An overview of the importance of immersion ("stick") blenders in hot process soap making and a guide to selecting the correct one for your needs and budget!
If you have read The Ultimate Guide to Hot Process Soap, you know that one of the most important tools needed for hot process soap making is an immersion blender, or a “stick blender”. This is the tool that you will use to transform your oils and lye water solution to a beautiful emulsion. We usually see this take place after blending for several minutes by the visual formation of a pudding like appearance of our recipe or “trace”. Soap has been made for centuries without the use of a stick blender, but thank goodness we have them today because it significantly reduces the time required to create our recipe emulsion. If you simply used a spoon or whisk, it could end up taking you hours!
Over the course of my soaping career I have used many different stick blenders and have compiled a list of some of my favorites. These stick blenders come in different sizes and are available in different price ranges. Remember- most stick blenders are only intended for 30-60 second intervals and will burn out if overused. Keep this in mind when deciding which stick blender to purchase and which style of hot process soaping you will be using.
A tip regarding purchasing: use coupons! You can find many of these stick blenders at stores like Williams & Sonoma, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Kohl’s which often offer 20% off coupons, rewards and free in store pickup. All store bought items come with at least a 30 day return policy and each has an extended brand warranty.
Low Temperature Hot Process Stick Blenders:
Your goal when purchasing a LTHP stick blender is to find a model that will provide you with 1-3 minutes of blending and produce a smooth emulsion. Because it won’t be used for an extended period of time, you can find a model with lower wattage which is often more budget friendly. If you primarily make LTHP and CP soap, you can use any of these budget friendly options:
Betty Crocker Hand Held Immersion Blender Stick with Beaker | One Hand Mixer | Chopper and Dicer | BC-1303CK ($14.77)
Ovente HS560B Multi-Purpose Immersion Blender, 300-Watt Hand Mixer, 2 Speeds, Brushed Stainless Steel Blades and Detachable Shaft, Black ($19.99)
Bella Immersion Blender, Red 250W ($16.92)
Waring (WSB33X) 7" Light-Duty Quik Stik 250W Immersion Blender ($80)
High Temperature Fluid Hot Process Soap Stick Blenders:
In High Temperature Fluid Hot Process soap, the stick blender is used throughout the entire process from start to finish. Stick blenders come in many different shapes and sizes, but some are better designed for HTFHP soap making than others. In order to successfully use the HTFHP method, the stick blender must have the ability to run for an extended period of time (2-5 minutes) and it needs to have some "juice" behind it, usually 250 watts or more. It should have a round head that has a large surface area with longer blades, preferably with holes on the side. You should also look for a model with a longer stem so that it can reach into deep crockpots and handle expansion.
Note: The wattage rule doesn’t always hold up if you purchase a commercial model because they are specifically designed to perform longer and with larger volumes.
Best Budget Blender:
Chefman Immersion Stick Hand Blender Includes Stainless Steel Shaft & Blades, Powerful 300 Watt Ice Crushing 2-Speed Control One Hand Mixer, Soft Touch Grip Metallic (Silver) $24.99
Best Medium Budget Blenders:
The Cuisinart stick blenders work wonders on soap and are often very durable and long lastings. Here are two different options at different price levels
Cuisinart CSB-79 Smart Stick 2 Speed Hand Blender, Brushed Stainless Steel $43.42
Cuisinart® Smart Stick CSB-100 Variable-Speed Hand Blender in Silver (700W) $99.99
(Use a Bed, Bath & Beyond Coupon for 20% off)
All-Clad KZ750D Stainless Steel Immersion Blender with Detachable Shaft and Variable Speed Control Dial, 600-Watts, Silver $99.99
(Use a Bed, Bath & Beyond Coupon for 20% off)
This is my go-to immersion blender and the one that I use every time that I make hot process soap. It is very powerful, but not overpowering and it is also very quite compared to most other models. The head and blades are much larger than most other immersion blenders that I have used so they take up more surface area. The shaft is also longer compared to all of my other machines.
Breville BSB510XL Control Grip Immersion Blender (280W)
(Use a Bed, Bath & Beyond Coupon for 20% off) $99.99
This stick blender is different from all others because it has a gentle control grip. If you have wrist problems, arthritis or make a lot of soap, this should be your go-to blender. It only has 280W but you would never notice it because it is very effective and works better than most.
Do you have another great suggestion? Leave a comment!
For more information about soap science, recipe formulating, hot process soap and fluid hot process soap, be sure to get your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Hot Process Soap today by visiting our bookstore now!