Commercial Blenders

Commercial Blender Buying Guide

Learn the difference between bar and food blenders, and what you should consider before buying your next blender.

Types of Blenders

Not all blenders are created equal—if they were, manufacturers wouldn't make as many different blenders as they do! The key to finding the perfect blender for you is to start with the blender itself. Do you need something for your chef or your bartender? Will the blender primarily reside in the back or front of the house? Are you blending frequently all day? Consider your needs first, then read on to learn more about different types of blenders you'll find on the market.

Bar Blenders

Bar Blenders

Finding the perfect bar blender for you really depends on what you'll be blending, and how much of it. In most cases, bar blenders are often tasked with making smoothies or blended cocktails like margaritas or piña coladas. Many find that a blender with a simple on/off switch and high enough horsepower will do the trick behind any bar. Those that plan on doing a lot of smoothies, which require less liquid and more solid ingredients, would do best with a heavy duty blender. And remember—blenders can get noisy! Make sure to account for noise level before purchasing any blender that'll reside behind your bar or front of house; some manufacturers also sell sound enclosures made for their bar blenders for front of house blending.
Food Blenders

Food Blenders

Unlike bar blenders, which often just perform one function (make delicious, frozen drinks), food blenders are tasked with many more functions. In addition to emulsifying ingredients for dressings, sauces and more, food blenders must also be able to chop fresh vegetables for salsa or grind grains into flour, and so much more. These applications require different power settings and timing, which means your blender must be flexible, which is why many manufacturers (like Vitamix) sell additional assemblies for these specific tasks. As heavy duty powerhouses, food blenders will typically come packaged with higher horsepower and a variable speed dial to give chefs the ultimate control when it comes to chopping, purees, blending, or emulsifying foods?.
Immersion Blenders

Immersion Blenders

Immersion blenders, or "stick" mixers, are like having another pair of hands in the kitchen. These blenders are extremely versatile because the blending occurs directly in whatever container is holding your product. Instead of having to transport soups or coulis into another container, you can create a silky smooth product within minutes using your immersion blender. The transportability of immersion blenders are also valued when it comes to catering and other events that require on-site preparations. Immersion blenders are also ridiculously good at making whipped cream, pesto and other sauces on the fly!

Types of Blender Containers

Commercial blenders often come with a blender container made from one of these three different types of materials: stainless steel, glass, and polycarbonate (though many manufacturers also sell proprietary blender containers made from alternate materials) Many chefs opt to buy additional blender containers, either to ease efficiency in the kitchen or to utilize a different material for specific tasks. Most blender containers will have graduated measurements on them as well to make it easier for you to measure recipes and maintain drink consistency. There's really no right or wrong choice when it comes to blender containers—it's highly dependent on your personal preferences. Read on to learn more.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

Chefs love the durability that comes with a stainless steel blender container—you won't find any chips or cracking with these! Stainless steel containers can also be used for wide temperature ranges and they're notoriously durable. If you're hoping your blender can perform double-duty between cold bar beverages and hot back of the house preparations (think soup), then picking up a stainless steel container is the best way to go. The one caveat you'll find? Stainless steel is opaque, so if you're a chef who likes to see items being blended in action, this container would not be for you.
Glass

Glass

With glass, you may get the best of both worlds when it comes to blender containers. Not only can you blend both hot and cold ingredients within a glass container, but its transparent nature also allows you to see what you're blending. Plus, glass containers are also elegant, which might be an aesthetic you're after in a high end lounge. That said, glass blender containers can be on the heavier side, particularly when they're full of product. The big (and it is big) caveat of glass? It breaks more easily than its polycarbonate and stainless steel counterparts. For example, making a smoothie with ice in your blender container that just came out of the dishwasher is one of the quickest (and easiest) ways to cause breakage.
Polycarbonate (Plastic)

Polycarbonate (Plastic)

Due to its virtually indestructible material and lightweight body, Polycarbonate is the most popular blender container on the market. Not only does its transparency enable you to watch product being blended, these containers are ideal in fast-paced environments like bars. Keep in mind that many polycarbonate containers could potentially contain BPA, so you should decide at your discretion if you wish to use your container for cold preparations only.

Commercial Blender Buying Considerations

When it comes to buying a blender, you really want to do your research first. Picking a blender for your restaurant is much more than deciding what horsepower you need. Each manufacturer specializes in a specific design of blender container, control panel and much more. Before taking the plunge with your purchase, be sure to consider every feature there is to get the best blender for you.

Container Shape
Many manufacturers tout the shape of their blender container as a real value proposition, and here's why. Container design greatly affects how well (or not) your materials will blend. Some chefs prefer the wider, more square design of a Waring or Blendtec blender because the container can efficiently process large chunks of ingredients effectively. All in all it really goes back to the types of food or beverages you're blending to determine which type of blender will work best for you.
Noise
Before deciding on any blender for your front of house, consider the noise. While more horsepower and larger capacity blender containers are often your first considerations, don't neglect your customer. In the front of house, the sound of a blender going on and off can prove jarring to customer conversations. Look for blenders with quieter motors or even sound-dampening encasements (like those you see in juice or coffee shops who run multiple blenders at a time) which could help your front of house ambiance.
Capacity
It may seem obvious, but one of the biggest factors chefs fail to consider when purchasing a blender is the actual size of its container. Maybe it's because we're conditioned to pay close attention to horsepower, blade construction and electronic features. The size of your container is the difference between being able to blend two to three drinks in a single batch, or getting 1 ½ beverages per blend. Sizing is key to an efficient bar that produces minimal waste! Get a container that's large enough to make appropriately-sized beverages for your restaurant. That said, take care not to purchase a container that's too large, because a bulky container might be less efficient for you, and you might be throwing away extra product.
Stackable Blender Containers
We rarely hear that chefs grapple with having too much space in the kitchen. On the contrary, the need to be smart about storage is always a factor in both the front and back of the house. If you're a bustling bar or coffee shop consistently making mixed beverages, chances are you will have more than one blender container on hand (we hope). Having multiple blender containers ensures you have an efficient rotation going so you're getting drinks out as quickly as possible. But where do you store those extra blender containers? Stackable options help you save storage space, and no—not all blender containers can be stacked!
Blender Power
There's a reason you purchase a commercial-grade blender for a large foodservice operation—more power. These blenders are literally built to tackle tough tasks every day, throughout the day. Still, a common misconception with blenders is that you'll always need one with the highest horsepower for added durability and a longer life. Not true! Depending on what you use your blender for, and how well you care for it, means you could spare yourself the expensive price tag of more horsepower by opting for a blender suited to your needs.
Types of Controls
Undeniably, the controls on a blender are where all the bells and whistles really come out. In many cases you'll find that a simple on/off switch is all you'll need to get the job done. However, others with specific drink recipes or culinary needs will require a more sophisticated setup that gives you more control. Read on to learn more about the types of controls found on blenders.
  • Toggle/Paddle Switches and dials
    At the most basic level, some blenders have a simple paddle switch that turns the equipment on and off. Some blenders also feature a dial that enables the chef to slowly increase the speed of the blend to achieve a desired consistency.
  • Electronic Display
    Flat, electronic membranes (like the one found on many Waring models) makes cleaning a breeze because there are no small openings for liquid or other food particles to become stuck. Electronic displays are also easy-to-read, intuitive, and feature one-touch blending capabilities.
  • Programmable and Timer Options
    Make sure the last blended drink of the night tastes the same as the first! Some blenders come with programmable options or a dial timer to enable automatic shutoffs. Timers are ideal when you want the precision in blending consistent drinks. For even greater control, opt for electronic and programmable options that enables you to preset multiple recipes for a variety of beverages. With programmed blender times, you know your customers are getting the same drink they know and love, no matter who is behind the bar.
Food Blenders versus Food Processors
Many prefer food blenders to food processors when it comes to emulsifying liquids and large food product. Blenders are ideal for turning vegetables and other items into pulverized, silky smooth sauces.

Cleaning Your Commercial Blender

Like most restaurant equipment in your kitchen, keeping your blender clean is the best way to keep it running a long time. During a shift you'll (hopefully) be regularly rinsing your blender container between blends to preserve the integrity of your beverages/food. But at the end of the shift, be sure that you thoroughly clean the blade assembly, jar pad (some manufacturers even make them removable), and immersion blender shaft (removable shafts ensure you don't get the motor wet while cleaning).

Commercial Food and Bar Blender Parts

Anyone who works in foodservice knows that kitchen equipment can take a beating. Not only are cooks and bartenders less-than-careful, but it's only a matter of time before those small blender accessories (like a gasket) are gone forever. Thankfully manufacturers have your back, because practically every part on your blender is replaceable. At Tundra Restaurant Supply, we carry over 400 blender parts, from blade assemblies to pads, lids and switches—we've got you covered.

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