What else have we tested?
What else do we recommend and why:
Beast Blender: Think of this blender as a slightly souped-up Nutribullet Pro, and if you’re looking for a smaller option, it’s a great, stylish choice for your kitchen. The thick plastic pots are much heavier than most, and the 1000-watt motor is just powerful enough to handle most tasks. What we don’t really like is the shape of the jars, which like Nutribullet’s are great for smoothies, but not for reducing solids. But if you want a simple, attractive blender for your countertop, this is a solid choice (and the water infuser and bottle are a nice, if unrelated, addition).
Breville Super Q: Despite being a big, heavy blender with lots of buttons, this is a really powerful appliance that runs just as smoothly as our top pick, but wasn’t quite as convenient to clean or store (or move). If you want a food processor and blender in one, and especially if you have your heart set on stainless steel appliances, this is a good choice.
Kitchenaid K400: This model only worked marginally better than the K150, and while it retains its aesthetic, we think it’s wiser to spend a little more to get the Cleanblend 3HP, our budget pick. That said, if you like it (it’s our favorite blender to watch) and only make smoothies or frozen drinks, it won’t hurt you.
Ninja Chef: This is the older Ninja model, which we like better than the Foodi. As far as electronics go, it’s very intuitive, with a dial and recommended settings that light up. As has been the problem with all the more advanced blenders we tested, the recipe settings are calibrated to produce certain amounts, which may not meet your needs.
Vitamix A3500: This model performed about as well as our favorite, the 5200, but it also offers five program settings for smoothies, soups, dips and spreads, and frozen desserts. Compatible with all Vitamix smart containers (like all bases), this model detects the size of the container you are using and adjusts programming accordingly. This option is overkill for most blender implementations, but if you plan on relying on it for food processing as well, it will be very hard to do better. We especially like the interface, which is impressively capable while maintaining simplicity and ease of use.
Vitamix 750 Professional Series: This is similar to the Vitamix 5200 in almost every way, except it’s slightly more powerful (2.2 horsepower to the 2 horsepower of the 5200), and the pot is shorter and wider. We liked the 5200’s jar shape the best and highly recommend it over any other Vitamix unless you’re preparing for larger households or parties, or making the same recipes regularly and looking for something programmable.
What we don’t recommend and why:
Cuisinart Hurricane Pro/CBT-2000: Perfect enough for making smoothies, the pitcher for this model was too wide for other uses, and we found that bits of food tended to clump together around the edges and dodge the blades.
Ninja Foodi: While this machine is affordable and offers an impressive interface, we found the basin of the pot to be too big for the blades, and we also found out the hard way that the blades aren’t attached to the pot, so when you pour something out, the knife is included. We think this should generally be addressed by the manufacturer. That aside, the crushed ice with the best blenders we’ve tested.
Vitamix A3300: This is obviously a very powerful machine, but the electronics on it were a mystery, and although we are aware of the first error in our behavior when loading for the first time (not enough liquid), we received a series of error messages with no option to resolve even after powering on and off. This is way too complicated for most people who just want to turn on a blender and get on with their food or drink.
Oster Versa: This is a heavy duty piece of machine, and it is competitively priced. We just found out that it didn’t mix particularly well due to the shape of the jar. However, if you’re short on storage space in or under your cabinets, it’s much more compact than most other models.