What to look for in a blender

A high-quality blender is not only a great kitchen tool for making refreshing iced drinks and margaritas for parties and gatherings, but it also has a ton of everyday uses, as well. Your family members will enjoy delicious fresh fruit smoothies, breakfast drinks and milkshakes made from real ice cream. A blender is also a great tool for pureeing soups, sauces, fruit and even baby food.

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Hand and Bar Blenders

There are two basic types of blender on the market. First, an upright or bar blender is probably the most traditional type of blender. These machines sit on your counter or bar-top and include a large, pitcher-shaped glass container. Although these units are great for versatility and power, they do take up some room on your countertop, and the glass pitcher must be washed after each use.

If you think you'll make heavy use of your blender, consider looking at commercial blenders or KitchenAid blenders made for professionals, such as the KitchenAid Pro line, which are designed to last for years of heavy use.

Another great option for the home is a hand blender, which is a small, stick-shaped device that you insert directly into the food or drink to be blended. Hand blenders are easy to use and tend to create less mess and dirty dishes, since you can blend right in a cup, glass or bowl that is then used to serve the food or beverage. A hand blender is also a great option for anyone who is interested in pureeing while cooking soups and sauces, because you can puree your food right on the stove.

Specialty Blenders

In addition to hand and bar blenders, there are a number of specialty blenders on the market. Specialty smoothie blenders are, as the name implies, optimized for making smoothies and other icy drinks. This type of blender uses a specially honed blade that can completely pulverize even frozen fruit or ice, transforming it into a smooth, cool drink.

Another possibility if you're looking for versatility is a combination blender. Certain Cuisinart blenders, such as the PowerBlend Duet, are perfect if you want to be able to make blended drinks, puree soups or sauces, and also perform food processor functions such as grating, mixing, kneading or chopping various foods. This type of blender is simple to configure and reconfigure, because blender parts simply snap off in an instant.