With an immersion blender you take the appliance to the food. You dunk it directly into smoothies, soups, and other fare. It also fits in a drawer, saving counter space.
Our tests whipped up three top picks, including a CR Best Buy that ran circles around a pricey "professional" model for a fraction of the cost.
We puréed chicken bouillon and vegetables for soup and blended frozen fruit and yogurt for smoothies, typical tasks for these machines. Our testers grated cheese, and chopped garlic and other foods with models that have a chopping option.
Even the best immersion blenders aren't nearly as fast or as powerful as a countertop model, but they're a useful complement. Here's what else our tough tests revealed:
2 Miallegro, a CR Best Buy at $50, blended and puréed nearly as well as 1 Breville. In its chopping mode it grated cheese more finely for half the money. It also left the $180 6 Bamix far behind.
All three of our picks have an auxiliary mixing beaker, chopper assembly, and a whisk for beating. Metal parts that come off for cleaning are another handy item on all but the Bamix. But having three blade tips instead of the usual two made no difference on 3 DeLonghi.
As the Ratings show, the models with the highest speeds aren't necessarily the best performers. And although 3 DeLonghi is one of two machines with a high-speed turbo mode, it was barely faster than the nonturbo Breville.
The Bamix and 5 Waring are two of the three "professional" models that were included in our tests. But neither the Waring nor the Bamix, with its heavy-duty parts, delivered when it came to performance.