Braun Multiquick Impressions MR 5000 ($60)
Our favorite immersion blender—the quietest one we tested, plus, you hardly need to move the shaft to puree efficiently—has 12 speeds and a “turbo” button to pulverize especially hard bits. Note: Unfortunately, this blender will be discontinued in March 2008 (www.braunusa.com).
Cuisinart SmartStick ($50)
Simple to use, with a single speed. The noticeably sharp blade purees beautifully, and the hood around the blade is extra-deep, which helps pull food through the blender (www.cuisinart.com).
This chrome 500-watt blender is one of the most powerful of those we tested. While it purees easily, its power combined with its heavy build sometimes makes it unwieldy (www.target.com).