issue if you have plenty of countertop space and will use it frequently. However, if you will only use it infrequently, you may find the bulk annoying.
Easy to Accidentally Blend Items: Another potential downside of countertop blenders is that it is easy to accidentally blend a foreign object. With such a large capacity, you may not realize that you’ve left a spoon or other utensil inside before you hit blend. This can not only create an alarming noise, but can damage the blades and the glass jug.
If you need a blender that offers pure power, you’ll need a commercial blender. Some popular examples include the Vitamix 5200 or Cleanblend line. There are also semi pro models such as the Blendtec.
Commercial blenders are all about power. They are designed for heavy use and blending more robust ingredients. So, if you want to make a large batch of hummus or want to create smoothies more than once a day, you may find the power of a commercial blender appealing.
Commercial blenders also tend to have a large capacity, so if you have a large family, you should be able to ensure everyone has a delicious smoothie every day.
Not Necessarily Only for Commercial Use: While they may be labeled “commercial”, many of these blenders are actually designed for high end home use. This does mean that if you do want it for a commercial kitchen, you will need to check the warranty carefully.
Can Cope With Almost Anything: With such great power, commercial blenders can cope with blending almost anything. From pulping soft cooked pumpkin to blending roasted nuts to create a delicious butter, you should enjoy great results every time.
Higher Price: Since a commercial blender typically has a far more powerful motor, this is generally attached to a far higher price tag.
Difficult to Clean: Although in theory, commercial blenders are self cleaning, with just a little water and dish soap, this is not necessarily the case. In reality, some ingredients can be very difficult to clean, particularly if you have sticky syrups or other problematic ingredients that may need to be scrubbed.
Hand and stand mixers are also known as cake mixers as this is the most common purpose for these machines. There are some very powerful mixers on the market such as Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart or Kenwood, but there are lower power options that can be a little cheaper and more portable.
These mixers have been around since the 1920s in a domestic setting, but large commercial models were in bakeries before this.
While most people use a mixer to create cake batter, you can use them as a blender. The spinning beaters can puree the ingredients and even add in air to create a fluffier product.
Additionally, many stand mixer models have different attachments that create a versatile kitchen appliance. In addition to whisk attachments and dough hooks, some stand mixers allow you to add a blender jug or food grinder to create a more conventional blending experience.
Versatile: A hand or stand mixer is crucial for any serious home baker. They have the versatility to create a great cake batter or knead bread doughs. You can also use them to puree soft fruits instead of using a blender.
Variable Speeds: Most mixers have several speeds that can allow you to control the power of the appliance.
Can Be Bulky: While hand mixers are easy to accommodate in a drawer, stand mixers tend to be bulky and heavy. So, they can take up benchtop space and be difficult to pull out of a cabinet.
Not Easy to Clean: Although beaters and mixing bowls are typically dishwasher safe, the body of the mixer can be tricky to clean. You’ll need to use just a damp cloth to wipe down the mixer, which can be problematic if you have sticky substances on the machine.
Kitchen systems are similar to a commercial blender due to their design and powerful performance. However, these products are far more than a simple blender. There are attachments to blend, chop, food process and food prep. Some systems also have non blend features such as a juicer attachment.
Some systems also provide jars or cups for different blending purposes. This could include single serve jars for preparing small batch meals or creating jars of applesauce or baby food.
Superb Versatility: Kitchen systems can be used for a variety of food prep tasks including blending. Depending on the model you choose, you can blend, chop, puree, whisk, mix and juice foods.
May Include Additional Jars or Cups: Some systems also include additional pieces to make blending your favorite drinks and dishes even easier.
Takes Up a Lot of Space: With all the attachments and a base unit, a kitchen system can require a lot of countertop or cabinet space.
Learning Curve: You will also need to spend time becoming familiar in using the system, unlike a basic blender that can be used practically straight out of the box.
While there is no single blender option that will perform every function perfectly, it is quite simple to find a model that will work for your primary needs. You can even look for models that meet specific requirements, such as the best blender under $50.
You will need to think about how you want to use your blender and what functions you’ll need. If all you want to do is make a glass of smoothie for yourself each morning, a single serve blender will be sufficient. Likewise, if you want to make delicious, smooth soups, or prepare small amounts of baby food opt for an immersion blender.
However, if your blending requirements are a little more complex, you will need to think about what functions and features you need. Don’t assume that more power or the highest price tag will provide the best option.
There are different capacities, different attachments and different blades that will all make a difference in how a blender will complement your lifestyle. It is well worth taking a little time to assess your needs and the various types of blender. This will help you to decide the right model for your home and you will be able to enjoy your new blender for many years to come.