An immersion blender is an absolute power tool in the kitchen. It’s known by many names: hand blender, stick blender or a wand blender. (We love that last moniker because the machine works like magic!) Immersion blenders can make your soups smoother, milkshakes frothier and mayonnaise faster than you can toast a slice of bread. In fact, there are endless uses for this kitchen tool—check out our 10 favorite tips.
Purchasing the right model is simple when you consider a few factors before buying. Follow these tips and you’ll have a long-lasting, super-versatile hand blender that’s worth every penny.
Immersion Blender vs. Traditional Blender
The first thing to consider is if you’ll be using the immersion blender to replace a countertop blender. Immersion blenders and lighter, easier to clean and take up much less room in the kitchen than a classic blender, but many models aren’t as powerful.
Though many immersion blenders market themselves as having the capability to crush ice, we’ve found that traditional blenders are best for this task. An immersion blender with a strong motor will be able to cut through frozen fruit, but not rock-hard surfaces like ice cubes.
Cord vs. Cordless
Does your kitchen have plenty of outlets or just that one tucked behind the coffee maker? Immersion blenders come in both corded and cordless versions. Cordless models tend to be less powerful and work best on easily blendable substances like mayonnaise or frosting.
Looking for a great cordless immersion blender? We love the Cuisinart Smart Stick ($63). The blender comes with handy extra accessories like a whisk, 4-cup beaker and potato masher.
Speed & Power
Most budget-friendly immersion blenders will only have one- or two-speed settings. You won’t need anything fancier than that for most uses. If you plan to chop raw carrots or frozen fruit—look for a blender that amps up to 200 and 250 watts.
Is it Easy to Clean?
Some immersion blenders can be washed in the dishwasher while others require specific washing by hand. If easy clean up is important for you, go for a dishwasher-safe attachment and save yourself the scrubbing.
Are There Any Accessories?
A hand blender is made to do one thing: blend. But many newer models come with several attachments that can slice like a food processor or whisk like a hand mixer. Versions with more accessories will cost more, and replace other kitchen gadgets. Blenders that are accessory free are the most straightforward to use and store.
Now that you know what to look for, picking out a new immersion blender will be a breeze. Once you have your new kitchen tool, blend up one of our favorite recipes that use a stick blender.