Commercial blenders have been around since the 1940s. A healthy competitive environment has driven the development of many ingenious innovations and capabilities. With a wide variety of blenders to choose from, it can be hard to decide which blender will fit your needs. Some important things to consider when making your decision are jar type, horsepower, noise level, and overall applications. That may seem like a lot, but really it all boils down to knowing what you'll be blending and how much of it you'll need to do in a day.
Square Jar vs. Round Jar
Jar shape can actually make a big difference in how effective a blender is and how well it handles certain recipes. Though many manufacturers have their own unique takes on this design element, the standard shapes can generally be classed as either square or round.
Round jars are the standard for drink blenders because they ensure everything that gets splashed up onto the glass slides will fall right back down into the blades. They're great for thinner recipes, including soups, smoothies, frozen drinks, and dressings. Their circular design also makes them easier to clean, since there aren't corners to catch ingredients.
Several manufacturers offer a variation on the round jar meant to improve its ability to pull ingredients down into the blades. Whether it's a cloverleaf shape or a set of scrapers that you can turn with the lid, it's all an attempt to produce an even smoother mix faster.
The square jar was introduced to provide even better blending, particularly for heavier mixes, though these do sometimes have trouble with certain recipes because food can get caught in the corners. Those same angles help the blender do its job more efficiently because, as it turns in a circle, the mix is hitting the corners, which creates turbulence that keeps everything moving. This provides a vortex that pulls everything down to the blades, ensuring a complete mix.
The Importance of Horsepower
The most important rating for any of these units is horsepower. It not only tells you how fast the motor can spin the blades, it also tells you how powerful the motor is. The more powerful it is, the more efficiently it will operate and the better the mixes it will produce. If your recipe calls for a very smooth end product, look for a unit with more horsepower. Stronger motors also enable you to produce your recipes more quickly and to break down large sized ingredients with ease.
You can also get insight as to how powerful a given blender is by looking at the wattage of its motor. Watt ratings determine the size and power of that part of the unit; the higher the wattage on your motor, the more powerful it will be, and the quicker you can blend. When deciding on what size motor you will need, consider the amount of product you will be producing, and how quickly you need to prepare it.
The final measure you will want to consider is RPM. Typically, units with more horsepower and higher-wattage motors will also provide higher RPM capabilities. A measure of how fast the blades can rotate at their maximum, RPM is also a good indicator of how efficient a unit will be, because more RPM means a better vortex pulling the mix toward the blades.
Commercial blenders are noisy machines, and this can be a problem if they're being used within earshot of your customers. That's particularly true in bars that serve frozen mixed drinks.
To address that issue, some blenders come with the option of a noise barrier, a cover that encloses the entire blender jar to reduce noise levels. A portion of that cover lifts to allow access for adding ingredients and pouring your mixes, then the cover is lowered by the operator to reduce the noise. These models also typically have a sound-insulated base, which helps keep even more of the sound from invading your front-of-house areas.
While that can't completely eliminate the noise produced by the unit, it can significantly reduce it. The most effective of these barriers can lower sound by as much as 10 decibels compared to non-enclosed models.
In-Counter vs. Countertop
Some blenders can be mounted in the counter, which comes in especially handy for front-of-house applications. This is because it can help further reduce the noise produced by the motor, and also because it makes it less noticeable to customers, particularly if it sits at or below the profile of your serving counter. It can also prevent the equipment from getting knocked over in a fast-paced bar.
The drawback of mounting in the counter is that your blender is always in one fixed position. That means you don't have as much flexibility with how you use that part of your counter. If this issue could become a problem in your operation, or if you'll only be using yours back-of-house, a countertop model may be best for you.
Countertop models give you versatility, allowing you to move your blender or store it away as needed. This is important if you add new products or new machines, and need to rearrange your space. The important thing to remember with a commercial blender is that they are considerably larger than a residential blender.
Another important factor in choosing a commercial blender is determining the functions that will serve you best. Among the most common and usable options are:
- Manual controls mean that the user must manually operate the unit to achieve the desired consistency.
- Preprogrammed controls include built-in operation sequences for common recipes, ready to go out of the box.
- Custom program controls let the user program their own operation sequence and times into the blender which can be recalled each time that recipe is prepared.