To everyone who takes cooking seriously, blender is regarded as one of the best and most useful innovation. A good blender saves you time, trouble and money. The first two savings are obvious and the third will become obvious to you once you’ve finished reading this article.
It is amazing how a piece of metal blade attached to a motor can accomplish so much. This simple piece of concept is what we found in our blenders today. Yet, the blender product family just gets bigger and bigger.
Nowadays, if you talk about blender, you have to know exactly what you want it to do. If you ask anyone what the best blender on the market is, don’t be surprised that if you do not get a single answer to the question. The answer depends on who you ask and what she does with her blenders.
How to Identify the Best Blenders
One common mistake that most people committed when they are searching for their first blender is to jump straight into finding the best blender. Without knowing all the important things that constitute a high quality blender, going through the piles of blender reviews is a painful process. It is like looking for a needle in haystack.
Let’s start with the basics.
The Blade Material
If you do your research thoroughly, you will find that the blade material used in almost all of today’s blenders is stainless steel.
Wrong. It is good to know that there are different grades of stainless steel. The grade determines quality and as far as blender blade is concerned, quality is often measured in terms of ductility strength (durability) and corrosion resistant.
The Blade Design
The blade design is one that is most commonly taken for granted. This is not surprising considering the fact that there has not been significant innovation attempts from most of the blender manufacturers.
The most common blade design that you see is one that highly resembles the shape of flower petals. This is usually composed of 4 metal pieces, with two facing down and the other two facing up.
If you have ever owned and used a blender, I bet you would have encountered several occasions (at least) where your berry, nuts or ice cubes, get stuck at the bottom of the jar. What I would typically do is to lift the jar up and do some shaking. It depends on what you are trying to blend and the design of your blender. It might take few attempts before you eventually get smooth or even results.
Not quite a complete breakdown, but it can really be frustrating especially if you do it every day (such as making your daily morning berry smoothies).
Blade alone does not cut. It does the cutting or chopping when it is rotated at high speed. This is achieved by attaching the blade to a motor beneath it.
There are two different specifications that are commonly used by blender manufacturers to show off. First is the motor power and second is the rpm speed.
Which do you trust? Let’s see.
Simply stating the motor power is only telling half of the picture. To get the full picture, you need to see how the armature is being mounted. Blenders of lower grade quality use bushing mechanism while those of higher grade quality use bearing mechanims.
In principle, it is down to one simple thing. The bearing mechanism is going to be more effective in driving the blade compared to the bushing mechanism.
What does this mean? It means that if you have the same motor power, but one is using the bushing and the other is using the bearing, the latter is going to produce higher rpm.
Keep in mind that higher rpm alone also does not give the full picture. Say Blender-A specifies 30,000rpm but it gets stuck the moment you drop an ice cube in. Blender-B on the other hand, specifies 20,000rpm but it crushes those ice cubes perfectly, each time.
Which is better? You have the answer.
Do understand that different blender manufacturers use different set up to establish the rpm specifications. The different material density (that they are blending while testing) is what determines the rpm result.
You may call it half-truth or gimmick or whatever, but that’s life. Get on with it and stop whining. That’s why it is important to do your own homework and go through some of the blender reviews before making your decision.
The Noise Level
The noise level generated by your smoothie maker could be important but could also be unimportant. Do you know why?
If you always make that energy-packed banana smoothies early in the morning before the kids jump out from their beds, then you might want to give careful scrutiny to the noise level performance.
If you are in love with a blender, I have to warn that finding out about its noise level is one of the hardest thing to do. This is one aspect of blender performance that can only be discovered either through well-thought blender reviews or your personal experience.
Cleaning your blender after each use is one thing that you wouldn’t want to skip. Clean your blender poorly and there are few dire consequences that you have to bear.
First of all, poorly cleaned blender will leave the blade to potential corrosion. It depends on the blender that you have. Some blenders come with poor customer service and some may have poor lifespan. If your blender has reached its end of life, then finding replacements might be tricky. For blenders in the lower price range, getting a brand new unit makes more sense than the hassle that you have to go through.
The other problem is the bacteria that is left accumulated if your blender is not cleaned properly. If you watch Dr. Oz‘s show, you might have heard how in one of the episodes, it was revealed that blender gasket is one corner of the kitchen with the most germs.
I would advise against taking the cleanliness of your blender too lightly. I know how painful it can be when it comes to cleaning your blender. That’s why choosing the right blender that allows easy cleaning cannot be more important.
The Speed Control
Speed control is important if you need to use your blender for different purposes.
To crush ice cubes effectively, you need a blender that is capable of rotating the blade at high speed. But to pulverize non-frozen fruits and vegetables, you may want to turn to lower speed.
There may not be official guidelines on what speed is best, but it is generally accepted that higher blade speed tends to cause oxidation to your fruits and vegetables. Expect certain degree of nutrients and fibre loss.
One thing that is often overlooked in many blender reviews is the heat generated by the high speed motor rotation. The high temperature is not desireable as it can potentially destroy certain essential properties that are key to your ingredients.
In this regard, well designed blenders would be well equipped with cooling fan unit that prevents overheating to the motor. Operation of the cooling fan and the motor at the same time may cause resonance which contribute to the overall noise level of the blender. High-end blenders will usually comes with special fan blade designed to effectively reduce the resonance impact.
The Jar Design
Unless you use your blender regularly, it is hard to understand how important jar design of a blender can be.
First of all, it is good to know that most blender jars are made of either plastic or glass. Plastic jar is always cheaper than glass jar and it is one of the most tangible aspect that separates blenders in the lower price range from those in the other end of the range.
If the jar of the blender that you fell in love with is made of plastic, you want to look out for BPA-free label. It is clear that BPA-based product is harmful to our health. The remaining question is only about what degree it has and what amount of BPA is considered safe. Until such information is clearly established, it is always good to avoid products containing BPA.
Before You Proceed with Your Blender Reviews
To sum it all, choosing the best blenders cannot be accomplished by the wink of an eye. If you are serious about getting the best blenders that will make the best green smoothies, make sure you know what aspects of blender design are important.
Price is always an important consideration but do not simply eliminate blender models because their price is not right. Think about it based on longer term perspective. Ask yourself how heavy a duty or how frequently you will put your blender to use.
If you need nothing more than a blender that will make single smoothie serving each time, you may want to consider getting the best personal blender.
If you need it to make everything – from smoothies to puree to frappucino – for such reasons as cost saving and healthier living, you do not want to end up buying a low cost blender only to find out that it fails to produce consistent smoothies. Worse still, it will fail after few months and you find yourself hunting for a new blender once again.
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