How to buy the best hand blender
By Jane Darling
Handheld or stick blenders are great for quick, easy blending and chopping jobs - such as making soups, dips or puréeing food.
They are small and easy to store, unlike bulkier food processors and jug blenders. They also have fewer parts, so are generally straightforward to use and clean.
Most can chop, blend and purée, and some models include whipping, whisking and even potato mashing accessories. However, when it comes to baking and chopping, hand blenders are better suited to smaller jobs.
If you're looking to make lots of smoothies, there are many Best Buy blenders from under £50 which will make light work out of even the toughest ingredients like ice, nuts and vegetables.
How much do you need to spend on a hand blender?
You can pick up a basic model for a fiver, but premium hand blenders can cost well over £100, so what's the difference?
Basic hand blenders will have a simple press-and-hold control button, and usually come with just the main chopping blade. They tend to be made of white plastic. More expensive models will have additional speed settings and extra features such as a soft start (to prevent ingredients spraying up everywhere). They will usually be made of premium materials, and are likely to come with extra blades and accessories such as a blending beaker, mini chopper, whisk or potato masher.
You don't need to splash out to get a good hand blender though, previously we've found a Best Buy hand blender for under £50. And if you're drawn to the stylish metal hand blenders, remember they will be heavier to hold when blending, which could get tiring.
Does Which? test hand blenders?
As of 2016, we don't currently test hand blenders. This is because there is less demand for hand blender reviews compared to other kitchen gadgets.
When we tested hand blenders, we tried out nine common or tricky kitchen jobs, from making home-made mayonnaise, to chopping herbs and puréeing food - plus blending soup. We also looked at how well-built and easy-to-use each hand blender was. The best models blend and chop quickly and evenly, leaving no lumps behind, and are a breeze to clean up afterwards.
Buying a hand blender: things to consider
Before you buy, make sure you check the following:
- Speed controls - check that the power button is easy to press: hand blenders are about as long as an A4 sheet of paper, and some weigh nearly as much as a bag of sugar, so they can be tiring to control if it is hard to get a good grip and reach the controls. Some hand blenders also have ergonomic handles and soft-touch controls to make using the blender more comfortable.
- Attachments - some hand blenders come with bowls and beakers for chopping and blending that fit to the blender. These have specially designed lids with a gap for the blender to fit through, which is convenient for reducing the chance of ingredients splashing about. If you want to use your hand blender for a particular task like whisking, whipping, chopping or blending, look for one with a specialist accessory for easier food prep.
- Materials - blenders with metal shafts are less likely to stain than those with plastic. The blending shaft is the part that gets dirtiest, and if you are blending lots of soup you might find a metal shaft more convenient. Stains to plastic shafts can usually be shifted with some vegetable oil though.
And one thing you don't need to worry about:
- Wattage - although you'll often find the wattage mentioned in the product details, a higher wattage doesn't guarantee better results or that the blender is any more durable.
It's worth thinking carefully about what you like to cook and what kitchen tasks you do most often so that your new hand blender doesn't end up in a cupboard full of rejected gadgets.