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The Best Blenders for Shakes, Smoothies, Soups, and More

Fruit in a blender
Creative Family/Shutterstock.com

A blender is just a blender, right? That’s definitely not true. Different people require different features when it comes to buying a blender that meets their needs. Most of the time cost is a concern as well.

What to Look for in a Great Blender

Vitamix and Blendtec have been battling each other in the best blender war for decades. Does one of these players still reign supreme, or does an alternative model deserve your hard-earned money? Let’s find out!

Whether you’re looking to make a frosty protein shake, blend ingredients for a delicious dish, or whip up a vitamin-packed smoothie, you have a number of important features to consider in a blender. Here is what you need to know when looking for the right blender to meet your needs:

  • Motor strength: The strength of the motor has a lot to do with the ability of any blender to blend ingredients effectively.
  • Blade design: Some blades rely on sharpness to slice ingredients, but they will eventually lose their edge. This can happen faster with larger, harder ingredients, such as ice or grains. Still, they can be a good solution if they are made well. Other blades are intentionally dull, using motor power to crush through food using brute force. These blades never need to be sharpened and often last a very long time. Either solution can be good, but you need to know what you’re getting.
  • Innovative features: Providing set-it-and-forget-it automatic features take a lot of the guesswork out of blending.
  • Blade strength: Blades made of hardened steel are what you’re looking for. They can power through food with a strong motor or hold an edge longer.
  • Build quality: All that power has to be contained. The materials and engineering that goes into the blender structure are as important as the quality of the switches and other electronics.
  • Warranty: More expensive blenders are meant to last for years, and the price usually reflects that.

As with most items, you can find a blender that’s effective, high quality, or cheap, but you have to pick two of those features at any given time. Let’s take a look at how the picks shake out.

Best Overall: Blendtec Classic 575 with 90oz WildSide+ Jar

Blendtec Classic 575

Blendtec and Vitamix will likely battle for the crown of best blender for years to come. Both are high power blenders that will blend amazingly well for many years. I own both of them and make protein shakes daily. The edge goes to the Blendtec these days primarily because of the eight-year warranty and because of that WildSide+ jar. The jar on the Blendtec has a flat fifth side that encourages a better vortex, resulting in a more thorough blend and smoother results.

The Blendtec utilizes a thick and dull blade approach that uses the powerful 13 amp motor to slice through food via sheer brute force. The thicker blade is 10x stronger than other blender blades and you never have to worry about it being sharp. Other notable features include automatic blend cycles that help you make smoothies, hot soup, ice cream, whole juice, and batters while also providing up to five manual speeds. The Blendtec makes it easy to blend some amazing creations while also lasting for many years.

Best Overall

Blendtec Classic 575 Blender - WildSide+ Jar (90 oz) - Professional-Grade Power - Self-Cleaning - 4 Pre-programmed Cycles - 5-Speeds - Black

The Blendtec Classic 575 takes the crown for best blender thanks to a strong motor and blade system, automatic blend cycles, and the industry's best blending jar. With an eight-year warranty, you can count on quality.

The Professional Pick: Vitamix 5200

Vitamix 5200

The first Vitamix machine was created in 1937 and has been the blender of choice for professional chefs and home cooking foodies everywhere for decades. It will always be a great option, and many might even argue it’s the best option. The Vitamix excels in its simplicity. You can just run it on high, or you can run it on variable speed, starting out slow to chop things up with minimal chaos and then ramping up speed to achieve desired smoothness.

The Vitamix combines a sharp, hardened steel blade system with an 11.5 amp motor to effortlessly slice through any ingredients. There are stories of decades-old Vitamix blenders that still work as well as the day they were made. With a seven-year warranty, you can expect the Vitamix 5200 to achieve that same long lifespan as the heavy-duty Vitamix blenders of old thanks to the manufacturer’s continuing commitment to quality engineering. If you’re looking for the Vitamix reputation in a bit of a smarter package, take a look at the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender.

The Professional Pick

Vitamix 5200 Blender Professional-Grade, Self-Cleaning 64 oz Container, Black - 001372

The Vitamix line of blenders have been trusted by culinary professionals for decades. The 5200 is a high quality, powerful and easy to use blender that continues the tradition of excellent Vitamix blenders.

The Budget Pick: Nutri Ninja Personal and Countertop Blender

Nutri Ninja Personal and Countertop Blender

The Nutri Ninja system is a jack-of-all-trades, value option that has many of the same features of all the best blenders. At the heart of the system is a reasonably strong 10 amp motor and a control unit that provides a number of automatic blending programs to take the guesswork out of blending. The innovative blade design is jar specific, which is interesting because there are three blending cups and a 72-ounce pitcher. The versatility to handle any blending need from small personal servings to larger group servings helps to make the case for the Nutri Ninja system.

You can expect the Nutri Ninja to serve well in more of a light or medium-duty capacity. While the one-year limited warranty betrays a shorter life span, the price of the unit is also considerably less than that of the Blendtec or the Vitamix. If you plan on blending daily or even multiple times per day, you should probably be looking at the Blendtec or Vitamix. Otherwise, the Nutri Ninja system is a great option that provides many value-add capabilities for a very reasonable price.

The Value Pick

Ninja BL642 Nutri Ninja Personal & Countertop Blender with 1200W Auto-iQ Base, 72 oz. Pitcher, and 18, 24, & 32 oz. To-Go Cups with Spout Lids, For Smoothies, Shakes & More, Dishwasher Safe, Black

The Nutri Ninja Personal and Countertop Blender is a jack-of-all-trades that exposes numerous blending features in a medium-duty cycle but cost-effective system.

Best Personal Blender: NutriBullet High-Speed Blender/Mixer System

NutriBullet 12-Piece High-Speed Blender Mixer System

The NutriBullet High-Speed Blender/Mixer System is a great option if you only need small-batch, personal servings of your favorite blend. The NutriBullet has a relatively strong 5 amp motor and a dull-ish stainless steel blade system. It is as easy to clean as it is simple to use with a quick push and twist system to activate the single-speed blender.

When blending smaller amounts, you simply don’t need as much power to get things done. For single servings, the industrial-strength blenders are overkill. You can get a great single-serving blend from the inexpensive Nutribullet.

Best Personal Blender

NutriBullet NBR-1201 12-Piece High-Speed Blender/Mixer System, Gray (600 Watts)

The easy-to-use and easy-to-clean NutriBullet High-Speed Blender/Mixer system provides an effective and inexpensive solution for single-serve blending needs.

Best Value Immersion Blender: KOIOS OXA Immersion Hand Blender Set

KOIOS OXA Immersion Hand Blender Set

The KOIOS OXA Immersion Hand Blender Set is a four-piece system that includes an immersion blender, whisk, and mixing beaker. The system includes a powerful 6 2/3 amp, 12-speed base unit with a turbo function. The KOIOS OXA is great for hand-blending foods, such as milkshakes, baby food, and smoothies.

The power whisk is perfect for blending things like scrambled eggs and brownie batter. The chopper attachment is ideal for chopping onions, garlic or anything else you might throw into a salsa blend or ceviche. This four-piece set is a low-cost, high-value system that’s bound to get heavy use while taking up precious little space on the countertop.

Best Value Immersion Blender

KOIOS 800-Watt/ 12-Speed Immersion Hand Blender(Titanium Reinforced), Turbo for Finer Results, 4-in-1 Set Includes BPA-Free Food Chopper / Egg Beater / Beaker, Ergonomic Grip, Detachable

The KOIOS OXA Immersion Hand Blender Set combines an immersion blender, whisk, chopper, and mixing beaker into a low-cost, high-value blending set.

Russ Houberg Russ Houberg
Russ is a 20+ year veteran of the Information Technology industry and has been that "techie" for a multitude of people and organizations over the years. He holds several professional certifications including Microsoft Certified SharePoint Master and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. As a published author, he enjoys freelance writing when he has the opportunity.   Read Full Bio »