Upscale Blenders

Published September 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Does a blender that costs three times as much as a good mid-priced model really do that much better of a job?

Overview:

We pitted our favorite moderately priced blender against two new upscale appliances. After putting the three machines through their paces, we found one absurdly turbo-charged, turning a smoothie into thin juice. Worse, it couldn’t perform the main function required of a blender (crushing ice), as its extreme speed and power made no difference when ice got trapped out of reach. As for the other upscale blender (an update of a model we recommended in 2002), it aced our crushing, blending, and mixing tests. A low setting on the dial transformed chickpeas into creamy hummus in seconds; with a quick turn, it burst full speed ahead, pulverizing frozen fruit into perfect, lump-free smoothies. If your blender is in constant use, our winner is a great investment. But for most of us, the best of the cheaper blenders will do just fine.

We pitted our favorite moderately priced blender against two new upscale appliances. After putting the three machines through their paces, we found one absurdly turbo-charged, turning a smoothie into thin juice. Worse, it couldn’t perform the main function required of a blender (crushing ice), as its extreme speed and power made no difference when ice got trapped out of reach. As for the other upscale blender (an update of a model we recommended in 2002), it aced our crushing, blending, and mixing tests. A low setting on the dial transformed chickpeas into creamy hummus in seconds; with a quick turn, it burst full speed ahead, pulverizing frozen fruit into perfect, lump-free smoothies. If your blender is in constant use, our winner is a great investment. But for most of us, the best of the cheaper blenders will do just fine.

less
  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Vitamix 5200

    The Vitamix 5200 will pulverize anything it touches—but its steep price will also do the same to your bank account. Still, thanks to an extra-large capacity, it’s ideal for big jobs in the kitchen. This blender performed perfectly to crush ice, blend hummus, and churn frozen fruit into smoothies, and its dial precisely controlled speed. Additional functions, like making ice cream and heating soup, were less successful: We wound up with tepid soup and runny ice cream. But we didn’t downgrade this powerful machine because it excelled at core tasks.

    • Noise ★★
    • Speed ★★★
    • Hummus ★★★
    • Smoothie ★★★
    • Ice Crushing ★★★

    $449.00

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Not Recommended

    Blendtec Total Blender

    With too many function buttons, piercing noise levels, and an inability to crush ice, we were disappointed with this pricey blender. It had too much power, turning a smoothie into thin juice, yet couldn’t break down ice cubes. With only two blades and a jar with limited tapering, this blender’s design created air pockets between the blades and the ice so that no matter how fast the blade spun, the cubes remained out of reach.

    • Noise
    • Speed ★★★
    • Hummus ★★★
    • Smoothie
    • Ice Crushing

    $399.95

In My Favorites
Please Wait…
Remove Favorite
Add to custom collection