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       Volume I - December 28, 2007

Blenders: Aren’t They All the Same?
by Alice Osborne

At first glance, you might think “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all.” But appliance testers will definitely tell you they’re not. Here’s the scoop on 9 different brands:

TAPERED JARS WORK BEST: Blade design, size, and sharpness were similar in all models; it’s in the way the food reaches the blade that they differed. The best blenders leave no room for ingredients to hide and have a tapered, funnel-shaped jar that guides the ingredients to the blade.

HEAVEY GLASS BEATS PLASTIC: The 3 bargain-basement blenders were disappointing. A few extra dollars gets you a better blender—one that includes a heavy glass jar. Plastic is prone to scratching and is more likely to retain color and odor over years of use.

DIAL CONTROLS & TOP BUTTONS: Buttons, which clutter most base units, and the crevices surrounding them, can be difficult, if not impossible, to clean. Dial controls wipe clean easily. Another drawback of the button design is that it’s too easy to go straight for high speed; do so and you get an eruption of food. With a dial, there’s no choice but to rev up through the speeds, a much easier and neater proposition.

‘PULSE’ IS ESSENTIAL: High speed, in which nearly all blending takes place, was essentially the same in all of the blenders. An 18-speed blender merely offers 17 “medium” speeds that most of us will never use. The pulse feature, however, is worth having. It gets the food moving and begins to break it down; high speed takes care of the rest.

SUMMING UP: The best blenders have a funnel-shaped glass jar and an easy-to-clean dial. Braun and Oster had the best models, with an extra plus—all parts are dishwasher safe. While it may be tempting to go the less expensive route, over the long haul, it’s never really smart to step over dollars to pick up dimes. Spring for the better brand and you won’t be sorry.

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