You may have seen them in cooking shows both on TV and over the Internet where cooks use them for a variety of purposes; doing it so effectively that it often blows you away seeing menial tasks made easy by these handheld gadgets.
Comparing an immersion blender vs hand mixer, there seems to be almost no difference at first, but once you get to know each better, you’ll start seeing how different they are from each other.
Hand mixers and immersion blenders are two of the most used kitchen gadgets in a commercial kitchen, especially one that specializes in pastries, pasta, and main dishes. These two devices both depend on a motor to rotate their stems and toss everything around like you would with a regular wire whisk and a spatula.
Redefining the Misconception
In its core, both hand mixers and immersion blenders are classified under blenders because of the theory and principles applied to their design. Although there is a vast difference when it comes to their features and function, as well as the practical application of both in the modern kitchen.
What Is a Hand Mixer?
A hand mixer is an electric handheld device that is often used for mixing and blending wet and dry ingredients, mostly for baking and desserts. Usually, one has to love baking before thinking of investing in hand mixers.
The most common accessories for a hand mixer include hand beaters, whisks, and paddles, all of which are removable and made of food-grade materials. Hand mixers also have variable speed settings so that you can switch from whisking to folding to beating with just one click or push of a button.
What Is an Immersion Blender?
An immersion blender is known for having many aliases including hand blender, wand blender, and stick blender, but these point out to a singular device. This kind of blender uses an electric motor to drive cutting blades from the other end of a shaft.
This device can blend, puree and grind food even while you have it on the stove top as its long shaft can be immersed in hot and cold food items and used to further stir or blend food for better consistency.
This electric blender is handheld, of course, and is designed to assist cooks in blending hot soup or sauces without having to transfer the hot contents into a heatproof blender.
Immersion Blender vs Hand Mixer: Differences and Similarities
- On the Outside
Although either item can be confused with one another, they are two different kinds of electric gadget that have vastly different physical appearances. The hand mixer is bulkier than the immersion blender as it tends to have a larger motor and accessories.
- How You Use It
Immersion blenders are often used with just one hand, much like how one would use a big pen, and it is also more maneuverable. Hand mixers, on the other hand, require that you hold it like a flat iron and assist it with the other hand to prevent the mix from being splattered in all directions.
Hand mixers usually come with whisks and silicone spatulas that can be removed and replaced with each other at any time. Some immersion blenders may include a wire whisk attachment but more often than not, they would only have the grinding blades and a spatter shield as an accessory.
- The Small Details
Immersion Blenders often have a single-speed motor while hand mixers have different speed settings for each function that it has.
Immersion blenders are also built to withstand high temperatures while hand mixers cannot be used to mix hot soups nor can it be used over a simmering fire.
- On the Inside
Categorized as blenders, immersion blenders and hand mixers are also operated by a small electric motor with the hand mixer having a multi-speed motor while immersion blenders would often have single speed ones.
Technically, the motor of an immersion blender is more powerful as the blades at the other end of the shaft need power to grind and blend food items, whereas hand mixers don’t necessarily have to have the same kind of power.
As previously mentioned, both immersion blenders and hand mixers are different types of blenders which means they are both used to process food and can even be used for the same purpose, albeit in a different manner. Hand mixers can beat and whisk food items and the immersion blender can do the same with the right attachment.
Immersion Blender vs Hand Mixer: Uses
Uses for Hand Mixers
Hand mixers are commonly used by bakers and pastry chefs, especially with its ability to blend dry ingredients well. It can be used for making the following:
- Pancake Batter
- Cake Batter
- Salad Dressings
- Scrambled Eggs
- Waffle Batter
- Whipped Cream
However, hand mixers cannot handle tough bread dough as well as make smoothies as the attachment and motor are not powerful enough to extract the juices from fruits and vegetables. The accessories of a hand mixer are also not optimized to be used to make soups more consistently and tend to splatter if used with thin liquids.
Uses for Immersion Blenders
Although immersion blenders generate more noise inside small kitchens and not because of its motor or because of its gurgling sound while immersed in hot soup, this handheld gadget has found some sort of niche in a commercial kitchen by being a little bit more versatile than its bulkier cousin.
Immersion blenders were designed to allow for better maneuverability as well as more function than originally intended. In fact, it can be used to make the following food items:
- Pancake and Waffle Batter
- Whipped Cream
- Baby Food
Its ability to withstand high temperatures makes it a valuable ally when it comes to making a soup have better consistency. Its sharp blades also allow it to grind and chop tough vegetables and even ice for that well-blended smoothie.
With the right attachment, immersion blenders can even do what most hand mixers do, especially since newer models now have speed selectors and more advanced attachments.
Hand mixers and immersion blenders are two handheld electric devices that have their place inside the modern kitchen. They both serve different functions and have different uses which may make them more valuable than the other, depending on who’s cooking.
Bakers and pastry chef would prefer hand mixers while sous chefs and cooks would prefer immersion blenders. Regardless of who picks what, these two blending devices have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages that are definitely worth looking into.