By Christine Cyr Clisset, Michael Sullivan and Sharon Franke
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Since our quest for the best immersion blender began in 2013, we've considered 63 models, interviewed two soup-making pros, and pureed gallons of soup, smoothies, and sauces. Through all this research and testing, the Breville Control Grip has remained our top pick because it produces smoother textures, has a design that's more comfortable to use, and comes with whipping and chopping attachments that actually work.
The Breville Control Grip immersion blender thoroughly purees even fibrous soups and can blend smoothies made with ice and frozen berries into thick, frosty mixtures. It has a rubber handle and a power button that you press naturally as you grip, so it's comfortable to hold even for long blending times. The blending wand doesn't spatter as it purees. We also appreciate the extra-large, 42-ounce blending jar, which has a handle, clearly marked measurements, and a rubber grip to keep it firmly in place during blending. The Breville comes with both a whisk and a chopper attachment, and although it's one of the pricier hand blenders out there, we think it's far less likely to languish in a junk drawer than other, inconvenient offerings.
The Braun MultiQuick 5 Hand Blender MQ505 rivals more expensive models at pureeing soup and smoothies thoroughly. It has a soft grip, but we found that pressing its small button for the entire blending time quickly grew fatiguing. In addition to a blending jar, the Braun comes with a whisk, but it doesn't include a chopper. Although cheaper options are available, we think it's worth paying a little more than a rock-bottom price to get a model that doesn't spatter. The other lower-priced models in our test—including the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-175, which replaced the CSB-75, our previous budget pick—were more difficult to use and created hot-liquid splashes that weren't fun or easy to clean up. The Cuisinart CSB-175 also had trouble with ice, while the Braun MQ505 was able to pulverize ice and frozen fruit with ease.
When it came to blending smoothly and thoroughly in our tests, nothing beat the Philips ProMix Hand Blender HR1670/92, which turned out velvety soups and the thickest of smoothies. It's comfortable to grip even for several minutes, as your hand rests naturally as you squeeze to operate it. To increase the power level, you simply press harder, so you can easily use the blender with one hand without stopping. However, the Philips doesn't come cheap, and for the big bucks you don't get any accessories other than a 24-ounce blending cup (you can purchase the whisk and chopper accessories separately for a hefty premium). If you want the very best purees you can get from an immersion blender, and if you're willing to pay for that and nothing else, this Philips ProMix model is worth your consideration.
Why you should trust us
Senior editor Christine Cyr Clisset, who wrote our original guide to immersion blenders, has spent hundreds of hours for Wirecutter researching, testing, and writing about kitchen gadgets that whirl, cut, and chop. That includes writing our original guides to food processors and blenders. Before that she was a cookbook editor at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Kitchen staff writer Michael Sullivan, who contributed to our 2016 update, has reviewed everything from wine glasses to toaster ovens for Wirecutter. He is a graduate of The International Culinary Center, where he also worked as an editor. He previously worked as a recipe tester for the cookbook Meat: Everything You Need to Know. Sharon Franke, who worked on our 2018 update, tested and wrote about kitchen equipment at the Good Housekeeping Institute for more than 30 years. Before that she spent seven years wielding a knife and wrangling pots and pans as a professional chef in restaurants in New York City.
In 2015, we spoke with Rudy Speckamp, a former restaurateur who logged countless hours using immersion blenders as an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, as well as Volker Frick, who worked with immersion blenders for 20 years as the executive chef at the soup manufacturer Kettle Cuisine. In our research we also read reviews in Cook's Illustrated (subscription required) and Serious Eats, and we looked closely at owner ratings on retailer sites such as Amazon, as well as comments from Wirecutter readers.
Who should get this
An immersion blender is definitely worth investing in if you make pureed soups. "You could use a blender or a food processor, but an immersion blender just makes it one-pot cookery," chef Rudy Speckamp told us. Having an immersion blender makes it easy to puree soup directly in the stockpot, rather than ladling the cooked ingredients into a blender in several batches and then pouring each batch into another bowl or pot before finally combining them and reheating them in the pot. Immersion blenders also work well for small batches of smoothies, baby food, or even dips, pesto, or mayonnaise. If yours comes with a whisk attachment, it can make whipped cream to top a pie or an ice cream sundae.
An immersion blender won't work for heavier tasks, and most won't make a silky-smooth texture. A food processor, with its various blades and disks, works best for most chopping, dicing, or shredding, and a full-size blender makes smoother purees and smoothies. (If you want more details on the differences between blenders, processors, and mixers, we've covered the subject in some depth.)
An immersion blender is definitely worth investing in if you make pureed soups.
We recommend upgrading from an old immersion blender only if your current model fails to make smooth textures, if it's difficult to hold and use, or if you want more attachments, such as a mini chopper or whisk.
How we picked
For our 2018 update, we checked to see what new models had been introduced since our last guide, as well as whether any models we'd previously reviewed had been updated or discontinued. We read the latest reports from other review sites and looked at the best sellers on Amazon and other retailer sites. We also paid close attention to comments on our existing guide as well as on Amazon, noting the design features that people loved or hated. Taking all of that into consideration, along with all of our past research into immersion blenders, we established the following criteria for a good model.
Purees quickly and smoothly
The most important feature of an immersion blender is its ability to puree to a fairly fine texture in a reasonable amount of time. An immersion blender's motor needs to have enough torque to create a vigorous vortex so that food circulates in the mixing vessel and passes through the rotary blade multiple times. "If there's a lot of movement, that's good," said Volker Frick, the executive chef at Kettle Cuisine at the time of our interview in 2015. "How deep does [the vortex] go? And how quickly does it spit it back up?" An effective vortex creates a smooth puree, while a subpar one leaves stringy or chunky bits in soup or smoothies.
Comfortable to use
Because these machines are designed to be used one-handed (you'll probably hold a pot or mixing cup with your other hand), the best ones are comfortable to hold. That means the controls should be easy to press or adjust, the handle should feel good in your hand, and the machine should be light enough for you to grip without fatigue for at least a minute. (Many non-commercial immersion blenders aren't designed to be used for longer than a minute at a time, or they'll overheat.)
Removable blending wand
Immersion blenders with detachable blending wands are easier to clean without risk of getting the motor wet. These designs also allow you to connect different attachments (such as a food chopper or whisk), and some are even dishwasher safe. That said, more expensive models (such as those by Bamix) and those made for commercial use typically have wands that don't come off. In part, the fixed wands may be why these pro-grade blenders tend to be more durable than home models; they simply have fewer pieces that can break. (We couldn't find an official appliance engineer to confirm this theory, but we spoke with a process engineer who agreed with this assessment.) But we haven't had any durability problems with the detachable wand of the Breville during more than five years of testing, and we ultimately prefer that style for its convenience.
Stainless steel construction
We preferred models with wands that were primarily made of stainless steel because, in addition to being more durable, they're heat resistant. Plastic components have the potential to warp in a batch of hot soup (or if they touch the hot side of a pot). We read at least one Amazon review and a mention in the comments of this Kitchn article complaining about just that problem with cheaper, all-plastic models.
In our tests for the 2018 update to this guide, we noticed that the least expensive models we tested had openings in the cage that surrounded the blade. These models were the only ones that spattered during our blending—which wasn't pleasant when we were pureeing hot soup, and in one case left us with lots of messy splotches to clean off the countertop, cabinets, wall, and clothing.
As for attachments, many models come with a food chopper and whisk. Chefs Volker Frick and Rudy Speckamp agreed that these attachments were really just gravy, since the main task of an immersion blender is to blend. In our own testing, we've found a chopper attachment useful for grinding small batches of bread crumbs, blending a quick vinaigrette, or making filling for ravioli, but it's not always great for chopping things like onions, which it tends to pulverize. And more often than not, we found dirtying the mini chopper attachment to be more trouble than it was worth. Whisk attachments, meanwhile, were particularly useful for whipping cream quickly, and gave us much fluffier results than the blending wand.
Length of the blender
Some brands make models with taller wands, advertising them as better for blending in deep pots. Speckamp agreed: "[Length is] important, especially for quantity cooking, because you want it to go to the bottom of the pot for pureeing. If the shaft only goes to the middle of the pot, I don't think it's as successful." The flip side is that if it's too tall, the immersion blender can become more cumbersome to maneuver, which we experienced during testing.
Other features to look out for
Multiple speeds are nice to have, as it can be helpful to start slow and progressively increase the speed to prevent spattering, but not necessary. However, our testing confirmed that people really need only two speeds: low and high.
You can also find a variety of cordless immersion blenders, but these tend not to be as powerful as their corded counterparts. In our 2015 review, we didn't find any cordless models that topped editorial or buyer reviews, and we decided not to include any in our testing.
Nearly every major brand that manufactures small kitchen appliances makes an immersion blender, but there's not much consensus—at least in editorial reviews—about which brand makes the best. America's Test Kitchen (subscription required), Good Housekeeping, and Serious Eats tested different models, and we didn't find any agreement in the smaller reviews we read, so comparing results was difficult. Because of this, we looked at Amazon reviews more closely than we would usually.
For our 2018 update, we tested six models—the Bella Hand Immersion Blender, the Braun MultiQuick 5 Hand Blender MQ505, the Braun MultiQuick 7 Hand Blender MQ725, the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-175, the Hamilton Beach 2-Speed Hand Blender, and the Philips ProMix Hand Blender HR1670/92—as well as our previous top pick, the Breville Control Grip. Across our previous reviews over the past five years, we evaluated 57 models.
How we tested
In previous tests, we started by pureeing a full pot of root-vegetable soup until it looked smooth (which is how most people use their immersion blender at home). We timed how long it took, and then we strained the results to see if the blender left behind any chunks. For our 2018 update, we decided to test each blender for exactly four minutes, after noting that most of the models in our lineup took around that long to produce a smooth-looking pot of soup. Again, we pureed large batches of soup consisting of fibrous root vegetables, ginger, and almond directly in a 6-quart pot, straining the results to look for any unblended bits. We also made smoothies with kale, frozen strawberries, a few ice cubes, orange juice, and yogurt in each blending cup (or in a Pyrex 4-quart glass measure for models that didn't come with a cup). Although we recognize that many immersion blender manufacturers don't recommend using their blenders to pulverize frozen ingredients or ice, we know that many smoothie recipes call for ice and frozen fruit, and that some people like to make smoothies with their immersion blenders. As with the soup, we strained the smoothies after blending.
To judge how efficiently the immersion blenders could emulsify, we made small batches of mayonnaise using both the blending wand (attempting to make quick immersion blender mayonnaise by blending all the ingredients at once) and the whisk attachment (adding oil in a slow drizzle). In the process, we noted how easy it was to maneuver each blender in the blending cup and whether the cup stayed stable on the countertop as we worked.
During testing, we also checked to see if the blender suctioned to the bottom of the cup or pot, which can make it difficult to continue blending without pulling up and causing spatter. In addition, using the whisk attachment—or if the blender didn't come with one, the blending wand—we whipped heavy cream, measuring the result to see if the volume at least doubled. In the chopper attachment (if the blender came with one), we diced onions to judge whether the machines could chop them evenly without pulverizing them.
Our pick: Breville Control Grip
In our tests, the Breville Control Grip immersion blender processed soups and smoothies to an even texture and did so quickly. We also found it easier and more pleasant to use than most other hand blenders, which means it's more likely to get regular play in the kitchen. A rubberized handle and a power button that you squeeze like a trigger make it one of the most comfortable models to operate of all the blenders we tested, and it didn't spatter or suction to the bottom of our pot or our mixing cup. The Breville's 42-ounce cup has almost twice the volume of the cups that come with other blenders we tested—enough for two smoothies. And its wide range of speeds and its useful attachments help elevate it above the competition.
In our original 2013 tests and those for our 2016 update, the Breville made the smoothest pureed soups and left almost zero food waste behind when we strained the results through a sieve (impressively, it even ground peanuts into a smooth peanut butter). Our 2018 test played out much the same even when we pureed a soup of fibrous root vegetables, ginger, and almond, although two of the new models we tested made soup with a silkier texture. The Breville left behind only a few pieces of almond skin. Maybe best of all, it didn't splatter in the process.
None of the blenders we tested previously excelled at green smoothies, but the Breville has always come out on or near the top in that regard. In 2018, when we used ice cubes in our smoothie recipe, we found that the Breville, as well as several others, created a thick texture with very small flecks of kale and only fractions of an ounce that didn't pass through a fine sieve. In a previous test, the Dualit Hand Blender was only about on a par with the Breville, even though it's a much more powerful immersion blender (400 watts versus the Breville's 280 watts). This year we found that the Philips ProMix Hand Blender HR1670/92 (our upgrade pick, 300 watts) and the Braun MultiQuick 7 Hand Blender MQ725 (400 watts) produced even smoother results—virtually no bits or pieces remained when we strained their smoothies.
In addition to blending well, the Breville was one of the most comfortable blenders to use.
The Breville's low and high speeds were more extreme than those of the other models we tested, and its noticeably higher high may be why it blends efficiently. Although we found the 15 available speeds mostly overkill, that range was helpful when we needed to start slow and gradually increase the speed to prevent ingredients from spattering. A small dial at the top of the blender controls the speeds, and it's easy to adjust as you blend.
In addition to blending well, the Breville was one of the most comfortable blenders to use; as a result, we more easily processed things that took several minutes (such as our pot of soup or mayo). Parts of the Breville's handle are covered in rubber, so they're easy to grip. Because you hold the Breville trigger style and rest the side of your finger on the power button rather than depressing it with a fingertip, the Breville is also among the easiest models to operate.
The Breville is one of the few models we've tested over the years with a plastic rim around the base of the metal cage, which prevented all but slight suctioning to the bottom of the mixing cup or pot. We also appreciate that the nonstick surface keeps the blender from scratching the bottom and sides of pots.
Over our years of long-term testing, we haven't used the Breville's mixing cup all that often, but we do appreciate that it's bigger than the cups that come with other models. At 42 ounces to the top fill line, it's close to twice the size of others we tested, and it was the only cup in our 2018 testing that comfortably accommodated the ingredients for two smoothies. Its larger capacity made it easier for us to maneuver the hand blender around when we used it to make traditional mayonnaise (slowly drizzling in oil). For storage, the cup comes with a lid, which then snaps onto the bottom of the cup to keep the container from moving on the countertop when you're blending. For other functions, such as making a smoothie, the handle on the jar gave us a good grip. The Breville's mini chopper also fits directly into the cup to save space when you aren't using them.
The Breville comes with a selection of high-quality extras, including a mini chopper, a whisk, and a guard for the blade. In our tests, the chopper evenly diced an onion in mere seconds, and using the whisk we were able to make clouds of whipped cream and creamy mayonnaise. We've also appreciated the guard over the past few years; it will save you from accidentally slicing a hand on the blender while the machine is stowed in a utensil drawer.
The Breville has a rather average one-year limited warranty. We expected more coverage, considering that the motor on the company's food processor has a 25-year warranty, but many of the immersion blenders we've evaluated have had similarly short warranties. And in our years of long-term testing since 2013, the Breville has held up well.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Although Braun and Philips do not put limitations on how long you can use their respective hand blenders continuously, Breville recommends that you use the Control Grip for only a minute at a time, with a minute of rest between blendings. However, this is customary procedure for many hand blenders, and it helps to prevent the machine from overheating and therefore keep it in good working order longer. In some of our tests, we tried using the Breville continuously for up to four minutes, and it did not overheat or stall.
In our tests, the Breville couldn't make super-speedy mayo (which involves combining all of the mayo ingredients in the cup and emulsifying them with the blending wand). That said, the recipe for basic mayonnaise included in the Breville instruction booklet says to "gradually drizzle oil into [the] egg mixture." When we used this more traditional method, the Breville made mayonnaise effectively, taking only about a minute or two longer than with the speedy method. We don't think this is a dealbreaker because most people don't make homemade mayo on a regular basis, if at all, anyway.
Also, if you're not careful, the Breville will totally pulverize an onion in its chopper attachment. We suggest pulsing judiciously and checking the consistency of the items in the chopper attachment after just a few seconds to keep from overprocessing.
And in our long-term testing, we've noticed that the Breville is a little tricky to clean under the blades, particularly after we've used it for thick purees or mayo. But this is a problem with all immersion blenders. Sometimes, getting the gunk out requires a little prodding with a utensil (never, never do this while the blender is plugged in). Running the immersion blender in a cup of soapy water also makes for easier cleanup.
Long-term test notes
Several Wirecutter staffers have helped us long-term test the Breville Control Grip over the past five years, and we now use it in our test kitchen. We've made smoothies, pureed soups, created fillings for ravioli and other recipes, and used the whisk attachment to whip up batches of egg whites. Some of the printing on the side of the handle has worn, but the blender still performs as if it were new.
Budget pick: Braun MultiQuick 5 Hand Blender MQ505
Although the Braun MultiQuick 5 Hand Blender MQ505 is only about half the price of the Breville Control Grip, it is almost as good at pureeing. When we strained our root-vegetable soup, barely any vegetable fiber or almond skins were left behind. This blender easily handled kale, frozen strawberries, and ice, turning them into a thick, drinkable smoothie. What you don't get for a lot fewer bucks is the ease of use and versatility of the Breville. To operate the Braun, you have to depress either the low-power or high-power button with one fingertip the entire time you're blending, which gets tiresome. On the Breville, you can squeeze the on button with the side of your finger as you hold it trigger style. Even though the Braun has only two speeds, we didn't find that to be much of a handicap; after starting out on low, we used high speed most of the time and got very good results.
One of the best things about the Braun MultiQuick 5 is that in our tests it didn't spatter or suction to the bottom of the pot, things that were real problems with the other budget-priced models we tested, including the Cuisinart, Bella, and Hamilton Beach blenders. It also did an excellent job of whipping up a speedy immersion-blender mayo, whizzing it to a fluffy texture in under a minute. In the manual we found no limitations on how long to run the blender continuously, whereas the makers of most other hand blenders we tested (including Breville) caution against running the motor for longer than a minute without rest. And when we used the Braun for four minutes, we did not experience any problems. The wand is removable and safe for dishwasher cleaning.
Although you get a mixing cup with the Braun, it's less than half the capacity of the Breville's and has no handle so it's not as convenient to use. You also get a whisk but not a chopper.
Overall, this Braun model comes close to the Breville Control Grip at blending soup and smoothies, and with its whisk it does as good a job of whipping cream. If you're not quite ready to commit to a more expensive model, we think this one is a great choice.
The Braun MultiQuick 5 is among the highest-rated hand blenders on Amazon at this writing, and its two-year limited warranty beats the one-year warranty of the Breville.
Upgrade pick: Philips ProMix Hand Blender HR1670/92
The Philips ProMix Hand Blender HR1670/92 was simply the best at pureeing in our tests, and it came the closest to producing professional results. It created silky textured soups, leaving virtually nothing behind, and it blended a smoothie so thick and smooth that the result resembled the machine-made frozen margaritas you can get at happy hour. As with the Breville Control Grip, you hold the Philips ProMix trigger style, with the side of your finger resting on the wide power bar, so it's comfortable to use over several minutes. But despite costing the same as the Breville, it doesn't come with any accessories other than a blending cup.
The Philips has a clever speed-control mechanism: To adjust the speed, you put more or less pressure on the power bar, so changing the setting with one hand is easy. In truth, however, we found that after exerting light pressure initially, we tended to grip tightly, increasing the pressure to high and keeping it that way throughout the remainder of the blending process. In comparison, on the Breville you spin a dial on top of the handle to change speeds.
Philips's manual for this model gives no limitations on how long the blender can operate continuously; we were able to use it for four minutes without any signs of it overheating or struggling. The removable blending wand attaches with a satisfying click and is safe for dishwasher cleaning. However, because the bell-shaped cage surrounding the blade is deep, cleaning this model's blending wand by hand takes a little more effort.
In spite of this Philips model's virtues, we are not recommending it as our top pick because for its steep price tag, you get only a 24-ounce beaker and no other accessories. You can choose the even pricier Philips ProMix Hand Blender HR1686/92, which does come with a whisk and chopper, but at $150 currently, that version costs way more than what we think most people want to spend on a hand blender considering how capable the Breville Control Grip is at a much lower price. The whisk and chopper accessories are also available for purchase separately.
As a whisk attachment was not included with the Philips model, we used the blending wand to make both whipped cream and mayonnaise. It was able to thicken cream only slightly, failing to produce the kind of fluffy whipped cream that you can swirl on top of a pie or a bowl of ice cream or fold into a mousse. We were able to make a good quick mayonnaise with the blending wand, though not as quickly as we could with the Braun (this may have had to do with the nearly triangular shape of the blending jar, which was a bit harder for us to maneuver in).
Like the Breville Control Grip, the Philips ProMix comes with a one-year warranty. If you puree soups on a regular basis, prefer a velvety texture, and don't mind spending more while skipping on accessories, the Philips could be a very good addition to your kitchen.
Care and maintenance
If you're used to the multitude of safety features on food processors, you might find immersion blenders a little less, well, idiotproof. In January 2013, The New York Times (now the parent company of Wirecutter) published an article ("Bandages Not Included") about how easy it is to hurt yourself with an immersion blender. The author mangled two fingers on her immersion blender and quotes multiple other people who have cut themselves.
As the author writes, it's apt that these machines are often called "hand blenders." Unlike with food processors, the only thing protecting you from the whirring blade of an immersion blender is the cage that surrounds it. Always be mindful of where you're pointing the blade end of the blender, don't put your free hand in its path, and unplug it when you aren't using it.
If you're used to the multitude of safety features on food processors, you might find immersion blenders a little less, well, idiotproof.
However, the experts we spoke with said the greater danger is spattering yourself with hot liquid. "The biggest thing is probably getting burnt," culinary teacher Rudy Speckamp told us. To avoid this fate, soup pro Volker Frick said, always use the lower speed or pulse setting if you're working with a smaller pot or saucepan.
Immersion blenders tend to have short duty cycles. Many of the manufacturers of these machines advise against running them for more than one minute at a time, and they recommend giving the blenders one to three minutes to rest before using them again. It's important to follow these directions, or you risk overheating the motor and ultimately breaking it. In our 2015 test, we accidentally did this with the Panasonic immersion blender we tried. In 2018, we deliberately ran all of the models in the test group for four minutes continuously; although none of them stalled, the Cuisinart CSB-175 became uncomfortably hot to hold at the end of the four-minute time period.
According to the manual for the Breville Control Grip (PDF), owners should operate that model for only one minute at a time, with a one-minute cooling period before running it again. (When you're blending especially thick or heavy mixtures, the Breville manual says to operate the machine for only 15 seconds, with one minute between each use.)
You can also burn out an immersion blender by using it for heavier tasks that it's not suited to handle. For example, although we've found the whisk attachment on the Breville useful for whipping eggs or cream, avoid using it for something like a thick meringue. Opt for a hand or stand mixer instead.
Immersion blenders are generally easy to wash. Wipe the motor base with a damp cloth and wash the wand with soap and water. Running the immersion blender in soapy warm water in the blending cup should loosen thick or sticky ingredients that lodge in the blade housing.
The Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-175 has replaced the CSB-75, our previous budget pick. Like its forerunner, the CSB-175 pureed soup evenly and quickly, but it was the only model we tested that couldn't crush ice, even though the manual includes recipes with ice cubes. After blending longer than the time required by any of our other models to make a smoothie, it left two cubes totally unblended. This Cuisinart model also spattered a bit, and it became too hot to hold when we used it to blend for four minutes (the manual recommends blending for no more than a minute at a time, but the same is true for other blenders that didn't overheat when we ran them for a longer stretch). This model also has the same safety lock that we (and many owners on Amazon) found particularly irritating on the CSB-75.
The Braun MultiQuick 7 Hand Blender MQ725 produced silky-smooth soup and thick smoothies, besting the Breville Control Grip on both tests. Like the Philips ProMix, this model is designed for you to hold it trigger style, and it has a power button that you press harder to increase the speed. Unlike the Braun MultiQuick 5, this model comes with a full array of accessories, including a beaker, a whisk, and a chopper. Unfortunately, the Braun MultiQuick 7 features a safety lock similar to the one on the Cuisinart CSB-175, but you have a few seconds after pressing the unlock button to press the start button (whereas on the Cuisinart you have to press both simultaneously). This design makes the MultiQuick 7 slightly less inconvenient than the CSB-175 but still creates an annoying additional step.
For its low price, the Hamilton Beach 2-Speed Hand Blender performed surprisingly well, and was even able to crush the ice in our smoothie recipe. Unfortunately, it suctioned to the bottom of our pot during blending and spattered badly. If our soup ingredients had been any hotter, it could have been dangerous; as it was, we had quite a mess to clean up. And when you attach the blending wand, you need to be careful to turn it to lock it into place so that it won't fall off in your soup.
A top seller on both the Amazon and Walmart sites, the Bella Hand Immersion Blender is usually available for under $20. In our 2018 test, we found it hard to control and noticed that it tended to spatter and suction to the bottom of a pot. It is, however, able to puree soup, if not quite as smoothly as other models, so if spending as little as possible is your main priority and you won't be using your blender often, this model might be worth considering. Although it doesn't come with a beaker, a whisk attachment is included.
We found the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75 (our former budget pick) to be a surprisingly efficient blender given its low price, although it produced a slightly chunkier puree. In previous tests, it blended soup on a par with the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-77, the KitchenAid 3-Speed, and the KitchenAid 5-Speed but left behind pieces of ginger and parsnip. It made a pretty good smoothie too. Cuisinart has discontinued this model, replacing it with the Smart Stick CSB-175, described above.
The Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-100 boasts 700 watts of power, about 400 more watts than the Breville Control Grip offers. But watts aren't everything—as our testing proved. This Cuisinart model still left behind small bits of almonds after pureeing soup, which wasn't the case with the Breville. We also found the safety-lock feature particularly irritating: You can't start the blender unless you press the safety-release button and the power button at the same time. Although you can release the safety button once the machine is running, it's an annoying, unnecessary step.
Even after nearly 5 minutes, 40 seconds of blending, the KitchenAid 3-Speed Hand Blender left behind a chunky soup. Our testers had problems with this model suctioning to the bottom of the pot, and complained that it spattered a lot. It also didn't puree smoothies as well as competitors, leaving behind small nut pieces and raspberry seeds.
The KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Blender was well-reviewed at the time of our 2013 testing, with higher ratings than the KitchenAid 3-Speed. It comes with a big box of attachments, including interchangeable blades, a chopper, and a whisk. But in our tests, the 5-Speed didn't perform any better than the 3-Speed, and we didn't think we'd use all of the attachments.
The All-Clad KZ750D left behind two large pieces of ginger that were virtually untouched after pureeing. This model doesn't come with any accessories—not even a cup—yet still costs around $100 at this writing. This was one of the tallest and heaviest immersion blenders we tested, and it was more cumbersome to maneuver compared with the Breville.
The Dualit Hand Blender, despite its obnoxiously large, vibrating handle, performed as well as or came in second to the Breville in almost all our tests in a previous year. It actually has a nicer chopper attachment (the only chopper attachment we've seen with a feed tube). But we couldn't get past the uncomfortable handle, and we found that twisting the blending wand on and off was tricky, particularly if it was slicked with oily ingredients. The Breville's snap-on handle is a much better design. The Dualit is also expensive, and we don't think it's worth the extra money over the Breville.
Several years ago, Good Housekeeping chose the Cuisinart Smart Stick 2-Speed Hand Blender CSB-79 as one of its top picks, writing, "It offers excellent performance and it's easy to use." Food & Wine also recommended this model at that time, saying, "The noticeably sharp blade purees beautifully, and the hood around the blade is extra-deep, which helps pull food through the blender." In our 2013 testing, this model pureed on a par with the less expensive KitchenAid 3-Speed, KitchenAid 5-Speed, and Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75, but was nowhere near as effective as the Breville.
We had high hopes for the Bamix Mono, as the Bamix brand has a reputation for making sturdy, long-lasting machines. We chose the Bamix Mono because it's one of Bamix's least expensive models, and at the time it had great reviews on Amazon. In testing, we found that it had a comfortable handle and easy-to-push buttons, but sadly the blender failed to create a great vortex and therefore was notably slow in blending soup and smoothies. Surprisingly, it was the worst in our puree test, leaving a ton of fiber in the sieve. Also, the blending wands of all Bamix models are permanently attached (although most come with interchangeable blades), which makes them more difficult to clean than models with detachable wands.
As with Bamix, we were intrigued by Waring's professional-grade immersion blenders because they seemed particularly durable. The Quik Stik is the smallest model that Waring makes, and like the Bamix Mono it has a fixed wand and no attachments. The Quik Stik actually did a better job of pureeing than the Bamix or the Cuisinart and KitchenAid models we tested, and like the Bamix Mono, it felt very sturdy. But this model doesn't come with a blending cup and isn't as convenient as the Breville Control Grip with its removable shaft and attachments. If you were doing major quantity cooking and actually needed a pro-level tool at a moderate price, this model would be one to consider, but most people are better served by the power and speed of the Breville.
In our 2015 testing, we found that the Panasonic MX-SS1 pureed decently but required a lot more maneuvering around the pot than the Breville or even the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75, which put a lot more strain on our wrists. The blending cup doesn't come with a handle and is rather small, but in our tests the food-chopper attachment worked nicely to dice onions. Unfortunately, the Panasonic died on us midway through testing, perhaps because we ran it past the duty cycle of one minute. To be fair, you should run most immersion blenders for a maximum of one minute, and we ran the Panasonic for at least two on several occasions. Still, we did the same with all the other blenders in our test group, and none of them died.
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