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So many blenders, so little time. I seriously can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, Jane – how exactly do you choose a blender anyway?
Well, it’s more of an art form than anything. You’ve got to really get in your own mind and uncover exactly what kind of blender chef you’re going to be. Just smoothies? Soups and indian food and hummus? Dips? The occasional chocolate shake?
Truthfully, it’s not that hard. A quick lesson on blenders will show you pretty much everything you need to know. I’ll begin with a quick overview, and end up with a list of questions and answers for the most common uses.
Choose your next blender by following the steps below:
- Pick your power – Manufacturers rate power with watts. Generally, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the blender is.
- Pick your budget – Are you looking under $500? More specifically in the $100 range? Value is relative, and there are great values in any price range.
- Pick your style – Do you want configurable blades? Do you want easy options, or would a simple strength dial suffice? Do you need a wide variety of special colors to match other appliances in your modern kitchen?
- Pick your manufacturer – Warranty is more important that you think. The inside of a blender is a pretty violent environment and I always recommend evaluating warranties with various models.
- Read Reviews – Always compare models and read any well informed reviews you can find. Sometimes things aren’t exactly as they seem!
Let’s dig into each of those a little more.
Most blender manufacturers measure in watts, though some do say horsepower. One horsepower is equal to 746 watts. One tricky thing to note – higher wattage doesn’t always mean more power. Often manufacturers will list the ‘’consumed’ wattage on the box, not the output wattage that makes it to the blades. This is an important distinction.
Power is mostly associated with the ability to crush through blocks of ice and grind up even the gnarliest smoothie recipes. It’s not all about power though, things like blade speed and jar size matter (it’s probably easier to produced a vortex in a 16oz jar as opposed to a 128oz jar filled with material).
You can go out and spend however much you want on a blender – and it may be a good buy and it may not. Price doesn’t always equal quality. I’m more interested in having a good value for my money. If I’m looking at a $100 blender, I’m probably not going to be well served to compare it to $300-$500 blenders. No matter what your budget is, get familiar with the offerings within that level and focus on value.
Sometimes the base units are pretty similar, but the price range will change the extras that you get. Extra jars, to go cups and miscellanea are common options available for ‘upgrades’.
This is a personal choice. If you plan to store your blender under your kitchen cupboards, directly on the counter, for example — well, you better make sure the height of the base and the jar isn’t too tall. Do all of your other appliances match in color? I’d look toward something like the KitchenAid line with a ton of different colors.
Style is not really something that is directly quantifiable in terms of price or budget. At the end of the day, it’s all subjective anyway. Choose something that you’re happy with. If you love the look of the Ninja blenders for example, then I’d look for the best value in that line for your budget.
Most warranties are around 1 year, with 3 years being more common with the higher dollar models (say once you pass the $200 mark or so). Some blenders, such as the Vitamix professional lines have ridiculously good warranties – especially if you buy them from a store with an excellent return policy.
A word on bad reviews and ‘problematic’ blenders
To be honest, all companies can ship lemons – products that are pretty much dead on arrival or that experience difficulties that weren’t exactly expected. Some of the reviews online are difficult to navigate for this reason. A handful of bad reviews doesn’t always mean a bad product. It’s probably more likely that the people that speak the loudest are those with something to say. If your blender worked fine and was just what you expected, you’d probably be less likely to write a review online. Not always true, but just something to think about when shopping online. That said, I do think there is a lot of value in looking at blender reviews online. Just take them with a grain of salt and read a lot of them.