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Countertop blenders vs. hand blenders: What's the difference?

Battle of the blenders: countertop vs. hand blenders

A blender is a versatile piece of kitchen equipment that every home cook should own, taking on everything from blending soup and smoothies to emulsifying the perfect vegan mayo. But should you choose a countertop blender or a hand blender? 

For the most part, countertop blenders are more powerful than hand blenders, but some tasks are easier with hand blenders, such as blending soup and making emulsified sauces.

What are countertop blenders?

Countertop blenders consist of a jug that fits onto a motor-containing base. These blenders are perfect for blending large batches of food and tend to be more powerful than stick blenders of a comparable price. 

You can find some basic countertop blenders for less than $50, but the most powerful top-quality models can cost as much as $500. 

What you’ll love about countertop blenders

  • The blending pitcher creates a vortex-like suction that tends to get ingredients smoother compared to a hand blender of the same wattage.
  • It's easier to thoroughly blend large batches of food in a countertop blender.
  • Thanks to their more powerful motors, countertop blenders are better at tough blending jobs like blending ice or making nut butter.

What you should consider about countertop blenders

  • They tend to cost more than hand blenders.
  • It's more of a hassle to blend soup and other hot foods and liquids in a countertop blender, because the top can blow off if you don't stop to vent steam.

Top countertop blenders

Blendtec Classic 570 Blender

This high-speed countertop blender makes almost any blending task look easy. We love the simple one-touch interface. 

Available at Home Depot.

Vitamix Explorian E310 Series 10-Speed Blender

One of the best blenders around, nothing can stop this Vitamix in its tracks. It has 10 speeds with simple dial controls.

Available at Best Buy, Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Ninja Professional 3-Speed Blender

This is a solid countertop blender at an affordable price. It’s an exceptional choice if you don't have a huge budget or don't need a high-performance blender. 

Available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot

What are hand blenders?

Hand blenders — also known as immersion or stick blenders — are handheld, consisting of blades on the end of a long shaft, which fits onto a handle that contains the motor. Hand blenders don't have a jug; instead, you can stick them straight into a pot, glass or other container to blend the contents.

You can find hand blenders from $20-$150, depending on their quality and any additional attachments that come with them. 

What you’ll love about immersion blenders

  • Hand blenders are ideal for blending soup because you can blend it straight in the pot and unlike countertop blenders, there's no lid that can blow off, sending hot soup flying everywhere.
  • You get more control over how much you blend foods with a stick blender, which is great for foods you might want to leave slightly chunky, like soups or some dips.
  • With a hand blender, there's no jug to wash up and you can use any container you like to blend foods.
  • Immersion blenders are better at emulsifying liquids than countertop blenders.

What you should consider about hand blenders

  • You can't get tougher foods completely smooth using a hand blender, even a powerful one.
  • It generally takes longer to blend foods using a hand blender than a countertop blender.

Top hand blenders

Vitamix Immersion Blender 

While it might not be as powerful as a countertop Vitamix blender, this excellent stick blender is more powerful than most and can blend foods with ease.

Available at Best Buy and Amazon

KitchenAid Cordless Variable Speed Hand Blender 

This KitchenAid model is a convenient cordless hand blender from a top name in kitchen appliances. We love that it also comes with whisk and chopper attachments.

Available at Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon and Best Buy

Mueller Austria Ultra-Stick 500 Hand Blender

This hand blender might be highly affordable and great for those on a budget, but it also performs exceptionally well. It's perfect for light blending tasks that don't call for the power of a countertop blender.

Available at Amazon

Should I get a countertop blender or a hand blender?

Whether you need a countertop blender or a hand blender depends on how you intend to use it. If you only want to do light blending tasks, you might prefer the convenience of a stick blender, even if it isn't as powerful as a countertop model. For serious blending action, you can't beat a countertop blender. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you might find you need both. 

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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