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I always loved how some chefs call an immersion blender a “boat motor.” It’s a kitchen tool that fits the name: a long, stand-up blender that looks like a scale model of an outboard motor. You can then attach one fixture at the bottom for mixing, whisking and other general operations that are beyond by-hand efforts.
When it comes down to it, there are two veritable leaders in the home immersion blender space: Vitamix and Breville. The former, of blender fame, brings some of that tech into their immersion-level blender, utilizing a powerful motor and simple attachments. Breville, of multiple appliance fame, offers more functionality from the same base in a package all its own.
So if you’re on the hunt for a new immersion blender for your home kitchen, how do you decide between two close models? Read on for my review of Vitamix’s Four-Piece Immersion Blender Bundle and Breville’s All in One.
Breville Immersion Blender Specs
• Power: 240 W
• Power settings: 15
• Included accessories: whisk, slicing blade, food processor cup, mashing leg, organizer stand
Vitamix Immersion Blender Specs
• Power: 625 W
• Power settings: 5
• Included accessories: whisk, mixing jar, organizer stand
How I tested
I put both blenders through a series of typical tasks: smoothie mixes, whisking, making dips and smoothing out some other culinary concoctions. I also wanted to see how easy it was to clean each model after use because let’s be honest: if it’s not acceptably easy to clean, you’re not going to want to use it. Breville did not have the entire All in One bundle in stock at testing time, so I tested the main unit with a few of its attachments, but not all of them.
A bit more on each model
In all reality, both models are quite comparable. You get a solid, well-built, plug-in motor unit with a few attachments to tackle most of the standard gastronomic adventures that you would ask for an immersion blender. Both have a similar ergonomic grip (although I found the Breville to be slightly more comfortable). The Breville is plastic-wrapped up top while the Vitamix is stainless steel throughout (both blender shafts are full stainless, though). The duo is pretty close in size with similar cord lengths, which doesn’t particularly matter unless your outlets are far from wherever you’re mixing.
Due to stock issues, my Breville bundle arrived with a different food processor jar, which only had the simple blade attachment for the bottom. There was also no top spout for adding in ingredients like a traditional food processor. Not a huge deal for me, but it does limit how much you can mimic standard food processor needs, like mixing in flour or oil in intervals. My bundle also didn’t come with the mashing leg.
There is a bit of variance on what’s dishwasher-safe and what you’ll need to clean by hand, but you can basically run most of the attachments, minus the blade. The attachments are largely plastic, which foreshadows reliability and replacement issues down the road. Over time, you’re likely going to have to replace at least one attachment as it wears from general use. The power from the blender will break down the attaching point and the components within the attachment, whether whisk or processor blade.
Power isn’t everything
What I found through testing is that it’s not the amount of power that a particular immersion blender puts out, but rather how the power is distributed from the motor core to the attachment.
If you think you can buy an immersion blender with a whisk attachment and lose your stand-up mixer, you’d be wrong. Immersion whisking really only works for light batters, eggs and anything that isn’t really dense. Breads, cakes and even pie crusts still need the sturdiness and direct power of a standalone machine. With an immersion blender, the whisk just gets stuck. I’m not convinced that even using the Vitamix’s base as an “immersion station” would solve the issue.
What I did like was having a motorized whisk to take almost all the effort out of making light batters. On a lazy Saturday morning, I whipped up a batch of banana bread batter with minimal effort and a nice, consistent amount of air whisked into the mix. The result was a wonderful, fluffy mass. I also like being able to mix in smaller containers compared to my Ninja blender, which has a large jar that’s not always great for making massive smoothies. My smoothie experience with the Breville’s processor container was fine, although it ended up more “acai bowl” than “Jamba Juice.”
Cleaning was generally easy on both — as long as you rinse the blades right after using them. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to clean tough muck from inside a small blade crevasse. (It’s hard enough on my larger Vitamix blender.) Prompt rinsing is crucial to maintain your sanity.
Personally, I liked the power distribution of the Breville more. It felt like a cleaner, more even push from the motor to the attachment, and having ten more options for power felt more complete compared to the Vitamix’s five.
Unless you’re a fine dining chef, you’re probably not going to find much of a difference between the Vitamix and Breville immersion blenders. I found both to do a good job of standard blending, mixing and whisking, as long as you don’t go above and beyond the capability of the blender itself. I was disappointed that some of the promised Breville bundle pieces weren’t available, but that’s not a huge detriment for me.
If I had to choose, I’m going with the Breville All in One, simply because it felt like a studier, more even machine. I also liked having the food processor capability. I’ll opt for it the next time I need to make a creamy soup or put together a batch of pancakes.
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