Today we’re breaking down the 5 most common types of blenders.
Do you find yourself struggling to get enough fruits and vegetables into your diet? Or maybe your wallet is suffering the consequences of a supermarket smoothie addiction?
Either way, a blender is an efficient and cost-friendly addition to your kitchen counter that will have you whipping up delicious concoctions in no time.
In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits of blending, as well as help you find your way through the appliance market to decide which product is right for you.
Why Should You Blend?
A blender breaks down and combines ingredients at the switch of a button using high-power automated blades to liquidize food. Blending allows you to make delicious tasting drinks at home, even with unusual flavor combinations.
Blenders also help to integrate crucial nutrients into your diet. Smoothies are a great way to up your fruit and veg intake. Likewise, seeds and spices, which may taste unappealing on their own, can be consumed easily by blending them with your favorite flavors.
This way of combining food also performs the mechanical breakdown of fiber that your digestive system usually would. Drinking blended drinks gives your body a break which then lets it prioritize other functions.
Blending is time-efficient as well. Consuming blended goods is quicker than eating the separate ingredients and can be done on-the-go. Shakes can also be made in advance and stored easily in the fridge without taking up the shelf space that whole ingredients require.
Examples of Blender Shakes
So, is it only smoothies that blenders are good for? Well, not anymore. An increase in market varieties of blenders means that many are now durable enough to blend a good number of ingredients.
Blending isn’t only for health fanatics either. With the right ingredients on hand, your blender could have you whipping up your favorite Starbucks treat at home or even creating savory meals. Here are some shakes, fraps, and more that you can make at home with a blender.
- Protein shakes – Blend protein powder with milk, bananas, and even oatmeal for a drink that fuels your gains.
- Smoothie bowls – Greek yoghurt, chopped fruit, and even a sprinkle of granola makes a delicious smoothie bowl.
- Fruit shakes – Frozen fruits and sugar syrups make for a sweet and refreshing way to get some added vitamins and minerals in.
- Frappuccinos – Be a barista at home and blend coffee with ice cream and flavored syrups.
- Soup – Reduce waste and satisfy your savory tooth by making soup from surplus boiled veggies.
- Baking – Save yourself the elbow grease and blend baking ingredients to make smooth batters.
Of course the list goes on. But whatever you plan to use your blender for, it’s important that it can make a variety of these things to diversify your kitchen creations. Let’s take a look at some of the types of blenders that you’ll find on the market to have you whipping up home beverages and meals in no time.
Types of Blenders
An immersion blender, otherwise known as a handheld or stick blender, has a small rotating blade on the end of an electric rod protected by metal or plastic. This is different from other blenders as it’s held by the user to immerse into ingredients, hence the name.
Immersion blenders are easy to maneuver and they’re convenient as the components to be combined don’t need to be transferred to a separate appliance. Usually plugged into the wall by a long cord or even fully portable, handheld blenders will reach your stove top so that blending doesn’t disrupt cooking.
This is great for making soups as the blades are designed for hot ingredients and you need not worry about ingredients fitting into a blender jug.
Puréeing potatoes, peas or even curry pastes can also be done successfully in their cooking pots without much additional washing up. This is because handheld blenders are easy to clean and can be rinsed under a tap or even wiped down with a cloth in between uses.
Popularized by the NutriBullet brand, the standing blenders have risen as a household essential for the easy on-the-go drinks they provide. These mix ingredients straight in their cup-like serving container. This means concoctions don’t need to be transferred into glasses or flasks to be consumed and taken out the door with you.
Otherwise known as personal blenders, a downfall to these is that some only provide single-serve options. This makes it difficult to make larger batches for sharing, or preparing smoothies ahead of the week.
There is also a limit to how many ingredients can fit in each serving cup. Too much could cause leaks or even break the blender. However, they shouldn’t be underestimated. These market leaders are known for being just as powerful as standard blenders. Enough so to blitse and purée small batches of sauces, pastes and baking ingredients, too.
But not all single-serve blenders are made equal. Some can’t pulverize ingredients like nuts and seeds that a recipe may require.
Like a personal blender, a portable blender makes single servings of shakes in a flask-like container for on-the-go drinks. But as the name implies, these run on rechargeable batteries and are completely portable, so these can be used anywhere.
This makes them perfect for post-workout protein shakes as you can mix up ingredients while still on the gym floor. They can also be used for whipping up smoothies in the office or even cocktails at a park picnic. New parents may also appreciate the ease of making baby food when out of the house with just water and a few veggies. Notably, they’re said to be good at pulverizing ice so these may just be the right fit for you if you fancy leaving the gym with a cool shake in hand.
As a result of limited battery power, these blenders are known to be less powerful than their plug-in counterparts. They’re also rendered useless if you get caught short without your charger.
Countertop blenders tend to have a larger capacity, reaching almost two litres, and they are made from metal and glass. This makes them good for mixing large quantities, so drinks can be made in batches for a number of guests.
Their sturdy structure and high-powered electric blades allow them to blitse a variety of ingredients. Yet, some warn against the use of hot liquids so always check your blender’s instruction manual.
Best used for drinks such as smoothies and cocktails, it has tightly sealed lids to protect you from flying ice and splashes. But really, a splash of fruit juice will be the least of your worries.
These blenders are bulky and can be hard to store anywhere other than your kitchen counter, consuming surface space. If possible, you can store them in your kitchen cupboards. The heavy glass jugs are also laborious to clean and expensive to replace if broken and the same goes for the blades. But despite a few drawbacks, these are known to last for years. which will definitely give you your money’s worth.
Commercial blenders are mainly used within professional environments like restaurants and coffee shops because they pack the power to process pretty much any number of ingredients. These blenders can crush large pieces of ice and make batch quantities of food, so they are great for making frappuccinos or cooking sauces.
They have the most sturdy build and motor. A downside, though, is that when stubborn ingredients dry up inside, cleaning can be a hassle. Afterall, these heavy machines can’t just be placed in a sink. But these heavy-duty blenders are designed for frequent use so you won’t be replacing them any time soon.
What Features to Look For in a Blender
No one’s after the unwelcome surprise of crunching down on a sharp shard of ice when trying to enjoy a smoothie. Even if you don’t have the most sensitive teeth, this can be painful.
Ice adopts the same function for smoothies and shakes as it does for cocktails in a shaker, which is to cool down beverages. If your ingredients aren’t refrigerated, then ice will chill your drink and improve the texture, so it’s essential that your blender of choice can break it down properly.
A blender with an ice-crushing setting also allows you to make crushed ice to put in your non-blended beverages, if you so prefer. A countertop type or commercial blender is likely to facilitate this in larger quantities.
It’s best to use an ice mold with smaller cubes to protect your blender if it is less powerful. But check your blender’s manual before intending to use it for ice crushing. The last thing you want is your blender’s blades to bend or break under the pressure of ice.
A juicing function is an added plus. Most blenders break down ingredients to create a thick combined liquid, while juicing implies limited pulp. Juicers and blenders don’t have the same function. If juicing is what you’re after, you’ll need a proper juicer to avoid fuss.
If you’re after the juice from a blender, you’ll need to use watery fruit and veg like celery, cucumber, apples and melon. To properly break down these ingredients, you will need a high-speed blender with a juice function, or else you’ll have to use cheesecloth or a sieve to get a really watery texture.
Only countertop or commercial blenders tend to have this function, like the Blendtec or the Vitamix. Although, these come with a higher price tag than the single-serve equivalent.
Juices don’t include the insoluble fiber that we know as pulp. Some people prefer juice as your body is able to absorb all the nutrients and minerals from ingredients without the barrier of fiber. But fiber is good for gut health, so there remains controversy around the benefit of juices.
Most blenders come with attachments. The extra ones included in the price of your appliance will make it a better value for money.
The limited capacity of single-serve blenders may not be an issue if the product offers additional large containers. This means your blender could be useful for both personal on-the-go use and serving multiple portions.
If your blender comes with different detachable blades, this means it can be used diversely in your kitchen. Other attachments include handles and sipping-cup lids to make drinking more convenient, as well as jugs with spouts to make pouring easy.
Check the details of a blender’s attachments before buying. These could multiply its functions, but can also limit them at times.
A cordless feature can make the most sturdy of blenders more portable. This doesn’t go as far as to say you should put your countertop blender in your picnic hamper. But it does mean that you can blend on any kitchen surface without needing to be in reach of the main plug.
A cordless blender doesn’t have to live in a cramped corner of your kitchen, making you run across the room with ingredients everytime you want to use it. You can bring the blender next to your stove for seamless sauce making.
The same goes for immersion blenders as cordless power allows for complete maneuverability. But check the power source too, since rechargeable products are more efficient than those that use disposable batteries. Those are also bad for the environment, as well as your wallet.
As we’ve discussed for juicing, having different functions on your blender can avoid the need to have multiple appliances or switch between machines.
While the blenders with the most functions will come at a higher price tag, if you’re a regular blender user, this will save you money in the long run. Using your blender for a process that it’s actually designed for will be kinder to the machine and may extend its life.
Don’t be scared off by the price of multitasking blenders and think carefully about what you actually need it for. Some cheaper portable types may only be compatible for blending soft fruits or powdered ingredients.
Some valuable functions to look out for include ice crushing, puréeing, processing especially with nuts, oats and grains, juicing and chopping, as well as hot liquid blending.
The importance of capacity depends on how you want to use your blender. Countertop and commercial blenders will allow you to make large quantities while this may be laborious with smaller single-server types.
Although immersion blenders don’t have limited capacity as such, the blades are small enough to make them lighter and easier to operate than other blenders. This means that using an immersion blender to purée a large volume of ingredients could be more hassle and time-consuming than it would to transfer them into a standing blender.
That said, you may intend on only using your blender to make small treats for yourself. This means you don’t need more than single-serving capacity. While a flashy, robust machine may appeal, consider saving your money and buy the smaller bullet blender instead.
Pro Tip: Find Something That Cleans Easily
Our final top tip for blender features is to find one that promises an easy clean. This will determine the efficiency of your blending process and has the potential to save you time and money.
Being able to put your blender’s different attachments in the dishwasher is a plus. Single-serve and portable blenders are likely to come with this benefit because of their screw-on blades and portable serving containers.
While hand blenders can be wiped down and sometimes have detachable heads, pulverized food can be unpredictable. The same can be said for all blenders. If dried, puréed and sticky sauces get stuck in unreachable nooks and crannies, they may require brushes or pipe cleaners to remove.
Consider this before deciding which foods to blend, but also look for a blender that is dishwasher compliant.
Frequently Asked Questions About Types of Blenders
Which blender is best?
To know which blender is best for you, you need to know what you use it for and how often you plan to use it. All types excel in certain areas, so consider what your priority is.
If you’re looking to make yourself nutrition-packed shakes that don’t disrupt your busy schedule, then a single-serve or portable blender is for you.
But if you love hosting and whipping up creative cocktails for your guests, you may want to consider a countertop type with a large capacity.
Now if you’re an avid chef, you should know that the immersion blender is a near-essential appliance for anyone hoping to spice up their kitchen game.
What are different blender blades used for?
The different types of blender blades differ by their designated usage. The main types are the X and the wing blades.
Food blenders that specialize in soups, sauces, dressings and pastes tend to boast the X style blade. This is better at performing a cutting and chopping function.
Whereas, the wing style is common in drink blenders. The blunter edges are better at crushing ice and pulverizing fruit.
If a blender offers both the X and wing attachments, then this means it will perform a wider variety of functions. This may reduce the need for multiple appliances and save you money and time.
If I have a food processor, do I need a blender?
You don’t need a food processor if you have a blender that features the X blades or performs multiple functions. Food processors are used to cut, dice and purée ingredients for recipes, and a good blender should be able to do this for you.
However, cheaper and smaller blender models won’t be able to process tough ingredients without damaging blades. If you have a single-serve blender for smoothies and shakes, then you may want a food processor for some help in the kitchen.
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
How often you’ll use your blender, and what you’ll use it for should be carefully considered before deciding to buy. Try not to get hypnotized by all the features that the newest product offers.
The appliance market can be an overwhelming place. Remember that bigger doesn’t always mean better, but a good model with a higher price tag may just save you money down the line.