Fire up the Smeg HBF01 review: a good-looking hand blender in Smeg's usual style, that won't let you down when you're making soups, smoothies and sauces.
Smeg make small kitchen appliances with a very distinctive, 1950s-influenced look. You either like that look or you don't, but in the case of the HBF01 hand blender, it's less of a factor as it largely just looks like a hand blender. There's only so many liberties you can take with this class of device.
It's among the best hand blenders I've tried, although I found myself gravitating back to the KitchenAid 5KHBBV53, because that does much the same job but is cordless. The Smeg is cheaper than that blender, however, yet it looks and feels slightly more premium.
As with all hand blenders, stick blenders and immersion blenders, Smeg's turns solid food into purées, pastes, sauces and soups. And a very good job it does of it, too.
Smeg HBF01 Hand Blender
Corded hand blender
No mixing jar included
5 speed settings
Smeg HBF01 and HBF02: price and availability
The Smeg HBF01 hand blender is £99 in the UK, $129 in the USA and AU$148 in Australia.
You can also get the HBF02, which is the same blender at heart but with the addition of a small 'food processor'/chopper, a whisk and a potato masher. These are very handy, even though the chopper is not the best I have ever encountered. Pricing for this bundle is £129, $180, AU$220.
Our pricing widget should show prices for both models – you may need to 'view all deals' and scroll down for HBF02.
Smeg HBF01: design and features
The Smeg HBF01 comes in black, blue, red or cream and is made of plastic – but suitably good quality plastic that feels pleasing in the hand – with chrome detailing. As you would imagine, controls are not complicated. There's a button to turn it on and a button to make it go faster. There are 5 speed settings in total, from quite fast to turbo frenzy.
The power cable is pulled away from the back of the blender by a stiff but of plastic as seen below – this keeps it out of your way quite effectively. Cordless would be even better of course, but having a wire means the price is a little lower and there's no danger of the battery ever running out.
The blender arm screws on and off easily, and is dishwasher proof. Get the aforementioned HBF02 bundle and you'll receive a whisk that is useful for cream and egg whites, a potato masher that is good for… well, you can probably work that one out, and a chopper for onions, herbs, breadcrumbs and the like. The latter is not quite as good as the equivalents from KitchenAid and Bosch, but it's fine.
Smeg HBF01: performance
As you'd expect for a hand blender costing around £100 and over $100, the HBF01 is an effective performer. I made a rather unsuccessful roux (white sauce) and it removed the lumps of flour in a matter of minutes. Salad dressings were blended to a fine emulsion, and a banana and kale smoothie also came out better than you might expect. The banana was smooth and the kale – the blender's natural foe – was quite well tamed and chopped.
The smooth but non-slip handle of the device is enjoyable to hold and easy to clean, while the blade can be rinsed easily if cleaned straight after use, or you can put it in the dishwasher. As with practically all corded kitchen appliances, it would be nice if the cable was a bit longer. However at 1.5 metres, it's fine for most situations.
The variable speed control does give you a wide range of speeds although I have to admit I generally default to the fastest setting at all times. The 700W motor means that the HBF01 can deal with most day-to-day blending tasks.
Smeg HBF01: verdict
The Smeg HBF01 is an excellent hand blender that will add a little dash of luxury to your kitchen. The styling is chic, it feels good in the hand and its an effective performer. The price is not excessive either, as premium kitchenware offerings go. If you are short of space, it's particularly good. However, it would be advisable to make room for the HBF02 and its accessories, as this can often be found priced at only a little more than the standalone HBF01, which is so minimalist, it doesn't even come with a mixing jug. Highly recommended in both incarnations.