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While countertop blenders have been a staple in kitchens for quite some time, smaller, more compact immersion blenders (also known as hand blenders) have their uses, too. They’re great for quickly whipping up a dip or making a smoothie before running out the door. Personally, my favorite way to use one is to make a light and frothy matcha latte (simply blend a cup of milk, half a teaspoon of matcha powder, and a splash of simple syrup and optionally pour over ice), which is faster and easier. do with an immersion blender than its big countertop brethren. And for dishes like blended soups, immersion blenders not only give you a lot of control over the consistency, but they also make cleanup a breeze. But depending on what the rest of your kitchen tech looks like, it can be a bit confusing to choose the right immersion blender for your needs. So let us give you a hand with our picks for the best portable mixes on the market right now.
Which device is right for you?
Before you even think about buying a new kitchen appliance, it’s important to figure out how you’re going to use it and where it fits in with the appliances you already own. In an ideal world, everyone would have a dedicated food processor, countertop blender, and stand mixer. But the reality is that many people do not have the space or the budget.
While immersion blenders and traditional countertop models overlap a lot, they both have strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you want to make smoothies every day, a countertop blender might be a better option. Larger pitchers make it easier to mix drinks for multiple people at once, while larger motors will make ice and frozen fruit easier. Plus, more expensive options like those from the Vitamix or Robocoupe can even cook soup during the blending process using the heat generated by the blender’s motor, something you can’t do with an immersion model. I’d even go as far as to say that if you have the space for it and don’t own a blender of any kind, a countertop version is probably the best option for most people.
That said, immersion blenders are typically less expensive, and thanks to a wide variety of accessories some manufacturers offer, they can be great for multiple tasks. A whisk attachment allows you to quickly make whipped cream or meringues without the need for an electric hand mixer, or risk elbow tendonitis by doing it manually. Some immersion blenders also come with food processing bowls, so you can easily blend things like hummus, salad dressings, or homemade pesto in minutes. And because immersion blenders are smaller and less bulky than traditional models, they’re a great choice for apartment dwellers or anyone with limited counter or storage space. That means if you’re simply trying to expand your culinary repertoire without increasing your budget, an immersion blender can be a great way to try something new without committing too much.
Wired or wireless?
Similar to figuring out whether or not you should get a blender, trying to decide between a corded or cordless model depends a lot on what other devices you already own. Corded versions often have more powerful motors, making them ideal for people who don’t have a blender or food processor. But if you own one of the two, the wireless is the way to go. Not only do you get the convenience of not worrying about cords, but the ease of use makes it quick and easy to take out your immersion blender to add a little extra texture to a sauce, or puree a large pot of soup without having to to do it in batches.
A quick word on security
No one should be ashamed of being nervous around a device that is essentially a motorized mixing wand with a rotating blade at the end. But with proper care and use, an immersion blender doesn’t have to be much more dangerous than a chef’s knife. The most important safety tip is to make sure you always keep the sharp end pointing down and away from you or anyone else nearby. That includes your hands, along with any utensils (like a spoon), that might be in or around your mixing bowl.
Fortunately, all consumer immersion blenders are designed to prevent the blade from directly hitting the container holding the food (whether it’s a mixing bowl or pot). However, to be safest, you should avoid blending things in glass containers or nonstick cookware, as glass can chip or break, while the metal blades and cover of an immersion blender can damage the Teflon and the ceramic.
You’ll also want to make sure you keep water away from the plug or outlet on corded immersion blenders. And if you want to remove the blade or remove any food that may have gotten tangled up, first make sure the blender is turned off and unplugged from its power source (either your battery or electrical outlet).
On the plus side, cleaning a dive is pretty simple and straightforward. All you have to do is fill a bowl or cup with soapy water, submerge the immersion blender, then let it run for 10-20 seconds. That’s all. If it’s still not clean, you can repeat that process again until it is. And if washing your hands is too much work, the mixer wand on many models (including all of the ones on this list) are also dishwasher safe.
Best Corded Immersion Blender: Breville Control Grip
Starting at $130, Breville’s Control Grip not only has one of the most powerful motors (280 watts) available in a corded immersion blender in this price range, but it also comes with a host of useful accessories. In addition to the 8-inch main shaft/dipping blade, the kit features a 25-ounce chopping bowl for chopping and chopping and a 42-ounce blending pitcher for making soups and smoothies. There’s also a blender attachment, which means that among all its accessories, the Control Grip can replace three different common kitchen appliances: a food processor, a traditional blender, and a hand mixer.
I also appreciate the two-button locking system, a security feature that ensures accessories are properly locked before use. Breville even includes a removable blade guard to help prevent the stainless steel blender from scratching your other stored appliances. And with support for 15 different speed settings, there’s plenty of flexibility to handle all kinds of turntables. Alternatively, if you’re looking for an all-purpose immersion blender with even more accessories for making drinks and pureing soup, you might want to consider KitchenAid’s 5-Speed Hand Blender, which comes with two extra bell blades to help crush ice, beat egg whites and more.
Best Cordless Immersion Blender: KitchenAid Variable Speed Cordless Hand Blender
If you just want an immersion blender that’s simple and easy to use, the KitchenAid Variable Speed Cordless Blender is the one for you. It comes with a dishwasher-safe blending pitcher and an optional pan protector to help ensure cookware doesn’t break. The really nifty feature, though, is that instead of having discrete speed settings, you can adjust the blender’s 180-watt motor simply by pulling the trigger. This makes it incredibly intuitive to use, and thanks to its built-in safety switch, it’s much more difficult to hit the power button and accidentally spin the blade.
KitchenAid also claims that the battery can blend up to 25 bowls of soup on a single charge. And while my kitchen is too small to test this properly, I’ve never had a problem. That said, you’ll want to make sure you fill up the battery beforehand because its charging port is next to where you plug in the mixing arm, which means you can’t have it plugged in while it’s running.
Best Budget Immersion Blender: Hamilton Beach 2-Speed Hand Blender
For those who want something that is versatile and a great value, the Hamilton Beach 2-Speed Hand Mixer is the best option. While it’s not cordless, in addition to the main blender arm, you also get a whisk attachment and chopping bowl, all for just $35. On top of that, its 225-watt motor is pretty powerful for its price, though you don’t get as many speed settings as you would with more premium rivals. With this thing having been on the market for over 15 years, this blender has long been a top choice among budget-conscious cooks.