TESTING BLENDERS

Prices for the 10 blenders we tested were paid in Boston-area retail stores or online. Blenders are listed in order of preference. Sources for the winner and Best Buy appear on page 32.

ICE CRUSHING: We pulsed IS ice cubes. Models that produced uniform "snow" rated highest.

SMOOTHIE: We blended frozen fruit, juice, and yogurt for I minute on high (or on the "puree" or "liquefy" setting). Blenders that produced a lump-free puree won top marks.

HUMMUS: We processed chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini on high for I minute. Blenders that emulsified to smoothness ranked highest.

SPEED: We added three drops of yellow and blue food coloring to either side of the jar atop 16 ounces of plain yogurt and timed how long it took with the blender on low until the yogurt turned uniformly green.

SOUND LEVEL: Using ProLogic 8 software, we recorded sound levels with each blender on high. Blenders that made the least noise ranked highest.

Sharp Differences

A blender is only as good as its blades. Our Best Buy, the Kalorik BL (left), excelled thanks to an innovative six-blade design that hit food at differing angles. A losing design, the Hamilton Beach Liquid Blu 5-Speed (right), has four blades divided into pairs that only hit food vertically and horizontally, making it far less effective at crushing and pureeing.

I

SMASHING POOR SUCCESS PERFORMER

.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

KITCHENAID S-Speed Blender Model: KSB580 Price: $149.99 Jar material and capacity: Polycarbonate, 56 ounces

(^RECOMMENDED

KALORIK BL Blender Model: 16909 Price: $49.99 Jar material and capacity: Glass, 50 ounces

^RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS'

L'EQUIP RPM Blender

Model: 228

Price: $165.99 Jar material and capacity: Plastic, 56 ounces

HAMILTON BEACH

Dual Wave Blender Model: 52 H7H

Price: $69.99 Jar material and capacity:

Plastic, 80 ounces

WARING Professional Bar Blender Model: MBB518 Price: $129.95 Jar material and capacity: Glass, 40 ounces

CUISINART SmartPower Premiere 600-Watt Blender Model: CBT-500 Price: $99.95 Jar material and capacity: Glass, 50 ounces

VIKING Professional Blender ModehVBLGOl Price: $149.95 Jar material and capacity: Glass, 40 ounces

.NOT RECOMMENDED

HAMILTON BEACH Liquid Blu S-Speed Blender Model: 59207 Price: $59.99 Jar material and capacity: Glass, 48 ounces

OSTER Counterforms 2-in-l Appliance Model: BVLB07-L Price: $89.99 Jar material and capacity: Glass, 48 ounces

BLACK & DECKER

Cyclone 12-Speed Blender Model: BLCI2650HB Price: $29.88 Jar material and capacity: Glass, 48 ounces

PERFORMANCE

Ice crushing: Smoothie: ifif if Hummus: ifitit Speed: *** Sound level:

PERFORMANCE

Ice crushing: Smoothie: ** Hummus: *** Speed: ** Sound level: if ifif

PERFORMANCE

Ice crushing: * Smoothie: iririr Hummus: ifirif Speed: *** Sound level: *

Ice crushing: ififif Smoothie: *** Hummus: * Speed: ** Sound level: *

Ice crushing: * Smoothie: ** Hummus: ifif Speed: ** Sound level: ***

Ice crushing: Smoothie: if if Hummus: * Speed: ** Sound level: ifif

Ice crushing: Ik-Smoothie: ifif Hummus: ifif Speed: ** Sound level: **

PERFORMANCE

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Ice crushing:Smoothie:Hummus:Speed:Sound level:

Ice crushing:Smoothie:Hummus:Speed:Sound level:

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TESTERS' COMMENTS

A large, powerful machine that aced our : performance tests. Ice was quickly pulver snow, smoothies were lump-free, and hurr perfectly consistent. Although the blades < be removed, the entire jar is dishwasher-saf

TESTERS' COMMENTS

Excelled at ice crushing and hummus mixin pulp in the smoothie. This ultra-quiet blend blades—two serrated—and a steeply tape jar that helped keep the contents moving. Th able base and blades made cleaning a breez

TESTERS' COMMENTS

Our past winner sailed through the smoc hummus tests but fell seriously short wher to crushing ice, leaving lots of solid chunks the walls beyond reach of the blades. This m lost points for noise.

A huge jar and side-by-side "dual-action1 With ice and smoothies, the two blades tag to pulverize ingredients, but they turned into a frothy drink instead of a puree. Exa frozen drinks, but not a good all-purpose bl

Struggled to crush ice efficiently; only a performerwith smoothies and hummus. Th leaf-shaped jar was extremely narrow, whid difficult to remove the hummus.

Crushed ice with ease, but its bulky, square push food to the center, leaving hummu Unlike standard blenders, to remove this must lift without twisting. If you twist, ; testers mistakenly did, the jar's contents p the bottom.

Not powerful enough to crush ice, and it I chunks of mango in the smoothies. The bas so tall that the model felt unsteady during t Jar comes apart for easy cleaning.

TESTERS' COMMENTS

Looked more like a spaceship than a b\i but failed liftoff, performing poorly in b< ice-crushing and hummus tests. Did bel smoothies, but took extra time to fully bre the fruit.

The only blender in the lineup with reversib designed to draw food back down into th Unfortunately, this feature was ineffective crushing, and testers had to run the cycle get fruit to breakdown into smoothies.

Ice jammed the blades, leaving large chunks fruit fibers and seeds clogged the smoothie, hummus was grainy. Has I 2 push buttons were flimsy and difficult to clean, and there much difference among the speeds.

MARCH & APRIL 2009

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