How we test soup makers
Our independent tests are designed to pinpoint the soup makers that will make a smooth, warm and tasty soup - as well as the ones that will disappoint you with a tepid or lumpy concoction.
The video above gives an overview of the challenges we put each soup maker through to find the best. We’ve tested a selection of popular models from well-known brands such as Morphy Richards, Tefal and Salter to find which ones deliver on their promises and which fall short.
Each soup maker review is based on our rigorous lab testing. Our tests focus on answering your key questions about buying a soup maker, including:
- Can the soup maker cook great-quality soup?
- How quickly will it make soup?
- Is the soup maker easy to use?
- Is it easy to clean?
- Should I buy it?
Can the soup maker cook great quality soup?
Getting the right texture is one of the key challenges for a soup maker. If your soup maker turns out a lumpy consistency when you’re after silky smooth, it’ll quickly be consigned to a dark corner of the cupboard.
We challenge each soup maker to make smooth butternut squash soup. Our recipe includes celery, which helps separate the great gadgets from the merely mediocre. We scour the newly made soup for lumpy or fibrous bits and give top marks to the soup makers that make a smooth, evenly warmed bowlful.
We also check the soup maker can handle making a chunky soup - we use a chicken and vegetable broth. Here the challenge is to cook through all the ingredients well, but without the mix turning into mush.
If the soup maker has a sauté function for pre-frying your veg – and quite a few do – then we try this too to ensure that your veg don’t get cremated by over-rapid heating.
How quickly will it make soup?
The quickest soup maker we've tested can make smooth soup in 19 minutes, while the slowest takes 30 minutes. Most soup makers take between 20 and 30 minutes to make a smooth or chunky soup, though chunky soup recipes generally take a few minutes longer.
Using the sauté function - which can really boost the flavour of a soup - adds around 10 minutes to the process.
In our tests, we time how long each soup maker takes to make each recipe and rate it accordingly.
As soon as the soup is ready, we record its temperature at the top, middle, bottom and around the edge. If these readings average less than 75°C, it gets marked down, as you would be at risk of a tepid bowlful.
Is the soup maker easy to use?
If a soup maker makes splendid soup but is a pain to use, you could be tempted to return to your pots and pans.
We undertake a thorough assessment of how easy each soup maker is to use, starting with the instructions – we check if they are clearly laid out and easy to understand, or if they're confusing and lack detail.
Then we move onto setting up the soup maker, checking that the lid, attachments and any accessories are easy to fit.
When soup making is underway, we look to see if all controls are clearly labelled and well positioned, that the handle is comfy and that any indicator lights make sense and are useful.
When we’re done, we dismantle and clean each soup maker to see how easy it is to pack up once your soup is ready.
Is it easy to clean?
Which? members who already own a soup maker have told us that ease of cleaning is essential if they are to be happy with their gadget and want to use it regularly.
At our test lab, we judge how easy each soup maker is to clean, both inside and out, and also which parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
If the grimy parts are difficult to access, there are awkward areas where dirt can get trapped, or the cable is short and difficult to keep away from water, a soup maker will get marked down. For models with a self-clean function, we'll try to rate it and let you know if it's any good.
Should I buy it?
We weight the different tests according to what is most important when you are using a soup maker. The score for soup makers is broken down as follows:
- 70% soup quality, cooking time, temperature
- 15% ease of use
- 15% ease of cleaning
A model has to score 80% or more to become a Best Buy. Anything that scores 45% or less is labelled a Don’t Buy and is so poor at its main job that we recommend you avoid it.