Blender Buying Guide
What is a Blender?
There are a number of different types of blenders available for consideration. These include full size blenders, personal blenders, immersion blenders, and all in one blenders. In order to decide which one is best for you consider what food or drinks you will be preparing in the blender. How much space do you have for storage? How much power do you need to prepare your favorite foods and how often will you use this appliance.
Styles of Blenders
Blenders Come inSeveral Different Styles and depending on your needs you may find it beneficial to have more than one blender on hand. While many blenders can be used for multiple uses, there are specialty foods and items that may require you to own more than one blender.
Traditional Blenders are reviewed here. These are counter top blenders that will make great smoothies, soups, purees and a wide range of foods. Generally the blades and the motor speeds do not accommodate the needs of things like juicing, but for everyday use, these blenders will do everything the average family needs. More powerful motors will offer a wider range of what can be blended and better texture in your finished product.
Personal Blenders have become popular over the last decade. These personal blenders provide single serving blends that can be converted to cups and carried on the go. For small families the 2 cup servings will provide drinks and even soups that can be taken to work and serve as a breakfast or lunch on the go. Some traditional blenders have personal blending attachments which allow you to have two appliances in one.
Immersion Blenders are another addition to the blender line up that has become very popular in the last decade. These hand held blenders are used in the pot or bowl and can create a constant or pulse blend to puree food without having to transfer it to and from a countertop blender. For active cooks, the immersion blenders offer a high level of convenience. Often these blenders will offer attachments that can either stir, mix, blend or puree the food depending on your needs. The immersion blenders would be a good supplement to a traditional blender and generally not a replacement.
All in One Blenders have multiple attachments that can use the same motor and then add food processing, blender, and other attachments. These units are larger than traditional blenders and the appropriate attachment must be used depending on what you are trying to accomplish. If you have the counter and storage space to store these, it can reduce the number of appliances that are needed in the kitchen.
Specialty Blenders have entered the market in full force. Blenders are designed especially for one thing. It may be designed to create baby food, to create smoothies, for juicing, or for single serve smoothies. Each blender is designed for one purpose. If you mainly use a traditional blender for one thing, then a specialty blender has its advantages. For the most part a traditional blender (with perhaps the right attachment) can accomplish the job of specialty blender without needing a separate appliance.
What Will The Blender Be Used For?
When deciding which blender you should purchase consider what you will be using the blender for. Blenders can be very versatile but having the highest number of speeds or the highest powered motor may not be what you need.
Crushing Ice is required if you want to make smoothies, frozen drinks or frozen desserts. This requires a heavy duty motor and is one of the key reasons for purchasing a more expensive blender. Inexpensive blenders will create smoothies that are not very smooth. Higher quality blenders will create smooth and creamy smoothies in seconds.
Pureeing is generally used for making soups, creams, dips and other foods that require a smooth and consistent finished product. For pureed foods the pulse feature is very handy as it helps increase the amount of precision needed. Pureed food will not have any chunks in the finished food and should have a smooth and fine texture.
Juicing is one of the most intense uses of blending. A true juicer will crush the fruits, vegetables and seeds to a micro fine level releasing all of the vitamins and nutrients. Most traditional blenders require water or liquid in order to effectively operate, thus requiring a specialized piece of equipment for juicing. A blender must have a very fast and powerful motor in order to juice with minimum levels of liquid.
Stirring is needed for making items like milkshakes. This speed will provide a thicker texture to the item and is offered with nearly all blenders.
Chopping is a feature used when making chunky soups or casseroles. This will leave smaller pieces of fruit or vegetables that will give a chunky texture to the dish.
Mixing is used for making things like chicken or tuna salad. It will thoroughly mix the items but not puree it. An in between to chopping and pureeing.
Liquefy will create a smooth drink like a smoothie. This will make a drinkable mixture when it is finished. Often this will be combined with crushed ice for cold or frozen drinks. A heavy duty motor is needed to successfully liquefy fruit and vegetables.
Blending, chopping, and mixing are the most common uses for a blender. This allows you to prepare foods and create dishes at various levels of blending. A pulse feature is a great addition because it offer a greater level of control over the finished product.
Blender Features to Consider
Number of Speeds. Blenders generally have speeds ranging from 3 to 16. A 3 speed blender will most likely be low, medium and high. More sophisticated blenders offer more speeds, but you need to consider whether you will use more than the 3 standard. The other useful speed is a pulse button. This allows the blender to stop and start in bursts and provides better control over the blending. An ice feature will allow you to crush ice and create frozen drinks with ease. If there is not a control specifically for ice the high speed will create crushed ice if the motor is powerful enough.
Blender Blades are an important feature of the blender because it controls the level of blending that is offered. They are generally at the base with 2 or 4 blades. A 4 blade blender will blend much better than 2 blades. The best blades are made of stainless steel. These will remain sharp, are very durable, and resist rusting. If the blade is removable it is be easier to clean.
Capacity of the Blender. The pitcher will establish the capacity. Blenders can range from one or two cups for single serve options and 4 to 10 cups for full size blenders. Some blenders offer more than one size option of pitcher with the unit. These might come with the original purchase or can be added as accessories when needed.
Pitcher Material. Pitchers are generally either made of glass or plastic. If the pitcher is made of glass the unit will be heavier. There is also a higher risk of breakage with a glass pitcher. The plastic pitchers are becoming more common and the material has been improved. Higher end blenders that offer plastic pitchers with a heavy duty polycarbonate plastic that is BPA free. Cheaper models will be thinner plastic that will crack over time. Most of these pitchers are dishwasher safe, however, most can be cleaned by blending a drop of dishwasher soap with warm water and blending it for a few seconds. This will free up any food that has stuck in the bottom near the blades and leave you with a clean blender. Cheaper plastic pitchers will crack sooner when used in the dishwasher.
Motor Wattage. One of the key features of a blender is the size of the motor. To blend ice and juice requires a much stronger motor that simple mixing and blending. A stronger motor will also produce results that have better texture and are more consistent. Generally motors will range from 300 watts to 1400 watts for high end professional units.
300 watt blenders does well for basic blending and chopping of foods. For smoothies you need a blender with at least 500 to 600 watts. This will have enough power to crush ice and create frozen concoctions. For heavy duty blending like grinding coffee beans you want 700 watts or more. Juicing requires a higher powered motor over 700 watts as well.
Blenders are a must have in the kitchen, if you do any amount of cooking. With the tendencies towards healthier eating blenders can increase the food options and make delicious shakes, smoothies, soups and more than can be enjoyed in seconds. The preparation is very fast and the versatility makes the blender a great kitchen appliance that will be used weekly, if not daily.
Finding a blender that will offer the power and reliability you need will enable you to make the most out of the blender you own. Evaluate how you will use the blender and what things you want to make. Buying an inexpensive blender can result in lower quality blending and multiple purchases. If you will use a blender frequently it is best to invest in a piece that will provide great results and one that will last for many years. By reviewing the features that are important to you and howthe blender will be used, you will be able to choose a top quality product that will produce high quality results you are looking for.
- Vitamix 5200 Series Blender: https://www.vitamix.com/
- Ninja BL660 Professional Blender: http://www.ninjakitchen.com/
- KitchenAid-KSB1570SL-5-Speed Blender:http://www.kitchenaid.com/