23 minute read | Updated 10/10/2018 | Myntra Miller
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Which is the best blender of them all?
After spending most of summer blending smoothies and milkshakes for the boys with professional blenders, personal blender/juicers, and even a few budget blenders, I’ve selected the Blendtec Designer Series blender as my favorite kitchen appliance. With variable speed control, aircraft-grade blades, and a cool-running motor, Blendtec gives you plenty of power to whip up smooth drinks in a jiffy. Plus, the freedom and ease of cleaning means even the busiest of schedules won’t trip you up.
A hunt for the best blender is part of equipping any kitchen. Of course, you could get your smoothie on the run from the store, but nothing beats the taste of freshly blended fruit-and-vegetable goodness in the morning, or the flavor of soups and sauces you blend right at home for dinner. If you want to have the blending power you want without spending an obscene amount on restaurant and coffee shop bills, you’ll want to invest in a good blender.
Scratch that. You’ll want to invest in the best blender.
Blendtec’s Designer line of blenders are well known for their durability and blending power, and we found the speed and consistency of the food I blended on Blendtec Designer Series blender was even better than the Oster, Vitamix and Cuisinart models we tested. There are many great blenders on the market, but I feel the versatility and efficiency of the Blendtec Designer Series blender made every blending task just that little bit better.
Top Pick: Blendtec Designer Series Blender
If your blending needs are modest and you feel you won’t need a professional grade blender, then you might find that the Nutri Ninja Ultima Blender BL642 makes your occasional venture into blending more joyful and pleasant – on a budget. At nearly the same performance level as the Blendtec are a couple of other pro blender models like Cuisinart CBT-2000 3.5 Peak Hurricane Pro Blender. The downside? You’ll pay a bit more for the extra functionality you may never need.
Some will want the very best, top-of-the-shelf blender model, cost be darned! If that’s you, then maybe the near-silent, super-popular Vitamix 5200 Pro Blender that has been widely considered a jewel in the blender crown for several years is your best blender choice. It’s a magnificent machine that gives you extra power, style and durability at a proportionately higher price.
Table of contents
- How we picked blenders to test
- The four best blenders
- Important features to look at
- How to choose a blender properly
- Blender maintenance
- Professional vs. personal vs. budget blenders
- How we tested
- The best blender – Blendtec
- The best Pro blender – Vitamix 5200
- The best budget blender – Nutri Ninja Personal Countertop Blender BL642
- The bottom line
How we picked blenders to test
Ahead of the summer hols, I looked at a range of professional, personal and budget blenders. I studied their reviews online, and rejected the ones that had consistently bad feedback that pointed out the same problems. Soon I was left with a few top brands that uniformly had good reviews for their performance, durability, quality and service warranties.
With health awareness rising and many households across the nation waking up to the benefits of following a raw food diet, and eating more fruit and vegetables, the use of blenders is rising. A consumer product survey in 2017 indicated that 93% of home-owners consider a good blender essential for their kitchen.
I only used one other criterion to limit the number of blender models tested. I restricted this test to blenders that cost less than $400. Higher priced models had an array of dizzying features and functions, but unless you run a restaurant, or have a huge family with a dozen users with diverse needs, there’s really no good reason to splurge on a blender when there are excellent options available for less.
The four best blenders
|Nutri Ninja Ultima||$$$||Personal||4.4||689|
Top features to look at
* Power – This essentially depends on the kind of food you’ll blend most often. There are many options. I recommend only machines with 1,400 watts or more, so you can be sure that you can blend and crush anything you need to. If you cook for many people, you’ll need a more powerful, big blender to get well-mixed smoothies and other blending done in a minute or less.
* Performance – Most users want a blender that lets you get the job done quickly and efficiently. The best blender’s performance should be good enough to handle various kinds of food, like ice, coffee, kale and other food mixtures.
* Features – The best blenders have jars of at least 32 oz capacity. Some people want a blender that also doubles as a bullet juicer, or offers the versatility of a food processor. Accessories and optional extras can extend your blender’s functionality.
* Build – How sturdy and durable are the base, jar and lid? Will they withstand rough use and dishwasher cycles? The blades should be of special interest. Stainless steel resists erosion. A blade system that’s sealed into the jar’s base makes it easier to clean and is longer lasting.
* Looks – Elegant design looks classy and beautiful. The best blender in my review is a great looker, with a round motor base giving it a sleek look. You’ll just love its touchscreen controls. When not being used, the Blendtec just blends in and takes up little counter space.
* Cleaning and Storage – The best blender should be easy to clean. The longer you let a blender sit after use, the harder it gets to clean it properly later on. Blenders with a lot of nooks or crannies on their panels will gather dirt over time.
How To Choose A Blender Properly? (A Brief Blender Buying Guide)
The difficult choice of selecting the best blender begins by asking yourself the right questions:
- What do I use a blender for?
- How many people will the blender serve?
- How much space do I have for it?
- How big or small should the blender be?
- Is it important that the blender last long?
- What is my budget?
Selecting the best blender for your needs is a physical, emotional and financial decision. Keep in mind that this choice will be with you for months, even years to come – as you blend your smoothies, whip up sauces, cook for your family and spend hundreds of hours in your kitchen.
The minutes quickly add up. And time saved by making a wise blender choice is time you can be spending on something else. To ensure you get the best deal for your money, you must be smart in studying the fantastic range of models available in the market – and whittling the list down to your ideal blender.
This blender buying guide was created to help you make this decision.
First, reassure yourself that you won’t go wrong. There is no perfect blender. Each one has its benefits and a few drawbacks. Every model has its unique special features and corresponding weaknesses. Reading blender reviews like this can help. Following the advice in a blender buyer guide is useful. Listening to other blender owners can guide your decision.
You can’t pick the best blender using a formula. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Your needs are unique. So the best blender for YOU may not be the one everybody else thinks is fantastic. That’s why it is important to understand how to choose your best blender.
Think back to the 6 ‘right questions’ I listed above – and answer them for yourself.
What will you use your blender for, mostly?
Is it to make yourself a healthy, delicious smoothie every morning before you rush out to college or to work?
Or is to prepare a hearty meal for your family, which includes preparing sauces and purees?
Would it be nice if your blender could double as a food processor at times, to blend, grind, grate and chop as well?
Depending on your needs, the best blender model might vary. In all cases, however, you need a high quality, durable blender with top quality performance. Premium blenders might seem expensive at first glance. But they will last long and save you so much time and trouble that they more than pay for themselves in a really short time.
Stop looking on your blender as an expense. Think of it, instead, as a device that will help you lose weight, improve your health, boost your culinary skills, let you cook delicious meals, and free up time for other things you enjoy.
Your blender is a tool. And like any other tool, you must take good care of it if you want it to work well for a long time.
Cleaning and storing a blender can be a time-consuming, effort-intensive task if you choose badly. The best blender should be easy to clean. As a daily smoothie lover, you don’t want to hate this process so much that you put it off – which only makes the task harder when the contents dry up.
I have made blender design an important factor in recommending the best blender in this review, taking special care that the ones I tested had few nooks and crannies that could gather dirt. Sealed blade housing jars are simple to clean; just pour warm water with some soap inside and spin once. The container is clean in just 30 seconds!
Storing your blender in a clean, dry place keeps it safe for longer. And if the best blender is compact and has a smaller footprint, you’ll be able to store it away even if your kitchen is small.
If you want more peace of mind, look for a good manufacturer’s warranty that is longer than two years at least. I’ve chosen models that offer five years’ warranties. That, also, reflects the company’s confidence in their own product. While chances are small you’ll need it, if your blender malfunctions, you’ll be glad you have it.
Professional vs. personal vs. budget blenders
All the blenders I tested will do a decent job of blending. The difference comes down to how much time it takes with each, how much effort you’ll put in, and the quality of the blend.
There are broad categories of blenders – professional blenders, personal blenders, blenders for smoothies, and immersion blenders. Each has distinct functional differences.
An immersion blender is hand held and less powerful than a heavier smoothie blender with powerful blades that sits on your counter or tabletop. While they are suitable for light blending tasks, the biggest weakness is that it isn’t cut out for all sorts of blending. So if you try and make a kale smoothie, or attempt to crush ice using an immersion blender, it’ll seem like hard work!
The bigger your family, the more you’ll appreciate a professional blender like the Blendtec Designer Series Blender. While a personal blender makes up single servings, a professional blender can whip up enough for the entire family, or a small party of guests, in just one blend. So if you’re a 5-member family and all of you enjoy a smoothie with breakfast, there’s going to be a line at the kitchen counter every morning if you buy a personal blender!
The smaller and/or weaker blenders tend to be less expensive, so if your budget is really constrained, you may not have much of a choice. Still, within that limit, you should try and identify the kind of blender best suited to your needs, and then buy the highest rated model in that category.
While the blades and motor are the most important elements of a blender, there are differences even here. Big blades and strong, powerful motors make for better blending. But angled blades, funnelled bases and a range of speed settings can also affect the quality of blending.
How we tested
My test blends were rigorous, and involved two tough challenges – blending fibrous ingredients, and chopping ice.
The best blender should be able to blend tough, fibrous kale into a silky smooth consistency. Also, its blades and motor should be tough enough to chop ice and turn it into snow.
Each blender I tested was run through similar tests – to make our family breakfast smoothies, and chilled drinks over the course of an unusually hot summer vacation. Not all were strictly uniform tests. There were some days when the boys were thirstier and demanded more of the day’s blender. But to be fair in my ultimate analysis, I weighted performance to account for these small variations.
Kale Blending Test
Like any fibrous vegetable like broccoli or Brussels sprouts, kale is great for health and an often recommended ingredient for green smoothies. It’s also hard to blend soft enough to drink. If the blender left behind small chunks or larger bits, it wasn’t up to scratch. The smoothie I made was often a mix of milk or coconut water with kale, and either banana or pineapple.
I ran each blender through the different power settings, gradually raising the speed so that the machine could achieve a finely blended smooth drink. At slower speeds, the soft fruit was pulped into juice. As the speed increased, a vortex is generated within the fluid, which drags the kale and other unbroken food chunks onto the blades.
The best blender had to pulp kale until my sons and husband couldn’t detect it. In other words, the drink had to be smooth. Both the Blendtec and Vitamix managed it effortlessly. The Cuisinart ran a wee bit longer to achieve a similar effect. With the Ninja Ultima, the end result wasn’t as great, leaving a few chewy bits.
The Ice Test
Pulverizing ice is an important need for many blender users. For my family, in a hot summer, it was indispensable. So the best blender should crush ice, nuts, oats and seeds into powder, without requiring any prior preparation. This effect depends upon motor strength, primarily.
On this test, not surprisingly, all the four finalists for the best blender did extremely well. Each has strong blades and powerful motors, and in short order, whipped the ice cubes into a fine, powdery snow – a result that was deeply appreciated by the thirsty boys.
The key observation I noted down was to see if the blades reached all parts of the container. If there were a few pieces left behind beneath the blades or stuck on the sides, the machine was taken off my short list.
The Best Blender – Blendtec Designer Series Blender
All models of professional blenders that we tested are high quality, durable and powerful machines. This was a close call, but the Blendtec Designer Series Blender has just a few design and ergonomic tweaks that make it a better blender.
Blendtec has models across a range of prices, from $250 to $500+ which adds features, special functions and advantages you may be interested in. The programmability and rapid switching benefits introduced in top line models aren’t necessary for most users. So I stuck to my roughly $400 budget while drawing up this recommendation for the best blender, confident that you’ll be happy with the performance of this blender for your needs.
BEST PROFESSIONAL BLENDER
Blendtec – Designer Series Blender
Blendtec’s pro blender has everything a pride of your kitchen needs and it hasn’t let me down or disappointed on any regular test. If you’re looking for power combined with speed and durability, this professional blender is your best deal for around $400.
Blendtec motors have a reputation for running smoothly, without overheating or being too noisy. The Designer Series Blender is no exception. Even with a container loaded with ice cubes, I had little trouble getting the blender going and whipping up fluffy shreds in short order.
Motors are often heavy and bulky. The more powerful ones are even more so. That’s why it comes as a pleasant surprise to see the Blendtec’s engine boxed in such a sleek and elegant instrument that looks just as good as it works. Once you get a feel for it, making smoothies and purees is a sheer delight. And you’ll wonder at how quickly and efficiently you get it all done.
I tested the blender in various conditions to see how it worked. The Blendtec did struggle in the beginning with a green smoothie of kale and brussels sprouts, but that was probably because I didn’t add much water to the mix. Even then, within a few seconds, the blades started to turn – and after that, there was no stopping my Blendtec!
After testing a couple of personal blenders the day before, I first felt the Blendtec was definitely louder. But then, compared to other pro blenders, it isn’t any more so. And nothing like a motorbike racing by, or a chainsaw, or power-drill might sound.
Another plus is that the settings are intuitive and easily learned. No complicated set up or getting used to a specific jargon. The design is similar to the Vitamix 5200 and Cuisinart Hurricane Pro Blender, too, so while it isn’t a differentiator from other brands, it is one more thing to love about the Blendtec.
Since the blender blades rotate at speeds you get to regulate, variable speed control helps you start out slowly or jump right into top gear. Blendtec’s finger-controlled speed setting is easy to use and feels quite natural.
The Blendtec Designer Series Blender, my pick for the best blender, is also nicer looking than any of the other models I tested. It feels sturdy and strong, with the materials giving it a solid and classy feel. When I fit the container on, it locks with a satisfying click that’s reassuring. Blendtec claims the specially designed and oriented blade system is better at blending. With the tests I ran, it’s hard to say. All I can state confidently is that the Blendtec, Vitamix, Cuisinart and Ninja all blended quite well.
Cleaning and storing the Blendtec blender is easy. The quick-release locking mechanism lets you snap off the container and the lid engages nicely with the jar, a convenient groove making it easy to remove. The ergonomically designed handle is comfortable in your palm, with the rubberized layer offering a firmer grip. The less expensive models leave you feeling cheap plastic.
Storing the Blendtec blender takes up very little space. When not in use, the machine is compact and can comfortably fit even inside a small kitchen. At 8 pounds, it is easy to heft and move around.
- The Blendtec Designer Series Blender gave me no trouble at all, right from the first test all the way through to the end. The start, stop, attach, remove, lift, pour and clean process went like a charm.
- This blender is powerful enough to take on most blending tasks, be it making smoothies and sauces, or crushing ice, seeds or nuts, and anything in between.
- While it’s heavier than a personal blender, Blendtec has designed a machine that’s comfortable to handle, easy to store, and beautiful to look at as well.
The Best Blender For Smoothies – Vitamix 5200
Compared to the heavy duty blenders that can crumble anything – even a carelessly tossed in iPhone – to powder, a smoothie blender has it easy. And the Vitamix 5200 as a smoothie blender feels incredibly effective for what it does so nicely.
It’s easy to quickly whip up your health drink in the morning, not to mention being equally easy to clean and store away. There’s also the high quality construct of the Vitamix 5200 blender, with a strong, tough container designed with material that keeps weight down while still feeling like a serious blender. It is the refreshing combination of quality and style that was missing in most other smoothie blenders I tested. The Vitamix 5200 is a simple machine without unnecessary bells and whistles.
BEST SMOOTHIE BLENDER
With a sturdy blade and easy-to-use features, the Vitamix 5200 makes quick work of anything – fruit, vegetable, or ice – that goes into your smoothie.
The Vitamix 5200 blender has variable speed controls for a variety of textures, and rotating the dial to regulate speed is easy and convenient. The highest speed and power settings mean you’ll finish making your smoothie 25-35% more quickly with the Vitamix 5200 blender.
In the price range I tested, most blenders had far fewer options. The only other model that’s as versatile and offers similar functionality is the Cuisinart CBT-2000 3.5 Peak Hurricane Pro Blender.
The Vitamix came ready to use. I didn’t have to buy any extra accessories or add-ons. The 64 oz container was big enough to make smoothies for all the boys at the same time. Set up was a piece of cake. Adjustments are very easy with the Vitamix 5200. Tiny screws on the baseplate let you correct for any irregularity on the countertop.
If you want to use this blender for anything more like a food processor, you’ll have to get some of the optional extra fittings. A word of caution – if you’re using this powerful blender on high-speed settings, be sure that the container lid is firmly on. Otherwise the contents may spray out and mess up your kitchen!
Cleaning the blender after use is also simple, with a much vaunted ‘self-cleaning’ functionality baked in. Just pour some warm water into it, add a drop of dish washer, and run the blender for a short cycle. That’s it. In 30 seconds, you’re all done.
Storing away the Vitamix 5200 can be a slightly bigger challenge than with personal blenders that are tiny and compact. While this doesn’t have a large footprint, it’s only natural that such a powerful machine has a bulkier motor. You’ll need some dedicated space on your kitchen counter, or in a shelf or cupboard, for the Vitamix. Although it isn’t very heavy, you might prefer to find a location that’s near a power outlet to avoid moving it every time you blend.
Please note: the Vitamix doesn’t come with an extension power cord. If you want greater reach, you’ll have to get heavy cord as an extra. Overall, the Vitamix 5200 is the ideal smoothie blender – though if that’s all you’re planning to use this powerful beast to do, it might seem a tad expensive as an investment.
Another contender for best smoothie blender might be the Cuisinart CBT-2000 3.5 Peak Hurricane Pro Blender, which has many similarities to the Vitamix and was almost equal in performance in every aspect. It’s the few intangibles – which you might even put down to personal preference – that made me pick the Vitamix 5200 as ‘the best blender’ for smoothies. But if you like the Cuisinart CBT-2000 Pro Blender better, just go for it!
- Like any smoothie blender, the Vitamix 5200 is easy to use, clean and store. But the biggest benefit is its range of power/speed settings that can whip up a smoothie from just about anything you put into it.
- Vitamix gives you a lot of blender for your cash. It’s very efficient, better constructed and has the most versatility of any other smoothie blender I tested.
- It isn’t as quiet as a personal blender, but since you won’t be using it for long stretches, this isn’t really a serious drawback.
The Best Personal Blender – Nutri Ninja Personal Blender BL642
The Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender is delightfully simple. It is sturdy and strong. It is powerful and precise. And for the price, you get quite the blending buck with this Ninja machine – far more than you’d expect from testing other higher-priced models.
Though personal blenders are typically single serve devices, the Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender whips up a mean blend even with these smaller quantities – better than any of the other personal blenders I tested, although some of them cost more.
Personal blenders are usually smaller, more compact and easy to carry along while travelling. The Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender is a bit larger, because it doubles as a countertop machine. But the trade-off is worthwhile given how efficient it is at blending smoothies and sauces like a champ.
Even before I started testing, I knew my favorite was going to fall in the personal blender category. That’s because these smaller machines are more eco-friendly, quieter than a professional blender, and easy to stow away even in a smaller kitchen. The Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender was a pleasure to work with.
BEST PERSONAL BLENDER
Quiet and smooth, this personal blender serves up many a delicious smoothie and milkshake without any fuss or mess.
A quiet blender means you won’t need to worry about waking up someone who’s asleep, or creating a ruckus in the neighborhood each time you prepare a smoothie. Ideal for working with early in the morning or late at night, the Nutri Ninja blender is surprisingly powerful for that. You’ll find yourself getting through blending tasks in record time, even as you enjoy smooth preparations without any annoying chunks or strands.
Using the personal blender was fun. The moulding and design is ergonomic, and the Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender feels comfortable to use. Cleaning up after use was also easy, with few dirt-gathering parts in the set up. A quick dismantle, rinse and wipe process could be finished in under a minute.
Out of the box, setting up the Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender is simple and only requires adjusting a few screws on the base to level the blender with your countertop. It doesn’t require any folding parts as the footprint is really tiny and the blender fits comfortably under shelves or inside cupboards.
A unique feature is the Auto-iQ functionality which lets you easily set pre-programmed speeds and blend durations for specific kinds of preparations. No more guessing or trial and error to discover how long to blend, or at what speed.
I wanted to be especially hard on personal blenders because anyone on a budget will want to get a model that can pulverize kale or grapple with ice cubes without stalling or heating up. A pro blender can generally handle these tasks effortlessly. But not all personal blenders could. The Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender was easily the best of this breed.
But nevertheless, remember that this is only a personal blender, not a powerful beast. So chopping smoothie ingredients into smaller bits or breaking up ice cubes into smaller chunks will definitely get you better results. You don’t want the machine to choke up and stall.
If most of your blending tasks involve preparing stuff for only yourself or one other person, a personal blender might meet your needs… without breaking the bank. In that case, you’ll find the Nutri Ninja BL642 Personal Countertop Blender a great choice.
- Lighter than most blenders, the Nutri Ninja Personal blender’s powerful motor makes quick work of smoothies and sauces.
- While most pro blenders are noisy, the Nutri Ninja is almost noiseless.
- Great build quality and an appealing design are other elements that add to its attractiveness.
The Bottom Line
Blending your own smoothies and sauces is a rite of passage for any do-it-yourself cook or home maker. Like everything else, you can save money – often a sizeable amount over time – by making it at home instead of buying it from a store.
However, unless you choose the best blender for your needs, you’ll waste time and effort, not to mention lose your peace of mind. Hopefully, one of my blender choices will be right for you. If I helped make your time in the kitchen more fun and less frown-filled, then this study will have been a great success.
If you only ever blend stuff for yourself or a special someone, and you love the idea of owning a smaller personal blender, the Nutri Ninja BL642 is probably the best blender for you. Smooth, precise and quiet, this personal blender helps you quickly, comfortably get through your blending tasks without much noise or complications.
If you want a more powerful machine that can whip up smoothies and sauces for the entire family at once, then you need a bigger pro blender. The Vitamix 5200 is the best blender for smoothies. It has all the power, versatility and multi-function potential you’ll need to get your blending finished efficiently and elegantly. It will make quick work of just about anything you toss into it.
Another alternative machine to the more expensive Vitamix is the equally facile Cuisinart CBT-2000 3.5 Peak Hurricane Pro Blender – and you’ll save a few dollars if you choose this over the better known Vitamix blender.
If your blending needs are diverse and extensive, and nothing but the best blender ever will do for you, then you should seriously consider getting our top pick for the best blender – the Blendtec Designer Series Blender. It checks just about every box on my extensive testing list… and does it in style. A solid, sturdy and yet physically attractive machine, it boasts a powerful motor, optimally designed blades, and ergonomic structure that makes using it such a pleasure.
Top Pick: Blendtec Designer Series Blender
Whether you want to blend smoothies, whip up sauces, crush ice into fine snow, or pound nuts and seeds, the Blendtec keeps up with your needs. It’s solid and simple, optimized to let you make the most of your time in the kitchen.