Picking the perfect kitchen blender is not as easy as it may sound. Sure, you can do it the easy way: go to your nearest retailer and point to the first blender that attracts your eye, or go online and click on the cheapest. But seriously, what are your chances of being satisfied with your purchase for a reasonable amount of time?
A heavy duty blender comes with a price tag to match, so it makes sense to take your time to choose the small appliance that will best meet your personal requirements and that will hopefully last a long time. Value for money – and that can be subjective as we will see.
Types of Blenders
1. Basic Standard
At the lower end of the blending world are your basic standard blenders. Normally priced under $100, they will get the job done if you rarely use that type of appliance. Don’t expect them to deal with ice efficiently, plus you will certainly not be able to process whole fruit. Also be prepared to do more preliminary chopping.
Or if you don’t mind chunkier smoothies, you might consider a multi-purpose blender like a Ninja Kitchen System which is versatile while taking up little space, though again ice will be a problem.
2. High Performance
Just like hiring a sous-chef with varying skills, you will find a whole range of blenders with more or less functions. Equipped with a stronger motor, a heavy duty blender can handle tougher jobs more efficiently. Some come with minimal functionality, while others feature all the bells and whistles designed to make your life easier. Vitamix and Blendtec dominate this market.
If your lifestyle decrees a diet of daily nutritious smoothies for on-the-go consumption, a personal blender may be the ideal solution. You can also find a small blender that travels well if you can’t do without your morning fix while on the road.
If your blending needs are minimal, an immersion blender may be all you need. Insert this cylindrical stick blender into your container, press a button – and you’re done! Easy to store, it won’t clutter up your countertop. Just make sure it is at least 200 watts.
Braun and Breville have solid reputations in this category. KOIOS, OXA and Epica even make multifunctional appliances which are a great option if you’re squeezed for space.
4 Best Home Blender Criteria
In the end, it boils down to how much versatility you expect from your blender. Will you be using it to make daily smoothies, or should it be able to handle making frozen desserts, pizza dough, grind nuts or even hot soups? With minimal chopping on your part, of course.
B. Storage Space
The best blender on the market can work perfectly well for your best friend but be a total pain in the rear end if it does not meet your own criteria.
First, consider the amount of space you can allocate to this new appliance. If you intend to store it on your countertop, what is the clearance under your top cabinets? Many blenders pose a challenge in that respect. If you intend to store it in a pantry, is weight bound to be an issue as you will have to carry it back and forth?
Noise may be the worst issue when operating a blender. You don’t want to wake up the whole house simply trying to make a quick smoothie before heading for work. And you certainly don’t want to alienate your neighbors if you live in an apartment.
Noise is a huge bone of contention when it comes to high power blenders. There is just no escaping it. Or is there? Actually, there is a way around this conundrum. The Pro 800 – ‘the world’s quietest home blender’ according to Blendtec – comes with a sound enclosure. One more piece to deal with and keep clean… for a quiet blender?
Blendtec and Vitamix jars are machine washable on the top tray only, or you can simply add a drop of dish soap and pulse for a few seconds.
4 Best Blender Features
Container capacity is probably where you should start in order to help you quickly eliminate unsuitable candidates. Depending on your needs, you may also want to check if you have an option to purchase other containers in different sizes separately for added flexibility.
Blendtec jars are available in a range from 90oz down to 16oz in size (90-75-46-30-16oz), while Vitamix containers go from 64oz to 8oz (64-48-40-32-20-8oz). Unless you have a huge family or entertain a lot, a Vitamix blender may accommodate your needs better.
Shoppers often show a preference for glass containers as they expect them to retain a flawless appearance longer. The BPA-free Tritan co-polyester jars included with Blendtec and Vitamix blenders will eventually show scratches.
While that may be true, combining glass with aircraft-grade stainless-steel blades that operate at 29,000 to 37,000 RPM is probably not a good idea. Glass jars are also heavier and tend to shatter when dropped… 🙁
To address this issue, Vitamix specifically introduced small jars (with blades to match) that can be dedicated to pulverizing dry ingredients like grains, herbs and coffee.
One last point: circular containers lend themselves more to a mixing action, while containers with angles create a vortex, systematically redirecting ingredients back to the blades for thorough blending – resulting in faster, smoother blends.
Bad news: the more powerful the motor, the more money you will be spending. High speed blenders produced by top competitors Blendtec and Vitamix are equipped with 2 to 3.8 horsepower motors which operate at approximately 1,200-1,500 watts.
Compare that to a 100- to 300-watt hand held blender, and it quickly becomes clear why the heavy weights can produce magic on demand: frozen dessert, hot soup, or anything in between is yours at the push of a button!
Choose button controls or touchscreen to control blade speed manually or leave it to an automated program.
Pulse makes fine tuning easier to achieve just the perfect consistency.
Pre-programmed cycles are offered on many models, allowing you to multitask if you wish.
Timers on some models also help monitor your blends.
4. Price & Warranty
Obviously, the more you expect from your blender, the higher the price tag. But then let’s not forget that higher cost and longer lifespan (backed up by a solid warranty) often go hand in hand. You might also want to consider purchasing an extended warranty.
In that regard, Vitamix and Blendtec are hard to beat (Vitamix even offers free two-way shipping), plus both manufacturers are located in the United States. Some important points to consider if you want to make a truly informed decision.
So what is the best blender for the money?
That is a common question and one that is easy to answer: the one that works for you! High versatility and top smoothie chains smooth-as-silk smoothies come at a price. But adding a smoothie blender to your kitchen appliance arsenal is truly a no brainer when you weigh in the health benefits. Delicious smoothies make it so much easier to incorporate raw fruit and vegetables into your diet, and their healthy concentrated nutrients, vitamins and minerals are readily absorbed into your bloodstream without the need for a laborious digestion process.
And can you think of a better way to provide amazing nutrition to children while educating their taste buds to foods and flavors that are healthy for them? Kids actually enjoy blending their own concoctions and raising a racket at the same time – and you get the satisfaction of knowing that they are growing up with good habits.
Just for that, a powerful blender deserves to be promoted to Top Sous-Chef…