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PainFree Shopping Guide To Buying a Blender
The VonShef 4 in 1 Blender
A Blender is probably the handiest electrical gadget you can have in your kitchen.
Whether you need to blitz some fruit for a smoothie, purée vegetables for soups, crush ice for cocktails, chop nuts, grind coffee, mix pancake batter or get lumps out of gravy.
If you want anything mixed, chopped, blitzed or puréeing you need a blender.
Choosing A Blender
There are hundreds of types before you start shopping around think about your cooking habits and what you need from a blender.
If you're going to use it for every & anything then you need a good all-purpose blender. If you have a more specialist use in mind you may want to consider the following:-
Some are designed to make hot soup as well as blend, but these will only make pureéd soups.
For chunky soups you need a soup maker, have a look at our Recommended Best Buy Soup Makers.
The Vitamix blends and makes hot soup
Smoothie makers are blenders with a tap, the tap often blocks so most manufacturers stopped making them.
The method now is a smoothie attachment which filters out seeds and gritty bits of skin leaving a rich smooth drink.
Alcohol or virgin, crushed ice drinks or sorbets, then you need a heavy-duty blender which can chop and blitz ice.
Making Gravies and Sauces?
Then a hand-held or stick blender you can use in the saucepan is a great asset.
Need Sports / Health Drinks?
A personal blender will puree fruits and veg to make healthy drinks, making 1 - 2 person servings at a time.
They come with portable containers that double up as drinking cups.
The VonShef personal blender
A personal blender pulps the whole fruit or veg making a thick drink.
If you want the juice with none of the roughage then visit our Guide to Buying a Fruit Juicer.
Types of Blender
Kitchen / Jug Blenders
A jug blender is a plastic or glass jug that sits on a base with a motor unit inside it.
In the bottom of the jug are blades that spin when the motor is switched on, the blades are what do the blending.
Most have a capacity of 1.5+ liters, some come with an ice crushing function, mill attachment for grinding spices or coffee beans and smoothie filters.
They are high impact appliances with very fast spinning motors, so are noisy.
The lids need to stay in place while the stuff in the jug gets blitzed, so lids have to be tight and some may be difficult to remove.
Some lids have a strainer to filter out any lumps when you pour. Most have an insert the middle so you can add extra ingredients without switching off the blender and removing the main lid.
Jug blenders have a large 'footprint' so you might need to store it when it's not in use
There are some huge signature jug blenders, big & bold stand out statements in a variety of colours and designs.
They are more powerful and have more functions than a general all-purpose blender.
The JR Ultra - Worlds most advanced jug blender
The most well-known of these in the NUTRiBULLET, these are small blenders with a 'cup' attachment instead of a jug.
Instead of filling them from the top, like a jug blender, you put the ingredients into the cup, put the base with the blade on like a lid, turn it upside down, blend then remove the cup from the base.
At the time of writing (March 2019) a Nutribullet costs about £60 - £130.
There are other personal blenders, and general purpose jug blenders which are cheaper, also make excellent juice drinks and smoothies.
The Breville BlendActive is our No.1 seller, we believe that £20 is about the right price point for what is really a low powered mini blender
The Nutribullet type blenders are superior personal blenders as they are high powered and can puree leaves, nuts and crush ice to make a greater range of drinks.
Our choice instead of the Nutribullet is the VonShef Ultrablend, it has the same performance as the NUTRiBULLET 1000 at less than half the price with double the guarantee period.
If you have a larger budget why not get a full sized jug blender, it will make smoothies, protein drinks and much more, take a look at our Kitchen Blender Best Buys.
Hand-held or Stick Blenders
Use them in a pan, bowl or cup and blend and chop as you go, idealfor smoothing out lumpy sauces and gravies while still simmering them, or puréeing soups in the pan.
Some have extra attachments, such as a processing bowl and whisk.
Braun MQ300 hand held blender
What to look for in a blender
If your only making smoothies and drinks for one, then a personal Blender with its one portion travel cup is the choice. For the standard kitchen, a jug blender with a 1.5+ litre capacity is preferable.
Domestic blender motors can burn out quite quickly with extended use, always get the model with the most powerful motor your budget will allow.
Low powered blenders do not handle hard foods or ice well and do not generate enough speed to puree food efficiently.
Always protect yourself by buying one with a minimum 2-year manufacturers guarantee. This shows that manufacturers have faith in the durability of their product.
Top range blenders have 5+ year guarantees on the motors.
Most have at least two settings and a pulse button for short bursts, some have variable speeds which give more control.
Some premium models have a built-in sensor that automatically adjusts the speed or programs designed for specific tasks.
Normal plastic jugs scratch and absorb smells, there are also health concerns about the chemical BPA (bisphenol A ), present in most plastics.
If you need a plastic jug then choose a BPA free plastic such as Titran. These do not leak chemicals into food or absorb smells, they will still scratch with prolonged use.
Thermoglass is safe and ideal if you are using your blender for hot stuff, but glass jugs are heavy and if you accidentally leave a metal spoon in the blender there is a risk they could shatter.
If you're using a blender for ice crushing for cold smoothies or frozen drinks make sure it has an ice crush setting.
If your blender isn’t suitable for crushing ice, it can blunt the blades and burn out the motor.
Some blenders come with additional attachments for drier jobs such as grinding coffee beans or spices and milling nuts.
For easier cleaning, choose a blender with a removable blade and dishwasher-safe parts. Cable storage is always handy too.
From about £15 for a cheap budget one (don't buy one you will regret it), over £500 for a 'professional-grade' and up to £2000 for a fully commercial Blender.
For most people requiring one for occasional use, a budget model between £25 & £50 will suffice. At the time of writing our best buy budget blender for occasional use, the VonShef 4 in 1 costs around £25
For moderate (1 meal a day) to heavy ( 2-3 meals a day) domestic use expect to pay £60 - £150 for a blender to cover basic food prep needs.
This will chop veg, make smoothies, purée veg for soups, blend sauces and mix batter for those pancakes!
The more you are going to use it, the more powerful the motor you will need.
At the time of writing (March 2019), our best buy no-nonsense general everyday Kitchen blender is the 700 watt Bosch SilentMixx.
Our overall best buy is the 1000 watt glass jugged Braun JB 5160, its more powerful motor makes it ideal for heavier use.
If your a serious home chef with a larger budget opt for a Vitamix the worlds best blenders, all with 7-year guarantees.
For extensive daily use or for the serious home chef then invest in a Vitamix or a JR Ultra, they are expensive at well over £500 but have very long guarantees and will give many years of trouble-free use.
It's cheaper to buy a top quality blender that will operate at high efficiency for 10 years than to keep replacing cheaper ones every year or so when the motor burns out through overuse.
JR Ultras motors are guaranteed for 10 years and less than 1% of all Vitamix blenders ever sold have been returned under guarantee (7yrs).
All of our recommended blenders are selected for quality and durability, all have 2 years or more free manufacturers guarantees, except the Breville Blend-Active Personal/sports blender and Nutribullets.
All our recommended Kitchen / Jug Blenders have variable or multi-speed control, are multi-function and have dishwasher proof parts. Some have useful added functions such as ice crushing and coffee/spice grinders.
Do not put your hand in a Blender when it is plugged in, It could start unexpectedly.
Never push a tamper or stick though the Blender lid insert with the blender plugged in, just turning it off is not safe enough, if you knock it over grabbing it may turn it on!
Do not lick hand blenders, they have sharp metal blades which can cut your tongue.
Never use a Jug or personal Blender with the lid off.
Take a look at our Recommended Best Buy Blenders. each has a short review on the product page
We have had feedback from users who have tried to the use the Bosch as a high use blender and complained that it's not up to the task, of course it isn't, its an everyday domestic kitchen blender for low to medium use.
Jug type kitchen Blenders are 'high impact' devices they smash and pulverize stuff with very fast spinning motors. The longer you use them and the harder the stuff you put in, the faster the parts will fail and the motors will burn out.
If you want a kitchen blender you can pound day after day for hour after hour it's no use trying to save money by forcing a relatively low powered one to do the job, spend the money and buy the right one for the job.
They may be expensive but they're built to take the beatings and last for years that's why they have very long no quibble guarantees