Any recommendations for a good blender?
October 23, 2008 5:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a blender. I've seen this post and this one.

I know about VitaMix and Blendtec. I've used a Blendtec in a previous life, but I'm not convinced that I'll ever get my return on investment for a $400 blender. I'm trying to become more healthy, and have something for breakfast that I would actually enjoy and would likely drink on a regular basis.

Right now I wouldn't use a blender for anything else. I have a Cuisinart MiniPrep, which serves my limited purpose, so I don't need a food processor combo. I've seen the recommendations for the Braun PowerMax, but Amazon hates it. I'm guessing that it would need good ice-crushing ability, but nothing "commercial grade".

I don't really have a price range, per se, but since I'd only ever use the blender for one purpose right now (a healthy drink at most once a day and most likely only 5 times a week), I'd like to keep the costs reasonable (i.e. unless someone has an unbelievably compelling reason to buy a BlendTec, $400 is a bit much). Thanks in advance.
posted by SeizeTheDay to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You say ice crushing, but unless you are frequently going to crush ice I think you will be fine with whatever is on sale for $25 at Target etc. Luxury blenders perform somewhat better, but mostly they take abuse much better. Now, one certainly can abuse them with frequent ice crushing, but without such heavy use I would save some coin.
posted by caddis at 5:45 PM on October 23, 2008

I am very happy with my Hamilton Beach blender. Solid construction, easy to clean. At $35, not a bad price either [link].
posted by dobie at 6:00 PM on October 23, 2008

We have the Breville Ikon Hemisphere . It's awesome. It has curved blades so that you don't get stuff stuck in the bottom that doesn't get mixed, and it can make SNOW from ICE! Like Snow cone style. Friends of ours recommend it and we love it. It even has a smoothie button on it for the appropriate smoothie blending.
posted by JonahBlack at 6:02 PM on October 23, 2008

We bought an Oster blender with a simple toggle switch: up for on, and down for pulse. It's very simple, and does the job well. Ours is like this, only red.
posted by leahwrenn at 6:12 PM on October 23, 2008

I have the one that leahwrenn links to.

It kicks ice's ass! My husband uses it to make margaritas and other frozen drinks and it works very well. It is incredibly loud, so warn your cats first.

I got some version of it that included all kinds of attachments and gizmos -- I haven't used them at all, so I wouldn't bother with those.
posted by theredpen at 6:42 PM on October 23, 2008

I abide by Cooks Illustrated when it comes to all my kitchen gadgets, they reccommend:

From Cook's Illustrated.
Product Name

Braun PowerMax


Recommendation Status

Testers’ Comments

Made short work of all tests except peanut butter. The unique triangular-shaped jar makes it especially easy to rest the jar in the base (a problem with some other models).
Input Power/Speed

525 watts, 21,368 rpm

Glass, 58 ounces

I bought one and it is great, much better than the $150 Cuisinart one my girlfriend (had)
posted by silsurf at 6:56 PM on October 23, 2008

I've had good experiences with the Cuisinart "SmartPower Duet". Includes a food processor. I see it listed for up to $90US, but I think I paid around $60.
posted by telstar at 7:41 PM on October 23, 2008

I like my BlendTec enormously. But, then, it was a wedding present, so I didn't have to pay for it.
posted by Netzapper at 8:12 PM on October 23, 2008

I have a Thunderstick blender that I bought online about 10-12 years ago, very similar to a Bamix, but a fraction of the price (I've looked at the two blenders demonstrated side by side at the Ideal Home Show and there's no difference I can see apart from £100).

I make smoothies with my blender, and it's great for blending soup, making batter, it has a little grinder that's great for spices (the grinder container is too small for coffee).

The beauty of a stick blender is that you can mix your smoothie in the container you're going to drink it from. A few ice cubes, juice, a banana, yoghurt, berries, protein powder, whatever, in the container and with the stick blender it's easy to adjust the consistency to your preference.

Since I bought mine it's been updated a little, and this is its latest incarnation. It's one of the few online gadgets I've never regretted buying.
posted by essexjan at 2:01 AM on October 24, 2008

I'm with essexjan; a stick/immersion blender is a great tool for smoothies. Much easier to clean up afterwards as well. I have a Cuisinart Smart Stick that does the job nicely.
posted by jon1270 at 5:14 AM on October 24, 2008

I use my blender just as the way you want to- for smoothies and protein shakes. I've experimented with many different blenders. Some cheap, others not, but this Oster Blender is absolutely incredible.

I vouch for it 100% I've used this thing 2x a day for the past 2 years. I've never, ever had a problem with it, and I love it. I also bought one for my mom, and she loves hers too.

If you decide not to get the Oster, here are some common blender "gotcha's":

1) some blenders have cool looking little spouts on them. You may be tempted to get these "oh, it's easier to pour!" Avoid these at all costs. They're impossible to clean.

2) Don't get a blender that's plastic. These are harder to clean and absorb orders. Somehow these attract a "oh, you've left peanut butter sitting in the blender for 4 days again" smell.

3) Look for one that's dishwasher safe. I usually just rinse my Oster, and it's fine, but it's nice to throw it in the dishwasher every now and then.

4) The fewer mechanical parts the better.

5) Avoid one that has 23 buttons on it. Seriously, you just need it to blend. Who can tell the difference between "mix, blend, and frappe" anyway? The Oster has an "on" button, an "off" button, and a "pulse" button, all on the same toggle switch.

6) Look for something with thick threads at the bottom, so that it's easy to take the bottom off. This is another biggie with cheap blenders- they have these thin, plastic threads that don't hold very well, and you end up jamming the blender onto the blade mechanism. The blender works, but you can never get the blade mechanism off to clean it.
posted by unexpected at 8:36 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Heartily seconding unexpected's rec. Two speeds, never fails, you can rinse it under the tap, crushes anything, and you can get the Blend-N-Go Cup listed in unexpected's link just for smoothies.
posted by subajestad at 9:37 AM on October 24, 2008

I have a KitchenAid RRKSB5MC that I picked up for $40 on sale at Amazon. Works fine, and meets all of unexpected's criteria except for having more than one button.
posted by reptile at 11:05 AM on October 24, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the recommendations! I did a lot of searching, and as usual, picked something that was recommended here (I think this is my 4th or 5th purchase that came from a recommendation here, including a car).

I don't want to "best answer" anything, because my decision was based on personal factors. I thought really long and hard about getting the Oster, but every review I've read has suggested that it's REALLY loud, and that's a turnoff for me. The stick didn't seem powerful enough, and pretty pricey for something decent.

I bought the Breville BBL550XL/A. I ended up getting a really good deal ($123 including shipping). The Breville BBL600XL looked very nice, but it didn't really add $60-70 worth of value. I was especially sold by a couple of online videos I saw where it was quiet (for a blender), simple to use, powerful, and elegant.

Thanks again everyone for all your help. I checked out every recommendation and having all the extra options was very useful.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:01 AM on October 25, 2008

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