adoptedbygreyhoundsAugust 11, 2006

Just did a search and found the article online which I copied and pasted below...

TESTING 1-2-3: A smooth blend

Sabine Morrow - Staff

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

There are plenty of trendy kitchen items that come and go, often ending up in the back of a closet once the novelty has worn off. That's not the case with the hand-held blender --- also known as the immersion or stick blender. With its proven track record and legions of loyal fans, this culinary wizard has earned a lasting place as a kitchen staple.

This workhorse eliminates the potentially messy and dangerous chore of pouring hot soup from a pot into a standard blender to puree.

But that's only the beginning. It saves dishwashing time by going directly into whatever needs blending or chopping. Smoothies, salad dressings, sauces and such can be blended in the same container in which they'll be served. Be aware that when the blender is turned on, the blades must be immersed or you'll be wiping splatters from the ceiling for a long time.

As its name implies, the blender features a hand-held motor housing attached to an immersible rod, which has a set of blades at the end.

Portable hand-held blenders come in a wide range of prices --- from less than $10 to more than $1,000 for a professional model. They can include attachments such as whisks and different chopping blades and even blending jars. Some have detachable rods that are dishwasher safe.

They're popular, handy and a must-have in the kitchen. However, not all immersion blenders are created equal. We put three well-known brands to the test: KitchenAid, Cuisinart and Oster. Here are our results.

Cuisinart Quick Prep, CSB-33

$28.88 at BrandsMart USA

> First look: White plastic handle with gray accents houses the motor and features the two-speed on/off button. The handle is permanently attached to the stainless steel shaft that has a white plastic blade housing. Comes with an 18-month limited warranty.

> The rundown: It includes a two-cup white plastic mixing container and features a pronounced notch on the handle for a secure grip. The instruction booklet is the only one that came with recipes.

Note that people tend to want to crush ice with hand blenders. Even though the manual says you can blend crushed ice, don't expect perfectly blended ice like you'd get from a traditional blender. That's really not the hand blender's job.

> Upside: Worked quickly pureeing carrots and rice. But it took a little extra blending to get all of the rice smooth. Performed well in mixing vinaigrette in seconds on low speed, and pureed leek-and-potato soup in seconds on high. The motor isn't overly quiet, but not obnoxiously loud either.

> Downside: The holes in the blade cover are slightly smaller than the other two models tested. When pureeing tomatoes, peppers and onions for salsa, the raw onions, which were cut up, kept getting stuck in the slots and blade. It took longer to blend the salsa with the Cuisinart because the blade had to be cleared out every few seconds.

Carrots and tomatoes stained the white plastic housing around the blade. The cup that comes with the blender also got stained on the first use. You can spritz it with bleach to get it white again, but it's a hassle. But, in all fairness, you're not buying the hand blender for the cup.

Forget about trying to chop a small amount of cooked chicken. It got tangled up in the blades and slots, then the chicken got packed in the space in the blade housing. It looked like a big wad of chicken-flavored gum. Not pretty.

If you want to whip cream to stiff peaks, get a whisk attachment. The Cuisinart sort of thickened the cream and that's about all.

The rod and blade aren't detachable, so it takes more room to store, and cleaning isn't as convenient because you can't immerse the handle and motor. Add a little dish detergent in some warm water, then blend to get the Cuisinart nice and clean.

Always make sure it's unplugged before cleaning it by hand or touching the blades. That goes for all the immersion blenders.

> Bottom line: It secured a strong second place.

Oster Inspire hand blender

about $20 at most Target stores

> First look: White body with high- and low-speed buttons. Detachable blending rod and blade housing is stainless steel. Comes with a 20-ounce clear plastic blending/measuring cup with lid.

> The rundown: Features a 250-watt motor. It's the least expensive model we tried. The manual states that the blender is not designed to crush ice.

> Upside: The measuring cup is pretty cool. It looks like a laboratory beaker. And the blending rod twists off, so it's easy to clean and store. The unit also comes with a little hook, which is handy for hanging.

The Oster blender makes quick work pureeing soup and is a whiz at vinaigrettes. It quickly pureed the carrot and rice mixture and turned chunky salsa into a smooth mixture in no time at all.

> Downside: It splashes more than the other two blenders tested. The rod is the shortest of the three blenders, so it can't be used in as deep a container as the KitchenAid, which has the longest shaft.

Oddly enough, while the blending rod does twist off from the handle, the "tighten" arrow points left, which loosens, and the "loosen" arrow points to the right, which actually tightens.

All of the little quirks of the Oster hand blender would be forgivable if not for the appliance's major flaw: It's noisier than a jackhammer. Let the metal blade housing touch the bottom of a metal pan or bowl and get prepared for a jarring, unbearable jangle that sets your teeth on edge. Don't be surprised if the neighborhood dogs start to howl, either.

> Bottom line: Obnoxious noise polluter.

KitchenAid immersion blender KHB100

$39.88 at BrandsMart USA

> First look: Tallest of the three tested, the KitchenAid comes in cobalt, white, black and red. It features a detachable, dishwasher-safe stainless steel blending attachment and blades.

> The rundown: It includes a 24-ounce clear plastic cup with a lid. The blender has nine speeds, easily accessible by twisting a knob on the top of the handle. The immersible blending rod is about 8 inches long, making it longer than the other two tested. It comes with a "hassle-free" replacement warranty.

> Upside: How can you not love those vivid KitchenAid colors?

When blending soups, salsa, vegetables or chopping cooked chicken, don't blink. This appliance does it so quickly and efficiently that it's easy to miss the action.

It boasts a powerful but quiet motor. Blend in metal or glass containers and you get a gentle hum compared to the Oster's racket.

The cord is a generous 5 feet long --- as were the cords on the two other blenders tested --- but this one is heavy-duty, without any seams. It's easy to clean and won't trap food.

> Downside: The blender has two buttons on either side of the handle, near the bottom. You squeeze the buttons to release the blade attachment. That's fine in theory, but in reality, it was difficult to do. It took a bit of squeezing.

None of the blenders whipped cream to stiff peaks, but the KitchenAid did get it slightly thicker than the others. But if hand blenders were really designed to whip cream, chances are some of them wouldn't have to include a whisk attachment.

> Bottom line: If you're in the market for a hand blender, make it KitchenAid.

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Oops! Intended to post this on the "Stickblenders?" thread!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 5:53PM
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Thanks for posting this. Yipee, I have a KitchenAid!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 12:38AM
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