The buttons, too, are incredibly streamlined. For your $40 you get a mix/milkshake, a pulse/ice crush, a puree/icy drink, and a smoothie setting. There's nothing superfluous here at all, just good old-fashioned blender settings, nicely arranged for effortless reading and operation. As you know, blenders aren't typically a very feature-rich appliance. They plug in, they turn on and off, and they blend things. This Hamilton Beach model is no exception -- the presets are pretty much all it has to offer in the features department. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's lacking, though.
In light of that, here's my recommendation: Get the Hamilton Beach if you typically use a blender to make basic things like salad dressing, smoothies, and puréed soups. It can also make more complex recipes like pesto, but it will take a bit more effort (and patience) on your part. It won't require much counter space, if that's a concern, but it also can't hold as much food as some of the other blenders. It will disappoint if you want a high-powered blender-food processor hybrid that can decimate an entire block of cheese in seconds. But don't forget that it's over $100 less than any of the other models, so I still think it's quite an impressive little blender.
So, how did the Hamilton Beach actually do during testing? You already know that it can't shred a block of cheese, but it can do some other things pretty darn well.
That's the $39 Hamilton Beach Smoothie Smart Blender -- and it's an excellent option for all of your basic blending needs. More and more often, though, all kinds of fancy-pants blenders that boast ginormous capacities, powerful motors that sound like helicopters in flight, and special features like touch screens and single-serving attachments are popping up in stores.
|Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker||$26.95||Get more info|