In The Mix: The 9 Best Blenders
Some people do yoga. Some people meditate. Some people blend. With the rise of interest in healthy eating and healthy living the blender (along with juicers) is becoming an important part of the modern kitchen. More and more it is the place that people look to get their daily servings of fruits and vegetables because, let’s face it, those things are gross and should only be ingested as quickly as possible in liquid form alongside of a big plate of surf n’ turf.
Truth be told, having a good blender does make it a lot easier to eat healthier and save yourself time and money. You can get a full meal during rushed mornings by just grinding up some fresh produce, which is much better for body and mind than slamming down a breakfast burrito. A good blender includes a variable speed motor, a high quality blade, a design that makes it easy to clean, the ability to break up ice, mill grain, and a configuration that chews everything up evenly. Considering all of these factors, we have compiled the 9 best blenders for your kitchen.
Get a Grip: Hand-held blenders were a brief fad in the 90’s which quickly died out as users realized that the machines were more trouble than they were worth. The Immersion is the exception to that rule. It is a 600 watt powerhouse that can handle fruits and vegetables and even churn up ice. It shines most brightly with those who want to make soup, agitate large quantities of fluid, and bakers that need the ability to whip from the palm of their hand. The weight is just slightly over 2 lbs. so your arm won’t tire out as you hold the unit.
The motor has good versatility with a speed knob on the side that can be operated with your thumb so there is no awkward reaching to switch speeds during operation. The drive shaft is 9.25 inches allowing it to fit in all but the deepest pots. The soft, rubberized handle is non-slip, eliminating the risk that you will drop the Immersion into your food. It is all stainless steel and can be taken apart for easy cleaning with most parts being fully dishwasher safe. You’ll find it better for whipping batter or agitating while cooking rather than mixing up smoothies or doing any serious grinding. [Purchase: $100]
Hamilton Beach Single-Serve
Lone Wolf: This is the perfect way for the caffeine junkie to change their morning routine. The blender’s reservoir doubles as a travel mug which eliminates the need for all that “pouring” nonsense that can take seconds out of your day. The motor is a tiny 175 watt model which is intended much more for cutting up produce but can still handle grinding up ice to make frozen drinks for those rough mornings when you need a little hair of the dog to go with your strawberry banana health shake. The 14-ounce jar isn’t ideal for making large quantities but intended instead for the individual on the go.
The cutting blades are pure stainless steel that resist corrosion. This is particularly useful given that you may not always have time to clean them in the morning. The blender’s operation is as simple as every other facet with a single on/off button that also has a pulse option for extra chopping and pureeing. You don’t get true variable speeds so overloading it with ice or grains will give you mixed – or rather unmixed – results. Does work wonders when making small amounts of baby food or a batch of quick salad dressing. [Purchase: $15]
Savings and Style: The Bible said “Man shall not live by blend alone.” Ok, that probably isn’t right, but anything on this list can blend up your smoothies. What happens when the queen is coming over for margaritas and all you have are these clunky, ugly blenders to whip out? For that you need more than power, you need style. That is why the Beehive was made. It is the perfect storm of form, function, and affordability. The jar is true glass rather than some synthetic and gives it a classical appearance. The 600 watt motor is made for crushing ice and making quick work of fruits and vegetables while looking sleek.
The internal workings are as impressive as its exterior. It has what is known as the All Metal Drive which uses metal fittings instead of plastic for the internal interface of the base to ensure longer life. The stainless steel internal ice crusher mangles and mauls cubes of any size so that when it is finished your drinks are smooth and mixed to perfection. The only downside to the Beehive is the lack of multiple settings. It has just two, but in simplicity is also longevity. This is one of the few inexpensive blenders that skimps in all the right areas so you will only need to buy it once. [Purchase: $70]
Margaritaville DM0500 Bahamas
Booze Hound: Not all blenders necessarily have to have health on their mind. The Bahamas from Margaritaville is meant more for helping you take the edge off at the end of the day, rather than hitting the ground running in the morning. The body has a dual motor design with one part meant for blending your mixture while the other is meant for shaving ice. It has a separate ice container which helps to give you enough shaved ice to make the perfect frozen cocktail without watering it down and losing that boozy potency.
The pitcher holds 36 ounces and is pre-marked with graduated measurements on the side so that you can get your ingredients ready to go then simply dump and blend. The motor is a sold 450 watts meant more for mixing drinks than chopping or dicing. It lacks much in the way of variable speeds but does have “blend only” and “shave only” options so that you can just use it as a standard blender for those times when you don’t feel like wasting away again. Those looking for smoothies or who want to make baby food, dressing, or hummus won’t find this useful, but amateur bartenders who want more control over their drinks will get a kick out of it. [Purchase: $175]
Even Steven: What Breville does with this blender that is a godsend is they ensure through the hemisphere design of both the pitcher and the blade that the top of your drink will be as evenly blended as the bottom. No more getting smacked in the mouth with some uncut chunk of mango. This also helps in making smoothies truly smooth and hacking up ice evenly without leaving chewable cubes. The motor is a 750-watt 5-speed that generates more than enough power and just enough control. It also comes with an on-board RPM monitoring system so there won’t be any revving or chugging to ruin consistency.
In addition to the 5 speeds it also has a group of automated pre-sets, just like a microwave. You have such options as “crush ice” or “make smoothie” that tell the blender exactly what end result you are looking for. You can set it and forget it since it will shut off when the cycle is complete. This is coupled with an LCD timer that informs you exactly how long it has been running at a particular speed to help you time your recipes down to the second. There really isn’t anything that this blender can’t handle, though if you use it to make soup, don’t expect it to be chunky. The pitcher holds 48 ounces. [Purchase: $200]
Grindhouse: Any blender can hack up fruits and vegetables into a liquid. Where many start having difficulty is when you pull out the nuts to mix up some butter or whip out the garbanzo beans to throw together a little homemade hummus. These are challenges that only the best blenders can tackle, and easily the reason to invest in a Ninja Ultima. It can even replace your meat grinder thanks to the 2.5 horsepower, 1,500 watt motor that can push out up to 24,000 rpms of pure grinding power. The only downside to the Ultima is that it comes with a whole glut of necessary accessories to accomplish its many feats.
The Ultima comes with a 72-ounce pitcher for all of your standard needs. It also has two 16-ounce blending cups that can quickly become travel mugs for fast, single-serving action. It has a huge, removable quad-blade system that goes up the entire length of the primary pitcher for full churning power from top to bottom. It works very well with dry ingredients such as nuts or seasonings like pesto. The only issues that the Ultima has when compared with other high-end models is that it lacks presets for your favorite foods. That is better for total control, but also means you have to babysit as you blend. [Purchase: $277]
Blendtec Designer Series WildSide
Feature-Full: It’s a blender, a food processor, a grinder, a chopper, and a girlfriend if you don’t mind losing a few bits in the process. These are the people behind the famous “Will it Blend?” videos in which they turn iPads into dust. That’s what this blender does. It uses its 1,560 watt, 3 horsepower motor to chew up anything and everything. It doesn’t crush ice, it pulverizes it. It makes almond butter in mere moments. It churns batter, whips cream like it done sassed it, and can make a meringue in seconds.
One of the most alluring aspects to the WildSide which some people love and some people hate is that it mostly operates with presets rather than manual controls. You put your ingredients in and then choose from one of the multiple process selections designed to take the choice out of your puny mortal hands and put it with the machine, where it belongs. Even under the hood the WildSide is impressive using carbon-steel sealed ball bearings for cooler operation. The computer automatically monitors and adjusts for speed and heat to maximize efficacy and minimize damage to the components. Expensive for the average person, but for the home chef who prefers their own ingredients, a much-needed accessory. [Purchase: $400]
Best Overall: The 5200 is easily the best consumer-grade machine on the market, though it comes with a professional grade price tag. If your family crest declare “Blending is Life!” then you really have no option but to pick one up. It has a 2 horsepower, 1380 watt motor that can get the blades up to 240 mph which allows you to whip cream into the smoothest, frothiest concoction you’ve ever seen. The pitcher itself is a 68-ounce work of art made from a new copolyester called Eastman Tritan which is easy to clean, shatterproof, and doesn’t allow ingredients to stick to the sides.
The Vitamix does everything so well you almost want to hate it. It can even mill grain perfectly for those who are trying to go gluten-free and looking to make their own bread. The uniquely tapered body stands a little taller than most but is designed to give any ingredients no choice but to slide down into the kill zone. The ergonomic handle is comfortable to hold and the locking lid prevents spilling even if the whole apparatus does a runner and hits the kitchen floor. The belle of the ball is certainly the tapered tamper that helps you move ingredients around easily for catching wayward chunks or powdering sugar. [Purchase: $500]
Vitamix Professional Series 750
Pro’s Choice: You won’t need this unless you are planning on opening up a smoothie shop or adding the ability to make blended drinks to your coffee house. The 750 offers one-touch operation for the most common uses so you don’t have monitor it when you go to take another order. The 2.2 horsepower motor is powerful, but runs surprisingly quietly so as not to drown out customers in smaller shops. It can handle both friction cooking soups to whipping up sorbets with equal ability.
The Santoprene lid offers a two component system for adding ingredients as you go to get the right mixture at the right time. The PVC housing and impact-proof pitcher are both designed to take a lot of punishment in a commercial atmosphere. You can make everything from salsa to juices so no matter what your business, the 750 will find a useful place on your countertop. Unlike other Vitamix models, this features a squat design meant for stability and fitting under cabinets. The wider blades pick up all the debris from the sides while the self-clean setting help keeps it springtime fresh even when you don’t have time to give it a full scrub. [Purchase: $650]
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