Immersion blender

An immersion blender is an essential bit of formulating equipment; it’s the high-shear mixer of choice for home makers. Immersion blenders blend without whipping lots of air into our products; it’s a purée action, not a whipping action.

I do not recommend the sort of thing you’d use to whip up whipping cream or cream together butter and sugar for making cookies instead of an immersion blender. Mixers like that are designed to incorporate lots of air into a mixture, and that’s not the aim if a formulation calls for an immersion blender. Using a whipping device rather than a blending device can create a product that will collapse as it ages (it can also make a splattery mess).

What to look for

I recommend choosing an immersion blender with a smaller head as this enables you to make smaller batches. The ability to make smaller batches is a major bonus when you’re trying lots of new formulations—it’ll save you money on ingredients and helps you feel more confident trying new things as the potential ingredient waste is lower. A wider “business end” of the blender requires a larger beaker/measuring cup (so it’ll fit), and that then requires larger batches in order for the blades to be submerged in the product.

It’s nice if the blender is on the lighter side and will stand up on its own.

Clean up is easier if the blade part detaches easily from the motor part.

My blenders

My go-to blender for years has been the Braun one seen in the above photo. I picked it up for about $5 at a thrift shop in 2010 and it’s been great, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to source that exact model. The head of this blender is 6.6cm across, and it tends to fit in 400mL (and up) beakers. This blender works for batch sizes 100g and up; I’ve made up to 1kg of lotion and ~2kg of soap with it with no isssues.

I have a Dynamic MiniPro with both the regular immersion blender head and the homogenizer head. I don’t recommend it. It’s very heavy, cost hundreds of dollars (most of the cost was the homogenizer attachment), and I rarely use it.

As of December 2022 I also have a Bamix immersion blender, and I love it! The best part about it is the size of the blender head (5.6cm across); it’s small enough to fit in a 250mL beaker, so I can make smaller batches (down to ~50g [1.76oz]). Hooray!

The downside of a Bamix blender is the price; they’re 2–4x as much as a KitchenAid or Braun mixer. As of 2024 you’re looking at $129USD for their entry level model/set, which doesn’t include the “whisk” blade (the round disc with the little scoopy perforations seen in the photos above) I use for making emulsions. The set with three different blades, a stand, a beaker, and the chopper is $189USD.

You won’t need the beaker or the chopper/processor that comes with some sets for making emulsions (though it is useful for other formulating tasks!), but it is helpful to have the three different blades and the stand.

Bamix has been around since 1953; they invented the stick blender! I picked my first Bamix up at a thrift shop; it looks to be the “SWISSLINE” model from the 1980s. In the spring of 2024 I ordered a second, new one from HomeTech Small Appliances out of Regina, Canada; it arrived quickly and is just as great as the older thrift shop one. They also pop up occasionally on local second hand sites like Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace, so consider setting up alerts on such websites if you’re looking for one on a budget. You can also find Bamix blenders on Ebay for a variety of cheaper-than-new prices. The design of the blender head does not appear to have changed, though some of the older models don’t seem to have two different blending speeds as newer models do.

I don’t recommend a Bamix for making soap; I learned the hard way that the shiny finish on the blender head is damaged by exposure to high pH (~10) 🥲

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Posted on

February 13, 2023