Best Hand & Immersion Electric Kitchen Blenders

Hand (stick, immersion or wand) blenders take up little counter space and are easy to clean (blending a bowl of soapy water is a popular trick). They are used to:

  • Puree soup in the pot.
  • Mix smoothies, protein shakes, baby formula.
  • Make baby food, sauces.

Popular brands include KitchenAid, Cuisinart (SmartStick), Braun (MultiQuick), Bamix, Dualit, Oster, Philips, Wolfgang Puck, Farberware, Sunbeam, Hamilton Beach, Krups, Moulinex, Waring, Viking and Breville. They cost from $20 to over $100. Warranties range from 1 to 3 years.

How to Choose a Hand Blender

The limitations of hand blenders should be understood. For example, even for the higher power units, manufacturers warn against trying to blend ice cubes. This can damage the blades or the motor.

Manufacturers also typically warn against using the blender for more than one minute at a time to avoid overheating the motor. This limits them to small jobs.

Power can range from 100 to 500 watts, with 200 watts being average. A 200 watt model should be able to handle crushed ice but the user manual should always be checked first. The power switch should be immediately released whenever the motor stalls, to avoid burning out the motor.

Power isn't everything. The shape and sharpness of the blade also matters. The shape of the blade guard will affect performance too. Guards with smaller holes reduce splashing but can get jammed up more easily.

Some blenders can be immersed into 8 inches of liquid, useful for pureeing soup in a pot. Less capable blenders can only be immersed 4 inches.

The 8 inch blenders usually have a metal shaft to stand up to hot liquids. The 4 inch blenders usually have plastic shafts, which aren't designed for such high temperatures. Plastic also discolors more easily when used to blend vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots.

Blenders with removable shafts are easier to clean but can be less reliable. Care needs to be taken when re-attaching the shaft as an improperly seated shaft can strip the gears.

A small and light blender is easier to hold, especially for people with small or weak hands. Some models are as light as 1 pound, with heavier models reaching 3 or 4 pounds.

For safety almost all hand blenders have a pulse button, not a constant-on button. The button needs to be pressed down to keep the motor turning. Some buttons need a lot of force to press, which can be difficult for people with weak hands.

Variable speed control is useful, especially for the more powerful models. Many models have two speeds. Up to 10 speeds are available on some models.

Immersion Blender Accessories

Accessories such as a whisk (mixer) and a chopper bowl (food processor) are popular.

They can provide good but limited performance. Expectations need to be realistic. Accessories should be seen as bonus items that don't matter if they fail to perform properly.

Cordless Battery Immersion Blenders

Cordless immersion blenders should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. They are good for outdoor events. For daily kitchen use, a corded model may be inconvenient but is lighter and more reliable (the power cord just needs to be long enough).

Disadvantages of cordless blenders:

  • Expensive, over $100.
  • Hard to hold: big and heavy (4 to 5 pounds).
  • Power and run time is limited, 20 minutes at the most.
  • Rechargeable batteries need to be replaced every few years.

The Best Hand Blender

The most versatile blender has a metal shaft, variable speeds, an 8 inch immersion length and over 200 watts of power. A blender like this can handle hot soup and crushed ice.

For other uses, a cheaper plastic 4 inch immersion length model will do. For crushing ice cubes to make smoothies, a conventional stand blender is a better choice.

As with other mechanical appliances, the quality of the electric motor and gears will determine the reliability of the blender. Burned-out motors, stripped gears and loose shafts are common complaints.

The Internet can be searched for user reviews for reports of problems with specific models.

Post a Comment