A blender is the only machine in your kitchen that can produce a beverage from chunks of ice and fruit in less than 60 seconds. And no other blender we’ve tested since 2012 can reliably produce silky soups, spoon-thick smoothies, and stable emulsifications like the Vitamix 5200. Yes, it’s pricey, but we think its powerful motor, nuanced controls, and long-lasting reliability make it worth the investment.
Looking for something to make in your blender? Try these recipes for banana-berry smoothies, black bean soup, kale-sauce pasta or creamy cauliflower soup from NYT Cooking.
This high-performance machine blends more gracefully than any of the others we’ve tested. Its motor powers through thick mixtures, and it comes with a seven-year warranty backed by excellent customer service.
In our tests, from 2012 to now, Vitamix blenders have always performed the best overall. The classic Vitamix 5200 is the only one we’ve tried that can make creamy peanut butter and puree hearty soup without spewing molten liquid up the sides of the jar. It doesn’t have any preset buttons, but it does offer the widest range of speeds (far wider than on the comparably priced Blendtec Designer 675) of any blender we’ve tested. It’s a favorite in many (if not most) professional kitchens and juice bars. We’ve also found the Vitamix 5200 to be one of the most reliable and durable blenders we’ve tested, and if the motor burns out within the seven-year warranty period, Vitamix will promptly replace the machine.
Oster Versa Pro Series Blender
This Oster Versa model offers the best balance of performance and price that we’ve found. It’s not as powerful or durable as the Vitamix 5200, but it holds its own against many blenders that are twice the price.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $240.
The Oster Versa Pro Series Blender is the best of a new breed of more budget-friendly high-powered blenders. Compared with similarly priced blenders, this 1,400-watt model offers more speed variations and runs more quietly; it’s also one of the few models that come with a tamper for bursting air pockets in thick mixtures. At 17½ inches tall, it will fit better on a counter under a cabinet than most other high-performance blenders. We don’t think this is the absolute best blender out there, and it doesn’t compare to Vitamix blenders in power and longevity (we burned out our Oster after two and a half years), but it does have serious blending skills, a user-friendly design, and a solid, seven-year warranty. If you don’t want to throw down almost half a grand on a powerful blender, the Oster is your best bet.
A relative newcomer, this blender makes some of the silkiest smoothies, but its speeds aren’t as nuanced as those on our top pick.
If you’re not ready to spring for the Vitamix, and you don’t mind trading the Oster’s longer warranty for a little more power, go for the 1,800-watt Cleanblend Blender. The Cleanblend’s strong motor helps pulverize berry seeds and ice, creating creamier smoothies and piña coladas than even the Vitamix can produce. This model’s jar is made of thick, durable Tritan plastic and has a comfortable, grippy handle. Unlike the Oster blender, the Cleanblend doesn’t have any preset buttons and doesn’t offer much variance between the low and high speeds. In our testing, the Cleanblend’s motor has held up better than the Oster’s and is still going strong after four years of regular use. But Cleanblend covers this blender with only a five-year warranty, in contrast to the seven years of coverage from both Vitamix and Oster. And since Cleanblend has been around only since 2013, we’re still a little uncertain of the company’s staying power and the reliability of its customer service.
Not everyone wants to spend $200, let alone over $400, on a blender. If you want a blender for whipping up the occasional sauce or smoothie, the KitchenAid K150 3 Speed Ice Crushing Blender is the best model available for around $100. With a 48-ounce jar and a low profile, the K150 is the smallest blender we recommend in this guide. It produced coarser textures than any of our other picks did, and its motor isn’t nearly as powerful (so it’s more likely to burn out if overtaxed). Another compromise you make for the price is in the warranty, as unlike our other picks the KitchenAid is covered for only one year. But it’s a good, all-purpose blender that’s small enough to fit on the counter under most kitchen cabinets.