The best blender market is totally over-saturated. Kitchen brands seem to prioritise blenders as a means of demonstrating their technical prowess, and there are some incredibly powerful and expensive models available. It's a big, food-puréeing, willy-waving contest, but there are also blender bargains to be had.
Our favourite for a long time was the KitchenAid Artisan Magnetic Drive Blender but KitchenAid has now turned its design nous and skills at making blade whirl around extremely fast to a more affordable blender: the KitchenAid K400.
Some may still find any KitchenAid a tad expensive, and for them we recommend the Nutribullet 600 Series. That is sold as more of a smoothie maker specifically, but it is basically a blender. It's also easy to clean, highly powerful, and has a certain sci-fi sex appeal.
Why buy a blender?
Blenders are often bought to make smoothies or soup but they are much more versatile than that. If you want to make breadcrumbs, whip up sauces and, with some models, produce dough, blenders can do it. Some can even heat soups as well as producing them.
Blenders differ from juice extractors in one significant way. Juicers mash or grind up the fruit using centrifugal or slow masticating forces to extract the juice, the whole juice and nothing but the juice. This system allows you to consume large volumes of fruit and veg sustenance without feeling full and bloated. The absence of roughage also allows the digestive system to absorb nutrients more effectively. The downside is that juice extractors are a pain in the arse to clean and invariably large in height and width.
Blenders, on the other hand, simply liquidise the whole lot into one thick fruity concoction of both juice and fibre-rich pulp. This is equally good for the digestive system, but rather more filling, and you might find it repeats on you, especially if you’ve walloped down a glassful in one go.
We have recommendations for the best blender at as many price points as possible, from budget to "Oh my god, how can a blender cost that much?" The following list starts with our favourite mid-price, budget and premium blenders.
The best blenders to buy, in order
KitchenAid makes some of the best blenders on the market – stylish, power-packed and highly desirable. They tend to be rather expensive as a result, but with the Artisan K400, KitchenAid has brought the price down to under £300. Admittedly that's quite pricey compared to, say, a Nutribullet, but you get what you pay for.
The KitchenAid Artisan K400 has a look that is timeless rather than retro, and for most people it is going to be big enough and powerful enough for anything they want to do.
The basics are all well handled – the lid fits well, and can be left while things blend. However, do not use the self-cleaning cycle without putting your hand on top, as washing up liquid being spun in water by a 1.5 horsepower engine does tend to foam up quite alarmingly.
The glass jar shouldn't stain or discolour as much as a BPA one and it's also dishwasher proof. It is also rather heavy, since it's thick glass, and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to drop it onto a concrete floor, but in terms of looks and easy care it's great.
For 9 out of 10 things you want to do with a blender, the K400 is easily powerful enough. It can pull off nut butters and turn kale into a pretty successful smoothie, for instance. With thicker mixtures you may need to whip out the spatula – or add a little more liquid – now and then, but I have never encountered a blender where that wasn't the case.
There's no better blender to buy right now, and it comes in a range of 11 colours, from understated to eye-popping. Curiously, John Lewis sells something called the KitchenAid Artisan K4. As far as I can see, it's the same blender as this, at the same price of £279, but it comes in a more limited range of colours. No, I don't know why.
If you’re in the market for a small, efficient blender that's especially good for smoothies, look no further than the NutriBullet 600.
It’s small enough to leave permanently on the worktop, very easily stored if you'd rather not do that, and comes with three different-sized containers and blade configurations for maximum convenience. It’s also a doddle to use.
This model is equipped with a 600-watt motor that produces a cyclonic action to tease the goodness out of your fruit and veg without massacring the vitamins.
Despite being primarily sold as a smoothie maker, the Nutribullet is perfectly adequate as an occasional blender for soups, ice and what have you. Clearly it is nowhere near as good as the Sage or KitchenAid, but given the price, it's very hard to fault.
Redefining the blender, this (originally) very high-priced, high-gloss, tech-packed machine uses powerful magnets to turn blades sealed into the base of the jug. As a result you can dishwasher it safely.
Once safely housed in the body of the blender – this does require a fairly forceful and manly shove – the Artisan Magnetic Drive also has an absolutely impregnable lid, through which nothing can escape.
The only slight down side to this is that a chute has had to be cut into the lid to add ingredients as you blend. This is, naturally, harder to clean than the norm, although hardly nightmarish.
That's both useful for you and just as well, considering the high velocity at which it can blend. The usable range is a claimed 700-20,000rpm and the motor is rated at 1,300 Watts.
As such, it can do anything from blade-assisted stirring to full-on puréeing and milling of spices, flour, sugar etc. Unlike other high-powered blenders, it doesn't heat the contents of the jug up, so you will just have to use the hob if you want to make soup. Oh well. Best of all, these days it’s frequently available for about half its original RRP, making it both the best blender and the best blender deal in town.
A good blender, like the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series is an essential if you’re aiming to produce food in bulk, either for a social gathering, greedy family members or freezing purposes. And this appliance does that with ease. It’s also really good at taking on a variety of food prep tasks, so for example, we’re very keen on the way it can knock up peanut butter, but it’s equally happy making soup.
Central to this is the array of settings on offer. The Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series features five different programs, but added to that the appliance works out what sort of container you’re using and adjusts accordingly. Vitamix sells other shapes and sizes if you don’t like the default option. In that respect this is a really intuitive bit of kit, but it’s also programmable too, so if you’re doing other things it can be left to its own devices.
Thumbs up must also go to the tamper that keeps food moving in the container and continually draws material towards the centre. That means you don’t have to do the annoying task of taking off the lid mid-cycle and cleaning down the edges. A winning feature for sure. Considering there’s a lot to the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series it’s actually not bad to get clean either and that 1200 watt motor seldom disappoints in the performance stakes.
If you love KitchenAid products as much as we do, but feel the Magnetic Drive is just not quite expensive or insanely over-powered enough, then there is this, more traditional-looking model for you.
Rather than rating it in terms of Watts or rpm, KitchenAid is claiming a maximum power output of 3.5 horsepower. And I can confirm that it is indeed, very very (horse) powerful. The residual heat kicked up by the blades is enough to make hot soup, when that mode is engaged.
There are also easy settings for smoothies and slicing, although I generally found myself using the main control knob, which allows you to choose anything from a slow and methodical chop to a crazed, flailing, whirlwind vortex of death.
As a result you need to hold the lid on when at max power – boy, did I find that out the hard way – but that's a small price to pay for such turbo-charged blending. Unfortunately the actual price in pounds or dollars that you have to pay is decidedly not small, but there we go.
Commercial blender manufacturer Vitamix supplies most of the world’s smoothie and cocktail bars so you can be sure it knows a thing or two about the subject.
The S30 is one of the US company’s first domestic ‘personal blender’ models. Like its high-priced professional stablemates, it’s superbly built, with full metal working parts for extra durability and reliable long-term use.
It also has a much smaller footprint than the average worktop model (it’s just 15 centimetres wide) so storage or placement shouldn’t be as big an issue.
The S30 comes with a shatterproof and dishwasher-safe 1.2-litre container along with a much smaller 0.6-litre takeaway flask with double walls for extra insulation and a rubber lid to stop the contents from spilling all over the shop while you're on a treadmill or whatever.
It couldn’t be easier to use. Just choose a container, screw on the blade assembly, stuff it with stuff and engage it with the motor spindle.
Now turn the variable speed control dial to the required setting and, bingo, an extraordinarily smooth concoction that slides down like a beer-bellied bloke on a waterslide.
The top traveller’s choice, and more than capable of fulfilling all your non-smoothie-specific blender requirements, this is essentially a pro-grade Nutribullet.
The Smeg is probably the best looking blender in this roundup and proof that bland domestic appliances don’t have to be so ugly you feel the need to hide them away when not in use.
On the other hand, Smeg’s very distinctive, retro styling doesn't always sit very well with stuff from other brands – presumably Smeg would say the obvious answer to that would be to buy only its products.
Available in seven striking colours, each adorned with Smeg’s classic logo, the BLF01 comes with a die-cast metal body with 800-watt motor, the industry-standard, 1.5-litre impact-resistant Tritan jug and a single control knob, with the addition of two presets for smoothies and ice crushing.
A very handy 600ml travel bottle is also available for those on the move though it must be said it does look like a baby bottle, replete with a teat-like sipping funnel.
Despite the poorly legible text on the control wheel, this model performed admirably, crushing ice and puréeing frozen fruit completely, leaving no discernible lumps in its wake. For the money, this 50s-styled throwback cuts the mustard (and everything else).
AEG hasn't done a particularly great job when it comes to the looks of this, the Gourmet 7 Pro Health Blender TB7-1-4CW, but if you can live with the pedestrian styling it’s fantastic. Specification-wise there are more powerful models out there, but it's the way the Gourmet 7 targets its 900 watts that really leaves a lasting impression. The motor is used to blend ingredients inside an angled jug, and the 10 degrees of lean really seems to make a difference to what you end up pouring out.
There are five programs, plus three speeds, that’ll take on any kind of blending task, with everyday requests for smoothies and soups being easy peasy for the Gourmet 7. The odd cocktail and lots of crushed ice are also a doddle for the AEG unit and the 1.5-litre capacity seems more than suitable for the bulk of food prep chores. High-volume consumers might not agree however.
The Power-Tilt technology, as AEG likes to call it, really does make the magic of blending a little more impressive than normal, especially if you’re calling on the beefy pulse function for extra smooth, er, smoothies. Better still, control buttons are located on the front of the unit and as such make the AEG one of the easiest blenders to operate. That said, lookout for the main power button, which AEG has put down on the left side and can be missed during the initial setup excitement that comes with any new gadget.
Cleaning blenders can be a pain, but not so the Gourmet 7 as it’s dishwasher-friendly. So the blade, jug, lid and accessories are all taken care of, meaning only the main unit will need a manual wipe over from time to time. That slightly bland exterior is a bonus in that respect too, as it’s not got any annoyingly difficult-to-get-to styling flourishes either. What’s more, it weighs just 3.4 kilos, so the Gourmet 7 can be quickly packed away when you’re done.
If you’re only into making the odd once-in-a-while smoothie or milkshake then this plastic-coated, budget-priced Philips entry will do the trick.
Its seven-speed 600-watt motor and five-star serrated ‘ProBlend’ blade is a great combo for most smoothie recipes, though it didn’t crush ice very well.
The intermittent pulse mode, though, proved handy at nudging obstreperous ingredients off the walls of the 1.5-litre container. Given the nominal selling price, you could do a lot worse than to give this budget model a whizz.
Not really a blender in the truest sense of the word, the Cuisinart SSB3U Soup Maker Plus does instead do just that – soup. Lots of it. Indeed, if you’re trying to shape up and get healthy, or just like soup then a bowl of freshly made veggy liquid is ideal. Of course, the appliance can also turn its hand to the likes of pasta sauces and curry too, so it’s a versatile little thing.
You get lots of power for tackling more stubborn vegetable matter thanks to the beefy motor, but we’re more impressed by the way the Cuisinart SSB3U Soup Maker Plus can do several different things when it comes to food prep. So, for example, you can sauté as well as stir, simmer, blend and pulp. In fact, the unit gets nice and hot quickly via any of its three heat settings, so it does the sauté side of things a treat.
Thankfully, considering you’ll be producing vats of soup and other liquefied foodstuffs, the Cuisinart SSB3U Soup Maker Plus is surprisingly easy to clean when the work is done. And that jug is nice and chunky, leaving you feeling it’ll last the test of time. Bear in mind though that if you want more of a blender then you might find this model leaves things more liquified than solid. Which is why it’s called a soup maker, though you can pick one of the slower of the four speed settings if needed.
The Scott Simplissimo Chef All in One Cook Blender is a bit of a low-key wonder if you’re looking to do more than just blend. In fact, this nicely designed and well-built kitchen appliance is more of a multipurpose machine thanks to the way it can heat ingredients. Naturally, because it’s featured here the Simplissimo can blend with the best of them, by using its dedicated blending button.
However, it can also make thick/chunky soup, a smooth variation on the same theme, deliver delicious sauces from raw ingredients and crush ice like there’s no tomorrow too. It even comes with an extra accessory that allows you to steam food like vegetables or even fish.
Choose from preset buttons for any of the options above, or dial in your own manual settings and the Simplissimo works a treat. We got great chunky soup in 30 minutes, which was blended to perfection and hot. Pour it into a bowl straight from the robust glass bowl and you’re good to go.
The Scott Simplissimo Chef All in One Cook Blender is easy to clean and comes with accessories for doing just that. There’s also plenty of power, a decent sized footprint that won’t take over your countertop and it’s pretty quiet during everyday use too. We’ve seen it nearly half price recently, which makes it even better value.