We’ve put hundreds of blenders through our durability, ice-crushing, and blending tests. This guide will arm you with expert knowledge to pick the model that best suits your needs. More people are buying blenders thanks to the popularity of smoothies and protein shakes. The best way to choose one that’s right for you is to think about how you’ll use it most.
Blenders come in three different types: traditional countertop, personal, and immersion. If you want a blender for making drinks, like frozen margaritas or whole fruit juicing, look for a traditional countertop model. You may want to invest in one of our top-rated high performance blenders. In our tests, we found they’re durable and excellent at crushing ice. But you’ll pay. They’re on the high end of the price range that goes from $20 to $650.
If you only plan to make the occasional milkshake, you can go with a more economical model. Personal blenders are convenient if you make a juice or smoothie every morning. They’re compact and usually have a container that doubles as a to-go cup. Personal blenders can cost $20 to $100.
If you make a lot of soups, an immersion or handheld blender might be a good choice, but they won’t replace a countertop model since they’re not as versatile. They have a long shaft with blades at the end so you can blend right in the pot or bowl you’re using to cook. Expect to pay $30 to $180.
Blenders generally range from 300 to 1500 watts. You may think higher wattage means better performance, but in our tests, some lower wattage models beat more powerful ones. Why? More than just wattage contributes to how well your blender performs, like container design, blade design, and even the speed of the blade.
Some of our top rated blenders have square containers. Some round. Some have blades that angle up. Others have multiple levels of blades. Many have indentation around the inside of the container that help move the ingredients toward the blade. Some blenders pull contents down through the blades creating a vortex, the cyclone you see swirling around. Others are designed to push ingredients upwards through the blades. Any of these features can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how it interplays with other features. Check our ratings for models that offer the best combination.
Blenders usually come with either a glass or a plastic container. Glass is heavier and it’s breakable. Plastic, which tends to be more popular, is lightweight but can absorb odors and can stain. Both usually have helpful measurements right on the container.
Blender controls differ from model to model. Some have buttons and knobs or touch pads which are the easiest to keep clean. A flip switch is simple but limits your options to one or two speeds. Most blenders offer 3 to 16 speeds. In our tests, we found that three speeds is plenty. When you have a dozen or more, it can be hard to distinguish one from another.
You’ll also want to look for a blender with a pulse setting. It allows you to blend in short bursts to prevent over processing. Some blenders come with a tamper. It’s a long skinny utensil designed to help move thick mixtures around the container for better blending. We don’t use tampers during our testing to maintain consistency across models.
If you plan to keep your blender out on the counter, look for one that’s no more than 17 inches tall. That should fit under most cabinets. We put blenders through several performance tests to see how they hold up in different situations, such as crushing ice, pureeing, and making icy drinks. Our durability tests accelerates where to check for design flaws. We placed seven large ice cubes in a blender and crush them on high speed for 60 seconds. We repeat this 45 times or until the blender breaks.
You should always check a blender’s warranty to determine what’s covered. Some higher-end models may come with a seven or eight year warranty. Some lower-priced, just one year. Check our ratings to find out which models do best in our tests.