I also had a pleasant experience using one of the travel jars to create a custom smoothie for myself. The blender made short work of my mixture of sliced bananas, yogurt, frozen strawberries, and agave syrup; a delicious drink made in 45 pulses.
Let's just say that liquidating heavy-duty vegetable matter isn't this blender's bag, and it shows. During our standard pesto-making trial, the Stay or Go needed a lot of help to transform spinach, walnuts, garlic, grated cheese and olive oil into a true pasta sauce. Specifically I mean that after 15 pulses of the Stay or Go's motor, I didn't observe much blending activity occurring.
There was a small positive change after 30 pulses of the blender's blade assembly, with regions of material on the bottom of the cup (closest to blades) transforming into liquid. To fully process my pesto test items I first had to mix everything inside the blending chamber with a spatula. Additionally I needed to leave the blender running in its "on" position for about 2 to 3 minutes. I also learned that roughly chopping the spinach first helped, as did mixing the ingredients by hand before blending.
Almonds, coffee, and pepper
If all you seek from the Stay or Go Blender is dry almond flour, not spreadable wet almond butter, then this blender won't disappoint. 30 pulses were enough to power through most of the raw almonds in the device's 32-ounce blending jar, with a full 45 pulses completely pulverizing my 2-cup sample of nuts. No amount of time grinding though could release the almond's essential oils and coax the mixture into becoming creamy almond butter.
To be fair, the device's manual clearly advises using its grinding cup for shredding dry items, including nuts. As a matter of fact, as long as you don't exceed the recommended amount of half a cup, the gadget can grind whole coffee beans as well. I decided to take things a little further and tossed half a cup of black peppercorns into the grinding cup. I was able to chop the hard spice into fresh pepper powder ready for seasoning in under 30 blender pulses.
Using a blender to create a hefty serving of whipped cream may not be an obvious thought. Even so, many blenders can adeptly handle this task. True to form, the Stay or Go managed to mint a fresh batch of the delicious dessert topping, though it took its sweet time doing it. After a full 60 pulses, compared with 15 to 20 for the more muscular Nutri Ninja, I had a lovely bowl of satisfyingly fluffy whipped cream on my hands.
A serious torture test is to give blenders a go at spinning up pancake batter. Using a simple supermarket mix added to water, the idea here isn't really to create edible flapjacks. Instead this trial serves to highlight just how good a given appliance is at combining wet and dry ingredients, plus uncovering any cleaning challenges the device might present.
Like the majority of past blenders we've put through the wringer, the Stay or Go left some dry patches of flour around its blade hardware. That said, I found the mixture easy to rinse away from the appliance's cups, blades, and other plastic parts by hand.
No doubt the most challenging torture test I subjected the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go to was the cheese trial. I dropped an 8-ounce block of supermarket cheddar into the blender's 32-ounce jar. As I expected, the gummy, sticky cheese completely stymied the Stay or Go's short blades and weak motor. The device only managed to cut through the bottom edge of the cheddar, leaving most of the block of orange cheese intact.
It's a fair assumption that many people in the market for a blender really just need a personal smoothie maker. For them, spending upward of $200 on a powerful electric mixer that also functions as a respectable food processor would be overkill. That's where the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Blender comes in. For a low $40, the affordable appliance can handle basic smoothie prep, and it comes with handy travel jars for slurping on the run.
Just don't expect high-speed blending or swift veggie and fruit juicing from the Stay or Go. For that you'd be much better off buying the pricier Ninja Nutri Ninja ($100). Look to the KitchenAid 5-Speed ($150) for a more affordable yet powerful blending option. Of course serious juicers will find the Vitamix 7500 ($529) the ultimate performer. Just be ready to pay for it.