Blender Buyer’s Guide
Searching for a new blender? There are countless things you can make in a blender including soups, smoothies, protein shakes, salsa, cocktails, sauces, and more. We’ve reviewed some of the most popular features and how to decide which is right for you.
Things To Know Before You Buy
Kitchen Cabinet Height Considerations
We recommend measuring the distance from your countertop to the lowest edge of your cabinets, and compare to the blender heights in our chart above to make sure the blender you pick will fit.
More Blender Size Considerations: Capacity and Weight
Unless you know exactly what you need, there are three physical considerations to explore when you’re shopping for a blender: capacity, weight, and height. Capacity refers to how much liquid (in ounces) a blender’s pitcher, cup, or jar can hold. Height refers to how tall the blender is when it’s fully assembled (see our cabinet height diagram above). And weight refers to the heaviness of each the pitcher and the base.
Blender capacity typically ranges from the small (18 oz) to the large (72 oz). Most conventional countertop blenders with pitchers hold 48 – 64 ounces. But there are two things to keep in mind with capacity. First, while a cup or pitcher can hold that much in ounces that doesn’t mean you need to fill it up to its full capacity—it’ll work just fine with less. Second, just because a blender lists a certain capacity on the box, that doesn’t always translate to actual liquid capacity. Liquid capacity means how much liquid it can hold—not how many ounces of ingredients you can blend. And while a large capacity blender may hold 72 ounces of liquid in the pitcher itself, bear in mind that you can’t fill it all the way up and blend since there has to be room at the top. So usually this translates to about 64 ounces of actual liquid in the end.
Small capacity blenders go up to about 32 ounces, but more often they come in at about 18 – 24 ounces. And many small blenders will come packaged with a smaller 12-ounce cup as well. These “bullet” type, personal units are intended to be “blend and go” and are great for making a quick morning smoothie or an after-workout drink for one to two people. They will be easy to use, easy to clean, and come with lids that you snap right onto the same cup you just used to blend your drink.
Medium capacity blenders are usually around 48 – 64 ounces and are good for small or average sized families. Most conventional blenders with pitchers fall into this range.
Large capacity blenders hold about 72 – 80 ounces and are great for large families or for businesses that need to make large batches. They could also work well for you if you like the option to make and freeze a large batch of soup or recipe that will freeze well. Typically, high-performance blenders are strictly large capacity. So high wattage, professional blenders like Vitamix and BlendTec will fall into this category.
The heaviness of both the base and the pitcher is an important detail to examine because most likely this is an appliance you’ll be frequently using. While some people prefer a hefty blender for stability, others would rather it be lighter. Folks who need to bring it down from a cabinet or move it to an outlet each time they use it may view heaviness as an issue. Lugging a blender out of the cabinet or out from underneath a cabinet becomes a bigger chore if it’s a weighty appliance. Also, consider how the person who most uses it will feel about lifting a heavy pitcher. Even when the pitcher doesn’t seem that heavy, remember that it suddenly becomes a lot heavier when filled with liquid—especially if it’s made of glass. Someone elderly or who has arthritis may appreciate a light, low-capacity or plastic pitcher.
Why Do Vitamix and BlendTec use Plastic Pitchers?
Good question! Both manufacturers cite safety and tout plastic as safer for their machine’s powerful high-speed blending. According to Vitamix, they have “…not found a suitable glass or stainless container design to meet the strict safety and performance requirements.” And if you ask BlendTec, they’ll tell you something similar and point out that glass jars have the potential to shatter during high-speed blending and “are heavier and more difficult to grip, pour, and store”. Learn more about glass vs plastic jar blenders.
Types of Blenders: Countertop, Personal, and Immersion
A blender is one of the most useful kitchen appliances a person can own. They’re an invaluable kitchen appliance that nary a wedding registry has been without. But which type to own? One? Two? All three? Here’s a breakdown of the main three types of blenders on the market to help determine which one is the right fit for you and your kitchen lifestyle.
The term “countertop blender” is pretty self-explanatory. Countertop blenders are exactly what a person pictures in their mind when someone says the word “blender”. They feature a motorized base unit with a couple of buttons or a dial on the face and a lidded pitcher (or “jar”) that attaches to the top of the base. They have multiple speeds and come in varying pitcher capacities. Countertop blenders are robust appliances that are used for all sorts of purposes from liquifying smoothies to chopping salsa to blending nut butters to crushing ice to grating cheese to grinding coffee beans. Some of the high-performance blenders can even make hot soup, grind grains into flour, and knead dough! If you are planning to blend hot liquids be sure to read our tips.
Personal blenders, also known as “single serve” or “bullet” blenders, are low profile blenders with small bases and low capacity cups that attach to the top. One of the main functional differences of personal blenders is that the blade assembly is screwed to the top of the cup after you’ve filled it with ingredients—then you flip it over to attach it to the base. Personal blenders are ideal to do quick, uncomplicated blending or food processing (think: drinks, sauces, batters, and salsas) in small batches. In fact, most come with to-go cup lids to facilitate drinking right out of the cup you just blended in. Since personal blenders were designed to be easy to use, they typically run in one speed with an option to pulse. Although a few personal blenders are high powered (like the Ninja Nutri Pro at 1000 watts), they were designed to have small motors and most operate somewhere in the 250 – 600 watt range.
Immersion (Hand) Blenders
Immersion blenders also go by the name of “hand” or “stick” blenders. They are simple, corded blending devices that you hold in your hand and immerse into a container of ingredients. Most people use hand blenders to blend sauces, whip cream, mix batters, puree soup ingredients or get the lumps out of their gravy. These types of blenders work best for softer ingredients and won’t work for tougher blending jobs that countertop blenders can readily handle. But they’re awesome for a quick job. Plus, they’re very affordable and lightweight, they clean up super easy, and they can fit in a drawer!
Avoiding Common Mistakes
- Don’t overfill.
- Double check for loose or misaligned parts after you’ve reassembled your blender post-cleaning.
- Check the suction seal or locking mechanism on the lid.
Ingredients That Stick
- If ingredients get stuck and often need to be stirred, that usually means there isn’t enough liquid. Add a little more liquid and that will do the trick.
- Use a tamper to keep the ingredients moving.
- Add the ingredients in smaller batches rather than all at once.
- For cleaning up, read our blender cleaning and maintenance tips.
Blender Power Considerations
Is more power better? Do I need more? The answer, of course, depends on how you plan to use the blender and what your blender budget looks like. If your main intention is to make smoothies with easy to blend ingredients like berries and bananas, then you won’t need much power and you’ll be happy with most any blender out there. And your wallet will be pretty happy as well. But if you’re going to be adding ingredients like seeds, harder fruits like apples, or leafy greens like kale to your smoothies, then you’ll want to look at something around 700-900 watts. And for people who use a blender almost every day for different types of blending, the benefits of having a high powered unit in your kitchen are plentiful.
Having a high-powered blender (of at least 1000 watts) opens up the possibilities of what you can do and makes things like grinding grains, making nut butter, shredding cheeses, and making hummus all part of your at-home kitchen capabilities. The last point to consider when shopping for your blender is soup making. Some high-end blenders like Vitamix can blend your ingredients with such force that the rate of friction of the blades actually heats up raw ingredients and leaves you with ready to eat soup—an option just not available in lower powered blenders.
Read more about blender wattage and speed options.
|300 – 400 watts||Blends and purees soft ingredients well. Chops veggies.|
|500 – 700 watts||Handles frozen ingredients and ice.|
|900 – 1000 watts||Handles harder ingredients like leafy greens, carrots, and apples. Turns ice to snow. Purees all types of ingredients.|
|More than 1100 watts||Pulverizes tough ingredients. Grinds grains into flour and nuts into nut butter. Shreds cheese. Kneads dough.|
A Few Countertop Blenders Worth Checking Out
- Ninja Foodie Blender – Ninja finally released a glass blender that is quickly becoming popular.
- Ninja Professional – Another favorite on the list. Competes with the high-end professional blenders like the Vitamix, but at a more affordable price.
- Vitamix Professional 750 – The cream of the crop of professional blenders. Comes with an impressive 7-year warranty.
- Ninja Nutri Pro – A fun and compact blender. Great if you’re looking for something to make small batches for 1 – 2 people.
- Oster Pro 1200 – The Pro stacks up closely with our favorite, Ninja Professional, and is one of the most powerful glass-jar blenders out there. We also liked the Oster Vera.
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