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If you’re looking to buy a blender, it’s important to consider your wants, needs, and favorite recipes. Do you make daily smoothies? Will you be making nut butter? Do you care about having a range of speeds? Does having partially broken-down ice cubes in frozen drinks bother you? Will you be storing your blender on the counter or will you be moving it from a cupboard each time you have to use it?
If you just make the occasional soup or smoothie, a basic blender may be fine for your purposes. But it just won’t offer the same power and functionality as the more souped-up (pun intended!) models, or last as long. And we can almost guarantee that the cheaper models will be noticeably louder.
"When you are looking to purchase a blender for yourself, consider what it will mostly be used for. Whether it be for making smoothies or cooking a lot of frozen items, look at the specifics of your choice to ensure it has the power and features you will need," says Julia Chebotar, a chef in New York City. "Also, consider your storage options. This will help you determine whether you need a countertop or handheld blender."
Some other things to think about: perhaps surprisingly, sharper blades do not a better blender make. They go dull quickly and make the cleaning process precarious, if not dangerous. Instead, you want strong, dull blades, paired with a powerful motor. Glass is heavier than plastic, but plastic holds onto more odors and can discolor easily. The wattage in your motor isn’t the most important aspect, but it’s worth looking at.
We dug deep into the market to identify good options, and our top pick is the Vitamix Explorian Blender.
Best Overall: Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender
What We Love: The gold standard for speed, power, and control
What We Don't Love: Pricey, heavy
When Vitamix owners talk about their blenders, they get a far-off look in their eyes. That’s because Vitamixes are the gold standard of blenders, offering control, speed, and power that’s hard to find in other options. Whether you want to make a smooth leek and potato soup or crunchy nut butter or chunky salsa, this 2-horsepower Vitamix has you covered.
This high-speed blender, from the Explorian series, comes with a 48-ounce, BPA-free Tritan plastic container, a tamper (no stopping to clean the sides of the blender!), variable speeds, a pulse option, and laser-cut stainless-steel blades. It does weigh 10.5 pounds, which might call for dedicated counter space, though it should fit easily under your cabinets.
It’s backed by a 5-year warranty should anything go wrong. And it’s dishwasher safe, but even if you don’t have one, cleaning is a breeze—just pour in warm water with a drop of dishwasher soap and blend on high for 60 seconds.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 11 x 8 x 18 inches | Weight: 10.5 pounds | Wattage: 1380 W | Number of Speeds: 10
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Blendtec Classic 575 Blender
What We Love: High power, suitable for smaller cabinets
What We Don't Love: Pricey
Since the best overall blender is also a high-speed blender, we wanted to shout out the runner-up since it is also an excellent option, which some folks actually prefer. The Blendtec Classic 575 Blender, which comes with the BPA-free Wildside 90-ounce Jar.
At 8 x 7 x 15 inches, this powerful blender will easily fit underneath your kitchen cabinets. The stainless-steel blades are famously dull, but they make it safer since there won’t be any cuts or nicks and get the job done better than most blenders. This midrange Blendtec has a 60 and 90-second timed cycle, in addition to 5 speeds and a pulse option.
It’s also worth noting that Blendtec’s customer service is notoriously fantastic. Our very own Senior Editor Cambria Bold has had replacement parts sent free of charge (she also loves how short it is). Other reviewers comment that if the motor stops working, Blendtec will send a new one immediately for free. Also, Blendtec is made by a family-owned company and assembled in the U.S.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 8 x 7 x 15 inches | Weight: 7.3 pounds | Wattage: 1560 W | Number of Speeds: 5
Best Budget: Black+Decker Quiet Blender with Cyclone Glass Jar
What We Love: Quiet, respectable range of functions
What We Don't Love: Not as well-built as others
If you’re looking for something more affordable or only blend occasionally, the Black+Decker Quiet Blender with Cyclone Glass Jar is an excellent entry-level option. You may not wax poetic about it in casual conversation, but it will get the job done.
This 9 x 7.6 x 16.2-inch blender quieter than the other options in the price range and its 6-tip blade with serrated edges works well. You’ll likely have to stop it a few times to scrape down the sides as you’re blending, but you can count on it blending well. With an additional 20-ounce single-serve Tritan jar for on-the-go enjoyment, it has 3 blending speeds, 3 smart functions, a pulse feature, and a 900-watt motor.
Cleaning’s easy too since the blender is dishwasher safe and the front panel can be wiped down.
Dimensions(LxWxH): 9 x 7.6 x 16.2 inches | Weight: 8 pounds | Wattage: 900 W | Number of Speeds: 3
Related: The Best Food Processors
Best for Soups: Instant Pot Ace Nova Blender
What We Love: Heating element, wide range of functions
What We Don't Love: Heavy
The Instant Pot is another appliance that folks like to wax poetic about. If you’re in that camp, you’ll likely love their countertop blender, the Ace Nova Blender, which not only blends, it also cooks.
Along with three manual speeds, this blender features lots of settings for making your favorite dishes. There are 8 presets (smoothies, purées, frozen desserts, crushed ice, soy milk, rice milk, nut/oat milk, and soup), with the functions for hot food activating the blender’s heating element. All are easily handled by the stainless-steel blades at the bottom of the 54-ounce glass pitcher.
This also comes with a tamper, a measuring cup, a cleaning brush, and a washable strainer bag. Hand washing is recommended.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 9.2 x 8.1 x 17 inches| Weight: 11.9 pounds | Wattage: 1000 W | Number of Speeds: 10
Best for Smoothies: NutriBullet 24-Ounce Personal Blender
What We Love: Great for to-go shakes, lightweight
What We Don't Love: Not as much power
For those who can’t live without a morning protein shake or a green smoothie, the NutriBullet is indispensable. This set comes with two sizes of personal blenders and two different lids for sipping.
"I recommend the NutriBullet Personal Blender for blending smoothies, veggies, fruits, nuts, and other ingredients," says Chebotar. "The power is incredible, and the consistency it pulls is perfect for your cooking needs. I even use it to fluff my eggs for breakfast."
This 600-watt personal blender works by having you place all the ingredients in either the 24-ounce tall cup or the 18-ounce shorter cup, then you screw the blades on top, and put it on the power base. A few pulses and your veggies, fruits, and nuts are pulverized by the 1000-RPM blades. It does come with a recipe book to get you started, and the cups and lids are dishwasher safe.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.3 x 5.3 x 13.5 inches | Weight: 4.4 pounds | Wattage: 600 W | Number of Speeds: 1
Related: The Best Personal Blenders
Best Splurge: Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Professional-Grade Smart Blender
What We Love: One of the smartest blenders available, touchscreen
What We Don't Love: Expensive
Oh, you want a smart blender, do you? Meet the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender. If you’re willing to shell out, this is an exceptional machine.
Along with all the functionality you’ve come to expect from Vitamix, this 2.2-horsepower blender has a range of thoughtful other features like five program settings (smoothies, hot soups, dips & spreads, frozen desserts, and self-cleaning) and a programmable timer. Oh, and it’s own app! That unlocks 17 more programs and more than 500 recipes.
Of course, a smart blender will have touch-screen controls, instead of buttons. Beyond that, the motor base can tell which container size you’re using and automatically adjusts its programs and times accordingly.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 11 x 8 x 17 inches | Weight: 14.92 pounds | Wattage: 1500 W | Number of Speeds: 10
Related: The Best Vitamix Blenders
Best Immersion: Braun MQ5000 Multiquick Vario Hand Immersion Blender
What We Love: 21 speeds plus turbo, splash control technology
What We Don't Love: Less powerful than traditional blenders
Don’t forget about the humble immersion blender! It’s just the thing for those quick little blending jobs, but they can all too often be slow, hard to maneuver, or hard to grip. That’s why we like the Braun MultiQuick Vario Hand Blender, which is both easy to use and to grip.
This 400-watt blender comes with a 20-ounce blending cup and 21 speeds for any kitchen project you have to throw at it. Plus, there’s a turbo speed for when you’re in a hurry or need an extra boost of power. It may not change your life, but it will get the job done with zero headaches. And, isn’t that what we all want from our immersion blenders?
Dimensions (LxWxH): 2.7 x 2.7 x 15.75 inches | Weight: 1.8 pounds | Wattage: 400 W | Number of Speeds: 21
Related: The Best Immersion Blenders
Durable, easy to use, and some of the best customer service around make the Blendtec Classic 575 Blender (view at Amazon) a top high-speed blender pick. If you need something more affordable, the Black+Decker Quiet Blender with Cyclone Glass Jar (view at Walmart) won't disappoint.
What to Look for in a Blender
Though it sounds nice for a blender’s blades to be sharp, the best blenders are generally the ones with more horsepower. Blenders can range between 200 watts (usually, these are immersion blenders) to more than 1000 watts. More power translates to having the ability to crush ice and other hard foods. A Vitamix, generally seen as the gold standard, starts at around 1200 watts.
Having various speeds allows you to customize the texture of the final product. For those who use the blender constantly for different kinds of food, having multiple speeds might be life-changing. If you’re going to be using your blender as a food processor (not recommended, but understandable), you’ll want plenty of slow speeds along with the higher speeds for blending trickier foods.
Most blenders are best cleaned by blending lukewarm water with a drop of dish soap for 30 seconds. But you should also always read the manufacturer’s recommendations. It’s best to wash your blender by hand whenever possible.
What's the difference between a blender and a food processor?
There’s a lot of confusion about this, and for good reason, as the two have plenty of overlapping abilities. That said, they’re intended for different purposes. Consider the final texture of your dish. If it’s meant to be liquid or smooth, like a smoothie or a soup, the blender is probably best. If it’s meant to be dry or textured, use the food processor.
What's the difference between a blender and an immersion blender?
An immersion blender is hand-held, and best for inserting into vessels that you’re already using, whereas a blender usually includes a base and a vessel in which your food can be blended and served. Immersion blenders can be more convenient than traditional blenders, though they generally have less power.
What’s the difference between blenders and juicers?
Blenders pulverize food in its entirety, leaving nothing behind. Juicers extract the liquid from food, leaving behind the fibers. When you blend food, the consistency is thicker than that made with a juicer.
Can you make nut butter in a blender?
It is possible to make nut butter in a high-speed blender, but using a food processor is likely to yield better results.
Do the blades ever need to be replaced?
Probably not, as long as they’re cared for properly. This generally means hand washing instead of throwing them in your dishwasher and not blending hard objects like chicken bones or raw potatoes. If the blades are dropped or become dull, many manufacturers sell replacements, though they can be pricey.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Christine Clark is a regular smoothie maker and dedicated maker of soups, nut butters, and other such blended foods. After trying many respectable blenders over the years, she finally bought a Vitamix in 2018 and has never looked back. For more of her strong opinions on kitchenware, snacks, cheese, and more, you can listen to her podcast, Is this a Brie?
Read Next: The Best Juicers
Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.