Technology

Best blenders of 2020: NutriBullet, Ninja, Oster and more





A cherished kitchen appliance for many years, blenders prime wishlists for weddings, graduations and housewarming events. They’re your greatest guess in order for you a fast smoothie or a frozen beverage, and you may even use them to cut, grind or combine dry substances. 

Blenders aren’t essentially a luxurious merchandise, however begin your search and you may see that proper subsequent to the $50 fashions are others that value $500. How do you decide one of the best blender? When does it actually repay to splurge?

We examined 10 well-liked fashions to seek out out which of them make mixing your favourite smoothie recipe, frozen drink or protein shake a breeze. 

Molly Worth/CNET

NutriBullet retains it easy with three energy ranges, a pulse setting and 1,200 watts of energy. It carried out effectively in all of our checks. Clean batters, finely crushed ice, frothy smoothies and good grated cheese (our torture check) have been all straightforward to attain. An affordable $100 price ticket means you will not have to interrupt the financial institution to get a great blender.

Extra highly effective than the Ninja and Oster fashions under, NutriBullet will get the job completed rapidly. The 64-ounce mixing jar is loads sufficiently big for many recipes. The blender comes with a useful recipe ebook and a tamper to verify all of your substances contact the blades. It is also dishwasher secure and comes with a one-year guarantee. NutriBullet simply takes the highest spot as one of the best blender in our blender mannequin battle. 

Molly Worth/CNET

Ninja wins our greatest blender funds decide at simply $10 beneath the NutriBullet. We examined a $35 Hamilton Seashore mannequin and a $50 Black & Decker mannequin, however neither have been fairly ok to advocate. Nonetheless, beneath $100 is commendable, and the Ninja Skilled Blender carried out extraordinarily effectively. 

Just like the NutriBullet, this Ninja blender has three speeds: low, medium and excessive. It additionally has a pulse perform and 1,000 watts of energy. It comes with six blades in three ranges. This labored nice for smoothies and batters however introduced a problem when making an attempt to suit bigger objects within the 64-ounce container. Total, this reasonably priced blender is a superb purchase, particularly in case you catch it on sale. 

Molly Worth/CNET

This Oster mannequin is an efficient performer and features a few additional options I actually discovered useful. At $190, it is on the dearer aspect, however this worth features a beverage container and a set of bowls and blades for meals processing. You are nearly getting two home equipment right here. Different manufacturers additionally provide kits like this, in order that’s not the one motive it wins the title for greatest blender with additional options. 

What I beloved about this Oster was its Reverse Mix button, one thing I did not encounter on another check mannequin. Maintain down this button, and the blades flip in the wrong way, scooping in meals towards the middle. It labored very well after I was crushing ice and making nut flour. Elements that have been pushed away got here proper again in for higher chopping. 

The Oster has a Smoothie program, a collection of mixing and pulses, that served up an important drink. A Dip/Combine mode helped combine dry and moist substances. Along with these particular modes, you will additionally get the usual low, medium and excessive speeds. This mannequin is pricier, nevertheless it does include a number of additional equipment and that tremendous useful reverse mix function.

Different fashions we examined

KitchenAid K400: This $250 KitchenAid blender is gorgeous, however left one thing to be desired when it got here to efficiency for that worth. It has 5 speeds, pulse and three presets. In case you have your coronary heart set on a colourful, high quality blender, KitchenAid continues to be a great possibility. 

Vitamix 5200: Variable pace and durable design make this $449 Vitamix 5200 blender a well-liked mannequin for luxurious blenders. At such a excessive worth, I wasn’t wowed sufficient to advocate it. It struggled with cheese grating, and I discovered it to be noticeably louder than different fashions. 

Vitamix Explorian E310: This $350 Vitamix blender was simpler to make use of due to a devoted pulse possibility. Nonetheless costly, and a mean performer in my checks, I am unable to advocate it to anybody on a funds. It does embody an important recipe ebook and customized tamper. 

Blendtec Total Classic: This well-liked $353 Blendtec blender made nice smoothies and crushed ice. Nevertheless, the Blendtec did not grate cheese, and the batter mixing preset was much less efficient than common mixing by pace. 

Hamilton Beach Power Elite: Affordability apart, this $35 blender did not carry out effectively sufficient to advocate. Whereas it did have a pleasant glass bowl, the lid was infuriatingly laborious to take away. It has solely presets, so you will have to decode which of them are literally low, medium or excessive. 

Black & Decker Crush Master: At simply $25, this blender will work if you really want one thing low-cost in a pinch. However do not count on excellence. It wasn’t in a position to deal with giant frozen strawberries or evenly combine pancake batter. Nonetheless, it may suffice for small jobs.

Breville Fresh & Furious: Nice appears and bonus factors for a cute identify, however that is not sufficient to advocate this $175 blender. Efficiency was common, and it struggled to combine moist and dry substances.

food processors 10


Now playing:
Watch this:

How we put food processors to the test



1:49

How we test

Testing blenders isn’t just smoothies and ice-crushing. There are a lot of other recipes blenders work well for, and these tests highlight how capable each model is when it comes to dry, large and coarse ingredients. 

Ice 

In a test of pure crushing power, we placed 2 cups of ice cubes into each blender. Counting the number of pulses it takes to get to a fine, crushed ice gives a good indication of real-world chopping power. The three blenders we recommended above performed well.

Ninja and NutriBullet took only four pulses to get to a very fine, almost shaved iced consistency. The Oster blender was close behind with six pulses. Other models didn’t fare so well. Some took up to a minute of pulsing to get crushed ice, and a few even left whole cubes after that. 

Smoothie

A classic blender recipe, fruit smoothies were high on my list of recipes to test. I used 2 cups of orange juice and 1 cup of frozen strawberries to make the test smoothies.

While many of these tests yielded very similar results, a few worked faster than others. Not all blenders come with presets, but the ones that do almost always include a smoothie function. When possible, this is the mode we used. If there was no smoothie function, we followed the blender’s manual recommendation for smoothie making. This was usually around a minute on high. 

smoothie

Smoothie testing starts with whole, frozen strawberries and orange juice. 


Molly Price/CNET

This is a relatively easy test and most blenders handled it well. Some were frothier and some slushier, but only the Black & Decker model left large chunks of frozen strawberry unblended. 

Nut flour and butter

Blenders aren’t all about beverages. There are plenty of other uses, including grinding dry ingredients. For our dry ingredient test, we put 1 cup of almond pieces (unroasted) in each blender and pulsed until those pieces were reduced to a fine flour. A bit of a challenge for some blenders, but most were able to do this in about 10-20 pulses, with the Hamilton Beach model yielding noticeably coarser results. 

Nut butter is a different story. Most blenders aren’t really designed for long running times and the level of processing needed to make a butter like almond butter or peanut butter. In fact, many recommend not running the blender for more than a few minutes at a time. 

20200616-112003

This nut flour is a bit coarse. 


Molly Price/CNET

Only one Vitamix model showed real signs of progress toward almond butter in our testing with the nut flour, and it still plateaued before achieving a good consistency. Most models simply whirred the dry ingredients upward and into the hard-to-wash crevices of their lids. If you’re set on making nut butters, I’d recommend a model like the Oster with an included processing kit, or a separate food processor.  

Cheese

Did you know blenders can shred cheese? It’s true; some blenders can. We placed an 8-ounce block of cheese in each blender and pulsed until the entire block was shredded. This brought to light a few interesting design choices among some models. The Ninja, for example, lost the cheese round because multiple blender blade levels made it impossible to fit the cheese block in the blender. I had to cut it up into pieces. 

20200616-111351

Blenders can shred cheese, and this NutriBullet did so in record time; just four pulses.


Molly Price/CNET

Both Vitamix models bore holes in the cheese block without actually blending it, simultaneously melting what little cheese had been shredded as the machine heated up. Meanwhile, the NutriBullet handled grating the cheese block in three pulses flat. The Oster managed to get the job done in eight.

Pancake batter

If you’ve seen our list of the best waffle makers, it should come as no surprise that pancake batter made an appearance in our blender testing. While I was happy to fire up the griddle and flip some cakes, mixing batter is an important test. It measures how easy or difficult it is for the blender to mix wet and dry ingredients.

Mixing is typically done on low speeds, but there are a few blenders with mixing presets, like the Breville model we tested. Still, it left dry chunks unincorporated after three minutes. The best dry/wet mixer was the NutriBullet; it yielded a smooth, lumpless batter in just 17 seconds of blending.

Blender buying tips

Like most appliances, you should think about how often you’ll use it and for what tasks. Many budget blenders could handle a few smoothies every summer. It’s not worth spending $200 on a blender you’ll use for two occasions each year. If you’re mixing batters, grinding dry ingredients and crushing ice on a regular basis, however, it might be wise to invest in a quality model. Here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Accessories

With blenders, accessories can make all the difference. A blender that comes with a tamper is great for getting those last stubborn bits into the blender blades, and it’s one item I would highly recommend checking for when you buy a blender. Several models I tested included one in the box. You can purchase them separately, but they’re often model-specific with a ring guard at the top to keep you from plunging the tamper into the blender blades. 

20200617-132507

A tamper is included with some blenders, and it’s a useful tool for moving ingredients safely toward the blades. 


Molly Price/CNET

If you’ll be making smoothies and frozen drinks, a blender with a special set of travel containers makes getting out the door one step easier. If you’re blending larger, more dense foods for recipes, consider a model that has either a food processing bowl and wheel blade option or something with high-power wattage. Ninja and NutriBullet, among other brands, also make these kits for travel containers and processors. 

Preset preference

Next, consider your preference for specific modes versus speeds. I found some modes to be effective and helpful, while other blenders worked better when I took over and chose a speed for my ingredients, watching for when to stop. Some models offer simply low, medium and high modes. Others, like many Vitamix models, are variable, with speeds 1-10 on a dial. There are models with task-specific modes like Smoothie, Mix, Ice Crush and Self Clean, too. More important than presets, a blender with a pulse option ensures you’ll be able to get those pesky last few pieces mixed in. 

While it comes down to preference, in my opinion, you’ll have more control over your result without a preset. Yes, you’ll need to keep watch and be a bit more hands-on, but it’s easier to be sure things don’t get too blended, overheated or stop before everything is truly mixed. 

Design

Blenders don’t have to be boring. KitchenAid models come in a rainbow of colors. The Oster Versa Pro above looks pretty sporty, and the Breville model we tested had lovely finishes and a sturdy feel. Don’t forget to consider aesthetics if this appliance will live on your countertop. 

If your blender will be on your kitchen counter, I’d recommend measuring the height between your countertop and your upper cabinets. A few models I tested wouldn’t fit beneath my cabinets, and my personal preference is to slide sleeping appliances to the back of my counter when not in use. Unlike large appliances, small ones don’t come in standard measurements, so a few minutes of measuring could save you a storage headache. 

No matter which blender suits your needs, a good one can open up a world of new recipes, simplify your culinary prep work and deliver delicious treats on hot summer days. 

More ways to level up your culinary skills

Originally published earlier.





#blenders #NutriBullet #Ninja #Oster



Author

Molly Price