There are plenty of kitchen gadgets and appliances most people can go without, but a blender is not one of them. A good, high-powered blender can tackle smoothies, shakes, dips and condiments, sauces, dressings, baby food, blended soups, non-dairy milks, nut butters, frozen desserts, cocktails, and more. You can even use a (high-powered) blender to do the job of a juicer by blending up your produce with a little bit of water and straining out the pulp with a strainer or nut milk bag.
That said, not all blenders are created equal by a long shot: Some require you to consistently scrape down the sides or un-stick stuck ingredients, some never quite get your ingredients blended smoothly, some are a pain to clean, some are very noisy, and some are expensive and not worth the high sticker price. We weeded all of those out for you by researching and testing the top blenders on the market and evaluating their power, ease of cleaning, ease of use, noise level, versatility, value, design, and more.
Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender
Remarkable pre-programmed settings
Incredible blending power
Container gets cloudy
With a whopping 2,400 watts of power, there’s not much the Vitamix Professional Series 750 can't do. It has manual controls for 10 different speeds, a pulse button, and five programmed settings for self-cleaning, smoothies, hot soups, frozen desserts, and purees. This machine not only out-powers most of the blender competition, but you can also use it as a food processor in most cases. The 750 also includes a tamper and has a cleaning mode that thoroughly cleans the container with just water and a small amount of soap.
A Vitamix blender is definitely an investment, but we say this model is totally worth it for its versatility and power. Even when our Lab tested an array of Vitamix models against each other, the 750 stood out as our top choice. And our home tester confirmed that this Vitamix can truly take on anything, from turning fibrous celery into smooth juice to churning fresh cream into butter. Its blades are even powerful enough to simultaneously puree and heat up soup.
Price at time of publish: $630
Capacity: 64 ounces | Power: 2,400 watts | Settings: 10 speeds, 5 pre-programmed settings, and a pulse button | Dimensions: 8.5 x 17.25 x 8.5 inches | Warranty: 7 years
"I was surprised to see emulsions like hollandaise turn out smooth and creamy." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Overall
KitchenAid K400 Variable Speed Blender
Durable & heavy-duty
Handles tough ingredients easily
This blender is the closest it gets to Vitamix performance without the Vitamix name, and it comes at about half the price. Granted, that's still not cheap, and you don't get the same wattage, but reviewers rave about the amount of blending power this machine has. It crushes ice quickly, does very well with fibrous ingredients, and turns nuts into nut butter with no issues. Since it's very durable, you can do tough jobs with this blender on a daily basis and have it still last you a long time.
The design of the K400 creates a vortex down to the asymmetrical blades, which helps ingredients blend more thoroughly. The three pre-programmed settings include ice crush, icy drinks, and smoothie, and the dial allows you to cycle through five different speeds at your own precise control. This blender is also dishwasher-safe, so you can clean it by hand, by blending a few drops of dish soap in water on high, or by popping the jar and lid into the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $270
Capacity: 56 ounces | Power: 1,200 watts | Settings: 5 speeds, 3 pre-programmed settings, and a pulse setting | Dimensions: 9.02 x 7.59 x 15.8 inches | Warranty: 5 years
Ninja Nutri Pro Compact Personal Blender
Great for protein shakes
Crushes ice quickly
Easy to set up, use, and clean
"I love my Ninja brand blender so much, it's earned a permanent place on my counter, right next to the toaster and the coffee maker," raves Taysha Murtaugh, Director of Commerce at The Spruce Eats.
The Ninja Nutri Pro Compact Blender has all the qualities you'd expect from a Ninja, and the "compact" part is helpful if you live in a tiny space like Taysha's small New York City apartment. Sure, it's small, but it also packs a lot of power—its 900-watt motor thoroughly blending or processing items in about 10 seconds or less. Plus, it comes with 18- and 24-ounce blending cups—plus to-go lids if you want to take your freshly blended smoothie on the go. The best part? The Ninja Nutri fit easily under our tester's standard kitchen cabinets with plenty of room to spare, and its black and silver design allowed it to fit in with her other appliances.
"Overall, the Ninja Nutri does an excellent job processing frozen berries, soft fruits, and leafy greens like spinach," our tester found, adding that thankfully, powdery ingredients like ground flax and whey protein blend easily. She did note that it didn't handle seeds as well, but as long as you don't mind a slightly chunkier smoothie, go ahead and blend those raspberries and strawberries.
Price at time of publish: $90
Capacity: 18 and 24 ounces | Power: 900 watts | Settings: 1 speed | Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 14 inches | Warranty: 1 year limited
"The Nutri Ninja does an excellent job processing frozen berries, soft fruits, and leafy greens like spinach." — Sharon Lehman, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Best Personal Blender
NutriBullet ZNBF30500Z Blender Combo
Powerful and quick
Simple, lightweight design
Easy to use and clean
The NutriBullet (and its sister brand, Magic Bullet) should be your top choice if you make a lot of single-serving drinks, have a small household, or have limited counter space. In addition to the base, extractor blade, and tamper, this combo includes a 24-ounce handled cup, a 32-ounce cup, and a 64-ounce pitcher (plus the accompanying lids). Besides making drinks, it can also be used with heated foods such as soups and sauces. Customers warn that this blender is extremely loud, but most agree that its quality and performance are worth the noise.
Price at time of publish: $150
Capacity: 64-ounce pitcher, 32-ounce cup, and 24-ounce cup | Power: 1,200 watts | Settings: 3 speeds plus a pulse button and extract setting | Dimensions: 8.07 x 7.75 x 16.97 inches | Warranty: 1 year
Best for Smoothies
Cuisinart Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System
Easy to use and clean
Sleek, compact design
Shakes when used on high power
This affordable and versatile personal blender, which also works well as a chopper, boasts a powerful 350-watt motor, a variety of controls that include pulsing, low-speed blending, and high-speed blending, and an electronic touchpad with LED indicator lights.
This set has two blades—one for blending and one for chopping—and 15 attachments, including a 32-ounce blender jar, an 8-ounce chopping cup, and a set of four 16-ounce BPA-free travel cups with drinking lids—perfect for multiple people in your household to enjoy smoothies on the go. The two blades also make this blender ideal for smoothies, in our tester's opinion: "I made banana, apple, and kale smoothies in my blender every day for a week, first using the chopping blade to cut through the ice, and then switching to the blending blade to blend the drink," she says. You can likely use the same blade to blend all your ingredients, and you can even blend your smoothies directly in the travel cups.
Price at time of publish: $80
Capacity: 32-ounce pitcher, 8-ounce cup, and four 16-ounce cups | Power: 350 watts | Settings: 2 speeds plus a pulse button | Dimensions: 10.12 x 15.75 x 10 inches | Warranty: 3 years
"Everything about the Cuisinart is intuitive, from the blade assemblies to the touch-button controls to the lids." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
Best Immersion Blender
Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick Two-Speed Hand Blender
Easy to clean
Great for soups and sauces
Two blending speeds
Difficult to operate
When you want to completely eliminate having a device that sits on your counter, you can buy a stick—or immersion—blender. Immersion blenders excel at blending hot foods while still on the stove, like pureed soups and sauces. They can also help you whip up mayonnaise in a jar or make a single-serving smoothie in a cup. The Cuisinart Smart Stick excels at all of it, and you can stash it in a drawer until the next time you need it. It comes in brushed chrome and a number of other colors and has two blending speeds. For easy cleaning, the blending shaft is removable and dishwasher-safe, and the included 2-cup blending beaker is also dishwasher-safe. Customers' one main complaint is that the safety button at the top of the blender requires two hands to use and takes a lot of getting used to.
Price at time of publish: $90
Capacity: 16-ounce blending beaker | Power: 200 watts | Settings: 2 speeds | Dimensions: 4.8 x 4.8 x 15.75 inches | Warranty: 3 years
PopBabies Portable Blender
Easy and quick blending
Good battery life and easy to recharge
Have to cut fruit into small pieces
If you want to make smoothies at your desk, blend baby food while traveling, or fuel up on protein shakes during your next camping trip, then this rechargeable blender from PopBabies is a solid choice. It looks like a travel bottle, and you can drink directly from the blending jar to cut down on dishes—plus, it's dishwasher-safe. Its 16-ounce capacity is suited to the portable design, and it can be fully charged with the included USB cable in about three hours. As a bonus, the blender comes with a funnel and a miniature ice tray that makes cubes small enough for the blender to handle. That also hints at the main downside of the device: because it’s so small, this blender isn’t as powerful as a full-sized model. Some reviewers complain that it struggles to blend large chunks of fruit or ice.
Price at time of publish: $50
Capacity: 16 ounces | Power: 175 watts | Settings: 1 speed | Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.2 x 10.2 inches | Warranty: None
The Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender is our top pick for top high-powered blender because of its incredible power, durability, and versatility. If its incredible price is too much for you, the NutriBullet Blender Combo is lower in price and smaller in footprint and does a great job despite being smaller in capacity and lower in power.
What to Look for When Buying a Blender
The more wattage your blender has, the more powerful it will be in getting your ingredients blended thoroughly and smoothly. Less-powerful blenders may struggle with blending tougher ingredients like ice or stringy produce stems, while more powerful blenders can take on hard jobs like grinding nuts into nut butter. Taking note of what types of foods and ingredients you like to blend, as well as how often you plan to use your blender, will give you a better idea of the level of power you need. If you use a lower-powered blender to do tough jobs too often, you can burn out its motor.
Blenders typically have a relatively heavy base unit with a motor that powers a blade at the bottom of the blender jar. There are many different designs of blender jars and blades; some jars have a non-removable bottom with a permanent blade, some have a removable blade with a non-removable bottom, and some have a bottom and blade assembly that detaches from the jar. No matter what the configuration is, the motor spins the blade inside the jar, which chops, blends, or purees the food.
Size and Capacity
If you have a smaller kitchen, you can find some high-quality compact and personal blenders that can handle tough jobs beautifully while still taking up much less space. If you blend large batches of dishes like soup on a regular basis, a larger-capacity blender will allow you to do so in only one or two batches rather than several. Some blenders have multiple pitcher sizes that allow you to adapt to the batch size you're blending.
How much space you are willing to devote to a blender may depend on how often you use it. If you make smoothies every day, it might make sense to carve out space for it on the counter, so it’s easily accessible. If you only use it occasionally, you’ll want a blender that's light enough to move easily and compact enough to store. For small kitchens, a stick blender that goes in a drawer might be the best choice. While extra blender jars, to-go cups, and other accessories might be nice to have, they’ll also take up extra space when they’re not in use.
Some blenders have pre-programmed settings for smoothies, juices, hot soups, frozen desserts, and more. These settings are designed to cycle through different speeds at certain time intervals in order to yield best results. For some these can be extremely helpful, whereas others don't use them at all.
Traditional, Portable, Personal, or Immersion?
Stick blenders (also called immersion or hand blenders) take a completely different approach since the small blade is at the bottom of a long shaft that includes the motor. These can be used in just about any container including jars, mixing bowls, and cooking pots.
While they’re all considered blenders, you’ll find a wide variety of machine configurations, including compact stick blenders, personal blenders that excel at making smoothies, countertop devices, hybrid machines that are designed for cooking tasks, and super powerful machines that can turn grains into dust and ice into snow.
There is a wide price range for blenders available today—from under $25 to nearly $1,000 for more professional models—so it’s wise to carefully consider what you’ll use your blender for and buy one that fits both your needs and your budget. Buying a pricer machine just for milkshakes is a waste, but burning out the motors on a series of cheap blenders can be just as expensive in the long run. Just note that with blenders, you often get what you pay for, and a good blender is worth the price.
While glass blender jars look heavy and durable, they can break if dropped, and a tiny chip on the base can result in liquid leaking out of the jar as you blend. A high-quality plastic blender jar may not look as attractive, but plastic jars are actually very durable. While they’re not indestructible and can crack or break if abused, they can survive everyday bumps and drops much better than glass. They’re also lighter, so you may be less likely to drop them due to the weight. They are usually BPA-free.
When it comes to durability, consider the motor. Stronger motors will last longer, particularly if you’re often using the blender for stressful tasks, or for blending for a long time. Some blenders can't be used for more than a minute or two without the motor overheating, while others can be used for five minutes or longer with no problems.
The speed that the blades spin affects how fast your food will be blended, and it also affects the texture of the final product. A fast blender will turn your ice into perfect fluffy snow, while a slower blender will leave you with tiny chunks and shards that aren’t as pleasant in your frozen cocktail. Your purees will be smoother with a faster blender, and your soups will be creamy. A fast, powerful blender can turn grains into a smooth flour.
Super-powerful blenders have blades that spin so fast that the friction heats the ingredients, and can even bring foods to a boil. Because of this ability, you can actually cook some foods in the blender, like simple puddings or soups. This function may be useful for some cooks, but in most cases, you'll want to sauté or roast at least some of your soup ingredients. While it can be impressive to see wisps of steam coming out from the vent on your blender’s lid, it may not be worth paying the extra price unless this is a function you’ll actually use.
If you’ll be using your blender for making smoothies for the family, extra to-go blender cups might be necessary accessories. Extra blender jars in different sizes could also be handy for some cooks. Some blenders have these accessories available, while other blenders come with just the basic jar. It may also be a good idea to see if replacement jars, lids, gaskets, and other necessary parts are available for purchase—if you know that your blender will see hard use in the kitchen.
The Ninja company is known for innovation, especially with their blenders. They make many popular personal and countertop models, most of which have a unique stacked blade system that consists of blades placed at different heights within the jar. Ninja calls this system "Total Crushing Technology" and claims that it can pulverize ice into snow.
This company fills the niche at the top of the price and power pyramid, with blenders that can do everything from crush ice to cook foods. On the low end, you’ll find a few models under $300, while the high end is easily triple that. While the price is sky-high, these are blenders that will last for a long time, and they will do much more than just blend smoothies.
The NutriBullet and Magic Bullet brands are owned by the same company; they specialize in affordable personal blenders that are great for blending drinks to take on the go. The NutriBullet line is higher-powered and can do just about anything a full-sized, high-powered blender can do (just in smaller batches), whereas the Magic Bullet line is not as powerful and a bit lower-priced. The Baby Bullet is a similar blender from the same company that is targeted toward parents who want to blend their own baby food.
How do you clean a blender?
As with many appliances, cleaning a blender can be an unpleasant task, and the first thing to remember is that the super-sharp blades need to be handled with care. The second thing to remember is that you should always check your individual owner’s manual for specific instructions.
While some blender jars may be dishwasher-safe, most recommend hand-washing. Blenders with removable bottoms give you easier access to the underside of the blade as well as all the corners of the jar. Unfortunately, many of these include a gasket that can be lost, and the bottoms need to be re-secured properly or the jar can leak during blending. High-speed blenders that have permanent bases and blades seem like they could be difficult to clean by hand, but most can be cleaned by simply blending water and a drop of dish soap. Wipe the lid and rim of the jar clean, and then rinse thoroughly before using to remove any lingering soap. If the blender has a specialized cleaning program, it'll heat the water to clean the interior of the jar even more.
No matter which blender you own, cleaning is easiest if you rinse the jar immediately after use to prevent food from drying and sticking. For stuck-on food or stubborn smells, blend a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and hot water before washing all the components as normal. If the blender base or cord get splattered on, you can wipe them down with warm water and a cloth or sponge—after unplugging the unit, of course! You should never, ever submerge the blender motor or other electrical components in water.
Should I get a blender or a food processor?
Blenders are typically designed for more liquid consistencies and more thoroughly-pureed end products, although higher-end models are powerful enough to crush ice, grind up nuts, and puree tough ingredients in addition to soft ingredients. Food processors usually have a circular blade cutter that can chop, slice, grate, emulsify, and shred, which lends itself to more solid ingredients. You'd use a blender for smoothies, sauces, or soups, whereas you'd use a food processor for doughs, dips like chunky salsa or pesto, or ingredient prep like veggie chopping or cheese grating (some dips like hummus could be done in either appliance.)
Some blenders actually come with food processor attachments, but they're usually not as efficient as the appliance on its own. Decide what to buy based on what your needs in the kitchen are versus the specific gadget’s functions and purpose. Most households that cook a lot like to have two separate units or one comprehensive blender that is generally on the higher price range.
Do blender blades need to be replaced?
In general, your blender blades should last you the lifetime of the machine with proper washing and care. Unlike knives, you shouldn’t have to worry about sharpening them, either. However, if the blade gets damaged, some companies—Cuisinart, for example—do sell (pricey) replacement blades.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author who reviews products and writes roundups for The Spruce Eats. She's constantly testing out different kitchen gadgets and dishing out her honest opinions about design, performance, and ease of cleaning.
This roundup was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef, and Taysha Murtaugh, who loves her Ninja brand blender and uses it regularly for smoothies and soups.