So you like soups and smoothies, milkshakes and purees, love adding chopped nuts to everything, have a thing for milling grain, and, last but not least, want chopped ice in your cocktail.
To do all this, you have an array of kitchen gadgets filling up cupboard space. Some of the gadgets get used regularly, others just now and again, and the rest are gathering dust. On the other hand, you could have gone for another option, and bought a single kitchen implement that will do all that and more: a blender.
When we talk about a blender, there are basically three different types. The stand alone jug blender, the smaller one serving personal blender, and the stick blender.
Below we’re going to look at the larger jug blenders, which can chop, and smooth, and blend enough for all the family.
10 Best Blenders
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Criteria for Evaluation
It has been important when considering our 10 best blenders to make sure the machines are made from high-quality materials. Of all the gadgets in the kitchen, blenders probably have the hardest life, with the motor always having to work against the ingredients in the jug. A blender that is going to last years is often an expensive purchase for the kitchen, so durability is a factor that has been taken into consideration.
It has also been important to make sure all the blenders reviewed are easy to use and have nothing too complicated for the kitchen. Although blenders are generally kitchen gadgets most people would not maintain themselves, it is crucial that the machine can be stripped down to a few component parts for cleaning after use.
Before embarking on selecting the best blenders, we asked ourselves a series of questions that are important for the users. How much do you want to spend on a blender? There is a broad range of prices, and there is likely to be one ideal for your needs and your budget. We took into consideration cheaper options as well as more expensive ones.
Next, it is best to ask how powerful do you need your blender to be. Buying a cheaper model will save you money in the short term, and usually, they are not as powerful, but it can be a false economy. The more expensive models have longer warranties and are made to last.
Among our top 10 blenders you will find powerful and expensive models as well as cheaper but still highly functional ones.
We also considered how much space the blender will take up. They are designed to sit out on the countertop. Most are designed to fit in the 50cm space between the worktop, and any wall mounted cupboards.
Finally, we considered how many people you will be blending for? Is it just for you, or the rest of the family. All the blenders we have reviewed here are big enough to produce blended smoothies or soups for all the family.
What makes a good blender
First of all, let’s think about what makes up the blender, and what you should look out for when choosing from the vast array available in the shops.
There are basically two distinct parts to any large jug blender, the jar itself which can be made from either glass or plastic and the motor unit base, which houses all the electrical components and the controls.
The jug can be made of either glass or plastic. There are advantages with plastic because it is lighter, but it can absorb odors and is more easily scratched. Glass jugs are heavier, especially when they are full, but are generally more sturdy, and look good too. Some premium brands use a high-quality extra durable plastic that looks like glass which incorporates the best of both worlds.
A lot of kitchen appliances get used once, and never again because the thought of cleaning it afterward is too daunting. So, its best to make sure the blender you buy can be popped into the dishwasher after use.
What is also useful is if the blades that do the blending or chopping can be removed from the jug and cleaned separately.
When it comes to controlling, it’s better to have more than less, so machines with a few preset speeds are less versatile than those that have more or a variable speed control. Some blenders come with programmed speeds for specific tasks such as making milkshakes or chopping.
The more advanced options include settings for crushing ice for frozen drinks, smoothies, or even cocktails. You have to be careful, if the manufacturer does not explicitly say your blender is suitable for crushing ice, then using it to do so will most likely blunt the blades, and they will need replacing.
If you intend to grind or mill dry items, some of the more expensive brands of blender provide a separate jug for grinding things like coffee beans or nuts.
You will usually find a tamper tool as one of the accessories when you buy a blender. This can be used to push ingredients safely toward the blades when things get stuck. It can be useful when dealing with thicker mixes such as instant ice cream. However, as a general rule, you should not need to use the tamper, as the blender should be able to do its work without you lending a hand.
With all those ingredients spinning around inside the jug, you need a good lid on the top to stop things flying everywhere. A tight seal is necessary so that there is no leakage of liquids when the blender is working. Also, it’s a good if there is a removable insert in the lid so you can add ingredients as you go, for precise blending when you are making, for example, homemade mayonnaise.
Remember, these blenders are heavy, and are likely to stay on the kitchen countertop all the time. It’s not something you want to be lugging in and out of cupboards. Most are designed to sit on the counter, and stow below any wall mounted cabinets.
Important points to look out for
A tight fitting lid, so there are no spills when the blender is working. It should also be easy to take on and off, and dishwasher safe.
A removable plug in the lid that can act as a pour spout or a means to add ingredients when blending.
A stable base as blenders that wobble and vibrate a bit are not going to be performing at their peak efficiency, and so will take a longer time to do their job.
Always look for a blender that is easy to clean. Some of the jugs need to be washed with soapy water immediately after use, better to have one that can be put straight in the dishwasher. I would advise not to consider blenders where the jugs need to be hand washed, as that increases the chance of cutting your fingers on the sharp blades in the bottom of the jar.
If you just want a blender to make smoothies, then best to stick to the cheaper models on the market. However, if you want to be more adventurous in your cooking, and want to make your own mayonnaise, or grind coffee or grains, or even experiment making cocktails in your blender then the advice is to buy the best you can afford as it will pay you back many times over during its lifetime.
Most blenders come with a one-year warranty, but if you go for the more expensive and professional models, they are likely to have longer warranty periods, which can be extended.
The Benefits of Blending Food
Blending food provides many dietary benefits such as losing weight as well as making you feel stronger both mentally and physically. By blending food, you are making it possible to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from food. You will also find that it takes little effort and hardly any time!
Blending is quick and provides an easy cleanup.
When you blend your food, you are able to consume more sustenance, even during the most active and busy schedules which may not permit you to sit down and enjoy a meal. Clean up is especially quick and easy because all you need to really clean is the blender.
You are also provided with the added bonus of an easier preparation. You can either prepare your fresh foods the night before blending, or use frozen food for more convenience because they require little to no preparation. As an added bonus, frozen foods have been reported to be more nutritious than their fresh equivalents, most likely due to the fact that they are frozen at the pinnacle of their freshness. However, fresh and frozen food are fairly similar in their dietary benefits.
Makes it easier to add more nutrition to your diet.
On average, an individual needs about a combined six cups of fruits and vegetables per day in their diet. However, this can be difficult to achieve. By blending your food, you are ensuring that you are gaining the proper amount of nutrients. When you blend your fruits and vegetables, your body is able to ingest vitamins and nutrients more efficiently. You are also able to make your smoothie more beneficial by adding protein powder.
Blending helps convert fat quicker.
When we eat solid foods, it can take a while for the digestive system to break the foods that we do not necessarily need down and convert them into fat. Blending these foods into liquid simplifies this process as our body can almost immediately transform the food into beneficial value while altering other items into fat cells to store energy.
It does not spike your blood sugar as much as juicing can.
The fiber content in smoothies will simplify in modifying your blood sugar levels and also help to regulate your weight control. There will be less sugar content entering your bloodstream which causes a drop later on. This will keep you feeling full and focused.
A great way to consume superfoods.
Superfoods include avocado, spinach, edamame, chlorella, spirulina, cacao, goji berries, chia seeds, flax seeds and protein powder, to name a few. By adding these super foods into your blender, you can add a nutritional boost to your day.
Superfoods are nutrient-rich and help you fight disease, feel more energized, and lose weight.
It is one of the best ways to add greens to your diet.
Greens produce chlorophyll, which in turn enhances your body’s ability to produce hemoglobin. This strengthens the delivery of oxygen to the cells of your body.
Not many people enjoy eating greens as they can have a ‘bitter’ taste. However, when you blend these vegetables with fruits, you can hide the taste of greens.
It can be used as a meal replacement.
By adding protein powder and a lot of nutritional ingredients, these smoothies can be used as a meal replacement. When you blend smoothies that are nutrient rich, you can make yourself a treat that will last you until your next meal.
Your body is more than capable of extracting vitamins from foods, however, when these foods are blended, the cell walls are broken, which helps release nutrients that might have passed through the body otherwise untouched.
By blending you are consuming less fat.
Blended fruits and vegetables provide you with the health benefit of containing practically no fat. This is essential to those who want to control their weight and keep themselves in good health, as they find many foods contain fats that are high in calories or are just bad for your overall health.
Other Beneficial Features
If you suffer from constipation, type-two diabetes, or colon cancer, blending food has been said to boost your fiber to help prevent disease as well as help with treatment. There are also some very beneficial protein powders on the market that can provide you with an extra boost. Proteins are crucial for your body’s muscles and helps boost your immunity. Some protein powders you can find include organic, vegan, raw gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Do You Lose Nutrients When Blending?
A main concern for many people is whether or not nutrients are lost while blending. In this article, we hope to shed some light on this topic. Smoothies are very beneficial as they can provide a nutritious snack or breakfast by serving the recommended daily fruit value.
Let’s first look at the difference between blending vs. juicing.
Blending vs. Juicing
A big drawback that is encountered from juicing is that it does not retain its fiber. However, blending keeps all of its dietary fiber which aids in lowering cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of diabetes as well as heart disease. This is likely due to the fact that when you blend most fruits and vegetables, all the unhealthy fats that contain a lot of calories and are generally not healthy for you are removed. You are also able to add nutritional fats, such as those that can be found in hemp oil and flax oil. Another benefit that can be found from blending is that it helps with symptoms related to constipation and diverticulitis.
Changes in Nutritional Value
While blending, you are mostly altering the texture and appearance of you fruits and vegetables, according to Fruit and Veggies More Matters. By blending your food, you are making it into a drinkable or spoon-able substance. This simply does not cause your fruits and vegetables to lose their nutrients. However, blending these fruits and vegetables and then storing them for an extended amount of time can cause the smoothie’s nutritional value to change. The longer you store your blended fruits, the more nutrient degradation your drink will suffer.
Some Nutrients Are Sensitive to Heat
There are a few nutrients that are sensitive to heat such as vitamin C. When these nutrients are cooked or blended for an extended amount of time, it can lead to these nutrients being destroyed. When you use a blender for an extended amount of time, the blender can generate heat, causing the nutrient to be abolished. Blending your fruits for a short period of time can help reduce the risk of losing nutrients.
The Risks of Soaking Your Fruits and Veggies
When you are preparing to blend your smoothie, it is best to avoid washing or soaking any cut or pealed pieces in water because some vitamins are water soluble. These vitamins include vitamin C and B vitamins.
If you are planning to use the liquid with which you are soaking the cut or pealed pieces of fruit in, then this will keep some of its nutritional value.
It is an important concern for many people who blend whether or not they are receiving all of the nutrients possible from their smoothies. Whenever you blend your food, you are, for the most part, only changing its appearance and texture.
However, it appears that as long as you do not heat your food by cooking or blending for an extended period and as long as you avoid soaking cut or peeled fruits and vegetables, then you have nothing to worry about.
Q: How much do I need to spend on a blender?
Most regular blenders are affordable, but there are the new super-blenders coming from known brands among which we find Sage and KitchenAid which are quite pricey. Super-blenders are likely to be able to do the hard work such as grain milling, producing nut milk, heating soup, and cutting veg.
These super-blenders usually come with lengthy guarantees along with claims to be longer lasting than cheaper models. More power does not necessarily mean more powerful blending, but if you want a BPA-free plastic jug, extra blades and/or attachments for different chopping jobs, or an extended guarantee, you’ll need to spend money.
Q: Should I buy a smaller personal style blender or one for the countertop?
It really depends on what you are after, something personal, or something to blend for the whole family. The newer small personal blenders are compact and combine fruit and pour into a commuter cup.
The entry level Nutribullet for example costs double the cheapest of the traditional countertop blenders we have reviewed. These personal blenders are handy, without a doubt. They can blitz fruit, and mill grains and seeds for the health conscious, but to do that you have to change the blades, which can be tricky.
If you are looking for something that is convenient, then the personal blender is for you, but honestly how many people do you know who carry their own blender?
Q: Won’t a juicer work as well?
These are a bit like jug blenders. The main difference is that smoothie makers usually have a tap for dispensing so you can pour the liquid straight into a glass. They used to be ubiquitous in every kitchen store, but have gone the way of a lot of gadgets and been overtaken by devices as is the Nutribullet.
The big drawback with smoothie makers was that the tap could get clogged up if the machine wasn’t making the fruit liquid enough. A blender is NOT a juicer. A juicer by its very name removes the liquid part from fruit and vegetables, leaving the pulp behind. Some people will argue that extracting the pulp from fruit and vegetables reduces the fiber and vitamin content in the product. Blenders blitz the ingredients giving a thicker liquid, and with no waste pulp.
Q: Do I need a blender or actually a soup maker?
Soup makers vary from blenders by having a heating element at the bottom of the jug. Once all the ingredients are blended, then the heater kicks in to prepare the piping hot soup. It does away with the need to decant the blended vegetables into another container to be either heated on a stove or in a microwave.
If you are just looking to make soups, then they are ideal, but most people prefer the versatility a blender offers with the ability to make smoothies, grind coffee or grain, or crush ice.
Q: I have a food processor, so why do I need a blender?
Whatever it might say on the box a food processor will not liquidize. It will finely chop up to produce a smooth consistency, but it won’t go that extra step to getting things perfectly silky. And on the other hand, a blender won’t work unless there is plenty of liquid. Don’t expect any of the blenders reviewed here to chop an onion more make hummus, they just can’t.
The super-blenders, or should I say the more expensive blenders reviewed here though blur the lines. They have the power to chop ingredients, and even mix dough. With their fantastically powerful motors, the super-blenders can pulverize frozen fruit into sorbet, or turn a handful of cinnamon sticks into a powder.
Q: What is the jug made of?
When buying a blender, it is important to consider what the jug or jar is made from. The most common material is toughened glass. It allows you to see the contents while the blending is taking place, and is easy to clean, and will not suffer from any lasting odors.
However, glass jugs are generally cumbersome, especially when they are full of liquid, and some people find them difficult to manage. For a lighter alternative, a polycarbonate plastic is often used. Cheaper models use plastics which can be easily scratched and will absorb odors.
The premium brands have high-quality, sturdy plastic that resists scratching and will survive the knocks and scrapes of a busy kitchen. A few models do have a stainless steel jug, which is lighter than glass, and is easy to clean, but does not allow the user to see what is going on during the blending process.
Q: How do I clean my blender?
The first piece of advice you should take on board is clean your blender IMMEDIATELY after use. Don’t wait for the remaining contents to dry out inside, as this will make cleaning more difficult.
For a thorough cleaning, it is best to take the jug from the base, and then unscrew the bottom component which allows you to remove the blade and the seal. Be careful as the blade can be sharp. Clean the jug with warm soapy water, and leave to drain.
Usually, this piece can be cleaned in the top rack of a dishwasher, although hand washing is typically quicker. The smaller components need to be washed by hand, being extra careful with the blades. They should be allowed to drain and thoroughly dry before reassembly.
If you have not been able to remove any stains from the blender, then you should put it back together again, and then run a 50:50 mixture of water and baking powder through the machine. Then go through the cleaning process again. The base can be then wiped down to remove any dirt, and then the perfectly clean blender reassembled and stored.