Until relatively recently, the only good blenders on the market were professional models (like Vitamix and Blendtec) and subsequently only restaurants used them. Nowadays, there are a wide range of countertop blenders to choose from, from cheaper, low-end models to more expensive, high-end.
More choices mean that it’s getting harder to decide which one is best for home use. The more you pay, the better blender you’ll get, but deciding which one to buy depends on the money you can spend and your needs.
There is no doubt that blenders made by companies like Vitamix and Blendtec will get you professional, restaurant-standard results; that’s why they cost more than a few hundred dollars and are used by Starbucks and Jamba Juice. But do you really need to go to the expense of buying a professional model?
In the last 4 years I’ve bought 3 blenders. The one I was using for the last 14 months was the Ninja Professional Blender (BL660) but then the motor burnt out. Today I use a Vitamix 1709, and that’s the best I have owned and used and the one I recommend. Why would you spend $484 on a top blender? My answer here.
Whether you want to pay top dollar for your blender or prefer a budget-priced model, my recommended blenders under $200, it’s a good idea to know what to look for in a blender. That way you’ll know that it will do everything you need it to and that it has all the features and functions necessary to perform the tasks you want.
Here are, in my opinion, the 7 most important features that any blender needs to have. This will help you to filter your choices from all the available options on the market and pick the one that best suits your needs and wallet.
7 Most important features your blender must have
Solid base – While working, blenders vibrate quite a lot. A heavy and solid base will have more stability.
Different speed settings – Variable speed settings allow you to blend your ingredients to the desired consistency and texture.
High speed – Higher speeds will result in better texture for your smoothies and green smoothies, and reduce the chances of finding fruit, seeds or bitter green bits at the bottom of your cup. Higher speeds means also high engine power which will allow you to make frozen drinks with no icy chunks as they have the power to crush ice.
If you’re looking to make nice, soft sorbet, you’ll need power and the ability to change between different speeds to achieve your desired texture.
Top rated blenders also have high power motors which produce high speeds to deliver smoother and softer textures. Most lower-end blenders have small motors which often results in grainy textures and do not have enough power to crush ice.
Versatile – Blenders can be used for different purposes: making sorbet, nut butters, dry blending, hummus, hot soups, green smoothies, smoothies, shakes, frozen drinks and salsas for example. Sorbets being one of the most difficult tasks while salsas are usually possible with most of the blenders available on the market.
Restaurant-grade blenders do all these tasks with very good results, but mid or low-end blenders can’t make a good sorbet or nut butter and may perform the other tasks with variable results.
Before you buy your blender, think about what you want to use it for. A top-end blender will be able to do everything while a low-end blender may only be good for smoothies.
Warranty – A long warranty is a good indicator of how long your blender will last. Most blenders come with 1 year warranty, like my previous blender, the Ninja Professional Blender (BL660) that lasted for 14 months.
Top-quality blenders, like Vitamix and Blendtec, offer a much longer warranty – 7 years for Vitamix and 3 years with Blendtec. That being said, if you hunt around, you can find some mid-range blenders like the Oster Versa 1400-watt with 7 year warranty. Blenders with long-term warranties are usually more expensive but because they last longer, in the long term you can end up saving money.
Easy and quick cleaning – The more time you need to clean your blender, the less often you are likely to use it. Choose blenders that you don’t need to hand wash or dismantle to clean. The quickest and easy way is putting hot water and dishwasher soap to the container and letting it run for a 1 minute. If your blender is difficult or fiddly to clean, you’ll probably think twice about using it at all.
Large or Small Pitcher – Do you have kids? Usually have friends around? Do you plan on making more than one serving at a time? If the answer is yes, you’ll need a blender with a large pitcher. If you prefer a model that’s small, easy to store and easy to take to your friend’s house then go for a smaller pitcher. I prefer large pitcher as I usually make 2 or 3 servings at a time.