Smoothies are the perfect on-the-go food—and they’re a godsend for anyone who's not into solid food before noon. But hitting up a juice shop for your smoothie fix is a pricey habit. So if you’re serious about smoothies (or soups or dips or nut butters), it’s time to invest in a blender. Our friends at BestReviews spent weeks testing blenders to find the five best machines on the market. A few are expensive, but none of them will set you back as much as a year’s worth of $10 smoothies.
The Nutri Ninja snuck in and became one of the most popular blenders on the market without the competition really noticing. So “ninja” is an apt name. It’s the perfect personal blender for someone looking to make individual smoothies or shakes. The Nutri Ninja easily breaks through ice, seeds, skin, and even stems. Also, the jar doubles as a grab-and-go container thanks to the "sip-and-seal" lids. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe, making cleanup a cinch. Just make sure you don’t overfill the container—many customers reported leaks when they stuffed in too many fruits and veggies.
A Vitamix is a blender in the same way a Tesla is a car—which is to say both blow the rest of the competition out of the water. The Heritage model is built on decades of research and technology. It makes blending a smoothie look like the easiest thing in the world, and it has no problem whipping up nut butters or even steaming hot soup. The only real drawback is the price.
The retro look on this KitchenAid might remind you of the blender you grew up with, but it definitely works better. The five speeds allow for maximum control, and you can do anything from dicing to pulverizing with ease. Its one weakness is that it's loud: One Amazon commenter described the noise as “an angry Chewbacca.” Still, the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender makes a mean smoothie at a great price, so we can deal with the Star Wars sound effects.
From across the room, you might mistake the Versa Pro Performance Blender for a Vitamix—it has a similar dial and comes with a tamper (that plastic rod you push through the lid to help everything blend evenly). It also features programmed settings that take the guesswork out of making smoothies, dips, and soups. For all that, this blender is a third of the price of a Vitamix.
Serious at-home smoothie makers are split into two camps: those who swear by Vitamix and those who are loyal to Blendtec. You really can’t go wrong with either, and the Total Blender is quite a bit cheaper. At first glance, the Blendtec’s dull blades look like they could barely cut through a raspberry. But they tested it on an iPhone and the blender turned it into dust. That’s some serious design ingenuity, and it makes Blendtec perfect for anyone worried about cleaning around sharp blender blades.