Tips from The Kitchn

When to Buy a Blender (and Not a Food Processor or Another Gadget)

Image Credit: Maria Siriano

If you're thinking of finally buying a blender, food processor, immersion blender, or other similar appliance, at first glance, you may think they all do the exact same thing. They all have blades that chop, blitz, and blend solid food, right? Well, yes, but they all do it a little differently.

There's no reason to invest in all of them, however. Depending on your habits, one might be better for you in the long run. Here's what you should consider when making your decision.

You're a Daily Smoothie Drinker: Buy a Blender

If your morning doesn't feel complete without a smoothie, clear off room on your counter and buy that blender ASAP. What a blender does best is whip up cool, creamy, wholesome smoothies. The blades of a blender aren't super sharp, but because they are angled at the bottom of the deep, narrow jar, a vortex is created that whips and breaks down fibrous fruit and veggies. Since the blender pitcher is deep, you won't have to worry about it overflowing with your smoothie (or frozen margaritas, because it's great at churning those out, too).

One important thing to note is that blenders fall into two categories: standard and high-powered. Both are the right choice for smoothies — it just comes down to how smooth you want them. If you don't mind a few raspberry seeds, a standard blender will do just fine. If you want things to be absolutely silky-smooth (like that of your local smoothie shop), splurge on the high-powered. The motor of a high-powered blender also has a longer life, so if you're blending every single day, it might be worth the investment in the long run.

Buy: Black + Decker FusionBlade Die Cast Digital Blender, $50

Image Credit: Maria Siriano

You Really Just Want to Purée Soups: Buy an Immersion Blender

For a long time, I fell into this category. I wasn't hit by the allure of smoothies just yet and really the only thing I wanted to blend were soups. My hand-me-down immersion blender worked wonders and tucked away easily in a kitchen drawer. Beside the fact that an immersion blender doesn't take up much room, the real benefit is it results in less mess when blending soups. Sure, you could try to pour the piping-hot soup into your blender, or you could just leave that soup in its pot, stick the immersion blender in, and purée away.

Buy: Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender, $94

You'd Rather Just Make the Occasional Pesto: Buy a Food Processor

If smoothies and purées aren't a priority, don't invest in a blender or even an immersion blender. Instead, just opt for a food processor. The shallow bowl of the food processor means you can't blend up anything too liquidy, as it will overflow. However, its extra-sharp blades make things like homemade pesto, breadcrumbs, and hummus easy. It also usually comes with attachments that help you grate cheese or shred veggies.

Buy: Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor, $199