A Pitcher of BeautyBy and large, pitcher design has been woefully neglected by blender makers more concerned with whether the "mix" button should come before or after "puree."
|Pitcher Perfect |
Jenn-Air's Attrezzi line emphasizes design and costs $210.
Give 'Em the Gas!Electric blenders are all well and good, but when there's no place to plug in, hard-core daiquiri devotees turn to gas-powered solutions. A few small companies make blenders that are powered by undersized, gas-fueled engines, making them light enough to be brought out for an afternoon of tailgating, a weekend camping trip or a day on the boat. While pricey, these products pack a punch, using weed whacker-sized motors to whip up bulk-sized batches of blender drinks.
|Power Play |
Totally Gross' Tailgator is an ice-crushing marvel and costs $300.
The Race Car BlenderOutside of the occasional NASCAR-themed beer mug, sports cars do not provide much inspiration for kitchen products. But L'Equip's Model 228 R.P.M. power blender is a little different, able to make a mean milkshake as well as grind coffee beans, thanks to its extra-powerful 900-watt motor. Indeed, the Model 228 is a variable-speed blender, able to reach between 500 and 20,000 rotations per minute, slow and strong enough to crush ice cubes and speedy enough to whip egg whites into foam. In fact, the Model 228 is so fast, the company has put a tachometer -- the kind that shows R.P.M.'s in race cars -- right into the base so smoothie fans can see exactly how fast "liquefy" really is.
|Fast Work |
L'Equips model 228 has a tachometer and costs up to $149.
The Smoothie OperatorAs midday workouts have replaced three-martini lunches, blenders have moved beyond booze and into the world of smoothies, healthy ice-and-fruit concoctions that are now a staple of juice bars everywhere. But making smoothies in a standard blender isn't as easy as it seems. The combination of crushed ice and pulpy fruit can be tough for small-engine blenders to power through, creating a mess that's more gloppy than silky. And even if the smoothie is properly made, pouring it out can make a bigger mess, when the thick mixture suddenly shifts and overshoots the glass. To capitalize on the rise in the popularity of smoothies, a number of manufacturers have begun selling specialized smoothie blenders to make the task even easier. While fruit and ice is still loaded in through the top, the unit comes with a special stirring stick to ensure the high-powered motor chews up all the ingredients. "The stir stick comes within a quarter-inch of the blade as it spins and is removable," said Melissa Clyne, spokeswoman for Back to Basics. "This was one of those light bulb moments for the category. I have minced quite a few wooden spoons trying to mix in my blender. What they've done is taken that cap that sat on the top and made it a functional part of the machine."
|Smoothie Operator |
Back to Basics' Professional model holds 64 ounces and costs $100.