We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We've selected a group of countertop blenders that produce delicious drinks, soups, and sauces while simultaneously taking some of the rigor out of day-to-day life.
Some cheap blenders didn't make the cut because, while they look good on paper, there are doubts about their ability to cope with high usage. At the other end of the scale are commercial blenders that fall inside the "countertop" bracket but cost exorbitant amounts of money; we've avoided those, too.
Our final five fall somewhere between the two extremes, but that shouldn't suggest they're in average in any way. Each is an excellent machine that delivers great performance for the price.
You want decent capacity from your countertop blender — otherwise, you'd be forever going back and forth to make more drinks. You also need to know that the power is sufficient to do a fast and efficient job of crushing and juicing.
Size may not be a blender's most important characteristic, but a countertop appliance that fits under your existing cupboards (or is light enough to easily transfer to storage) is certainly useful. Then there are the extra features to think about. Does the blender enhance drink quality? Does it make life easier in some way?
Photos and manufacturer specs can't tell you how a blender would actually perform in your kitchen. With the help of owners, we rate the real-life performance of each contender on our shortlist.
In this part of our countertop blender review, we look at just what you get for your money. Is it worth it?
There are five options in the Nutri Ninja Pro product line. We've chosen the base model — the Nutri Ninja Pro BL450 — to illustrate what a great blender you can get without spending a lot of money. The Nutri Ninja's power comes from a 900-watt motor working at 21,000 rpm. The package includes two BPA-free containers (18 ounces and 24 ounces). Because of the unusual way the Nutri Ninja works, you can make your juice or smoothie in one of the containers and then pour it into a serving glass, or you can drink your beverage straight from the container. Each container has a "sip and seal" lid to promote mobility and prevent spills.
Most countertop blenders provide you with a single jug, and the KitchenAid KSB1570ER 5-Speed Blender is no exception. The jug holds a reasonable 56 ounces, is BPA-free, and is marked in both cups and ounces. Unfortunately, a number of owners have reported that it can leak. A few said the top doesn't seal properly, and others found it leaked from the bottom where the blades reside. This may have been a problem with a particular batch, and there typically isn't a problem getting KitchenAid parts replaced when they're under warranty. However, it's obviously frustrating if you're one of the few people affected by this problem. Rather oddly, we struggled to find how much power the KitchenAid produces -- this statistic is not mentioned in the manual or on the website. We did find two figures on other websites, however: one quoted 550 watts and the other quoted 670 watts. Neither of these estimates are particularly impressive.
If you make butter, hummus, or soups frequently, a powerful and quality blender will be an advantage. But if you make occasional smoothies or iced drinks, then a mid- to low-range countertop blender works as well.
The Oster Versa Professional Blender includes a large, BPA-free jar with a capacity of 64 ounces. Compared to others in our ratings, it's quite short (Oster refers to it as "low profile"), but the trade-off is that it's stable on the counter; you're unlikely to knock it over. It's made of Tritan, a tough copolymer that's resistant to scratches and cracking. A useful tamper is included, so you can gently push food into the blade if it's being a bit stubborn. (However, given the fact that the 1,400-watt motor drives the blade at 28,000 rpm, you may not need to use the tamper very often!)
The Vitamix 750 comes with a tamper and a 64-ounce, BPA-free jar made of durable Tritan. It's wider and taller than many of its competitors. The lid is vented and spill-proof, according to the manufacturer, although a few owners complained of leaks. A powerful two-horsepower motor drives this blender. We were unable to find an rpm statistic during our research, but we are told that the blades rotate at up to 240 miles per hour.
The jar on the Blendtec Total Blender looks relatively small, but looks are deceiving in this case, because it actually holds 75 ounces. (Oddly, it's only marked to 32 ounces.) The jar is square rather than round; Blendtec claims that this produces more friction, thereby making it more efficient. Like all blenders on our shortlist, the Blendtec is BPA-free. The construction material isn't Tritan, but it is a copolymer, which is the same kind of stuff. The motor performs at an impressive three horsepower, delivering 1,560 watts and 29,000 rpm at its peak.
Weighing under seven pounds, the Nutri Ninja Pro is easy to move around. However, at nearly 15 inches tall, it's bigger than you might think given the fairly small capacities of the cups. Aside from those clever "sip and seal" lids, the Nutri Ninja package doesn't include many extra features. While other models in the Nutri Ninja range have variable speed options, the BL450 does not -- though the motor does pulse for enhanced blending. Cups, blades, and lids are all dishwasher safe, which makes things nice and easy come clean-up time. In addition, a small recipe book and wellness guide are included to help you get started.
When blending different types of ingredients, start with the lightest or most watery, and then add heavier and more dense foods.
The KitchenAid Blender stands a fraction over 16 inches tall and weighs 10 pounds. (Much of this weight comes from the die-cast metal base, which makes it quite sturdy.) There are four colors to choose from, so you're likely to find one that fits with your kitchen decor. The blade is a three-pronged, stainless steel unit, and there are five different speed settings, an ice-crushing setting, and a pulse option. "Soft Start" has been included so the unit doesn't throw out all the ingredients before they get chopped up. The "Intelli-Speed" feature varies power to ensure that your ingredients — fruits, vegetables, or whatever you choose — are the consistency you want. The KitchenAid's jar, blades, and lid are dishwasher safe, but we were a bit surprised to find that a recipe book is not included with this purchase.
Although Oster calls its VERSA blender jar "low profile," the machine's overall height is still 17.6 inches. It will sit comfortably under most kitchen cabinets; at 11.8 pounds, most of its bulk is found in its substantial motor. Blades are stainless steel with six points. Users choose from three basic program settings. (Within those settings, a knob provides virtually infinite variability. There's a pulse button, too.) Oster includes two recipe books with this model: one titled "Gourmet Cuisine" and the other titled "Fresh and Fit." The components aren't dishwasher safe, and a few owners have commented that clean-up can be a pain. Others disagree, though, saying that a quick soap-and-water clean-up is easy to do.
At 17.4 inches tall, the Vitamix 750 blender makes quite an impression. For some consumers, the height might be inconveniently tall in terms of countertop storage. The strong, stainless steel blade is a four-pointed item. Users enjoy a variable speed system — but switching the setting to "High" will blitz just about anything! When the going gets tough, there's a cooling fan and overload protection so you won't blow the motor. Like the Oster, you can't put the Vitamix's parts in the dishwasher, but the cleaning method of running the blades on high for 30 seconds in soapy water is considered effective by most owners. The manufacturer includes a selection of 300 recipes and an informational DVD that shows you how to make the most of them.
In spite of having the largest capacity in our review, the Blendtec Blender is only 15.5 inches tall and weighs just a fraction over seven pounds. We like the fact that it's available in three different colors; you can choose the shade that suits your kitchen best! The manufacturer includes 200 recipes with this product, many of which can be prepared in less than 90 seconds. The stainless steel blade has only two prongs, but they're forged for extra strength and mounted on ball bearings for smoother performance. The motor brushes aren't steel; they're constructed of a type of carbon that lasts much longer than steel. Six pre-programmed buttons and variable speed settings make this a very flexible machine that can produce juices, shakes, sauces, and even yogurt. There's a pulse button and auto shut-off protection, too. Like the Oster and Vitamix, the Blendtec shouldn't go in the dishwasher.
The Nutri Ninja Pro manufacturer claims that the BL450 will turn all manner of fruit and vegetables – skins and stalks included – into nutritious drinks and sauces. Nuts, seeds, and ice may also be pulverized using this machine. (Although you might wonder if the Nutri Ninja's 900-watt motor can really handle all this, bear in mind that the blender's maximum capacity is only 24 ounces.) Most owners think it does a terrific job, but a few have complained that it doesn't cope well with pre-frozen fruit. On the other hand, we've heard from several happy owners who have successfully blended almonds and hazelnuts! There were a few complaints of leaking lids and a number of reports of small bits of plastic found in initial blends. While this is disturbing, it appears that some blades have been supplied with a coating that comes off the first time it's used. We were unable to ascertain whether this was a batch problem, but those who have reported it say that the problem doesn't recur after one or two uses.
If you're looking for a straightforward appliance of solid quality, you just might be interested in the KitchenAid Blender. It offers various settings and "Intelli-Speed," but most owners tell us they're just happy with the way it makes lump-free drinks and sauces. That said, there are those who consider the KitchenAid to be under-powered, perhaps because the machine labors at times with fibrous and hard materials. A number of users would have liked a tamper to help push their ingredients towards the blades, and several complained of jar leakage.
The blades of a blender can stop moving when making thick recipes, and adding water could destroy the taste. In such cases, use the tamper to move things around.
Oster claims that the VERSA will produce just about any liquid you can think of: smoothies, spreads, baby foods, butters, and more. The 1,400-watt motor certainly provides plenty of power, and the six-point blades do their job quickly and efficiently. Owners tell us that the Oster is good at pulverizing difficult items like kale and carrots as well as softer vegetables such as spinach leaves. Some would have preferred it to have a slower speed; they think it's actually a bit too efficient when you want a coarse blend. Overall, performance-related complaints are relatively few.
The Vitamix 750 blender is a big unit with a large capacity and a motor capable of taking whole fruit and turning it into smooth blends in moments. Unlike the Oster, it has the flexibility to produce chunky dips and sauces as well as ultra-smooth ones. What's more, it can run so fast that it will not only turn your ingredients into soup, the friction of the blades will warm it up, too! This blender is not perfect, but we failed to find any complaints related to actual productivity except for the occasional leaky lid.
Cut up the food items into manageable chunks before putting them in the blender. Another way to keep the blades from getting stuck, as well as to make sure that everything gets blended.
The Blendtec and Vitamix are two of the best and most popular products on the market; a number of independent reviewers have put them head-to-head because of this. Capacity on the Blendtec is the same as that of the Vitamix. Power is even greater. Experienced owners who have used machines with and without tampers definitely prefer the fact that the Blendtec doesn't need constant supervision; it can work on its own. They also like the square jar, saying it's easy to get all the contents out and clean up afterward. As with every other blender we've reviewed, there were those who complained that the lid leaked. However, that's about the only valid complaint we've been able to find about this superstar blender.
Currently available for just $89, it's no surprise that the Nutri Ninja Pro BL450 is very popular with consumers. Because the larger of the two cups is just 24 ounces, this product might not appeal to larger families. However, the majority of owner feedback is positive. It is indeed a basic blender — just fill and blend — but many people find that this suits their needs just fine. (Variable-speed models are available from Nutri Ninja if you want to spend a few bucks more.) A small number of people have reported leaks and other quality issues, but most of these concerns should be covered by the one-year warranty.
The style of the KitchenAid KSB1570ER 5-Speed Blender looks like it hasn't changed in years, so it might be described as "old-fashioned" or "retro," depending on your personal taste. At just $99, there's no denying its value, though some owners were disappointed with the power output. In some ways, it's natural to have high expectations of a machine that offers five speeds, but you also have to look at how little you're paying; there has to be a compromise somewhere! There have been occasional durability issues and leaks, but in general, people say the KitchenAid KSB1570ER is a capable budget blender with good capacity that's difficult to beat for the price. Warranty is one year.
For $176, you can have the mid-range Oster VERSA Professional Blender. It's neither a "cheap" blender nor a truly "professional grade" one. Many owners call the Oster VERSA a "Vitamix clone." Given the reputation of the latter, this is most certainly a compliment! The Oster has a powerful 1,400-watt motor, an excellent 64-ounce capacity, and a tough Tritan jar. It is capable of delivering an enormous range of juices, smoothies, soups, sauces, spreads -- you name it. The manufacturer's confidence in its durability is underlined by a seven-year warranty. It's fair to say that the Oster's component quality isn't as exceptional as the Vitamix and Blendtec, but it's definitely a viable alternative to these products. Most owners are very happy with the performance they get for the money.
Instead of risking slicing your fingers by putting your hand in the jar to clean the blender, simply fill the jar with warm water and add a few drops of liquid dish wash soap to it; blend the mixture and rinse it out for a squeaky clean jar!
There's no denying that the Vitamix Professional Series 750 is one of the best countertop blenders available, but it is one of the most expensive blenders on the market. That's always going to be too much for some people — especially when machines like the Oster are also on the market — but there's much more to the Vitamix than just figures. The Vitamix's commercial-standard, two-horsepower motor may never quit, but just to be safe, it comes with a cooling fan and overload protection. It delivers a great range of speeds, including the "super-slow" speed some people use to make chunky dips and sauces. It also can run so fast it will warm soup for you! Overall build quality is excellent and supported by a seven-year warranty. This blender is very tall — something not everyone likes — and a few thought that a tamper shouldn't be necessary for an appliance of this price. In general, however, it's hard to find people who don't think the Vitamix is a superb machine. The Vitamix is priced at $528.
If you're struggling to choose between the Vitamix and the Blendtec Total Blender, the differences between these two powerhouse products are slight. On paper, the Blendtec's three-horsepower motor is more powerful. In use, however, the 1,560 watts it produces is only slightly greater. The jar is a little larger, but the Vitamix's 64-ounce jar is actually enough for most people. The Blendec also isn't as tall as the Vitamix, which many owners see as a plus. The program pre-sets on the Blendtec earn a lot of praise, and owners appreciate the fact that it's powerful enough not to need a tamper. It's not flawless, but complaints about its durability have some date to them, and past issues seem to have been resolved. As you might expect from an appliance of this standard, the warranty is a competitive seven years. The Blendtec comes with a price tag of $399.
Each of our finalists is a special appliance, but the Best of the Best countertop blender is the Vitamix at $528.
There's no way this blender will ever be considered "compact." However, in spite of its 65-ounce jar (BPA-free and made of tough copolymer) and 1,200-watt motor, it's not particularly tall at 17.4 inches. You may have a problem placing this blender comfortably under your kitchen cabinets, but most customers we talked to are proud leaving it on their countertop all year round.
Build quality is exceptional. Tremendous attention has been paid to the details of the blade profile, bearings, motor brushes, and so on. The manufacturer concentrates on providing a durable, flexible device that will produce a complete range of juices, soups, desserts, sauces, butters, and spreads. To that end, the Vitamix comes with five programmed pre-sets for commonly used items as well as variable speed — so you have complete control whether you want chunky guacamole or a silken smoothie.
No kitchen appliance is perfect, and in the past, there have been a few problems with the jar, seal, and gear mechanism. Complaints about these elements are quite dated, however, so we believe the issues have been resolved. Should you run into any problems, the Vitamix is covered by a seven-year warranty.
To get you started on your blending journey, the manufacturer includes 300 recipes which, according to the manufacturer, can all be produced in under 90 seconds.
The competition for "Best of the Best" was tough. Both the Vitamix and the Blendtec are excellent machines, and to be honest, if you chose the latter, you wouldn't be making a mistake.
Susan Sano Tuveson has been cooking for people for five decades. Educated in music, law, and languages, she left her legal practice to establish Cacao Chocolates in Kittery, Maine. A three-time Best of Seacoast New England winner, the shop was popular for its high-quality artisanal truffles flavored with unusual local ingredients.
The Best Bang for Your Buck countertop blender is the Nutri Ninja Pro BL450. The Oster, with its great performance and large capacity, came close to claiming the title, but it's the $89 Nutri Ninja that steals the award.
The Nutri Ninja may be small in comparison to some other machines, but its two "sip and seal" cups — 18 and 24 ounces — provide the convenient option of taking your juice or smoothie with you on the road! At just under seven pounds, the base unit is relatively small and light; even with the larger cup in place, the Nutri Ninja stands only 15 inches tall. As such, you're likely to have no trouble finding a home for it on your countertop or in a cupboard.
At 900 watts, you might initially wonder if the motor has enough power. Bear in mind that you're only preparing 24 ounces (at most) with this blender. Most owners agree it's a very capable machine, if a bit loud. A few have complained that it doesn't cope well with tough and fibrous fruits and vegetables, but the majority disagree, saying it will handle items like ice and nuts without difficulty. It is very much a "fill-and-blend" model with none of the complexity (or flexibility) of the Oster or Blendtec. However, owners tend to like its simplicity. What's more, the other appliances cost a lot more!
If you're part of a large family, the Oster might be a more economical choice for your clan. The Nutri Ninja could perhaps be better made, and there has been an issue with plastic residue — although it's one that has been easily resolved for the small group of affected owners. Complaints about the Nutri Ninja are overwhelmed by positive comments. The sentiment is summed up best by the owner who called her Nutri Ninja a "wonderful, noisy little thing."