When my roommate moved out in August she took her blender with her. While I didn't love the blender I did use it and needed a replacement. The question then was handheld or counter top, handheld won. And then the Philips HR1358 won the product selection.
The reason for this is that I don't use my blender to crush ice. Pretty much the only thing that I use a blender for is liquefying sauces. For this reason it's generally easier to leave the sauce in the pot and use a handheld submersion blender, which the Philips is.
The specific reason that I chose the Philips is that it's sturdy. Some might say heavy, but I say sturdy. As people who read my reviews regularly know: I like hefty kitchen tools. I like to feel the weight of a solid tool. This is just such a tool.
The construction of the Philips HR1358 is such that there is the motor unit and attachments. The motor unit is the portion that you hold. It has power cable attached to it, a 4 position speed dial on the top (I'll get back to the speeds at the end, promise), and a power button on the front. This is where most of the weight of the unit is (this portion alone weighs in at 1lb. 10oz.), however it's contoured for the hand so it's easy to hold. The only thing that's really unfortunate about this unit is that power button. It's under a rubber face on the front and you have to hold it the entire time you want the motor on. While this does give you the ability to turn the the unit off instantly it's a pain when you have to hold the rather stiff button down and liquefy a large pot of sauce. I'd much rather a traditional toggle switch here.
One of the appealing features of this handheld blender is that there is a second portion. This particular unit comes with three attachments:
1) the traditional submersion blender blade unit
2) a whisk attachment
3) a chopper attachment
The traditional submersion blade unit is a good one. The blades are nice and sharp, the protective guard is also quite effective. Actually the blades are very good. The way that this unit's blades are angled gives it excellent suction, meaning that it effectively pulls the liquid through it. With an individual weight of 6oz. the blender attachment brings the weight of the entire unit to 2lbs.
As for the whisk, I find it virtually useless. It's so long and spins at such a high rate, even on speed 1, that unless you're whisking something in a deep bowl it goes everywhere. I think part of the reason for this is that the whisk is a bit lightweight. Weighing in at 3oz. it would bring the weight of the whole unit to 1lb. 13oz, just under two pounds.
The chopper has actually turned out to be the surprise little benefit of this device. With a very low capacity (about 1 cup to the max line and 2 cups total capacity) you can't really do a lot with this chopper. However I don't have a food processor so I've used this chopper a number of times. I can attest to the fact that it does extremely well at chopping nuts, ginger snaps, and onion.
In addition to the handheld and the two attachments you also get a bracket to hang the handheld and one attachment, attached I might add, to the wall. Screws are included.
The final item that comes with the blender is a two and a half cup mixing container with a lid. This is actually a really nice container. It's just slightly wider than the bell of the blending unit and includes a pour spout so it's quite nice for blending small quantities and then storing and pouring the contents.
Everything that the HR1358 is made out of is good solid plastic, rubber, or metal. It easily wipes clean and if you really want to throw the accessories in the dishwasher you can, the only piece that can't go in the dishwasher is the handheld motor unit itself.
As for the four speeds: who needs them? Honestly there is virtually no difference in the speeds, especially when liquefying. All four speeds are nearly identical. There is a difference from 1 to 4, but I honestly couldn't tell the difference from 1-2, 2-3, or 3-4. As I've mentioned in my countertop blender review most speeds beyond high and low are excessive. If you find me using a speed on this handheld other than 1 or 4 it's probably a mistake.
What it comes down to is the fact that this is an easy to use durable handheld blender that performs strongly. The functionality of the handheld blender greatly out weighs the only drawback that I see: a less than perfect power button. If you need a handheld blender this is great option. If you don't have a food processor then I would say that this is the handheld you have to get.
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Amount Paid (US$): 29.99