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Hand blenders and hand mixers sound like they do the same thing, but in reality, they are quite different! These tools do look similar, so it can be difficult to identify which one you might need in the kitchen.
In short, hand blenders are great at breaking down foods into liquids, while hand mixers are better at mixing different ingredients. You don’t want to use a hand blender while baking, and you definitely wouldn’t use a hand mixer to make a smoothie!
We’ll cover more about what each appliance does below. You’ll find an explanation of the differences between them so you can decide which one is better for you.
What Do Hand Mixers Do?
Hand mixers are a very useful tool in the kitchen, particularly for those who bake a lot. Hand mixers can be any handheld mixing appliance, but they need to be connected to a wall outlet.
Hand mixers are a great alternative to whisks that need you to expend energy.
They’re also better than free-standing mixers that don’t allow you to control the movements.
Hand mixers usually have a rounded handle that’s ergonomically designed to rest in your hand. The handle may have a switch or buttons that spin the beaters when pressed.
Hand mixers tend to have two slots at the bottom where the beater components will fit. These will click securely into place so they won’t slip out when mixing any ingredients. The hand mixer will normally have a switch that controls the beater’s speed settings. You’ll also see a button that removes the beaters easily.
The hand mixers described above are the ones seen today, though there are other hand mixers from the past that aren’t made anymore.
These hand mixers were powered by hand movements. A little handle would be turned, activating the gears that would rotate the beaters. These mixers are also known as rotary beaters.
Though they aren’t used today, they are sometimes used in rural areas with little electricity. Regular campers also use these tools, as well as those who live ‘off the grid’.
What Do Hand Blenders Do?
Hand blenders are also called stick blenders or immersion blenders. These are a good alternative to regular blenders that cost a lot and take up space.
Hand blenders use spinning blades, just like those on traditional blenders. Instead of a big jug, the blades are fixed to a shorter stick.
The stick can be placed into a thick liquid and activated to spin the blades. When it does this, the motion attracts larger pieces into the blades, liquidizing them in the process.
Hand blenders are normally used to blend stews, soups, and smoothies in the same pot that they’re made in. This is convenient as you don’t need to pour the liquid into a different blender.
Blending the mix in the same pot saves you time and requires less clean-up.
What Are The Differences Between Hand Blenders And Hand Mixers?
Hand blenders and hand mixers have several differences, which we’ll get into below.
The first difference is that the two appliances do different things. Hand mixers use two whisks together. The two whisks mix on different sides of a bowl. Y
ou won’t get any dead areas as both of the whisks to work in tandem. As hand mixers are good mixing appliances, they’re ideal for thicker substances used in baking.
Unlike hand mixers, hand blenders are used to blend. A hand mixer’s beaters need to be dull, but a hand blender needs sharp blades to cut through ingredients. Hand blenders are much better at slicing and liquidizing, but they won’t be good at mixing.
The next difference is that the two tools work differently. As hand mixers use two beaters, the speed they operate won’t need to be set too high. The beating rate will increase because the beaters cover a greater surface area in the mix.
On the other hand, the blades on hand blenders are only 1-2 inches long. The appliance might have to be set to a higher speed or moved around the pot to blend the liquid sufficiently.
Another point that isn’t normally considered is that a hand mixer’s beaters can usually be changed with other tools.
They may not work with tools from another brand, but the beaters on some hand mixers may be able to switch with dough hooks or a singular whisk.
Hand mixers are quite versatile as they can be used for several needs, but hand blenders are typically only used for one purpose.
The blade that a hand blender comes with is usually the one it will use for its entire lifespan. Except for those that plan on cutting open a hand blender, most people will only use it for one purpose.
Hand blenders and hand mixers will both operate at different speeds levels, but here lies another difference.
Hand mixers will often have several speed settings, while hand blenders have much less. This is because some tasks require a slower, controlled speed compared to others.
One example is during baking. A hand mixer won’t need to work as hard when creaming butter and sugar to make the icing.
However, it will take more effort to mix sugar and egg whites to produce a meringue.
The points above explain why hand blenders and hand mixers are different, but they do have one similarity – their cost. In most cases, hand blenders and hand mixers cost a similar amount.
These two kitchen tools are useful, but they won’t cost as much as a general blender or tabletop whisk. Consumers will pay less for tools that won’t work as well as their original form.
Should I Buy A Hand Mixer Or A Hand Blender?
The tool you buy will depend on your needs and preferences. Hand mixers work well for typical baking and cooking, as they are designed to mix food. Hand blenders are better to blend liquids, like soups, smoothies, and milkshakes.
To decide which one is right for you, you have to think about what tasks you usually do in the kitchen.
Hand mixers may mix foods, but they’re usually used for baking instead of cooking. The beaters work well to mix various fats and sugars. This is ideal when making icing or cake batter, but they’re not used as much for other applications.
The beater tools resemble general whisks seen in the kitchen, so you may be able to use hand mixers to whisk certain ingredients.
Despite this, there aren’t many uses in which a hand mixer would be preferred over a whisk.
Whisks are easy to carry around in the kitchen, simple to use when standing at a stove, and can be stored away in a cutlery drawer after using it. Hand mixers aren’t that portable, take up more space, and aren’t that simple to clean compared to a whisk.
Now we come to hand blenders. These are typically only used for cooking, not baking. Hand blenders are used to liquefy thick soups and chunkier pieces of food down into smooth liquids.
This is seen a lot more when cooking, such as making a soup or a smoothie.
Hand blenders are also ideal for making milkshakes, as they tend to have little air holes surrounding the blades. These spaces can draw in excess food pieces.
The motion makes it easier to whip the liquid, so depending on how long you blend it for, you can create a thick or runny milkshake.
Hand Mixer Or Hand Blender: Do I Need Both?
This depends on your general tasks in the kitchen. Those that are used to using blenders may prefer to stick to them.
Stick blenders aren’t just good at blending smoothies, they can be used to make a sauce and thin out baby food. If you only need to blend liquids, you probably won’t need to buy a hand mixer, as a hand blender will be sufficient.
However, if you often need to whip cream or shred chicken, a hand mixer might be your tool of choice.
Stick blenders do have sharper blades, but hand mixers have a powerful motor, so they can handle tougher items, like pork or chicken.
You won’t need a blender if you tend to use dry ingredients in the kitchen, as a hand mixer will do the job for you.
That being said, if you do a variety of tasks in the kitchen, you may want to consider purchasing both items. As they don’t take up as much room as tabletop whisks or a countertop blender, you may have space to fit both tools in your kitchen.
Hand mixers and hand blenders are normally priced at a similar amount, so you won’t have to spend lots of money on them either.
Hand mixers and hand blenders may seem similar, but they do different things! These handheld devices are useful in smaller kitchens.
Hand blenders take up less room than a traditional blender, while electric hand mixers need less effort than a traditional hand mixer.
Hand mixers also give you more control over your mix compared to countertop models.
Hand blenders are great for blending liquid ingredients and creating smooth soup, but hand mixers are better for tougher ingredients.
If you bake a lot, you may want to purchase a hand mixer. If you often need pureed soups and smoothies, a hand blender will be a better choice.