We've spent the past week reviewing the KitchenAid K400 Artisan blender, happily blitzing everything from ice to fruit and veg to coffee drinks. From creating a salsa or a pesto to mixing dough or creating that perfect milkshake, this blender is perfect for an aspiring chef or just someone who enjoys the ease of making whatever comes to their fancy. Its looks speak for themselves – it comes in a range of colours to suit your taste – but how did it perform?
Read on for everything you need to know. Find more of the best blenders in our expert buying guide.
KitchenAid K400 Artisan blender: how it looks
As far as the Artisan blender's looks go, we love this design. In the picture above, you can see the blender in Kyoto Glow. We tested a red one (poetically named 'Candy Apple') – but there are tons more colours available, including Cast Iron Black, Onyx Black, Almond Cream, Empire Red, Medallion Silver, Pebbled Palm, Pistachio, and Silk Pink, should you prefer a different/less overt colour scheme.
And while it's pretty big (20cm deep and wide by about 40cm high), its modest footprint does mean that it can sit neatly on a worktop – or in a cupboard – without taking up too much space – or looking too bulky.
More than anything, the eye-catching modern-meets-retro design is beautiful and the glass jar itself is obviously very good quality, which adds to the high end feel of the product.
What's the KitchenAid K400 Artisan blender like to use?
Easy! For starters, the blender has a simple one to five speed setting on its dial – and you can easily adjust it to make everything from soups, sauces and purees to doughs and frozen desserts. Simply choose your speed setting and press the 'start' button to begin blending (or to stop blending if you don't use the automatic timing function).
There are five further functions, too.
The pulse function allows you to manually control the precise duration and frequency of blending, and this function is recommended for making salsa and chopping nuts, fruits and vegetables. Leave it on (or leave the room), and this function will automatically stop after three minutes.
The ice crush function is particularly useful (we used it a lot when the weather was hot and to make cocktails during lockdown). It's a mess-free way to crush ice, with the blender running at its highest speed for 30 seconds.
My personal favorite function is the icy drink setting as the blender gradually ramps up to full power to blend hard foods – ideal for cocktails, blended coffee drinks, frozen fruits and more.
Another great function is smoothie – the blender operates at high speed to puree the ingredients to make yogurt or ice cream or the perfect healthy smoothie (or unhealthy but delicious milkshake).
Finally, the clean function, which uses quick pulses of power for 45 seconds to clean the jar (fill it first with warm soapy water) of your blended creations with ease.
How well does the Artisan K400 perform?
It wasn't phased by anything we threw at it: the asymmetric stainless steel blade is set at angles to draw ingredients in; as such, it breaks down even the toughest ingredients so you can be sure it'll tackle hard veg and fruit easily, nuts, and fibrous roots such as ginger, without it being chopped down first – and you don't need to pre-crush ice, pre-chop leafy greens, soften ice cream or butter.
As for the spatter we've sometimes suffered when trying out blenders, there's no problem with this one: the K400 blender has a soft-start feature which begins the motor at a slower speed to fold in ingredients and then quickly increases to avoid splatter.
The ribbed jug is matched with an Intelli-speed motor, too, which senses the contents of the blender and maintains the optimal speed to break down all ingredients, then increases and fluctuates for precision and consistent texture. We liked that: there was little to no effort on our part to get the end result we wanted.
Who would the K400 Artisan blender suit?
It's a great buy for families. We tested it with the blender with the glass jug which has the capacity of 1.6 litres – more than big enough to make smoothies or soup for at least four people to share. There's a securely sealing lid with removable cap so you can easily add extra ingredients mid-programme, too.
You can also get extra accessories, such as 1.6 litre plastic jug, the personal jar (500ml) for individual smoothies and drinks you can take to work/the gym/the park with you, and a small batch jar (200ml) for puree dressings, baby food, or single servings of pesto, for example. There's a citrus press (1 litre), too, which is just for juice – see that in the picture above.
What don't we like about the KitchenAid K400 Artisan blender?
It is reasonably difficult to scrape out all the contents from the bottom of the blender as the blade isn’t detachable – so if you are using the blender to make something with exact measurements (like dough), I would always recommend making slightly more than the recipe says.
The fixed-blade doesn't cause problems with cleaning, however: we used the cleaning setting as soon as we'd finished blending, then either popped the jar in the dishwasher or finished it off by hand.
Is it worth the money?
This is one of those pieces of kitchen equipment that you're going to use daily – we've been using it now for a couple of weeks and it's been used at least twice a day every day to make everything from soup and salsa to cocktails (mind you, we are writing during lockdown!). It's sturdy, well made, simple and really easy to clean so we can see it just becoming part of our daily routine. And with a five year guarantee, we're expecting it to last and last. On the KitchenAid site, it's £279, although you will find it cheaper in sales and promotions. Is it worth it? We reckon that even if we only use it four or five times a week, that works out about £1 a go for year. Yes, it's worth it.