Handheld 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.
In this guide, we explain how to pick the right model for you, and key features to consider before buying.
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 - we've found a brilliant for under £30. And if you're drawn to the stylish metal hand blenders, remember they will be heavier to hold when blending, which could get tiring if you've got lots of prep to do.
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.
Basic models will usually just have one speed. Paying more will get you a range of speeds, which can help to avoid unexpected splashes.
Some hand blenders come with bowls and beakers for chopping and blending that fit to the blender, helping to keep ingredients from spraying across your worktops. If you want to use your hand blender for a particular task, such as whisking, whipping, chopping or blending, look for one with a specialist accessory for easier food prep.
Hand 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 on plastic shafts can usually be shifted with some vegetable oil though and metal models may be heavier, which can be tiring if you're blending big batches.
The cheapest models may have short and inflexible cords, which could make reaching your dish trickier. There are cordless models around: having no cord in the way while you're blending is handy, but bear in mind they tend to be pricier, heavier and will have a limited run time.
This can vary from as little as 10 seconds. That might be fine if you just want to quickly blitz small amounts, but it's worth checking before you buy, so you don't get stuck partway through blending.
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.
Overall, 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.