Soap Making Stick Blender, Immersion Blender or Wand Blender
This blog post was originally written in 2011. I am updating this to reflect my preferences that might have changed in the last 10 years.
Also for your information, I am not benefiting from recommending any of these products. These are my personal experiences and opinions. I hope they save you time and effort.
Every soap maker I know has their own favorite tools and supplies.
I would have to say my favourite piece of soap making equipment is the stick blender / Immersions Blender / Wand Blender. I will use these terms interchangeably since they all mean the same thing.
To me, out of all the other tools, this one is essential.
I remember making my very first batch of soap over 24 years ago. I used a wooden spoon to stir the batch of soap. It was cold process soap, so I needed to stir it until it thickened (traced). After about 1 hour or so of vigorous stirring, the soap finally reached trace. My arm was quite cramped. Since many of my friends were discovering soap making, just like me, I asked around and was told the stick blender was the easiest way to make cold process soap as well as hot process soap.
I purchased my first stick blender and never looked back.
Choosing an Immersion Blender for Soap Making
The other day (actually 10 years ago), I was making soap and my stick blender started falling apart right in front of me. I heard some crunching as if the blades were hitting something solid, then the whole blade insert fell out.
This was my back up blender, since I burned out my main one just a week before. This new back up blender only gave me 3 batches of soap.
I thought this would be a good time to analyze what makes a good soap making immersion blender, and what you should avoid when choosing this very handy piece of soap making equipment.
What Kind of Immersion Blender for Soap Making
Price to me is not relevant. I have tried more expensive immersion blenders. Over all they might last a bit longer, but not long enough to justify the extra expense. I don’t need a fancy stainless steel stick blender, since it is generally the motor that wears out first unless the blender is poorly designed.
If you are making soap casually, once or twice a month, when it comes to immersion blenders for soap making, I would stick to blenders that are under $25. Don’t spend extra on purchasing a stick blender that has all the mixing containers and jars. You won’t be using those.
What is the Best Blender for Soap Making?
When it comes to teaching soap making, I want the wand blender to be easy to use and quiet.
When I am teaching a live class, I need to be able to talk to the student in front of me. This is especially important when they are using the wand blender for making soap.
In order to coach each student through each soap making step, they need to be able to hear me.
My favorite blender to use while teaching soap making is Kitchen Aid.
I have tried several stick blenders in the $60 to $90 price range. Kitchen Aid is the quietest.
I make between 100 and 200 pounds of soap each week, depending on the amount of classes I run, time of the year, wholesale soap orders as well as for the store shelves. I need a sturdy immersion blender. The Kitchen Aid stick blenders last between 6 months to 8 months.
Why not use a hand mixer?
A hand mixer is great for mixing lotions and butters. Anything that you want to enhance with air is perfect for that type of mixer.
You don’t want to add air bubbles to your cold process or hot process soap. This would happen if you used a hand mixer.
Stick blenders keep air flow to a minimum.
How important is the wattage with the Immersion Blender When Soap Making
When you use the stick blender for soap making, you should be using it on the lowest speed.
You want the soap to emulsify slowly. Emulsify is when the oil, water and alkali combine and come together as a uniform blend.
The wattage of the blender is not important because you will never use the immersion blender for soap making on full speed.
If you do this, your soap will turn grainy.
You’re looking for a soap texture as smooth as cream.
This comes when you slowly mix your soap at a uniform pace.
A high wattage stick blender would not be useful in soap making.
Do I need to buy a Stick Blender for Soap Making? Can I use my immersion blender from the kitchen?
Using your kitchen stick blender for soap making will cause cross contamination. You do not want sodium hydroxide in your food.
Essential oil also has a presence, even after you wash your soap making tools well.
Once you use an immersion blender for soap making, dedicate that tool to soap making only.
Can you use a plastic immersion blender when making hot process soap?
If the stick blender is sturdy enough to blend hot soup in a soup pot, it is sturdy enough to use for hot process soap making.
We make cold process, hot process, liquid soap and cream soap at Soap Making School.
I have been making hot process soap since 1997.
I have never had a problem with cheap plastic stick blenders being damaged or melting during hot process soap making.
Check to make sure the immersion blender is okay to use in hot soup.
If it’s labeled safe for blending in hot soup, you can use the immersion blender for hot process soap making.
Things to pay attention to when you’re choosing your immersion blender for Soap Making
These are the most important features for your soap making stick blender.
Take a look at the bottom of the blade area. If there are screws holding a plate behind the blades, this will be the first part of the stick blender to go. Leave that one on the shelf.
Look for a really simple design where the blades are connected to the rest of the blender and it is one solid piece behind the blade.
The height of the blade area is also important. If the round part of the blender is too high, you will more than likely be splashed by your soap batch. Look for a lower, shorter head for these soap making tools.
Pay attention to the side holes near the end of the blender. If they are too high, the soap will end up splashing you through the opening.
The bottom rim should not have grooves on it. Look for a stick blender that is smooth all the way around the bottom edge.
The soap seems to trace quicker and more evenly with the blenders that don’t have the grooves.
Dual speed blenders are not necessary. Sometimes this is the only feature that sets the model apart from the less expensive stick blenders. It’s not worth it.
Some stick blenders allow you to take the head off the motor. This is a nice feature if you are short on time and just want to leave your stick blender to soak.
Personally, the first thing I do when the soap is in the mold is to plug the blender in and run it while it’s in a container of fresh hot water.
This cleans off the blades and the under area of the blender quite well.
I then unplug the blender and clean up the creases with a toothbrush that is a dedicated part of my soap making equipment.
PLEASE remember to unplug your blender before doing this.
The removable head is a bonus feature for me though; I don’t go out of my way to find this type of blender since I don’t leave my blender to soak.
So this is a personal preference and does not affect the life of the blender one way or another.
I hope you find this information helpful.
I have gone through 5 to 10 stick blenders each year for the last 14 years.
I have tried so many and have learned to avoid certain design aspects that just don’t benefit soap making and cosmetic making.
The Stick blender really is an essential part of my soap making equipment.
It is used in all of the soap making techniques that I teach in the Soap Making School classes.
This includes cold process, hot process, natural liquid soap making and transparent glycerine soap making.
To learn more about the classes at soap making school, check out Soapmakingschool.com