Cake batter. Fruit smoothies. Whipped cream. Pureed veggies. BBQ sauce. Specialty cocktails. What do these culinary concoctions have in common? They're all blended, of course!
The blender sure has come a long way. First introduced in the 1930s, this miracle invention (well, it used to be) has revolutionized how we prepare food at home; from chopped ice to secret sauces, blending stuff has become a staple of most modern homes.
Based on our research, the best blender is the Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender. It's super-powerful, delivers consistent results, and has a long warranty. At around $600, it isn't cheap, though. If you're on a budget, the best blender is the Ninja Professional Countertop Blender, which costs less than $100, yet also has a very powerful motor and comes with two 16-ounce to-go cups.
It's also a good idea to differentiate between "blending" and "juicing." Whereas a juicer is designed to completely separate the fibrous pulp of fruits and veggies from the delicious nectar inside, a blender performs none of this separation: what you put in is what comes out — except chopped into tiny, tiny bits. Check out our best juicers page to learn about the ins and outs of juicers.
If you like to mix things up in the kitchen (or are just learning how to cook), you're probably in need of a blender. After all, a quality machine will cut down on food-prep time, allowing you to elevate your gourmet game. (And a good blender is essential for the perfect smoothie.) Just like any other home appliance, however, there are tons of options to choose from these days.
Here are the best blenders of 2020
For anyone who puts in their time with a vegetable knife, the Vitamix brand is probably a familiar one. Their Professional Series 750 is immensely popular, and if you browse some of the latest reviews, it's easy to see why. The powerful 2.2 HP motor can crush ice or blend peanut butter in no time, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better smoothie machine; no task is too big or too small, and noise is minimal.
Users consistently report a silky-smooth blending experience with the 750, even for leafy greens; we'd largely attribute this to the laser-cut stainless-steel blades. The 64-ounce pitcher is perfect for family meals, and the 17.5-inch height is short enough to fit under most cabinets. (It's also easy to clean — no disassembly required.) This is a premium blender, to be sure, but with a massive seven-year warranty, you know Vitamix is in it for the long haul.
The KHB2561OB is a frequent favorite for aspiring chefs, and the rubberized grip is comfortable in hand; an 8-inch blending arm is perfect for reaching inside deeper pots. From crushing ice to frothing milk, whipping eggs, blending soups and emulsifying sauces, the KHB2561OB is surprisingly capable. A custom storage case makes it easy to slip everything into a drawer, making it ideal for those with tight kitchen spaces.
What really puts this handheld blender ahead of the pack, however, is its versatility. With five speeds, three interchangeable blades and a useful whisk attachment, the KHB2561OB can easily transition from one chore to the next. It's more expensive than other blenders in this category (it's more of a blending accessory, really), but you'll absolutely get your money's worth.
For less than $20, this minuscule machine is perfect for smoothies and protein shakes. The 14-ounce blending jar comes with a travel lid for true mobility, and the dishwasher-safe components are easy to clean. Gymgoers will appreciate the design, and bargain hunters will appreciate the price. (It also comes in five attractive colors.)
With only 175 watts under the hood, this blender isn't meant for gourmet chefs, nor is it pretending to be: The Hamilton Beach Personal Blender is for health-conscious jet-setters with dead-simple blending needs and limited counter space. One-touch blending is as simple as it gets.
It chops! It grinds! It whips! It blends! It's the Magic Bullet Blender. The 250-watt motor is powerful enough to handle the heartiest of protein shakes, and the portable, cylindrical blending cups are great for the gym. They're also super easy to clean. Regulating your diet has never been easier.
The Magic Bullet/NutriBullet brand is recommended by health and fitness gurus across the board. This trendy blender is ideal for those with busy lifestyles, modest mixing needs and minimal counter space. It's a unique design that's uniquely practical, too.
For less than $100, this countertop blender can handle most blending chores. The Soft Start feature pulls food into the blades before increasing speed, which makes food prep more efficient. The die-cast metal base is sturdy and attractive, and the BPA-free pitcher is easy to clean. There are five speeds, in addition to a "crush ice" and pulse mode; Intelli-Speed Motor Control senses blender contents to maintain consistent performance.
No frills? No problem. This blender does the basics, and does them well — at a gift-friendly price, no less.
The Ninja brand has been around for some time, and the BL660 is a consistent favorite among culinary enthusiasts. Smoothies, sauces and milkshakes are no match for the Ninja, and the 72-ounce pitcher is big enough to make dessert for the whole family. Unlike the cheaper models on our list, the BL660 boasts a 1,100-watt motor that's tough enough to power through whole fruits, vegetables, seeds, and stems; it'll turn ice to snow in a matter of seconds.
The sharp blades are tricky to assemble and clean (according to some reviews), but that's a small price to pay for silky-smooth concoctions in your dojo. We just wish it came with a longer warranty.
The Kinetix Contoured Blade & Bowl system is one standout feature for the BBL620 Fresh & Furious blender. Five surgical stainless-steel blades (three serrated and two wide-sweeping) draw food from the top to the bottom, with a powerful 1,100-watt motor that makes mixing, blending, liquifying, pureeing and chopping a breeze. The LCD display counts up on speed settings and down for preprogrammed settings, which is useful in practice.
It's a straightforward machine that checks off a lot of boxes in the food prep department — great for smoothies, and even some light food processing. The streamlined design also makes for an attractive package, and at 17.2 x 8.1 x 6.4 inches, it won't hog too much of your countertop. Reviewers loved the illuminated controls, and appreciated how simple and intuitive the blending process was overall.
With a professional stainless-steel design and an array of blending capabilities, it's no wonder this high-performance blender turns heads. Boasting 2.4 horsepower, its blades spin up to a dizzying 210 mph; the WGBL100S can annihilate even the hardiest fruits and veggies in mere seconds. (And according to some reviews, it's a lot quieter than it looks.) Apples, carrots, celery, frozen fruit: nothing stands a chance. You can even make hot soup in just a few minutes — right from the blending jar.
There are four preset modes: smoothie, ice crush, puree and soup. The LCD panel provides continuous feedback on blending speed, elapsed time and user settings. At nearly 16 pounds, the WGBL100S is larger than some competitors, but if you've got the space for it, you won't regret this purchase.
What kind of blender do you need?
- All-Purpose/Conventional blenders are the most wallet-friendly. Milkshakes and smoothies won't be a problem, but that fruit might come out a little chunky, depending on blade design and wattage. For fine purees, you'll want to invest in a premium model; don't expect many extra features on the low end.
- Premium/High-Performance blenders have better-quality parts and more diverse capabilities, such as blending raw soups, ice cream or nut butters. (Some of these machines make capable juicers as well, and are a fantastic complement to healthy living.) Expect to pay more — between $200 and $700, typically — depending on your culinary needs.
- Personal/Smoothie blenders are perfect for fruit smoothies, milkshakes and powdered drinks. The mixing container doubles as a travel jar, so they're excellent for athletes and jetsetters alike. They're also smaller (and less expensive) than conventional and premium blenders.
- Immersion/Stick/Handheld blenders are meant to be submerged directly into the food/drink you're preparing: soups, purees, foams, marinades and more. Such devices make for a great kitchen accessory, but they're not meant for larger tasks; think of immersion blenders as a sidekick to your conventional one.
How much space do you need for a blender?
If you've got a small kitchen, the wrong blender could end up costing you valuable countertop real estate. Although immersion blenders can be easily tucked into a drawer, and personal blenders tend to be fairly compact, a high-performance blender is much more unwieldy. Don't buy a large, heavy machine if you don't have the space — it will end up collecting dust in a corner somewhere.
Pro tip: Measure the vertical space between your countertop and cabinets before purchasing a full-size blender; ideally, it should be able to slide under the cabinet when not in use. Eighteen inches of clearance is enough room for most models.
5 Blender features to look for
Accessories: Some models come with food-processor attachments, coffee grinders and drinkable to-go containers. Pick a blender with accessories that fit your lifestyle.
Plastic or glass containers: Plastic containers absorb odors and stain easier, but they're far more portable than glass. Whichever style you choose, just make sure it's easy to clean, with clearly marked measurements on the side.
Speeds: The more speed settings available, the more user control a blender offers. Premium blenders may also offer preprogrammed options (smoothie, juicer, soup, etc.).
Power: Count on 300 to 1,000 watts of power for most blenders, but 500 watts is enough juice (so to speak) for most blending tasks.
Warranty: One year is good, but five is way better. The more expensive the blender, the more important it is to pick one that's backed by a solid warranty. Check the fine print.