Kitchen Appliance Review: The Best Hand Blender for All Your Cooking Needs

Kriti Malik, NDTV  |  Updated: July 19, 2017 12:53 IST

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Kitchen Appliance Review: The Best Hand Blender for All Your Cooking Needs
You’ve got an expensive food processor, a mixer and maybe a regular blender in the kitchen but if you’ve watched even a single episode of MasterChef Australia then you’ll know that there’s another appliance that’s a must in the kitchen. A hand blender, also known as an immersion blender or the stick blender, adds a certain ease and swiftness to your cooking. It also helps you avoid the process where you pull out your heavy food processor from the cupboard for small, every day jobs.

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The right kind of blender is supposed to be sleek, tall, and light, with a long shaft and should be easy to mount on your wall. It should fit into different kinds of pots and pans so you don’t have to keep transferring what you’re cooking. It should help you whip up thick and gorgeous smoothies, the quintessential lassi and buttermilk, ketchup, pesto, mayonnaise, salsa, chutneys and other everyday foods that you need on your dinner table.

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Hand blenders can be fairly difficult to buy, as they range from Rs.650 to Rs.6500 and 200 Watts to 800 Watts, and a lot of brands offer multiple models with little or almost no visible difference; it’s a tough choice that can send anyone running out of the door. The basic model is just a stick blender with low wattage, no accessories and is used purely for mixing. It usually has a stainless steel shaft and a plastic upper body, where the two can be detached and cleaned easily. If you’re looking for just that then Usha, Orpat, Insala and Oster are some good bands to consider. The next lot includes better quality blenders, which could have a stainless steel shaft or a plastic one, but is of higher wattage and comes with a few accessories. Then it can just escalate to products as expensive as Rs.10,000 but those are usually recommended for professional chefs or for those who work in restaurants.(Kitchen Appliance Review: Our Pick for The Best Single-Door Budget Refrigerator)

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The kind of blender we’ve decided to review is the kind that ranges from Rs.1500 to around Rs.4500, is more than 300 Watts, comes with a beaker and chopper, and can help you blend, mix and chop.

Parameters

So how exactly can you assess a good blender? After speaking with retailers and doing our share of due diligence, we listed down the parameters that a good hand blender must be tested on.

1. Weight – How heavy is the blender? For soups and purees, or for times when you’re using a chopper, a heavy blender can be a real put off. So that was an important criteria for us before we could shortlist the blender.

2. Wattage – Wattage is an indicator of how powerful the motor of the product will be. So common sense suggests that the higher the wattage, the stronger or more efficient the product. But when we tested the products we didn’t find much difference in the performance of the blenders, at least none that could account for the difference in wattage. But for the purpose of classification, we’ve included models that have a bare minimum 300 Watts motor.

3. Body/Materials Used - Some of the blenders have a steel shaft whereas some have a plastic one. The steel ones could be put in a hot pan or boiling soup without fearing that it would melt but the plastic ones don’t provide that option. But in some cases where the shafts were longer, they could be immersed in a deeper dish which was great, especially when you’re cooking in larger quantities.

4. Power button - On reading customer reviews on online forums, I found that the power button on the blender was a constant pain point. It could be tough to press and even tougher to hold at times.

5. Blade - The blade is made of stainless steel but it could be either a regular one or a tri-blade. The ideal blade however needs to be big, thick and sturdy and not light and elegant.

6. Attachments/Accessories – Some of the brands had only basic blenders with no attachments while other brands delivered a chopper, whisker and more within the same range.

The Contenders

On the basis of customer and retailer reviews and the parameters mentioned above, we picked the following brands and models.

1. Philips HR1602 Hand blender

The speed - Single switch
Cleaning - The shaft can be separated with ease because of a 2 button release system.
Tasks it can do - 550 Watt Motor that can blend, chop and puree with great ease
Accessories - Chopper and one more accessory
Warranty - 2 year warranty

2. Panasonic MX- SS1 600-Watt Hand Blender

The speed - Variable speed control
Cleaning - The shaft can be separated and both parts can be cleaned.
Body material - Plastic, wand is made of stainless steel
Accessories - Beaker, chopper, whisker and fixture for wall mounting the blender
Tasks it can do - Puree, whisk, mix and chop
Warranty - 1 year

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Left: Panasonic; Right: Kenwood

3. Kenwood - HB 681

Kenwood also has around 7 different models on its website but we took the one which was under Rs.4500 and had a plastic body.

The speed - Basic and turbo
Cleaning - The shaft can be separated and both parts are dishwasher safe.
Body material - Plastic
Accessories - Beaker, chopper and plastic shaft
Tasks it can do - Puree, whisk and mix. You shouldn’t use it for longer than 50 seconds at a stretch because it might overheat. It’s not recommended for ice crushing and also can’t be dunked in a pan while it’s on heat.
Warranty - 1 year
Net weight - 1.07kgs

4. Maharaja Whiteline HB-103

The speed - One
Cleaning - The shaft can be washed separately but clean the motor unit with a damp cloth. It cannot be put in the dishwasher.
Body material - Plastic motor top and stainless steel wand
Accessories - 500ml chopper and beaker
Tasks it can do - Puree, whisk, crush, mixes
Warranty - 2 years
Net weight - 1.2kgs

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5. Morphy Richards HB CS 400Watts

The speed - Normal and Turbo
Cleaning - The shaft can be separated and cleaned
Body material - Plastic motor top and plastic shaft
Accessories - Beaker and chopper
Tasks it can do - Puree, whisk, crush, mixes
Warranty - 2 years

Morphy Richards also has another product HBCD SS which is entirely made of steel, is sleek, light and really powerful. But since it’s priced a little over Rs.4500 (on the official site), we could not include it in this review.

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Left: Morphy Richards; Right: Bajaj

6. Bajaj Silencio Hand Blender 500 Watts

The speed - One
Cleaning - The shaft can be washed separately but clean the motor unit with a damp cloth. It cannot be put in the dishwasher.
Body material - Plastic motor top and stainless steel wand
Accessories - Beaker, chopper and whisker
Tasks it can do – Blend, mix, puree and chop
Warranty - 2 years

7. Braun Multiquick 1 MR120 300-Watt

The speed - One
Cleaning - The shaft can be washed separately but clean the motor unit with a damp cloth. It cannot be put in the dishwasher.
Body material - Plastic motor top and stainless steel wand
Accessories - Beaker, chopper and whisker
Tasks it can do - Blend, puree and chop
Warranty - 2 years

8. Havells Super Blend Plus with Chopper & Havells Blend Mate with Chopper

Both these models have a 400W motor and are priced at Rs.3895 and Rs.3395 respectively.

The speed - Regular and turbo
Body material - Super Blend Plus has a plastic shaft whereas Blend Mate has a steel shaft.
Accessories - Beaker and chopper
Tasks it can do - Beaker, puree and chop
Warranty - 2 years

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Left: Prestige; Right: Boss

9. Boss Quick Mix Portable Blender 400W

The speed - Two, normal and turbo
Cleaning - The shaft can be washed separately but clean the motor unit with a damp cloth. It cannot be put in the dishwasher.
Body material - Plastic motor top and stainless steel wand
Accessories - Beaker and chopper
Tasks it can do - Blending and chopping
Warranty - 1 year

10. Prestige Hand Blender PHB 7.0, 400 Watts

The speed - Two, normal and turbo
Cleaning - The shaft can be washed separately but clean the motor unit with a damp cloth. It cannot be put in the dishwasher.
Body material - Plastic motor top and stainless steel wand.
Accessories - Beaker and chopper
Tasks it can do - Blending and chopping.
Warranty - 1 year

Prestige also has another model which costs Rs. 4295 (Rs.3220 on their website) which has a 750Watt motor and a great chopper.

What Can the Hand Blenders do?

To understand this, we first went through the product manual of each of the brands we picked. Then, we did a few tests to understand how well the blenders work.

- The weight of the blender?
- How long does it take for the blender to make lassi?
- Ease of washing? Can it be dismantled from the top?
- Can it be dunked into a hot utensil to puree chunks?
- Is it a good looking product?
- For models that came with a chopper, I checked how long and how well it can work on diced onions and coriander. For the blenders that had the same wattage, I did it for the same amount of time but for those with a lower wattage I kept it running longer.
- For models that came with a whisker I checked how quickly it whips cream and whisks eggs.

Test Results

An important discovery I made during the process of this review was that the price is not an indicator of quality because some low priced blenders performed much better than expected and some high-priced ones had some glaring issues. The first thing I looked for in all contenders was the power switch because as someone who’s always owned a blender I know that as soon as the button starts to pose as a problem, ease of use drops considerably.

Kenwood’s blender has good grip and efficient triblade but the power and turbo buttons are a bit hard to use. The Philips blender has a slim grip and isn't too heavy which makes it easy to use. The Morphy Richards model HB CS also had similar trouble but they’ve got another model which is made entirely of stainless steel, HBCD SS (not included in the review) that has one of the best buttons I’ve seen on a hand blender. Maharaja Whiteline was the only blender with a plastic button which is much easier to use. Philips also had a rubber button but it didn’t require much effort, though consumers have suggested that the button on Philips wears off really soon.

Kenwood and Braun were two models which had European plugs which don’t go into Indian sockets and need a multi plug. And the fact that you’ll have to pull out a multi plug every time you need to use the blender seems a bit tedious.

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When we talk about speed, most blenders offered two options - a regular and a turbo speed. Prestige also offered speed control. In some models like Philips, the speed at regular mode was better than the turbo speed of other brands. Philips and Panasonic chopped three onions real fine in just a few seconds, Boss was a bit slower than them.

Before starting the review, Wattage was a big criterion but on testing, I didn’t find too much difference between the 400-450W blender and the 550W blender. Retailers agreed that anything over 300W will do the trick. The Braun hand blender was of 300W only when other blenders in the same price range go up to 600W.

The part of the blender which separates so that other accessories can be attached is also something you should check as it needs to be seamless. Philips had the best of the lot and so did Prestige and Panasonic. Maharaja Whiteline was a bit tricky and didn’t fix on to the chopper, but just sort of laid there. Although it didn’t hamper the efficiency of the blender.

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Almost all of the blenders have two basic accessories - blender and chopper, some of them also had a whisker. I found the chopper of Philips to be the best but it seemed a bit smaller than the other. It had a lesser surface area but when I used it to chop onions, it was much finely chopped than the others because the blades reached right up to the sides of the blender.

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Our Top 3 Picks

1. Panasonic, for overall efficiency - If I had to pick a clear winner, then it would be the Panasonic hand blender. It's is a strong and sturdy blender which lets you chop, blend and whisk with equal efficiency. It has a speed regulator which works even while you are blending so you'll be in complete control. In terms of product life, Panasonic ranks right on top and retailers have found it has minimum customer complaints as well.

2. Philips, for excellent chopping - The quality of the product is really good and so are the accessories. We’ve heard of customer complaints regarding Philips when it comes to life of the product but when it comes to efficiency, this product ranks really high. The blades of the shaft are strong but the ones in the chopper are excellent. On first glance, the chopper has a much smaller surface area than others but once you test the product you’ll understand why. If the blade can’t reach till the end of the chopper it tends to leave bigger chunks of whatever you’ve put in there. But the Philips blender chopped onions in such fine diced pieces so swiftly and so beautifully, that it was a real treat.

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3. Boss, for overall efficiency - This was one product which really surprised me. It’s got good grip, is not too broad so fairly easy to hold. It seems much lighter than the others but has a soft panel with two speeds, one regular and one turbo. I found that it chopped consistently and pureed well too. It also blended faster than some other more popular brands.

Disclaimer

CommentsAlways do your own research on products and companies before using a product you choose. NDTV, its affiliates and its management does not claim responsibility for any of the products/ or companies discussed on this site. There may be other refrigerator models available within the same price range and capacity that are not featured in this article.

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