Is a $450 blender worth the money? It is if you choose the right one, says Consumer Reports. But you can also pay far less and get top performance.
Consumer Reports tested each product's ability to make smoothies, puree, and crush ice, and rated each blender for convenience, noise and durability.
Among the 58 premium blenders, the top-scorer since at least June 2010 is the $450 Vitamix 5200 (pictured on the right in the above photo), according to Consumer Reports' senior editor Daniel DiClerico.
"Besides acing our frozen drinks, puree, and ice crush tests, it's one of the few models that makes hot soup and blitzes whole fruits and vegetables into smooth, creamy juice," Consumer Reports said, as shown in a video on its website.
But this year, the $60 Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004, a blender and food chopper, shares the top spot - and a score of 91 out of 100 - with its much more expensive competitor. That Ninja Master out-scored the more expensive $650 Vitamix Professional Series 750, which scored 81 and scored "excellent" for its ability to puree, crush ice and in the durability test.
As for smaller, personal blenders, Consumer Reports put them to the same tests and found they each had different strengths.
"The $35 Back to Basics Blender Express BPE3BR performed superbly across all tasks, but it didn't pass our durability test, which involves crushing successive batches of ice," the magazine said. (That blender is pictured on the left in the photo above.)
Out of 12 personal blenders that Consumer Reports rated, eight Hamilton Beach products ranging from $20 to $25 shared the top rating in that category, scoring 55 out of 100 possible points.
When asked if a household, with the kitchen space and money, should fork over more money to buy a premium blender over a personal blender, DiClerico says, "Definitely."
"It's incredible how much you can do with a top-performing blender like the Vitamix," he said. "All the usual stuff like smoothies and shakes and frozen drinks, but also things like hummus and soup, even cappuccinos and hot chocolate. These can be incredibly versatile machines, and they should last for many years, making them well worth the investment."
Here are lists of the top-scoring 10 blenders for both categories, out of 100 possible points.
Full Size Blenders
1. Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004, $60. Score: 91
2. Vitamix 5200, $450. Score: 91
3. Ninja Professional NJ600, $100. Score: 87
4. Vitamix Professional Series 750, $650. Score: 81
5. Vitamix 7500, $530. Score: 81
6. Vitamix Professional Series 300, $530. Score: 81
7. Hamilton Beach Commercial Tempest HBH650, $450. Score: 77
8. Waring Xtreme MX1000R, $350. Score: 74
9. Ninja Kitchen System 1100 NJ602, $160. Score: 73
10. L'Equip RPM Professional, $300. Score: 73
1. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51101, $20. Score: 55
2. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51102, $23. Score: 55
3. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51103, $20. Score: 55
4. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51104, $20. Score 55
5. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51106, $20. Score 55
6. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51108, $25. Score 55
7. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51111, $20. Score 55
8. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51126, $20. Score 55
9. Oster MyBlend, $30. Score 43
10. Back to Basics Blender Express BPE3BR, $35. Score 37