- When selecting a blender for your kitchen, you’re going to want one that’s powerful enough to do whatever job you need, whether it’s creating a simple smoothie or crushing ice.
- The Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender is the best one you can buy with its powerful motor, decent price tag, and easy-to-use preset blending functions.
A blender seems like a simple kitchen tool, and for the most part, it is. Blenders give you a variety of settings to help you achieve the consistency you need for a particular recipe. And even if you don’t use it specifically for cooking, a blender is essential when you want to whip up, say, kale smoothies or homemade vanilla milkshakes.
Although blenders all seem to perform the same task, there are a few different types, each with its own unique features: conventional, multi-function, personal, and immersion.
A conventional blender is the most common type for use in your home kitchen; it can perform a variety of functions from making soup to blending smoothies. Multi-function, professional-style blenders have powerful motors and are often used in restaurants. Finally, there’s the personal blender, which is a small appliance that makes single servings and may run from a battery for portability. We left immersion blenders (also called hand blenders) off of this list because they have their own comprehensive buying guide, which you can check out here.
When choosing a blender, think about how you want to use it. The motor is the most important part of any blender, and the higher the wattage, the better the performance. Always get a blender with a motor that’s more than 500 watts. If you want to make frozen drinks, you may need one with 1,000 watts of power.
You’ll also want to look at the type of blades on each blender. Some blenders have blades made for solid objects like ice, while others are better equipped for blending softer foods. Stainless steel blades are best. The size and material of the blender jar are also key factors, as is the tightness of the lid.
Here are the best blenders you can buy:
- Best blender overall: Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender
- Best budget blender: KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender
- Best high-power blender: Ninja Professional Blender BL660
- Best professional-style blender: Vitamix 750
- Best vacuum blender: Breville Super Q Blender and Vac Q attachment
- Best personal blender: Breville Boss to Go Sport
Updated on 1/8/2020 by Caitlin Petreycik: Updated prices, links, and copy.
The best blender overall
True to its name, the Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender automatically senses the correct speed for the ingredients you’re blending and can be used for smoothies, dips, and milkshakes.
The Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender has four preset functions, 10 adjustable speeds, and a 1100-watt motor that automatically senses the thickness of your ingredients. It applies the power necessary so all the manual guess-work is taken out of blending, making it convenient to use and resulting in a great final product whether you’re making a smoothie or a salsa.
Having tested this blender myself, I can personally attest to how well it works. Call me a creature of habit, but my morning smoothie is an almost daily ritual – one that’s been going on for close to eight years now – so a high-quality blender I can count on is a must.
I put the Calphalon Auto-Speed through its paces, and it’s held up well to daily use, resulting in thick, silky smoothies. I can tell you firsthand how unpleasant it is to encounter an unexpected spinach leaf or chunk of banana in a poorly blended smoothie, but that hasn’t happened once since I’ve started using this blender.
The Calphalon Auto-Speed can do much more than make smoothies, which makes it a great multi-purpose tool to have on your kitchen counter. The pulse feature allows for food prep and chopping – and results in a great salsa. There are also four preset functions for dips, milkshakes, frozen drinks, and smoothies as well as adjustable speeds for more hands-on control.
I especially like the addition of the reverse pulse button which helps pull the ingredients further down into the blade if necessary to prevent any jams, resulting in a smooth blend. The 6-point stainless steel blades are both durable and easy to clean thanks to the way they’re angled.
Each part of the blender that attaches to the base is also dishwasher safe for further convenience. I’ve cleaned each of these parts in our own dishwasher multiple times with no issue.
With such a powerful motor, this blender is much quieter than I expected. It’s by no means silent, but it’s much less deafening than others I’ve used in the past, making it a little less grating to listen to in the morning if you’re a breakfast smoothie fanatic like myself.
When blending, you can either use the 2-Liter pitcher for larger quantities, or the convenient 25-ounce Blend-N-Go Jar for single-serving-sized smoothies and drinks. While I liked using the Blend-N-Go Jar, I did find the drinking lid that comes with it slightly awkward to use. It prevented any spills, but the attached cap was sometimes more of a nuisance than anything else.
As far as quality and ease of use go, I was not disappointed. The lids to both the pitcher and the jar seal tightly, and I had no issues with any splatter or leaking while blending. The blade attachment fits easily onto the base and removes just as easily when you’re finished blending.
While this blender is on the expensive side, if it’s a tool you know you’ll be using often, it’s a worthwhile investment that you’ll be able to rely on for durability, great results, and ease of use. Presets and speeds are controlled by a dial on the front that’s clearly labeled, and you can start, pause, pulse and reverse pulse at the push of a button.
The easy to read digital interface is also a nice touch, showing you how long you’ve been blending, or counting down to the finish if you choose to use one of the preset functions. – Kylie Joyner
Pros: 1100-watt motor that automatically senses ingredients and adjusts for best results, four preset functions, 10 adjustable speeds, easy to clean, features durable stainless steel blades, comes with a Blend-N-Go jar for added convenience
Cons: On the expensive side, lid that goes with smoothie cup is slightly awkward to use
The best budget blender
The KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender is a solid, affordable blender that can make soups and smoothies easily.
Although you certainly can spend hundreds of dollars on a blender, you don’t have to if you only want an occasional smoothie, soup, or blended dessert. I’ve owned the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender for several years, and it’s still going strong.
The Die Cast Metal Base is sturdy, so it doesn’t shake as it blends, which is something that a lot of cheap blenders tend to do. Although it’s not as powerful as many of the blenders in our guide, the KitchenAid has a perfectly capable motor that helps the stainless steel blades blend just about anything with little effort.
KitchenAid’s Intelli-Speed Motor Control tech ensures that ingredients are blended equally. The 56-ounce BPA-Free pitcher is easy to clean, as is the two-piece lid. Years of use haven’t harmed the sturdy plastic pitcher or the lid, which still fits snugly.
Expert reviewers praise the KitchenAid blender, too, citing its low price as the main attraction. CNET and Good Housekeeping were impressed with it, and Wirecutter also recommends it as the best budget blender. – Malarie Gokey
Pros: Sturdy, affordable, makes good smoothies, decent motor, five speeds
Cons: Not as powerful as others
The best high-power blender
The affordable Ninja Professional Blender delivers plenty of power to crush ice and blend a variety of ingredients to create perfect smoothies every time.
If you’re looking to create great-tasting smoothies at home, you’ll want a blender with plenty of power to ensure the ingredients are well mixed and delivered at the desired texture. The Ninja Professional Blender has the features needed to pulverize ice and create the highest quality smoothies possible.
It boasts 1,100 watts of power with three speeds, a pulse setting, and a single-serve function. Ninja also includes two 16-ounce to-go cups so you can take your breakfast smoothie with you. The blender’s 72-ounce pitcher is a good size and it has a form-fitting lid and a nice big handle.
Guides Editor Les Shu has seen the Ninja in action. The multiple sharp blades, while befitting of the Ninja name, look both frightening and ridiculous. When it’s running, the blender is jet-engine loud. But it did a terrific job cutting through ice and fresh pineapple for piña coladas.
Indeed, the Ninja blender does a great job with all kinds of blending needs, including crushing and pureeing for smoothies, according to the Healthy But Smart review. It’s the perfect choice for people who don’t want to invest in our top pick but still need a powerful blender.
In its review, Easy Healthy Smoothie says this blender makes perfect smoothies and it’s very affordable, considering the power it offers. As for downsides, the Kitchen Gear Pro says the Ninja blender is difficult to take apart and clean, in large part because of the sharpness of the blades. The lid also has some crevasses that are tough to clean properly. But otherwise, this is a great budget pick. – Kyle Schurman
Pros: Perfect option for creating smoothies at home, good price point, offers many different kinds of blending options, works to crush ice, blends many kinds of foods successfully
Cons: Unit’s lid can be difficult to clean, blades are sharp when you take blender apart for cleaning
The best professional-style blender
The Vitamix Professional series 750 offers everything you need in a blender, and its proven longevity makes it worth the price.
We know this is a lot to spend on a blender, or anything, really. But if you want the most consistent consistency, and you use your blender on a daily basis, it’s easily justified. When you go to a smoothie shop, you’re probably paying well over $5 per drink, and if you do so even two or three times a week, that adds up (I’m a writer, so I’ll let you do your own math).
The Vitamix 750 is a professional-grade blender built to last the better part of a decade, and Vitamix’s 7-year warranty is enough to attest to that. Sure, you may have some 20-year-old anvil of a thing living on your counter that still works, more or less, but I’ll bet your smoothies turn out to be laden with large, neglected chunks of your chosen fruits. I’ll also bet it’s not the prettiest thing in your kitchen, either.
Do you need to spend so much on a blender? No, but if you’re willing to spend even $200, you might find that blender cutting out on you within a couple of years, no matter how shiny and stainless-steel-clad it may be.
For those who use their blender only every so often but still demand perfection, the Vitamix 5200 is of comparable quality, just with a less technical interface and no automatic drive for setting your blender to smoothie mode and walking away. But on the other hand, if you’re running a smoothie shop or a cafe or B&B with a juicer, it’s hard to ignore reasons for the automatic feature.
Pros: Consistent, powerful motor, strong blades stay sharp, 7-year warranty
Cons: Price tag
The best vacuum blender
- Williams Sonoma
The Breville Super Q Blender isn’t inherently a vacuum blender, but together with Breville’s Vac Q attachment, it becomes one.
Breville’s Super Q Blender is a great blender on its own, but when you add the VacQ attachment to it, it becomes a vacuum blender and removes all air from your concoctions.
An 1800-watt motor that drives steel blade tips at 186 miles per hour is not something you want to get your fingers caught in. It is, however, a remarkable feat of technology for blending (and nearly juicing) just about anything you can get your hands on. The Super Q also has five programmed presets that allow you to basically turn the thing on and carry on with any other culinary endeavors you may be juggling.
Insider Picks editorial director Ellen Hoffman and I set up shop at Insider Picks Headquarters (otherwise known as our office kitchen) where we stuffed the Breville Super Q with every fruit and vegetable we could get our hands on. We ended up with a host of perfectly consistent, sometimes strange-tasting concoctions (through no fault of Breville).
Two things impressed me about this blender in comparison with the Vitamix. Firstly, the Super Q is unbelievably quiet. We were able to carry on with a conversation at normal volume while the motor was whirring away somewhere between a whisper and a barely vocal growl. This is, far and away, the quietest, albeit most powerful blender I’ve ever put to use.
What really makes the Super Q a solid buy, however, is the Vac Q, which, unfortunately, comes separately. That’s my only gripe with this machine so far. A small-handled vacuum about the size of a coffee mug that you place over the top of the pitcher or smoothie cup, the Vac Q pulls as much air out of the container as would seem possible. This process creates such a tight seal on the lid that it’s almost impossible to open without using the depressurizing cap, which reduces oxidation and bubbles.
In short: It makes your juice taste and last better. The more foam and froth in juice, or anything you’re blending, the more nutrients you lose. Sure, there are many reasons we drink juice, but most of us are taking nutrition into account, too. – Owen Burke
Pros: Extremely powerful, versatile, automatic shut off/hands-free
Cons: Expensive, not as easy to manually operate as a Vitamix if you’re getting technical
The best personal blender
For the smoothest smoothies, shakes, and juices, the powerful Breville Boss to Go Sport is your go-to blender.
The Breville Boss to Go Sport is a perfectly sized blender for on-the-go smoothies in the morning or smaller blending jobs. But don’t let its compact form-factor fool you: This is a powerful 1000-watt blender that can pulverize ice and hard fruits.
Besides the powerful motor, the Boss to Go Sport uses what Breville calls a Kinetix blade. The unique curved design of the four blades helps to create smoother foods – great for silky smoothies and shakes, not so much if you like chunky guacamole. And it does things fast, which is great if you’re short on time in the morning. As its “upgrade pick,” Wirecutter found the blender to be plenty powerful and had no issues cutting up kale or berries.
The blender comes with two travel cups and lids, one 23-ounce and one 15-ounce. There’s only one speed, however. But like all Breville products, the Boss to Go Sport looks industrial-sleek.
The Boss to Go Sport is pricey, but like many Breville products, we believe it’s a good investment and it’s backed by great customer service. You can purchase personal blenders at half the price (or more) of the Boss to Go Sport, like those from NutriBullet (the NutriBullet Pro 900 is Wirecutter’s top pick). However, in our experience, NutriBullet motors tend to blow out too easily. – Les Shu
Pros: Powerful, blends ice and harder foods, two travel cups and lids
Cons: Only one speed, pricey
Check out our other small appliance buying guides
A great juicer can help you create better eating and drinking habits to ensure you get enough nutrients for the day. The best juicer for most people is the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus because it’s durable, easy to use, and extremely powerful. Here are our picks for the best juicers you can buy:
- Best overall: Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus
- Best versatile: Omega NC800HDR Nutrition System Juicer
- Best for whole fruits and vegetables: Black & Decker JE2200B Juicer
- Best budget: Breville 800CPXL Juicer
- Best for citrus: Hamilton Beach 67650A Juicer
Although you can chop or grind in a food processor and blend or puree in a countertop blender, using an immersion blender – often called a stick or hand blender – makes food prep so much easier. If you’ll be using your immersion blender regularly it’s important to choose a model that feels comfortable in your hand, switches on and off easily, and doesn’t vibrate excessively or become hot during use. Here are the best immersion blenders you can buy:
- The best overall: Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender
- The best for making smoothies: KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Blender
- The best on a budget: Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick
- The best for making soup: OXO On Digital Immersion Blender
- The best cordless: Cuisinart CSB-300 Smart Stick
True espresso only comes from high-end machines, but now you can have your very own espresso machine at home. The semi-automatic Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine is the best one you can buy. Here are our top picks for the best espresso machines:
- Best overall: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
- Best affordable machine: De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso Maker
- Best capsule machine: Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Maker
- Best luxury machine: Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine
Toaster ovens serve as a miniature version of the traditional oven and they offer an array of functions, including broiling, roasting, toasting, and convection cooking. The Breville Smart Oven with Element IQ is at the top of our list because of its durability, patented heating technology, and stylish, easy-to-clean design. Here are our picks for the best toaster ovens you can buy:
- Best toaster oven overall: Breville Mini Smart Oven
- Best convection toaster oven: Cuisinart Exact Heat Toaster Oven Broiler
- Best budget toaster oven: Oster Digital Convection Toaster Oven
- Best infrared toaster oven: Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven
- Best toaster oven for broiling: Breville Compact Smart Oven