Blenders are a common and highly versatile small kitchen appliance. They offer a range of different uses, such as making soups, smoothies and shakes, chopping vegetables, crushing ice and pureeing baby food. Blenders were invented in 1922 and have since become convenient kitchen staples that saves a lot of time and effort. With the renewed focus in recent years on healthy eating and getting our five a day of fruit and veg, smoothie-making in particular has taken off in a big way.
Before buying, it is a good idea to consider your eating habits and think about what your machine will mostly be used for. There are lots of different types of blender, and each is suited to a different kind of lifestyle. The price can vary considerably depending on the model and its features.
Best Value On-the-Go Model
Breville VBL062 Blend Active Personal-Blender
This personal 600 ml model is just the job for when you want to quickly whip up a healthy drink and take it with you. It is a one-person-blender with an additional portable bottle that makes it easy to carry around. The lockable lid means you’re safe from it leaking in your bag.
It is very easy to blend using this device, as it has a very simple one-touch operation – you just attach it to the base, twist it to lock and press the button – and off it goes. It’s great for preparing healthy drinks, such as smoothies, ice slushies and protein/sports shakes, so it’s a great buy for a health-conscious person that wants to make their own fresh drinks. This is a much better device for making protein shakes than a simple shaker because you don’t get powder build-up around the edges.
- Easy to operate
- Very quick
- Excellent value for money
- Not great for blending tougher items
- Easy to overload the motor
Our Verdict: This machine is not bad at crushing ice for drinks, but if you’re looking for something that’s going to be doing heavy-duty ice crushing on a regular basis, then you might need something more powerful.
Breville VBL062 Rating: 9.7/10
- Personal model with portable bottle
- Features 600 ml BPA free eastman tritan copolyester bottle
- One-touch blending action with angled stainless steel blades
- Includes additional 600 ml bottle with one lockable lid
- Easy-clean, detachable, dishwasher-safe blades and blending bottles
Breville VBL062 user manual
Best Heavy-Duty Model
Charles Jacobs High Gloss Commercial-Blender
This is one ultra-powerful blender! With 2000W at your disposal, there is very little that this device cannot blend. It’s a lot of power, and it isn’t necessary for everyone, but for regular, heavy-duty use this would be an excellent option.
This model looks really nice – it has a glossy stainless steel finish and the jug is made from really tough, high-grade plastic with a rubber handle. With a 2 litre capacity, it can blend a lot at a time, so it would actually make a great commercial option for use in a restaurant or similar. It will crush ice in seconds, and as for everything else – well, let’s just say if you hate ‘bits’ in your drinks then this could be a good option for you.
- Extremely powerful
- Advanced design
- Sturdy and reliable
- Overkill if you want something basic
- On the higher end of the price scale
Our Verdict: The Charles Jacobs will make lovely soups, sauces and smoothies, and would also work well for making things like baby food, crushed nuts and ground coffee. It has a multifunctional speed setting that gives you a lot of control over the end result, and overheat protection – not that you’ll need it.
Charles Jacobs High Gloss Commercial-Blender Rating: 9/10
- Full Copper motor- A high grade quality motor that will last- One Touch ‘smart control’ system: pulse, ice crushing & smooth blending.
- Ultra powerful 2000W (2.6 hp) high speed motor. Beautiful high gloss finish with stainless steel trim.
- Safety lock. Advanced air flow design. Overheat protection. Non-slip rubber feet
- Super tough, high-grade plastic jug with soft touch rubber handle, capacity 2L & measuring cup. Multifunctional speed settings.
- Razor sharp blades capable of blitzing all nut’s, seeds and fruits. Perfect for making protein shakes, sports drinks, fruit juices, milkshakes, vegetable drinks, sauces, dressings and marinades.
Charles Jacobs High Gloss Commercial Blender user manual
Best High-End Personal Blender
Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ BL480UK
With the same one-touch principle as the Breville, this blender is super easy to use and will blend your drinks and smoothies up very quickly and easily, even with lots of ice. It uses vitamin extraction to ensure that you get the most nutritious end result, and the Auto IQ function blends the ingredients in the most efficient way according to what you’ve used. With a powerful 1000W motor, you will not struggle to blend everything smoothly, with no gritty paste.
The Ninja has two settings: Blend and Ultra Blend. Blend is best for things leafy veg, fruit and yogurt, whereas Ultra Blend should be applied to firmer ingredients like ice, tough vegetables and nuts. This model comes with a cool recipe guide to help get you inspired.
- Convenient to use
- Easily blends ice
- Cup can be carried on the go
- Won’t blend very ‘fine’ bits, like tiny seeds
- The ridges on the side of the cup make it annoying to clean
Our Verdict: This high-quality on-the-go model is another great option for health-conscious individuals who are willing to invest a little more in their purchase.
Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ BL480UK Rating: 10/10
- Ice Crushing Technology
- Nutrient and Vitamin extraction
- With its one touch intelligence you can set Auto IQ and it pulses your ingredients into a delicious smooth juice.
- 1000 Watt Motor
- All you have to do is press one button and the Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ does the work for you
Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ BL480UK user manual
Best Immersion Model
Russell Hobbs Desire 3-in-1 Hand Blender
This blender from Russell Hobbs comes with 4 attachments to solve all your kitchen needs into one handy appliance. With a whisk, beaker, chopper and of course the hand blender, you’ll have no problem whipping up snacks and soups with minimal fuss and of course, less washing up.
From chopping veggies to whisking your cake batter and liquefying soups, this blender has you covered. The stylish design means the Russell Hobbs Desire Blender won’t look out of place in even the most sleek kitchens.
- 4 attachments for maximum usefulness
- Two speed settings
- Stylish finish
- Mini blender can leak if too much liquid is used
Our Verdict: An excellent choice for those who want a robust multifunctional blender.
Russell Hobbs Desire 3-in-1 Hand Blender Rating: 9/10
- Attachments: Whisk, Hand Blender, Chopper, Beaker
- Power: 400W
- Capacity: 0.5L Chopper and Beaker
- Warranty: 1 year
Russell Hobbs Desire 3-in-1 Hand Blender user manual
Blender Buying Guide
There are many different types of blenders to choose from. They have also considerably improved in the past few years. Consumers nowadays are really spoilt for choice.
The initial thing to consider is whether you want a jug model, or an immersion (aka handheld) model. Jug-blenders, as the name suggests, have a jug attachment that connects to a motor unit. There is a blade at the bottom that spins when the appliance is turned on, which allows it to blend and chop food. Most jug-blenders hold around 1-1.5 litres and can be made of either glass or plastic. Glass is the sturdier of the two – but the plastic options are lighter.
Alternatively, if you will mostly be doing very quick blending and chopping, and less smoothie-making, you might do better with handheld immersion models, which you dip directly into a bowl of ingredients. They are less faff and excellent for making soups, as you don’t have to pour a bowl of hot liquid into a jug and out again. You can get hand blenders with a range of different attachments, such as a whisk – they make good all-rounders.
With jug-blenders, you will find different varieties for different needs. There are the high-performance models – these are the most expensive options, with highly powerful motors and fast blades. They will blend almost anything – even hard things like ice and nuts. Then there are the conventional models which are slightly less expensive – these are your standard smoothie and milkshake makers. Finally there are personal blenders – these are very popular with health and fitness fanatics – they are a new typ that allow you to make small smoothie and shake portions and take them with you on the go, doubling up as a travel cup.
Choose your blender based on what you intend to use it for. If you cook and eat a lot of veg, it would be beneficial to seek out an option that has a ‘chop’ setting as well as a ‘blend’ setting, so it’s useful for both. If you’re planning on only using it to make smoothies and milkshakes, you should make sure the appliance has a nice sturdy base that won’t go flying when the power’s on. A useful feature to look for is a lid that has a hole in the top, so you can add extra ingredients as you go without needing to take the lid off.
There are lots of different aesthetic styles out there, so it’s easy to find one that will match the look and feel of your kitchen – whether it’s steel, cream, colourful, retro or traditional. Bear in mind how much space you have and whether the appliance will fit comfortably on your countertop (or wherever you plan to store it).
Blenders can be very small, for one person, or much larger. Consider your family size when deciding which option is right for you. If you’ll be serving the whole family, you might want a large capacity or even an immersion model. Chefs should certainly opt for a large capacity version, as you will save both time and energy. The smaller options tend to be less expensive – although that doesn’t always apply, as it does also depend on the number of fancy features that the appliance has. Usually, they will hold anywhere between 0.5-2 litres.
Blades are incredibly sharp and incredibly fast. More often than not, manufacturers make it so that the blade base is removable for easy cleaning. Look out for this in your purchase, as it will make things a whole lot easier. The blades to look for are made from stainless steel for greater durability and to stop them rusting. If you use a dishwasher, look out for options that are labelled as dishwasher-safe.
Some are more powerful than others. Some will liquify almost anything, whereas another blender might struggle with anything tougher than frozen fruit. Ice and tough vegetables in particular can cause problems with the less powerful blenders, so if you are going to be using it for crushing ice, for example, then you might want to go with something more powerful.
Wattages tend to range between 200-2000W, so the difference can be quite significant. But not everyone needs super-duper powerful blenders – and don’t assume that because it has a higher wattage it is necessarily lots better. If you want a standard blender that will make you a nice smoothie, then you don’t really need to go higher than 500-700W. Above 700 is very powerful, best for grinding things down really small – they can be used for things like grinding coffee beans, ice and nuts as well as all the usual ingredients. A higher powered option is quite good if you want to make baby food out of tougher vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes.
The basic settings you might find on blenders are as follows:
Puree is best for things like soup, whereas for a smoothie you would choose the liquefy setting. Mix is great for combining ingredients, for example with a salad. It is all fairly self explanatory.
With conventional blenders (less so with personal ones) there are usually two speed settings at least, or different settings for different ingredients. Do some research to ascertain which settings are important to you.
A standard blender operates at around 88 dB (decibels), and they can be quite noisy. If you’re looking for a quieter option that isn’t going to wake up the whole house if you start blending early in the morning, you should opt for one that is sound-optimised, like this Bosch model, or keep an eye out for blenders with a low dB count, closer to 68 or 78. For context, a 88 dB model would be twice as loud as a 78 dB one.
What are the best blenders for making smoothies?
If you’re buying a blender for making smoothies, you should opt for a jug model – either conventional or personal (depending on what works best for you). You do not really need a heavy duty option for smoothie-making unless you also plan on using it for harder things like nuts and ice, and it’s important to you that they are completely liquified.
What are the best blenders for juicing?
Blenders and juicers are separate appliances, unless you deliberately buy one that does both, like this VonShef Juicer, Blender and Grinder. With a blender, everything that goes into the container is consumed, whereas with a juicer you are simply squeezing out the juice, without any of the pulp and insoluble fiber. Some say that smoothies are the healthier option for this reason.
Who makes the best blenders?
There are many excellent brands out there who make blenders, among the best brands are:
- Andrew James
- Black & Decker
- Hamilton Beach
Which are the best hand blenders?
Our favourite hand model is the recommended Hamilton Beach model, but there are many other perfectly serviceable options available too, such as this best-selling Braun immersion blender and this Kenwood model.
What are best budget blenders?
Unless you have lofty plans for your appliance and its performance, you can get a perfectly reasonable blender for about £20-30, like the Breville blender listed previously, or this Phillips jug blender. As previously mentioned, it depends on what you want to do with it and how challenging the ingredients are to liquefy – tough veggies might be a push.
Which blender will you go for and why? What experiences have you had with them? Let us know in the comments.