From making smooth soups and pasta sauces to simple smoothies and lump-free gravies, a hand blender is a must-have in the kitchen. In fact, it’s hard to know what we did without these clever hand-held tools, which save significant time and washing up compared to jug blenders and processors by allowing you to bring the blender straight to the pan.
And it’s not just about liquids, either. While blending is at the heart of what they do, many models have gone far beyond what it says on the tin and now come with a whole plethora of bells and whistles, from whisking and chopping to grinding, slicing, crushing and mincing. The right hand blender means you can do away with plenty of other kitchen kit.
As such, there’s a whole lot of choice out there: from the cheap and cheerful to the ergonomic and elaborate. Which one to go for will depend on your budget as well as your requirements, with each of the below tested to see how they compete at their different price points.
KitchenAid Artisan Cordless Hand Blender
This is a big beast of a blender, packing a powerful punch and taking on larger quantities in its stride. It comes with two different lengths of blending stick (the long one would be good for a big stock pot of soup, for example), a mini food processor, whisk attachment and more. Its real secret weapon, though, is that it is battery powered and cordless with a 10-hour battery life.
This is more than just a gimmick, it completely removes the often awkward faff of having to reach from the nearest plug to the pan or pot where you want to blend. And with fewer trailing cables feels a bit safer too. It blitzes to utter smoothness like nobody’s business and the food processor element tackles even hard ice well. Any downsides? Well, just the admittedly enormous price tag.
Bosch ErgoMixx Style hand blender
This stylish-looking hand blender definitely falls into the bells and whistles category, with no fewer than five attachments coming as standard. That means chopping, slicing, grating and whisking are all par for the course, along with blending. It features a mini food processor for chopping onions and the likes, which although on a small scale effectively eliminates the need for a full scale piece of kit - and indeed it can stand up to ice and nuts almost as well as the bigger boys.
The only slightly disappointing thing is the blending itself - we found it left juices slightly pulpy and bitty rather than completely smooth. Not too poor a performance, but a shame considering everything else works so well.
Smeg Hand Blender
Arriving in a box you’d associate more with a pair of expensive shoes than a hand blender, Smeg’s high-end attention to detail and design is apparent from the start. Its performance lives up to its signature retro look - blending sauces to a smooth and glossy consistency at speed.
There are adjustable power functions depending what you’re after and it all neatly and easily detaches for easy washing. Having a metal base rather than a plastic one, it not only looks better but doesn’t stain or scratch easily either. You’re getting a slick and beautiful piece of equipment for a moderate price here, but the pay-off is that it doesn’t come with all the added extras that others for slightly more might.
Lakeland Hand Blender
This hand blender ticks all the boxes for a mid-range model, and takes on many of its more expensive competitors well. It provides a super-smooth blend on testing, while it looks and feels great too thanks to a specially designed easy-grip handle. It has a metal rather than plastic base (which is especially good at this price) and features a handy turbo button for extra acceleration with tougher-to-blend items. Throw in a mini food processor, whisk and beaker additions, plus a three-year warranty and you have a seriously good package.
Vonshef 3 In 1 Hand Blender
Sitting firmly at the budget end of the spectrum, this hand blender firmly over-delivers when it comes to performance. It has a mini processor just as competent as more expensive models, two speed functions and a whisk. It’s also good looking with a metal base. The whisk attachment feels a little flimsy but works absolutely fine, and when it comes to blending - surely the number one purpose of a blender - it does admirably with super smooth results. It may not feel as robust or elegant as a couple of the most premium on this list, but the results speak for themselves and there’s no arguing with the excellent price tag.
Currys Essentials Hand Blender
White plastic, with a non-detachable base, this single-speed hand blender has absolutely no frills whatsoever. In fact, it borders on ugly. But let’s not be mean. It blends relatively well, achieving smooth sauces so long as there aren’t any too hard lumps. Most likely it would do what was required of it just fine in 9 out of 10 scenarios. It will no doubt stain over time, and it feels relatively flimsy suggesting a shorter lifespan. As the blade portion doesn’t detach, it’s a little less easy to wash too, having to balance a plug around the sink. But - and it is a big but - it costs £5.99. For that price, it’s pretty impressive.
Bamix Swissline Hand Blender
Why buy a hand blender when you can buy an all-in-one piece of supreme kitchen kit? That’s the thinking with this premium product from a brand that’s long been ahead of the game. In true Swiss Army Knife style, it features beater, whisk, processor, meat mincer and slicing components enabling just about any kitchen need to be fulfilled. It even comes with its own stand for resting and storing to complete the package. It does well at every turn, producing smooth sauces, neat slices and finely chopped veg, as well as making light work of whipping cream. It’s the kind of kit that’s a keeper, and comes with a 10 year guarantee to prove it. Any faults? Probably only that the multiple blades and attachments can be quite confusing to assemble, but that’s easily overcome and only a symptom of its versatility.
It’s a close call when it comes to the winner. The blender that we fell in love with was definitely the KitchenAid Artisan Cordless Hand Blender and if you’re in the mood to splurge we can’t see you regretting it. That said the Bamix Swissline Hand Blender matches it blow-by-blow for performance but with added functions and a slightly lower price tag to boot. It just can’t shake off that cord. Our overall winner, though, is the Vonshef 3 In 1 Hand Blender. At a fraction of the price of either of those, it does exactly what a household needs a blender to do without disappointment. It’s a remarkably good value piece of kit and that’s what we feel a hand blender should be.