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A blender is one of the most versatile appliances on your kitchen counter. With a good countertop blender, you can whip up smoothies, milkshakes, and frozen cocktails, not to mention creamy soups, gravies, salad dressings, dips, and salsas. And with the right model, you can even make cookie dough or hot soup.
Shopping for a blender, though, can be frustrating. There are so many options on the market, and it’s hard to know which features are worth the extra investment and which features you can live without.
At BestReviews, we’re here to help. We buy products, perform research, analyze results, and question experts. Then, we pass that information on to you. Because we never accept free products or perks from manufacturers, our reviews are unbiased and objective.
We give honest advice so you can make educated shopping decisions.
If you’re ready to buy a new countertop blender, please check out our top five product recommendations in the matrix above. If you need more information on what constitutes an outstanding blender, please keep reading for our full shopping guide.
A countertop blender is a must-have for anyone who enjoys smoothies, milkshakes, or frozen drinks.
It also comes in handy for blending pancake batter, sauces, gravies, dips, and soups. You can use a countertop blender to grind cookies, bread, and crackers for crumbs.
If you purchase a high-performance countertop blender, you can even use it to juice fruits and vegetables, grind nuts and other hard items, and make dough.
Born and raised in Paris, the land of unapologetic butter, Francois has spent the last 20 years shaping the American culinary world behind the scenes. He was a buyer at Williams-Sonoma, built the Food Network online store, managed product assortments for Rachael Ray's site, started two meal delivery businesses and runs a successful baking blog. When he's not baking a cake or eating his way through Europe, Francois enjoys sharing cooking skills with cooks of all levels. Rules he lives by: "Use real butter" and "Nothing beats a sharp knife."
A conventional countertop blender is what most people think of when they think of a blender.
Its motor isn’t as powerful as that of a high-performance blender, and it doesn’t boast as many fancy features. But it can usually crush ice and blend fruit.
A conventional blender is ideal for making smoothies, milkshakes, and frozen cocktails.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Vitamix Professional Series 750
At 17.4 inches tall, the Vitamix 750 blender makes quite an impression. For some consumers, the height might be inconvenient in terms of countertop storage. The strong stainless steel blade is four-pointed. Users enjoy a variable speed system — but simply 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.
A high-performance countertop blender is often considered a “commercial-grade” blender. That’s because it features a powerful motor that not only blends smoothies and milkshakes, but also grinds nuts, grains, and cheeses.
A high-performance blender can also chop hard fruits and vegetables and generate enough heat to make hot soup.
With a high-performance countertop blender, you usually get plenty of high-tech features, too, such as preset programs and digital timers.
Because it has such a powerful motor, a high-performance blender can replace other kitchen appliances, such as your food processor and juicer, freeing up valuable countertop real estate.
A personal countertop blender is a small blender that makes single servings.
Instead of a traditional blender jar, its container is usually a to-go cup.
Because its motor is smaller, a personal blender is less powerful than that of a conventional countertop blender. However, it’s a great option for someone who’s blending for one.
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.
When it comes to a countertop blender’s blades, stainless steel is the best option.
Stainless steel is less likely to rust than other materials, and it’s usually the most durable material.
To make cleaning easier, opt for a blender with a removable blade base.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Vitamix Professional Series 750
The Vitamix 750 comes with a tamper and a 64-ounce, BPA-free jar made of durable Tritan. It's a wider and taller jar than many of its competitors’ containers. The lid is vented and spill-proof according to the manufacturer, although a few owners complain of leaks. A powerful two-horsepower motor drives this blender. We were unable to find an RPM statistic during our research, but the manufacturer claims the blades rotate up to 240 miles per hour.
The first thing to consider when looking at countertop blenders is what size would work best for your household.
These blenders tend to have large containers that hold up to 80 ounces, so they’re ideal for large families.
With containers that hold between 56 and 64 ounces (depending on the model you choose), conventional blenders can work for small families or larger households.
Personal or Mini Blenders
Personal blenders typically have containers that hold between 8 and 24 ounces. They work best for one or two people or small families.
In most cases, the higher a blender’s motor wattage, the more powerful and versatile it will be.
300 to 400 Watts
If you only plan to lightly mix milkshakes and other soft ingredients, a blender with a wattage between 300 and 400 is usually sufficient.
500 to 700 Watts
For an effective blender that can handle smoothies and frozen cocktails with ease, look for a motor with between 500 and 700 watts.
High-performance blenders often have motors with 1,000+ watts, which is why they’re able to pulverize even the hardest of ingredients.
If your kitchen space is limited, make sure your blender fits under your cabinets. A lot of newer models are powerful but much taller than traditional blenders.
In addition to different speeds, countertop blenders are often equipped with pre-programmed settings.
A blender may have settings for smoothies, shakes, or frozen cocktails. You only have to press a button and then let the blender do its thing. It will start the cycle, choose the right speed, and stop itself when the selected program is done.
You’ll usually pay extra for such pre-programmed settings, but they’re worth it if you’re often multi-tasking in the kitchen.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
NutriNinja Pro Deluxe
The Nutri Ninja may be small in comparison to some other machines, but its two "sip and seal" cups — 18 and 24 ounces — conveniently allow you to take your juice or smoothie on the go. 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. You’re likely to have no trouble finding a home for it on your countertop or in a cupboard.
Countertop blender containers are usually made of plastic or glass. Plastic containers are lightweight and aren’t prone to cracking or breaking. However, plastic tends to absorb stains and odors more easily than glass, so it must be cleaned quickly after use.
Glass containers usually don’t soak up stains or odors, but they can be very heavy and may chip, crack, or shatter. Blenders with high-power motors don’t typically use glass containers because of the risk of breakage.
Regardless of the container’s material, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid that’s secure during use. A blender container should also have a wide mouth so it’s easy to add ingredients and clean after use. A blender container with easy-to-read measurement markings is also handy. You’ll know how much of each ingredient you’re adding without using a separate measuring cup.
When blending different types of ingredients, start with the lightest or most watery ingredients, and then add heavier and more dense foods.
Countertop blenders come with several different types of controls.
Push Button Controls
The most common type of controls for countertop blenders, push buttons make it easy to switch from one speed to another and to turn the blender on and off. But it can be difficult to keep the buttons clean from spills and drips.
Digital Touchpad Controls
Digital touchpad controls are usually the easiest to keep clean, but they’re not always the easiest to use. You may have to press several buttons to turn the blender on and off or switch to another speed.
Dial controls also offer easy cleaning, but you usually have to dial through all the settings before you reach the speed or setting you want.
Countertop blenders typically come with at least three speeds and as many sixteen. In general, three speeds — low, high, and pulse — are usually sufficient.
However, a graduated start-up feature that slowly brings the blender up to a higher speed can be helpful, as it reduces the chance of the motor burning out or ingredients splashing up.
As of 2014, 73% of households in the U.S. owned a blender.
Always check the warranty information for a blender that you’re considering buying. The warranty can give you a good idea of how long you can expect the blender to last.
For example, some budget-friendly blenders may only come with a one-year warranty. However, many high-performance blenders come with warranties that cover up to 10 years.
In 1953, Jonas Salk used a blender to help prepare the cultures he used to develop the polio vaccine.
You can find countertop blenders at a variety of price points.
For a high-performance countertop blender that can juice, grind, and blend, you’ll likely pay between $400 and $700.
They tend to be very durable, though, so it’s often worth the investment.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
If you're looking for a straightforward appliance of solid quality, consider 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 underpowered, perhaps because the machine labors at times with fibrous and hard materials. A number of users wish there was a tamper to help push their ingredients toward the blades, and several users complain of jar leakage.
A conventional countertop blender can set you back between $20 and $200. Budget-friendly models tend to have weak motors and aren’t very durable.
For a quality blender that won’t break the bank, expect to spend between $60 and $100.
A personal countertop blender will usually cost between $20 and $60.
The lifespan of a countertop blender depends on the quality of its construction and how often you use it.
If you purchase a high-performance countertop blender, you can expect to get approximately 10 years of use out of it. Conventional and personal countertop blenders, which have weaker motors and fall at the lower end of the price range, will typically last between three and five years.
However, you should also factor in how often you use your blender.
If you’re blending smoothies daily, there’s a chance your motor will wear out more quickly. If you’re only using your blender once or twice a week, the motor will likely hold up longer.
Extra-hot items should never be placed in a blender. Steam could build up inside, creating enough pressure to blow off the lid and send hot food all over your kitchen.
Not all countertop blenders are designed to prevent overload, so don’t run your blender any longer than needed. Extended operation could fry the motor.
You should never operate your blender without the lid. And even if the lid for the blender jar fits tightly, hold it down with your hand while you blend to avoid any mess.
Say no to preservatives and extra sugar by making your own peanut butter at home.
You can churn your own butter in a blender with heavy cream and salt.
If you find your blender getting stuck due to cavitation (air bubble formation), use the pulse mode to disperse the bubble and get the blades moving again. You can also avoid air bubbles by balancing out the amounts of frozen foods and liquid.
High-performance and conventional countertop blenders are great options if you entertain regularly and need to blend frozen drinks for parties.
Cutting up food items into manageable chunks before putting them in the blender is another way to keep the blades from getting stuck, as well as to make sure that everything gets blended.
If you make butter, hummus, or soup frequently, a powerful blender would be an advantage. But if you make occasional smoothies or iced drinks, then a mid- to low-range countertop blender works as well.
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!
Always clean the blender thoroughly after use. Take the jar and blade assembly apart for cleaning. Soak the components in warm soapy water if you don’t have time to clean the blender right after you use it.
It’s a good idea to always leave a little room for expansion inside the blender jar. Only fill the jar approximately two-thirds full.
Q. What features make a countertop blender easier to clean?
A. For the easiest cleanup, look for a blender with removable blades. If the blades are built-in, make sure the jar has a wide base so you can easily remove any chunks that might get caught underneath the blades.
You may also want to consider a blender with a dishwasher-safe jar so you don’t have to wash it by hand.
Q. What’s the difference between peak horsepower and rated horsepower when it comes to a blender?
A. Peak horsepower refers only to the horsepower that the blender exhibits when you first turn it on. Rated horsepower is the steady horsepower at which the blender can run. Rated horsepower is a better indicator of the blender’s power.
Q. What’s the best container material for a blender?
A. Blenders usually have glass or plastic jars. Glass jars are preferred by some because they don’t absorb stains and odors as easily as plastic. However, they are heavy and break easily. Plastic jars are chip-proof and won’t break, so high-performance blenders use them for safety reasons.
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At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.