If you want to get creative in the kitchen, add a machine that can help you transform whole ingredients into sauces, soups, and chopped bits. Here's the difference between blenders, food processors and immersion blenders so you can decide which works best for you.
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You should stick with a countertop blender if you mainly make smoothies, blended cocktails, soups and emulsified condiments like mayo. Spring for a higher end blender if you also want to be able to make your own nut butters and whipped cream.
If you really only need a blender for pureeing soups or other liquids (like applesauce or baby food), buy an immersion blender. You'll save on storage space and be able to blend batches right in the pot. Many immersion blenders also have attachments you can buy for things like whipping cream or chopping herbs.
Need a machine that's more specialised at helping you prep veggies or grind toppings? Try a food processor. You'll be able to rough chop ingredients for salsa or coleslaw. You can also blend hummus, grind breadcrumbs and make pesto in just a few minutes. If you make large batches or need to chop bigger items, consider a larger, more powerful food processor over a mini one (as tempting at the space saved may be).
Check out the full guide below for factors to consider when buying each of the above kitchen machines, their general price ranges, and recommendations on specific ones.
Should I Get a Blender, a Food Processor, or a Mixer? [The Sweethome]