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We've all been there: You head to the fridge, craving a refreshing treat for a quick breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up, but the options that await you are totally unsatisfying. Your cooler could be filled with iced tea, cold water, crisp lemonade, or a boozy imbibe - but what you really want is something with texture. A smoothie with berries for a snack, or a more satiating peanut butter and banana creation. Some might say that the best blender for smoothies and other frozen drinks is whatever one happens to be sitting on your counter, available when you need it most. However, we'd argue that there are levels to this appliance; and you can taste the difference. Sure, the beauty of a blender is that the drinks you're dreaming of are available easily, at just the press of a button. But, this doesn't mean that you should take full license to think of these devices in such a simple way. The best time to discover the features, functions, and attributes of your blender is well before it's unwrapped and sitting on your countertop. If you're longing to turn your kitchen into a personal Jamba Juice, then you should make sure you've got the right tools for the job.
What makes the best blender for smoothies?
Home blenders have been around since the 1920s, but that's no excuse for the modern models to work as if they're still serving up malt milkshakes to flappers. In our technology-savvy time, blenders can be used for so much more. Some styles, for example, may be capable of managing 14 different speeds -- and this is important because some fruits and vegetables require more intensity to be truly shredded. Similarly, blenders can do more than, well, blend. You might find yourself using the device to purée foods, crush ice, knead dough, or turn heaps of simmered produce into a succulent and smooth soup. So, not only is the speed important here, but so too are the operations your blender is capable of.
Yet, as much as you want to consider power and purpose, there are subtle things you should keep in mind as well. The bigger the blender, the harder it will be to move or store. Prefer a tucked and tidy kitchen? Then the last thing you want is a hefty blender that has to be a permanent counter fixture in order to get any use. And your blender might be powerful, but if it's roaring like an airplane every time you're trying to concoct a simple smoothie, then you might find it (literally) too much of a headache to operate on the regular. That said, we've considered size, sound, and situational use to find you some of the best blenders for smoothies and other cold, refreshing drinks out there. From a backyard soiree in need of handmade fruit beverages to a post-gym protein shake-maker, these appliances will become your new favorite.
1. Best Overall Blender for Smoothies
From a personal perspective, there is no all-around blender that does it better than this compact option. You may see a bias for Ninja devices in this list, but the brand has earned that recognition for two reasons: both Ninja's quality and durability are unmatched. With an 1100-watt motor, this blender is tough enough to turn a glacier into the base of a protein smoothie (but don't try that because we need the glaciers).
Seriously, six blades are all you need to have a large batch of smoothies ready quickly, but should you want to make a small portion, two individual 16-ounce cups are also included (with sippable lids to take on-the-go). Additionally, this Ninja model has one of the largest capacities on the market. The dishwasher-safe pitcher has a max-liquid capacity of 68-ounces, and the Ninja Professional sits just 17" tall. That's a tall drink of water ... or daiquiri ... or piña colada...
2. Best Budget Blender
As Consumer Reports has it, some models of blenders can range up to $600! At that price, we'd probably rather just go out and pay someone to make a margarita for us. However, with the cost of frozen drinks these days, you may just be searching for a reliable and affordable drink blender that will still save you some cheddar. Look no further than the Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher, an inexpensive blender fully capable of whipping up fantastic queso (we're talking about actual cheese now, not your money), salsa, or an afternoon berry smoothie.
Sauces are fantastic, but you came here in search of the top blenders for drinks. For the price, there are no better appliances than this one. The 700-watt motor is strong yet also quieter than more boastful blenders. Your smoothie ingredients never stood a chance. The Wave Crusher has 14 settings for crushing up whatever you need, including ice for a cold frappé. Its glass jar is 40-ounces -- a perfect in-between size that won't stain after continual use. And Wave Crusher is more than just a name. By continually directing ingredients toward the blades, the patented Wave Action system reduces your need to stir whatever you are blending.
3. The Best Multi-Use Blender
Our love affair with Ninja appliances continues. The Mega Kitchen System is ideal if you are interested in the Ninja Professional but have a larger family or more culinary needs to satisfy. At 1500-watts, the motor is a more powerful pulverizer than the original, and the 72-ounce capacity gives you all the room you might possibly need in a blender. Plus, depending on what type of smoothies you make, you'll have your choice between a four-blade or six-blade spin, which serves multiple benefits for crushing up easier to blend foods or tougher foods like large chunks of frozen fruit. The smaller blade count functions as a food processor, while a dough blade is also included should you want to use the appliance for cookies, crusts, or breadmaking. Unfortunately, one thing this system is not great for is hot drinks or soups. Ninja does not recommend adding high-temperature liquids to the blender.
4. Our Choice for a High-End Blender
Many of the blenders on the market look like you would expect a blender too. Zwilling's power blender, however, is a little different: it is an aesthetically pleasing blender, but the looks are not superficial. This machine is worth its money.
If you read our suggestions for kitchen knives, you may notice a particularly familiar logo on the button of this blender. Sure enough, the sharp winglet blades are German designed by none other than the same company which produces Henckels knives. You can take this as a sure sign that the chopping, slicing, and cutting capacity of this appliance is as good as it gets. In fact, the Enfinigy can even be used to grind coffee beans to a fine espresso-style consistency. It's a delicate task considering the motor is high-powered at 1400-watt. Overall, the design will seamlessly assimilate into any kitchen style, but with 12 variable speeds and 6 pre-sets, you certainly won't forget the unique capacity of your newest appliance.
5. The Best Blender for Smaller Spaces
This little magic device will have you sing oh-oh, and honestly, you'll never believe it's not so. Although the Magic Bullet doesn't have a ton of power (250-watts) or a super large capacity (ranges from 10 to 18-ounce), the 3.75-pound weight makes it the most convenient option for quick and easy blending. Plus, the motor is high-torque, so in this case, low energy doesn't translate to a bad blend. In fact, you'll have hyper-smooth shakes, smoothies, and juices fast and with the easiest clean-up possible. It's the best blender for smoothies if you live in small spaces like dorms or studio apartments.
6. The Best Portable Blender for Smoothies On-The-Go
If any one of the best blenders for smoothies were to be more convenient than the Magic Bullet, it is this BlendJet. The battery is rechargeable via USB-C, meaning you can truly take this thing and run. That same power bank holds 15+ blends per charge. Stuff it with whatever ingredients you want to blend, then hit the button when you're ready. That means frozen drinks, after-workout refreshers, or even fresh baby food is available wherever you need it most, no plug-in required. The shatter-resistant jar and leak-proof lid offer protection from messes, which is important, as the 1.34-pound weight is light enough to toss in your bag before without a second thought.