PROS / The single-serve pitcher is so convenient for a smoothie on the go.
CONS / The automatic blending feature presents a bit of a learning curve at first.
VERDICT / It only got the soup warm and not hot, but this blender is convenient for most other uses and is particularly good at crushing ice for frozen drinks.
The Nutri Ninja Blendmax Duo, our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner, is a cost-effective way to get the convenience of a single-serving personal blender with the power of a full-sized, high-power blender. This unit comes with one base but three pitchers for blending, two of which can be used for drinking, too. This blender was good at most of our test recipes for smoothies and at crushing ice, though it was less strong at making fresh soup.
We used the preset buttons when that was an option on the machines in our blender reviews. For the smoothie test we used the Ninja Duo's smoothie button and got good results, though this blender did seem to heat up the smoothie slightly in the process. We were looking for perfectly smooth consistency and we found a few larger chunks here and there in Ninja Duo's smoothies, but they were generally excellent.
Both of the Ninja brand products in our comparison do a really good job of crushing ice so that the pieces are all small and roughly the same size, the way you want them for frozen drinks. Ninja Duo has a specific button for ice that makes it very easy.
This was not the best blender for soup, though. It came out smooth enough but was not heated much, even after the full four minutes recommended in the recipe. There is no preset button for soup, so the Ninja Duo is not really even designed to excel at making it. We prefer to have the option, though. The soup we got out of this blender had decent texture and flavor, but you will definitely want to heat it in the microwave to get the best results.
This is a relatively quiet blender, especially when you consider how much power it has. With 1,600 watts it is second in our review in blending power so it would have the right to be really loud, but it is the fourth quietest, averaging 93.5 decibels when it was making smoothies. This blender falls in the middle of the pack when it is fully assembled but it should fit under most overhead kitchen cabinets for easy storage.
The Ninja Duo really stands out for the safety of its non-slip base. The suction cups help ensure that it will not slip, slide or tip over, even on a wet countertop. In fact, this blender almost takes that too far because it can be difficult to slide it over when you want. The suction cups on the base are that strong.
Prep & Cleanup
This blender has an Auto-IQ feature that is designed to sense when a recipe is under-blended. If it is, The Ninja Duo will automatically turn itself on again to further break down the food in question. This is a nice capability once you get used to it, but there is a learning curve at first. The Duo is not the most intuitive machine because of it. The pre-programmed buttons for smoothies and frozen drinks are one feature that adds to ease of use, though, and you get used to the Auto-IQ feature.
This machine features flat controls that are easy to clean, and you can clean out the pitchers in the dishwasher if you are pinched for time. Hand washing them can be even faster, though. This blender's cord wrap is nice for keeping your countertop in order when you have it positioned close to the outlet.
Warranty & Support
The warranty is relatively short and that is disappointing. There are some online deals for this unit that come with an enhanced warranty, but the basic one out of the box is just one year. That's not much, especially when you compare it with the eight-year warranties on some competing products.
Even with a short warranty and an underwhelming performance on soup, the Nutri Ninja Blendmax Duo is a strong contender when comparing high-power blenders. You basically get a personal and family-sized blender in one box so you can make and take your smoothie in the morning or make a bigger batch of frozen drinks to share later in the day without having to stop and specifically wash everything.