The litmus test for any type of a blender (immersion or upright) is that it produces a soft and smooth purée. You will know that is not good if it leaves chunky or stringy bits in a smoothie or soup. The motor needs to have sufficient torque to make a vigorous vortex in the case of a hand-held blender, so that the food circulate in the mixing vessel, and in that way passing through the rotary blade several times. It is good if there is a lot of movement.
However, an immersion blender should be able to do more than just liquefy at the same time. America’s Test Kitchen has found that some models which they have tested had a problem where the cages close the blade trapped food, and in that way cause some of the food to blend too fine. The thing is that this is not a problem for a purée but it can be a real issue if you were making pesto for example, where you want to have a slightly chunky consistency.
So, as these machines are made to be used one-handed (because you will probably hold a mixing cup or a pot with the other hand) and used like that they are comfortable to hold. Thus, that means the handle should feel good, the buttons should be easy to press, and the machine should feel light enough in order to hold comfortably. Keep in mind that most of these consumer-grade immersion blenders should not be used longer than one minute at a time because they can easily overheat.
Some of the nicer customer immersion blenders have blending wands which are removable. So, this lets you to place the wand in the dishwasher for simple cleanup and to connect different attachments (whisk or food chopper). Bamix – higher-end models and those that were made for commercial use mostly have wands that do not come off. In some way, the fixed wand could be why these pro-grade blenders have a tendency to be more durable in comparison to consumer ones – there are just less pieces that can break. However, we found fixed wands unwieldy to wash, and very much preferred models which have detachable wands.
One more significant feature to seek is cage housing the blade and a stainless steel wand, because plastic could melt in a batch of hot soup. There are several Amazon reviews in which people complain about only this problem with some plastic-cheaper models.
We found that you really only need two of them – low and high even though many higher-end immersion blenders go together with various speeds (some of them even has turbo speed – whatever that means).
Also, many models come with a whisk and food chopper attachments. These are not essential, but still it can be useful. After all, the main task is to blend, so we think these attachments are unnecessary. However, if a model comes with a blending cup it can be nice. America’s Test Kitchen has a tendency to like a tapered, tall cup, but our preferred immersion blender comes with a larger, straight-edged cup with a handle which is made for very easy blending.
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