If you want a no-nonsense hand blender to whip up a quick smoothie, puree soup or blend baby food, the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-76 (*Est. $35) is our Best Reviewed pick for basic hand blender. Despite its lower price, reviews say the Cuisinart gets all the important stuff right -- it's comfortable to hold, with simple one-button operation and a blender shaft that can go right into the dishwasher. This popular hand blender gets more than 1,500 owner reviews. Although some owners complain that an essential gear broke quickly -- it's made of plastic; others say the Smart Stick has survived four or five years of daily use.
On the other end of the price spectrum sits the Breville Control Grip BSB510XL (*Est. $70 to $100). This stick blender also features mini-chopper and whisk attachments, making it a three-for-one tool. In one top test, it powered through frozen-fruit smoothies better than other hand blenders, and reviews agree that it purées soups, chops veggies and whips cream with similar ease. It's even designed to crush ice; few hand blenders can. Owners say they appreciate the Breville's thoughtful touches -- its ergonomic grip, dishwasher-safe shaft and rubber blade guard, so it won't scratch cookware. Owners don't complain about it breaking, either. If you're looking for the best hand blender for home use, this is our Best Reviewed pick.
Plenty of rivals can blend and purée nearly as well as the Breville -- but other flaws emerge. The KitchenAid KHB2351 (*Est. $60) shines in one expert test, but some owners say KitchenAid has cut some corners with this replacement model. Durability complaints plague other models, including the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-77 (*Est. $60), DeLonghi DHB723 (*Est. $100), Dualit 88860 (*Est. $70) and Miallegro MiTutto 9090 (*Est. $65). None of these proves as easy to use as the Breville -- or as terrific a deal as the Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-76.