There’s a special place in kitchens for small blenders. From personal blending to small-batch meal preparation, they’re capable of chopping, mixing, combining and smoothie-making.
While there’s no official definition of the size, according to many retailers, the small blender category includes models with capacities less than 35 ounces. A top pick, the Cuisinart Compact Blender, has a 32-ounce glass jar and comes with four Tritan travel cups.
Small blenders are typically classified by their capacities, which include three separate categories: traditional, personal and immersion blenders.
Traditional blenders have a heavy base and a wide-mouth jug, and sometimes, they come with travel cups. These blenders usually offer more blending speeds and settings than other models. Many of these have more powerful motors and sharper blades than other small blenders.
Personal blenders, also called portable blenders, make individual servings of smoothies, soups, desserts or dips. They often come with travel cups and lids for on-the-go drinking. Most personal blenders are easy to clean, either by hand or in the dishwasher.
Immersion blenders, sometimes call stick blenders, blend and purée ingredients. They’re placed in liquid or soft mixes to create smooth, uniform blending. Certain immersion blenders come with blending cups for making drinks, dressings or soups.
Watts refers to the blender’s power, and the higher the wattage, the more powerful it will be. Professional-grade blenders usually have 1200 to 1500 watts, while everyday countertop blenders have around 750 watts. Small blenders, including immersion blenders, usually have 250 to 600 watts.
One of the benefits of small blenders is their small footprint, which makes them suitable for small kitchens, dorms and RV living. However, given their compact designs, most small blenders lack onboard storage for accessories and power cords. As a result, you’ll still need to make space in cupboards or drawers for these pieces.
Blender jars are either made with impact-resistant glass or plastic, and both materials hold up well to the rough-and-tumble nature of blending.
Glass jars don’t retain odors and stains, making them easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher when indicated. They’re generally more durable than plastic jars because they’re heavier and thicker. Plastic jars, on the other hand, may require deeper cleaning or soaking to remove stains and smells. They are, however, more affordable to replace than glass jars.
Small blenders often come with travel cups and lids, which come in handy for on-the-go drinking and meal preparation. Certain blender sets include travel cups in more than one size, such as Magic Bullet and NutriBullet blender sets. Others include a variety of lids, which may include sipping lids or twist-on lids for storage.
Most small blenders have at least two speed settings and a pulse button. However, some entry-level blenders have a single speed button. Blenders that can handle more advanced tasks, like dicing, chopping or ice crushing, tend to be more expensive.
Blenders often have nonslip bases with rubber or silicone detail to prevent them from traveling across the counter while they’re in use. While they’re generally effective, prolonged or intense blending jobs may cause the appliance to destabilize and travel anyway.
Small blenders with limited features, including entry-level personal blenders, cost $30 and below. Mid-range blenders with several speed and blending settings run $40-$80. Some small blenders cost $100 and above, including those manufactured by premium kitchen brands.
A. Personal blenders have convenient designs geared toward travel use, which is why they’re often seen as supplemental investments. They’re ideal if you need to “blend and go,” plus they’re quick and easy to clean. Conversely, some personal blenders are underpowered and may not meet your expectations for blending capabilities.
A. You can rinse out the blender and then fill it halfway with a mix of warm water and dish soap. Replace the lid and blend on the lowest setting until all residue is dislodged. Rinse the blender again and wipe it down with a sponge until the water runs clear.
What you need to know: A popular portable blender, this Cuisinart model has a streamlined design with a 32-ounce jar.
What you’ll love: This blender is capable of blending, mincing, chopping and creating frozen beverages, and the simple one-touch control panel is user-friendly. This set includes four Tritan travel cups with lids and is equipped with automatic shutoff and a safety lock mechanism.
What you should consider: The jar lacks a handle, and some people found it difficult to grip and pour.
What you need to know: This bestselling personal blender has a space-savvy design yet doesn’t compromise on blending capabilities.
What you’ll love: It includes blender cups, lids and blades and has a stable base that doesn't move around during operation. The blender cups and containers are easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher.
What you should consider: Food has a tendency to clump up around the blending container.
What you need to know: Popular as a supplemental appliance, this immersion blender comes with a three-cup blending jar.
What you’ll love: This blend is easy to operate with a variable speed trigger and includes a removal pan guard that protects cookware. It works equally well mixing thin and thick consistencies and the blending jar is BPA-free.
What you should consider: The blades are hard to clean and the appliance is heavier than comparable immersion blenders.
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.