The best blender for 2023
Whether you choose to cook completely from scratch, rely on help from meal kits or facilitate most of your eats through a delivery app (no judgments here), every kitchen needs a good blender. After running high-level tests on more than 15 models, the Vitamix Explorian emerged victorious as the best blender for 2023 with a huge punch of power, easy dials and a low-set build that you can store with ease.
But before you go adding one to cart, know that the type of kitchen you run and your eating habits will ultimately determine the best blender for you, and these kitchen staples come in all shapes and sizes with big swings in power and price. The best smoothie blender for a habitual shake maker, for instance, may not be the best option for those who power-blend soups, nut butter, homemade flour and other blend-centric recipes.
While we love premium blenders from the likes of Vitamix, Blendtec and Breville, there are excellent high-performance budget blenders under $100 to consider, and Nutribullet’s $80 model is our favorite in that category.
In all, we put 16 machines through meticulous trials to analyze power, precision, value and user-friendliness. After weeks of whirring, here are our picks for the best blenders in 2023.
Best blenders of 2023
Other models we tested
Hurom Hexa Power Speed: If you’re looking for simple functionality and pure power, this is our top pick. The Hurom Hexa doesn’t have many fancy presets and functions (just smoothie, ice crush, soup and pulse) but does have 1,600 watts of power to whip the crap out of anything that you put inside. It almost feels industrial grade and creates a vortex inside akin to something you’d see at a science museum. We also love how this blender looks with its shiny stainless steel armor. Worth noting that it’s the tallest of the blenders we tested so it won’t store as easily as some of the others.
Oster Versa Pro Series: This Oster model is a good performer and includes a few extra features we found helpful. It’s on the expensive side, but this price includes a beverage container and a set of bowls and blades for food processing. You’re almost getting two appliances here, a blender and a food processor. It also has a reverse blend button which is great for crushing ice and making nut flour.
Beautiful by Drew Barrymore: We’ve been impressed by other products from this new line of budget-friendly kitchen appliances, including the electric kettle and air fryer. Sadly, the blender did not pass muster. It’s serviceable, to be certain, but didn’t excel in testing and it feels a bit cheap. I’d also worry about the shelf life of its all-digital control panel.
Cuisinart SmartPower SPB-7CH: It’s hard to figure out what happened to this stalwart kitchen brand but this blender model, along with other Cuisinart appliances I’ve tested lately, have been disappointing. That’s especially true when you consider the bloated prices. The digital blender feels cheap and flimsy and netted mediocre results in testing.
KitchenAid K400: This KitchenAid blender is beautiful, but left something to be desired when it came to performance for that price. It has five speeds, pulse and three presets. If you have your heart set on a colorful blender with retro flare, the KitchenAid is a good option.
Vitamix 5200: Variable speed and sturdy design make this Vitamix 5200 blender a popular model for luxury blenders. Though considered a high-performance blender, at such a high price, we weren’t wowed enough to recommend it. It oddly struggled with cheese grating and we found it to be noticeably louder than other models.
Blendtec Total Classic: This popular Blendtec blender worked well with frozen ingredients and crushed ice, making it a good choice for blending smoothies and making frozen cocktails. However, the Blendtec failed to grate cheese and the batter mixing preset was less effective than regular blending by speed.
Hamilton Beach Power Elite: Affordability aside, this blender didn’t perform well enough to recommend. While it did have a nice glass bowl, the lid was infuriatingly hard to remove. It has only presets, so you’ll need to deduce which ones are actually low, medium or high.
Black & Decker Crush Master: This blender will work if you really need something cheap in a pinch. But don’t expect excellence. It wasn’t able to handle large frozen strawberries or evenly mix pancake batter. Still, it could suffice for small jobs.
Breville Fresh & Furious: Great looks and bonus points for a cute name, but that’s not enough to recommend this blender. Performance was average and it struggled to mix wet and dry ingredients.
Beast Health: The $140 Beast Health may be the best-looking blender ever, and it works well, until it doesn’t. The Beast Health’s motor gave out after about 14 months — too quickly for a blender this expensive — causing us to remove it from a top spot on this list.
Ninja BL610: This is another great blender in the $100 range. Ultimately, NutriBullet’s edged the Ninja in a few of the tests but the NInja had a slightly sturdier build. This is a fine blender and well worth the money.
How we test blenders
Testing blenders isn’t just making smoothies and crushing ice. There are a lot of other recipes blenders work well for and these tests highlight how capable each model is when it comes to dry, large and coarse ingredients.
In a test of pure crushing power, we placed two cups of ice cubes into each blender. Counting the number of pulses it takes to get to fine, crushed ice gives a good indication of real-world chopping power. The three blenders we recommended above performed well.
A classic blender recipe, fruit smoothies were high on my list of recipes to test. This shouldn’t be a big stress test for any decent blender and so it really comes down to speed and consistency. We used two cups of orange juice and one cup of frozen strawberries to make the test smoothies.
While many of these tests yielded very similar results, a few worked faster than others. Not all blenders come with presets, but the ones that do almost always include a smoothie function. When possible, this is the mode we used. If there was no smoothie blender function, we followed the blender’s manual recommendation for smoothie making. This was usually around a minute on high.
This is a relatively easy test and most blenders handled frozen ingredients well. Some were frothier and some slushier, but only the Black & Decker model left large chunks of frozen strawberry unblended.
Nut flour and butter
Blenders aren’t all about beverages. There are plenty of other uses, including grinding dry ingredients. For our dry ingredient test, we put a cup of almond pieces (unroasted) in each blender and pulsed until those pieces were reduced to a fine flour. A bit of a challenge for some blenders, but most were able to do this in about 10 to 20 pulses, with the Hamilton Beach model yielding noticeably coarser results.
Nut butter is a different story. Most blenders aren’t really designed for long running times and the level of processing needed to make a butter like almond butter or peanut butter. In fact, many recommend not running the blender for more than a few minutes at a time.
Only one Vitamix model showed real signs of progress toward almond butter in our testing with the nut flour, and it plateaued before achieving a good consistency. Most models simply whirred the dry ingredients upward and into the hard-to-wash crevices of their lids. If you’re set on making nut butter, we recommend a model like the Oster with an included processing kit, or a separate food processor.
Did you know blenders can shred cheese? It’s true; some blenders can. We placed an 8-ounce block of cheese in each blender and pulsed until the entire block was shredded. This brought to light a few interesting design choices among some models. The Ninja, for example, lost the cheese round because multiple blender blade levels made it impossible to fit the cheese block in the blender. I had to cut it up into pieces.
Both Vitamix models had some trouble with this particular test and bore holes in the cheese block without actually blending it, simultaneously melting what little cheese had been shredded as the machine heated up. Meanwhile, the NutriBullet, Ninja, instant Pot, Breville Super Q and Hurom Hexa handled grating the cheese block in less than five pulses.
If you’ve seen our list of the best waffle makers, it should come as no surprise that pancake batter made an appearance in our blender testing. While I was happy to fire up the griddle and flip some cakes, mixing batter is an important test. It measures how easy or difficult it is for the blender to mix wet and dry ingredients.
Blender buying tips
Like most kitchen appliances, you should think about how often you’ll use it, for what tasks and is it a portable blender. Many budget blenders could handle a few smoothies every summer. It’s not worth spending $200 on a blender you’ll use for two occasions each year. If you’re mixing batters, grinding dry ingredients and crushing ice on a regular basis, however, it might be wise to invest in a quality model. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
With a conventional blender, accessories can make all the difference. A blender that comes with a tamper is great for getting those last stubborn bits into the blender blades and it’s one item I would highly recommend checking for when you buy a blender. Several models we tested included one in the box. You can purchase them separately, but they’re often model-specific with a ring guard at the top to keep you from plunging the tamper into the blender blades.
If you’ll be making smoothies and frozen drinks, a blender with a special set of travel blender cup containers makes getting out the door one step easier. If you’re blending larger, more dense foods for recipes, consider a model that has either a food processing bowl and wheel blade option or something with high-power wattage. Ninja and NutriBullet make these kits for travel containers and processors.
Next, consider your preference for specific modes versus speeds. We found some modes to be effective and helpful, while other blenders worked better when we took over and chose a speed for my ingredients, watching for when to stop. Some models offer simply low, medium and high modes. Others, like many Vitamix models, are variable, with speeds 1 to 10 on a dial. While it comes down to preference, in my opinion, you’ll have more control over your result without a preset. Yes, you’ll need to keep watch and be a bit more hands-on, but it’s easier to be sure things don’t get too blended, overheated or stop before everything is truly mixed.
Blenders don’t have to be boring. KitchenAid models come in a rainbow of colors. The Oster Versa Pro above looks pretty sporty and the Breville Super Q and Hurom Hexa both had lovely finishes and a sturdy feel. Don’t forget to consider aesthetics if this appliance will live on your countertop.
If your blender will be on your kitchen counter, we recommend measuring the height between your countertop and your upper cabinets. A few models we tested including the Hurom and Breville Super Q may not fit beneath standard cabinets and would inhibit you from sliding it to the back of my counter when not in use.
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