In the market for the cool tool to fuse flavors? Break out of ordinary meal mode with fantastic smoothies, great dips and salsas, yummy nutrition shakes, perfectly blended pancake batter, crushed ice, delightful purees and much more. A blender is perfect when you're in the mood to mix it up for your taste buds.
The quintessential gift for newlyweds, blenders are traditional and contemporary wrapped up into one jack-of-many-trades appliance. A kitchen without a blender is like a workshop without a hammer. The question remains: which blender is best for you?
Motor sizes in blenders are determined by their wattages. More wattage equals more power. More power is important when you're giving your blender heavy tasks such as continuous ice crushing and whole food chopping.
Common blender motor sizes run the gamut from 400 to 700 watts of power. A lower wattage model is fine if you primarily intend to blend liquids, such as in making daiquiris, smoothies, protein drinks, etc.
Speeds & Options
Blenders come with speed choices ranging from just a few to nearly two dozen. More isn't necessarily better when it comes to speeds. You may use only several speeds ever, or you may enjoy the nuances of all the different speed choices. Typical home-use blenders offer five to seven different speeds. Some experts say a good blender can be one with a high setting, a low setting and a pulse setting alone.
The pulse feature is wonderful for preventing over-blending and offering the user flexibility and control. It also works great for crushing ice in blenders that don't have a specific ice-crushing button. Just remember to add ice cubes slowly, about one to three at a time.
If you are planning on crushing ice with any regularity, consider purchasing a model with a special ice-crushing feature. This feature usually means that the blade is set up to keep the entire contents of the container moving, avoiding settling on the bottom that would cause an inconsistent texture.
Another popular feature is a smooth touch pad that lacks all the spill-collecting nooks and crannies of traditional buttons. These touch pads are easy to clean with just one wipe.
Container & Lid
One important variable among blenders is the container, or carafe, style and construction. Containers come in either glass or heavy-duty plastic. Glass is generally considered the more durable of the two. Plastic is a fine option for lighter use, although it may crack with wear.
Standard blender containers range from 32 to 50 ounces in capacity, but some special for-the-bar blenders come with containers that will hold up to 64 ounces. Your family's habits and your entertaining habits will determine which size works best for you.
While amusing, those sitcom moments when a blender's contents spew out the top are not reality with today's lids. Blender manufacturers took to task and developed lids that, firstly, stay on securely without manual holding and, secondly, feature a pop-up top that allows you to add ingredients while the blender is running. Splishing and splashing are things of the past!
Lookin' good or lookin' in the cabinet? Will your blender perch on your kitchen counter forever after or will it be relegated to the deep recesses of your cabinets? Answering this question should help you determine how important a blender's looks are to you. A blender that fits the style and coloring of your kitchen may be just the ticket if you plan on keeping it within arm's reach.
Care & Cleaning
Blenders are generally very easy to clean and maintain. Simply lift the carafe off the base and unscrew the blade and rubber seal. These parts?along with the lid?can all be washed with soap and water, and usually are just fine in the dishwasher. You'll want to check your owner's manual to be certain about your specific model's care requirements.
Blender bases may not be submerged safely in water or a dishwasher since they contain the mechanics of the appliance. Generally these are easy to clean with just a washcloth.