Blenders are one of the handiest and most versatile small appliances in the kitchen and are a popular choice amongst consumers. For mixing liquids and solids, they are the best in the business. But with so much choice on the market it is easy to get overwhelmed with which model is best for you.
The first choice to make is whether you want a freestanding blender or an immersion/hand blender. Freestanding models sit on your kitchen worktop and are ideal for dealing with a range of different ingredients. They can also blend hard ingredients such as ice - so are perfect for smoothies and frozen cocktails.
Immersion blenders offer versatility though and the hand-held appliances are simple to use and easy to clean and store away after use. The main use of a hand blender is for liquidising soups and sauces right in the pan, but they often come with added goodies for performing lots more tasks such as whisking and chopping.
Basic blenders are very affordable and you can find freestanding Kenwood blenders for around £20. However, extra features such as more power, different speeds and better looks can push the price of freestanding blenders past £100. For that sort of price, you could buy the best Kenwood blenders on the market.
Hand blenders start at £10 for basic models and a higher-end Cuisinart blender can cost up to £80. For that extra pound, you will get a more powerful blender with lots of added attachments.
A freestanding blender will normally take a permanent position on your kitchen work top, so the design, colour and finish are important factors. If you want to find a model that will fit straight in with your kitchen's design, don't worry because there are plenty of options. Freestanding blenders come in a huge range of colours and designer finishes.
If you are serious about blending - and plan on using lots of different food types in large volumes - than a freestanding blender is for you.
How many people you will be cooking for could decide which size blender container you need. Most blenders normally range from 200ml up to 2L sized jugs. A handy feature on the container is easy-to-read measure markers with the most used materials being plastic, glass or stainless steel. Plastic is the cheapest option but does absorb food odours easily, whilst steel can withstand the most wear and tear. Glass is a good option because it lets you constantly see your mix but is vulnerable to chip and crack easier.
If you want a blender for making a refreshing smoothie in the summer, then a model with 200 watts of power is more than enough to do the job. If ice-based cocktails are more up your street, then look for blenders with over 350W.
Some high-end models offer incredibly powerful 800W motors and Braun blenders and Kenwood blenders offer the most competitive range of options with digital displays that provide dedicated programmes for your blending options.
Hand blenders are the ideal choice if you're an occasional blender looking for a portable and easy-to-clean appliance. If you don't have the worktop space to fit a freestanding blender, then a hand blender is perfect to slot away in the utensils draw or cupboard.
Kenwood blenders and Braun blenders again offer the widest range of models and the cheaper options are available with 150W power. Hand blenders come with up to 800W of power, so it is worth considering paying for extra if you blend lots of different types of food.
If you do, then it is worth looking for a hand blender with a double speed option. Generally blenders come with single speed, but the higher end models offer extra options including variable speeds of up to 800W power, turbo speed and anti-splash guards so your worktop stays nice and clean whilst blending.
Like freestanding models, some hand blenders offer a pulse function which is good for folding air into your mix.
Hand blenders offer a range of attachments and the most popular is the whisk which makes beating eggs much easier. Mini-choppers are an increasingly popular hand blender's accessory and are perfect for chopping herbs, coffee, nuts and spices.
Cordless blenders are also an option would be suitable if you like to cook outside the kitchen, but these tend to have less power options than corded models.
Personal blender These small blenders serve one or two people and the blender jug also normally serves as a cup for you to blend and then drink on-the-go.
Tap Primarily on models solely designed for smoothies and frozen drinks; added dispensing taps on the front of freestanding blenders are a nice option to serve up your concoctions directly into glasses.
Lids It's important to check that your blender has a tight fitting lid so when you're blending at the highest speed, your mix doesn't spill everywhere. Some lids also have a removable middle for you to easily add extra ingredients while blending.
Carafe You have three options when choosing a blender jug: glass, plastic or stainless-steel. Plastic is the cheapest option and is light and break-resistant but wear and tear much quickly and easier than the other two options.
Glass doesn't discolour like plastic and very durable and can handle tough usage. Glass is a lot heavier - especially when filled with liquid - and can chip or break if accidentally dropped.
Stainless steel is the most expensive option but is near impossible to break. It prevents you from seeing what you are blending but is perfect for cold drinks as it retains cold temperatures excellently.
Kenwood blenders and Braun blenders offer some of the best speed options in the market and more than one speed is useful if you will be throwing in different ingredients. Some better models have a pulse option too, which is perfect if you need to add air into your mix.