The 14-speed Blender Jamis 01 Dec 2005

32 comments Latest by dusoft

My wife purchased a new blender for us this evening (our old one being well on its way to that blender paradise in the sky). It’s certainly an attractive little thing, but what’s up with 14 speeds? Our old one had 14 speeds, too. When is it that critical that you rev your blender so precisely? And who decides that “shred” is more intense than “blend”, but not so powerful as “chop”? I think I only ever used two (or possibly three) of the settings on our old blender.

32 comments so far (Jump to latest)

JF 01 Dec 05

Everyone say it together: LESS BLENDER!

BradNelson 02 Dec 05

I think this is purely marketing. Most commercial blenders (for restaurants or professional kitchens) tend to have 2-speeds: high and low.

Kyle 02 Dec 05

You have no idea the late night drunken rants I have while making margaritas about how I’m going to purchase a blender than has and on and off switch.

I want to blend. Or not blend. That’s it.

Jeff 02 Dec 05

My blender (a very old one) has quite a few speeds, but most often I use a handy little “quick start” feature - just a switch that I push to the right and it turns on. It’s certainly not it’s most powerful setting, but it’s a stupid little feature I find very handy.

Miguel Marcos 02 Dec 05

I would imagine it’s an inheritance from the days when variable speed motors were too expensive or big or flaky to manufacture en masse for a kitchen appliance. Variable speed, like on Braun minipimers, are excellent when you’re mixing up batter. 14 speeds is a decent substitute. It’s not precision, it’s the ability to gradually increase or decrease.

Why 14 and not 15 or 12 I don’t know.

JF 02 Dec 05

JF: Exactly as much blender as before! Less than 14 speeds, however… :)

Rimantas 02 Dec 05

Wow. Does that mean that I will become rich and famous as
I introduce blender which uses variator?
That’s infinite number of speeds! And not a infinite number of buttons, only one knob, which rotates.
By the way (and way off topic), what is with this trend to replace convinient rotating knobs with stupid buttons you must push repeatedly?

Sam Sherwood 02 Dec 05

Actually, it’s all about the end user. 14-speed blenders were made for the mafia, and the 14 different body parts a person might want to blend (chop or shred…).

Luke 02 Dec 05

I’m going to be the devil’s advocate here. My current blender has two speeds, and that’s fine for blending, but the blender I grew up with was actually an old Oster “Osterizer” like the one you’ve shown, and the speeds at the low end were pretty handy for grinding/mashing/mincing more solid food. You could put a big handful of basil leaves into one of those things and pulverize it on one of the low speeds. On my current two-speed blender, even the “low” speed is way too fast so solid food just flies away from the blades and sticks to the sides.

Maybe we don’t need 14 speeds, but I do miss having anything approaching “low”.

Swats 02 Dec 05

Two buttons do it for me…..


Jens Meiert 02 Dec 05

One button should be enough, unless user testing proves that a knob for speed adjustment is useful (and this knob might then replace the button as well).

Ben 02 Dec 05

I’ll take a guess that the numerous speed options are the result of something like the current razor wars. Maybe this points to what we’re going to see eventually, the fourteen-bladed razor…

jerry richardson 02 Dec 05

…but it has the: “New revolutionary Ice Crusher stainless steel blade.” You’ll never be able to start a revolution with the Ice Crusher blade with only 2 speeds. The other 12 speeds are used for revolutionary activity.

Tony 02 Dec 05

Pulse is all I’ve ever needed, even when I worked at Baskin “31” Robbins.

Brendan 02 Dec 05

I’m with Alex on this one. The Oster Classic has plenty of power for everything you need to blend, a nice heavy glass jar and a design that doesn’t look hideous sitting on your counter (and comes in a number of great colors).

It even works as a great goldfish bowl when not used for blending.

Jesper 02 Dec 05

The “JF” above with a name linking to a website is obviously me. I plead temporary insanity, or temporary increase of insanity, whichever’s more likely.

sb 02 Dec 05

i do a lot of cooking and one of the things i frequently use the blender for is sauces. for me, the pinnacle of blending would be a knob that goes from very slow to very fast. often it’s important to throttle up gradually, especially in dealing with something that needs to be emulsified, or has the potential to “split.” when you’re pureeing, especially hot sauces with big chunks, if you go too fast at first you end up with small lumps and runny liquid, which is, well, wrong. going slow ensures that you get a very smooth sauce.

as i’m not going to spend more than $20 for a blender, i can easily start at 1 and click click click my way up to 14 or whatever is the max. this is a really important feature for me, who relies on the blender for more than margaritas.

as a side note, i’ve used a commercial margarita blender (yes, a dedicated margarita blender) that automatically throttles itself from slow to fast based on the resistance it receives. based on blade resistance it can tell how smooth the mixture has become. it automatically shuts itself off when it’s done. the big problem with that is that there’s no way to dial in what “done” means. and the fact that it’s dedicated for margaritas, and i don’t run a bar from my home. (yet.)

AnotherMark 02 Dec 05

BradNelson is right.

I think this is purely marketing.

For the everyday buyer (we are talking about household blenders here — not pro units) the perceived value of a blender with fourteen speeds is much greater than one with only one or two speeds. Seems like a lot more bang for your buck, no?

We can argue all day about the value of fourteen speeds but we’d be missing the point; the speeds are there just to sell blenders.

Mark 02 Dec 05

I’ve got the two-speed Waring too. I received it as a gift, not buying my own, because it’s an expensive premium product that does less, and does it right.

What “AnotherMark” pointed out the crux of this discussion…I’m guessing that many of us are 1) technical in nature and 2) more interested in purchasing the high-end Waring. It’s very difficult for us to pinpoint what the “everyday buyer” is doing from an empathic perspective; it’s hard to put ourselves in their shoes.

Now, what would be really interesting is to know 1) If Jamis believes his wife fits into that mold as well (and there’s nothing wrong with not, of course) and 2) where she purchased the blender in question.

Jordan 02 Dec 05

!! I was thinking the same thing when looking for blenders to add to my wedding registry. It seems to be really similar to the joke in the Spinal Tap movie. These amps go to 11.

DaveMo 02 Dec 05

Here’s the REAL story on the 14 speeds thing:

Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies pushbutton everything was the tech touch du jour. You’d see it on automobile radios and transmissions, stoves, phones, televisions, EVERYTHING! It was very “space-age” and cool.

So the factory that manufactured the push button assemblies for all these products had a hard time keeping up with demand all of the sudden. So they decided to upgrade their production capacity with an automated production line that was state-of-the-art for the time.

The production facility was designed and assembled at great expense and came on line at the peak of the demand for these push button assemblies. And with full confidence in the new facility and without any break-in time the pushed the (you guessed it) #14 button on the line - Pur�e, er, no, FULL SPEED!

The line took off and soon they had met their quota of 14 button mechanisms. But when they went to shut it off the buttons stuck and the machinery proceeded to spew hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS, BILLIONS! of push button mechanisms before someone had the presence of mind to pull the plug.

Unfortunately, shortly after that, the marketing wonks decided that push button controls were pass� and the market demand plummeted, leaving this poor manufacturer with billions of 14 setting push button mechanisms. Well, the rest is history as they say.

However, due to clever marketing and rock-bottom pricing, the company has continued to stay afloat by convincing appliance manufactures to use there surplus push button assemblies on all their blenders to this very day.

And that isn’t the God’s honest truth, may I be struck down by - AAGH!

grda 02 Dec 05

i have to second (or is it third) the recommendation of the waring blender. one caveat, though: stay away from the creeping featurism that is the 60th anniversary edition. the extra button they give you is useless (doen’t always engage properly, and often takes enough force that you end up sliding the blender across your counter when pushing the button). stick to the 50th anniversary edition, with it’s pure less-is-more single-switch goodness.

jw 02 Dec 05

The problem with a 14-button blender is that they’re trying to find uses for most of those steenking buttons. You don’t chop in a blender. You don’t shred in a blender. Or rather, you shouldn’t. That’s what knives and cutting boards are for.

Blenders have their purposes, but it’s really a speciality tool. As a trained chef, I use a blender only rarely: smoothies, soups and that’s about it. I get more use out of my stick (or immersion) blender.

In the end of the day, a blender is a bar tool, not a kitchen tool. All those buttons with kitchen-task-labels? That’s pure-grade marketing manure, my friend.

Patrick Haney 02 Dec 05

I never understood why so many blenders have 14 speeds. Are they really all that different?

My blender has only 2 speeds: On and More On. No, seriously. Low and High. Sorry, had to get a blender joke in there.

It’s stainless steel and has held up for 4 years with no issues. Plus, it crushes ice better than anything else I’ve ever tried. Like Brad said above, most commercial blenders only have these 2 speeds and tend to work just as well if not better than your 14 speed home use blenders.

Alex B 02 Dec 05

The picture of the woman on the product web site creeps me out. Clearly they are going for a 60s retro-chic look but there is something scary about her face…

dusoft 05 Dec 05

Mine has speeds + turbo, but I only use the fastest one (12th) and then turbo for really fast blending.