The 10 Best Blenders For Your Kitchen
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Blending The Personal With The Professional
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should divulge that I not only own one of the blenders on our list, but that I also worked for that company for several years.
I won’t go so far as to say which company it was — for fear of implanting any bias in you readers — but I can confidently say that I am intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the industry, as well as all the capabilities and limitations of the models we’ve selected. As to those capabilities, there are a few things that each and every blender in our list has the potential to do for you.
First and foremost, these machines can save you money. Whether you’re after the healthiest possible smoothie or the smoothest possible daiquiri, taking the little bit of time out of your day to make it yourself in a high-quality blender is a huge cost-saving opportunity. The average 16-ounce smoothie at Jamba Juice costs about $6. You can make the same thing at your house for about $2 or less. Have a smoothie for breakfast each workday, and that’s a savings of a little over $1,000 each year.
Secondly, a good blender can be great for your health. Any increase in your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables — even if you’re just making bloody Marys — has the potential to provide significant health returns. Many studies have shown that our brains and bodies are wired to crave the foods they most often consume, so sneaking some extra greens into your milkshakes can be the first step toward weaning you off the bad stuff and building up cravings for the healthiest foods out there.
Cravings can also come from the body’s desire for certain nutrients that we’ve come to associate with less-than-healthy foods. With a good blender, you can find ways to incorporate healthier options that can surprisingly indirectly satisfy some of your most devilish cravings.
Finally, there’s the potential to up your game in the kitchen. If you take your culinary skills seriously, then you need a blender that can support a variety of recipes. Many of the models on our list can double as food processors for a multitude of tasks, and some can replace other machines entirely, from ice cream makers to peanut butter grinders and more.
How To Choose The Right Blender For Your Kitchen
Since chains such as Jamba Juice and Smoothie King became popular, more and more people have been making smoothies for themselves in the home. Before the advent of this particular craze, most people used their average household blenders to make the occasional margarita, and not much else. What you plan to do with your blender (beyond the obligatory cocktail preparations), will go a long way towards telling you which model you should buy.
If you’ve just had a cheap blender break down on you and all you want to do is replace it with something a little more durable, you probably aren’t too interested in the more expensive models on our list. There’s no shame in opting for something further down in our selection, but there is danger in that move. The danger is that you could miss out on an opportunity to vastly improve your kitchen’s output, both in quality and quantity.
Imagine for a moment that you are open to the idea of spending a little more and getting a high-end blender for yourself (this imagining will also serve any of you who already know you’re in the market for such a device). What would you make with it? We’ve mentioned that some of these machines can make ice cream. A few of them also have the ability to cook soup — from cold to hot — right inside the container.
In this instance, the more you see yourself doing in one of these high-tech blenders, the smarter a purchase it would be. We also spoke above about the potential for savings on simply making your own smoothies. Imagine adding ice creams, soup, nut butters, puddings, salad dressings, and more to that list. The savings would add up very quickly.
One last thing to consider when evaluating the blenders on our list is the amount of material you plan to make for a given recipe. One of the biggest drawbacks to the top performers in the blending industry is that they tend to have a minimum amount that you must make for them to be effective. If you have a large family, this isn’t an issue, but a single person (or a couple with very light appetites) might feel frustrated by the need to always make more than they can consume in a sitting.
A Brief History Of The Blender
The blender as we know it hasn’t changed a lot since its initial design in the early 20th century. It’s gotten stronger and quieter, and the field of manufacturers has grown considerably, but the basic layout of the machine has remained much the same.
In 1919, a Polish American inventor named Stephen J. Poplawski set out to design an effective drink mixer that he could market to soda shops, where milkshakes had become a mainstay. His machine featured a simple container with blades at the bottom that spun under the force of an electric motor.
Other companies took note of Poplawski’s invention, and endeavored to improve upon it. Waring and Hamilton Beach — two big players in the blender game — developed their machines in the early 1930s. Later that decade, the first Vitamix blender hit the market. Unlike the majority of competitive blenders, which all used glass containers, the Vitamix provided consumers with a container made from stainless steel. The power of this unit far surpassed that of the competition, and the company continues to make some of the most powerful blenders on the market.
In more recent years, interest in smoothies and a movement toward more culinary expertise in the home has led to the development of even more blender designs. Many of these are significantly smaller than the blenders of old, and seek to capitalize on people’s lack of space and time. They tend not to be as powerful, but they can be very convenient.