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For making fresh, delicious, expertly blended smoothies, choosing the right type of blender is essential. You want to get the right texture, and, more importantly, make sure every element in your smoothie is blended into one.
With so many styles, blade types, speeds and functions on today’s blender market, it can be difficult to know which type of blender is right for you. In this guide, I’ve shared some of the more popular types of blender systems you’re likely to come across, and discussed how they work in more detail.
By the end, you should have a better idea of the different types of blenders and their uses, and which are best suited to your requirements.
💛 Countertop Kitchen Blenders
Countertop blenders are the biggest blender units available on the at-home blender market. These are a more convenient solution for making thicker mixtures or bulk blending, thanks to their versatility and large capacities. They have more parts, which means they offer more features – but there’s also more to clean.
How it Works
Most countertop kitchen blenders have the same design: a heavy motor base that holds a glass or plastic jar on top, with a blade for blending ingredients and a lid to prevent mess. The best countertop blenders let you choose from different blades and speeds, depending on whether you want to achieve a liquid puree or a rough chopping action.
Countertop blenders come in different sizes, with smaller models available for travel purposes. Because of their heavy base and suction pads that stick them to surfaces, countertop blenders are designed for use on a kitchen countertop.
What It’s Used For
As well as being used for blending smoothies and juices, countertop blenders are also suitable for pureeing, making water- and oil-based sauces and baby food, and more. Because of their large jar design, they tend to be the best options for making batches of juice enough for several people, so they’re ideal for families.
Countertop blenders are some of the easiest to use, thanks to their simple settings. In most cases, using a countertop blender is self-explanatory: you just press a button to choose the blend speed and leave the system to it. Some also have automated pre-programmed settings for producing specific results, and some even simplify the cleaning process with a self-cleaning feature.
There are several variations of countertop blenders to be aware of: conventional blenders, smoothie blenders, specialized blenders, and commercial blenders.
Conventional Countertop Blenders
Conventional blenders are normal blenders that have a variety of uses, including blending smoothies, sauces, milkshakes, and other frozen drinks. These have a powerful motor for at-home use. They’re not quite as powerful as commercial blenders, but this makes them more affordable.
A conventional blender is a good choice for you if you’re looking for a blender that’s bigger than a handheld or personal blender. Conventional blenders are widely available, meaning pricing is competitive, and there are plenty of good-value products on the market.
If you don’t plan to use your blender solely for making smoothies, it’s worth buying a conventional blender that’s designed for a variety of uses.
Smoothie blenders are intended for making smoothies, and are most capable of crushing frozen fruit and ice. While other types of blenders may also be used to make a smoothie, smoothie blenders are your obvious choice if you’re a smoothie enthusiast.
Because of their popularity, smoothie blenders are affordable and widely available. They’re available in different sizes and capacities, and some have stronger motors than others.
You can get smoothie blenders for individual use, or units with large jars for making bulk batches of smoothies.
Smoothie blenders have a motor power of between 200 and 1,000 W. Most will have dishwasher-safe blender jars, and containers can hold between 5 and 10 cups.
A specialized blender is a blender that is built for a specific purpose or benefit. The blender’s side, blade, features and functions may all be tailored to a specialty.
Cocktail blenders are an example of specialized blenders. There are also extra-large blender units that can keep up with especially high demand in commercial industries, and chefs blenders, which are designed for blending different types of sweet and savory food.
Commercial blenders are designed for use in bars, cafes and restaurants. Because they may be used in settings where they are required constantly, commercial blenders offer a heavy-duty performance, with a powerful motor and extra-durable design. Commercial blenders are fast and efficient, and have high-capacity jars for making bulk batches.
The high performance of a commercial blender gives it a higher price tag. You probably won’t need a commercial blender for your own kitchen, but there’s no denying its convenience. You can throw anything into a commercial blender and expect a smooth, high-quality blend.
Commercial blenders typically have more features than conventional blenders, with pre-programmed settings that reduce the workload of kitchen staff.
Pros and Cons of Countertop Kitchen Blenders
- Easy to use with push buttons for speed and pre-programmed settings
- Multiple motor speed options and capacities to choose from
- Widely available, with plenty of good-value options
- Not ideal for travel due to reduced portability
- Can be more expensive than smaller, single-use or handheld blenders
- More components means more cleaning
💚 Immersion Blenders
Immersion blenders are both portable and flexible in design, making them a popular choice on the market. You may also know immersion blenders as handheld blenders, stick blenders or hand blenders. They’re most commonly used for blending soup and smoothies.
How it Works
It’s easy to set up and use an immersion blender: just hold the top of the blender and place the bottom end into the ingredients you want to blend. Use the controls to choose your blending speed.
Because of their corded design, immersion blenders are more versatile than countertop blenders. These types of blenders can be moved around the kitchen, and don’t need to be left in an exact location.
Immersion blenders are made from either stainless steel, plastic, or a combination of the two. These blender units are long enough to safely blend food with your hands.
What It’s Used For
Immersion blenders are best suited for blending smaller batches of soft foods to make sauces, juices, soup, and smoothies. They can also be used to whisk eggs.
If you’re going to use an immersion blender for making smoothies, keep in mind that these types of blenders are best used with room-temperature ingredients, and frozen fruits and ice could damage the blade and create a blending hazard.
Immersion blenders are favored for their affordability, ease of use, and ease of cleaning. Most immersion blenders have a single button that you can press to operate the device. Some may have two or three speed settings to choose from.
You may also find commercial immersion blenders, though these are less popular, as they’re not as capable of offering consistent blend for big batches.
Pros and Cons of Immersion Blenders
- One of the most affordable types of blenders available
- Ideal for making soups and sauces
- Versatile, portable and flexible thanks to their corded design
- Not intended for blending frozen food or crushing ice
- Won’t produce consistent results when blending big batches
- Not as safe as countertop blenders, as there is no protection from the blade
💙 Single-Serve Blenders
Single-serve blenders are sized to make single-serve portions of juices and smoothies. Otherwise known as personal blenders, single-serve blenders are good for taking with you to work or on your travels, thanks to their smaller, compact design.
How it Works
A single-serve blender is exactly like a conventional countertop blender, but with one key difference: it’s much smaller.
As a portable blender, a single-serve blender has a lid and a single cup, which slots onto the blender base. You can drink from this cup directly, rather than having to carry around an extra cup to pour into.
The small size of personal blenders makes them easy to store when not in use, and they’re good for people who spend a lot of time on the road, but still want to get their smoothie fix.
A typical single-serve blender has a motor power of between 100 and 300 watts, with two speed controls. The jar capacity is much smaller, at 12 to 20 ounces.
What It’s Used For
If you plan to make smoothies and juices to serve one, a single-serve blender is all you need. Single-serve blenders are more affordable than conventional, full-sized blenders, so they’re good for smoothie enthusiasts with smaller budgets.
Many people take personal blenders on road trips, giving them access to fresher smoothies and saving the cost of buying an overpriced smoothie at a café.
Generally, single-serve blenders are used for making juices and smoothies. They could also be used for making single-serve soups, sauces, and other blended or pureed food.
Pros and Cons of Single-Serve Blenders
- Ideal for road trips and travel thanks to their small sizes
- Don’t need much cupboard space for storing when not in use
- More affordable compared to conventional, full-sized blenders
- Would need to be used several times in a row to make a bigger batch
- Don’t offer as many features as bigger blenders
- Still require electricity to operate, so can’t be used fully remotely
💜 Blender Bottles
If you’re just looking to blend a protein powder, nutrition shake, or any other powder that can be combined with water to form a shake, a blender bottle is a simple, portable and affordable solution. These bottles aren’t much good for making smoothies or juices with chunks of fruits or other thick ingredients, as they rely on a small motor for mixing (which can’t match the power of a blender blade).
How it Works
A blender bottle looks just like a typical sports bottle. Made from thick plastic, this bottle can be used to carry your nutrition and protein shakes with you on the go. It should have a twist-on cap and a leak-proof lid.
What makes the blender bottle unique is that it can mix your shakes for you, rather than you having to shake the bottle yourself. This usually gives a better mix for powder-based drinks. The bottle should come with a whisk or similar mixing ingredient that you can place inside the bottle. At the push of a button, you can blend your powder and water into a thick drink.
Keep in mind that not all bottle blender units are guaranteed to have a blending device to do the job for you. Most blender bottles require manual shaking. You’ll need to search specifically for electric bottle blenders, which come with their own rechargeable base and automatic mixing feature.
What It’s Used For
Most people use blender bottles for mixing powder-based beverages like protein shakes and nutrition drinks. In this case, it’s not worth getting out a full-power smoothie blender or stand mixer, as powder-based shakes don’t require that much force, and you’d probably end up losing some of the powder in the machine itself. Hand blenders would also be a poor choice, as they’d make a mess with the powder.
Blender bottles are fast and easy to use. You can drink straight out of the bottle after mixing, so you can enjoy 100% of the powder used in your shake. Manual bottle blenders don’t require much effort from you – just move the bottle up and down to mix the powder with the liquid. But electric bottle blenders are the better choice if you want to ensure a thorough mix, with no clumps of powder stuck to the bottom.
Of all the different types of blenders on this list, bottle blenders can’t be used for smoothies and juices. Unlike stick blenders or stand mixers, this kind of blender doesn’t use a blade, so it isn’t powerful enough to cut through frozen fruit or crush ice. If you’re looking for a smaller option to make smoothies and juices, you’ll be better off browsing portable blenders.
Pros and Cons of Blender Bottles
- Fewer components means less washing
- Quick, portable and easy to use
- Don’t make a mess
- Can’t be used for juices and smoothies
- Manual bottle blenders don’t provide a consistent blend
- No variable speed option
🧡 Blender Combination Systems
If you like getting a good value for money, you should look at getting a blender combination system. You should now have a good idea of the different types of blenders and their uses. A blender combination system brings together several of the blender types in one, giving you different systems for different occasions.
How it Works
A blender combination system may use a single jar with multiple attachments, or it may come with several glass jars that each serve their own purpose. Depending on the kind of blender combination unit you opt for, you will simply choose your preferred jar, set up the unit, then press the button to blend. Most blender combination systems come with speed control, and have at least one function designed for heavy-duty blending.
A typical blender combination system will come with a food processor, a full-size countertop blender, and several cups. Some systems will also come with portable blenders. It’s unlikely that this kind of blender unit will include an immersion blender or a specialty blender, as these blender types have specific purposes that not everyone will need.
What It’s Used For
Blender combination systems can be used for a variety of purposes. The full-size blenders have a large capacity and can be used for juice and smoothie making, as well as blending sauces, dips, and dressings. The food processors can be used for food preparation, and the smaller blenders can be used for single-serve batches.
A blender combination unit is best for people with plenty of spare kitchen space who are looking for an all-in-one blending and processing solution. If you think you’ll get plenty of use out of each attachment included in the unit, it can be a worthy investment – and a much better value for money than if you bought each blending unit separately.
Pros and Cons of Blender Combination Systems
- Small and large-capacity options for different uses
- Great value for money
- All-in-one kitchen tool
- You’ll need more space to store this unit
- Can be more expensive than buying just a single blender
- Rarely includes a hand blender
🤍 Stand Mixers
A stand mixer definitely isn’t your typical blender, but it does serve a similar purpose. Stand mixing machines are commonly used by chefs and baking enthusiasts to mix doughs, batters, and other ingredients until they’re well-combined.
How it Works
While a hand mixer is a handheld device, a stand mixer consists of a mixing attachment and a bowl, and can mix your ingredients for you at the press of a button. Stand mixers usually have a number of speed settings you can choose from. You add your ingredients to the bowl, lower the mixing attachment, and switch the machine on.
You can adjust the power of a stand mixer depending on what you’re mixing. Some stand mixing machines also have multiple detachable mixing attachments, allowing you to choose the most suitable attachments for the job.
What It’s Used For
Stand mixers are usually found at bakeries, offering a more efficient and easier means of mixing batches of dough or cake mix. Nothing can create a better-combined dough or batter than a stand mixer, which is why this unit is used on a much larger scale in commercial applications.
If you’re a serious home baker, you’ll enjoy using a stand mixer. The system has powerful motors that make it capable of mixing even the thickest, stickiest dough.
Pros and Cons of Stand Mixers
- The best choice for thick, heavy doughs and batters
- Good for home baking
- Convenient and time-saving
- They’re heavy, bulky machines and don’t tend to be portable
- Lots of components take longer to clean
- Take longer to set up than a typical hand mixer
💡 Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Decide Which Type of Blender is For Me?
I suggest thinking about your number one purpose for getting a blender. If you imagine making your own cocktails or savory concoctions, you’ll probably need a specialty blender or a food processor. If you’re planning to introduce a blender to your workplace, you’ll need a heavy-duty commercial unit with speed control.
If you just want to make smoothies and juices, a smoothie blender will do. An immersion blender is a good choice for mixing soups. Or if you want to blend a combination of foods and drinks, buying a blender combination unit, or a blender that allows for blending, ice crushing and food processing, is the smart choice.
Which Blender Type is Easiest to Use?
If ease of use is important to you, I recommend a hand blender or a countertop kitchen blender with a couple of variable speeds. These units can usually be operated at the push of a button, and they tend to be easy to clean, too.
What Type of Blender Can I Buy on a Small Budget?
The most affordable blender types are hand blenders and portable blenders. Specialty blenders and countertop blending units with a high-quality stainless steel build and powerful motor tend to be on the more expensive side.
How do I Know if a Blender is Dishwasher Safe?
It should say in the blender’s marketing materials online, and in the user manual. Typically, if a blender has a glass and stainless steel design, the glass jar will be safe for dishwashing. Units with plastic builds may not be dishwasher safe – but they’re still usually easy to clean.
What Can I Use to Blend Hot Liquids?
A hand blender can be used (with care) to blend hot liquids. It can be dangerous to use a countertop kitchen system for blending hot liquids, as the heat can cause a pressure build-up inside the blender, which can blow the lid off the jar.
What Can I Use to make Nut Butter?
A high-powered full-size countertop kitchen blender with variable speeds should be capable of making nut butter.
Why are Some Blender Systems More Expensive Than Others?
It usually comes down to quality of build. The more durable the blender, and the stronger its design, the more it will cost. Big, respected brands can also set their prices higher than their competitors, knowing that they have a loyal customer base that will buy from them.