We’re all in on this immersion blender. You can use immersion blenders—also called stick blenders—to puree soups in their pots, eliminating the messy, dicey transfer to and from a blender or food processor. They’re also designed for small blending jobs such as making mayonnaise, salad dressing, pesto, or whipped cream. Manufacturers brag about speeds and power, but what really makes a good blender? We tested 12 models to separate the spin from the substance. Only one immersion blender lived up to its hype.
WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Braun Multiquick 5 Hand Blender
KEY: GOOD ★★★ FAIR ★★ POOR ★
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated February 2017
This blender’s two speeds were well calibrated and were all we needed to bounce from task to task with ease. It was the easiest to maneuver—light and slim, with a grippy body. It had a whisk for perfect whipped cream and a blending cup that contained splatter. We downgraded it a wee bit for leaving small, precise bits of kale in its (still perfectly drinkable) smoothie.
Weight: 1.5lbs Height: 15" Speeds: 2 Accessories: Whisk, Blending Cup RPM: 11,393 to 13,085 Watts: 350
How we tested immersion blenders
We tested 12 blenders, priced from $14.99 to $129.99, starting with an elimination round in which we pureed potato soup. Five blenders were nixed from the lineup for egregiously poor performance: Blades fell off into the soup, wands didn’t detach, and buttons were markedly uncomfortable. We ran the remaining seven blenders through a battery of tests, trying them in Dutch ovens, saucepans, slow-cooker crocks, bowls, and their own blending cups (for models that had one).
Tests included grinding pesto, blending smoothies, emulsifying mayonnaise, whipping cream, and pureeing whole tomatoes. We looked for fully incorporated food and smooth and even textures.
Testers of different sizes and dominant hands used and rated each blender. We rated the comfort of the handle and buttons, as well as the working weight.
We looked at how manageable and logical the speeds are to use and set, how well the cord stays out of the way, and how easy it is to move the blender around the vessel.
Blenders shouldn’t spray food, and they should come with a blending cup to minimize splatter.
We monitored the blenders’ looks and functionality throughout testing. We washed all of their attachments and blending cups in the dishwasher 10 times.
Winning Traits of the Braun Multiquick 5 Hand Blender
• Shorter, lighter, slim body with a grippy rubber handle
• Fewer speeds that are logically located and powered
• Well-designed blade and cage
• An included blending cup and whisk
• Blending wand that attaches and detaches readily and securely