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The vast majority of Americans don’t even come close to eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Smoothies have become a popular way to get in those servings. Blending and drinking produce is easier than eating salads at every meal, after all. Plus, smoothies are delicious. You can use frozen fruit and nuts to create something creamy, like a good-for-you milkshake. Alternatively, you can cram your blender full of spinach and kale to make a supercharged health drink that’s an efficient delivery system for nutrition.
You can accomplish a lot with your morning smoothie—if you have the right blender. If you’ve ever tried to make a green smoothie in a subpar machine, you know you can end up with an unappetizing glass of something akin to wet lawn clippings. If you like your smoothies on the frosty side, you want a blender that can take on ice cubes. High-powered blenders can get expensive, so you’ll also need to weigh your needs against your budget and storage space. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing the right smoothie blender for you.
If you are serious about having the smoothest of smoothies, the Vitamix Professional Series is likely already on your wishlist. It’s the most famous name in blenders. The price tag—north of $500—gives most blender shoppers pause. But if you make smoothies most days, the Vitamix proves its value over time. It's a kitchen workhorse that’s built to last.
The aircraft-grade stainless steel blades stay sharp no matter how much ice or kale you throw at them. The powerful motor can tackle frozen fruit year after year. The angles of the container funnel the ingredients back toward the center, creating a vortex that leads to silky-smooth blends. There’s a smoothie preset so you can get your morning started at the touch of a button.
You don’t have to break the bank to get a good blender. This budget-friendly option from KitchenAid will handle your morning smoothies very well. With this model, you get a reasonably powerful motor with five speeds to address a range of possible blending needs. The stainless steel blades are up to the challenge of greens and frozen fruit alike. The 60-ounce container gives you plenty of space to make smoothies for the whole family. Like the Vitamix, its design encourages your smoothie ingredients to form a vortex to help get everything smooth with no unpleasant chunks. The sturdy base wipes clean easily. Though it’s less flashy than some others on this list, the KitchenAid will get the job done well.
Don’t let the compact size of the NutriBullet fool you—it’s plenty powerful for whipping up smoothies. Its 600-watt motor makes quick work of tough greens, nuts, and seeds so you can enjoy a perfectly pureed smoothie. The 24-ounce canister becomes the drinking cup, helping you minimize dirty dishes. The blades disassemble for easy cleaning. If you have limited counter space or tend to make smoothies just for yourself, the Nutribullet may be the best bet for you. (Tip: It’s also handy for making half batches of pesto.)
This newish blender has enough horsepower to put it in league with the almighty Vitamix. That Q in the name stands for quiet, and thanks to updated fan and motor technologies, the Q definitely makes less of a racket than other blenders without sacrificing power. But where it really shines is with a green smoothie. No matter how tough and fibrous the leaves and stems you put in there, they emerge perfectly smooth and pourable. Definitely make use of the smoothie preset you’ll find on the easy-to-read control panel. You might also find yourself using this machine to make homemade nut butter and your own grain flours.
Turning ice cubes into a uniform slush is one of the hardest tests of a blender. Many otherwise-perfect smoothies have been foiled by the unwanted intrusion of unblended ice chunks. But those icy shards will be a memory once you start making smoothies in this powerful blending machine. With even more horsepower than the Breville or Vitamix, ice or icy pieces of frozen fruit are no match for this blender's six whirling blades. It also offers variable speed control so you can adjust as needed for whatever you’re blending. There are two smoothie presets—one for things that need a bit more time for perfect blending and another for a little bit less. It’s a bit on the tall side, so measure your counter height to ensure it will fit where you want to store it.
If you have plans for your blender that go far beyond smoothies, consider the Blendtec. This multi-talented machine can grind meat, juice fruits and vegetables, mix bread, make hummus, and grind your coffee, just for starters. The wider design of the jar makes it more versatile than most. That means you don’t need to tamp ingredients down, and you’ll have a far easier time extracting every last drop of your smoothies and other concoctions from the blender. Because it’s wider, it’s also shorter, making a bit easier to store than some other high-speed blenders. Sleek touchscreen controls make the Blendtec a pleasure to program and use.
A good immersion blender (also known as a stick blender) is a frequently overlooked option for smoothie making. It’s a very easy way to make a single smoothie right in the vessel you plan to drink it out of. The All-Clad immersion blender gives you 600 watts of power to pulverize whatever you like in your smoothies. Aside from convenience, an immersion blender is incredibly easy to clean and store compared to a conventional blender. And you’ll likely find yourself using it for many other kitchen tasks including pureeing soups or sauces right in the pot, whipping up cake batter, making homemade mayonnaise, and more.
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Joy Manning is a food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in many publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post. She’s the author of Almost Meatless and Stuff Every Cook Should Know.