What else we tested
What else we recommend and why:
Beast Blender: You can think of this blender as a slightly souped-up Nutribullet Pro, and if you’re in the market for a smaller option, this is a great, stylish choice for your kitchen. The thick plastic jars are much heavier duty 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 reducing solids. Still, if you want a basic, attractive blender for your counter, this is a solid choice (and the water infuser and bottle is a nice, if unrelated inclusion).
Breville Super Q: Despite being a large, heavy blender with lots of buttons, this is a truly powerful appliance that runs every bit as smoothly as our top pick, but it wasn’t as convenient to clean or store (or move). If you want a food processor and blender in one, and especially if you have your eyes set on stainless steel appliances, this is a great choice.
Kitchenaid K400: This model worked only marginally better than the K150, and while it holds its aesthetic, we think spending just a bit more to get the Cleanblend 3HP, our budget pick, is the wiser move. That said, if you like the looks of it (it’s our favorite blender to look at) and only ever make smoothies or frozen drinks, it won’t do you wrong.
Ninja Chef: This is Ninja’s older model, which we like better than the Foodi. As far as electronics go, this one is highly intuitive, with a dial and recommended settings that light up. As was the problem with any of the more advanced blenders we tested, the recipe settings are calibrated to produce certain amounts, which may not fit your needs.
Vitamix A3500: This model performed about as well as our favorite, the 5200 did, but it also offers five program settings for smoothies, soups, dips and spreads, and frozen desserts. Compatible with all smart Vitamix containers (as are all bases) this model detects the size of the container you’re using and adjusts programming accordingly. This option is overkill for most blender implementations, but if you plan to rely on it for food processing, too, you’ll have a very hard time doing any better. We especially like the interface, which is impressively capable while also maintaining simplicity and user-friendliness.
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 5200’s 2 horsepower), and the jar is shorter and wider. We found the jar shape of the 5200 to be the best, and highly recommend it over any other Vitamix, unless you are preparing for larger households or parties, or regularly making the same recipes and looking for something programmable.
What we don’t recommend and why:
Cuisinart Hurricane Pro/CBT-2000: Perfectly sufficient for making smoothies, the jar for this model was too wide for other applications, and we found bits of food tended to clump together around the edges and evade the blades.
Ninja Foodi: While this machine is affordable and offers an impressive interface, we found the basin of the jar too large for the blades, and we also found out the hard way that the blades are not affixed to the jar, so when you pour something out, the blade comes with it. We think that by and large, this needs to be addressed by the manufacturer. That aside, it obliterated ice with the best of the blenders we tested.
Vitamix A3300: This is clearly a very powerful machine, but the electronics on it were puzzling, and while we’re aware of the initial error in our ways when first loading it (not enough liquid), we received a series of error messages with no option to resolve, even after turning it on and off again. This is far too complex for most people who just want to turn a blender on and get on with their food or drink preparation.
Oster Versa: This is a heavy-duty piece of machinery, and it’s priced competitively. We just found that it didn’t blend particularly well due to the shape of the jar. If you have short storage space either in or under your cabinets, though, this one is much squatter than most other models.