Bar Blenders Buyer's Guide
One of the most vital pieces of equipment behind the bar is a quality commercial blender. Whether your bar offers potent potables or more healthful libations, a blender will help you craft signature margaritas, daiquiris, smoothies, and frappuccinos. If you want a blender that will provide you with consistent results, you’ll need to consider a number of different options to ensure that your blender lives up to your expectations, year after year.
Arguably, the most important thing to consider when choosing a blender is the amount of power the machine will have. If you will be serving a good number of frozen drinks, you’ll need a machine that has the power to crush ice routinely. A blender with a motor smaller than 2 HP can produce lumpy results and can potentially burn out from overwork. Units with lower HP will be best suited for blended concoctions that don’t require crushed ice. However, it is important to remember that the higher the horsepower, the louder the unit will be, an important consideration when using these units front of house.
- Plastic containers are typically the most economical way to go when choosing a blender container. Polycarbonate containers are lightweight and resist breaking. They may stain or scratch over time, but are typically easy to clean. With the current concerns surrounding plastic use in food preparation and storage, a container made of copolyester, a BPA-free plastic, is an option that is still highly durable and resists scratches. Another great feature of a plastic container is that you can see the contents while they blend, making it easier to judge when a drink is at the proper consistency.
- Stainless steel containers are extremely durable, but the contents are not visible as they blend. They tend to be thinner than their glass counterparts, so they may be less strenuous with repetitive use. Their slick appearance may also be ideal with today’s trendy décor.
- Glass containers can also add an air of elegance to your décor. Typically made of heavy, tempered glass, these containers resist breaking and cracking and will not become cloudy or discolored from scratches. While they may be slightly heavier, they will also last a long time, won’t stain, and will allow you to monitor the consistency of the contents within.
Capacity and Speed Options
The standard size of the container for a commercial bar blender is 64 ounces, but a number of models offer varying sizes. Smaller containers that are 32, 40, 44, and 48 ounces are ideal for smaller batches of frozen or blended drinks. A few models have containers that can hold from 82 ounces up to a gallon, which will be useful when serving mega-sized margaritas.
Most of these blenders have one, two, or three speed settings, but others have variable, programmable speeds with as many as 93 intervals. Being able to switch between speeds will be helpful when adding fruit or ice to your liquid base. Ice may require higher speeds, while liquids and powders will blend well at low speeds.
Features to Consider
Bar blenders are notoriously noisy, given their high-powered motors. Most top vendors offer blenders with sound enclosures to keep the noise level to a minimum for front-of-house applications.
Many commercial blenders have simple on/off operation, while some offer a pulse function to give more precise blending for some contents. Some will also have a timer, so a barkeep can prepare glasses and perform other tasks while the drinks whir to the desired texture.
In-counter blenders are built into your bar to add more stability to the unit and help create a streamlined appearance to your bar. Models with ice shavers can help create smoother drinks by breaking large hunks of ice down into manageable sizes, without totally wearing out your blender. A shaver is also an ideal way to provide shaved ice that certain mixed drinks call for.