Immersion blenders, also called hand blenders or stick blenders, are handy kitchen tools that can save you the trouble of transferring your recipe into a blender jar. You can stick their blending arms directly into a pot or pan, making them helpful for turning hot ingredients into soups and sauces. The best stick blenders can also work as multi-purpose blenders, especially if you want to save space with something that can fit in a kitchen drawer. Many immersion blenders come with jars that you can use for blending, and some include attachments like whisks or extra blades, so they can help with a wide variety of cooking tasks, like making smoothies, frozen drinks, batters, and dips.
Cordless immersion blenders can offer a comparable performance to conventional plug-in models and give you the freedom to move around the kitchen. However, some immersion blenders come with a warning not to run the blender continuously for more than a few minutes. Also, most aren't as well-suited as a full-size or personal blender if you want to make smoothies for the whole family or process tougher ingredients like nuts and ice cubes.
The best immersion blender we've tested is the Ninja Foodi Power Mixer System. This blender is a great option if you're looking for one that can process hot ingredients for pureed soups and sauces. With the blending arm, it can make a smooth blend with fibrous ingredients, which is important for recipes with vegetables like broccoli and kale. It stands out from other immersion blenders because it converts into a hand mixer. With the included beater attachments, you can use it to mix cookie dough or cake batter. A beaker's also included for blending, and there's a whisk attachment for whipping cream or stirring salad dressing. The blending arm and all the accessories are dishwasher-safe.
There are downsides: it's loud for an immersion blender, and the motor body is heavy, so it's more tiring to hold onto than lighter models. However, you might prefer a blender that doubles as a food processor instead of a mixer. The Breville Control Grip is a sturdy option with a bowl and blade meant for chopping vegetables. It's a good choice for blending directly in a pot or pan as well, but it doesn't handle raw fibrous ingredients as well as the Ninja. If all you need is a blender, and any extra attachments will accumulate dust in a cupboard, one of the cheaper options below is worth considering.
The KitchenAid Variable Speed Corded Hand Blender is a cheaper, more straightforward option. This model isn't as well-built as the Ninja Foodi Power Mixer System, and it doesn't come with as many extra attachments, but it's a good choice if you're looking for a good but basic immersion blender. It comes with a beaker for blending, a matching storage lid, and a plastic pan guard to protect non-stick pans from getting scratched by the blade bell. There's a pressure-sensitive button on the motor body to adjust the blending speed, and it's very quiet for a blender.
However, it doesn't blend fibrous ingredients as well as the Ninja, so if you use it to blend a big pot of broccoli soup, there will be some unprocessed bits left over. It does a better job of processing smaller batches, so it's well-suited for something like a cup of soup or a single-serve smoothie. It takes longer to process ingredients than the Ninja, but it's also a little lighter, which is nice if you need to blend for several minutes. Unfortunately, some parts of the blender feel cheap or plasticky, and the blending arm isn't dishwasher-safe.
The best hand blender in the budget range we've tested is the NutriBullet Immersion Blender. This simple blender doesn't come with accessories like a beaker or a pan guard. Still, its blending performance is comparable to pricier blenders' like the KitchenAid Variable Speed Corded Hand Blender. It's not as well-suited for processing smaller batches of ingredients for something like a single-serve smoothie but makes a fairly smooth blend with fibrous vegetables, like kale and broccoli, so it produces well-blended soups and sauces. There's also a whisk included for making whipped cream or hollandaise sauce.
Unfortunately, since it doesn't come with a beaker, you need to use your own container for blending when you're not processing ingredients directly in a pot or pan. The blender is decently well-built and quiet but makes more noise when running than the KitchenAid, so you'll find the noise more irritating, especially when blending for several minutes. The detachable blending arm is not dishwasher-safe, but it's easy to clean by hand.
If your kitchen is short on outlets or you want to avoid managing a cable near the stove, you might prefer the cordless version of the KitchenAid Variable Speed Corded Hand Blender, the KitchenAid KHBBV53. This battery-powered blender is similar to our mid-range pick, but its design gives you more freedom to move around the kitchen. It can make a decently smooth blend with fibrous vegetables like broccoli, even if you're blending in a deep pot. It can also manage smooth dips and spreads like hummus or nut butter, but like most immersion blenders, processing thicker recipes takes quite a bit of effort on your part.
It has a plastic pan guard to stop the blades from scratching non-stick cookware. There's also a beaker for blending with a matching lid. However, the blender is a bit heavier than its corded version, making it more tiring to use. It's advertised to have enough battery life to blend 25 bowls of soup, but it may only last for a short time if you blend hard ingredients or thick mixtures. Its build doesn't feel sturdy or premium, but on the plus side, it's easy to clean by hand and quiet when running.
If you're looking for a compact immersion blender, the Braun MultiQuick 5 is the best option we've tested. This well-built model is the lightest on the list, so you might prefer it if you use your blender often and sometimes find it tiring to hold onto. The blending arm is quite short, limiting if you need to blend in deep pots, but it makes it easier to store the blender in a kitchen drawer. It's a little more expensive than the KitchenAid KHBBV53 but has a sturdier build and comes with a whisk attachment for making whipped cream and salad dressing. There's also a 20oz beaker included to use for blending.
The blending arm makes a reasonably smooth puree with stubborn elements like kale. The narrow blade guard makes ice crushing almost impossible, but it can power through thicker mixtures and produce smooth nut butter or hummus. It's not very loud and is easy to clean by hand—however, the KitchenAid and the Ninja Foodi Power Mixer System are better for processing fibrous ingredients. Cooked ingredients are easier to blend, so you may not notice as much of a difference in recipes like soups, but the Braun isn't ideal for silky blueberry or kale smoothies.
What is an immersion blender?
Immersion blenders, also called stick blenders or hand blenders, are meant for processing hot ingredients directly in a pot or pan. They can also be used for a variety of other blends, although they don't usually offer the same power as full-size blenders. Their smaller design can help save space in your kitchen.
Unlike other kinds of blenders, you must hold onto an immersion blender while using it. They usually aren't as powerful as full-size blenders and process ingredients more slowly. We've found the blender's weight, controls, and the shape of the motor body can all affect how easy a particular immersion blender is to use.
How do we test immersion blenders?
Almost the same way as we do with full-size and personal blenders, with some small differences. We measure blending arm length as well as other dimensions. We don't crush a dozen ice cubes at once with an immersion blender like we do for full-size blenders. Immersion blenders aren't given a capacity score since even if a beaker is included, you can use the blender in your own container.
What are immersion blenders used for?
They were originally designed for hot blending and are well-suited for that. You can blend pureed soup or sauce without pouring hot ingredients into a blending jar. Their compact design is also helpful for blending small batches of dips, dressing, or even single-serve smoothies without pulling out your big full-size blender. You can usually store them in a kitchen drawer, so they can also appeal to people looking to save valuable counter space.
Can you use immersion blenders for smoothies?
Yes, but other blender types are better. Some can make a mostly smooth blend with fibrous ingredients like blueberries and kale in liquid recipes, which is important for well-blended smoothies. Some models come with beakers you can use for blending that are a good size for single-serve smoothies. However, immersion blenders usually don't process ingredients as quickly as personal or full-size blenders.
Can you froth milk with an immersion blender?
Generally, blender blades aren't the right shape for frothing or foaming milk and can't produce the same quality foam as dedicated milk frothers. You also need to heat the milk beforehand, unlike frothers, which also heat the milk. If you want an appliance for lattes and cappuccinos, some immersion blenders have special accessories for milk frothing, like the KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Blender and Bamix Mono M133.
How do you clean immersion blenders?
Immersion blenders are usually pretty easy to clean. You don't need to deal with blades fixed to the bottom of a jar, which is the most common design for full-size blenders. The blending arm is almost always detachable, so you can easily rinse it in the sink.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best hand blenders for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our immersion blender reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no blender is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.