If you have been looking at getting a new blender for your kitchen, you have probably been overwhelmed with the number available. Blenders are one of the most popular kitchen appliances and there are hundreds of models to chose from. This guide will help you narrow down your search for this great kitchen tool.
What’s the difference between a blender and a food processor? Both have some similar functions although each handles different tasks. A blender is generally used for liquids. If you are making a smoothie or a malt, a blender is perfect. A food processor will handle a smoothie but is better suited for heavier tasks. If you need to chop foods, especially dense, solid foods, then a food processor is best for you. We are going to concentrate on blenders.
The 5 Best Blenders
#1. Ninja 72 Ounce Professional Blender
This outstanding blender is our #1 pick for kitchen blenders. It is a powerful unit designed to handle tough blending and chopping tasks with ease. At less than $100 (and often on sale at Amazon) this blender is a tremendous value. It’s sturdy construction means it will be in your kitchen for many years.
The first thing you notice about this blender is the large mixing jar. At 72 ounces it is larger than most and the size allows you to mix some large recipes. The plastic is heavy duty and has measurement markings that are easy to read. The whole unit has a sleek design and will look great on your countertop.
Besides the large mixing jar the Ninja blender has a powerful 1000 watt motor. Even though you probably won’t be using this for chopping coarse, dense vegetables, the motor is strong enough to power through most food items.
The blade assembly is very interesting. It is a 6 blade package which means that the mixing is done very thoroughly and quickly. All 6 blades work together to give you a well mixed drink, soup or sauce. It’s also great for chopping ice on those wickedly hot days.
-There are 4 programmed settings that are very handy. These automatic programs will cover a large share of your mixing needs. There are also 4 manual settings that are easy to use.
-The plastic mixing jar goes into the dishwasher, making clean up a breeze. The blades wipe down nicely and the base is quite easy to clean.
-The motor is strong enough to handle vegetables, even very hard veggies. It can do the job of most food processors.
-A 25 page recipe book is included. This book has some fun recipes for smoothies, drinks and soups that you will want to try.
-You need to watch what speed you use to mix smoothies. The settings can be too high and you end up with froth.
-If not on sale, the $100 price tag is okay but not great.
#2 NutriBullet 12 Piece Blender
A combination juicer and blender, the NutriBullet is our #2 pick for best blender. It’s extremely price competitive and this is a 12 piece package, making it an even better deal.
We love the sleek, modern design of this blender. The base is tapered with an easy to use control pad. While the motor is smaller than the Ninja Professional, it is large enough to handle most fruits and vegetables. You receive 2 different blades with this set, as well as 2 different sized mixing cups. If you are looking for a unit to makes smoothies with, you will love the NutriBullet.
This is a 12 piece set and includes the base, 2 blades, 3 mixing cups, a recipe book, 2 lids, 2 cup rings and a nutrition guide. The motor is 600 watts and feels strong, even when mixing veggies. The nutrition guide is a great addition for those who are looking to add vitamins and minerals into their diets. 2 cup lids are included, they turned out to be very handy. After making a large smoothie you can drink some now and refrigerate the rest.
The prices is definitely a benefit. This set up is usually under $60 and is often on sale for $49.99. Being a 12 piece set makes this a good value.
-You are getting a 12 piece set for the price, making this a great deal. Having 3 different mixing cups is extremely useful, you can swap out cups when you are making different drinks.
-The motor and blades are well designed and do a good job of chopping, mixing and pulverizing. I never had a problem with too much froth when mixing smoothies. Too much froth means you are adding too much air into your mix.
-The design is very space age and slick. You will find that it looks very good on the counter and doesn’t take up too much space.
-The cups and lids go right into the dishwasher. The rest of the unit was very easy to clean.
-All three mixing cups are small. The tall cup is 32 ounces (it holds 28 ounces of liquid) and the 2 short cups are 24 ounces (holding 18 ounces of liquid). This can require you to make a couple of batches instead of one big batch.
-The motor is only 600 watts. While this is enough to chop and pulverize fruits and most vegetables it may be too small for some of your chopping needs.
#3 Oster Pro Blender 1200
I really like this blender! I have 3 different Oster appliances in my kitchen and I am always amazed at how well built they are. My convection oven is used all the time and is still working like new. I have an Oster electric griddle that has become a staple in my kitchen and now I have this blender.
Oster has made this blender with a steel base, one of the few steel based blenders on the market. Not only does it feel more solid but it is easy to clean and won’t crack with extended heavy use. Brushed nickel feels sturdy and looks great.
With a 1200 watt motor you will be able to chop and pulverize anything quite easily. I have tried ice cubes, peanuts, beets (yes-beets!), almonds and carrots with this blender. All gave up the fight quite easily, this is a powerful piece of equipment.
A really nice feature is the smoothie cup (included). Without having to make any additional mess you can mix your smoothie (or juice or malt) right in the cup you are going to be using. It attaches easily and, once the mixing is done, detaches. Just snap on the lid and you have a travel cup.
The powerful 1200 watt motor is a beast. You will be able to chop, mix or pulverize just about anything. This unit is able to perform most tasks that a food processor would at half the price.
Another benefit of a large motor is the number of settings available. This appliance has 7 settings and gives you great flexibility as you blend. The multiple blades do a very good job of chopping and mixing.
-As mentioned, the 1200 watt motor is very powerful. You won’t find too many foods that can’t be blended easily with this unit.
-Multiple blades. Having multiple blades, along with a strong motor, means that your mixing will be better and your chopping will be easier.
-A large 72 ounce glass mixing jar. I like big mixing jars, you can make your drink or recipe in larger batches. The glass is heavy duty and tempered. Plus, you can toss it into the dishwasher.
-A good value. This blender is usually priced around $79.99 and will be on sale occasionally at $59.99. If you consider all of the things that this blender can do you realize that you are getting your money’s worth.
-It’s noisy. One drawback to a powerful motor is going to be noise. This is one appliance that literally can wake the baby.
-Cleaning the blades can be awkward. While the glass jar comes off quickly and can be put in the dishwasher, you have to wash the blades by hand. Sometimes getting all the bits out will require some effort.
#4 Hamilton Beach Power Elite
Hamilton Beach is one of the most well respected names in kitchen appliances. This combination blender/food chopper continues in that tradition of high quality, well designed tools that work well and last a long time.
This is a great idea. It starts out as a sturdy, well built blender but it can also be used as a food chopper. By swapping out the mixing bowl and blades you can change this blender into a food processor. As Alton Brown says on The Food Network, nobody should ever have single use utensils in their kitchens. This blender and chopper suddenly becomes multi-use.
The glass mixing bowl for the blender has a 40 ounce capacity and is dishwasher safe. The bowl for the food chopper (processor) is also glass and dishwasher friendly. Both are easily removed from the base and it is a snap to swap out bowls.
Hamilton Beach is using a 700 watt motor for this unit, which is a medium sized motor. It is large enough to power the multiple blades and is strong enough to mix most fruits and vegetables. Chopping ice (with or without water) is a snap.
There are 4 blending (programmed) buttons that give you a total of 12 settings. Generally the more settings, with a strong motor, the better your results will be. I liked the multiple setting feature and found it easy to use.
-Having both a 40 ounce mixing jar and a 3 cup chopping bowl is a real treat. Often recipes will call for multiple ingredients and this allows you to mix and chop with the same unit but separate bowls.
-A 700 watt motor is plenty of power for mixing and blending. The blades are upturned at the ends which helps move the ingredients around and up the side of the mixing jar.
-Finally, someone paid attention to the power cord! This cord actually stores separately, is long enough and is properly wrapped. No lost cords, no frayed cords.
-There are no extra blades for the chopping bowl. Heavy nuts an vegetables can be a challenge.
-While a 700 watt motor is usually sufficient, without special chopping blades it has to work harder on dense, dry veggies.
#5 KitchenAid 5 Speed Diamond Blender
Another brand known for high quality kitchen appliances is KitchenAid. While probably best known for their stand mixers, they also make an exceptional kitchen blender. And as is usually the case with KitchenAid products, there are 20 different colors available. You will be able to match any kitchen color scheme with this blender.
It may sound silly but you want a blender to blend. Some blenders try to hard to be food processors and don’t concentrate enough on basic blending. KitchenAid kept their eyes on the prize, this blender is made for blending.
The company calls it system diamond blending using the Intelli-Speed Motor. It sounds clumsy but it works like a charm. The mixing jar is designed to move the ingredients around, allowing the blades to blend, pulse or chop all of the ingredients. This helps keep everything in motion, meaning you won’t have to constantly stop the blender and scrape down the sides.
Like most KitchenAid appliances, this blender has a die-cast steel base. The unit just feels solid. It’s heavy enough so that the blender won’t move on the counter, even when pulsing at a high speed.
There are 5 speeds to use, the settings are clearly laid out and simple to follow. There also is a slow soft food setting. This allows the blender to start mixing slowly when the jar is holding soft foods, especially fruit. The blade then speeds up, pulling the rest of the ingredients down into the mixing area.
-It’s KitchenAid. Great products, great service. Too often we buy things based solely on price. Quality matters with these people.
-The mixing jar is BPA free plastic and goes into the dishwasher when you are finished blending. It’s shatter, scratch and stain resistant and is very sturdy.
-The blade unit sits right on the motor. There is a steel coupler to hold it in place. This gives the unit more power and it is quieter than most blenders.
-No other blade options. There aren’t any heavy chopping blades. The blades included are good but nuts and dense veggies take more time.
-The mixing jar is 60 ounces. Not the smallest around, not the biggest. I would have liked a 72 ounce jar.
The Best Kitchen Blenders: A Buying Guide
Choosing a good blender doesn’t have to be complicated but there are a few factors to consider. Here are a few tips to follow:
It’s A Blender, Not A Food Processor
While many blenders can handle the same tasks as a food processor, most are not designed to work like a food processor. A good blender is made to mix, blend and pulse. Chopping is a nice option but doesn’t always work well with a blender.
Because you are working with a mixing jar that is taller than it is wide, you have less chopping ability. The blades are shorter, meaning they have to work harder to successfully chop dense, heavy foods.
Size Does Matter
It matters for motor size. It also matters for the size (capacity) of the mixing jar.
If the motor is too small it will have to work harder to do its job. This means it will be noisier and, in a worse case, could overheat or burn out. Any motor less than 400 watts is going to struggle.
Having a mixing jar or bowl that is too small isn’t dangerous, but it is a hassle. If you are mixing a large batch of smoothies but only have a 40 ounce jar, you may have to split the recipe and make two batches. Again, it’s a hassle, not a danger.
Glass Versus Plastic Mixing Jars And Bowls
Many people are concerned about the amount of plastic being used with food preparation. Long term studies showed that BPA in plastics can be hazardous to your health. Plastic is harder to recycle, glass is easier to reuse.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer for the question of plastic versus glass when you are looking at blenders. From a performance point, both work well for mixing and can go into the dishwasher. Plastic can crack or stain, glass can shatter.
The health issue is more personal. BPA is not allowed in plastic any longer but you may still avoid plastic.
Attachments And Addons
A few of the blenders reviewed come with extra blades, mixing jars and lids, recipe books or other pieces. Some of the extras are very handy, I really like the lids that fit on the mixing jars of the NutriBullet. Extra blades are nice but only if they are easy to swap out.
Most of the blenders come with some sort of recipe book. Usually this is quite basic, it will have a few smoothie recipes and maybe two cold soup recipes. Their fun to look at but shouldn’t make any difference when it comes to your purchase.
Before you buy a blender, make sure you aren’t expecting a food processor. A good blender can be purchased for under $90 and will mix perfectly most beverages, sauces and soups. A good food processor will cost around $250. You don’t need to overspend for a kitchen tool if you don’t need to.
Hopefully there have been some suggestions to help you make your decision! Be sure to let us know what you bought and if you are happy with your purchase.