The good: This is a blender that works well, is easy to use, and cleans up nicely (you can even throw it into the dishwasher because the pitcher and blades are designed as a single part). Good power and smart blade design make for smooth purées and snowlike crushed ice. And the metallic base looks kind of sexy. Bonus: It's assembled in the U.S.
The power buttons have task names that're hard to understand (how does Puree differ from Liquefy?) instead of simply being numbered. It isn’t entirely clear how to wrap the cord up in the base. And compared to KitchenAid’s less glamorous KSB560 line, you’re paying a $50 premium for the cool metallic finish.
The KSB580 performs well, but costs an extra $50 just for the finish on the base. If you have room in the budget and want a blender that looks sexy on the counter, the 580 is for you. Otherwise, go for the less expensive KSB560.
The KitchenAid stand mixer is now an essential accessory on American kitchen counters, and the company probably figured a lot of cooks would want a blender to match. The KSB580 is a follow-up to the workhorse 560 line; both have five speeds, lots of power, and the ability to do a good job chopping, pulverizing, and puréeing. The difference is on the outside, in KitchenAid’s self-described Custom Metallic base, which comes in shiny chrome or brushed nickel.
The KSB580 has five speeds and 0.9 horsepower. It’s got a sturdy, die-cast metal base, and comes with a 56-ounce pitcher made of tough polycarbonate (in other words, it won’t shatter when you fill it with hot soup), with a rubber handle that feels secure when you grab it. The pitcher fits into the base in any position, which is good if you’re left-handed. The four stainless-steel blades are angled on different planes, resulting in smooth purées and fluffy crushed ice. And the so-called Clean-Touch control pad doesn’t have any raised buttons or crevices, so it wipes clean instantly.
We tested the KSB580 by performing three key tasks: crushing ice, puréeing a smoothie, and blending a hollandaise sauce.
Crushed ice: After 10 seconds, the self-pulsing feature had turned standard ice cubes into fluffy snow—heap it into a cup and drizzle with fruit syrup, and you’ll have a delicious frozen treat. And while a lot of blenders make a huge racket chopping ice cubes, this one is relatively quiet. Score: A.
Smoothies: Again, 10 seconds of blending rock-hard frozen strawberries with milk and a banana yielded a smooth purée without any random chunks. The large-capacity pitcher poured easily and was roomy enough to make multiple smoothies in a single batch. Score: A.
Hollandaise sauce: This was a test to see how well the KSB580 handled emulsifying, a finicky task that requires a lot of blade speed. The slowest speed (Stir) emulsified the egg yolks, lemon juice, and melted butter in 30 seconds without overblending or causing the sauce to break. The lid stayed firmly in place, and the removable pour cap was easy to use. Score: B+.
Photos by Chris Rochelle