Nutritionist Marianna Sulic on what to consider when buying a blender...
Do you require a hand blender or a counter-top blender?
Counter-top blenders are made for your kitchen work surface, with a big jug sitting on a base that contains the blender controls. Depending on the size they are perfect for putting all ingredients in the jug and quickly making smoothies, hummus, nut butters, nut milks, blending soups, sauces and pancake batter. If you regularly make smoothies for breakfast or after the gym then a counter-top blender is a perfect choice! Some of these even come in a ‘personal’ size so that you can directly drink from the container provided.
Hand blenders, or stick blenders, are little handheld blenders with a pivoting blade at the end of a long shaft. They’re made to mix substances in bowls, containers or pots and work well if you have to puree or churn up a soup, baby food or a sauce. Hand blenders are more compact, can do jobs quickly with very little clean up and take up little space in the kitchen cupboard.
What blender functions are you looking for?
If you want a blender mainly for making smoothies and frozen drinks, choose one with at least 500 watts of power and an ice-crushing blade. Ice-crushing blenders are available in full-size models or lower-powered personal blenders. For chopping/grinding tasks, you'll need one with a chopping blade and processing functions. Otherwise, a standard blender will usually be adequate for most blending, pureeing, stirring and mixing tasks, such as making baby food or creaming soups.
What is your budget?
This is an obvious question to consider, but it’s easy to get carried away. It’s best to set a realistic budget from the beginning based on the type of blender that suits your needs and then research different brands and models. Prices will vary!
What size of blender do you require?
If you think a counter-top blender is best for your needs. Now you need to think about what size is best. Are you going to be using the blender for 1 or 2 servings or food for the whole family? I personally have had the Nutri-Bullet for years (bought when I was single) and now I have the Tribest Dynapro. (I can blend up smoothies and pancake batters for the whole family in the Dynapro!) I still use both blenders because both suit my needs for me and my family.
The power range of the blender’s motor?
Typically blenders with higher wattage can easily turn bigger pieces such as fruits and vegetables into liquid on their own. Blenders that have lower wattage need liquids such as water or milk to be poured into the container to help the food pieces to move around in the blender and later to be emulsified. High-powered blenders can even crush ice without any damage to the blender itself.
What materials are used to make the containers?
The containers are usually made of glass or plastic. Glass containers are heavier but are more stable when compared to plastic. The downside of glass containers is that it makes them heavier to pour out substances from. Plastic containers are often more prone to scratches and they tend to absorb the aroma of the pulverized food. These days the makers of different blenders aim at making the plastic containers BPA free and dishwasher safe – these are two aspects to look out for.