The best blender for 2023
Whether you choose to cook completely from scratch, rely on help from meal kits or facilitate most of your eats through a delivery app (no judgments here), every kitchen needs a good blender. After running high-level tests on more than 15 models, the Vitamix Explorian emerged victorious as the best blender for 2023 with a huge punch of power, easy dials and a low-set build that you can store with ease.
But before you go adding one to cart, know that the type of kitchen you run and your eating habits will ultimately determine the best blender for you, and these kitchen staples come in all shapes and sizes with big swings in power and price. The best smoothie blender for a habitual shake maker, for instance, may not be the best option for those who power-blend soups, nut butter, homemade flour and other blend-centric recipes.
While we love premium blenders from the likes of Vitamix, Blendtec and Breville, there are excellent high-performance budget blenders under $100 to consider, and Nutribullet’s $80 model is our favorite in that category.
In all, we put 16 machines through meticulous trials to analyze power, precision, value and user-friendliness. After weeks of whirring, here are our picks for the best blenders in 2023.
Best blenders of 2023
There’s a reason Vitamix blenders enjoy a fervent following. These category darlings aren’t just powerful, but a pleasure to operate and built to last years. The high cost is the downside with many models selling for $400 or more, but the entry-level Explorian will give you great value for money and lands on our list as the best overall blender for 2023.
The Explorian passed every blender test we ran with flying colors and sports one of the best interfaces — simple, intuitive and not prone to breaking. The Explorian’s base and canister are sturdy, don’t wobble and, as I can report from years of personal experience, the Explorian lasts years and holds its power. And if it doesn’t, Vitamix blenders come with a free five-year warranty and the brand offers excellent repair programs to support your purchase.
The Explorian offers basic blending functions and no fancy presets, but we don’t care much for those anyhow. Its 1,500 watts is plenty of power to crush nuts into nut butter and there’s no frozen fruit this machine can’t pulverize in seconds. The 48-ounce canister is also set low, so it stores more easily than other models in the Vitamix line.
The Vitamix is worth its normal $350 price tag, but it often goes on sale for under $300, which is exactly when you should pounce.
NutriBullet keeps it simple with three power levels, a pulse setting and 1,200 watts of power. It performed well in all of our tests. Smooth batters, finely crushed ice, green smoothies, hot soup and good grated cheese (our torture test) were all easy to achieve. A reasonable price tag means you won’t have to break the bank to get a good blender.
Slightly more powerful than the comparable Ninja model below, NutriBullet gets the job done quickly. The 64-ounce blending jar is plenty big enough for most recipes. The personal blender comes with a handy recipe book and a tamper to make sure all your ingredients contact the blades. The NutriBullet blender jar is also dishwasher safe and comes with a one-year warranty.
Simple, powerful and consistent, the NutriBullet is one of the best moderately priced blenders on the market right now and you can have it for $80 at Kohls, Target and other online retailers.
I was very close to giving this the top spot on our list, but because of the smaller size, it might not be the best fit for everyone. But if smoothies are the No. 1 reason you pull out the blender, Ninja’s Twisti is the best blender for your buck. This smartly designed, compact model has tamper blades built into the lid that you can twist manually to loosen stuck and stubborn ingredients without having to stop the motor.
In addition to cranking out clump-free smoothies in seconds and without having to stop and scrape, this blender nailed the other tests, including turning nuts into powder and crushing ice in seconds. With 1,100 watts of operating power, there isn’t much this blender can’t pulverize in a snap.
The main reason this unit isn’t atop our list is that it’s small — just 34 ounces — so it won’t be the best pick if you use your blender for making large batches of soups or sauces. But for dip makers and smoothie drinkers who want to save themselves the extra step of having to stop midblend to set dense ingredients free, this blender is your best bet. Read our Ninja Twisti review.
When you reach a certain level (and price), most blenders do just about everything you need and so you have to start splitting hairs. Vitamix, Blendtec, Hurom, Braun and Cleanblend all make powerful blenders you likely won’t regret buying — but what we love about Breville’s stately Super Q, beyond its performance, are the thoughtful touches. The build and materials used for this blender are sturdy and elegant, and the canister is a different, slightly silkier grade of plastic.
The Q also comes with loads of extras but nothing superfluous. In addition to the 68-ounce canister and a staggering 1,800-watt motor base, you get a 24-ounce blending cup with its own separate blade attachment for making single-serve smoothies or soups to take on the go. There are also dozens of presets which take time to learn but, once you do, make blending a very enjoyable experience.
As for the tests we ran, the Super Q did as well or better than any of the others. It shredded cheese with ease, pulverized raw almonds to smithereens and made quick and consistent work of ice and a pancake batter mix. The Breville has a few blender settings and programs. Yet since it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, there aren’t so many that it’ll overwhelm you.
This is the most expensive blender we tested, but it was also the most pleasurable to use. If you’ve got half a grand to spend on a blender, you won’t regret the Super Q. And if past experience with Breville kitchen appliances is any indicator, it will last you a while.
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Other models we tested
Hurom Hexa Power Speed: If you’re looking for simple functionality and pure power, this is our top pick. The Hurom Hexa doesn’t have many fancy presets and functions (just smoothie, ice crush, soup and pulse) but does have 1,600 watts of power to whip the crap out of anything that you put inside. It almost feels industrial grade and creates a vortex inside akin to something you’d see at a science museum. We also love how this blender looks with its shiny stainless steel armor. Worth noting that it’s the tallest of the blenders we tested so it won’t store as easily as some of the others.
Oster Versa Pro Series: This Oster model is a good performer and includes a few extra features we found helpful. It’s on the expensive side, but this price includes a beverage container and a set of bowls and blades for food processing. You’re almost getting two appliances here, a blender and a food processor. It also has a reverse blend button which is great for crushing ice and making nut flour.
Beautiful by Drew Barrymore: We’ve been impressed by other products from this new line of budget-friendly kitchen appliances, including the electric kettle and air fryer. Sadly, the blender did not pass muster. It’s serviceable, to be certain, but didn’t excel in testing and it feels a bit cheap. I’d also worry about the shelf life of its all-digital control panel.
Cuisinart SmartPower SPB-7CH: It’s hard to figure out what happened to this stalwart kitchen brand but this blender model, along with other Cuisinart appliances I’ve tested lately, have been disappointing. That’s especially true when you consider the bloated prices. The digital blender feels cheap and flimsy and netted mediocre results in testing.
KitchenAid K400: This KitchenAid blender is beautiful, but left something to be desired when it came to performance for that price. It has five speeds, pulse and three presets. If you have your heart set on a colorful blender with retro flare, the KitchenAid is a good option.
Vitamix 5200: Variable speed and sturdy design make this Vitamix 5200 blender a popular model for luxury blenders. Though considered a high-performance blender, at such a high price, we weren’t wowed enough to recommend it. It oddly struggled with cheese grating and we found it to be noticeably louder than other models.
Blendtec Total Classic: This popular Blendtec blender worked well with frozen ingredients and crushed ice, making it a good choice for blending smoothies and making frozen cocktails. However, the Blendtec failed to grate cheese and the batter mixing preset was less effective than regular blending by speed.
Hamilton Beach Power Elite: Affordability aside, this blender didn’t perform well enough to recommend. While it did have a nice glass bowl, the lid was infuriatingly hard to remove. It has only presets, so you’ll need to deduce which ones are actually low, medium or high.
Black & Decker Crush Master: This blender will work if you really need something cheap in a pinch. But don’t expect excellence. It wasn’t able to handle large frozen strawberries or evenly mix pancake batter. Still, it could suffice for small jobs.
Breville Fresh & Furious: Great looks and bonus points for a cute name, but that’s not enough to recommend this blender. Performance was average and it struggled to mix wet and dry ingredients.
Beast Health: The $140 Beast Health may be the best-looking blender ever, and it works well, until it doesn’t. The Beast Health’s motor gave out after about 14 months — too quickly for a blender this expensive — causing us to remove it from a top spot on this list.
Ninja BL610: This is another great blender in the $100 range. Ultimately, NutriBullet’s edged the Ninja in a few of the tests but the NInja had a slightly sturdier build. This is a fine blender and well worth the money.
Watch this: How we put food processors to the test
How we test blenders
Testing blenders isn’t just making smoothies and crushing ice. 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.
In a test of pure crushing power, we placed two cups of ice cubes into each blender. Counting the number of pulses it takes to get to fine, crushed ice gives a good indication of real-world chopping power. The three blenders we recommended above performed well.
A classic blender recipe, fruit smoothies were high on my list of recipes to test. This shouldn’t be a big stress test for any decent blender and so it really comes down to speed and consistency. We used two cups of orange juice and one 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 blender function, we followed the blender’s manual recommendation for smoothie making. This was usually around a minute on high.
This is a relatively easy test and most blenders handled frozen ingredients 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 a 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 to 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.
Only one Vitamix model showed real signs of progress toward almond butter in our testing with the nut flour, and it 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 butter, we recommend a model like the Oster with an included processing kit, or a separate food processor.
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.
Both Vitamix models had some trouble with this particular test and 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, Ninja, instant Pot, Breville Super Q and Hurom Hexa handled grating the cheese block in less than five pulses.
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.
Blender buying tips
Like most kitchen appliances, you should think about how often you’ll use it, for what tasks and is it a portable blender. 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.
With a conventional blender, 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 we 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.
If you’ll be making smoothies and frozen drinks, a blender with a special set of travel blender cup 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 make these kits for travel containers and processors.
Next, consider your preference for specific modes versus speeds. We found some modes to be effective and helpful, while other blenders worked better when we 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 to 10 on a dial. 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.
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 Super Q and Hurom Hexa both 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, we recommend measuring the height between your countertop and your upper cabinets. A few models we tested including the Hurom and Breville Super Q may not fit beneath standard cabinets and would inhibit you from sliding it to the back of my counter when not in use.
What are the different types of blenders?
There are several types of blenders and each is designed for a specific use.
Full-sized blenders: This is the blender you probably imagine when someone says the word “blender.” These are the most versatile of the bunch, but they are also generally the largest, with blending jars as large as 72 ounces. If you do a lot of blending — soups, dips, smoothies, sauces, frozen drinks and nut butter — you’ll want a good full-sized blender. They can be as powerful as 2,000 watts and cost as much as $600, but you can also nab a great one with fewer bells and whistles and less power for $100 or so (see above).
Personal blenders: This term refers to smaller blenders such as NutriBullet, Beast, NutriNinja and others. These blenders have less capacity, around 24 to 32 ounces, give or take. They’re great for soups and smoothies but often have a bit less power — between 900 and 1,000 watts — so they’re not as good for dense ingredients like nuts.
Immersion blenders: These handheld versions of the blender have one main use: to puree a soup or sauce that’s already in a pot. An immersion blender saves you from having to transfer hot liquids from a pot to a blender jar. Though some cost a pretty penny, many serviceable immersion blenders start as low as $30.
Portable blenders: These blenders are so small that you can take them with you on the go. They often run on battery, so you can blend anywhere — the beach, at your desk or after the gym. BlendJet is a popular brand and their teeny-weeny blenders cost around $50.
What is the difference between a blender and a food processor?
While a blender and food processor are similar at first blush, they are used for distinctly different kitchen and cooking jobs. A food processor can’t do the work of a blender, nor can a blender do the work of a food processor: They’re not interchangeable.
Blenders generally have one fixed blade designed to puree or whip ingredients into a liquid or smooth paste. Classic examples are smoothies, soups, sauces and nut butters. Food processors, on the other hand, generally have a set of blades for different tasks — they’re best when they step in for your knife. Most food processors can chop, dice and mince. They can also grate and shred if you need a lot of cheese or are making coleslaw from scratch.
While they won’t do each other’s tasks well, you can buy blenders with food processor attachments, including this $173 Ninja MegaSystem (includes blender) or this $200 Vitamix food processor attachment (does not include blender) that works with Ascent and Venturist models.
How much power should a blender have?
Wattage and horsepower are the two most common ways to measure the sheer capacity of a blender. For small or personal blenders, 1,000 watts of power is all you’ll need given the minimal amount of ingredients you’re blending. For large and full-sized blenders, 1,100 watts is still more than a serviceable amount of power to do most of the daily blending jobs you’ll ask of it. Our top blender picks for the price — the Ninja and the NutriBullet — are both in that 1,100 range. They both performed well and cost much less than a Vitamix or Breville.
Wattage in premium and super-premium blenders can go as high as 2,000, though most are somewhere between 1,400 and 1,800 watts. This amount of power means you’ll likely get a longer life out of the blender since it won’t have to rely on full power to do the easier, daily blending jobs. It also means faster blending since the blades are able to hit higher speeds.
Total horsepower is a sexy (and newer) unit of measurement for blenders, but brands also use it for smoke and mirrors. For more, read about the truth about horsepower in blenders.