Primary use would be for soups
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Here's something I wrote about that -- scroll down to the comments to get even more advice! http://food52.com/blog...
I swear by my Bamix. I've had for about 5 years & it has done everything I've asked of if. My non-cook husband even started using it recently to make small batches of his own peanut butter. It was expensive, but having worn out a cheaper one, I would never go back. Whatever is in my soup, I can partially or completely purée it. I've heard people say they've used their Bamix for as long as 35 years!
I had a Braun that lasted me over 10 years. I now have a KitchenAid. I prefer my old Braun over the KitchenAid but I had a 30% off at Kohl's as well as a $10 certificate. So...
Anyway, I am not unhappy. I still use it as much.
Lisanne is a trusted home cook.
I also have a Braun that I love; have had it for years.
Pat is a trusted home cook.
I have a Viking with a whisk attachment (thanks to Food52) which is far superior to my old Cuisinart. I love it!
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I'm down with the Viking too (and I don't need the accessories). I used to be skeptical of immersion blenders until someone here suggested putting the pot in the prep sink instead of trying to use it on the stove top. Doink!
The Kitchenaid KHB100ER is nice and comes with lots of accessories but not sure if this has been discontinued since i'm not spotting it on Amazon. After doing a lot of research this is the one that I bought about a year ago.
Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Breville's got a very powerful one - not quite as pricey as the Bamix (which is also excellent) but 15 speeds up to "ice crushing".
One thing you don't want to do is go cheap on these things - spend less than about $80 (full price) and you might as well use a potato masher to puree soups :)
I got a Cuisinart as a gift a few years ago and it works fanstastically. No complaints.
Manufacturers seem to change designs so regularly I don’t feel comfortable recommending any particular immersion blender but I can list three features you should consider:
Shaft seal: You want a tight seal to prevent food from collecting and subsequent contamination.
Removable shaft: Although these blenders are usually quite easy to hand wash, being dishwasher safe is always a good feature, if not for convenience, then for safety.
Multiple speeds: I don't know if I've ever used speeds 3, 5, 7 and 8 on my 9-speed KitchenAid model but I don't think 2 speeds are enough for home use. 3 probably but 5 for sure will give you plenty of range starting with a low enough low that you don't overprocess or splash small batches.
The Kalorik Sunny Morning Stick Mixer, $16 at Amazon is Cook's Illustrated's top pick. Having said that, I also have the Braun and am very happy with it.
The Kalorik is a piece of cheap junk. I speak from experience! I bought one to use at my daughter's home. Cook's Illustrated has now revised their evaluation to eliminate it. I love my Braun, which I've had for years, but sadly Braun no longer sells their kitchen appliances in the U.S.
I have had my Braun for 20 yrs. still works like a champ
I purchased my Braun at a garage sale for $1, and it worked for 20 years before it finally broke. I replaced it with a Bamix, which has several nice features, including adjustable speeds, and a few different blades. I like that it comes with the perfect sized plastic jar and lid for making smoothies to go.