The Best Immersion Blender
After putting in more than 20 hours researching immersion blenders, considering 54 models, interviewing two soup-making pros, and then testing nine of the blenders over nearly three years (including pureeing gallons of soup, smoothies, salsa, mayonnaise, and even ice), we’re confident that you can’t buy a better immersion blender than the Breville Control Grip. It produces smoother textures than almost any other model we tried. Smart design features, such as a grippy handle, no-suction gasket, and a wider range of speeds, make it far easier to use than the competition.
In addition to making smoother textures and being the overall easiest to use, we found the Breville excelled at tougher tasks that others just couldn’t handle. It was one of the only blenders to make super-smooth peanut butter and to crush ice. Its 42-ounce blending jar was also the only one big enough to fit the ingredients for two smoothies. It’s one of the pricier hand blenders out there, but we think the Breville Control Grip is far less likely to languish in a junk drawer or at the back of a cupboard than other, inconvenient offerings.
If $100 is just too steep or the Breville sells out, we’d opt for the KitchenAid 3-Speed Hand Blender. This came in second overall. It’s not as good at processing fibrous ingredients, such as cooked root veggies or raw kale, but it makes reasonably smooth textures and the handle is comfortable.
When it comes to blenders (upright and immersion), we’ve found that you really do get what you pay for. The Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick Immersion Blender makes thicker textures than the Breville, its handle feels much cheaper, and overall it has a flimsier build. But for not quite $35, it’s surprisingly powerful—especially compared with other models in this price category. We think this is a good buy if you plan on using an immersion blender only a couple of times a month, or if you don’t mind using a lower-quality machine. This doesn’t come with any attachments, such as a chopper or whisk, so it’s really only good for pureeing soups, smoothies, or sauces.
Table of contents
- Why you should trust us
- Who should get this
- How we picked and tested
- Our pick
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- Long-term test notes
- Also great for occasional bending
- Care and maintenance
- The competition
Why you should trust us
Over the past two years, I’ve spent close to 200 hours researching and testing, and writing about kitchen gadgets that whirl, cut, and chop, for The Sweethome. That includes guides about food processors, blenders, and our original immersion blender review. Before that, I spent a few years skulking (as a cookbook editor) around the test kitchens at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where I once got an in-depth tutorial from Martha’s onetime private chef, Pierre Schaedelin, on how to make the perfect strained French puree (which I’m way too lazy to do myself!).
For this guide, I spoke with Rudy Speckamp, a former restaurateur who’s logged countless hours using immersion blenders as an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, as well as Volker Frick, who worked with immersion blenders for 20 years as the executive chef at the soup manufacturer Kettle Cuisine. To decide which models to bring in, I read reviews in Cook’s Illustrated and Consumer Reports, and looked closely at user ratings on sites such as Amazon and Macy’s.
Who should get this
An immersion blender won’t work for heavier tasks or make the smoothest texture. A food processor, with its various blades and disks, works best for most chopping, dicing, or shredding, and a full-size blender makes much smoother purees and smoothies. (If you want more details on the differences between blenders, processors, and mixers, we’ve covered the subject in some depth.)
How we picked and tested
An immersion blender’s motor needs to have enough torque to create a vigorous vortex so that food circulates in the mixing vessel and passes through the rotary blade multiple times. “If there’s a lot of movement, that’s good,” said Volker Frick, the former executive chef at Kettle Cuisine. “How deep does [the vortex] go? And how quickly does it spit it back up?” An effective vortex will create a smooth puree, while a subpar one will leave stringy or chunky bits in soup or smoothies.
Because these machines are designed to be used one-handed (you’ll likely hold a pot or mixing cup with your other hand), the best ones are comfortable to hold. That means the buttons should be easy to press, the handle should feel good, and the machine should be light enough to hold comfortably for up to a minute. (Most non-commercial immersion blenders shouldn’t be used for longer than a minute at a time or they’ll overheat.)
Nicer consumer immersion blenders have removable blending wands. This allows you to put the wand in the dishwasher for easy cleanup and to connect different attachments (such as a food chopper or whisk). Higher-end models (such as those by Bamix) and those made for commercial use tend to have wands that don’t come off. In part, the fixed wand may be why these pro-grade blenders tend to be more durable than consumer ones; there are simply less pieces that can break. (I couldn’t find an official appliance engineer to confirm this, but my brother-in-law, a process engineer, agreed with this assessment.) That said, in our testing we found fixed wands cumbersome to wash, and we haven’t had any durability problems with the detachable wand of our main pick in nearly three years of testing.
A stainless steel wand and cage housing the blade offers greater durability than plastic components. Cheap plastic components can warp in a batch of hot soup (or if they touch the hot side of a pot). We read at least one Amazon review and a mention in the comments of this Kitchn piece complaining about just this problem with cheaper, all-plastic models.
Although many higher-end immersion blenders come with multiple speeds, we found that you really only need two of them—low and high. America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s also found this to be true in their reviews.
As for attachments, many models come with a food chopper and whisk. Both Volker Frick and Rudy Speckamp agreed that these attachments are really just gravy, since the main task is to blend. In our own testing, we’ve found the chopper attachment, in particular, useful for grinding small batches of bread crumbs, making a quick vinaigrette, or even filling for ravioli (but not always great for chopping things like onions, which tend to get pulverized).
Some brands make models with taller wands, advertising these as better for blending in deep pots. Rudy Speckamp agreed: “It’s important, especially for quantity cooking, because you want it to go to the bottom of the pot for pureeing. If the shaft only goes to the middle of the pot, I don’t think it’s as successful.” Our top pick happens to have the tallest blending wand of the models we tested.
A couple of other nice features to look for: a guard for the rotary blade and a wall-mounted holder for the blender. Both of these features will help keep your immersion blender from dangerously lurking in a drawer, waiting to slice you.
There are a variety of cordless immersion blenders on the market. Like many cordless tools, these tend not to be as powerful as their corded counterparts. We didn’t find any that topped editorial or user reviews.
Nearly every major brand that makes small kitchen appliances makes an immersion blender, but there’s not much consensus—at least in editorial reviews—about who makes the best. America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s, Consumer Reports, and Good Housekeeping didn’t test the same models, and we didn’t find any agreement in the smaller reviews we read, so it was difficult to compare results. Because of this, we looked at Amazon reviews more closely than we would usually.
For our original 2013 review, we brought in seven models, ranging from $33 to $150, for testing. For this update, we looked for new editorial reviews and again looked at user reviews, settling on two new models—the Dualit Immersion Blender and the Panasonic MX-SS1—to pit against our former winner, the Breville Control Grip, and budget pick, the Cuisinart Smart Stick 2-Speed CSB-75.
With each immersion blender, we pureed kale-and-berry smoothies in the blending cups and batches of fibrous chickpea and kale soup directly in a pot, straining both recipes through a fine-mesh sieve to see how much pulp was left over. We made small batches of mayonnaise to judge how easy it was to use the immersion blender with one hand and pour oil with the other (and whether the casings around the blades would suction to the bottom of the blending cups). We ground peanuts into butter to see how well the blenders processed tough bits and dealt with sticky ingredients. In the chopper attachment (if the blender came with one), we diced garlic and a single onion to judge whether the machines could make an even chop, without pulverizing the alliums.
Though it’s on the pricier side (it’s $100), we think that because the Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender is so much easier and pleasant to use than other hand blenders, it’s more likely to get regular play in the kitchen. It processes smoother textures than most of the blenders we tried and does so faster. Rubber grips on the handle and a control button make it more comfortable to hold. It’s one of the only models we tried that didn’t suction to the bottom of a pot or mixing cup. The Breville’s 1,250-milliliter (42-ounce) cup holds more than twice as much as the next best blender—enough for two smoothies. Its wider range of speeds and well thought out attachments also elevate it above the competition.
The Breville was better at pureeing smoothies and soups than all but one of our testing models (the Dualit). In our original 2013 tests, it easily made the smoothest pureed soup and was the only blender that could grind peanuts into a smooth peanut butter. When we strained the pureed carrot-tomato-ginger soup in 2013, the Breville was the only one that left almost zero food waste in the sieve. This year’s test played out differently, as we used a more fibrous kale and chickpea soup recipe, and none of the immersion blenders really made a smooth textured puree. But the Breville was still one of the quickest to blend the soup, achieving a good texture in 1 minute, 26 seconds, basically tying with the Panasonic at 1 minute, 29 seconds. (That said, we found that the Panasonic ended up dying in another test when we ran it between 1 minute, 30 seconds and 2 minutes.) By comparison, the Dualit took 1 minutes, 55 seconds, and the Cuisinart took 2 minutes, 25 seconds to make a comparably smooth texture.
Although the Breville didn’t make a much smoother textured soup than the other models we tested this year, it did so faster and was also easier to use.
None of the blenders we tested in 2013 or this year excelled at green smoothies. They all left confetti bits of kale and berry seeds behind. But the Breville did manage to make slightly smoother textures than most, about on par with the Dualit. But the Dualit is also a much more powerful blender (400 watts vs the Breville’s 280 watts). When we strained the smoothies, the Breville and Dualit mixtures left about the same amount of pulp in the sieve.
The Breville’s low and high speeds were more extreme than the other models we tested, and it’s noticeably higher high may be why it blends more efficiently. Although we found the 15 speeds mostly overkill, we did find the range helpful for particularly tough tasks, such as blending peanuts and ice, when you might need to start slow and gradually increase the speed. A small dial at the top of the blender controls the speeds, and it’s easy to adjust as you blend.
While not a necessity, the Breville comes with a selection of high-quality attachments, including a mini chopper, whisk attachment, and a guard for the blade. We’ve appreciated that guard over the past few years, as it makes it easy to stow the blender in a utensil drawer without risking slicing a hand.
Consumer Reports also likes the Breville Control Grip. Its editors chose it as their top pick with a score of a 92 out of 100 points. The Breville has an average warranty, only a year limited (we hoped it would be more, considering that the motor on the company’s food processor has a 25-year warranty).
Flaws but not dealbreakers
If you’re not careful, the Breville will totally pulverize an onion in its chopper attachment. The Panasonic and Dualit, which both also come with choppers, did a much nicer job with an onion. We suggest pulsing judiciously and checking the consistency of items in the chopper attachment often to keep from over processing.
We also don’t like that the blending wand has an opening at the top that can fill with water when washing. You have to be careful to dump out the water and air dry the wand upside down. Many of the other models with removable wands are totally enclosed, which we like better. Just be careful when washing and drying.
Long-term test notes
Over the past two years of testing, we’ve used the Breville Control Grip and its attachments almost weekly to make smoothies, puree soups, and create fillings for recipes like ravioli. The model we have performs as well as it did when we got it. Some of the printing on the side of the handle has worn, but that hasn’t affected its performance.
The blender is a little tricky to clean under the blades, particularly when sticky things like peanut butter or thick soup (or mayo) get caught in the casing that surrounds the blades. But this is a problem with all immersion blenders. Sometimes it requires a little prodding with a utensil to get the gunk out (never, never do this while the blender is plugged in!). Running the immersion blender in a cup of soapy water also makes for easier cleanup.
We think the Breville is much easier to use and will make you a happier cook in the long run, but we recommend the The KitchenAid 3-Speed Hand Blender as a decent runner-up. It doesn’t blend as smoothly as the Breville, and it won’t really process tough ingredients, but it makes decently smooth purees, is comfortable to use, and performed second best in our tests in 2013.
Also in our tests, it created an excellent vortex. The only thing it couldn’t do that the Breville could was turn peanuts into peanut butter. It left quite a bit of pulp in the sieve when we strained the pureed soup, but not nearly as much as the far more expensive Bamix. We also found the button a little hard to push.
The KitchenAid’s rubber-coated handle is comfortable, although not quite as comfy as the contoured handle of the Breville. We found it much easier to grip than the Dualit’s slick plastic.
It was America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s top pick in 2012. They found it “sailed through pesto, smoothies, soup, hummus, whipped cream, and mayonnaise,” and “it’s also tough and durable.” We did find a limited number of Amazon complaints about this model breaking, but no more than among the reviews for most immersion blenders. It comes with a limited one-year warranty.
Also great for occasional blending
At about a third of the price of the Breville, the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75 is a surprisingly efficient blender if you don’t mind a slightly chunkier puree. To be clear, we’d still invest in the Breville for making daily smoothies or regularly pureeing soups or sauces. It might be three times as expensive, but it’s also three times the machine. But if you’re planning to use an immersion blender once a month or less, the Smart Stick makes a solid choice.
We were surprised by how well the Smart Stick performed given its low price. It blended soup on a par with the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-77, KitchenAid 3-Speed, and KitchenAid 5-Speed, which cost almost twice as much. And it makes a pretty good smoothie (although it can’t really tackle kale). This is the top-rated and top-selling hand blender on Amazon, and gets 89 percent four- and five-star reviews. Consumer Reports chose this as its third top-rated immersion blender, giving it 76 points out of 100. The Cuisinart’s three-year limited warranty also beats out the one-year warranty of both KitchenAids.
This model comes with only a mixing cup and no attachments, but the wand is removable and easy to clean.
The Smart Stick CSB-75 does feel cheap compared with the other models we tested, and we found that its plastic casing trapped food in the seams. Like many other immersion blenders, there are also multiple Amazon reviews about this model breaking.
Care and maintenance
If you’re used to the multitude of safety features on food processors, you might find immersion blenders a little less, well, idiot-proof. In January 2013, the New York Times published an article (“Bandages Not Included”) about how easy it is to hurt yourself with an immersion blender. The author mangled two fingers on her immersion blender and quotes multiple others who’ve cut themselves. I even recently met someone who did the same at a holiday last year!
Both experts I spoke with said the greater danger is actually splattering yourself with hot liquid. “The biggest thing is probably getting burnt,” culinary teacher Rudy Speckamp told me. To avoid this fate, soup pro Volker Frick says to always use the lower speed or pulse setting if working a smaller pot or saucepan.
According to its manual, the Breville Control Grip should be operated for only one minute at a time, with a one-minute cooling period. (When mixing super thick or heavy mixtures, the Breville manual says to operate the machine for only 15 seconds with one minute between each use.) The Cuisinart Smart Stick’s manual, on the other hand, says to operate it for 50 seconds at a time.
Although we’ve found the whisk attachment on the Breville useful for whipping eggs or cream, it’s not really suited for heavier tasks. If whipping something like a thick meringue, opt for a hand mixer instead.
Immersion blenders are generally easy to wash. Wipe the motor base with a damp cloth, and wash the wand with soap and water. Running the immersion blender in soapy warm water in the blending cup should loosen thick or sticky ingredients that lodge in the blade housing.
Despite its obnoxiously large, vibrating handle, the Dualit Immersion Blender ($130) performed as well or came in second in almost all the blending tests to the Breville. It actually has a nicer chopper attachment (the only chopper attachment we’ve seen with a feed tube). But we couldn’t get past the uncomfortable handle. We also found it tricky to twist the blending wand on and off the handle, particularly if it was slicked with oily ingredients. We found the Breville’s snap-on handle a much better design. Coming in at nearly $130, the Dualit is also expensive and we don’t think it’s worth the extra $30 over the Breville.
The KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Blender ($100) wasn’t reviewed in any major editorials, but at the time of our 2013 testing it was the fifth-rated immersion blender on Amazon (getting 4.4 out of 5 stars and 85 percent positive reviews) and actually had higher user ratings than the KitchenAid 3-Speed. It comes with a big box of attachments, including interchangeable blades, a chopper, and a whisk. We didn’t find that the 5-Speed performed any better than the KitchenAid 3-Speed, and we didn’t think we’d use all of the attachments (the box would probably just gather dust in my kitchen).
Good Housekeeping chose the Cuisinart Smart Stick 2-Speed Hand Blender CSB-79 ($60) as one of its top picks, saying, “It offers excellent performance and it’s easy to use.” Food & Wine also recommended this model, saying, “The noticeably sharp blade purees beautifully, and the hood around the blade is extra-deep, which helps pull food through the blender.” In our 2013 testing, we found this model pureed on a par with the KitchenAid 3-Speed, KitchenAid 5-Speed, and the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75, but was nowhere near as effective as the Breville Control Grip. It comes with whisk and chopper attachments, and has a three-year limited warranty. In testing, we didn’t find that this model did any better than the Cuisinart Smart Stick CBS-75, which you can pick up for nearly half the price.
We had high hopes for the the Bamix Mono ($150). Bamix is basically the Swiss Army Knife of immersion blenders (in fact, the two are owned by the same parent company), and this Swiss manufacturer still makes its blenders in Switzerland (the rest of the contenders are all made in China). I steered toward this company not because of editorial reviews, which are actually pretty sparse, but because of user reviews. On message boards on Chowhound and eGullet (from the Society of Culinary Arts and Letters), I gathered that Bamix immersion blenders are often considered the best around. Many reviewers say the motors are built like tanks and that the machines last 20 years. The blending wands of all the Bamix models are permanently attached (although most come with interchangeable blades). I chose the Bamix Mono because it’s one of Bamix’s least expensive models and it had great reviews on Amazon. In testing, we found that it has a comfortable handle and easy-to-push buttons, but sadly the blender didn’t create a great vortex and therefore was super slow in blending soup and smoothies. Surprisingly, it was the worst in our puree test, leaving a ton of fiber in the sieve. The quality of this machine seems very high, and it very well might last decades, but we found it agonizingly slow after the speed and efficiency of the Breville Control Grip.
As with Bamix, I was intrigued by Waring immersion blenders because they seem very durable. In fact, Waring makes only professional-grade immersion blenders. The company’s Quik Stik ($80) is the smallest model that Waring makes, and like the Bamix it has a fixed wand and no attachments. In its review, America’s Test Kitchen said, “This blender handled big chunks beautifully,” but that the “soup was grainy, and the smoothies and pesto were peppered with bits of unblended food.” I found that the Waring Quik Stik actually did a better job at pureeing than the Bamix or the Cuisinarts and KitchenAids we tested, and like the Bamix Mono, it feels very sturdy. But it doesn’t come with a blending cup and isn’t as convenient as the Breville Control Grip, with its removable shaft and attachments. If you were doing major quantity cooking and actually needed a pro-level tool at a moderate price, this would be one to consider, but most people would be better served by the power and speed of the Breville.
In our 2015 testing, we found that the Panasonic MX-SS1 Hand-Held Immersion Blender pureed decently, but was a bear on our wrists. It required a lot more maneuvering around the pot than the Breville or even the Cuisinart Smart Stick, which put a lot more strain on my wrists than any of the other blenders. The blending cup doesn’t come with a handle and was rather small, but the food chopper attachment worked nicely dicing onions. Unfortunately, the Panasonic died on us midway through testing, perhaps because we ran it past the duty cycle of one minute. To be fair, you should run most immersion blenders for only a maximum of one minute, and we ran the Panasonic for at least two on several occasions. Still, we did the same with all the other blenders and none of them died.
We found that many professional cooks (including The Sweethome’s Lesley Stockton) have long preferred immersion blenders made by Braun. But the company stopped making kitchen appliances for the US market.
What else did we look at?
Miallegro Professional MiTutto 9090: Although this was Consumer Reports’s best buy, it didn’t receive ratings as high as the other models we chose to test.
All-Clad Immersion Blender: This didn’t get ratings as high as the other models we tested in the $100 to $140 price range.
Bamix Professional: Consumer Reports rated this poorly, giving it only 51 of 100 points.
DeLonghi Hand Blender DHB723 Immersion Blender: Fewer than four stars on Amazon.
L’Equip 306700 Stick Blender: Fewer than four stars on Amazon.
Kalorik Sunny Morning Stick Mixer: Cook’s Illustrated rated this as its top pick in 2010, but downgraded it to the bottom of its list after many readers wrote to say it didn’t hold up well.
Oster 3-in-1 Hand Blender: Only three stars on Amazon.
Hamilton Beach 2-Speed Hand Blender: Few reviews and fewer than four stars on Amazon.
Hamilton Beach Turbo Twister 2-Speed Hand Blender: Amazon complaints about plastic cage around the blade melting.
KitchenAid 2-Speed KHB100ER: Serious Eats and Good Housekeeping liked this model, but it’s since been discontinued.
KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Immersion Blender: Too expensive and not enough reviews to compare it with other models we decided to test.
Calphalon Electrics 3-in-1 Immersion Hand Blender: Although a top user-rated model on Amazon, it’s rather expensive and we didn’t think it would compete with the other models we tried.
Proctor-Silex 59738 Hand Blender: Its blending wand is made of plastic and the model did not seem sturdy enough to seriously consider.
Breville Cordless Hand Blender: Poorly rated by America’s Test Kitchen and only 2.2 stars on Amazon.
Nesco Professional Grip ‘n’ Go Immersion Blender: Also poorly reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen and only three stars on Amazon.
Cuisinart Quik Prep Hand Blender: This has a plastic cage surrounding the blade and only three stars on Amazon.
KitchenAid KHBC212ER Commercial Series NSF Certified Immersion Blender: Costing more than $200, we found this model prohibitively expensive. At the time of our research, it had also received only one user review.
Dualit 700 W Hand Blender: This model looks promising, but doesn’t appear to be readily available stateside. We opted, instead, to test Dualit’s 400 W version for our 2015 update.
Panasonic Hand-Held Immersion Blender MX-GS1: We thought this model looked like an interesting, cheaper version of the Panasonic MSS-1 we tested this year, but the company told us they’re phasing out this model.
NutriChef Heavy Duty Food Processor and Immersion Blender: We couldn’t find any info on the immersion blender on the NutriChef site, and there is no warranty info on Amazon. The NutriChef site only shows cutlery and cookware.
We looked at and eliminated a number of models from brands that we’d never heard of and that had scant information about warranty or the companies in general. Most of them also looked too cheap to be any good, including: GForce GF-P1429-925 Strong 3-in-1 2-Speed Hand Mixer and Blender Set 450 Watts; Homeleader®2 speed Stainless blades Hand Blender set With Attachments; Betty Crocker BC-1303CK Hand Blender with Beaker; Vremi Strawberry Cream 400 Watt Slim Hand Blender with Bottle; Simply Ample SA1412 Hand Blender 2-Speed 300-watt Hand Blender; Ovente HS58S 300-Watt Multi-Purpose Hand Blender Set.
Originally published: October 7, 2015