1. Motor power
Smoothie blenders are typically measured in watts, though the really powerful ones like to put the horsepower on the box to impress potential buyers. The motors on smoothie blenders that can blend fresh fruit and soft veggies can have as few as 250-watts, though if you want to do anything harder, like frozen fruit or fruit/veggies with stems, you’ll need more like 700 watts. A blender with 900 watts will have no trouble with ice, frozen fruits, and veggies with thick skin and seeds.
The amount of liquid that a smoothie blender can hold is measured in ounces or cups. Smaller blenders are intended to make just one or two servings, which is about the same as 18 ounces. Larger blenders can hold 20-40 ounces, and the really large ones (which are also more powerful) can make as much as 60 ounces. This large of a blender would be ideal for making savory dishes (like soup and dips) for a big dinner party, while a small one is best for preparing smoothies for a workout or breakfast.
The blades on a smoothie blender are very important because they are what chop and liquefy all the ingredients. Blades should be constructed of a durable material like stainless steel. Plastic can warp and won’t be able to handle any hot liquids like soup. Some blenders use stacked blades for more consistent blending, or hold patents on specific designs, like the Ninja’s Extractor Blades. These blades are extremely tough and sharp, and can crack through seeds, skins, stems, and ice.
4. Blending system
For speed, most blenders have one, though some do have variable speeds. With a high-speed blender, you could get speed in the 24,000 RPM range. In addition to that one speed, blenders will boast a specific “blending system” like Cyclonic Action. A system like this is how a brand distinguishes their design from the competition. A blending system will typically have a special function, like the Wave-Action’s ability to pull fruits/veggies/liquid down into the blades so you don’t end up with a layer of chopped ingredients on top of a smooth blend.
The settings on a blender determine what kinds of dishes you can make. The most basic smoothie blenders will usually include at least one setting – Smoothie – so you just push the button and after a minute or so, the blender will automatically turn off. More advanced blenders will include specific functions, like “grate,” “chop,” “shred,” “dice,” and so on. Some even have buttons for foods, like “salsa,” “milkshake,” and “soup.” With more settings, you can use your blender for lots of dishes and not just smoothies. You usually have to pay more for blenders with lots of specific functions.
Smoothie blenders usually go up in weight the more liquid they hold. Small, personal blenders can be as lightweight as 1-3 pounds without liquid, while the larger, more heavy-duty ones can weigh 10-15 pounds. The weight of a smoothie blender affects where you can store it and how much counter space it takes up. If you have a smaller kitchen and limited storage, you’ll probably want a small-medium blender. However, you sacrifice the intense, ice-crushing power that heavier smoothie blenders offer, so you’ll have to do some thinking about what you want your blender to be able to do.
Ninja is part of the SharkNinja company, which has been around in some form for a century. Originally from Europe, SharkNinja produces small household appliances and cleaning equipment like steam mops, blenders, and more. Ninja, also known as Ninja Kitchens, makes powerful food processors, slow cookers, deep fryers, and smoothie blenders. One of their most famous innovations are their Extractor Blades, which are designed to tear and chop through the toughest fruits and veggies, even stems and seeds. They also have a handy website with recipes related to each of their kitchen products.
In 1921, Vitamix was in its early stages. Its founder, William Grover Barnard, sold kitchen products across the country, and soon discovered the importance of healthy food. He named his company The Natural Food Institute. In 1937, Barnard was exposed to the blender, and began selling his company’s first blender, which he named the Vitamix. In 1964, the company was owned by the second generation and was officially named the Vita-Mix Corporation. They continued work on their blender, making it stronger and faster. Some of these technologies include hardened stainless-steel blades and high-torque motors. Like Ninja they also have their own recipe website that gives you a good start with making the best smoothies.
3. Hamilton Beach
Hamilton Beach is famous for making affordable, practical home appliances like coffee makers, juicers, and smoothie blenders. Named for its two founders, L.H. Hamilton and Chester Beach, the company came to be in 1910 when the two engineers began equipping home appliance machines with the universal they had created a few years before. Currently, Hamilton Beach makes both single-serve and large smoothie blenders that most people can afford.
4. Magic Bullet
Magic Bullet is probably most famous as a staple of the world of infomercial and “As Seen On TV” products. Manufactured by Homeland Housewares, which was founded in 2003, the Magic Bullet is compact and perfect for single servings of drinks and smoothies. The Magic Bullet can be found in over 50 countries.
1. Dishwasher-safe parts
Cleaning a smoothie blender is the least fun part of blender ownership. However, many of them have removable parts that are dishwasher-safe, including the blades. The motorized base, which can’t be submerged in water, wipes clean with a rag.
2. Safety features
One of the dangers of lower-wattage smoothie blenders is overheating. However, some include safety features like a built-in resettable fuse. After fifteen minutes or so, this fuse will get the motor going again, so you can continue using the blender.
Tampers are included in larger, more powerful blenders because of the types of ingredients used in these blenders. Thick ingredients like peanut butter and yogurt often get stuck or create air pockets. A tamper fits in the blender container and helps stir these thicker mixtures so everything gets smooth and consistent. The tamper often includes a collar, so it doesn’t strike the blades.
For convenience, many blenders come in sets complete with traveling cups. Some are also designed so the container you blend your smoothie in serves as a to-go cup complete with a sealed lid. In the sets, you can find containers of various sizes, so you can blend up a small or large smoothie, pop on the lid, and take it with you to work or wherever you’re off to.