You don’t have to wait until Black Friday to get a top-rated small appliance at a good price. Some of the best performers in Consumer Reports tests cost $80 or even much less including a $30 hand mixer and a $40 coffeemaker. Of course, if you want to spend more, we also test small appliances with big price tags. Here are five CR Best Buys and five splurges that did great in our tests.
CR Best Buy: Cooks 10-Speed HM820, $30
Exclusive to JC Penney, this 10-speed mixer combines excellent mixing and whipping time, outperforming much pricier models. It has a digital speed indicator, interchangeable beaters, and a separate dough hook. On the downside, its center-post beaters aren’t as easy to clean as the wire beaters found on some other models. And it doesn’t have the slow-start feature that’s helpful for containing spills and splatters.
Splurge: KitchenAid KHM926, $100
The $100 KitchenAid costs more than many other hand mixers, but it performed very well in our tests, combing very good mixing and whipping time. It also scored points for versatility, thanks to its dough hooks, whisk attachment, and liquid blender rod, which is designed to blend soups, smoothies, and more. On the downside, this mixer is noisier than other recommended models.
CR Best Buy: Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004, $60
Superb performance and outstanding value combine to make the Ninja Master Prep Professional an extremely worthwhile blender. It features a unique top-mounted motor that you press down to operate, and it comes with smaller chopping and processing containers, in addition to the 48-ounce blending jar. In our tests, it excelled at all the main blending tasks.
Splurge: Vitamix 5200, $450
From one of the biggest names in premium blenders, the $450 Vitamix has long been our top-scoring blender. Besides acing our frozen drinks, puree, and ice crush tests, it's one of the few models that makes hot soup and blitzes whole fruits and vegetables into smooth, creamy juice. While you’re paying a premium, there are even more expensive blenders on the market, from Vitamix itself as well as other manufacturers.