If you came of age anytime before the 2000s, you probably remember blenders being horrifically loud, bulky, unreliable, and impossible to clean. Blenders have come a long way since their invention in 1922. They’re rapidly evolving from a simple motorized mixer to intricate blending systems with a wide array of functions. Now, they’re a kitchen essential.
Whether you’re an aspiring home chef, a health-food junky, or just want to enjoy a lovely homemade milkshake, a great blender is an essential kitchen appliance to have in your arsenal. But, before you invest in a high-tech blending machine, reflect on what you’ll actually be using it to make. It’s easy to get lost in a fantasy of using your blender every day to make a bunch of great stuff, but most of us don’t wind up doing that. If you see yourself as an occasional-use blender type of guy, then an affordable, middle-of-the-road model should suffice. However, if you’re an “everything from scratch” home chef who makes everything from dressings to soups, then an investment in a high-end model would be wise.
To help you make your choice, we’ve made a list of the nine best blenders we think you should consider.
If you walk into almost any high-volume, professional kitchen you’ll find at least one of these bad boys. There are multiple reasons why this blender is trusted by executive chefs everywhere. Its high-performance, 1,380w-motor with a metal-drive blade system can handle large batches of thick consistencies up to 64oz. It has a radial cooling fan to prevent overheating and a variable speed control knob to let you have precise control over the stainless-steel blades. This thing is so powerful you can even heat soup from cold to steaming hot in about six minutes from the blade friction! On top of all that, it comes with a seven-year warranty, and it’s made in the good ol’ USA.
Yet, with any marvelous invention comes a hefty price tag. The good news is, this isn’t the most expensive model of Vitamix blenders on the market, but it has all the features you need. The bad news is, Vitamix blenders, overall, are the most expensive blenders. If you’re the type who lives by the maxim, “Buy the best, and you only cry once,” then you need a Vitamix.
Professional chefs and blend-geeks alike have been debating for years about which blender is better; the Vitamix or Blendtec. There are some distinct features between the two that either put you on team Blendtec or team Vitamix, most revolving around the “tech,” as is in the latter product’s name.
Blendtec blenders come with six pre-programmed cycles, pulse, and 10-speed manual control, unlike the Vitamix that has a speed control dial. The Blendtec is actually more powerful (1,560w) and holds more at 75 ounces. Blendtec’s most unique feature is its patented, dull blade system, making for worry-free clean-up. Blendtec claims that the powerful motor and dull blades make for amazingly smooth blends, though there’s no noticeable difference to the Vitamix. You can also heat liquids in the Blendtech through blade friction, and it comes with a warranty that’s one year longer than the Vitamix (eight years). It’s also made in the USA.
You can probably tell that these two brands are in direct competition. Yet, it seems like the Blendtec does everything a Vitamix does, but for cheaper. All in all, that’s a true statement. The main differences lie in programmable controls and ease of use. The less-is-more design of the dial control system Vitamix employs is a big draw for many people. But in the end, Blendtec stands up to pretty much every aspect of its rival. It just depends if the dial control system of Vitamix is that big of a draw and if you’re willing to pay the extra money for the name.
Now that we’ve talked about the most expensive blenders let’s get into the more affordable ones that can still get the job done. An excellent value blender is the Oster Pro 1200. This Oster model has a more powerful 1,200-watt motor for blowing and seven different output settings, including a pulse function.
The glass pitcher is a very nice touch at this price, too, particularly for those looking to eliminate plastic from the kitchen. Be aware that it’s fairly hefty, and be careful not to drop it in the sink when you’re washing it, although the glass is pretty substantial (hence the weight). The Oster Pro also includes a 24-ounce bottle for taking your smoothies on the go. This is an extremely solid, if somewhat plain-looking, blender for just $60.
This Ninja Professional is one of the best ones we’ve found for less than $100, with a beefy 1,000-watt motor and six-blade chopper assembly that shreds through hard ingredients without straining.
Its 72-ounce pitcher (that’s nine cups) is plenty big enough for preparing large batches of whatever you’re making. Still, its squared-off design minimizes space, so it’s not too bulky on your countertop. At around $80, the Ninja Professional is simply the best blender we could find for less than $100 (and maybe even less than $200). For about $25 more, you can grab a version that comes with two single-serve bottles and a small blade assembly for making your own personal shakes and smoothies. But, if you want a smaller blender for that, read on to see our other picks.
This Ninja Mega Kitchen System Blender offers it all. At first glance, it looks like the Ninja Professional, albeit with a modified and even more powerful 1,500-watt blender motor that also accommodates a large eight-cup food processing bowl. This two-for-one design lets you create smoothies, shakes, and other blended concoctions (you even get two small single-serve bottles) while also giving you the ability to process food ingredients like cheese and dough. The only real drawback here is that it’s twice the price at $160, but the Mega Kitchen System gives you a lot of food prep capabilities for your money.
A number of our picks, such as the Ninja blenders, come with their own single-serve bottles and even small blade assemblies for making one-person smoothies. However, the blenders themselves are still somewhat bulky. If you already have a full-sized blender (or maybe you don’t need one at all) and you just want a small one that can make drinks for one, then it doesn’t get much better – or much more compact – than the $50 NutriBullet Magic Bullet.
The Magic Bullet blender is small but mighty, with a 600-watt high-speed motor that’s ideal for making your own fruit-and vegetable-based smoothies (it can also handle ice, but don’t overdo it – adding crushed ice instead of large cubes is a good idea). Your drinks are made right in either the included 24-ounce or 18-ounce cup, both of which come with lids storage and transport when your drink is ready. If you’re making a lot of frozen
You can blend a smoothie or shake in pretty much any blender, but there’s one feature of this Ikich Vacuum Blender that the others don’t have, and that’s, well, the vacuum. The vacuum suction technology removes air bubbles from your smoothie, which results in less oxidation and less separation. Ikich claims that vacuum mixing can provide three times more vitamin C and 63% more antioxidant activity than normal mixing, but we’ll leave that up to the scientists. This model has eleven pre-programmed settings and comes with a nifty sport bottle.
One type of blender that’s often overlooked is a quality immersion blender. This powerful Vitamix immersion blender is great for blending sauces and soups right in the pot while cooking. It has scratch-resistant blade guards that prevent you from ruining your favorite nonstick pots and pans. But it’s not just for cooking purposes. You can blend a tasty smoothie or shake right in your pitcher or glass.
Who knows boat drinks better than Jimmy Buffet? Nobody! That’s why we’re interested in making our frozen boozy, blended beverages in this Margaritaville Bali Frozen Concoction Maker. It comes with four pre-programmed settings; Margaritas, Daiquiris, Coladas, and Smoothies. It has programmable settings for half or full-size batches. You can even customize your blending consistency with its manual shave and blend controls. So crank up the yacht rock and get your tiki party started!
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