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Instant Pot Ace Blender - should I buy one?

blender
(Image credit: Instant Pot)

Instant is the well-known, and incredibly well-loved brand behind the Instant Pot and Instant Pot Duo – appliances that offer slow cooking, pressure cooking, steaming, searing and sautéeing in one. The brand attracts almost a cult following and its products combine great features across a range of price points to suit various cooking abilities and budgets. 

It has branched out in recent years into air fryers, including the Instant Pot 6-Quart Vortex, and blenders and it’s the latter we’re looking at in this guide. Based on our expert knowledge about blenders generally, we’ve run through the pros and cons of buying an Instant Pot Ace blender. It’s highly likely it will discounted during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019, too, so if you’re not sure if it’s the blender for you, read on. 

The Bottom Line: It’s a no-brainer that a company with cooking credentials as great as Instant would branch out into lots of different cooking appliances, but a blender is different. Blenders are typically machines used to enable the cooking process, not cookers themselves, so Instant has found a way to combine the two. Thanks to a heating element in the base of the Ace blender, you can cook and blend foods, particularly soups, using this single slim machine. It’s also possible to chill food and it comes with a self-clean function, on top of the traditional blending features you’d expect. 

Pros: The heating and cold elements of the Ace blender make it more versatile than other blenders and it builds on Instant’s reputation for all-in-one appliances that save kitchen space, time and money. Cleaning is done at the touch of a button and the machine is slim enough to fit in most small kitchens. 

Cons: The reason it has a self-cleaning function is because none of its parts can be put in the dishwasher or submerged in the sink. Despite its many program presets, the blender itself only has three speeds and you can’t adjust the temperature of the heating element. It’s also not cheap.

blender

(Image credit: Instant)

The Instant Pot Ace Blender: everything you need to know 

There are three blenders in the Instant Ace range – the Ace, the Ace Nova and the Ace Plus priced at $100, $120 and $150 respectively – and the standard Ace is very much the entry-level, basic model. 

While the size, capacity (1.75L on the Ace and 1.6L on the Ace Nova and Ace Plus) and presets of each are largely similar, the more you pay, the more control you have over blending speeds and cooking temperatures. The Ace has three speeds and no temperature controls, the Ace Nova offers the same speeds but adds manual temperature controls, and the Ace Plus has 10 speeds, and temperature controls shown on a real-time temperature display. 

Design and presets: The Instant Ace has a digital display that shows the machine’s temperature alongside how much cooking time is remaining. This display is surrounded by the Instant Ace’s eight presets – Smoothie, Purée, Crushed Ice, Ice Cream, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Nut/Oat Milk and Soup. 

Below the display are three buttons that let you choose between Low, Medium and High blending speeds, and below these are the Pulse/Clean button, the Pause button and a button that lets you cancel whichever setting you’ve selected. 

Within the eight presets, the Smoothie, Soup and Rice Milk each have two additional settings that alter the blending time depending on whether you’re blending soft or hard ingredients, want smooth or chunky soup, or are using white or brown rice.  

To clean the machine, you put soapy water in the jug and select the Clean option. 

Reviews: Reviews describe having the heating and cooling element as the Instant Ace’s standout feature and laud its versatility and time-saving skills. 

The lack of manual temperature controls is a major con mentioned in reviews online, as is the fact that making soups from scratch in the blender means you can only make small batches at a time due to its limited capacity. 

The vast number of controls reportedly take a little getting used to, but once mastered make cooking and blending easy, and the cleaning function works well when used straight after cooking but fails to remove any stubborn stains or cooked on foods. 

Conclusion: The Instant Ace range changes the game when it comes to soup, in particular, and if that’s the main food you’re planning to make on a regular basis then you can’t go far wrong with the Ace blender. 

However, if you’re a more adventurous cook who is keen on making ice cream, nut milks and more, then you may find the lack of manual controls frustrating and would be better suited to either the Ace Nova or the Ace Plus. Equally, if you’re a beginner and don’t want to make anything quite so adventurous there are far cheaper blenders available that will do the job, even if they’re slightly less convenient.

TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.