Portable smoothie makers are kitchen appliances specially designed for blending a range of fruits into a healthy and delicious drink. Choosing an appropriate smoothie to cater for your needs can be pretty challenging since they are often confused for blenders. It is therefore essential that you equip yourself with the correct information before purchasing one.
Difference between a smoothie and a blender
Portable smoothies almost look like blenders except that unlike the latter, they can be used to crush ice. Even though you can as well use a blender to crush ice, you will not get a smooth product. A smoothie also liquefies fruits while a blender breaks them down into smaller units. Additionally, though you can still add liquid to a blender to help in the blending process, it does not fully liquefy the fruit.
The two appliances also differ in functionality and design. A smoothie is similar in design to a blender though it has more components for additional functions. For instance, the device has a spigot for dispensing the smooth mixture. It also has a stirring stick while a blender does not. The stick in the lid is used to stir the contents inside the jar for optimal blending into a smoother product.
Smoothies can also keep and make frozen drinks. You can use some ice in your blender though it will finally melt and possibly separate. Depending on the kind of maker, its base may have a freezing capacity.
Types of smoothies
Portable smoothie makers are of three types, namely standard, compact and juicer combination unit. Standard types are similar in structure to blenders. They have a control panel at the lower part to control the blending process. In addition, they possess a detachable jug that mainly sits on the top. The blades fitted in the jug have different speed settings to take care of various types of fruits. Cheaper models are mostly unable to break down hard fruits, ice and fruit skins due to insufficient sharpness or limited blade speed.
Compact types are small kinds of units that generate sufficient pulped fruit to only fill some glasses. Owing to their size, they are relatively cheaper compared to standard devices. These types are also ideal for individuals who live alone or lack ample kitchen space.
Juicer combination unit provides similar functionality to that of the standard type. The difference between the two is that while a combination unit can “juice” fruits such as lemons and oranges, the standard type cannot. They also provide a less-dense fruit drink. The fruit pulp is removed during blending leaving behind only the juice. This is different from standard makers, which do not usually remove any part of the fruit from the final product. However, due to the dual functionality of combination units, they tend to be more costly than standard smoothies.
Features of smoothie makers
Selecting from a variety of smoothies is not only essential. You also need to look out for array of features before purchasing one. Such features include parts that can be easily put inside the dishwasher, a dispensing tap that takes the hassle out of scrapping the final product by yourself. It should also have units that are equipped with extra strong blades for crushing ice.
Units also widely vary in terms of available settings, wattage power, capacity and safety features to avoid spills and cuts. In terms of capacity, a smoothie maker’s jug has around 1.5 litres. In most cases, the main jug’s capacity will be quoted separately to any extra containers or cups.
The power for a smoothie typically measures between 300 and 500 watts. It can be regulated using two speeds and at times a pulse button is used. This is ideal for crushing nuts and ice.
It also has a calibrated jug with measurements on its side. This helps you to accurately measure liquid, fruit and ice according to your recipes.
Its rotating mixing stick helps to blend the ingredients into the perfect texture. A tap is situated at the lower part of the mixing jug for dispensing the smoothie mixture. Alternatively, the jug can act as a drink dispenser. It is also designed in a manner that can be lifted off.