Each of these blenders is unique in its own way, and while there’s some overlap in key features across the board, some are more ideal than others for specific uses and needs. If you’re looking for the perfect personal or compact blender, you can never go wrong with a trusty NutriBullet (view at Amazon), although if you’re a fan of having a variety of settings to choose from, you’ll want to go for the Nutri Ninja (view at Amazon). If you make a lot of frozen cocktails (either at home or while working), a more industrial- or professional-grade blender, like the Vitamix E310 (view at Amazon), offers both the power to withstand constant use without overheating and the size to accommodate larger volumes. Lastly, if you want to make your investment count beyond blending, models like the Thermomix TM5 All-In-One (view at Amazon) and the Ninja 400-watt blender and food processor (view at Amazon) are an excellent way to get the most bang for your buck.
What to Look For in a Blender
Blenders operate on the same general idea—creating liquid texture or smaller pieces out of various ingredients—but can come in many different forms. Regardless of the type of blender you’re shopping for, you’ll want to make sure that the wattage is appropriate for the intended use. Quality personal blenders should be 300 watts or higher, while full-size blenders should be around 700 watts and above; professional-grade blenders will generally be above 900 watts.
A great blender will exist to blend, at minimum, but some models come equipped with additional functions, which come in handy for saving space, time, and/or money. The Ninja 400-watt blender and food processor is an excellent example of a multipurpose tool at an approachable price, combining two kitchen appliances into one at a lower cost than purchasing both a blender and a food processor separately. Blender hybrids like the Thermomix TM5 All-In-One Blender and Cookery are designed for cooks who really like to geek out in the kitchen and don’t mind investing serious money into professional-grade appliances—again, this highly advanced tool offers a staggeringly long list of capabilities along with a database of over 20,000 recipes for inspiration.
Maintenance and upkeep
Regardless of which blender you own or purchase, always make sure to take care of your appliance as best you can in order to ensure its functionality and longevity. As a general guideline, blenders should be cleaned only as instructed, and when in use, be careful not to let the motor overheat as this can cause mechanical issues.
What’s the difference between a blender and a juicer?
Some blenders, such as the Nutri Ninja, are powerful enough to liquefy whole fruit and vegetable pieces into a juice-like consistency, however the term “juicer” generally refers to a device or appliance that extracts the juice from fruits and vegetables by separating juice from fiber versus blending whole pieces into liquid form. Blenders are powered electrically, while juicers can be either electric or hand-powered.
How long should a quality blender last?
A blender’s frequency of use will determine its longevity, as will its care. In general, blenders should last at least a few years (longer depending on size, power, construction, and quality), but in order to make yours last as long as possible, be sure to avoid letting the motor overheat if using often, and to clean the blender’s parts only as instructed. Also, as Forest mentioned, purchasing a blender with a plastic pitcher versus a glass pitcher will greatly reduce the possibility of pitcher breakage. Lastly, look out for warranties when shopping for the perfect blender for frozen cocktails—this will help you to understand how long any given product is meant to last at minimum and how long you’ll be covered in the event of any malfunctions.
Do you have to take a blender apart to clean?
This depends on the model of your blender—for example, blenders like the NutriBullet feature a detachable blade, which unscrews from the cup, and each piece is meant to be washed separately. Many blenders come with the blade attached to the bottom of the pitcher itself, in which case you’ll want to wash as instructed (and as carefully as possible). Self-cleaning functions like that of the Vitamix E310 are also very handy and are certainly worth considering when shopping around for the perfect blender.
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Céline Bossart is a longtime wine and spirits writer who has, over the years, developed a serious appreciation for great blenders. At home, she primarily uses a NutriBullet for everyday smoothie blending, but when hosting, she’s partial to making batches of frozen cocktails in a Vitamix.