Blenders 101Published: January 15, 2019
Our team of researchers, data analysts, gadget nerds and storytellers combed through scores of information and uncovered the ten best blenders currently available. We assessed insights from every perspective that matters, from consumers and experts to brands and retailers.
Our findings are laid out so that you can home in on the criteria that’s most essential to you. When it comes to blenders, are you looking to whip up a pre-workout smoothie, purée veggies into a creamy soup, or indulge party guests with a batch of frothy margaritas? Do you care more about quick prep time and easy clean-up, or elaborate settings and multi-blade power? The right blender to suit your every need—chopping, dicing, grinding, you name it—is out there. Use this guide to navigate the myriad options available.
Blenders Broken Down
A kitchen blender will revolutionize your cooking routine, cutting prep time in half and inspiring more creative and healthy dishes. Before investing in a model, consider these questions:
What will I be eating/drinking? (Remember: blenders can factor into meals, snacks, drinks, and sauces.) How many servings will I need to prepare? How much time will I have?
Your answers will guide you to the model that best matches your cooking preferences and health goals.
The Expert Take
We assembled a panel of experts who work with blenders every day and know which features are worth investing in and which aren’t. From body coaches and health gurus to chefs and food columnists, they each offer a unique professional perspective on what to look for in a blender.
Here is a summary of what the experts weighed in on:
Power - What is the horsepower? Can it crush tough ingredients like ice and frozen foods?
Consistency - Does it evenly mix ingredients? Does it produce a smooth final result?
Versatility - Can it make dips, soups, and butters, or is it limited to smoothies and frozen drinks?
Speed - How quickly does it blend?
Programmability - Are there pre-programmed settings? Can you adjust the speed and the type of grind?
Ease of Use - Is it easy to set up and manage the functions?
Clean-up - Is it dishwasher-friendly?
Size and Bulkiness - Is it easy to store?
Noise Level - Is it obnoxiously loud?
Durability - Will it withstand heavy regular use?
Value - Is it worth the price tag?
The Customer Take
We sifted through thousands of real reviews from real people to give you a representative sample of how the products fare in everyday situations. If you’re anything like us, “one-size-fits-all” is not in your lexicon. Read on to learn which features suit your unique kitchen needs.
The Casual Cook
“Cooking” is another bullet point on your extensive to-do list—you’re not interested in making five-course dinners or homemade almond butter. You want a no-fuss, no-frills option for blending smoothies and frozen cocktails.
Look for these qualities: ice-crushing blade(s), at least 0.67 horsepower/500 watts, a few pre-programmed settings, dishwasher-friendly, no-mess pouring spout, and user-friendly controls.
The Health Nut
You meal prep for pre- and post-workout fuel, and kale, almonds, and legumes are staples on your grocery list. A smaller jug with a to-go lid is ideal for sipping on the way to Equinox.
Look for these qualities: to-go cups, stain-resistance, durable construction, ice-crushing blade(s), single-serve jug capacity, and a pre-programmed smoothie setting.
You are constantly Pinning new recipes and experimenting with novel alternatives (you made cashew cream mac and cheese before the vegans did). You want to incorporate your blender into breakfast, lunch, and dinner and are willing to shell out for premium features like self-cleaning technology and LCD display.
Look for these qualities: variety of manual and pre-programmed settings, stainless steel blades, glass jar, durable construction, large jug size, powerful motor (at least 2.00 horsepower/1500 watts), and easy-to-read measurement lines.
The Retail Take
Now that you know what to look for, don’t get bogged down by shopping logistics. We’ve broken down everything you need to consider before making your investment.
Pricing: What to Expect
You can find blenders priced as low as $30 and as high as $600. For long-term durability and reliable performance, spend between $75 and $150. Only serious chefs who want all the bells and whistles need to shell out for the premium models.
Most blenders come with a standard warranty of one to seven years. Some brands offer three- to five-year or lifetime extensions for purchase.
Availability and Retailer Options
Visiting a store IRL has a number of benefits: the opportunity to speak to a knowledgeable sales associate, the chance to look at blenders and sense the quality of their construction, and no waiting around for your purchase to ship. Most urban centers offer a range of brick-and-mortar scenarios, from big-box chains to independent boutiques.
If visiting a store in person isn’t your style, most major retailers have online sites. Additionally, many brand websites offer their own purchasing options. Look out for loyalty program discounts and Prime memberships to cut costs wherever possible.
How does a blender work?
A kitchen blender has a motor at the bottom that drives a switched blade. When food is placed into the jug at the base of the blender, the motor spins the blade in a circular whirling motion. You push a button on the control panel to choose one of several speeds.
What blenders are best for smoothies?
If all you really need a blender for is to whip up smoothies, the Nutribullet Pro 900 fits the bill. Though not the most versatile blender—it only has one speed—the Nutribullet Pro 900 is a quick and effective single-serve option. For larger portions, the Oster Versa Pro has a large jug and excels at blending fruits and veggies.
Are food processors and blenders the same?
Food processors are specifically designed to chop, slice and shred solid food, whereas blenders are better for crushing ice, whipping up frozen drinks, and puréeing soups. Some professional grade, higher-end blenders, like the Vitamix 5200, can function in place of a food processor for most recipes.
Can immersion blenders crush ice?
No, immersion blenders cannot crush ice. Attempting to do so will dull the blades and overwork the motor.
What are hand blenders used for?
Hand (a.k.a. “immersion”) blenders are the newest blender configuration with a motor on top connected by a shaft to a blade at the bottom. Hand blenders are much more compact and easier to clean than traditional countertop models. They can blend and purée ingredients right in the pot and conveniently fit inside a variety of containers.
What’s the best blender for making nut butters?
Motor-taxing mixtures like nut butters require a hefty amount of blending power. Look for high horsepower models like the Vitamix 750 Pro.
What’s best: manual speed controls or pre-set functions?
Pre-set programs are great if you’re multitasking in the kitchen, but they sometimes don’t blend as smoothly as manual controls. For a standard blender, expect a simple interface including a power switch, a pulse button, and a variable speed dial. Higher-end models usually boast more elaborate interfaces with pre-programmed settings for making specific dishes and for chopping, dicing, crushing, and puréeing.