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Cook’s Illustrated rates Blenders

Vitamix and Breville Blenders
I recently lost my regular blender when the motor burned out as I made a batch of iced coffee drinks on a hot weekend afternoon. I had to scrap the blended coffee drinks for the day, of course, but not having a working blender also meant that I wasn’t able to make my favorite blender waffle recipe until it was replaced. I haven’t picked out a new model yet, but luckily for me, a recent Cook’s Illustrated (Sept/Oct 2012) featured a test kitchen review of blenders that is making the process a little easier!

The test kitchen was looking for a blender that could handle any task, from blending milkshakes to margaritas and pureeing soups to smoothies. They wanted something with a lot of power, durability and that made less noise than a jet engine. They also looked for a blender that was a consistent performer, blending smoothly and not leaving chunks of unblended food trapped beneath its blades.

The two top performers, and co-winners, were the Vitamix 5200 and the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender. The Vitamix has the steepest price, but has exceptional strength and durability. The Breville costs less than half of what the Vitamix does, and performed admirably at every task it was challenged with. The test kitchen also noted that if the Breville holds up to their prolonged use in the test kitchen as well as it did to their durability tests, it might end up being their top overall blender in the future. It is going to the top of my list of blender choices at the moment, too!

Runners up, receiving the “Recommended with Reservations” designation, were the Ninja Professional Blender and the Hamilton Beach Rio Commercial Bar Blender. The Ninja didn’t quite crush ice as well as the winning blenders, and the Hamilton Beach sometimes trapped ice cubes and fruit beneath its blades and needed a little encouragement from a spatula to finish the job.

The “Not Recommended” blenders included the Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soup Maker, Hamilton Beach Wave Maker, Oster 7-Speed Blender and the Waring Pro Professional Food and Beverage Blender. I also want to point out that the test kitchen’s previous favorite model, the KitchenAid 5-speed Blender, was dropped completely from their testing and didn’t even make the “not recommended” list because it showed signs of falling apart during the test.

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