If you’ve never used an immersion blender before, the first time is something special. It’s an experience that floods your brain with several different thoughts at once — namely, why didn’t I buy one of these before? There’s just something satisfying about being able to blend or puree your favorite soups and sauces without dirtying an extra container.
Also known as stick blenders or hand benders, the contemporary immersion blender is a versatile tool in the right hands. You can find cordless versions, models with an array of speeds, and mixers with several different head attachments. They’re hardly a necessity for those with simple dietary goals, sure, but the right immersion blender can theoretically replace several kitchen tools at once — and do so quietly, with minimal cleanup afterward.
We realize that not everyone wants an immersion blender for the same reasons, so we’ve put together a list of the best stick blenders for a variety of circumstances. Whether you’re looking for a top-of-the-line model to perfect your award-winning crème brûlée, or just trying to conserve energy while mashing potatoes, we’ve got you covered below.
Braun Multiquick MQ777 ($150)
Our list begins with one of the most versatile blending tools out there. This year marked Braun’s return to the small-appliance market in the United States after an eight-year hiatus, and the company is back with a vengeance. The Multiquick immersion blender, for instance, boasts several features now considered par for the course, as well as a few that stand out. The SmartSpeed system allows the user to control the blender’s speed by simply applying more or less pressure to the power button (similar to a gas pedal), while the stainless-steel blades and bell-shaped blending shaft ensure an even blend. The MQ777 also comes with several stainless-steel attachments for chopping, shredding, and julienning anything that dares to stand in the Multiquick’s path. It also includes a whisk attachment and a small food-processing chamber, so you can ditch the dedicated food processor that’s been taking up space on your countertop.
Yes, $300 seems like a ridiculous sum of money to spend on a hand blender. Really, though, how important is little Timmy’s college fund compared to this cordless powerhouse from KitchenAid? This bad boy brings everything to the table that you could ever want in an immersion blender, including a rechargeable battery, two replaceable blending arms with varying lengths, and three interchangeable bell blade assemblies. Basically, this thing is like the LeBron of blenders.
The Pro Line also comes with a slew of bells and whistles — i.e. attachments for chopping, whisking, shredding, and pureeing — along with a food processing chamber. The blender operates at five different speeds, the fastest of which has no problem destroying tougher ingredients like frozen fruit. The battery even packs enough energy to prepare a full night’s worth of food on a single charge. If the price doesn’t dissuade you, this hand blender deserves a spot on your counter.
If you’re looking to impress that special someone with a fancy, home-cooked meal, but you’re not looking to take out a second mortgage on your home just to buy a stick blender, the Smart Stick might be for you. For under $50, you’ll get a powerful tool to make soups and smoothies, one that comes with a variable speed control knob on the top. Accompanied by a whisk attachment in addition to the default blending attachment, the Smart Stick — which has a comfort grip, to ensure nothing gets out of hand while blending — is one of the best values out there for a high-power blender. If you’re pureeing soups for a dinner party, this guy will get the job done. If you’re blending smoothies for brunch, no problem. If you’re a college student without a dishwasher but you have to make that jungle juice somehow, it’s a worthwhile investment. What else could you ask for?