In life, there are "stick people" and "jar people." And people who are both! We're talking about blenders here. See, a stick blender is very different from a traditional blender with a jar or pitcher. Some home cooks can get by with just one or the other, while super serious smoothie- and soup-makers will say they need both.
Of course, there are pros and cons to each type of blender — here they are!
- You can use it to purée veggies into a soup right in the pot, and you eliminate that messy business of ladling stuff into a blender in batches, then pouring each batch into a bowl before you return the puréed soup to the pot for heating.
- You can operate it in a to-go mug to whip up a quick smoothie.
- There's just one part to clean up: the blending wand. And if it's dishwasher-safe, it won't take up a ton of space in the rack.
- It won't eat up countertop or cabinet real estate. It may even fit in a drawer.
- You have to hold it while it operates so you can't walk away to stir a pot or answer the phone.
- It can't churn out frozen margaritas.
2 Stick Blenders We Love
When shopping for a stick blender, we suggest looking for one that's not too heavy and is comfortable to hold. And, ideally, a wand that's dishwasher-safe.
- Cuisinart Smart Stick 2-Speed Hand Blender, $29: It easily handles hearty veggies and frozen fruits and won't break the bank.
- Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender, $94: This guy can compete with a jar blender for silky-smooth soups. Plus, it comes with a blending cup large enough to make a double batch of smoothies, a mini chopper attachment, and a whisk.
- Operation is hands-free. You can grab something from the fridge while it whirs away.
- Soups come out with a very smooth texture.
- They're party animals that can churn out big batches of smoothies as well as piña coladas and frozen lattes.
- You have to disassemble a jar blender and wash a lot of parts. Not all models are dishwasher-safe. If you get one that is, it will likely take up a good amount of space on the racks and it might not come out perfectly clean after a cycle.
- Whether you keep it out on the counter or stash it away, you'll need to find a place for it.
- Some models can cost as much as a monthly car payment.
2 Jar Blenders We Love
Look for one with a heavy base that will keep the blender from "walking" around the counter while it's blending. And smooth controls that are easy to wipe clean (versus buttons that can harbor crud).
- Black + Decker FusionBlade Die Cast Digital Blender, $50: This blender is a champ at smoothies and can even pulverize kale.
- Breville Hemisphere Control, $200: It has special programs that eliminate the need for you to stop and stir the contents.