The Best Blenders Make So Much More Than Smoothies

The Best Blenders Make So Much More Than Smoothies

These days, a blender is rarely just a blender, and models range from basic to just shy of Elon Musk in terms of technological prowess. It’s also an appliance that tends to inspire a lot of creativity in the kitchen with the ability to make everything from smoothies to soups.

What Are the Best Blenders?

The best blenders these days combine helpful, time-saving features with high-tech functions, that let you cook up full meals, snacks and desserts with ease. The best blenders are great for prepping dry goods (think chopping nuts or grinding herbs and spices) as well. Here’s what else you need to know before buying a blender.

Power: Maybe this is obvious, but make sure the blender you choose has enough power to adequately perform whatever shaking or pulverizing you’re planning to put it through. Lower quality parts and weaker motors will obviously pack less of a punch, but sometimes these deficiencies can be mitigated by an effective blade design and by taking into consideration what you’re blending.

Food Processor: Some blenders come with a food processor function attached, which can also chop vegetables or emulsify chickpeas to make your own creamy hummus. We love any two-in-one appliance and we think the built-in food processor is a more convenient feature than you may even realize.

Extra Features: The most tech-forward blenders include a variety of extras and handy functions that we love. Automatic settings, for example, can be extremely handy (like a button for a “smoothie” or “puree” setting). Other tech-extras include the ability to self-heat using only the friction of the blades, so you can make one-pot pureed soup without even touching the stove. Other blenders have functions for making your own homemade ice cream.

Convenience: A blender might have all the bells and whistles, but if it is so large and heavy you need two people to get it on the counter, you might rarely use it at all. If post-smoothie clean-up fills you with dread, you may be attracted to self-cleaning models.

1. Vitamix 5200 Blender Professional Grade

The powerful Vitamix blender has a legion of devotees and it’s pretty easy to see why. In addition to being reliable and efficient, it also comes with a slate of features and extras that perform more kitchen tasks than you may even realize.

It has several speeds which can be adjusted at any time to create a variety of textures, while specific design elements, like a special tamper, precise container shape and stainless steel blades, help to evenly process even the thickest and most stubborn blends. Your smoothies and sauces come out more smooth and even — no chunks or clumps here.

One bonus we love is the blade friction heating feature, in which the blades reach a speed so fast it creates friction heat, bringing cold ingredients to hot in about six minutes, according to the manufacturer.

When you’re done, pop it into the dishwasher – everything here is dishwasher-safe.

The Best Blenders Make So Much More Than Smoothies

2. Ninja Mega Kitchen System Blender

We love this two-in-one Ninja, which has food processor attachments as well as a blender blade, meaning it can perform functions like chopping vegetables and mixing dough. The Ninja also has four blending speeds, and will pulverize just about anything you throw at it in minutes — we find it especially handy for crushing ice.

Other handy details include the two, 16-ounce to-go cups and lids that come included, as well as the suction-cup bottom, ensuring the machine stays exactly where you put it. Note that like most powerful blenders, this one is a little noisy, but we consider this a small price to pay for the heavy-duty performance features you get here. This is a set that will last you for years.

The Best Blenders Make So Much More Than Smoothies

3. Oster Blender Pro 1200 With Glass Jar

The Oster blender is not quite as renowned as some of its competitors, but we think this is a shame, as it comes with a seriously impressive motor and a ton of useful settings. For instance, included among the appliance’s seven speeds, which go from pulse to puree, are pre-programmed settings for smoothies, salsas, and milkshakes, which eliminates a lot of trial and error and guesswork.

You can blend everything in the six-cup glass jar (more durable than plastic) or the 24-ounce smoothie cup, which you can grab straight from the blender and take to go. On a slightly more superficial level, we also appreciate the convenient size, which fits neatly in most kitchen cabinetry and therefore doesn’t need a permanent home on the countertop.

The Best Blenders Make So Much More Than Smoothies

4. Dash Chef Series Blender

Like some of the blenders above, this Dash Chef appliance comes with a wide array of features and functions, including eight settings for rinse, puree, soup, smoothie, crush, frozen, pulse, and manual. According to the manufacturer, its onboard computer starts and stops the motor automatically to create a “blending vortex” to ensure consistently perfect results. Another self-heating model, the “soup” function brings blends to 165 degrees in eight minutes. Meanwhile the “frozen” function can make gelato or ice cream in seconds.

It is also pretty simple design-wise, meaning minimal fiddling with specific parts or lids that need to be turned “just so.” The blade is already integrated into the base, for example, which means it does not need to be unscrewed in order to clean, and cuts down on the risk of leaks.

This is a fairly large unit, but if you have the space we think it’s a great pick. The retro-inspired design looks great on countertops too.

The Best Blenders Make So Much More Than Smoothies