How do you know if your new blender is top-notch? Does it whip up whole grains or blend desserts and creamy smoothies? Knowing the substantial features of a blender before buying one can help you choose the right one. Above it all, it can increase the blender’s shelf life while you make the most of it.
Stocking up on the right kitchen appliances can, most of the times, save you lots of money in the long run. You will find many blenders with features that seem too good to be true. You need a blender that allows you to experiment with hearty vegetables and fruits, comes with different blending speeds, and lets you fuse ice to make delicious slushies. (1)
So here’s what you definitely want to consider when it comes to choosing the best blender for your home.
1. What Are The Different Types Of Blenders?
Did you know there isn’t just a single type of blender? You must have seen or heard about the most common type of blender, which is a traditional countertop blender. Another common type of a high-performance blender that comes with more precise features to blend big chunks, nuts, butters, etc.
The advantage of this step is that you’ll understand precisely what type of blender you need to look for. And how pricey each type is.
Countertop blenders: A countertop blender offers more straightforward blenders including softer ingredients. It’s less expensive than bullet and high-performance blenders, but a bit pricier than immersion blenders.
Whether you have plenty or lack of counter space, buying a blender this traditional is never a problem. It makes use of a motor and a fan at the unit’s base for consistent blending performance. Traditional blenders often feature multiple speeds for blending, mixing, chopping, etc.
On a side note, looking for not more than 3-5 speeds for a blender is ideal for most consumers. Even professionals prefer using blenders with slow, medium, fast, and superfast speed.
Immersion blenders: An immersion blender is the least expensive of them all. It’s a handheld appliance that’s lightweight and quick to use. This blender goes directly inside any dish such as a bowl or a pot to blend certain ingredients.
For recipes that require lots of pureeing, an immersion blender works best. It’s also ideal for making soups and smoothies with only soft ingredients.
Using a hand or immersion blender means putting in some effort into the process. It isn’t as methodical as countertop blenders. And neither is it as powerful. Generally, immersion blenders are available in electric and cordless models. You can hang them on a wall rack or store them in any compact drawer. They’re well-designed and portable.
Bullet Blenders: Bullet blenders are also known as personal blenders. As the name suggests, they’re designed for blending smoothies and power shakes in a jiffy. For someone who runs a tight schedule every morning, using a bullet blender can help. (2)
It makes blending smoothies and health drinks must faster with minimal or no clean-up afterwards. A bullet blender comes with a single powerful speed that works with fusing vegetables, fruits, yogurt, and other soft ingredients. Price-wise, they’re less expensive than high-performance blenders, but a tad bit costlier than traditional countertop blenders.
On a side note, personal blenders aren’t designed for cooking purposes. But they’re a good investment for your morning smoothie cravings. Anything that makes you want to stay fit and active is a good thing, right?
High-performance blenders: High-performance blenders works with both soft and hard ingredients. And they also offer versatile blending features which makes them the most expensive blenders on the market.
You can make different types of butters, dough, and other grounds with such a blender. It grinds and fuses nuts, crackers, cereal, ice, and other ingredients efficiently. A high-performance blender offers an easy cleanup, excellent warranty, and a sturdy base for all kinds of blending.
2. What’s The Size Capacity Of Any Blender?
Next up is finding the right blender size for you. Are you blending smoothies, soups, or batter for one or for many? A personal blender seems fit if you don’t usually cook at home and prefer take-out food. But you prefer juicing at home for your everyday morning routine compared to buying.
Owning a full-sized blender, whether traditional or high-performance, holds at least 5 to 9 cups of food. On the other hand, a mini-sized blender holds 1-2 cups of food. Blending both your vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients based on this makes it easy to process and consume more foods.
This also includes the type of blender jar you’ll be using. There is plenty of difference between using a glass or a plastic blender jar in terms of weight and capacity. Some blenders also come with stainless steel blender jars, but it does come with a few major drawbacks.
Immersion blenders: With immersion blenders, the blending shaft is usually 10-12 inches long. The practical design and flexibility of one makes it easy to blend soft ingredients in less than 10-15 minutes. Some higher-grade immersion blenders, often used by professional chefs, come with 15 to 21-inch long shafts.
Traditional countertop blenders: As mentioned above, the blend capacity of a countertop blender would be somewhere between 40 to 72 fluid ounce. This is plenty for families with more efficient level markings and tight enclosures.
Personal blenders: The size capacity of a personal blender is between 24 to 30 ounces. Personal blenders are lightweight and convenient to use. But they’re more fitting for on-the-go drinks than for cooking purposes. Hence a 3-cup size capacity for a personal blender is just what you need.
High-performance blenders: A high-performance blender comes with a whopping 145-ounce capacity. This means you can fuse at least 18 customary cups of food without hesitating. This allows better flexibility for making batters, butters, smoothies, and other kinds of pastes.
3. Choosing A Blender Jar
Selecting the right size for a blender brought me to determining the right blender jar. There are many blender jar containers including plastic, glass, and stainless steel. So let’s look at the pros and cons of each of them.
Plastic: A plastic blender jar is a classic blender standard. Most homes have a plastic blender jar than glass or stainless steel. This is because plastic is more convenient, lightweight, and portable than the two. Using plastic blender jars also work well with personal blenders. That’s because they’re a more practical and harm-free choice for commuting.
On the other hand, plastic is more prone to scratches and dents than glass or stainless steel. So using a plastic blender jar for crushing hard ingredients such as ice might be tricky. It can cause the interior of the blender to get scratched with time, hence diminishing clarity and ease of use.
Glass: While plastic blender jars bring with it chemical leaching and scratch-prone disadvantages, glass blender jars prosper. Glass jars are studier and offer better clarity than plastic. They’re even easier to clean with no risk of discoloration. Another great advantage of using glass blender jars is that they repel food odors, which plastic fails to do.
On the other hand, glass jars aren’t as durable as plastic blender jars. They might shatter into tiny piece if mishandled or dropped. Plastic blender jars do stand well against rough use. But if you want better usability than glass and plastic blender jars, opting for a stainless steel jar is more fitting.
Stainless steel: Stainless steel blender jars are commonly used by commercial blender brands. They’re more powerful and durable than glass and plastic blender jars. They offer a large blending capacity and meet versatile blending needs for pureeing, making paste, and churning hard ingredients.
The only disadvantage of using stainless steel blender jars is lack of clarity. While plastic and glass jars allow you to quantify blended ingredients, stainless steel blenders lack transparency.
4. Which Is The Right Type Of Blender Blade?
The most important component of a blender is the blade. It does the job of breaking down ingredients into miniscule pieces for better consumption. After the housing, which is the blender jar material, considering the blade material and its durability is extremely important. (5,6)
Most blender blades are made up of stainless steel for better sharpness and performance. The right way to find a durable and accurate blade is by considering the following factors. Plus, knowing the science behind blender blades help you replace blades without difficulty.
Frame: Even a stainless steel blade is a combination of metals such as iron and chromium that are alloy materials. A higher-grade blade has better corrosion resistance than a lower-grade one.
Design: Various blade designs have their own techniques and blending habits. It’s important to pay attention to the blade design and the number of blades a blender has. Does it have two flat blades that bend upwards at the edge? Or are the blades arranged in a flower-like pattern with blunt edges.
You will find that in any blender, the blades are arranged in different angles for better pulverizing power and consistency. This is because the contact between the blade planes and the food helps positively influence the blending process.
Tip: It’s always good to buy a blender with a removable blade for better cleaning and storage. This prevents the blades from retaining too much moisture after use.
5. Considering Power Usage Of A Blender
If you’re thinking energy-efficiency, knowing the wattage usage of a standard blender is very important. Unlike a high-performance blender, a countertop blender uses less power which makes it suitable for blending soft ingredients.
Chunky vegetables and fruits such as carrots and potatoes are harder to blend with other ingredients. Hence they require higher power usage than softer ingredients such as papaya and tomatoes.
So if you buy any blender with the assumption that it can blend almost most ingredients, you might want to know this first. (7)
300 power watts: Buying a blender with 300-watts power usage has the most basic value on the market. Based on the type of blender, blending at 300-watts isn’t a bad thing. Especially for immersion blenders, a lower wattage means better performance, which delivers well blending performance.
In simple words, blenders with 300-watts power usage can chop and blend softer ingredients effectively. But they’re not so good at breaking down tough ingredients for making smoothies or food paste.
500 to 700 watts: Any blender with a 500 to 700-watts power is ideal for making smoothies and soups. It’s a step above 300-watts in terms of capacity, speed, and consistency.
Over 700 watts: Anything above 700 watts has even greater blending capacity for harder ingredients. If you want to blend items by breaking them into miniscule grains and fine grounds, using a blender that offers 700-watts or more power is suitable. A high-powered blender with such power wattage is more expensive, yet very efficient to use.
6. Looking For The Right Settings
A blender’s setting is the next thing you’d want to consider to suit the various types of ingredients you’ll be using. These settings vary from usability to speed to power, but having proper control over each setting will elevate blending performance.
There are no right blender settings for everyone. Choosing the right controls and speed depends upon each user’s personal preference.
Blending control: Buying a blender with a simple button-controlled control panel is more convenient than touch control. This is because using a touch panel on a kitchen appliance damages it easily. Another alternative is using dial controls with speed markings. So with a simple switch you can control the blending speed.
Speed: Some blenders offer 3 speeds including slow, medium, and fast. While other higher-grade models offer as many as 16 speeds. Most blenders come with a particular Pulse button which helps blend more delicate ingredients in the blender.
High-performance blenders offer pre-programmed speed settings for smoothies, soups, food pastes, and other juices. This helps quicken the speeding process and allows for better consistency based on what you’d like.
Blender food settings: This consists of the blender’s ability to stir, puree, chop, mix, and liquefy the added ingredients. You can find the best blending performance based on the blender’s specific food settings. But not all blenders offer such expert and efficient settings over how to blend various ingredients.
7. Is It Too Noisy?
Based on the power wattage and speed settings of the blender, checking the level of noise the motor produces is critical. Nobody likes a loud and deafening blender. Blending food items such as vegetables, spices, and fruits is not noisier than blending iced drinks. So checking how loud your blender is when crushing ice helps determine the overall sound capacity of the motor.
That said, a lot of factors weigh in when determining noise control. Such as the surface hollowness, blade design, and top lid material. Therefore, the blender you want to buy should be made with user-friendly materials that produce as little noise as possible.
According to one report, using damped rubber on the base of the blender, or as a top lid, can reduce the amount of vibration and noise the blender produces. It also said that proper air ventilation in the motor compartment of the blender can reduce congestion which might help in reducing noise when crushing ice. (8)
Finding a blender that has better sound absorption features than most is the right way to go. If you want to know more about reducing blender noise by yourself, know the tricks to quiet down your blender right here.
8. Is The Lid Tight?
The lid of any blender is responsible for sealing air inside the jar. It even prevents unnecessary spills on your walls or counter. So forgetting to check the lid quality and build can do you more harm than expected.
Most lids come with a removable cap, positioned at the center of the lid. It’s responsible for allowing you to insert ingredients while blending. So it doesn’t disrupt the blending process. This “fill cap” features a tiny hole in its center to let excess air out during blending.
In fact, some consumers have reported that using the fill cap as a measuring cup is an effective way to quicken the blending process. Such dual purpose design and functionality makes a blender more efficient and longer-lasting.
Once you add all the ingredients into the blender, the circular whirling motion of the blender forces all the ingredients toward the center of the jar. This crushes and whips the food into tiny pieces which creates a consistent texture without foaming.
Without the support of a high-quality top lid, this blending process isn’t possible. The contents inside the blender dribble down toward the top lid and down to the sides, which causes foaming and spoils the texture and flavor of the blend.
How Do Blenders Work?
If you want to buy the right parts, you should know how they work. To make this section more interesting, let’s pretend you’re blending strawberry with other ingredients. This is how the blending process would proceed. (9)
After you add a strawberry piece into the blender already filled with liquid ingredients such as milk, it’s time to push the start button. You will immediately notice that the blender blades create a vortex-like motion in the fluid that helps mix all the ingredients together. This circular whirring movement inside the blender creates a sort of vacuum at the center of the blender jar. That’s when the strawberry is pulled, rather than pushed, toward the center.
The best way to understand this mechanism is closely noticing how a tornado pulls objects toward the center because of its circular whirring motion at a super-fast speed.
Once the strawberry combines and blends with the other ingredients, it follows the same whirling motion along with the movement of the blade. So you will notice the liquid gently hitting the walls of the blender as soon as the strawberry has liquefied.
For the strawberry to liquefy, the lack of space in the center of the jar (because of the whirling motion) cuts the skin and flesh of the strawberry. The circular motion whips the tiny pieces into the blend. Once you stop the blender, all the ingredients are mixed and blended well, creating a frothy strawberry drink with a smooth and fresh texture.
When To Buy A Blender?
There are many reasons why you’d need a blender in your home. But to summarize there are three main reasons why buying a blender is the right choice.
If you already have a blender which makes extremely thick, foamy, and uneven smoothies, you would want to upgrade to something more stable. High-performance blenders offer features that make really consistent smoothies with a velvety texture that’s easy to swallow. These blenders are subjected to high-end test runs that meet desired expectations.
If you’re looking to whip up a smoothie while multi-tasking, buying a blender with preset speed settings offers better and consistent results. The kind of versatility professional blenders offer is suitable for whipping up smoothies, soups, and other drinks.
Buying a high-speed blender with variable power settings can allow you to leave the blender for a few seconds without supervision. So you can do other things like checking your email while your smoothie gets ready.
Most consumers get worried about chemical leaching from traditional plastic blender jars. If that’s the case with you, buying a high-end blender with either a glass or stainless steel jar is more suitable.
Seeking out features that make blending easy for you is very important. There are only a few good signs of a great blender such as lump-free texture, frothy smoothie, and chunk-free iced drinks. So keeping these factors in mind when you shop can cut back costs like you’d never imagine. (10)
Maintaining A Blender The Right Way
Taking care of your blender is an important part of purchasing and using a blender. If you don’t know the basics of cleaning a blender, there’s a possibility that your blender won’t work the way it’s supposed to. A great blender should be cleaned well so it can withstand tough food items like ice, berries, leafy greens, etc.
The first step to maintaining a blender is assembling its parts correctly after purchase. Ensure all parts are securely tightened such as the base, carafe, and the cutting blades. If you’re buying a glass carafe, ensure the jar is placed correctly on the motor base. This prevents the ingredients from entering the motor in case of spills.
If you’re using a specific type of blender, using only appropriate food items can reduce clogging. Plus, a blender doesn’t work like any other food processor, so make sure to cut large food pieces for measuring before adding them to the jar.
According to recent Yellow Pages report, heavy-duty grinding with chopped foods can reduce motor overloading and heat build-up. (11)
Using a blender for non-food purposes can ultimately damage a blender. In such a case, using a cheap, plastic blender is the best way to cut costs.
Here’s how easy it is to clean and maintain a blender.
Cleaning the blender’s carafe:
The first thing to do is clean the blender carafe after blending. One way to do that is add warm water and 2-3 drops of liquid soap in the carafe. Place it on the blender and on medium speed blend it for a minute. This will clear away stains, odor, and fine particles from the carafe, including the cutting blade which is more likely to stain.
You can even use chopped lemon and blend it on a low setting to remove stains with a few drops of liquid soap. This leaves the carafe smelling fresh and stain-free for longer.
Using a medium-bristly scrub for removing stubborn stains is a good way to prolong the carafe’s shelf life. You can use a toothbrush to reach tight spots close to the cutting blade. And with a bit of water and liquid soap removing the stains and odor from the carafe is very easy.
For cleaning extremely dirty blenders, using baking soda with vinegar and soap to soak it overnight is effective.
Air-drying the blender after cleaning prevents condensation and bacterial growth. Regardless of what you clean the carafe with.
Cleaning the blender’s base:
Unlike the carafe, the base requires only a soft sponge or a warm towel for cleaning. You can run the fabric against the base to clean off left-over particles and stains. Spills are not rare with blenders, so making sure the base is clean can prevent bad odors and stickiness.
Dried up juices, smoothies, and paste can be difficult to clean with a moist sponge or towel. You can scrub the caked surfaces from the base with a toothbrush or a soft-bristle brush.
Cleaning the buttons on the panel is as important as cleaning the carafe. You can moisten a Q-tip to clean around the control panel. You can also dip the Q-tip in alcohol, vinegar, lemon, or soap to leave the panel shining and clean.
Cleaning the blender’s cutting blade:
Cleaning the blade requires you to detach it from the blender jar completely. Washing the blades separately reduces stains and rust, which increases shelf life and blending consistency.
You can wash the blades with soap water and hand wash them using warm or hot water based on how dirty the blades are. Using a toothbrush to scrub out the tough spots is also advisable.
Have you heard of polident tablets? It’s a famous anti-bacterial agent with whitening properties. It’s a good alternative when you want to clean extremely dirty blades. All you have to do is detach them from the blender, soak them in warm water with 2-3 polident tablets.
- Lubricating the blades before attaching them is a good way to maintain quality. To do that you can coat the blades with olive or vegetable oil.
There are many good brands with precise blending controls and a powerful motor. According to recent reviews, a good blender boasts of a powerful vortex motion without tipping the blades or the blender jar in the wrong direction.
This report tested various blenders on the market based on its ice-crushing, butter and nut grinding, and emulsifying capabilities. A good blender can do what other food processing appliances are unable to. Plus, based on the type of blender you buy, they’re less noisy and withstand the common wear and tear for longer.
Food items such as kale, frozen pineapple, and orange juice are difficult to blend with a cheap plastic blender. That’s why you need something efficient and powerful to blend perfectly. It should be able to give you a clear, smooth, and consistent texture. The kind that most people enjoy in a smoothie.
Features such as blade design, blending speed, and carafe design play a major role in determining a blender’s capacity. This was the main point of focus for a report recently conducted by America’s Test Kitchen. The report suggested that wider carafe jars make mixing, whipping, and blending much simpler.
Foods like mayonnaise, butter, almond milk, and crushed ice determined that quality performance of a professional blender.
With that out of the way, I think we’ve summed up everything you need to know about choosing a blender on the market. For blending all kinds of ingredients, even if you have a full-sized blender, is a lot easier when you know the features. So if you consider buying a mini blender, it’s much simpler to clean and portable.
High-quality blenders come with strong motors and a sturdy design that make the lives of many home-makers easier. So taking any of it lightly isn’t an option. While some brands offer models with preset, programmable blending settings for smoothies, soups, food pastes, etc., it’s always advisable to start with a blender with variable speed settings.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.