Choose the Right Blender
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If you tend to frequent your neighborhood smoothie and juice joint often, it might be time to invest in a blender. Sure, you can mix a mean smoothie with these appliances, but it might surprise you to learn that you can also use them to whip up delicious homemade soups (try this pumpkin chipotle soup recipe), nut butters, pancake batter, hummus (like the one hummus recipe with hemp seeds), and dips, salad dressings, sauces, and desserts.
But choosing the right blender can be tough; the latest models have a slew of impressive features, making it difficult to determine which ones you actually need. Plus, we understand that not everyone is willing to fork over hundreds of dollars on a single kitchen gadget. Below, we've done the research for you: With a little help from a few of our favorite nutritionists and food bloggers, we rounded up the top 10 blenders on the market for any budget. Whether you're treating yourself or gifting this nifty appliance to a friend, you can't go wrong with any of these powerful little blenders. (Related: The 6 Best Pressure Cookers for Fast, Easy Weeknight Meals)
Photo: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
Hamilton Beach Personal Blender
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Need-to-know features: 14 oz. jar, 175-watt motor, one-touch pulse
It might surprise you to learn that the blender Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, swears by rings in under $20. This Hamilton Beach model is great for making one smoothie at a time—so, if you're the only person in your house who regularly drinks smoothies, for example, you won't have to worry about a bulky blender hogging your precious countertop space.
"I also travel with it, and it's small and light enough to fit in my carry-on bag," says Sass. Plus, not only is it easy to clean by hand, but it's also dishwasher safe. In addition to smoothies, Sass loves using hers to blend soups and whip up chia pudding, salad dressings, and sauces.
Photo: Hamilton Beach
KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender
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Need-to-know features: 56 oz. jar, 500-watt motor, five speeds
Not everyone wants to spend a fortune on a blender. But this one delivers KitchenAid quality for under $100. The motor isn't nearly as powerful as some of our other picks, but it's still a fantastic all-purpose tool that will get the job done (but also, find out how to use your blender as a juicer). It's also not an eyesore, so you can display it on the counter or kitchen shelf if you're lacking room in your cabinets. We love the chic cherry red base, but it's also available in black, white, and silver if you prefer something more neutral.
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Need-to-know features: Holds up to 24 oz. of liquid (comes with three cups), 600-watt motor, press pulse
An Amazon favorite (it's accumulated just shy of 5,000 five-star reviews), the Nutribullet is not your average blender. For one thing, the special patented nutrient extractor blades break down and granulate the stems, seeds, and skins of fruits and vegetables, releasing the vitamins and minerals inside. The result: a silky-smooth texture in your smoothies and juices (bye, annoying chunks!). In addition to delicious smoothies, you can also use this genius gadget to puree pesto and sauces, make hummus and soups, and whip up homemade nut butters. Is there really anything it can't do?
Blendtec Total Blender
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Need-to-know features: 64 oz. jar, 1,560-watt motor, six speeds
Erin Alderson—a chef, photographer, and founder of the blog Naturally Ella—swears by her Blendtec blender. "It's powerful enough to make the perfect smoothie and hummus, while being efficient enough to make small batch sauces (with help from the smaller twister jar)," she tells us. Alderson also appreciates that the blades are not super sharp. "It may seem like a small thing, but it makes it much easier to clean."
Cookbook author and recipe blogger Allison Day also votes this device as her favorite blender. "The guided buttons make it easy to make everything from smoothies to soup to whole juices (full of fiber!) super-smooth," she adds.
Oster My Blend 250-Watt Blender with Travel Sport Bottle
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Need-to-know features: 20 oz. bottle, 250-watt motor (or 400 to crush ice), one-touch pulse
Always on the run? This powerful kitchen tool blends your favorite smoothies and shakes directly into the sport bottle (no ice chunks, we promise), so you can take your breakfast on the go. Even better: The portable bottle fits in a car cup holder for zero chance of spillage. The device has an incredibly small footprint, which means it's perfect for city dwellers with tiny kitchens where you might not have a lot of storage or counter space. However, we suggest investing in a skinny dish brush so that you can reach and clean the inside of the flask. (Why don't you use your new blender to make these coffee smoothies that will give you a jolt of caffeine.)
Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender
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Need-to-know features: 42 oz. jug and 25 oz. chopping bowl included, 280-watt motor, press pulse
If you're not a smoothie fanatic but still want a gadget that can puree and blend (whether it's for homemade soups or even brownie batter), you can probably get by with a handheld immersion blender. This one from Breville can tackle everything from fluffy whipping cream to ice cubes for frozen margs at your next dinner party. Rest assured, the blending wand does not splatter as it purees, and the device is super easy to clean. Bonus: It comes with a whisk and a chopping bowl attachment.
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Need-to-know features: 64 oz. jar, variable speed control
Blogger Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows is obsessed with her Vitamix. While it may be a splurge, she tells us that this kitchen gadget is totally worth investing in. "After testing out all kinds of brands, the Vitamix was the best for blending green smoothies and cream sauces ultra-smooth without a hint of chewiness," she raves. Also good: It has a self-cleaning function, so with just some warm water and a drop of dish soap, your Vitamix can clean itself in less than a minute. (P.S. Check out these healthy chia seed pudding recipes, including a basic recipe from Liddon that definitely doesn't taste "basic".)
Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender
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Need-to-know features: Up to 48 oz. jar, 450-watt motor, press pulse
This blender trio has an interchangeable power pod that can be used with any of the attachments: the 48 oz. pitcher for blending smoothies, the 40 oz. bowl for food processing and meal prep, and the 16 oz. chopper bowl to evenly mince herbs and nuts. All containers have convenient storage lids and are dishwasher-safe, which means cleanup is a cinch. Amazon reviewers say they use this blender for everything from chopping veggies to mixing pancake batter to blending hummus and guacamole. The options are seriously endless.
Oster Versa Pro Performance Blender
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Need-to-know features: 64 oz. jar, 1,400-watt motor, three-speed settings
If you're not ready to drop a lot of dough for a pricier machine, this versatile blender is an amazing compromise. Create deliciously chunk-free milkshakes, creamy nut butters, hot soups, and fresh fruit juices with the powerful motor. There are three preprogrammed settings—smoothie, soup, and dips/spreads—so even novice chefs can use it fearlessly. The eight-cup, BPA-free plastic jar is big enough to make smoothies for the whole family, yet still compact enough to fit in your kitchen cabinet.
Breville Fresh & Furious Blender
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Need-to-know features: 50 oz. jar, 1,300-watt motor, five speeds
Don't let this pretty little blender fool you: It may look stylish, but it's a total workhorse. "It has a really strong motor and very easy, approachable, and intuitive options that cover a lot of uses, including smoothies and juices," says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean. Plus, it crushes ice like no one's business, she tells us. Bazilian also likes that the base doesn't detach and leak like so many other blenders on the market and that there's a small loop on the container lid that makes taking it off a cinch—in other words, the chances of your fresh smoothie splashing up at you are basically zero.
This story was originally published on Health.com by Susan Brickell.
Photo: Chefs Corner Store