No kitchen is really complete with a good blender. Whether you want to get your daily recommended dose of fruit with a smoothie, enjoy a post-workout protein shake or kick back with a daiquiri or frozen margarita, you need a reliable way to liquidate your chosen ingredients.
But not all blenders are made the same. Michael Murdy, the founder of the online foodie resource Robust Kitchen, says that the best blenders are designed to get the most nutrition out of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, factors such as speed, heat and blade strength can sometimes lead to blenders working against their purpose and needlessly burning up vitamins and minerals.
“After much deliberation, I’m convinced the most important variable to preserving nutrients with a blender is having the largest span of blade speed increments. The vast majority of blenders these days have one speed, high,” he says. “While these models blend quickly, they also create a lot of heat, and heat is a nutrient’s worst enemy. Having a blender with variable speeds means you can choose the lowest blade speed (and therefore the lowest heat excretion) for each particular blend. This helps to ensure the lowest possible nutrient loss.”
So, the next time you make a banana smoothie, keep in mind that faster and harder isn’t always better. Taking your time can lead to a more delicious and healthy drink or meal replacement.
Also, in order to keep your blender working for years, be careful about what kinds of ingredients you’re blending. Among the items to avoid putting in a blender, because they could damage the unit or at least cause a real mess, are: dough, dehydrated foods such as sun-dried tomatoes, spoons and utensils (duh), broccoli, frozen food or whole ice cubes (if they’re too big or if you’re not sure your unit is strong enough), and anything hot (unless the blender is specifically designed for it).
We asked some experts for recommendations about the best blenders to buy, and here are their top choices.
Best Blenders: Updated September 2020
Overheating your nutrients won’t be a concern with the HomeGeek 1450 Watt 8 Speed Blender, according to Murdy. “With eight variable speeds and a Smoothie and Ice Crushing preset, you get all the perks of the higher-end blenders without the crazy price tag.”
He adds, “HomeGeek also has some awesome reviews regarding their customer and warranty service.”
NutriBullet Rx N17-1001 Blender: $125.99
If you aren’t really prone to healthy eating, one of the benefits of a smoothie is that you can get all the servings of veggies and fruits thatyou should be getting in a way that’s palatable. NutriBullet specializes in making it easier for you to drink your greens, as well as for you to make a shake that you can enjoy later at the office, according to Amanda A. Kostro Miller, a Chicago-based RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living.
“Nutribullet has a wide array of products, and appeals to a few different price points. In my home, I have the Nutribullet Rx, which can make both cold and hot blended connections. Blenders like a Nutribullet can help you eat healthier in several ways,” she says. Among other things, the device “allows you to ‘hide’ healthy foods in the blend that you would perhaps otherwise not want to eat (i.e. spinach, supplements, legumes) and creates portable blends so you can have a meal/snack on the go.”
The Oster My Blend Blender is smaller than most blenders, which is part of the selling point, especially if you want a smoothie while driving your car. Sergio Pedemonte, a Toronto-based personal trainer and the CEO of the in-house personal training resource Your House Fitness, calls this Oster blender “my favorite for making on-the-go smoothies and protein shakes pretty much daily. I love Oster’s size. It’s considered a compact blender with a conjoined 20-oz. cup you blend your drink straight into then just grab and take with you.”
He adds that “the size of the cup itself fits easily in most car cup holders, which is a problem with tons of other portable blenders. Plus, the plastic used to make the cup and lid are BPA-free and dishwasher safe, which is another must for me. For the compact size of the blender, it does a great job of smoothly blending ingredients, including chunkier frozen fruits or even added shake ingredients like chia seeds and nut butters.”
Some people take their blenders very seriously, and they’re willing to spend top dollar to ensure they’re getting great flavor and nutrients. Bree Sheree, a certified holistic nutritionist who runs the vegan recipe and lifestyle website Bree’s Vegan Life from Surrey, Canada, is just such a person.
“As a healthy vegan recipe developer, I make a lot of smoothies and smoothie bowls. The best blender I have used to make smoothie bowls in particular is a Vitamix,” she says. “The reason a Vitamix is great for smoothie bowls is because they are powerful enough to blend frozen fruit with very little liquid. It also comes with a tamper to keep things moving if your ingredients get stuck.
“Using other blenders, you may be unable to make a thick smoothie bowl because you have to keep adding more milk or water to get things moving,” she adds. “Then you end up with a thin consistency that needs to be drunk instead of eaten with a spoon. Before getting my Vitamix it was impossible for me to make a scoopable smoothie bowl!”
Another tasty way to get your nutrient fix while eating lightly is good old-fashion soup. The nice thing about the Instant Ace Plus is it can make both the cold stuff and the hot stuff, according to Amber Adams, a Kansas City, Missouri-based food blogger and founder of KitchensReady.com, “a website dedicated to helping others choose healthier habits in the kitchen.”
“I love that the Instant Ace also has a heating mechanism that allows you to blend and heat homemade soups. There aren’t many blenders that offer functions other than just blending so this is a nice perk. One-use kitchen products can be such a money pit, so this is a nice blender option that you don’t see often,” she says. “This is a heavy-duty blender that can pulverize ice and hard nuts with ease and will last many years. If you’re going to invest in a glass pitcher blender, I can’t recommend the Instant Ace enough.”
How ambitious are you in the kitchen? If you are so into cooking that you like to, say, make dough or even peanut butter from scratch, then Glen Wilde, the New Zealand-based CEO & founder of the online wellness resource Diet to Success, says that the Ninja Kitchen System is your new best friend.
“The Ninja comes with a standard blender container, a processor bowl, and a cup you can take juices and smoothies to-go,” he says. “You can make drinkable juices, creamy smoothies, peanut butter, pizza dough, and cookie dough and chop, puree, and blend. The versatility and accuracy of this blender are great for the price.”