Your patio is lonely and calling out for you to have friends over for some adult slushies. Or maybe your morning thinks you deserve some energizing me-time, complete with an antioxidant-rich shake. Whether you need ice to be a snowy texture or plants to go down like coffee, you’ll need the best blender for your budget when you’re combining hard and soft ingredients or prepping the components for an indulgent confection. So let’s get into the mix discussing one of the most useful small kitchen appliances.

How to pick the best blender for your home

In a pared-down world, no one wants duplicate machines or seldom-used appliances. Kitchen counter real estate is a hot commodity, so consider what’s the best blender to keep the clutter in check. Knowing your needs and your cooking style is important when selecting small kitchen appliances. 

If you’re blending up breakfast, maybe an afternoon snack, then using a meal delivery service for dinner, the best blender for smoothies is the go-to product for you. For serious cooks, like those feeding a herd of humans or culinarians wanting to nail creations from around the world, consider an immersion blender (also known as a hand blender or stick blender). Finally, for bakers, you should consider the difference between a food processor and a blender, as one can make sure your next pie has a tender crust and the other isn’t up for the job. 

What’s the difference between a food processor and a blender? 

Want to blend up some tropical drinks to transport you to a private island? There’s a blender that can handle single-serve jars, a.k.a. handy-dandy to-go cups, as well as a blender powerful enough to make custom nut butters for protein-rich meal replacements. And a lot of the time it can be the same blender. But when it comes to a blender and a food processor, these are two separate tools for different tasks. Both are culinary workhorses, but, I mean, have you ever seen a food processor at a bar?

Don’t get me wrong, a food processor is a versatile chopping and blending machine. The best pie dough or shortbread is made in a food processor; it cuts fat into flour more efficiently than by hand. Most models offer attachments, like slicers and graters, perfect for hard vegetables and cheeses. A food processor can make sauces and dips as well, but it’s not the tool for drinks.

A blender, meanwhile, is a drink machine that’s comfortable in the kitchen. You can use a blender as a culinary tool, and if you plan to make sure to get one with a tamper and two-part lid (removing the center of the lid allows one ingredient at a time to be added). With the right blender, you can whip up hot liquids, such as silky soups and sauces (just remember to cover the lid with a thick kitchen towel to avoid a messy explosion—you don’t want tomato soup being a design feature of your backsplash). Chances are, however, that you plan at least once to make something tropical, like the daiquiri of your dreams, and that’s definitely where a heavy-duty blender takes center stage, making sure there’s no ice ball lurking at the bottom of a frozen margarita (and no shockingly expensive emergency dental work). (Pro tip: If your blender isn’t blending correctly, check if you have enough liquid at the bottom of the jar, near the blades. The amount of liquid required to move the ingredients around the jar varies with each manufacturer and ranges from a few ounces to one cup of liquid, like water, milk, oil, or alcohol.)

Here are our selections for the best blender for breakfast to happy hour, and any occasion or purpose in between.

Related: If it IS a food processor you’re after, check out the best options here.

Best blender for smoothies: NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender Combo

Versatile Canister Sizes Included

With 1500 watts of power, plus an assortment of blender canisters and to-go cups, this is the best blender for everyday use. NutriBullet

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The NutriBullet Smart Touch Combo blends smoothies one at a time in 20-ounce cups that fit on the all-black blender base (featuring touchscreen controls). Pop on one of the to-go lids (included) and enjoy a beverage on the run and no clean-up. You could even add another 20-ounce cup to the blender for your partner’s smoothie or milkshake. The 64-ounce full-sized jar, meanwhile, can be used for weekend meal prep, like pasta sauce or pancake batter. The 1500-watt motor offers three blending speeds along with a pulse feature so you can oscillate your way to the perfect texture to finish off your recipe. The smoothie blender includes a locking lid for added security along with a tamper to mix your ingredients thoroughly.

Best blender for ice: Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender

Professional Power and Prowess

Vitamix is a heritage American brand that offers industry-leading performance along with a full 10-year warranty.

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With a host of colors, the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Smart Blender is one of those high-end, yet easy-to-use small kitchen appliances that you’ll turn to again and again. And while aesthetics are nice, what the best Vitamix blender is truly known for is power and precision: this model offers 2.2 peak horsepower and the blades are aircraft-grade stainless steel. This blender features five program settings—smoothies, hot soups, dips and spreads, frozen desserts (like sorbet), and a cleaning cycle (just add a dash of dish soap, let spin for30 seconds, and the canister can skip the dishwasher). Finally, a built-in timer allows for walk-away performance, and there’s start-and-stop touch control alongside a dial with variable speeds and a pulse feature. This best Vitamix blender even features an app, along with built-in wireless connectivity to read the container size code and adjust settings automatically. Additional blender jars and accessories are available.

Best Cuisinart blender: Cuisinart Hurricane Velocity 2.25 Peak HP Blender

High Performance, Midrange Price

A solid kitchen appliance that features smoothie and ice-crushing settings along with a 2.25 peak horsepower motor at a lower price point than high-end blenders.

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A Cuisinart blender is one of those tools that your parents (and their parents) trust, and for good reason. The Cuisinart Hurricane Velocity 2.25 Peak HP Blender features a BPA-free 60-ounce jar with a comfy soft-touch handle. The touchpad controls feature low, high, and pulse functions. This Cuisinart blender offers both ice-crushing and smoothie preprogrammed settings along with an LCD display and a programmable countdown timer. The Cuisinart blender uses a four-prong heavy-duty stainless blade. The lid features a 2-ounce measuring cup for last-minute additions, like water or oil. 

Best hand blender: Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender

Blend Without A Base

The best stick blender for serious cooks who want to work away from a set station, like blending soup on the cooktop.

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The Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender offers 15 speeds, an essential feature when mixing large batches of mash potatoes or marinara sauce. The ergonomic handle and trigger allow for a natural hand position (because you want to whip the potatoes, not throttle your nerves). In addition, a nonstick base keeps your pans free from scratches when it touches the bottom. This immersion blender features anti-suction technology with a bell-shaped base, keeping tomatoes in the pot and not all over your clothes. Look for attachments, like the 25-ounce bowl and a 42-ounce jug, to whip up cream or blend up some fresh salsa. The hand blender also includes a single whisk, a nice interchangeable option for aerating a scrambled egg mixture, etc. 

Best on a budget: Hamilton Beach Power Elite Blender

The Perfect First Blender

This is a versatile unit with a 700-watt motor and a glass canister with a pour spout lid.
Hamilton Beach

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If you have ever found the blender in a Florida beach rental, chances are you’ve used a Hamilton Beach. The Hamilton Beach Power Elite Blender is a perfect option for those starting out, and a go-to gift for grads. It’s a sleek black-and-stainless steel base that’s easy to clean up. It operates with five simple buttons and 12 blending functions. The 40-ounce glass jar features a pour spout in the lid to prevent spills.

The stainless-steel blades boast a patented design and the blending technology circulates your mixture from the top to the blades at the bottom. Drop the dishwasher-safe glass jar in the dishwasher for easy clean-up. While you might have to stab your icy concoction with the long blender spoon a few times to make sure everything is uniform, it’s part of the show and only high-end blender owners will notice.

FAQ: people also ask

Are glass or plastic blenders better?

Glass doesn’t discolor, retain flavors, and rarely scratches; however, it can crack and broken glass in a blender jar is a one-way trip to the trash can. New plastic blender jars are made of BPA-free plastic that’s dishwasher safe and durable. Both serve their purpose, but many now lean toward plastic.

Is 400 watts enough for a blender? 

No, 400 watts isn’t really enough. To have the most versatile kitchen small appliance, consider purchasing the highest wattage (amount of electric power) for your budget. For soups and spreads, 400 watts will work, but 400 watts won’t crush ice. Consider the Hamilton Beach Power Elite Blender with 700 watts as the best blender under $40, or scale up from there.

What is the most durable blender on the market?

The best Vitamix blenders offer a full 10-year warranty covering parts, performance, and shipping both ways. Their motors feature a metal drive system and the blades are aircraft-grade stainless steel. The motor is engineered to run cool and maintain its torque. Admittedly, this quality comes with a high-end price point, but when you break down the cost per use hours over a lifetime, it’s worth the investment.

Related: Make cooking easier and more fun with these smart appliances. 

A final word on shopping for kitchen appliances

Home cooks yearn to recreate their restaurant favorites and need small kitchen appliances that will suit their needs and their budgets. When investing in the best kitchen appliances, careful research helps consumers decide the features that are important for their cooking style, kitchen space, and recipe requirements. For the best blender, consumers have options from basic, yet sturdy models around $40 to wow models 10 times as much. You just need to decide if you need a machine just to crush ice or one that can crush everything you can throw at (and in) it.