The best blenders 2019: it's time to beat food into a fine pulp

Our pick of the best blenders from Nutribullet to KitchenAid

Best blender

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 overall has to be the KitchenAid Artisan Magnetic Drive  Blender. Some will find the KitchenAid a tad expensive, however, and for them we recommend the Nutribullet 600 Series. That really is more of a smoothie maker specifically, rather than a multi-purpose blender. Nevertheless, this is easy to clean, highly powerful, and has a certain sci-fi sex appeal to it.

Our  fondness for bulk food production means the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series wins favour too. It's a great choice if you like to produce and subsequently stash lots of meals in the freezer for eating at a later date.

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

1. KitchenAid Artisan Magnetic Drive Blender

The best blender

Specifications
Power: 1,300 watts
Capacity: 1.75 litres
Dimensions: 41 x 19 x 33 cm
Features: motor adjusts to contents, 700-20,000 rpm
Reasons to buy
+Clever design+Plenty of power
Reasons to avoid
-There's a knack to inserting the jug-Unusually large footprint 

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.

2. Nutribullet 600 Series

Best cheap blender and best smoothie maker

Specifications
Power: 600 watts
Capacity: 680ml
Dimensions: 35 x 13 x 13 cm
Features: plenty of accessories
Reasons to buy
+Easy to clean+Well priced
Reasons to avoid
-Not so powerful-Low capacity

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.

Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Blender

3. Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Blender

Best premium blender

Specifications
Power: 1200 watts
Capacity: 2 litres
Dimensions: 20 x 43 x 28 cm
Features: Five programs and lots of versatility
Reasons to buy
+Intuitive design is a great help+Tamper feature ensures more consistency
Reasons to avoid
-Whopping great jug

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.

4. JR Ultra Touch 3 Quantum

Super-powered commercial-style blender

Specifications
Power: 2,000 watts
Capacity: 2 litres
Dimensions: 25 x 22 x 47 cm
Features: quiet, brush-less motor
Reasons to buy
+Quiet, efficient brushless motor+Blends anything
Reasons to avoid
-Quite expensive-Utilitarian looks

From this point onwards, our chosen blenders are in descending order of price and power. POWER. POW-AAAAH!

JR (Juicy Retreats) makes commercial-spec blenders that do everything from smoothies, thick shakes and cocktails to hot nutritious soups to, probably destroying iPhones. 

The Ultra Touch 3 comes with a smorgasbord of tantalising features including an intuitive touch control panel, five automatic presets that make the pulverisation of fruit and veg an absolute cinch and, best of all, a noticeably quiet brushless motor – the comparable KitchenAid machines sound like jet engines taking off – that is guaranteed for 10 years of hassle-free blending. 

Given that this model also makes soups, I threw a wild combination of hard and soft vegetables into the two-litre shatterproof jug and tapped the appropriate button. Seven minutes later it had produced a piping hot, perfectly smoooth soup using just the power of friction alone. In hindsight, perhaps the inclusion of turnip and onion was a step too far.

If price isn’t an issue and you’re after a machine that can blend anything short of a crowbar, head right this way.

5. KitchenAid Artisan Power Plus

A slightly more stylish super-blender

Specifications
Power: 1,800 watts
Capacity: 1.65 litres
Dimensions: 45 x 26.7 x 23 cm
Features: 11 speeds, plus 4 pre-set functions
Reasons to buy
+3.5 horsepower blending+Easy to use+Accurate control of speed
Reasons to avoid
-You have to hold the lid on

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. As with the JR model, 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 that you have to pay is decidedly not small, but there we go.

6. Vitamix S30

Like a high-end Nutribullet

Specifications
Power: 800-950 watts
Capacity: 1.2 litres
Dimensions: 40.6 x 15 x 22.8 cm
Features: 0.6l container for on-the-go drinks
Reasons to buy
+Comes with Nutribullet-style, portable jug+Small footprint
Reasons to avoid
-High quality parts-No preset programmes

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.

7. Smeg BLF01

Retro-styled, well-specced blender

Specifications
Power: 800 watts
Capacity: 1.5 litres
Dimensions: 40 x 17 x 18 cm
Features: four speed settings, aluminum body
Reasons to buy
+Unusually attractive for a blender+Optional travel bottle+Various colours
Reasons to avoid
-Poorly labelled control wheel-Not as powerful as some

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).

8. Philips Viva Collection Pro Blend 5

A solid budget blender

Specifications
Power: 600 watts
Capacity: 2 litres
Dimensions: 34 x 26 x 19 cm
Features: multi-speed settings
Reasons to buy
+Efficient for the price
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best at crushing ice

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.

Cuisinart SSB3U Soup Maker Plus

9. Cuisinart SSB3U Soup Maker Plus

The best blender that isn’t a blender

Specifications
Power: 500 watts
Capacity: 1.75 litres
Dimensions: 46 x 23 x 20 cm
Features: Handy sauté option one of three heat settings
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for sauces and soups+Thermal jar keeps your food warm
Reasons to avoid
-Might be too harsh if you’re not after soup or sauce

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.