When it comes to kitchen appliances, a blender is a jack of all trades. From blending, pureeing, food processing, grinding coffee, and chopping to crushing ice or even making homemade peanut butter, everything is a breeze when you have a blender.
When you are craving some smoothie or a cocktail to beat the hot summer, all you need to do is gather your ingredients, chuck them in the blender, and press a button. Within seconds your drink of the day will be ready. However, with so many features and specs, finding the right blender is no cakewalk. You want one that can crush ice for some cocktails as well as perform the daunting job of making almond butter from scratch.
Like all other kitchen appliances, price definitely plays a pivotal role in a blender’s performance. But it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Blender type, usage, power, and speed should also be considered so that you get your money’s worth. In this article, we will walk you through all of these buying factors so you can find the best option for you.
If you have decided on buying a blender, you might have already looked up some reviews online. But before you check out specific brands or scroll through the endless debate of Wolf blender vs Vitamix, you need to know what type of blender you need. Depending on the types, their usage varies and so does their versatility. In general, blenders can be categorized into three types: countertop blender, immersion blender, and personal blenders.
Traditional Countertop Blenders
Countertop blenders are the most powerful and versatile blenders. Being high-powered, they are quite bulky in design. High-performing countertop blenders can blend smoothies, can make a puree, mayonnaise, or even prepare almond butter.
They come with a base with an attached motor and several different jugs or jars. Depending on your ingredients, you can change the jug type or the blade type to cater to your needs. Depending on the jar size, they can hold up to 48-72 ounces of food.
Immersion blenders are handheld, compactly designed blenders. They are outstanding when it comes to blending liquid or making puree, juices, sauces, or even just for mixing eggs. They can also pulverize onions, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and peppers. Immersion blenders come in two variations, one of which is corded and the other is cordless.
Despite being compact, they have powerful motors. Another perk of using an immersion blender is it will provide you enough flexibility while blending, you can ensure even blending by controlling its movement.
Personal blenders are an excellent option if you live alone and need to prepare a single-serving smoothie or soup. Their compact use is suitable for single-serving use, and they can hold only 8-20 ounces.
Most personal blender jugs are designed to be taken on the go. You can prepare your smoothie and take the jar with you when you go out; that saves extra clean-up.
Blenders usually range from 200-1000 watts of power. Generally, a 500-600 watt blender can perform all types of blending. A 300-watt blender can blend smoothies and chop vegetables. With power above 700 watts, blenders can pulverize and liquefy dry ingredients.
Despite the common notion that the power or wattage is the key determinant of a blender’s performance, it is not always the case. You need a good combination of blade type, jar shape, and power to make a blender perform better. However, for an immersion blender, higher wattage does translate into high performance.
Blender blade type is one of the key catalysts for its performance. And there’s a myriad of combinations out there as manufacturers are yet to find a combo that works for all types of ingredients. Some blade types are excellent for pulverizing dry ingredients, and some are suitable for creating a smooth texture.
There are cross-style blades that are suitable for food blending—pureeing, preparing salad dressing, hummus, or salsa. The wing-style blade is suitable for blending drinks, frozen fruits, or crushing ice. And you can also find a combination of both.
Some benders might even feature multilevel blades to ensure even blending. To ensure versatility of performance, go for a blender that comes with separate, detachable blade types.
Just like the blade type, you will see hundreds of designs in a blender jug. As blenders create a vortex inside the jug when they function, the shape of the jar impacts how well the foods will blend.
With the best jar shape, foods will stay near the blade to help them blend well. A rounded bottom jar ensures that the vortex works well and the food doesn’t get far from the blade.
The interior of the jar should be 4.5 inches wide; anything much wider will cause the foods to splatter more and they will never reach the blade after the first few rotations. Besides, it will also create a foamy texture in your foods by trapping the air inside.
Settings and Speed
Blenders can have a varied range of speed settings, especially countertop blenders. However, higher speed doesn’t necessarily guarantee better performance. Rather, what matters more is the slow rotation per minute (RPM).
If the lowest threshold of speed is around 1000 RPM, the blender will be able to blend the ingredients without much splattering. Low RPM also ensures the ingredients stay near the blade when being blended. And that yields better performance than a high-speed blender that splatters the ingredient everywhere and you see the empty blades rotating.
There is another advantage of slow RPM—it ensures the motor is not overworked and your blender will perform better in the long run. Look for a blender that has at least three-speed settings and a pulse button. These can take almost any regular workload.
With blender speed and power comes the noise. However, some newer models are designed to be far quieter than the older, bulkier models. But that doesn’t mean they will be whisper-quiet. On average, blenders can produce 88 dB of noise, far more than the 68 dB noise that human conversation can produce.
The noise level of a blender depends on the speed, motor power, and what ingredients you are putting inside the blender jug. To find a quiet blender, make sure it has a noise level lower than 70 dB.
The Bottom Line
As a last piece of advice, don’t buy a blender just because it’s expensive or has some cool new specs. While modern features like self-cleaning, interactive touch screen or auto shut-off options are nice to have in a blender, when it comes to the actual job, these new models might fall short. Besides, these specs have no control over the performance, and you might not even need those extra features. So there’s no point in paying extra for them when you can invest in the features that matter, such as the speed, motor, or blade type. To have more efficiency in the kitchen, look for the one that will provide durability as well as versatility in performance.