Pick out my immersion blender
September 25, 2010 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Which immersion blender should I buy? Which should I absolutely not buy? Primarily using it for soups for two people.
posted by nadawi to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Cook's Illustrated recommends the KitchenAid one. That's the one I have. I love it.
posted by devinemissk at 7:17 PM on September 25, 2010

I have a Braun. It's never failed me, and it came with a good variety of attachments.
posted by embrangled at 7:19 PM on September 25, 2010

I love my Cuisinart Smart Stick. Mine was a bit less expensive than the one on Amazon (probably because I got it in red, because it was cheapest) -- it cost about $30; I think I got it on Cooking.com or somewhere similar. It was definitely worth the thirty bucks. I use it a lot.

It does great with soups, and I love that I can put it right into the pot while it is still on the stove. I do this all the time with squash soup, black bean soup, and even with tomato sauce, and it does a great job. It's also great for milkshakes -- it can even blend up frozen berries in the shake, which I love! It's a really handy thing to own, and this model is great.
posted by k8lin at 7:20 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

I also love my Cuisinart Smart Stick, which I got for less than $30 at Bed, Bath and Beyond with a 20% coupon. The only slight issue I have with it is that it is corded and that can limit how far away I can move from the outlet; I have to do a slight reach job to get it into a pot on the stove, which is a little annoying. Double-check outlet placement before purchasing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:23 PM on September 25, 2010

Love my corded Cuisinart. Great for butternut squash soup and gazpacho and Rick Bayless's sauces.

Best in short pulses-- I've heard that the motor doesn't handle extended operation that well.
posted by supercres at 7:30 PM on September 25, 2010

Seconding check the cord length if possible, relative to where your outlets are.

I love the Braun I found at a garage sale years ago, but in my current kitchen it just barely reaches the pot. Other than that, it's been a workhorse; I suspect it was never used before it came into my life.

If you are a germophobe you may want to be sure you can remove the parts that come into contact with food in order to wash them more thoroughly. My Braun is all one piece and I kind of like the live-on-the-edge factor that brings with it, but that is a big reason people get frustrated with their stick blenders.
posted by padraigin at 7:34 PM on September 25, 2010

I use a Braun and really like it for immersion soup applications. I also use it with the small chopper bowls and like this feature too. Parts go well into the dishwasher.
posted by kch at 7:47 PM on September 25, 2010

I have a Kitchenaid one as recommended by devinemissk and it works very well. I rarely turn it up past the first speed for most things. I like that it has a detachable blending arm.

The one I got did not have any extra attachments with it, so I can't speak to how well those work.
posted by cabingirl at 7:49 PM on September 25, 2010

I started with a really low end Braun with a bunch of attachments. I quite liked it - I think any immersion blender is just much better than no immersion blender. The motor on the Braun died after maybe two years. I spent a while trying to replace just the motor part - since I had the attachments - but no go, they weren't making that model anymore.

I replaced it with a cordless Cuisinart. Given that I hadn't been unhappy with the Braun (and I emphasize that it was a cheap Braun), I was shocked at how much better at the blending function the Cuisinart is. Just smoother and more powerful. I actually liked the little chopper better on the Braun, though. And the cordless thing is a mixed blessing - no worries about proximity to outlet but you have to make sure the battery is charged.

I'm a fan of the attachments. The whisk is perfect for whipping cream or egg whites and the little food processor is good for small amounts of pesto or cutting butter into flour for pastry.
posted by yarrow at 8:09 PM on September 25, 2010

I own the cordless Breville blender with the plug-in charging station. It's a little bit more expensive, but it's really got some muscle. I would highly recommend it.
posted by Gilbert at 8:16 PM on September 25, 2010

Popped in to Nth the Kitchen Aid Pro. Yep!

(Plus. Really great customer service. I broke my first doing something really stupid with it. New one was in the mail to me in seconds. You will never do the dumb thing I did with my first one. If not for that stupid thing, I'd have guess the Kitchen indestructible. You'll love it if you get it.)
posted by jbenben at 8:38 PM on September 25, 2010

My only complaint about the Braun is that after maybe five years, one of the blades in the little food-processor-jar attachment snapped off. They're not exactly pro-grade blades. It turned out that buying a replacement from Braun was almost as much as an entire new immersion blender kit. So, we bought a new one (because the little jar is so damned handy) and gave the old blender to a friend who was without (it was still fine for immersion purposes).

I am a huge fan of the whisk, too — I always sucked at whipping cream.
posted by mumkin at 8:40 PM on September 25, 2010

(Corded) Cuisinart Smart Stick. I didn't care for how heavy the battery operated ones were. The whisk attachment is excellent for egg whites and whipped cream.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:56 PM on September 25, 2010

I have the KitchenAid and it works great, with one problem: I can't use its metal wand in our non-stick stockpot, because it will scratch the pot. So look for a blender with a plastic or coated wand if you plan to use this with non-stick pots. Otherwise, it separates into two pieces for easy clean-up; I just throw the wand into the dishwasher.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 PM on September 25, 2010

I cheaped out and got the Oster from target for $20 and while the motor is fine, the blade sheeth is not designed to circulate the liquid through the blades as well as others (such as kitchenaid) I've used.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:34 PM on September 25, 2010

I also love my corded Cuisinart Smart Stick, and I use and abuse all of its attachments regularly. Over a year later, it's still going strong!
posted by katillathehun at 11:37 PM on September 25, 2010

Using a Braun. Not thrilled with the blending capabilities, although I love the mini chopper.
posted by bardophile at 12:22 AM on September 26, 2010

I've got the Kitchen Aid immersion blender (only one I've owned), with whisk and mini-food-processor chopping attachment. The blending attachment works great for soups, and is detachable for easy cleaning. The whisk is fine for whipping egg whites or whipped cream, but isn't quite sturdy enough for things like mixing cookie dough that an electric beater would handle. Also, because it only rotates in one direction, you need a bit deeper of a mixing bowl. Still, it fills the niche in our kitchen without requiring a whole other appliance. The food processing attachment works fine and occasionally gets used for pureeing smaller quantities, but is usually replaced by our full sized food processor.

TLDR: The Kitchen Aid immersion blender works great. The whisk and mini-food-processor accessories are handy, but probably not needed if you have an electric beater and a full sized food processor.
posted by JiBB at 12:41 AM on September 26, 2010

While it may not be true that you get what you pay for, you definitely don't get what you don't pay for.

A bamix is for life.
posted by polyglot at 2:26 AM on September 26, 2010

I got a Cuisinart smart stick as a gift a couple years ago and it's been great, but nthing cord length vs. plugs.
posted by BZArcher at 3:23 AM on September 26, 2010

I love my Bamix. They are Swiss.
posted by princelyfox at 5:22 AM on September 26, 2010

Our old Braun works well.
posted by flabdablet at 10:33 AM on September 26, 2010

Response by poster: it seems to be a race between the kitchen aid and the cuisinart. i think i want the attachments, if they'll work well. the cuisinart is nearly half the price of the kitchen aid, but seems to have a fair number of complaints about stripped gears. anyone have that problem? is that because people are using it to blend ice? is the kitchen aid one twice as good or twice as reliable?
posted by nadawi at 9:28 PM on September 26, 2010

These products are commodities. I use the Oster weekly and have used the kitchen aid at the in laws and the difference is negligible. Buy on price.
posted by Kwine at 9:05 AM on September 27, 2010

nadawi, please update when you've made your choice... My Amazon clicking finger is waiting with bated breath! (Yes, my finger breathes.)
posted by Night_owl at 10:44 AM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: barring any changes, i'm going with the kitchenaid, black, no attachments.

i read all over the internet - trawled cooking boards and gardening boards and scans of cooks illustrated. the same names kept coming up - kitchen aid, cuisinart, old brauns, bamix - and basically everywhere they came to "the kitchen aid is better, the cuisinart is cheaper, the old brauns can't be beat but can't be found, and the bamix if you really really want to pay for it." in the end, the list of bad reviews on amazon for the stripping gears on the cuisinart made me lean towards kitchen aid. i decided against the attachments, because i really just want the mini-food chopper, and all the data suggests i'd be better off spending the $25 on a separate machine rather than spending $25 to have it work with the kitchen aid immersion blender.
posted by nadawi at 10:55 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

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