How to Choose a Blender

Choosing a blender can be confusing - but this article will guide you through the process so you can choose the perfect blender for your needs.

Blenders come in many shapes and sizes – more than most other kitchen appliances so it’s no wonder that choosing a blender can be tricky.

Black and silver blender on kitchen work surface next to two bowls of ice cream and a bowl of raspberries.
Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Blender © Vitamix

But if you’re clear about what you want the blender for, then this guide will help you cut through the complexity and find the perfect blender for your individual needs.

You can spend as little as $15 for a cheap hand-held blender, or as much as $800 or even more if you want a high-performance professional model.

Chances are that between those two extremes, you’ll find your perfect blender, so let’s get started:

What Type of Blender is Best for You?

Hand or Immersion Blender

Silver and black hand blender in a measuring cip

Good for soups, pureeing cooked ingredients and some smoothies, but will only cope with soft ingredients. Easy to clean since you blend directly in the jug or pan you’re cooking with.

Price Range: $15 to $150

Personal (Bullet) Blender

Black and gray personal blender with jar filled with fruit

Mainly for juicing and making smoothies, has a small capacity of 1 or 2 servings, but the jar usually doubles as a to-go cup which is very convenient.  Some models can crush ice.

Price Range: $20 to $100

Countertop Blender

Blender with transparent acoustic shield around jar full of fruit

The traditional type of blender large enough to make dishes for several people.  More versatile than a hand blender, larger than a personal blender and cheaper than a high-performance blender, these are a great choice for many people. 

Price Range: $50 to $200

High Performance Blender

Bronze and black Vitamix 750 with empty jar on white background

If you plan to use your blender a lot, or you want a robust and versatile machine with the widest range of accessories, consider a high-performance blender.  Expect lots of features and great quality, but a price tag to match.  Best for crushing ice.

Price Range: $300 to $800

Choosing the Perfect Size of Blender

Consider the typical size of the recipes you’ll be preparing with your blender when choosing the jar capacity. 

If you choose a smaller blender, you can always blend ingredients in two batches when preparing a large dish, but this will take twice as long so it’s not something you’d want to do regularly.

If you want to cook ahead, a large capacity blender jar will save time and make life easier.

Don’t forget to allow enough counter space and enough room under your cabinets.  You should allow at least 5 or 6 inches between the top of the blender and your cabinets, so you can remove the jar easily.

Selecting the Right Jar

Blender jars come in glass, plastic or stainless steel.

Plastic is lighter and less likely to break but can absorb odors and it may even stain.

Glass is heavier and more likely to break if you drop it but doesn’t stain or absorb odors.

Stainless steel is robust, but you can’t see how the blending is progressing, so it’s a less popular material for blender jars.

Black Vitamix 5200 blender with empty jar on white background.
Blender Jar with Spout and Measurements – The Vitamix 5200 © Vitamix

Look for a jar with features like clear, easy-to-read measurements and a wide opening for easy cleaning.

Also, a good spout will make it easier to pour from without drips

If you use a dishwasher, it’s important to check if the jar is dishwasher-safe – as that makes it much quicker and easier to clean.

How Much Power do you Need?

Blenders range from 250 watts to 1,500 watts.

In general, a blender with a more powerful motor is more versatile and copes with a wider range of difficult ingredients.

In general, a more powerful blender is more versatile and copes with a wider range of difficult ingredients.

Black and silver blender with transparent acoustic shield open
Blender with Acoustic Shield © Hamilton Beach

Here are our recommended minimum power ratings for different types of blenders:

  • Hand or Immersion Blender – 250 Watts
  • Personal (Bullet) Blender – 600 Watts
  • Countertop Blender – 500 Watts
  • High-Performance Blender – 1,200 Watts

Of course, you can get away with less power than this – but blenders with these power outputs should perform very well.

How Many Speeds do you Want?

Blender manufacturers often like to include as many as 10 or more speeds, as it sounds like a great feature, and is quite easy to do.

In practice, most people end up only using 2 or 3 speeds, so this feature may not be as important as you think.

A black blender on a gray surface. The jar is filled with kiwi fruit and pineapple ready to blend.
Countertop Blender with Many Speeds © Yao Charlen / Pixabay

Look out for a pulse setting which usually operates the blender while the button is pressed and stops it as soon as it is released.

This is a useful way to create chunks or crumbs, soften frozen ingredients or make smooth purees.

What Attachments are Available?

Some blenders, especially the versatile high-performance models, have lots of attachments available that expand what you can do with your blender.

Some more expensive models come with more than one jar, and one or two cups for smoothies as well.

You’ll also find blenders with more than one set of blades included – eg chopping blades, crushing blades, dough mixers etc.

Ninja even has a coffee & spice grinder attachment so that you can prepare the freshest coffee and tastiest spices without buying a dedicated grinder.

What Else Should I Look Out For?

  • Stainless Steel Blades – These are more durable and definitely something to look out for, especially if crushing ice frequently or blending hard ingredients.
  • Warranty – A blender warranty can be between 1 and 10 years depending on the manufacturer and the model of blender you choose.  Obviously, the more expensive blenders tend to have longer warranties.
  • Timer – An automatic timer is a great feature if you want to be able to start the blender then walk away and leave it to get on with the job while you do other things.  It will automatically stop when it’s finished.
Black blender with digital display in a kitchen. Jar is full of fruit and vegetables ready to blend. Blender is next to a glass half-full of a red drink.
Blender with Automatic Timer © Vitamix

Blender FAQ

Q. What are the best brands of blender?

A. Vitamix is probably the top brand of blender having made well-engineered and reliable blenders for many years.  But also look out for other reputable brands such as Ninja, Cleanblend, Oster, NutriBullet, Blendtec and KitchenAid.

Q.  Is 900 watts a good power for a blender?

A. Yes, a 900-watt blender will cope well with a variety of tasks and most ingredients.  If you’re considering a high-performance blender and want maximum versatility, we recommend at least 1,200 watts.

Q. Are expensive blenders worth it?

A. If you plan to use your blender a lot, or the ingredients you plan to use are tough on blenders (e.g. ice, frozen ingredients, nuts, coffee beans) then it’s worth considering a more expensive model.  But if you’re only planning to make the occasional smoothie, a good quality but cheaper model will probably do everything you need.

Q. How do I choose a blender for smoothies?

A. If you want to make the best possible smoothies using ice and frozen ingredients, and money is no object, then a high-performance blender will do the best job.  But if you only want to make single servings and use less challenging ingredients then a personal blender could be perfect and will be a lot cheaper.

Q. How do I choose a blender for crushing ice?

A. Crushing ice needs lots of power, so choose a blender with 1,000 watts or more. Ice is pretty hard on the blades, so choose high-quality stainless-steel blades. Crushing ice is one of the toughest tasks a blender can do – so it’s worth spending a bit more if this is something you want to do often.

Silver blender with a blur dial. The jar is full of ice cubes.
Blender full of Ice © Yao Charlen / Pixabay

Q. Should I buy a blender or a juicer?

A. If you’re only going to make drinks then a juicer is a possible alternative to a blender.  However, a juicer is designed to extract the juice from fruit and veg, and will usually leave a lot of pulp to be discarded, which means you miss out on some of the nutrients and fibre contained in the whole fruit.

Q. Should I buy a blender or a food processor?

A. A food processor is a very versatile kitchen appliance and is ideal if you want to slice and shred vegetables or help prepare dough and mixtures for baking.  But most food processors are unable to give you really smooth purees and smoothies like a good blender.

Q. Which is better, a glass or plastic blender jar?

A. Glass won’t scratch as easily as plastic and won’t stain or hold onto a lingering food odor. However, it is much heavier than plastic and will probably break if you drop it.  If you’re a bit clumsy, or the extra weight is an issue for you, look for a high-quality plastic jar.

I hope you found this guide to how to choose a blender useful. While you’re waiting for your new blender to arrive, check out these 25 Delicious and Healthy Smoothie Recipes.