As the Wash & Go of the kitchen appliance world, a good quality hand blender can take the place of more than one piece of kit, removing the hassle from blending soups, sauces and smoothies; and chopping vegetables, frozen fruit and herbs.

They’re also ideal for smaller kitchens without the room for a full-sized jug blender and food processor, and for those who aren’t keen on washing up.

Most models come with a small chopping bowl and whisk, as well as a blending wand, but some of the brands we tested also came with extra accessories such as a potato masher, while others only offered stick blending.

We tested each to see how well they chopped, blended and whisked, and judged them on criteria including looks, performance, noise, speed and how easy they were to wash up (you really don’t want to be removing fruit seeds from a blending wand with a knife).

After hours of testing, we think these are the very best of the bunch.

Sage The Control Grip all in one hand blender set: £129.99, Lakeland

This comprehensive kit has been developed with Heston Blumenthal, who claims “each part in this set does something clever”. And lo and behold, each one really does. Although this is the bulkiest of the models we tested, it still takes up a lot less space than a full-sized blender, electric whisk and food processor, and comes with a stand to keep everything neat and tidy.

Everywhere you look, there are genuinely useful touches, including a pushing tool that doubles as a measuring cup, a ferociously effective slicing disc with 18 thicknesses and a variable masher. There are a few small niggles: there’s no blending beaker included, overall stiffness makes attaching and detaching the lids and wands a little bit too much effort, and the large chopping blade doesn’t mince food as finely as the smaller models we tested. But with so much going for it, if the Sage is within your budget, it’s well worth the investment.

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Judge dual speed hand blender: £12.81, Amazon

This bargain, stick-only blender has two speed settings, and is the least powerful of the models we tested at just 200W. But it blends soft foods effectively and quietly, and is the most lightweight brand we tried. The wand firmly attaches without any effort, and the buttons are easy to press too, making it a great option for elderly or less dextrous users.

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Beko Sense hand blender set: £29, AO

This is a great value set, and the kit comes with a beaker, chopping bowl and solid whisk along with a blending wand. Each attachment clicks securely onto the motor, and rubber on the bottom of the chopping bowl and beaker keeps things stable. There are two settings, with a turbo button offering high-speed chopping, which easily got through frozen fruit – although a couple of bigger lumps were missed by the blades. Each item in the kit is pretty compact, making it a good option for smaller kitchens.

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Tefal Optichef: £69.99, Argos

This set is on the pricier side, but offers something a bit extra, including an impressive 800W of power. The chopping bowl has measurements in cups, millilitres and ounces etched into the sides, and the wand has a turbo button plus a dial which you can use to increase the speed at 20 increments. The wand slots rather than clicking or twisting into the top of the chopping bowl, which some might prefer for speedy use, and the beaker has a pouring spout.

The chopper quickly turned frozen fruit into a finely chopped drift, before being quickly pulped by the wand. The whisk is a little flimsy, and the lack of rubber on the bottom of the bowl and beaker can lead to some sliding around, but these are small gripes.

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Aicok hand blender: £19.99, Amazon

If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful, you could do worse than this blender, which comes with just a lidded beaker and wand. The beaker can hold up to 700ml with room to spare for splashes, which is more generous than most, and has a lip and flexible rubber lid, making it handy for storing food. The wand has two speeds, and whipped nuts and chopped veg to a pulp in a few seconds, making it ideal for soups and smoothies. Straightforward and simple, it gets the job done.

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Smeg retro fifties-style hand blender: £120, John Lewis & Partners

The most stylish of the bunch, with a range of colours to choose from (including the classic Smeg duck-egg blue), this set offers practicality as well as style. The welcome addition of a very effective potato masher is a great bonus, while the large jug with a 1400ml capacity and vacuum lid is attractive enough to use for serving smoothies to friends.

All the attachments click into place for extra stability, and the chopping bowl has a rubber bottom to keep it steady, plus all the attachments are fast and effective. There are a few small issues – the speed settings on the wand are hard to view as they’re on the back of the unit, and the masher is tricky to clean – but otherwise this is a good looking and very useful addition to any kitchen.

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Russell Hobbs Desire 18980 3-in-1 hand blender: £29.96, Amazon

This great-value model comes with chopping bowl, whisk, beaker and wand, making it a solid basic buy without the bells and whistles. The chopping bowl has rubber feet to keep it sturdy, although the lid just rests on top rather than locking into place. It would be nice if the beaker had measurements, and there are only two speed settings – but overall it’s a relatively quiet and compact set, chopping and blending well without any hassle, making it a real bargain for the price.

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Dualit 88910 hand blender with accessories: £75.95, The Hut

Dualit’s reputation for reliable and attractive kitchen equipment doesn’t falter here. A chrome finish gives this set a stylish edge, and all the details are taken care of: a generously sized 900ml beaker marked with millilitres, pints, fluid ounces and cups; handles for ease of pouring; a small feed tube and cover on the chopping bowl, and a wand that fits to the top of the bowl at any angle.

Although it’s a little bigger than other models, it was also very fast and fairly quiet, which is a big ask when chopping frozen veg. Small issues include food creeping into the feed tube, a whisk that requires a firm hand to attach it to the wand, and the overall bulk – this isn’t one for smaller kitchens. But overall, this is a great bit of kit.

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Swan retro 600W hand blender: £23.99, Wayfair

Although only slightly cheaper than some full kits, this wand-only hand blender (beaker not included) is a great-looking buy if you’re only interested in blending. Available in four pleasingly retro colours, including pastel green, duck-egg blue and cream, it’s stylish and solidly built. Simple to use, it blends quickly and quietly with an adjustable speed setting, and is sturdily built and easy to clean. The button needs a fairly firm hand, so it might not be suitable for less dextrous users.

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Bosch MaxoMixx: £89.99, Amazon

Although not cheap, this Bosch kit has plenty of useful flourishes to make your extra spend worthwhile. A screw-to-lock top on the chopping bowl and a release button on the motor makes everything feel very secure, and the addition of plastic lids for the chopping bowl and beaker, making them suitable for storing food, is a nice touch.

At 800W, this is among the fastest models we tested, with 12 relatively quiet speeds (although the turbo setting is slightly ear-splitting when tackling frozen fruit, the overall power of the Bosch blender means you’ll seldom use the highest setting). The instructions include recipes for vegetable soup and mayonnaise, and this was also among the easiest models to clean. A great all-rounder.

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The verdict: Hand blenders

It’s the most expensive kit on the list, and with good reason: the Sage all in one set really does do it all, and very well indeed, making it good value despite the cost. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, the Dualit has enough great extras to make it worth the price tag, while those looking for a bargain should try the Russell Hobbs blender, which comes with an impressive number of accessories for the price.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.