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Today's blenders offer more control and less noise. Here's a look at key issues to consider when buying a new blender.

Commercial blenders have been used in restaurants for decades. Spindle blenders helped make malt shops and drive-ins the place to enjoy a thick shake and kitchen blenders speed up light chopping, mixing and pureeing. Cooks in need of more muscle or in-the-pot blending turn to hand-held immersion blenders. These powerful, high shear tools can make short work of mashing a 40-quart stockpot full of potatoes or smoothing out a sauce.

The boom in beverage blenders
When slushy cocktails became popular, blenders joined the bar scene in a big way. Bar blenders were typically beefed-up food blenders able to pulverize hard ice and stand up to constant use. With the volume requirements of today’s large bars and smoothie concepts, blenders have grown in size and sophistication to incorporate bulk mixing, holding, dispensing and merchandising.

Key blender buying issues
Noise: Manufacturers have tried to quiet noisy bar blenders by placing them in a clear plastic enclosure. Blendtec has taken sound reduction a step further with its Q-Series. It adds a sound-quieting motor base and vibration-dampening gasket and jar in a sleek enclosure. The result is a 10-decibel sound reduction—about half the racket of a standard bar blender.

Power, performance, price: You can pay under $100 for a kitchen or bar blender or over $1,000. A $100 blender has a small motor, minimal controls and can’t handle heavy mixing. At the higher end, Waring  offers
the MX Xtreme Hi-Power Blender Series, which packs 3.5 peak motor horsepower, 45,000-RPM speed, stainless or polycarbonate containers and heavy-duty blending capabilities.

Controls: Blender controls vary from simple, two-speed models with pulse and auto shutoff to solid-state processor-assisted touch pads. The latter stores mixing programs and allows custom programming, selection of serving size and speed and an LCD display.

Click here to see the comparison chart.

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