I’m sold on juicing – Part 3
by Christine Hunt
If you have read Parts 1 and 2 of this series, I hope you now understand the difference between blenders and juicers and that blenders make smoothies and juicers make juice. Now I will talk a little bit about what to consider when buying a blender for making smoothies and the different brands available.
Walk into the small appliance section of any box store like Wal Mart, Target, or even departments stores such as Sears and you will find a variety of blenders, probably much like what your Mother had on her counter when you were growing up. Most are fairly inexpensive and of low wattage. But, if you plan to use your blender for smoothies which contain fruits and vegetables more than making fancy tropical drinks which consist mainly of juices, alcohol and ice, my recommendation is to get a heavier duty model than what Mom or Grandmother had. Fruits and vegetables have more resistance than liquids and the blender has to work harder to pulverize them. A more powerful blender will be able to handle the load and last longer.
Blender manufacturers include Hamilton Beach and Oster, which account for more than 40 percent of all counter-top blender sales in the U.S. Other brands include Black & Decker, Breville, Cuisinart, GE, KitchenAid, Ninja, Blendtec, Proctor Silex, and Vita-Mix.
Features that you may want to consider are wattage, the configuration of control buttons, the number of speeds, among others which I will review here.
Blenders generally range between 300 to 1,000 watts. One would normally think that the higher the wattage the better the performance. This is not necessarily the case in terms of whether or not the ingredients turn out smooth or lumpy. How the wattage will make a difference is whether or not the motor can handle dense ingredients without burning up – you know that weird smell that electrical appliances emit when they are functioning beyond their capacity? So, for smoothies, higher wattage is better.
Touchpad controls are very popular now and are easier to clean than push button or dial controls. Some touchpads are programmable whereas push button and dial are simple, manual settings. Also, with a dial control you need to turn it through all of the settings until you reach your desired speed.
Number of Speeds:
Blenders normally have between 3 to 16 speeds. Usually three speeds is adequate for most any task. But, if you like more, go for it.
Wide Mouth Container:
The wider and more open the container is the easier it will be to clean. Also make sure the container will handle the capacity that you will need for what you want to use it for such as large batches of soups that need to be blended which may exceed 1 quart.
Big, easy to read notches and numbers on the container help you to measure accurately and with less guesswork.
Make sure that the blade mechanism is easy to remove for cleaning and has a good, easily gripped way to unscrew it. Attached blades make a container sturdier but a lot harder to clean.
Pulsing can help you fine-tune blending time and there is no lag between when you push the button and when the blender starts and stops.
Make sure that the cap for the hole in the lid is easily removable and wide enough to feed ingredients like scoops of powders, fruit and vegetable pieces and scrapers or spoons into the blender while it is running.
Some blender models are wider and short while others are narrower and tall. So, keep in mind where your blender will live. Will it be on the counter, on a shelf, or in a cabinet? What is the height of the space where it will sit? The insides of cabinet heights differ from the heights available on a counter or shelving.
A very basic model can be as low as $20 and can exceed $1,000. For smoothies I would recommend something in the $100 up range and no less than 600 watts. I have had lower wattage blenders for less money and the motors have burned out.
I am listing some of the lesser known brands here.
Magic Bullet is a popular blender that defies the traditional blender design and is very popular for those who primarily want to just make smoothies.
Cuisinart makes good quality mid-range blenders and some models double as a food processor.
Breville, an Australian company, makes high end, upscale blenders that range from $129 to $449.
KitchenAid carries mid-range blenders from $99 to $179. And they come in red, pink and fuchsia too!
Ninja blenders are unique because they have a tall central shaft with multiple blades that runs up through the container. This enables the container to be filled with food, liquids, ice etc. and blended quickly and effectively.
Vitamix is a high-end line starting at $249 and going up to $649 and is “the blender” of choice for many.
Blendtec blenders are very high end and start at $319 and go up to over $1000.
For most average users a mid-range blender would be perfectly adequate. The higher priced ones are certainly more durable, but unless you are running a smoothie bar or a restaurant are not necessary.
The best thing to do to begin your investigation as to what model is right for you is to ask friends and family what they have and what they do with their blenders. Also, go to the websites of the manufacturers, compare features and prices, then visit some of your local stores to see them up close.
Blenders can be purchased at local department and specialty cooking stores, at the manufacturer’s website, Amazon and other online retailers.
Please comment below what type of blender you have at home, how you use it, what you like/dislike about it and anything else you’d like to share – maybe even a smoothie recipe to share!
To your health!
Christine Hunt is a Wellness Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner and has found that working with the whole person by combining mind/body work, dietary adjustments and movement provides her clients with the tools they need to lose weight (and keep it off), get relief from chronic illness and positively transform their lives. Contact her for a free, 15 minute consultation to learn why what she does works when other methods have failed.
Christine works with her clients in person, by Skype or phone. So, if you live away from the Annapolis, Maryland area, she can still work with you.