Blenders are one of the most versatile kitchen appliances. But, I think it goes without saying that not all blenders are created equal.
Many blenders are designed for a specific purpose – typically a certain type of food or beverage. All-in-one blenders tend to be just mediocre at making many things. This means you'll probably need a specialized blender depending on the items you'd like to make.
Lucky for you, Appliance Accreditor has developed this buyer's guide for all your blending needs. We'll take a look at all the things you need a blender to do so you know what to look for when shopping for this staple kitchen appliance.
Don't need a blender for a particular item? Skip ahead to our review of the best blender for all purposes!
Blenders for Smoothies
Smoothies are one of the best reasons to own a blender – and they're the reason I pull out my blender so often! There are so many ways to make a smoothie and it's always fun to try new combinations of fruit, vegetables and other ingredients.
If you own a weak blender, you'll quickly realize its shortcomings when you try to blend frozen fruit or ice cubes. You're probably familiar with the chunky, poorly mixed smoothies that this kind of blender will produce.
In order to make a great smoothie, you need a blender that is powerful enough to liquefy fruits and blend them into a smooth icy beverage. Since smoothies are such a popular treat nowadays, you'll find that many blenders have a dedicated “smoothie” button.
If smoothies are your primary concern, you'll want to look at our review of the best blender for frozen fruit and ice (the main ingredients in any decent smoothie). If you want a blender with more functions, check out the best blender for juices and smoothies.
Blenders for Specialty Beverages and Snacks
Blenders are a great appliance for impressing your guests (or your family) with quality drinks, and there's really no limit to what you can do with the right blender.
Frappes are a delicious and refreshing alternative to hot coffee. They're made by simply blending ice and coffee together (although I love to blend ice cream in there, too, for a little extra creaminess).
Blending a frappe isn't quite as demanding on a blender as a smoothie. As long as your blender can effectively blend ice, you should be good to go. If you need help finding the right one, here is our review on the best blender for frappes. Don't forget to add the whipped cream on top!
Acai bowls have become an incredibly popular snack option because they're healthy and satisfy a variety of diets. With the right blender, you can make impressive acai bowls from your own kitchen.
The key to making a perfect acai bowl is using ingredients that are completely frozen. This means you need to have acai puree, bananas and any other fruit you'd like frozen ahead of time. This also means that your blender will need to handle a large volume of frozen items!
Your acai bowl ingredients won't have many liquids to aid in the blending process, unlike a smoothie. For a high-powered smoothie that is up to the challenge, refer to our review of the best blender for acai bowls.
Fresh juice is a great treat for summer time. They can also be a great source of vitamins and other nutrients!
Juicing is a fairly simple process, since all you need is a fruit or vegetable. The important thing to note, however, is that blenders don't filter out the pulp from your juice. This means that your juice may be somewhat chunky.
To get smooth juice out of your blender, you'll need to use a strainer of some kind. A strainer will catch all of the pulp, leaving you with smooth, fresh juice. Check out our review of the best blender for juicing fruits and vegetables to get started.
Milkshakes are a family favorite in our household, and there's simply no way to make one without a reliable blender.
Your blender doesn't need to be a powerhouse to make a good milkshake since you won't be blending any ice. You just need a milkshake that can handle ice cream and produce a shake with the right consistency – not too runny, not too thick.
I'm a milkshake snob, so I was very particular when I reviewed the best blender for milkshakes. But believe me, it was worth the trouble!
Why limit your blender to drinks? Hummus is a healthy snack that goes great with many different things!
Hummus is made with several different ingredients, and you'll also want it to be the perfect creamy consistency. The toughest thing your blender will have to work with is the chickpeas. But, it also needs to fully combine all the ingredients to produce the right flavor.
If you're looking for the best blender for hummus, our review has you covered.
Blenders for Nut Butter
Nut butter is a healthy snack and a delicious topping for many foods. But, many store-bought nut butters contain unwanted preservatives. And if they don't, they're really expensive.
Fortunately, nut butter can be easily made at home with a blender. This also gives you the ability to experiment with more than just peanut butter!
Nut butter is one of the hardest things to get right in a blender. The reason being that blenders often can't fully break up the nuts! Some people like chunkier nut butter, and that's fine, but I prefer mine smooth and creamy.
To make a smooth nut butter, you'll have to keep your blender running for a few minutes. And, of course, it will need to efficiently mix and break down all of the nuts in the container! Take a look at our review of the best blender for nut butter for our recommendations.
Blenders for Food Prep
Besides making quick snacks, blenders are also great for prepping food for larger meals. If you plan on using your blender for something bigger, you need to make sure it can handle it.
Emulsion is a technique that is used to mix two ingredients that typically won't blend together very easily. Emulsion is used to make things like mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce.
You can find a special tool for this, but blenders are quite effective at emulsifying foods and ingredients. There's no reason to spend money on a single-use device when you can get so many other benefits out of having a blender!
But, if emulsifying is your priority, you may want to start with our review of the best blender for emulsifying.
Pureeing is a common technique for making creams, applesauce, baby food and more. However, blending fruits, vegetables and other solids into a liquid is a pretty demanding task.
Your blender will need to be powerful and equipped with sharp, durable blades. If you find a blender that meets these criteria, you'll be in good shape. We've narrowed down your best options in our review of the best blender for puree.
Blenders for Your Lifestyle
Maybe you're looking for a blender that satisfies other demands. If you just need the basics out of your blender, there are still some great options out there.
Traditional blenders are not very mobile. In other words, you're going to have a really hard time packing a standard blender in a suitcase or carry-on.
If you travel a lot, you'll probably want to invest in a travel-friendly blender that you can take on the go. This way, you can enjoy smoothies and other treats while you're away from home. In my experience, this also helps me adhere to my diet goals when I'm on vacation!
We've looked at a handful of blenders that are perfect for the frequent traveler. You can find our recommendation in our review of the best blender for travel.
If you live alone or with just a few other people, you may not need your blender to have a large capacity.
Fortunately, there are many compact blenders on the market that are ideal for single servings of beverages. These are typically more energy-efficient and easier to clean, saving you time and money.
You can read more about your options in our review of the best blender for individual smoothies and drinks.
Qualities & Features to Look for in Blenders
When you're considering a blender purchase, there's a few things you'll want to keep in mind. These features can seriously impact the usefulness of your blender and determine if it's a good fit for your home.
Size and Capacity
If you've got a large family, your blender needs to have a capacity to match. Otherwise, you'll be running the blender again and again just to feed everyone.
Larger blenders typically come with measurements on the side of the jar. If you plan on making drinks or other items that require following a strict recipe, having a blender with measurements will make your life a whole lot easier.
If you live in a household with young children or skittish animals, blenders can be quite a disturbance. Check the dB, or decibel level, of your blender before making a purchase. Human conversation ranges from about 60 to 70dB, so you'll want to keep your blender close to that range for lower noise levels.
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