Shopping Checklist: Handheld Blenders
Comfort is the most important consideration when deciding on a handheld blender, especially if you will be using it often. Check the design of the grip and the position of the controls. Does it have a non-slip grip?
Check that the controls easy to access when the handheld blender is in use. Do the controls require minimal pressure or are they stiff? A rubber seal may protect the controls from food splatter and debris. Are the controls clearly labelled? Some handheld blenders use contrasting colours so you can change speeds and settings at a glance.
A heavy handheld blender can tire out your hand or arm, especially when used over a long period of time. Plastic handheld blenders are generally lighter than their metal counterparts, but metal handheld blenders are obviously more durable. Hold the blender in your hand for about 20 seconds; if it feels too heavy, look for an alternative model. Remember a rechargeable handheld blender will weigh more due to its internal battery.
• Cordless or corded
A number of manufacturers make cordless handheld blenders, usually powered by a rechargeable battery. These provide far more flexibility in the kitchen, but generally they aren't as powerful as a corded unit that plugs into a power point. Some rechargeable handheld blenders may come with a wall mount that can double as a recharging dock. If you opt for a corded unit, check that the cord is long enough for your needs, and that the cord won’t get in your way when using the blender.
• Build quality
You'll need to decide whether to buy a plastic or metal handheld blender. Generally, the less expensive units are made from plastic, while more expensive ones are made from stainless steel or other metals. Many handheld blenders use a combination of both materials, such as a plastic handle and a metal shaft. In the end it is a personal preference, but metal may be more durable than plastic. Some removable shafts and accessories may be dishwasher safe. Note: some plastic handheld blenders can discolour over time.
• Accessories and attachments
Some handheld blenders may feature interchangeable attachments, such as chopper, whisk, measuring beaker or aerating blades accessories. Be sure to check how easy it is to remove and reattach any accessories, and exactly what accessories are included with a handheld blender. If you don’t plan to use these attachments they may not be worth the extra cost.
• Speed options
Most entry-level handheld blenders will offer basic high and low speed options; more expensive models may have a 'pulse' option that gives a short burst of power, making the handheld blender useful for specific food processing tasks (especially dry foods). If the handheld blender offers three or more speeds, this can often be useful for preparing certain food types and offers more control. Make a list of exactly what you will be using your handheld blender for, and how many speeds you will need accordingly.
Most handheld blenders can be cleaned by dipping the blades in warm, soapy water and then rinsing and being left to dry. Some units can be washed in a dishwasher, but be sure to check the user manual to confirm. Also check for joints around any detachable parts or controls that could make the handheld blender harder to clean. Wide joints may trap food and be hard to clean. Make sure water cannot get trapped in the blender or accessories, as this may lead to dirt and mould build-up over time.
A handheld blender contains sharp blades at the end of its shaft, so safety is a concern. Most handheld blenders have a plastic or metal guard that partially covers the blades, but some offer more protection than others.
• Wall mount and storage
Some handheld blenders will include a convenient wall mount. Many rechargeable units are designed to use a wall mount. Consider the number of attachments; can these be easily stored when not in use?