Yes, I often surprise many people with the answer to that question. If you are new to the world of blending it is important to know about the different types of blenders and select the type which best suits your needs. I own three types of blenders. Some people may ask, “Why do you need three blenders?” I always reply, “Because each has a different function.” Sometimes I add I joke, “And because I have a big kitchen.”
I am not saying that you should go out and buy yourself three different types of blenders. I have three types because I spend a good portion of each day inside my kitchen cooking up meals for my family. I am a health nut and love to cook from scratch. Therefore, I find myself with a lot of appliances and tools that would, ultimately, be useless to some people – especially those with a busy schedule.
In this article we will learn a little about the origins of blenders as well as different types of blenders. We will discuss the differences between and uses of countertop blenders, immersion blenders, personal blenders, food processors, and hybrid/all-in-one blenders.
Countertop blenders are, perhaps, the most popular and most common types of blenders. They were also the first type of blender to be created. In the early 1900s, countertop blenders were first created to mix malted drinks. Doctors often prescribed these drinks as a means of bulking up and gaining strength. Soon, they found their way into soda shops, restaurants, and homes, bringing on the malted milk, milkshake, and home cocktail hour craze of the 1950s and 1960s.
Before long, various other uses of countertop blenders were realized. People began using them for creating pureed baby food, apple sauce, hummus, smoothies, and sauces. With the resurgence of health consciousness in the 1980s and again in the 2000s, people began to use blenders as a means of creating organic, non-processed food at home.
Countertop blenders are, perhaps, the most multi-use blenders on the market. When we discuss hybrid and all-in-one blenders later in this article, you will see that most (if not all) hybrid and all-in-one blenders are simply a variation of the already versatile countertop blender. These blenders are able to be used to puree and liquefy a large range of foods.
The motors of most countertop blenders exist within their bases. Bases are encased in either plastic or metal, depending upon the model you have chosen. Some feature buttons or switches on the base which allow you to adjust the speed and pulse settings, if any have been included. This type of countertop blender will feature a large pitcher, constructed of either glass or plastic, which fits firmly atop the base. In the bottom of this pitcher you can find the blades which will spin, creating a vortex inside the pitcher. The pitcher will also come with a lid, to keep contents inside during the blending process.
Some newer types of countertop blenders have changed the location of the motor. Instead of placing the motor in the base they have moved it to the top of the appliance. This type of blender features multiple sizes of pitchers with specialized lids upon which the encased motor can be fitted. These blenders usually do not feature a variety of speed settings, but do allow you to control the pulse of the blades by applying and releasing pressure from the on/off button.
Immersion blenders resemble a thick wand. Their power source is usually located in their handle. Some can be plugged in and others run on batteries, making them easier to move from place to place in your kitchen. I find immersion blenders particularly helpful for quick projects and for mixing thick liquids. For example, I often use my immersion blender for quickly mixing up cake batter or for blending extra ingredients into my pasta sauces.
The best part about this type of mixer is that you do not need to create extra dishes or work by moving your ingredients from one container to another and back again. In making pasta sauce, for example, I may not need to blend all of my ingredients in a blender. I may simply want to mix them up really well after adding one particular ingredient. Also, I may want to add this ingredient in at a very specific time in the cooking process. I can use my immersion blender instead of having to cook the sauce for a while, let it cool, transfer it to my countertop blender, blend it, and transfer it back. Using my immersion blender, I can simply walk over to the pot of pasta sauce and mix it together while it is on the stove.
Personal blenders are, more or less, miniature versions of countertop blenders. Like countertop blenders, personal blenders usually contain their motors inside their bases, but manufactures may elect to place them in the lid as well. The pitcher of a personal blender often doubles as an on-the-go container, often featuring a well-sealed lid.
The blades of a personal blender usually are not detachable, as they remain inside the pitcher while you are drinking from it and no one wants a mouth full of blender blades. Some companies have elected to create upside down pitchers for personal blenders, so that you do not need to drink from a bottle containing blender blades. When using this type of blender, you will place your ingredients inside the pitcher and screw on a lid with blades attached to it. You will then turn the entire pitcher over and place it lid-side down on the base. After completing the blending process, you will remove the bladed lid and replace it with a regular drinking lid.
This type of blender is perfect for the person on the go. I know that, when the weekend hits and my schedule picks up, I greatly enjoy whipping up a me-sized smoothie and running out the door with it in hand. It requires much less work than blending it in my countertop blender and transferring it to a different cup. In fact, it creates half the number of dishes.
Many people consider a food processor to be a heavy duty type of blender. In actuality, a food processor is made to perform very different tasks than a blender. I will not be including reviews for food processors on this website, but thought it was important to include a little bit of information about them here so that you can learn what the difference between them is, in case you are not currently aware.
Food processors are made to work with ‘dry’ foods. By this, I do not mean that they are meant only for foods containing no moisture; I mean that they are not meant for mushy foods or for blending food and juice together – that is the job of a blender. Food processors are made, primarily, to slice, dice, and shred. Blenders are made to liquefy and puree. Blenders can sometimes perform some slicing and dicing tasks, but often end up making a mushy mess in the process.
Hybrid and All-In-One Blenders
Hybrid products are really quite interesting to me. Although I currently have a kitchen large enough to house a few different small appliances, I am always interested in conserving space and materials. There aren’t very many of these appliances out on the market just yet, but they are quickly become popular as the trend of downsizing and eco-friendly living is growing in popularity as well. Hybrid blenders are blenders which are also able to perform other functions. For example, some are a mix of blender and food processor, some are a mix of blender and electric mixer, and some are an all-in-one mixture of all three. Different speeds and pulse settings, along with different blade and auger attachments, allow you to easily switch from one task to another.