As home chefs continue their quest to have the best tools available to them, the issues of being bigger, better, faster, and stronger are never more important than in the blender category. High quality and performance are the keys in this category, and knowing your product is essential.

Is speed a vital issue when I’m selecting a blender?

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about blenders is that you need many speeds to accomplish your desired tasks. Actually, you get just as much done with a minimum amount of speeds, as quality rather than quantity of speed is the more significant concern.

Speed ultimately gives you tighter control of a blending process. For example, when blending a soup, you’ll have better control between low and high speeds, resulting in a soup that will still contain chunks of vegetables instead of a consommé.
Should I be thinking about carafe shape and blade design?

Though it’s not usually something the consumer initially thinks about when making a blender purchase, it absolutely should be a consideration. Ultimately, you want a carafe shape and blade design that work together to form a vortex, which will pull what’s in the blender downward to affect the best possible blending.

Should I be seeking out a commercial vs a noncommercial blender?

The commercial is a word that’s being widely used these days to convey an image of quality- but be careful if what you’re seeking is a genuinely commercial blender. Commercial blenders, for example, must maintain different standards than noncommercial blenders. NSF standards for commercial ones result in features like higher-quality bearings and insulation, which mean quieter operation, and other safety options, such as a grounded line cord.

What about the power of the motor, especially in such tasks as crushing ice?

To ensure a high-quality motor, look for a blender with a high starting torque so that the power of your motor is maximized from the moment you turn it on. For crushing ice, you want, in addition to motor power, a rigid blade. Some models today feature heat-treated blades – crafted in higher heats and then rapid cooled – to make the blade harder and more durable for such tasks as crushing ice.

Are there differences when it comes to carafe materials?

These days, glass is the number-one material consumers prefer for their blender carafes, not only because it carries a higher perceived value but also because it’s scratch and stain-resistant. If you’re making many frozen drinks or other bar drinks, you might want to think about a stainless steel carafe, as that material offers the most excellent cold retention. For the most part, consumers tend to shy away from plastic carafes, which can become scratched – especially when performing such tasks as crushing ice – and because they can become stained from certain foods or after repeated use.

What’s the best way to care for my blender?

Most of today’s blenders offer you the convenience of being able to remove all parts from the base and throw them into the dishwasher. However, in the case of some models in which the blade must remain on the base, cleanup is still relatively easy: Fill the carafe up with hot, soapy water and turn the blender on for a few minutes.

When it comes to the cleanup of the base, here’s another reason why you don’t want an abundance of speeds. A variety of speeds means an array of buttons on your base – and that means it’s a lot easier for foods and liquids to get down in those crevices, which are not only harder to clean but also could compromise the life of the product. Instead, look for a base with a minimum activity on the base or bases with smooth, “wipe-clean” faces.