We're road tested in models from basic to super deluxe. Whether you feel it's imperative to have a model that can heat soup or offers an illuminated sliding touch pad is ultimately a matter of personal preference. But no matter which kind you end up with, here are five quick tips to keep in mind each and every time you bust out that blender.
Put a lid on it: Never operate the blender without the lid in place; even with just a small amount in the blending jar, you'll risk making a huge mess. It's also a good idea to lightly rest your hand on the lid as you start blending, especially if you have a blender where the jar just sits on the base; it'll ensure that the blender doesn't "walk" off the counter.
Maintain order: To ensure a smooth blend when making smoothies or other liquid and solid mixtures, add the liquid ingredients first, then the solids.
Start slow: When blending, start on a lower setting, then gradually increase the speed. This will minimize air pockets, which will prevent ingredients from making contact with the blade.
Take your temperature: If you're blending hot liquids, it's a good idea to ventilate your jar by lifting the lid insert off partially. Start on the slowest setting and fill the blender only halfway to avoid painful spills.
Keep it clean: Some blenders have a self-cleaning setting, but it's not necessary. To easily clean a blender, fill the jar about a third full with warm water and add a drop of dish detergent. Pulse or run the blender for a few seconds, then rinse the blending jar and lid with clean water. It's best to clean the blender immediately after using, before the food has a chance to dry.