Any great chef, professional or amateur, knows that the best blender can be can be a vital tool in crafting the perfect recipe. In fact, a blender can be used in a variety of capacities, including meal prep, crafting frozen beverages, making green smoothies, or even making your own in-house rice flour. Or perhaps you just want the best one for crushing ice. And it’s because of these demands I picked the following top blenders. All of which are well made, powerful blenders that can perform again and again in a variety of scenarios.
And that’s why my #1 pick is the Blendtec Designer 725 blender. It might be pricey, but it’s well worth the added cost, as this blender will last not only the test of time, but offers the greatest level of versatility of any blender on the planet today.
It boasts 3.8hp, allowing it to easily tear through fibrous material, such as kale, and is strong enough to convert ice cubes into snow. To that end, the Designer 725’s blades are safe to the touch and the include 5 sided jar ensures an almost perfect blend every time, be it soup, smoothies, ice cream, or anything in between.
So with that in mind, don’t spare too little expense on a great kitchen blender. If you go cheap (less than $100), you’ll likely be tossing it in the trash not long from purchase. Thus resulting in you investing more money, as you’ll surely want to upgrade to one of my top picks below.
How We Choose the Best Blenders for 2018
When it comes to blenders and what sets the good apart from the bad, there are a few key features that every top-of-the-line model needed to have in order to make our annual list. First, we didn’t settle for blenders that had jars with less than at least 32oz of capacity, because although this is plenty of space for your morning smoothie, when it comes to making a large number of drinks for a party or blending a big pot of soup at dinner, you’re going to want at least 32oz, if not 64oz or above.
Next was the power of the motor. For this list we only considered blenders that had at least 1400-watts or more, because in our testing and personal experiences with the blender this was the minimum amount necessary to get truly well-blended smoothies and other recipes in a minute or less of blending time. Speaking of blending time, programmable features were a plus on some of the models we tested, but not a must for others when it came to picks like the Vitamix. If you’re not confident in your ability to gauge when a particular drink is blended to perfection you’ll probably want to stick to models like the Blendtec and pre-programmed blend patterns that change depending on the food you plan to make.
How easy a blender is to clean is a huge deal for the daily smoothie connoisseur, because as anyone who’s ever made one can tell you: the longer you let them sit, the harder they are to clean. We looked at blenders that didn’t have a lot of nooks or crannies on their panels that could collect dirt over time, as well as sealed blade housing jars that let you simply put a bit of hot water and a pump of soap inside and spin it once to get the whole container clean in less than 30 seconds.
To test out the blenders on this list, we ran them through a series of trials that involved blending up various foods such as kale, coffee, ice, and other various mixtures to see what kind of results they returned across the food pyramid.
Last was the additional accessories, which we could take or leave ourselves, but know that many people like to have a blender that can double as a Magic Bullet and a food processor all from the same base. This is where the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System really outshines the rest, thanks to the addition of quick and easy to-go cups that attach right to the base. This makes it so you can load up your ingredients the night before in the fridge, pop it on in the morning, and get the rest of your day ready while your smoothie auto-makes itself in the background.
Unfortunately all the blenders on this list are exceedingly loud (some louder than others, but all will still be enough to wake up sleeping housemates/family members), so how they registered in decibel levels wasn’t really a fair metric to make them stick by.
Why You Need a New Blender
Three words: power, durability, and versatility. Sure, you could spend $50 on a cheap-O blender and make some still-slightly-chunky smoothies for a few months, but with daily use you can expect the parts to wear out quickly, and unless you sign up for the extended warranty you’ll probably find yourself right back in the checkout line spending another $50 before the year is out.
With these blenders although the upfront cost might be a bit of a sticker shock, they more than easily pay for themselves in the long run thanks to industry-leading reliability and high-quality parts that won’t snap in half after the second time you put them to good use.
Last there’s the issue of versatility, which options like the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System have in spades. This is a blender that also works as a food processor in a pinch, thanks to the attachable bowl which puts all the same power in, but with a slightly different blade configuration so you can whip up recipes like pico de gallo or guacamole without turning all the ingredients to mush. You’re definitely not going to find those kinds of options on a sub-$100 blender, so with that out of the way let’s get on to the picks!
Blendtec Designer 725 Blender – Editor’s Choice/Best Smoothie Blender
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Powerful, easy to clean and versatile.
I reviewed the Blendtec Designer 725 last year and loved my blending experience. It’s pricey, yes, but for that you get one of the best blenders money can buy. Moreover, it’s feels like it’s built to survive a battle.
The base is powered by a 3.8 hp motor, which is enough to power a small car, (a very small car). Seriously, this thing can chop through even the most demanding of products, easily crushing ice to snow cone quality, reducing rice to flour and obliterating even the toughest of foods, including Kale and those equivalent in fiber.
Moreover, all of its buttons are capacitive and backlit, making them not only easy to read at a glance, but even easier to clean free of spilled smoothies, shakes or protein powder. And about those buttons: they’re each programmed to perform a specific task, such as create a smoothie, ice cream, frozen drinks soup, or even clean the blender – just add warm water and a drop or two of dish washing liquid. Lastly, that slider you see is effectively a power knob, allowing you to manually control blends. It can also be set to “pulse” which allows you to tap your finger on and off for quick bursts of power.
And if that doesn’t convince you, Blendtec has packed this blender with Smart Blend technology, which detects any issues with the blend and then tells the user, via the LCD screen, to fix them. However, in my time using this blender, I’ve never had one issue or one blend that didn’t turn out right. And it’s so powerful and fast, this blender can both make and heat up the soup simply by spinning its super safe blades.
Still don’t believe me, just ask the folks at Blendtec, who have blended everything from brooms to iPhones. Seriously, check out their YouTube channel.
Included is Blendtec’s patented Wildside (5 sides) jar that negates the need to push blender contents down (plus ensures a more even blend) and an 8-year warranty. If you’re interested in making rice or almost flour, I suggest picking up the Blendtec Twister Jar.
Note: Blendtec blades are not sharp to the touch, making them extra safe, though when powered on it won’t matter.
Vitamix 7500 Blender – Best Juicing Blender
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Easy to use and power beyond reason.
Thanks to a 2.2hp motor and ultra easy to use controls, Vitamix’s 7500 blender makes our list as number 2. In fact, one of the reasons it ranks 2 in my book is simply because the controls are a bit too simple.
Nevertheless, a low profile 64-oz jar (just 17.5-inches tall – 3 less than the Vitamix 5200) makes it easy to store this blender and due to the simplified controls, easy to operate, especially in high pressure situations, such as restaurants. At full power the blades can whirl at 270-mph, allowing the Vitamix 7500 to crush, pulverize and blend even the most challenging of foods. And on that note, Vitamix has reduced the dB output of this model, compared to the previous 5200 model, by a whopping 40%. In other words, the Vitamix 7500 is much quieter than its predecessor.
Both professional chefs and weekend kitchen warriors will enjoy the Vitamix 7500’s simplified controls. The left switch pulses contents, the right starts and stop blends, and the center dial increases or decreases the blender’s power making it easy to achieve the right blend be it thick, thin or crushed.
Three colors are available, including white, black and red, all of which include a 7-year warranty.
Oster Versa – Best Budget Blender
Price: Check Price | Motor: 1400 watts | Warranty: 7 Years
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Priced right for its power and size.
With excellent ratings on Amazon (4.5 stars) it’s hard to not overlook Oster’s Versa blender. Under the proverbial hood is a 1400-watt motor, and included is a BPA free 64-oz jar that much like the Vitamix, is low profile.
Controls include a variable speed dial, pulse control, and three presets that include smoothies, dips/spreads, and soup. There is also a variable speed control in case you’re looking for added control beyond a few setting – this is key if you’re producing texture oriented recipes.
The stainless steel blades spin at over 250 mph (thanks to the 1400 watt motor), which is more than enough power to pulverize fiber rich vegetables, crush ice, or even make a butter nut squash soup.
And fear not about longevity. As Oster has forgone the traditional plastic connecting pieces, and instead has replaced them with metal, ensuring that you can blend when you need to…every time.
The Oster Versa is on the low end of the price spectrum of my picks, yet it still includes a 7-year warranty and 2 cookbooks.
Cleanblend – Best Blender for the Money
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Comparable power for less money than the big brands.
Need power and not too much cost? Cleanblend’s Commercial blender has it, providing 3hp of raw power at your finger tips. That should be enough power to chop through just about anything you can toss in it, including ice, frozen fruit, leafy greens, and can even make soups from scratch.
Read: Our Blender Reviews
The blade assembly is made of food grade Japanese stainless steel, meaning it will last the test of time, and will likely far exceed this blender’s warranty of 5-years. The founders say their blender offers the same features and power as the competition (here’s looking at Blendtec and Vitamix) but at less than half the price.
And of note, Cleanblend ensures that their 64-oz jar is BPA free (virtually unbreakable) and that all of their blenders parts that touch food, juice, or ice are built from food grade materials. As a bonus Cleanblend includes a tamper wand, free of charge, which is great for safely pushing down frozen fruit and other food products that doesn’t always reach the blade.
This is our pick for best blender for the money, though keep in mind the 64-oz jar is too big for most countertop with cabinets. And the power is not equitable to that of the Blendtec despite the spec. I know, I’ve tested it, comparing crushed ice and kale to that of Blendtec and Cleanblend, while admirable couldn’t keep up.
Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System with Auto-Spiralizer – Best Personal Blender
Price: Check Price | Motor: 1500-watt 3HP | Warranty: 2 Years
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Ninja is a great all-around that represents the bleeding-edge of blender tech.
The Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System is my bang for buck pick, with the addition of several common attachments (and one more we’ve never even seen before). Not only does it include a 1500-watt, 3HP motor, but it also comes with a 72oz blending pitcher, an XL 8-cup food processing bowl along with one Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System cups with sip and seal lids for under $250, Shark tops off the whole package with the introduction of an entirely new attachment this year that they’ve called the “Spiralizer”.
Much like the Vitamix, operating this blender is simple when you want it to be with the option of using only power, start/stop, and pulse – but that’s not the only trick it’s got up its sleeve. The touch-based Intellisense system makes it simple and easy to quickly whip up a smoothie with the press of a button, or get the most out of your salsa with its pre-programmed blend patterns. The cool part about the touchscreen is that it will only display the blend types that match this bowl, blender, or tool you’ve got attached at the time. This cuts down on kitchen confusion and makes it easier to get the best results out of the blender every single time.
(And for anyone who’s wondering: No it’s not a like a normal touchscreen, yes it will still work no matter how wet, greasy, or dough-covered your hands might be).
Finally there’s the Spiralizer, which is designed to take veggies and turns them into noodles for anyone who might be gluten sensitive or are following a low-carb diet (like yours truly). This is the first of its kind I’ve seen on a complete system like this, and in all our tests the Spiralizer made both fettuccine and spaghetti-sized strains almost flawlessly.
The only downside to the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System is that the manufacturer only offers a 1-year warranty, which is less than half the time of all of the above picks.
Key Factors and Features to a Good Blender
Build Quality: If you’re not familiar with blenders this one is easy over look. Especially when you’re just comparing them on paper. But it’s generally not until you get a blender home do you realize how cheap the base is, or how low quality the materials are. For instance, the rubber should last the test of time, including dish washing cycles. You should also be able to some what mindlessly toss the jar into the sink and not worry that the blade or bottom will break or crack.
Warranty: A good warranty that exceeds two years is almost a must. Most of my picks, except for one, offer a 5-year or more warranty. Hopefully you never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it, especially if you’re using this blender in a commercial capacity.
Ease of Use: Don’t put too much stock in features. Yes, I love the Blendtec Designer 625 and the ability to hit a button that automatically pulses, and increase or decreases speed. But when you look at the blender, at the core is a fairly simple set of options, including power and pulsing. You’ll also want to think about how easy it is to clean a blender. The Designer 625’s buttons and largely the base is sealed, making it not more than a few wipes away from clean.
Blade: You’ll want durable blades. Stainless steal is a requirement, as they’ll resist erosion. I particular like Blendtec’s blade setup. First off, it’s not sharp. Second, the entire blade system is sealed into the base of the jar, reducing any risk for contamination. To clean it, you just need to add soap, warm water, and run it through the cleaning cycle, or put it on a mid to high speed.
Heat Output: Some blenders, thanks to their powerful engines, have a tendency to get very hot and potentially over heat. I’ve never had this happen with my Blendtec, but nor am I using it in a commercial scenario. So pay close attention to this and if you plan to use this blender in your restaurant, ensure that it can stand up to the rigors of heavy meal prep or production.
Mistakes to Avoid
Over Looking Noise: All blenders, one way or another are loud. It’s just incredibly tough, almost impossible, to make them silent. So don’t let quietness be a guiding force. If you’re truly worried about noise, you might want to upgrade to Blendtec’s Professional 800 series, which includes a cover that houses the entire jar and reduces the dB output quite a bit.
Avoiding a High Price: Face it. A good blender will be expensive. As will any piece of kitchen gadgetry. But in this case it will last you, as evidenced by their willingness to offer warranties that exceed that of 1 year . But as I already stated, if you cheap out, you’ll be paying for it, both in cooking success (or lack there of) and by having to invest in yet another blender.
Specs Are Everything: Specs are just the tip of the ice berg. Which is to say, not all 3HP blenders are comparable. Take for instance the Blendtec vs the Cleanblend. The Blendtec, while more costly, and seemingly offers the same spec, is in fact more powerful and capable at pulverizing kale and converting ice to snow. Yes, snow!
Which Blender is Right For Me
This list includes a fairly wide spectrum of prices. For some, it comes purely down to utility and simplicity. Vitamix hits that mark in spades, yet it lacks the features of the Blendtec. That in mind, the Blendtec is perhaps best for the cook who is new to blending, as the preprogrammed buttons remove a variable from the equation and might result in more success in cooking/blending. And right in the middle of those two are either the other three, with Cleanblend offering what is a solid product and a good small guy story (it was started out of a San Diego garage much like Amazon).