In the market for a new blender? You're not alone. Sales of this small appliance have been humming in recent years--thanks in part to the popularity of so-called personal blenders. These alternative to full-size blenders target on-the-go smoothie enthusiasts, featuring smaller containers that can double as a travel mug. Whether it's full-size or personal, a blender is one appliance that you're more likely to leave on the countertop--so upscale looks, increased power, and sturdier construction are also helping to drive blender sales. Many colors and finishes, including stainless steel, are now available, but appearance isn't everything.
Other options include handheld immersion blenders (good mostly for stirring powdered drinks or puréeing vegetables in a saucepan) and all-in-one machines (which claim to replace food processors and, in some cases, add cooking capabilities). But you might sacrifice performance or have to pay more if you follow either route.
Consider the types of food and drink you prepare, and use our Ratings to find the blenders that perform best in those areas. For example, if you're mostly mixing drinks, look for a machine with enough oomph to crush ice.
Spending more for any of these appliances will typically get you touchpad controls, extra power, and designer styling or colors to match your kitchen's décor. Most have glass or plastic pitchers.
Big, visible measurement marks and easily decipherable controls add to ease of use. Our noise Ratings can spare you the trouble of listening to a grating, high-pitched whine--some models are loud enough to require hearing protection.