It is such a mainstay we almost no longer notice it, but every kitchen needs one: a blender. It slices! It dices! It comes in thousands of versions with thousands of prices! Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping are excellent resources to whittle down the herd, but only to a point. There are several different categories, and even the best of the best form a sizable number. Here are three blenders that are at the top of their class:
1. Cuisinart Smart Power Premier 600-Watt Blender CBT-500
Few companies are as synonymous with quality kitchen appliances as Cuisinart (“cuisine” + “art”), and the tradition continues with the countertop CBT-500. Easy to use and easy to clean, this is the perfect everyday blender for the everyday kitchen, with a comfortable grip. A Good Housekeeping darling, this blender does all the blendy things to a tee: smoothies, frozen drinks, and homemade protein shakes for the gym-goers. Made for lefties as much as right-handers, thoughtful extras like the digital timer make the stainless-steel CBT-500 a wise purchase. And for those that actually read it, the in-depth manual includes a speed chart and recipes.
2. DeLonghi DHB723 Variable Speed Handblender
Also known as “immersion blenders,” think of handhelds as the portable, on-the-go, and slightly more butch upstarts. Perfect for kitchens with more drawer space than counter top, the ergonomically-styled DHB723 packs a serious mixing punch in the form of a unique stainless-steel Triblade concept that delivers powerful, efficient and controllable blending at the touch of a button and the highest wattage on the market. Comeing with chopper, breaker, whisk and big foot attachments, the DHB723 offers continuous or pulse action at the touch of a button. Splash-reduction technology and being easy to clean are other perks.
Professional blenders differentiate themselves by being a little more on the heavy-duty side. The Vita-Mix 5200 whacks cheese, ice, coffee beans, and lots of other exotics with a powerful 2-horsepower (1,380 watt) motor, perfect for the professional chef and gung-ho foodie fanatic. The Deluxe version is by far the most versitle, coming with 64- and 32-ounce cointainers as well as a 32-ounce dry-grains container; the 5200 not only turns wheat into fine flour, it can even simulate the kneading process. Throw in the two cookbooks, spatulas, and flexible cutting boards and you can discreetly re-gift most of your kitchen appliance drawer.