Yvonne has been an online writer for over eight years. Her articles focus on everything from world travel to crafts and recipes.
Small Kitchens Are Easily Cluttered
Our kitchen is small. No, it’s not; it’s small by British standards, which means it’s titchy tiny. And that means we don’t have a lot of room for storage. That’s where a space-saving gadget really comes in handy. Before buying any new gadget, we have to think carefully about the pros and cons.
The key question is, “Will it get used often enough to justify the space it takes up?”
Anything we buy has to justify its place in our kitchen—or it soon goes.
The Bread-Maker and Microwave Sat Idle
After making a few bricks every now and then, our electronic bread-maker sat idle for months before it moved to a cupboard. (For those of you in the USA, we British call everything that has a door, and in which we store things, a cupboard. You would probably call our bread-maker’s new home a closet.) It has an outing to the kitchen counter every 6 months or so, and my husband still has great plans for it.
On the other hand, when we were plagued with mice, we agreed that the microwave oven was a useful place in which to store the fruit bowl. But then we moved house and acquired 2 cats. We haven’t needed to store fruit in the microwave for years. So it went.
Our toaster only toasts 2 slices, and I gave away half our baking pans. We have never had an ice-cream scoop—a spoon will do. No deep fat fryer, no slow cooker and no Kenwood Deluxe food mixer. Nor do we have an iconic KitchenAid Blender.
The Hand Blender Earned Its Space
As you can see from the photo below, it doesn't take long for our small kitchen to be cluttered. In the photo, my daughter is using the piece of equipment that saves both storage space and room on the worktop (or counter) when we are cooking: the Dualit Hand Blender.
About the Hand Blender
I’ve had a hand blender as long as I’ve had kids. Pureeing small amounts of baby food is far easier with a hand blender than it is with a full-sized one.
My first one had a beater attachment, and so I got rid of my old food mixer. When it broke, I hunted in vain for another blender with a beater attachment. Eventually, I gave up and bought something that was cheap and slow. Some time later, I saw the Dualit Hand Blender, which does have beaters, so I bought it. It also has several other features that I like, and all are listed here.
The blender (commonly known in our house as the whizzer) gets used to puree fruit, soup and sauces. It makes smoothies, and it makes the smoothest mashed sweet potato and celeriac you could imagine.
The thing I like most about this blender is that it is made of metal so you can safely use it to blend hot soup. (Hard plastic often contains the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A, which leaches from the plastic when it gets hot.) The other thing I like about a handheld blender is that I can blend soup or other foods in the pan, so saving on washing up!
The beaters are great for mixing cakes or pancakes (as in the photo), for beating eggs—and for anything else we need to beat. And my daughter really is in the photo with the beaters in action. In the photo below, you can see how well they froth up egg white. Another reason I chose this blender over others was because of the beaters.
The whisk is not used so often as the other accessories. It does get to whip up cream at Christmas time or at birthdays, so we haven’t banished it to the cupboard with the bread-maker. But I much prefer the beaters.
The Mini Food Processor
The mini food processor is great for chopping or grinding nuts. I used it for chopping all the nuts and mushrooms in my prize-winning recipe article Nut Burgers with Shiitake Mushrooms: a Gluten Free Recipe. I can’t guarantee you’ll win prizes if you use the mini food processor, but I can promise that the burgers are very tasty and surprisingly easy to make.
The beaker is handy for making smoothies. I also sometimes use it for blending a small quantity of soup because one of my children likes her soup smooth while my other daughter and my husband like theirs chunky. The only challenge with this is it can get very hot, so you need to be careful handling it. It also has a lid so you can store food in it.
Problems With This Blender
Unfortunately, the Dualit Hand Blender does have a few issues.
It Stopped Working Four Times
The first blender I bought stopped working after a few months. It was still under guarantee, so we got a replacement with no difficulty. That went the same way equally rapidly. The store I bought it from, which has a good reputation, told me this was unusual. Again we got a replacement very quickly. My third blender lasted well over 2 years and was still under guarantee, so again I got a replacement.
Last year, we bought my mother the same blender, and she loves it and has had no problems. My sister also has one, and it works fine.
On Amazon’s UK site, there are several reviews from people who were not happy with their Dualit Hand Blender and who have had problems the same as mine. However, several professional sites have tested it and consider it worthy of recommendation:
- Good Housekeeping give it an A-.
- The Independent Newspaper online rates it number 5 in its top 10.
- It is recommended by the Wall Street Journal.
- Cooks Country recommends it “with reservations.”
Ultimately, "with reservations" is my feeling, too.
Final Verdict: Buy It, But Get a Guarantee
For me, the benefits of this blender outweigh the problems I’ve had, and as far as I can tell, there is no longer any other on the market that also includes beaters. I like using it so much that having to get it replaced a few times has not put me off, but I would recommend that if you buy one you make sure it is fully guaranteed. The store where I bought my blender offered a 3-year warranty, but not all stores are so generous, so it pays to check this out.
Questions & Answers
Question: Where can I get the drive coupler for a DHB1 hand blender?
Answer: I suggest you contact Dualit in your country and see if they can advise you. Or perhaps try eBay.
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on August 18, 2012:
Glad you enjoyed this. The extras were largely why I bought this particular blender and I do find them very useful. To some extent it probably depends on what other equipment you already have in your kitchen.
Thanks for your comment and vote up etc.
Mary Craig from New York on August 18, 2012:
I have a hand blender but mine doesn't have as many extras as yours does. This makes me want to get a new one! You've written a great piece about it and included lots of useful information.
Voted up, useful, and interesting.
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on August 05, 2012:
Gordon, it baffles me why in the UK we can have houses with 4 bedrooms, reasonably sized sitting rooms and tiny kitchens. We rearranged ours and can now get a couple of us in at once, the way it was laid out before this was almost impossible. Like you, I grew up in a house with a large kitchen - because my parents extended the house and considered it important. The kitchen was for eating and socialising as well as for cooking.
Hand blenders really do save a lot of time, and, unlike food processors, you don't spend all the time you saved on the washing up!
Thanks for stopping by.
Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on August 04, 2012:
I've got to be honest and admit that I've never used a blender - hand held or otherwise - but this is definitely the type I would feel most comfortable with were I to try using one. I know what you mean about space as I unfortunately grew up in a home with a huge kitchen and have never got used to the tiny kitchens by comparison in the many houses I have lived in since. Were I to buy a blender, space would be a huge issue so it is good to know that you recommend this one as someone who understands limited space :)
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on August 01, 2012:
Nettlemere, I've never made a milkshake, but I can't see any problem with them. We often make smoothies, which are similar. It would depend on how powerful the hand blender is. Mine is 500 watt, and is by far the most powerful one I've had - partly why I like it. It is more effective than the old jug liquidizer I used to have.
Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on August 01, 2012:
I've never used a hand blender, but you've almost convinced me to try. My main use would be making milkshakes (If we get hot weather I make them every day) - do you think it would be up to the job?
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on July 31, 2012:
Allie, if you decide to go for it, do make sure to get a good warranty as some shops offer better than others. (Eg John Lewis is a good bet for anything electrical as they offer very good warranties.)
Thanks for your comment.
alliemacb from Scotland on July 31, 2012:
Useful review. I am currently in the market for a new hand blender so will think over the issues and benefits you mention.
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on July 31, 2012:
Thanks Summerberrie and Robie.
Robie Benve from Ohio on July 31, 2012:
Nice review. I love all the details you provide and your photos. :)
summerberrie on July 30, 2012:
Great product review for a hand held mixer. Thanks for including all the details and usefulness!