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Best blenders 2021: Including the top NutriBullet and Ninja blenders

Best blenders 2021: Including the top NutriBullet and Ninja blenders
(Image credit: Getty)

Owning one of the best blenders opens up a whole new world of healthy eating, from making delicious fruit and vegetable smoothies, to whizzing up hearty, nutrient-packed fresh soups. NutriBullet blenders are among the most popular, followed closely by Ninja. Both brands make simple to use kitchen blenders that are powerful and versatile, lending themselves to making protein shakes, plus healthy dips and hummus to spread on crackers or eat with veggies. And because these brands are regularly bringing out new blenders, you can often pick up an older model for not much money. 

When it comes to the best blenders for protein shakes, the kitchen appliance world is your oyster, as most blenders now sport a smoothie setting. This means you can drop your ingredients into the blender and simply hit ‘smoothie’. Some of them do the job a little quieter – our NutriBullet Balance blender is loud but fast – and some are much better at properly blending powders and seeds. Blenders come in a range of capacities, with some well-suited to larger households or families. If you’re a frothy milkshake fan, or you want to crush ice for drinks, grab a high-speed blender that’s tough enough for the job. Travel blenders, while portable, are usually more lightweight in their ability to tackle a range of foods.

In our roundup of this year’s best blenders for smoothies, soups and beyond, we’ve evaluated all the usual features, such as capacity, preset functions and how easy the blender is to clean afterwards. We’ve also talked about noise, and picked out which blender is best at making different drinks, snacks and meals. Some smoothie fans prefer using blenders to the best juicers because they leave in more fiber, but this comes down to personal taste. While they aren’t as capable as the best food processors when blending a larger range of dry ingredients, a high speed blender will easily tackle wet ingredients, plus seeds, nuts, grains and more.

1. Cuisinart Hurricane CBT 2000: Best blender overall

Best blenders: Cuisinart Hurricane CBT 2000

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

Cuisinart Hurricane CBT 2000 Blender

Want a dips, soups and smoothie blender? Look no further

Ideal for soups and smoothies
Compact, space-saving design
Flat controls are easy to clean
Not the best for ice

Our testing did not lead us to a blender that was perfect at everything, but the Cuisinart Hurricane CBT 2000 Blender 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.

This Cuisinart Blender was quite good at converting raw produce into hot soup, too. 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 daiquiris and margaritas.

We found the Cuisinart Hurricane CBT 2000 Blender 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.

2. Ninja Professional BL610: Best cheap blender

Best blenders: the Ninja Professional BL610 shown in dark grey and filled with apples, carrots and strawberries

(Image credit: Best Buy)

Ninja Professional BL610 1000-Watt

The best blender for value

Large capacity
Super powerful for the price
Non-slip handle and base
 Poor warranty 

The Ninja Professional BL610 is a family-sized blender on a budget. Its 1000-watt motor can make work of blending ice and smoothies, and it has some thoughtful touches for such a reasonably priced blender. This includes a smart lid with a lift-up spout slot which will prevent you from spilling your soup or milkshakes when pouring from the 72-ounce pitcher. The pitcher is marked in both cups and ounces which makes it great for recipes. 

Both the base and the handle of the Ninja Professional BL610 are non-slip and will stay secure both on kitchen counters and in your hand as you pour. The control panel also has a wipe-clean finish, but it has fewer settings than more expensive blenders. The settings are low, medium, and high, alongside the power and pulse buttons. The pitcher is also dishwasher-safe. 

3. NutriBullet 600: Best personal blender

Best blenders: NutriBullet 600 in graphite, and filled with courgetters, carrots, brocolli and

(Image credit: NutriBullet)

NutriBullet 600 Original Blender

The best personal blender for smoothies, protein shakes and more

Can handle ice and nuts
Three mixing containers
No speed control

We all know the NutriBullet, and the NutriBullet 600 is a classic for a reason. Although 600 watts isn’t the strongest motor we reviewed, this personal blender made quick work of ice, nuts, and frozen fruit. 

There are no speed controls on the NutriBullet 600, so don’t expect to be able to switch it on low to make salsa or shop nuts. This blender is designed for personal use - its containers are in a variety of sizes, but all of them on the small side. There’s also two blade options, but we found that each of them achieved a similar result. 

If you want a personal blender to make smoothies, milkshakes, protein shakes, and sauces, this compact and straightforward option is a really great choice. For the price and size though, don’t expect it to do the same tasks as a traditional family-sized blender. 

4. KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender: Best blender for smoothies 

Best blenders: KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender

(Image credit: Amazon)

KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender

This high speed blender also makes a mean milkshake

Attractive classic design
Built-in motor control
Reasonably priced
Not the best for blending soup or nuts

Looking for the best blender for smoothies? The KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond is a great choice. In our tests it wasn’t the most versatile and it struggled with nuts and soups, but it did a great job when it came to smoothies. The KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond can stir, chop, liquify, mix, and puree, as well as settings which pulse and crush ice. 

The motor has a steel-reinforced coupler that provides the right amount of power for whatever task you throw its way. It also has a large 60-ounce pitcher and - in classic KitchenAid style - can come in a large variety of colors. The pitcher can be placed in the dishwasher and the flat control panel can be easily wiped clean. 

5. Nutri Ninja BL480D: Best small smoothie blender

Best blender 2020: Ninja, NutriBullet, Oster, KitchenAid

(Image credit: Amazon)

Nutri Ninja BL480D Blender

The best blender for smoothie and nut milk fans with small kitchens

Powerful personal blender
Makes great almond milk
Stable and sturdy 
On the small side

The Nutri Ninja BL480D is a powerful blender with a small capacity, but a bulkier base than the NutriBullet personal blender. It does come with cups of multiple sizes and sip lids for each, which makes it a great choice for protein shakes and smoothies, but you’ll struggle to make anything for more than one person in this blender. 

In our tests, the Nutri Ninja BL480D was able to create great almond milk, and it broke down spinach and frozen fruit easily. It struggled with large ingredients like apples, so we had to cut these pieces more finely before it was able to blend them. The blender base is on the bulky side, but it has a smart control panel and suctions to kitchen counters to prevent spills. 

 6. Oster Pro 1200: Best blender food processor combo 

Best blenders: Oster Pro 1200

(Image credit: Oster)

Oster Pro 1200 Combi Blender

Comes with a food processor attachment, and for a decent price

Food processor attachment included
Seven speeds
No soup setting

The Oster Pro 1200 blender can be bought with a food processor attachment which can make salsa, nut butters, baby food, and more. It’s also a super affordable blender for the amount of settings on offer - that includes low, medium, and high settings, and a pulse option.There’s even a food chop/salsa mode, a mode for milkshakes, and a smoothie setting. 

This blender comes with a to-go cup and a 68-ounce pitcher to create large soups and smoothies for six. It does have a few quirks - for example, you’ll need to line up the lid perfectly to prevent any leaks, but Oster offers great customer service and a decent warranty in case anything goes wrong. 

7. Nutri Ninja Duo: Best blender for ice

Best blenders: Nutri Ninja Duo

(Image credit: Amazon)

Nutri Ninja Duo

Cocktail fans, this is the ice crushing machine for you

Crushes ice with ease
Easy to clean
One year warranty

The Nutri Ninja Duo has both personal and family-sized pitchers, making it a reasonably priced and versatile blender. It wasn’t the best in our soup tests, but it does have plenty of other pre-programmed settings such as pulse, puree, crush, smoothie, frozen drink, and Auto IQ modes. 

Auto IQ claims to detect exactly how best to blend whatever you add to the pitcher, but we didn’t find this the best feature, and maybe more of a gimmick. However, the range of settings is so impressive for a blender of this price. For a 1,600 watt blender, the Nutri Ninja Duo is also somewhat quiet and it has a nonslip base that holds it to kitchen counters with ease. 

How we reviewed the best blenders

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. 

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 the best 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 $150. 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. 

Looking for more blender content? Read our feature on how to clean a blender to keep it running smoothly, or learn about the difference between a blender and a food processor if you’re still torn between the two.