A good blender is one of the key kitchen countertop appliances you can own. It’s also the secret weapon in preparing food and drinks – like sauces, dips, soups, smoothies and cocktails – from scratch.
But which blender is right for you depends on what you’re most likely to use it for. Some blenders are optimised for crushing ice, making smoothies and cocktails. Others can be used to turn cashews into butter and whizz fibrous leaves like kale into smooth sauces, dressings and dips.
There are also different types of blender, the key ones being jug (or stand) blenders and immersion (also called stick or hand) blenders.
It’s useful to have an immersion blender in a cupboard for quickly blending sauces and soups while they’re in their cooking pots. It’s easy to use and easy to clean. You can also get more use from it if you buy one with different swappable attachments, like a whisk and mini chopper.
But a jug blender is likely to be much more powerful. Some come with additional blending cups, which you can blend a smoothie straight into and then take out with you, saving time, hassle and washing up.
Bear in mind that not all jug blenders can be used for both hot and cold ingredients, so check before you buy. Our reviews will let you know about that, as well as all of the key features and pros and cons of each appliance.
Where power consumption is concerned, a blender is the one appliance where more is better. As you use it for such short periods of time, it’s not a power-hungry device and a higher wattage usually indicates a more powerful motor. It will handle more and produce better results.
Read on to browse the best we’ve tested.
1. Zwilling Efinigy table blender – Best luxury buy
Blends hot and cold
Weighs 4 kilos
Lid requires firm close
This beautiful blender mixes modern and retro design to impressive, minimalist effect. A 1.4 litre jug made from ribbed TBAA-Tritan stands on a 1,200W silver-toned motor base with non-slip feet.
Switch it on and the control panel illuminates: it’s a series of function icons around a central dial. Just turn it to the setting of your choice and press. There are five pre-set programmes: clean, ice, cocktails, smoothies, and pulse. You can blend either hot or cold ingredients, although you can only blend a litre of hot liquid.
The Zwilling Efinigy table blender’s dedicated ice crushing setting can be used without liquid, so you can crush 150g of ice or frozen berries at once.
There’s a neat safety feature as well: you can’t run the blender without having the lid securely fixed on, so there’s no danger of getting a surprise kitchen redecoration if you forget the lid.
Plus, if you’re after inspiration, you can download the free Zwilling app, which has a database of recipe ideas.
Read our full
Review Zwilling Enfinigy table blender
2. Nutribullet blender – Best value
Hot and cold usage
Effective on nuts and fibrous veg
Can’t be used without liquid as an ice crusher
Nutribullet is best known for its personal smoothie blenders. This, however, is not a supersized version of one of those. It’s a multi-purpose blender you can use with both hot and cold ingredients. It can crush ice if it’s mixed with a liquid but that’s not its forte.
A large appliance, it’s also heavy, so you’ll want to find a dedicated spot on your counter for it. It has a 1,200/1,000 watt motor (depending on your location) and three blending settings. Unusually, it’s not retro-style, nor is it a generic and squared-off jug-on-a-box. Instead, it’s modern with a distinctive, curved control panel.
It has a large capacity, of 64oz in the US and 1.65l, with a liquid capacity of 1.4l in Europe. As with all blenders, you need to be careful when blending hot foods, and it has a two-part venting lid to make this easier.
It’s dishwasher safe but easiest to clean with a couple of drops of washing up liquid and a quick spin.
Use it for creamy soups, sauces and dips. It can blend nuts into butters and handle fibrous fruit and vegetables. We found it to be powerful, versatile and easy to use.
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Review Nutribullet blender
3. Smeg 1.5 litre jug blender – Classic Smeg design
Easy to use
Lack of pre-sets
Not the toughest blender around
Can’t use with hot ingredients
Like most Smeg appliances, its jug blender is a thing of beauty. It comes in a range of colours, so you can choose to match it to a Smeg toaster, kettle or coffee machine, if you want. If not, it’ll look good on your countertop, whatever your kitchen style.
It’s a sturdy, durable blender, with a 1.5 litre jug made of BPA-free Tritan. It has a two-part lid but you should let hot ingredients cool before blending or risk damaging the jug.
It has four speeds and two pre-sets and can crush ice. Still, although it has an 800 watt motor, which is decent, it’s not the most powerful blender around and we’d suggest using it with care.
This is a good blender but you’re paying a premium for the beautiful Smeg design rather than opting for the most versatile or high-wattage appliance. Still, not everyone minds that. If you want a general-use appliance to make smoothies or sauces and look good in your kitchen, you can’t go wrong with it.
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Review Smeg BLF01 blender
4. KitchenAid stand blender (K150) – Budget-friendly KitchenAid
Easy to use
Just 3 speed settings
The K150 is KitchenAid’s entry-level blender. You’ll get the classic KitchenAid design for a considerably more wallet-friendly price than the brand’s other blenders. However, there are some compromises. The motor base has a plastic casing, rather than the brand’s characteristic die-cast metal, and the jug is BPA-free plastic rather than glass. However, some people may prefer the glass-free option for safety reasons.
It’s also got a less powerful 650 watt motor. It can still crush ice – and in fact has a dedicated setting for doing so, but it fared less well with nuts and fibrous vegetables. In our tests, it performed better making drinks and smoothies than soups and sauces.
It’s available in a range of colours, although the options may vary depending on which region you’re in. There’s a big price difference in the UK and the US as well, with US buyers getting the better deal by some margin.
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Review KitchenAid Stand Blender (K150)
5. Breville Blend Active – Best budget buy
Small volume capacity
Bright green trim
The Breville Blend Active is a blender and food processor in one. But as it’s lower-capacity than many of the other blenders we’ve reviewed, with a 450ml food processor bowl, it’s better for smaller households. Its tiny footprint means you should easily be able to find a spot for it on your counter.
It also comes with a 600ml blending bottle and sports lid, so you can blend yourself a smoothie or shake and head straight out with it. And, as it crushes ice, you can use it for cold sports drinks – but you need to add liquid to the ice. Unlike the Zwilling, you can’t use it on ice alone.
It’s versatile and hardy, useful for chopping herbs, making breadcrumbs, pureeing baby food, making dips, cake batter and salad dressings. But you won’t be able to use it for large volumes of soup or sauce as it just doesn’t have the capacity.
It’s not the quietest appliance and its green trim won’t be to everyone’s taste either.
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Review Breville Blend Active compact food processor
6. Smeg hand blender – Best immersion blender
An immersion blender is ideal to use on hot ingredients during cooking. Just plug it in, stick it in the saucepan and blend away. It’s also great for smoothies and sauces and it can handle smaller volumes better than a jug blender.
Smeg’s hand blender does everything you’d want. It’s powerful, with a 700 watt motor and a blending wand of stainless steel, with scratch-resistant blades. The handle is in Smeg’s classic, retro design and it comes in four colours: black, cream, red and pastel blue.
It’s not the cheapest option but it feels sturdy and durable. To get more use from it, you can buy it with an accessories kit that includes a 1.7 litre jug, a whisk, a masher and a sealed chopper for vegetables, as well as the standard blending head.
It’s much better value to buy the whole kit at once, so give it some thought before you purchase.
Keep in mind that it’s not a cordless blender: you’ll need to use it plugged in.
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Review Smeg hand blender
7. Russell Hobbs Desire 3-in-1 blender – Best budget hand blender
Comes with accessories
The Desire 3-in-1 is a solid, budget option. Not only do you get a 500 watt hand blender and blending head, it also comes with a blending cup, whisk attachment and sealed mini-chopper. It has two speed settings.
It’s versatile and it’ll perform most blending and chopping functions around the kitchen. It’s dishwasher-safe as well.
The downside is that it isn’t as sturdy as other blenders we’ve tested. We wouldn’t recommend trying to crush ice with it and we do suggest you treat it carefully to get the most use from it: use the pulse function on tougher ingredients and ensure that accessories are properly attached before blending or you could damage it.
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Review Russell Hobbs Desire 3-in-1 blender