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Hand blenders, sometimes called stick blenders or immersion blenders, are beloved by home and professional chefs for their convenience.
You can make a smoothie right in the cup you want to drink it out of, blend soups in the pot (no more trying to pour hot soup into a separate container), or puree baby food, whip cream, or make a batch of mayo without having to haul out the big blender.
At its most basic, a hand blender is a stick with a blending attachment. But that was then, the KitchenAid KHB2561 is now. It’s so much more than just an immersion blender. The plethora of included attachments and accessories mean it can chop, blend, crush, puree, whisk, shred, froth milk, and more.
It’s like having five appliances in one.
And it has five speeds, too, so you can slow it down for delicate items, or crank it up to “whip” out perfect peaks of egg white or meringue.
It’s not the most powerful hand blender available, but, for the price, it’s a great choice for all but the most demanding blending jobs. Although if you’re trying to do super heavy-duty blending, you should probably be using something like a full-sized blender or food processor anyway.
Here is what we will be covering in this comprehensive review:
Read on to find out how this hand blender can expand your food prep skills.
You Get a Lot For the Price
Out of the box, the KitchenAid KHB2561 5-Speed Hand Blender includes a lot of pieces. There’s the stick blender itself, an 8-inch blending arm, three blending attachments (with covers and pan guard), a whisk, a blending pitcher, and a chopping attachment, which consists of a 2.5-cup chopping jar, a blade, and an adapter.
There are also four safety guards included: A pan guard to protect your nonstick pans from scratching, and three bell guards to cover the blades of the blender attachments when they’re not in use.
This immersion blender also includes a case that stores everything but the chopping jar and the blending pitcher, to keep everything organized and take up less space.
The 5-foot cord is a generous length, so you can move around your kitchen a bit.
At 8-inches long, the blending arm is long enough for most tasks and to reach into the bottom of most pots and mixing bowls. However, if you like to make big batches of soup, it’s not long enough to reach the bottom of a larger stockpot.
In that case, you might want to consider upgrading to the KitchenAid KHB2571 5-speed Hand Blender . It’s identical to the KHB2561, except it includes a 13-inch blending arm for use in deeper pots, in addition to all of the attachments that are included with the KHB2561.
A Versatile Small Appliance
And speaking of attachments: they’re the real selling point of the KitchenAid KHB2561. While more basic cooks might do fine with a less-expensive, single use hand blender, this one offers a lot more versatility.
That means you can buy one appliance that does multiple jobs, saving both money and space.
Here’s a closer look at the attachments that are included with this immersion blender:
This is a stainless steel blade, which as its name implies, is shaped like an “S.” That makes it a good choice for blending, crushing, and making purees. This is the one to choose for making smoothies, milk shakes, baby food, and sauces.
This attachment has the more traditional star-shaped blade and is used for shredding. If you like to shred meat for sandwiches or tacos, this is your go-to blade. Use it for tougher blending tasks too, like leafy, tough veggies or larger pieces of fruit in a smoothie.
Coffee drinkers will love this attachment, it froths milk for lattes or cappuccino, and will mix up a very creamy cocoa. It’s also a great choice for thinner batters, like pancakes or muffins. We spotted a number of positive comments from users who say they use the frother a LOT more than they ever though they would.
Save your wrists and use the electric whisk attachment for anything you would use a hand whisk for. I like them for mixing eggs for omelettes or scrambled eggs; they also make quick work of blending the ingredients for mayonnaise and salad dressings.
One caveat about the whisk: be careful about using it in nonstick cookware as it can scratch delicate surfaces. It also comes in two parts, the whisk adapter and the whisk itself.
The chopping attachment is a three-piece set up that includes an adapter for the wand; a blade to insert into the blending jar, and the 2.5 cup jar itself. It can be used for chopping nuts, cheese, tougher veggies like carrots, or making bread crumbs.
The manufacturer recommends NOT using the chopper for coffee beans or hard spices as it can damage the chopper blade
This 1-liter pitcher allows you to make larger batches of frozen drinks, milkshakes or smoothies. This did not used to be included with the KHB2561, only the KHB2571, so some retail sites do not include it in the description.
Performance and Power
While it’s nice to have all that versatility, it doesn’t matter if this blender doesn’t have the power to really do all those tasks.
In this case the answer is: it depends. After reviewing a number of expert tests, as well as hundreds of user reviews, and testing ourselves, we discovered that this stick blender might not have sufficient power and durability if your needs run to tougher tasks like chopping a lot of nuts, making smoothies with whole ice cubes and either frozen fruits or stringy vegetables like kale, or you want to pulverize challenging veggies like carrots.
The chopper attachment seems to come in for the most complaints. However, that seemed to be primarily an issue for those who were trying to chop big pieces of carrot or larger hunks of cheese, those who kept this small chopper’s limitations in perspective were happier.
In the case of smoothies, very few immersion blenders have the kind of power to pulverize whole ice cubes, kale, spinach, or other challenging ingredients. In fact, many manufactures don’t recommend using their hand blenders for those tasks; the smaller blades are simply too delicate.
KitchenAid is not among them. In the user manual, they recommend using either the S-blade or the multi-purpose blade for crushing ice. But from the tests and reviews we looked at and our own findings, it’s probably best if you start with already-crushed ice if you want it to blend well in a smoothie.
Simple Use and Care
Immersion blenders tend to be easy to use, in general and this hand blender is no exception. The blending wand twists easily onto the blender body, and the three blending assemblies then attach to the blending arm with a simple twist.
The blending attachments have a bell-shaped housing to make it easier to handle them safely. The whisk and chopping accessories are similarly easy to attach and detach.
Turn on the hand blender with a button on the side of the motor unit, and adjust the speed with a knob at the top. Just turn the speed to one, insert the wand into your mix, push the button and start blending. Turn the knob to speed it up.
You do have to hold the button on for continuous blending. A few owners note that this gets tedious and they wish it had a true “on and off” function. That also means that you need both hands free to adjust the speed while blending.
To clean, wipe the blender with a damp cloth. The chopper and which adapters should be washed by hand. All other accessories can be hand-washed or tossed in the dishwasher.
The owner’s manual is comprehensive and easy to understand – and it even includes a few recipes.
As for the weight, the entire kit with case weighs 4 pounds and the unit itself weighs 8 to 10 ounces – depending on which attachment you are using.
Durability and Warranty
KitchenAid appliances have a reputation for quality, and their hand blenders are no exception.
While we did spot a few instances of the motor burning out, plastics breaking, or difficulty attaching accessories, in general users say this is a sturdy, durable unit. It’s made in China.
It comes in two finishes: Onyx Black and Contour Silver. All are a mix of stainless steel and BPA-free plastic.
The warranty is for one-year, and KitchenAid gets good reviews for responsive customer service.
- Build Quality
- Included or Optional Accessories
Although the KitchenAid KHB2561 is packed with lots of attachments, it has some power issues. However, it's an inexpensive option considering all the accessories that comes with it. So if you don't need tons of power and use the tools within their limitations, then this model is a good option.
Where to buy? It's available from:
Convenience and Versatility in a Compact Package
There’s a lot to like about the KitchenAid KHB2561. It offers great versatility without being too overwhelming or trying to tick too many boxes. The included storage case is a particularly nice touch, helping to keep things compact and organized.
Although it’s not the most powerful hand blender in the world, it’s plenty powerful enough for most standard kitchen tasks. It also comes in at a lower price point than blenders powerful enough to replace your traditional blender or food processor.
It also comes with KitchenAid’s reputation for quality and good customer service. Unless you just need a totally basic stick blender, or need a blender that can practically pulverize brick this KitchenAid is an affordable, versatile choice.
Look for more immersion blender choices? Check out our buying guide now!
Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kelly Burgess
Kelly Burgess is a product review specialist who loves food, kitchen gadgets, gardening, and writing. She was born and raised in Southern California, raised her kids in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and three cats. When she’s not cooking, eating or writing, Kelly likes to read, hang out with friends, hike, and explore the great Northwest.