Both egg beaters and blenders are mixers, but the two serve different purposes in the kitchen. Egg beaters are most often used for eggs and to blend liquid ingredients. The beater blades of handheld mixers are a more modern version of the old-fashioned egg beater. Blenders are a heavyweight cousin, combining the functions of a food processor with those of a mixer.
An egg beater is a handheld, manually operated mixing device. The rotating blades of this type of mixer are not sharpened, as their purpose is to fold, beat or whip ingredients. You operate an egg beater by turning a handle along the side. This action spins the beaters. Manually operated egg beaters allow you greater control over the speed and intensity of mixing, which is needed in blending or preparing delicate ingredients, sauces and whipped creams.
Like the manually operated variety of egg beater, handheld electric mixers have two beaters, but they also have the option for attachments, such as a whisk, to perform other duties. This type of mixer may be held in the hand or mounted on a stand. Mixers are used to combine ingredients for batters and mixes such as cake mix. Heavy duty mixers will blend thicker ingredients and dough.
Egg beaters and electric mixers can be used to introduce air into food during preparation, as they give you greater control over the speed and force applied to your ingredients. For example, in the preparation of egg whites. Beating air into egg whites helps your batter to rise when it's heated, then the egg hardens to preserve the height achieved.
Egg white preparation requires a slow hand at the beginning. You move from a moderate speed to a higher speed, increasing the rate of your strokes after the whites become foamy. Over-beaten eggs whites will separate, weep, collapse or fail to rise when baked, according to the Baking 911 website. The difference between perfect egg whites and over-beaten ones is a matter of seconds.
Electric mixers allow you to keep up the constant action that egg whites require, without killing your arm, while small amounts of egg whites require hand blending to prevent over-processing.The force generated by a blender would not allow you to achieve the delicate balance of conditions required for this task.
Blenders are electric appliances. The base of the machine contains a motor that spins sharpened blades at high-speed. Blenders mix ingredients together and break down large, solid food items into smaller pieces. These devices usually offer several options for consistency of the final product. Blenders can process hard items; for example, they can crush ice, grind coffee and chop nuts for nut butters. Blenders can also puree and liquefy ingredients and mix liquids.
Immersion blenders, or stick blenders, have their motor at the top of a wand-shaped device and exposed blades at the bottom. This allows the devices to be placed into pans and bowls to blend ingredients.