We’ve been comparing and ranking blenders for more than four years, investing time each year to gain expertise on the topic. After extensive research and more than 100 hours of hands-on testing this year, we recommend the Cuisinart Hurricane as the best blender for most people. It is compact, quiet and powerful – representing the best combination of features overall. In our testing, it made smoother smoothies and hotter soup than the rest of the pack. It also has user-friendly features (like flat controls that are easy to clean) and a relatively long warranty.
Cuisinart Hurricane struggled a little on our ice crushing test but was otherwise a superstar, making healthy smoothies and converting raw produce into piping hot soup quickly.
The Oster Versa was a real contender and can be found for about $140 online. It was quiet and easy to use, though its smoothies were not perfectly smooth every time.
Blendtec Designer 625
With super-sleek controls and lots of horsepower, the Blendtec 625 is designed to help you make a wide variety of healthy snacks and meals. Blendtec's viral marketing campaign, Will it Blend?, offers some idea of how powerful this blender is and it did well on many of our tests.
Our testing did not lead us to a blender that was perfect at everything, but the Cuisnart Hurricane was perfect at the most things and good at all the rest. This one does not have the most wattage, but it manages to harness the power it has to make a really smooth smoothie, especially considering many of the other blenders we used left big chunks of fruit.
The Hurricane also was quite good at converting raw produce into hot soup. There is even a specific pre-programmed button for making soup. This model didn’t perform as well as others on the ice crushing test – we were able to find some uncrushed chunks – but still created relatively good raw materials for your homemade daquiris and margaritas.
We found this machine to be compact and easy to use. It takes just a small amount of counter space, and its lay-flat controls are easy to understand and clean. It was not the quietest one we tested, but it was pretty close. The lack of a cord wrap makes it a little less convenient, but that is only important if you plan to stow it after each use or if its location on the countertop will be close to the outlet.
The Versa was competitive in our testing, and we found it on sale for much less than competitors. Online prices fluctuate, but it was generally less expensive than other top models, and it has a lot to offer.
There are preset options for making soup, smoothies and dips, and this one is easy to use in other ways too. For starters, it is noticeably quiet. Controls are mostly flat, except for the dial, so it’s easy to wipe down. The dial is also a pretty cool and allows for subtle adjustments in speed.
There are ways that it is less convenient, too. You can’t simply throw the pitcher in the dishwasher, so cleanup is not terribly convenient. The fresh soup and smoothies that we made were not perfect, but they were fine. If you are looking for a blender that is less expensive but still really good, this is one to consider. Oster stands by this unit with a nice long warranty – one of the longest, in fact, of the ones we compared in our blender reviews.
Best for Crushing Ice
The Blendtec Designer 625 tied for the best score on crushing ice in our tests, so if you are buying a blender to make margaritas and other frozen drinks this is a great candidate.
This was not the best for making smoothies, which is surprising considering its great results on ice. For some reason we found chunks of frozen fruit in our test smoothies. In some rounds of testing the frozen fruit even got caught under the blade, which made more work for us as we fished them out and finished the smoothie. This blender also had more of a learning curve than most. Its short frame and choice of colors make it one of the best for looking great and storing easily, and this comes with stellar warranty coverage so you don't have to fret over repairs.
Best for Making Smoothies
The Dash Chef was the best at producing fruit smoothies. The frozen fruit came out of the blender truly smooth in our tests, which was not the case with some others we tried.
This blender also was impressive on the soup test – taking tomatoes and a few other ingredients and blending them into piping hot soup quickly. This blender was not as great at crushing ice; the ice wasn't as evenly shredded as other blenders made it. It is also noisy and oddly tall for a blender. This one was the second loudest and the second tallest. No one would expect a blender to be quiet, but it was noticeably louder than normal, and it would not fit under all kitchen cabinets, so if you have low ones this is going to be a bad fit – literally.
Why Trust Us?
Since 2013, we have spent more than 240 hours researching and testing the most popular and well-regarded blenders. We’ve spent hours pouring over product specifications, user reviews and professional reviews to find the best of the best blenders — and that was all before we began our own tests. We only bought high-quality blenders for our in-house tests. There are many types of blenders, but we decided to focus mostly on full-sized blenders with large pitchers and the ones that cost less than $500.
How We Tested
We have done multiple rounds of testing with blenders over the years, each time having them perform common tasks that demonstrate their ability to create favorite foods, quickly and easily. We used a common mixed berry recipe for smoothies, using fully frozen fruits, and used the same proportions in each blender, analyzing how smooth the texture was at the end. We made fresh tomato soup with each of them in an effort to see which ones do the best job of emulsifying and heating ingredients. We tested their temperature at the end to see which blenders could get the soup piping hot and ready to serve. We also crushed ice with each unit to see how helpful they would be in party settings for frozen drinks.
Apart from performance, we considered things like user-friendliness. We measured how much noise each blender makes so you will know if you can make your early morning smoothie without waking your family – or the neighbors. We considered dimensions and made note of abnormally tall or wide machines that might be inconvenient in different ways. We considered how easy they are to clean, including whether or not their pitchers can go in the dishwasher and how easy their controls are to wipe down. We took note of how long their warranties last, as well, so you know whether you can count on the companies for long-lasting support of their product.
How Much Do Blenders Cost?
The prices of countertop blenders vary widely. The best-selling units on Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy average out to about $90. However, the best blenders on other review sites average out to about $300. In our years of testing different blenders, we have found there are decent blenders at almost every price. Once you get above $200, you will always get excellent blending capabilities, though the ones in the $400 price range are even more impressive, quieter and more powerful. Below the $200 mark is hit or miss. We did find some inexpensive gems. Our Best Value winner, Oster Versa, costs less than $200. We tested five that cost under $100 and the NutriBullet Pro was great in our experience.
Which Bullet is Best?
Personal blenders are appealing in many ways. You can blend smoothies right in the cup you will drink from, which cuts down on dishwashing duties. They also occupy very little counter space, which makes them good for smaller kitchens. There are so many of them, though, it can be tough to pick one out, especially if you want one of the Bullet-style blenders. We lined four of them up, side by side, to get a feel for their various strengths and weaknesses. We took one typical fruit smoothie recipe and made it in each blender – NutriBullet Balance, Magic Bullet, NutriBullet Rx and NutriBullet Pro. We also blended some ice to see how these might do for making frozen drinks.
Best Bullet Overall
The NutriBullet Pro was the best Bullet in our comparison. It is compact enough to provide the convenience of a Bullet blender, with a tiny counter top footprint and minimal cleaning, but it’s big enough to have serious blending power. The smoothie was fantastic and it shredded ice to perfection, although we found one small chunk of banana after blending our smoothie for the allotted time. A few more pulses would have conquered it. Plus, this model is under $100. That cannot be said of many Bullet-style blenders.
The NutriBullet Balance stood out as particularly good in our tests when compared to the Magic Bullet, NutriBullet Rx and NutriBullet Pro. The NutriBullet Balance was not the easiest to use but it is more convenient that traditional blenders. The smoothie came out perfect – no chunks left over. It was also perfect for ice, coming up with perfect shreds for a daiquiri or margarita. This Bullet also adds some nice features, including a built-in scale. The associated app can help you stay on top of the number of calories you are consuming, and it offers recipe ideas and general dieting motivation. The Balance provides all of the advantages you expect from a Bullet-style blender – compact design, great smoothies and ease of use – but it also offers extras that might actually be helpful in getting healthier. It costs more than a lot of the Bullets we looked at, so it might not be for every buyer.
Can I Use a Blender Instead of a Food Processor?
It honestly depends on what you’re intending to do. You’ve seen your blender easily puree soft fruits and vegetables, and you might want to try blending some heartier foods. Keep in mind that most blenders are not equipped with the power or technology necessary to tackle all food types. Blenders are designed to create fibrous liquids. Food processors, on the other hand, come with multiple attachments to help you shred, chop, blend and slice.
Using a blender on certain foods will likely just break your motor or damage your blades. This is different for industrial-level blenders, like the Blendtec, which can handle a wider variety of foods. However, professional-grade machines are way more expensive than the average blender. In our own testing, we only used consumer-level blenders. If you’re wanting a machine that can help you chop vegetables, potatoes, cheese and leafy greens among other foods, you should definitely consider the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup, which was the best overall food processor we tested.
Foods to Avoid Blending
Many blenders struggle with leafy greens – they’re less likely to actually blend them and more likely to leave long strips of spinach in your smoothie. In addition, blending leafy greens can permanently stain your blender, giving the cup a brown or green tint.
You also must resist the urge to grind coffee beans or cocoa beans in your blender. The same goes for hard nuts. Your blender's motor is likely not strong enough to work with these hard foods and may die if you try to blend them.
Similarly, you should never make dough in your blender. When the blades spin too quickly combining water and flour, it creates a very strong gluten bond that can permanently damage your device. It’s better to use a mixer or bread maker when making dough.
As Southern Living states, you also shouldn't blend potatoes. Since they’re made of starch, potatoes whipped in a blender have a gross, sticky texture that's far from fluffy like mashed potatoes should be.
Also, keep in mind that strong tasting foods, such as garlic, can leave a lingering flavor in your blender that might take several washings to get rid of. Nothing's more disappointing than taking a sip of your fruit smoothie and tasting onion.
You also want to avoid blending super hot liquids. Steam rising inside the blending cup can cause the lid to blow open, raining hot liquid down on your kitchen. That being said, some blenders are designed to blend soup – for example, the Cuisinart Hurricane. Just make sure the contents aren't too hot while in the blender.
What to Make with Your Blender
A blender can make so much more than just smoothies, but you may not always have that in mind when you buy one. Here are some ideas for getting a little more use out of your blender:
- Condiments -- Homemade mayonnaise might be quite nice for a special dish, or even daily use, and it’s pretty easy to make if you have a good blender.
- Salad Dressings -- You can whip up some pretty amazing salad dressings with the right ingredients and 5 minutes.
- Soups -- Many of the better blenders now come with a soup button, so you don’t have to worry about settings at all -- just add some delicious ingredients and enjoy your soup. A tomato bisque comes together quite nicely in a blender, for example.
Sauces -- Pestos can be done in your blender or food processor, so whichever one is easier to use will work for different recipes. Also, we love this applesauce recipe as a way to use up some extra apples you may have.
Are Glass or Plastic Blender Jars Better?
On a day-to-day basis, the material your blender's jar is made of might not matter too much. Over time, though, the jar material might make a difference. There are three types of jars:
- Glass Pitcher
Pros: Glass is incredibly durable and continues to look good after years of use. It is extremely resistant to scratches and does not absorb food smells like some plastic jars.
Cons: Glass blender jars are pretty heavy and cumbersome. As such, people with arthritis may find them difficult to use. Also, they can shatter if you drop them at a bad angle. The latest jars are designed to resist breaking – but they are glass, and glass can break.
2. Plastic Pitcher
Pros: Plastic pitchers are lighter than glass ones, which makes them easier to clean and carry. Also, you don’t run the risk of them shattering if you drop them.
Cons: They tend to discolor over time. In addition, they get scratched up, especially if you crush a lot of ice, and the cheaper ones absorb odor.
3. Stainless Steel Pitcher
Pros: Though still rare outside of restaurants, stainless steel jars are starting to appear with household blenders, and they look very sleek. They are also very durable and stain-resistant.
Cons: You can’t see what is going on inside the jar, so it might be harder to track blending progress. Also, they tend to be expensive.
How to Deep-Clean a Blender
After several smoothies, your blender might be in serious need of deep cleaning. We've put together some instructions to help you safely remove stubborn stains:
- Unplug the device. The last thing you want is to get a nasty shock.
- Remove all food residue and wash the blade, jar and lid in soapy water.
- Dry all components.
- Now you’re ready to tackle the deep stains. Mix 1 Tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of white vinegar per cup of warm water. You need enough liquid to submerge the items you’re cleaning.
- Submerge the parts that have stubborn stains for one to two hours. NEVER submerge the component that holds the motor, as this can render it useless and may even be dangerous.
- Use a sponge to remove any residue. Check to see if the stains are gone. You might need to soak the parts a few times before the stains go away.
- If the baking soda and vinegar mixture doesn’t work, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Consider using a razor to carefully shave off harder stains and buildup.
- Keep in mind that abrasive chemicals and cleaners, such as bleach, can harm materials like ceramics and glazes. They might even leave stains instead of removing them.
- If the base of your blender needs cleaning, use a damp soapy rag to wipe away grime and smudges. Be careful not to allow water to drip into the motor area, as this will damage your blender.
- If the base’s stains remain, wipe it down using the baking soda, vinegar and water mixture and a rag.
Pro Tip: Immediately rinse your blender when you’re done using it. This will dislodge any seeds or other remains that stubbornly stick to the sides when dry. This can also prevent deep stains from developing.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Utility||Design||Prep & Cleanup||Warranty & Support||Cord Wrap||Dishwasher Safe||Flat Controls||Ease of Use||Depth (inches)||Width (inches)||Sound Level (decibels)||Height (inches)||Non-slip Base||Warranty||Phone||Motor Warranty||Chat||Watts||Smoothie Score||Single-serve Jar||Speed Settings||Soup Score||Jar Size (ounces)||Soup Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Ice Score|
|Cuisinart Hurricane CBT2000||View Deal||4.5/5||9.8||8.3||8.5||7.3||✓||✓||100%||8||7||93||14.5||✓||3 Years||✓||10 Years||✓||1500||100%||10||100%||64||156||60%|
|Nutri Ninja Duo||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||8.3||9.8||5.8||✓||✓||✓||90%||8.5||6||93.5||17||✓||1 Year||✓||1 Year||✓||✓||1600||95%||✓||9||67.5%||80||86||92.5%|
|Dash Chef Digital Blender||View Deal||4/5||9.8||5||10||9||✓||✓||✓||95%||8.98||9||93.5||19.6||✓||1 Year||✓||Lifetime||✓||1400||100%||6||95%||67||155||82.5%|
|Oster Versa||View Deal||4/5||9.3||7.3||6.8||9.3||✓||✓||100%||8||7||92.5||17||✓||7 Years||✓||7 Years||✓||1400||92.5%||10||87.5%||64||134||80%|
|KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender||View Deal||4/5||6.8||10||10||5.8||✓||✓||✓||95%||5||6.5||78||16.5||✓||1 Year||✓||1 Year||✓||✓||550||95%||5||65%||60||100||55%|
|NutriBullet Rx||View Deal||4/5||8.5||8.9||8.5||2.8||✓||✓||100%||6||6||96||19||✓||1 Year||2 Years||✓||1700||92.5%||✓||0||85%||45||130||45%|
|Ninja Professional NJ600||View Deal||4/5||7.7||9||8.3||6||✓||✓||90%||7.5||6||92.5||16.5||✓||1 Year||✓||2 Years||✓||✓||1000||97.5%||3||55%||72||75||100%|