Whether you’re a keen cook or someone who likes to dabble in a spot of occasional baking, there will come a point when you’ll need the skills of a decent blender. But with so many space-invading countertop appliances to choose from - such as juicers and food processors - you can be forgiven for wondering whether a blender is really necessary at all.
The humble blender does however serve a useful purpose in the kitchen - unlike a juicer that will extract juice and discard any waste pulp, a blender will mix everything together, packing in the nutrients and leaving you with a thicker and smoother mixture. And, unlike a food processor that is good for slicing, chopping and mixing thicker ingredients, a blender is suited to creating liquids.
There’s a wide range of attractive blenders available online right now and you can expect to pay anything from around the £100 mark for a reliable design, to around £800 for a more premium model.
To find out whether it’s worth investing your buck in one of the latest blenders however, we’ve tried and tested a selection of the most enticing designs, and rated them on performance, ergonomics and versatility. In our round up we’ve focused on traditional jug blenders that are designed to be a firm staple on your countertop, as opposed to smaller personal blenders that are designed for a quick drink fix for on the go.
Blenders can perform a range of tasks such as making smoothies, milling seeds and nuts, liquidizing vegetables and frozen fruits and, in some instances, cooking hot soups. When you’re shopping for a model to suit your household, consider how durable the jug, how quiet the operation and whether there are easy to clean parts and pre-set cleaning modes. Also look for useful accessories such as tampers to prod ingredients while the blender is on, versatile pre-set modes for quick smoothie making, ice crushing and pulsing and a dial with a good range of speeds. Some blenders also come with special features such as vacuum blending that will suck the oxygen out of the jug before processing ingredients to give you a less foamy finish.
Keen to get blending? You can find out how we tested each blender at the end of our round up, but if you want to whizz through our best choices, keep reading below.
How we tested
To give each design a fair trial, we compared and contrasted a number of key features covering style, performance and practicalities.
We rated each design on how many settings it offers, how many ingredients it can tackle and how durable and easy to clean the body and parts. For each model we wanted to know whether it came with useful features such as a tamper to prod ingredients as you blend, a brush to clean or a recipe book for inspiration.
In each design we made a banana, avocado and spinach smoothie. Aside from the three main ingredients, this recipe also includes a squeeze of honey, half a glass of oat milk and a handful of ice.
We compared the consistency of each finished blend, looking in particular to see if the spinach was suitably combined and the ice satisfactorily crushed. Including the mix of leafy, more solid and hard ingredients means we could fairly put the designs through their paces. We monitored the noise levels using a Decibel App too. Incidentally, we’d definitely recommend trying out a banana, avocado and spinach smoothie as it’s delicious!
Best blenders 2020 overview:
- Ninja HB150UK Blender and Soup Maker
- KitchenAid 5KSB8270 Artisan Power Plus blender
- Tefal BL82AD40 PerfectMix+ Tritan blender
- Philips HR3752/01 High-speed vacuum blender
- Smeg BLF01PBUK blender
1. Ninja HB150UK Blender and Soup Maker
Switch between sweet smoothies and savory soups
The Ninja HB150UK Blender & Soup Maker features an easy-to-read control panel with a selection of 16 pre-set options to take the guess work out of preparing recipes. As well as the ubiquitous smoothie setting, you’ll also find a dedicated jam button and smooth and chunky soup options. While there isn’t a traditional-style speed dial on board, if you choose the ‘cook’ button you can cook soup ingredients for up to 60 minutes and you can even use raw meats such as chicken.
When we made a banana, avocado and spinach smoothie we were impressed at how quickly the spinach shredded into the drink. At 82 decibels it was one of the quieter models in our test too. We also used it to make a soup and liked how self sufficient the blender is in heating, cooking and blending the soup at the click of a button – it did rev up quite some speed and get rather noisy at the end of the process, however.
It features a specific clean mode that heats and pulses rapidly to remove residue from the non-stick coating, but to ensure every last bit of food was cleaned off the base, we gave it a little hand wash too. You will need to be careful not to submerge the jug fully in water as this can damage the heating element.
While the design is a little on the bulky side, we think the two-in-one option the Ninja HB150UK Blender & Soup Maker offers is worth considering, even if you’re tight on worktop space.
2. KitchenAid 5KSB8270 Artisan Power Plus blender
Impressive power and performance with a premium price
With a 3.5 peak horsepower motor and a 24,000rpm the KitchenAid 5KSB8270 Artisan Power Plus blender is the most powerful blender on the market. When we used it to make a banana, avocado and spinach smoothie the machine got up to a reasonably comfortable 99 decibels and mixed the produce to a super smooth liquid in less than 30 seconds.
We particularly like the flexibility the machine’s control panel gives you – offering the choice of four pre-set ‘Adapti blend’ programs for the usual favourites such as smoothies, juices, soups and self-cleaning. There is also an adjustable dial that ranges from 1-11 that is useful when you’re tackling tough produce such as nuts and ice. It also comes with a sturdy tamper tool and useful measuring cap.
The KitchenAid 5KSB8270 Artisan Power Plus blender is attractive in design and looks and feels like a premium model. It does however have a hefty price tag compared to the other blenders we have featured in our round up. But in short, if you’re a fan of KitchenAid’s wide range of appliances it may feel like a natural choice to add this to your culinary set up.
3. Tefal BL82AD40 PerfectMix+ Tritan blender
An ergonomic design that’s competitively priced
With a 2-litre Tritan jug, the Tefal blender offers the largest capacity in our round up. Reasonably priced at £119.99, it’s also the least expensive and it has a selection of enticing features, which make it worth considering.
Firstly, it has a lightweight unbreakable jug that is durable enough to drop on the floor without breaking. It also has a titanium Powelix Life blade, 1200 watts of power and gives you speeds of up to 28,000 rpm, which means you can blend up to 30% faster than its previous models. A useful feature of the Tefal Perfect Mix+ Tritan is the fact that it beeps when locked into place, which means you instantly know when you’ve positioned the lid securely and it’s ready to use.
The control panel displays its settings neatly and has handy smoothie, ice crushing and smoothie presets. The easy to control light-up-dial then lets you manually control how fast you want the blender to perform. When we used it to make our banana, avocado and spinach smoothie, it produced a very smooth and silky finish, but ramping up to a noisy 104 decibels, it did make its presence known.
4. Philips HR3752/01 High-speed vacuum blender
A vacuum blender, ideal for nutrient-rich smoothies
Like the Tefal and Smeg blender in our round up, the Philips HR3752/01 High-speed vacuum blender also comes with a robust Tritan jar, which feels lighter in hand compared to a glass jar. The Philips HR3752/01 blender is more powerful than the similarly priced Tefal model however, with a 1400watt motor and speeds up to a 35,000rpm.
The blender has four pre-set programs on the façade for vacuuming the ingredients, vacuuming the ingredients and processing, pulsing and ice crushing. The vacuum feature works by sucking out the oxygen from the jug before it blends, helping to make a fresh-tasting drink, with less bubbles and foam on top of your smoothie than you’d usually find using a standard blender. On first look, we found the control panel a little tricky to decipher, but once we’d consulted the manual we were able to confirm which icon does what.
It also has ‘Advanced ProBlend 6 3D blending technology’ to ensure the ingredients you include are blended as finely as possible – a plus point if you primarily want this blender to tackle nuts and seeds. The design also features a manual dial that lets you choose your speed setting easily and while there isn’t a pre-set cleaning mode, the detachable parts on the blender are dishwasher safe. When we used it to make a banana, avocado and spinach smoothie on the pre-set smoothie setting, the noise levels reached a reasonably comfortable 100 decibels.
5. Smeg BLF01PBUK blender
Iconic 1950s style blender with 2020 technology
With its die-cast aluminium frame that comes in a range of eight glossy colours including cream (pictured), red, pastel blue and pink, the Smeg BLF01PBUK blender has a head-turning design. With a 1.5 litre capacity, the jug is the smallest we’ve featured in our round up, which is a plus point if you have a small kitchen, and a minus if you’re looking to blend large batches. Either way, the design is compact and the Tritan jug, like the Tefal and Philips models, is relatively lightweight to hold and robust.
The control dial has two pre-set programs for ice crushing and smoothies and speed settings that can be manually controlled from 0-4. This comes with a soft start so the speed is built up gradually for an even blend of the ingredients.
Noise-level wise, when we used the Smeg BLF01PBUK blender to make a smoothie, it reached 103 decibels - a little above average. The blend was smooth, albeit a little frothier than say the finish of the Philips vacuum blender design.
It’s worth noting that the Smeg BLF01PBUK blender doesn’t have a pre-set cleaning button – you can add warm soapy water to the jug and turn it on to dislodge any stubborn ingredients, and then finish by washing it by hand. You can take out the blade using the measuring cap in the top of the jar that doubles up as a key for the blade, which makes for an ergonomic design feature.
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