Jug Blender vs Immersion Blender: which is right for you?

Woman using an immersion blender to create a sauce
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to cooking, there are plenty of kitchen appliances that can speed up preparing meals - many of which are extremely versatile, while others can end up languishing on your kitchen countertop, gathering dust as they sit unused because they’re only useful for one task. 

The best blenders fall into the first category and can be an extremely useful addition to your kitchen. From blitzing fruit and vegetables into a smoothie to crushing ice or making soups and sauces, they can be used for a wide array of tasks. So it's no surprise it’s earned a valued place in our kitchens. In fact, according to research by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers more than 90% of households report owning at least one personal or full-size blender. 

There are two different types of blenders available on the market right now. Jug blenders and immersion blenders, which are also known as stick blenders or hand blenders. Both rely on rotating blades to mix and puree foods, but there are a number of differences making each of them better suited to different blending tasks. This can make it hard to decide which is best suited to you.

Know which type of blender you want? Rather than read on and find out the differences between the two types, check out the best prices for some of our top models. 

What’s the difference between an immersion blender and a jug blender? 

An immersion blender, also known as a stick blender or hand blender is a handheld appliance with spinning blades at one end, and the motor that drives the blades in the top section, which is held during use. As the name would suggest, you immerse the blades into whatever you want to blend, whether it’s a pitcher of milkshake ingredients or a pan of freshly cooked soup. 

In a jug blender, the blades are housed in the base of a jug which is either plastic or glass and comes with a secure lid. The jug blades are powered by a motor located in the base unit, which sits on your countertop. To blend you have to pour the ingredients into the jug, attach the lid and press a button on the base unit to start the motor. 

Jug blenders have very powerful motors and can pulverize even the toughest ingredients, which in some cases means ice or coffee beans, although some blender jugs can only be used for cold ingredients rather than soups and other hot ingredients. Many have predefined programs, so you can set the blender going and walk away with the appliance still running. For peace of mind, many have built-in safety features that don’t allow them to be switched on unless the lid is secured in place. However, they can be expensive with prices as high as $499.95/ £599.95/ AU$999 for a premium model like Breville’s the Super Q.

woman blending fruit in a kitchen

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Immersion blenders are a more affordable option, they’re also more compact and easier to store than a jug blender - most are small enough to pop in a drawer. They’re not as powerful though and can’t be used for tasks like crushing ice, but they are great for blending soups, sauces, baby food, and milkshakes.

Good immersion blenders will have a heat-proof metal shaft so they can be put directly into warm foods such as soup pans, although there are safety considerations when it comes to blending very hot foods. You won’t get auto programs with an immersion blender, but they do have variable speed settings and some come with a stand-alone pitcher for blending in.

Some models will also come with a whisk attachment and others come with mini choppers which are ideal for chopping herbs, nuts or even blending small quantities of sauce. So, depending on the attachments included they can be used for much more than simple blending tasks.

However, a big downside is the lack of safety features - they can be switched on at any time. And if you have any problems with your hands or wrists, this handheld blending appliance probably isn't right for you. Some of them feel heavy in use and can vibrate up through the handle while blending, which is uncomfortable if using for longer periods.

immersion blender being used in a kitchen to blitz fruit

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With a jug blender, you’re limited by the capacity of the jug - they do vary in size, but even the largest jug won’t be big enough to blend an extra large pan of soup in one go, so you’ll have to blend it in batches. Many models also come with personal blending cups included and these are perfect for making smoothies to-go, you blend all of the smoothie ingredients in the same cup that you drink from, so there’s less cleaning at the end.

Immersion blenders, however, aren’t restricted by a jug size, so you can put them into any size container, which makes them ideal for blending large quantities.

Both types of blender are relatively easy to clean. Add soapy water to a jug blender, and then simply switch on for a few seconds. Some models even have a self-clean program, although lots now come with components that can go in the dishwasher. Immersion blenders can be rinsed under the tap to remove any food residue.

Should I buy a jug blender or immersion blender? 

Both jug blenders and immersion blenders are effective when it comes to blitzing fruit and vegetables into smooth drinks or sauces. However, what other tasks you plan to use the blender for, and how much storage space you have, will dictate which type of blender you opt for.

Those that are on a budget, want to blend large quantities or hot ingredients such as pureeing stock and vegetables into hearty soups, should consider an immersion blender. However, if you want to crush ice or grind coffee beans as well as pulverizing fruit and vegetables , a jug blender is the way to go. 

As we’ve already mentioned, consider how much space you have in your kitchen - as jug blenders can be bulky, while immersion blenders are often small enough to be slipped into a drawer. Finally, consider whether you want a blender that can be slipped in a dishwasher, or you’re happy to don some rubber gloves and clean an immersion blender manually. 

Helen McCue
Freelance Contributor

Helen is a freelance writer who specializes in kitchen appliances and has written for some of the biggest home-related titles around. She has been reviewing small appliances, including blenders, juicers, and multi-cookers, for more than 8 years,  and also upholsters furniture when she's not testing the latest food tech gadgets.