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Making your own smoothies is an easy way to front-load your day with fruits and vegetables. But with a blender that’s not up to the task, you might be left with chunks of frozen strawberries or stringy kale leaves. No thanks.
In CR’s lab, we put blenders through a battery of tests, including two that evaluate a blender’s ability to make smooth smoothies: In our icy-drinks tests, we make batches of nonalcoholic piña coladas and use sieves of various mesh sizes to evaluate smoothness and thickness. “If a blender rates Excellent in this test, you can expect a smooth, consistent texture, especially when blending strawberries, bananas, and other soft ingredients,” says Larry Ciufo, CR’s chief blender tester. A rating of Very Good means there are tiny bits in the mix.
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If you plan to blend apples, carrots, and other hard items, or add greens to your smoothies, check the results of our puréeing test. This one is tough: “An Excellent rating there indicates the blender serves up smooth smoothies and soups, with no stringy greens,” Ciufo says.
The Overall Score for each model in our blender ratings combines results from these and other lab tests with data from our latest surveys of CR members about their experiences using more than 47,000 full-sized blenders. The results show that Calphalon, Vitamix, and Wolf remain the most reliable brands.
Below, we review nine full-sized blenders (listed here in alphabetical order) that will serve up terrific smoothies. They all ace our icy-drinks test, and some even earn an Excellent rating for puréeing—a rare achievement among the models we’ve tested.
You can also see our guide to the best and worst blender brands (which ones fail prematurely and which should stand the test of time), and CR members can delve more deeply into our complete blender ratings for all the details. Be sure to go to our blender buying guide as you shop.
CR’s take: The Q BBL820SHY1BUS1 pulverizes frozen fruits and renders even the stringiest produce into a smooth liquid, earning it an Excellent rating in both the icy-drinks test and the purée test. It does well in the ice-crushing category, too, if you ever decide to swap a smoothie for a snow cone. Breville earns an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction, meaning CR members would recommend Breville blenders to friends and family.
CR’s take: The Cuisinart Hurricane Pro CBT-2000 earns a Very Good rating in our ice-crushing tests, turning out ice similar in texture to a snow cone. It holds 8 cups and is a whiz at puréeing. The container is plastic, as is the case with all the blenders featured here. Plastic can absorb stains and odors, so it’s best to clean it right after use. All blenders are loud, but this one is a little noisier than others on this list.
CR’s take: The Dash Chef Series Digital blender earns an Excellent rating in our icy-drinks test, and puréeing was just as good. The blades stood up to our durability test, in which we repeat our ice-crush test 45 times. At 22 inches, it stands taller than most full-sized blenders, so make sure you have enough clearance under your cabinets.
Instant Ace (out of stock)
CR’s take: From the company that makes the Instant Pot, the Instant Ace blender is a strong choice if your primary objective is making smoothies and you don’t want to spend too much on a blender. Its 7-cup capacity is fairly high for the category, and this model’s 600-watt motor did quite well at ice crushing and making icy drinks, earning Excellent scores in CR’s tests for both functions. It’s not quite as proficient at puréeing raw ingredients, but its built-in heater means this versatile blender can also make hot soups. In terms of noise, you’ll certainly hear it but its noise level is on par with other top performers.
CR’s take: Ninja full-sized blenders earned a Very Good rating for predicted reliability in our member surveys. The 1,200-watt Ninja BN801 Professional Plus Kitchen System with Auto-iQ combines impressive performance and value pricing. Whether you crave soups or smoothies, this model has you covered, receiving an Excellent rating for puréeing and a Very Good score for icy drinks. It comes with a personal blender attachment, a 24-ounce to-go cup, and a food processor accessory. The blender’s removable blade also makes cleanup a cinch, a big reason it did very well in our convenience tests.
CR’s take: You’ll see nine full-sized Vitamix blenders in CR’s ratings; this is the best one that goes for less than $500. The Vitamix 5200 has an 8-cup capacity and a 7-year warranty. And it’s skilled at more than smoothies. Due to the friction created by the fast-whirring blades, it can actually make hot soup in 5 minutes. At 20 inches, this model is on the tall side. (You can compare dimensions in our blender ratings.)
CR’s take: The Vitamix Professional Series 750 easily serves up fine smoothies, with ice the texture of snow, perfect when margaritas are in order. And Vitamix as a brand received an Excellent rating for predicted reliability. Though this model is pricey, it’s also among the most powerful blenders made (1,656 watts is well beyond the typical 500- to 800-watt middle ground). It holds 8 cups and is a master at puréeing, and it can make hot soup, like the Vitamix above.
CR’s take: The top-rated Vitamix 7500 is on a a par with the Vitamix 750 above. Both outshine most of their competitors, especially when it comes to blending thick, delicious smoothies. The key differences: This model lacks the 750’s self-cleaning capability, it comes with a different recipe book, and it costs $70 less. Like the 750, the 7500 earns Excellent ratings for purée performance, ice crushing, and durability. That last rating means its powerful 1,656-watt motor aced tests in which we crushed ice 45 times over a two-day period. This blender also has an 8-cup capacity and stands 18 inches tall—so again, measure your cabinet clearance space.
CR’s take: Besides Vitamix, Wolf is the only other blender brand with an Excellent customer satisfaction and reliability rating. Though pricey, the 1,656-watt Wolf Gourmet High Performance WGBL100S aced our purée tests and received a Very Good score for icy-drink making. It has an 8-cup capacity, 15 speeds, and a pulse function so you can easily churn through egg whites, creamy mayonnaise, or pancake mix. It comes with a tamper and an emulsify cup.
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