Chefs tell Consumer Reports ShopSmart one that they can't live without is an immersion blender. But what is an immersion blender and do you really need one in your kitchen?
Consumer Reports tested 6 to see if the blenders are all they're cooked up to be. Some immersion blenders come with a chopper and a whisk. So you can use them to mix smoothies and whisk eggs, as well as purée soup.
You hold them in one hand, dip them in whatever you want to mix, and then push a button to start. To test, Consumer Reports puréed soup and blended frozen strawberries and peaches with yogurt to make smoothies.
The most expensive blender tested was the Bamix Professional for $180. However it wasn't as good as the others at puréeing soups and it was the lowest rated. And the Waring Pro Professional blender left behind a lot of chunks of unchopped fruit.
But Consumer Reports did find some winners and named the $50 Miallegro Professional MiTutto 9090 a Best Buy. It rated excellent at puréeing soups and did nearly as well at making smoothies.
One good reason to buy an immersion blender is less mess. Since you're blending everything right in the bowl, there's less to clean up. But be aware immersion blenders can't match the speed or power of countertop models.