Blender Blunders: A Buying Guide
When purchasing a blender for your restaurant/business, a lot of factors must be taken into account in making the decision. There are countless options available to you, enough to have your head spinning, and it is important to consider what sets each apart and what their strengths and weaknesses are. To help you in making the choice of what is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
- Purpose: What purpose is this blender going to serve? Are you making smoothies, soups, ice cream, etc.?
- Regularity: How regularly will the appliance be in use? Daily? Weekly?
- Frequency: How many hours each day of use will the blender be running and working?
- Denseness: Will ice or frozen food items be going into the blender?
- Location: Where will it be utilized? In the kitchen? At the bar or near customers?
Purpose: Determining the purpose of your blender is important because some simply perform better than others for specific food items. Most blenders can handle anything you will throw at them be it a salsa, a smoothie, or soup, but every blender has applications that it is best suited for. For example, if you want to make a thick product such as ice cream, having a higher horsepower motor to handle the thickness goes a long way. If a high powered motor is something you require for your business, check for not only the horsepower and RPM of the unit but also its ‘rated HP’ which is the maximum continuous output at which the motor can operate without causing damage to the motor windings nor the electrical supply circuit. This will provide a true look at the power of the blender.
Note: For making large amounts of soups, a counter-top blender may not be for you and instead consider an immersion blender which is built for purposes such as this.
Regularity & Frequency: It is important to know how frequently the appliance will be used, but moreover it is absolutely critical to know how many hours each day it will be put to work. I cannot put enough emphasis on this question because if you want something to occasionally blend food products or make a smoothie/milkshake every so often, it’s reasonable to find a lower-end, commercial-grade blender that will fulfill your needs but also match your budget. If it will be running nonstop for nearly the entire duration of your open hours, I would advise looking at high-end blenders that are built for frequent use and won’t overheat while withstanding its tasks. They’re built to last and endure a heavy workload.
Denseness: When dealing with hard substances like ice, you need to be very careful with these tough to blend items as the motor and blades may not hold up. The two types of blades found in blenders, sharp and dull, will both handle ice however the sharp blades will be dulled over time doing so. A must have when it comes to blending ice is a powerful motor which is found almost exclusively in a high-end commercial blender.
Location: Where you intend to have your appliance located matters a great deal in deciding which blender is the right choice for you and your business. A bar blender differs in construction than a kitchen blender that will be dealing with both wet and dry food. Also, if you are having your blender at the bar and/or near customers you may be interested in finding the blender built to run quietly and has an enclosure to keep noise to a minimum. No one wants to hear the whir of the blades and the churning of food items while trying to dine. Vitamix offers one of the quietest blenders on the market, what they call “The Quiet One“, which comes with an enclosure to further eliminate the noise level making for a much pleasanter experience for your customers and staff. It provides the same advantages of a high-end blender such as a high output motor that resists overheating and a well-crafted and high-impact container while being four times quieter than its competitors.
Some other features that may sway you toward one blender over another are container capacity as well as programmable and preset speeds and duration.
Ranging from blender to blender, the capacity of the container, as well as the material it consists of, varies greatly. In the middle to higher-end blender, you will be able to purchase containers of several different sizes and materials which is a nice perk to have available. There are four materials you will often find the jars made of: polycarbonate, copolyester, stainless steel, and glass. Each come with their own advantages and disadvantages.
The polycarbonate jars are lightweight and shatter resistant but are prone to scratching and can become cloudy after extensive use. They can however be a concern regarding BPA if they are exposed to temperatures above 212°F or if used in the microwave for approximately 30 minutes. Neither of these are very likely, minimizing the risk, but is something to keep in mind when purchasing this type of jar.
Copolyester jars look and perform similarly to the polycarbonate, however they are BPA free.
The stainless steel jars are much more durable. They do however offer a pretty sizable disadvantage: you won’t be able to see the ingredients and ensure that they are fully blended unless you stop the process and check it, stalling and taking more time.
Lastly, glass jars provide the benefit of being scratch resistant as well as being heavy and thus more stable. They can however be a potential danger with the possibility of shattering if misused.
When considering the capacity of the jar itself, most offer a variety of sizes depending upon the unit. If you know that a high capacity is a “must-have” for you and your business, consider looking into the Hamilton Beach Fury which comes standard with a 64 ounce jar on top of having a powerful 3 horsepower motor and a durable metal drive clutch.
The most underrated feature, in my opinion, that should be considered in making this decision is whether or not the product has electronic controls or manual controls. You can create an equivalent product in a blender without the tech, but having these features allows two things which set it far apart: consistency in your product as the blades spin at the same speed for the same duration each and every use. You also get the benefit of being able to “set it and forget it” as it will have automatic shutoff to power itself down after completing the programmed setting you asked of it. You can let it run while you allow your mind to focus on another task in your kitchen and nothing is more valuable than your time when it is being divided all over. Manual control allows you to have complete control over the blending process but requires your full attention throughout the cycle of blending.
There are a lot of options out there for your consideration and a lot of information available so when shopping for a blender, be sure to ask yourself and the staff these questions so that you can get exactly the product you need for your business at the price you deserve.