A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a Swiss inventor named Roger Perrinjaquet invented the Immersion Blender. I often wonder if he knew just how big a deal it was at the time. Did he know that this invention would go on to help countless people discover new and exciting ways to process whole foods for a healthier (or unhealthier, it can work both ways) lifestyle?
Mr. Perrinjaquet’s Immersion Blender—or Bamix as he called it—has become our go-to appliance for smoothies, soup, sauces and more for many years.
When we bought our first model, we weren’t quite sure what to do with it other than make shakes and smoothies, which seemed obvious and worked well.
We knew there were more possibilities, but nothing else stood out right away.
Shortly after, a funny thing began to happen. Everywhere we looked it seemed, endless possibilities began presenting themselves for use with this thing.
Ran out of mayonnaise? Whip up your own with just a short list of ingredients you probably already have. Soup or Chili too thick? No longer a huge hassle to quickly blend; do it right in the pot!
So that brings us to the purpose of this guide. We aim to help you better understand how these things tick and hopefully answer some of the more difficult questions so you can be better armed with the information needed to dive in.
We will be adding to this guide periodically, so feel free to shoot us over any suggestions you have or any questions you think it would benefit the readers to answer.
Now, on to the fun stuff…
What is an Immersion Blender, exactly?
An Immersion Blender—sometimes also called a stick blender or hand blender—is a great little kitchen appliance which has a blade on the bottom that can be submerged or ‘Immersed’ into a liquid and/or other ingredients for quick blending.
The top of the blender—or the handle—has an electric motor which drives a rotary cutting blade at the end of the elongated blending shaft.
The blades can resemble that of a larger blender, but they are usually laid flat.
This handy tool was invented in Switzerland way back in the 1950’s, and remained largely used and popular exclusively in Europe until the late 70’s or early 80’s, depending on who you ask.
It all started when a Swiss inventor named Roger Perrinjaquet patented his new invention, in which he called “Bamix”, a portmanteau of the French phrase “bat et mixe”, that’s “beats and mixes” in English translation.
The rest is history!
Characteristics of Immersion Blenders
For the sake of this guide, Immersion Blenders can be divided into two flavors:
- Detachable-shaft models
- Fixed-shaft models
Detachable-shaft Immersion Blenders are connected through a coupler, which is the piece that connects the motor to the shaft. While this can be a convenient feature for cleaning, the main purpose is to offer flexibility with different attachable accessories.
As a result, this typically reduces power output as more connections and moving parts makes it difficult to deliver the full rated power.
Fixed-shaft Immersion Blenders are direct drive, and should deliver 100% of their full power rating. In this instance, less is more.
These are often times your heavy duty or commercial units or sometimes even the bottom line, budget Immersion Blenders.
If you don’t need or want to swap out attachments, fixed-shaft Immersion Blenders are the most efficient when it comes down to raw power.
The bottom line is that wattage is not the sole determining factor for Immersion Blender performance; neither is RPMs.
So although detachable-shaft and fixed-shaft Immersion Blenders—even in the same model series—can have equal power specs, they may not be equal in actual daily use.
Some Immersion Blender models even have removable or interchangeable blades. This can be a good feature if it’s going to be used regularly.
Dull blades can produce extra drag on the motor (as it has to work harder to do the same job) which in turn can make the motor brushes deteriorate faster.
That stated, if you are going to be using your Immersion Blender to blend hard ingredients such as ice or frozen fruit, you might want to opt for one of these models.
Immersion Blender Accessories
For the detachable-shaft models, the accessories include things like a whisk or a chopper attachment, which can mimic the functionality of a standard food processor to a certain extent.
In our experience, the whisk attachments are great for lighter ingredients such as whipping up eggs, whip cream, or for blending dry ingredients with wet ones like in a cake batter.
While not quite as powerful as a dedicated hand mixer, these are great for smaller or quicker jobs.
Of course, not all brands accessories are created equally and you will find that the higher end models come with much higher quality versions of essentially the same two things mentioned above.
In addition, most retail or domestic Immersion Blenders will come with their own beaker or blending cup to make blending and cleanup a snap. Again, the quality of these vary widely, and only the higher end brands come with anything worth using in the long run.
Occasionally you will find some models like the Gourmia Handheld Immersion Blender that include more abstract attachments.
We definitely encourage you to check out our comprehensive review of this Immersion Blender to see what we mean!
What Makes Immersion Blenders Unique?
Immersion Blenders are unique in that they don’t require you to put your ingredients into a special vessel like a stand blender does. In contrast, you can use any container you like, as long as it will fit the blending head.
Usually, wide mouth mason jars do the trick and will look nice for that Instagram picture of you sipping your smoothie poolside.
Where it really shines is when you need to blend hot ingredients.
Not every conventional blender can hold hot liquids or would be suited to this as some are made with cheap materials that cannot withstand heat.
In addition, if you’ve ever tried to transfer hot liquids from the stovetop to a conventional blender vessel—or vice versa—you will understand the exercise in frustration this can be. Not to mention the inherent danger in doing so.
Seriously, if you plan to make hot dishes that require blending, you will want one of these in your arsenal.
Check out our pick for the best Immersion Blender for soup or hot liquids, the OXO On 6-Speed Digital Immersion Blender.
Immersion Blenders are also unique in that they require very little storage space, and there are quite a few of these devices that are so pretty to look at, you might just leave them out as a conversation starter!
Are Immersion Blenders Easy to Clean?
The cleanup of these devices, in comparison to some of the top conventional blenders of today, is extremely fast.
It usually comes down to simply unscrewing or popping off the blending head, then throwing in the dishwasher or just rinsing over the sink.
Believe me, when you have several small kids who all like a different kind of smoothie, having one of these to do the job will save you a great deal of time.
Just rinse off the blending head and move on to the next smoothie!
Are Immersion Blenders Expensive?
Immersion Blenders are extremely affordable compared to conventional blenders, and based on what you are trying to accomplish, you can surely find one within your price range.
Here at Immersion Masters, we like to think in terms of budget tiers. This seems to be the best way to measure small appliances in our experience as you typically get what you pay for in the kitchen space—most of the time!
Our breakdown of the tier structure we use is outlined below.
Tier 1: Budget Immersion Blenders
Typical Price Range: $0.00 to $50.00
Who These Are For: The chef on a budget, or one who has a singular purpose and/or will be using it sparingly for softer ingredients. They are not looking for much power, just enough to get their specific job done.
This starter or ‘Budget’ tier includes all Immersion Blenders under $50.00. Models in this tier are almost always made in Asia with the cheapest parts and manufacturing processes.
The blades will usually be of lower quality (thinner or not as sharp) and usually cannot crush ice or blend larger chopped ingredients very well.
The blender itself may be smaller and probably won’t have any included attachments or a removable blending shaft (that’s not always a bad thing!).
That stated, if you pick a well-known brand, it’s entirely possible to get an Immersion Blender for under $50.00 that will last for years. You definitely want to be sure you check many review sources and do your homework before pulling the trigger on any model in this tier first, however.
The good news is that it’s usually pretty easy to tell which models are lemons and which ones are worth it in this tier as the market is much less saturated.
Overall, I would avoid this tier unless you have a very specific smaller need such as the occasional mayo batch or perhaps some soap making.
If you plan to use your Immersion Blenders for smoothies or ice based blends, I’d go with tier 2 models all day.
Tier 2: Mid-Range Immersion Blenders
Typical Price Range: $50.00 to $100.00
Who These are For: The cook who likes daily smoothies, may occasionally need an accessory, and enjoys Interesting—if not conventional—features. This person also has no time for cheap appliances as they would rather spend a bit more up front for a longer lasting model. Style is also of importance here as well. It just makes life more pleasant.
This is what we like to call the ‘Mid-Range’ tier and usually encompasses Immersion Blenders in the $50.00 to $100.00 price range.
Most retail/domestic Immersion Blenders fit somewhere in here. This does make it somewhat difficult when comparison shopping as there are so many models to choose from.
It can be daunting, but that’s what we’re here for!
Most of the models in this tier have all or most parts made in Asia, but some are assembled in the USA or Europe.
The blades will typically be of higher quality and the wattage will be more accurately rated. You may not be able to change out the blades with models in this tier, but since they are generally better built, they should last for years if treated correctly.
Most Immersion Blenders in this tier should work quite well for crushing ice in smoothies or other frozen drinks. In other words, you will have no problem with frozen fruit.
Despite the deeper research needed in this saturated tier, we still recommend buying an Immersion Blender in this range as it offers the best bang for the buck.
It’s not uncommon to hear of people owning their ‘Mid-Range’ Immersion Blender for 25 years plus…especially with brands like Braun.
It’s also in this tier that you start to see good quality attachments and features that are not possible with the lower tier models. So if you are going to be using your Immersion Blender for a variety of dishes, it’s best to stick with this tier.
Here’s a pro-tip: Most of the Immersion Blenders we review are in this tier, so we’re making it easy for you!
Tier 3: High-End Immersion Blenders
Typical Price Range: $100.00 to $200.00
Who These are For: The chef who uses their Immersion Blender daily for semi-heavy to heavy workhorse type tasks. They need the ability to switch out the blades occasionally as the usage rate will be much higher. They have omelets for breakfast, protein shakes in the afternoon, soup in the evening and whipped cream on a midnight snack. Perhaps they need more power when making speciality dishes for their new restaurant—or just want to be able to say they have the best Immersion Blender on the block! They will.
This is where the big dogs play. Immersion Blenders in this tier are commonly used in professional settings or high-volume kitchens.
We consider anything over $100.00 to be in this ‘High End’ tier.
You will find several models here with professional chef endorsements and industry accolades.
The parts and manufacturing usually take place in Europe or the USA, and come with a higher quality build, finish and motor as a result.
In addition, you will typically find these Immersion Blenders to have replaceable or removable blades. This is due to the higher quality of the overall build, which means everything will last much longer.
No use in having an Immersion Blender that lasts 20 years with dull blades.
You will also find the best manufacturer support with longer warranty periods in this tier as well. This is a much bigger deal than it sounds like so I encourage you to pay attention to warranty info as you shop.
Since there’s much less competition in this price range, it’s a bit easier to decipher which Immersion Blender will work for your needs.
Hey, we’ve reviewed several of these, so be sure to check those out first!
Since Immersion Blenders seem to subscribe to the rule “You get what you pay for”, it’s hard to get a lemon here. Usually, it comes down to what attachments are included, what the style or colors are, etc, that most people consider.
What Can You Do With An Immersion Blender?
You can pretty much do anything with an Immersion Blender that you can do with a conventional blender, but faster and more conveniently in our opinion.
You can also do much more that you wouldn’t even dream of doing with a conventional blender. It never ceases to amaze us what uses people can come with.
Where there’s an Immersion Blender, there’s a way!
Here’s a short list of things you can do with your Immersion Blender pulled from our article, Smart Ways to Use an Immersion Blender. For the full list with details, see the full post.
- Beat eggs
- Puree soup
- Make whipped cream
- Make homemade salsa
- Whip up a batch of mayonnaise
- Make organic all-natural soap products
- Create custom baby food blends
The list goes on and we’re constantly adding more, so check back for updates to the main article linked above.
*Feel free to contact us to get our opinion on any Immersion Blender that we have not yet reviewed!