The NutriBullet may have led the way, effectively creating the genre of compact but powerful blenders, but booming demand means there are now plenty of other options out there, from high-end to budget-friendly. In our review, we considered all price points, and looked at not only how effective each blender was, but how loud, how much counter room each unit took up, and how intuitive they were to use.
For us, the best blenders manage to find a balance between being small enough to be kept out on the kitchen counter, but powerful enough to shred their way through ice, nuts, leaves, and other tough-to-blend produce you may commonly want to add to your smoothies. Notable too, are the extras. While some brands offer nothing but the blending cup, others come with extensive recipe books, on-the-go cups, and accompanying apps to monitor your calorie, vitamin and nutrient intake.
Price-wise, we found expensive or value models often reflected the best value, with mid-range offering neither top performance or the best deal. And we’re of course looking for effective blending. Machines that struggled with ice, nuts or frozen fruits, naturally, didn’t score well. Ease-of-use is key, too. Machines that were easy to set up, transport to and from the cupboard, or felt intuitive to use were marked up.
Nutribullet Balance Smart Food Blender
£149.99, John Lewis
Best for: Nutritional monitoring and recipes galore
Key specs – Dimensions: 40(H) x 37(W) x 19(D) cm; Capacity: 930ml; Power: 1200W; Settings: 1; Accessories: 2 x cups, 2 x lids, 2 x comfortable lip rings, user guide; Dishwasher safe: Some parts
Simply put, the latest iteration of the NutriBullet is a game changer. If you’re simply after something to blend your long-established roster of smoothies, move on. Your money may be better spent on a simpler machine. But if you’re looking for something to assist you to achieve or maintain a healthy lifestyle, then this might be the machine for you.
The NutriBullet Balance uses Bluetooth to send data from the blender to your smart phone or tablet to help you monitor the nutritional value of your blends, while keeping track of any personal dietary goals. Download the app, connect to the blender, and the app will guide you through hundreds of existing recipes or help you build your own blends, displaying the calorie, sugar, fat, fibre, protein, carbs, cholesterol, and salt content of every creation.
An inbuilt scale linked to the app, also helps you easily and accurately weigh out ingredients. That said, the NutriBullet Balance isn’t perfect. We had some initial issues getting the unit to connect to the app, and again with getting the removable scale to connect to the recipe mode of the app. But once connected, the blender was simple to operate and as with other models of the NutriBullet, cut through tough ingredients with ease.
BuyVonShef 1000W UltraBlend Smoothie Maker
Best for: Value
Key specs – Dimensions: 39.5(H) x 15(W) x 15(D) cm; Capacity: 1 litre; Power: 1000W; Settings: 1; Accessories: 2 x cups, 2 x lids, ; Dishwasher safe: Mixing cups and lids
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Don’t be fooled by the price point of the VonShef; this is one powerful little machine. First off, we loved the simple but stylish matt black finish of this blender. Understated, it’s good looking and compact enough to earn a permanent place on our counter top. And secondly, this sturdy machine blitzed its way through the toughest of ingredients, such as ice, nuts and seeds, with ease.
Clocking in at 1000w, it was slightly less powerful than some of the other blenders on our list, although that wasn’t noticeable in its performance. But this is no frills. Unlike many of the other units, there were no helpful measurements on the blending cup itself. There is also no on switch – the machine works simply when the cup is pressed or clicked into place. This is not a major issue – just don’t lock the cup in place prior to turning it on.
The pack comes with one large cup (1 litre) and a medium cup (800ml), both dishwasher safe, a spill-proof lid and a sip-and-seal lid for on-the-go consumption. As with most blenders, the cups do feel a little too big and cumbersome for carrying around. But if that’s your thing, these sturdy lid seals will keep everything secure. This machine has everything you need, and offers unbeatable value.
BuySalter Nutri Pro 1200
£49.99 (price correct at time of publishing), Amazon
Best for: Ease of use
Key specs – Dimensions: 21 (H) x 15(W) x 15(D) cm; Capacity: 1 litre; Power: 1200W; Settings: 1; Accessories: 3 x cups, 2 x sip lids, 2 x keep lids; Dishwasher safe: Mixing cups and lids
There were few things we didn’t love about this straightforward but stylish blender. At 1200w, and with a six-blade attachment, the Nutri Pro blitzed its way through hard ingredients, producing silky smooth smoothies, in around half the time of other units around the same price point and above.
There’s also plenty of storage for your creations. The family-friendly pack contains one 1-litre cup and not one but two 800m cups, alongside two storage lids or two easy-drink lids, meaning there’s plenty of scope to store your batch blitzes in the fridge. And a 50-strong recipe book is useful for providing a bit of inspiration.
An issue we found with many bullet blenders is that often the on-the-go cups just feel too chunky to really be portable. The cups provided here however are much more streamlined than many others, with their longer, narrower shape making them much easier to transport. The easy-drink lids too are stylish and secure. If we had one small criticism it would be that the blending unit itself is just slightly chunkier than others on our list, and so takes up a little more counter space, but that’s a small trade-off.
BuyJML Nutri Blitzer: Nutrition Extractor Superfood Smoothie and Juice Blender
Best for: Accessories
Key specs – Dimensions: 33 (H) x 32(W) x 27(D) cm; Capacity: 1 litre; Power: 700W; Settings: 1; Accessories: 3 x cups, 2 x easy drink handles, 1 x extraction blade, 1 x milling blade, 2 x resealable lids, 1 x 160 page recipe book; Dishwasher safe: Cups
This blender is all about the accessories, which if you’re new to creating your own smoothies and juices, is super helpful. The 13-piece set includes two 650ml short cups, one 900ml tall cup, two easy carry handles and resealable lids for on the go, and two different blade attachments.
Making this something for the chefs as well as the smoothie lovers, alongside an extraction blade, this kit includes a milling blade for cutting through grains, herbs, and nuts. We tested it with coffee beans, which it reduced to a fine powder after a few blitzes. One of the best features however is the 160-page recipe book, which covers everything from superfood juices to savoury breakfast and dinner recipes, such as burgers and mushy peas.
But with a 700w motor, the Nutri Blitzer simply isn’t as powerful as many other bullets, and that is noticeable in its performance. We found it took much longer to get through ingredients, leaving large chunks of ice, while fruit remained pulpy and coarse. Adding extra liquid to recipes, or simply blending for longer helped. However, overall, this machine offers incredible versatility, even down to its appearance. The blending unit itself is available in three different colours (black, lime, or berry).
BuyMorphy Richards Nutrition Express Blender
£35.75 (price correct at time of publishing), Amazon
Best for: Reliability
Key specs – Dimensions: 39 (H) x 15.1(W) x 14.1(D) cm; Capacity: 1 litre; Power: 1200W; Settings: 1; Accessories: 2 x cups, 2 x lids, recipe book; Dishwasher safe: Cups
Simple, straightforward, dependable. This Nutrition Express Blender is a little work horse. With a 1200w motor and six-pointed blade, this is a powerful little blender. It also comes with two BPA-free beakers in 530ml and 700ml sizes, both with drinking lids with carry handles, while a recipe book provides inspiration.
We found this blender easy to use, with useful measurements on the blending cups. And it was also very easy to clean. The cups are dishwasher safe. However, we weren’t as enamoured with the design. The lime green and white finish wasn’t as stylish as some others on our list, but for many users that may not matter. And though powerful we found it a little loud. It also took slightly longer than some to get through the toughest ingredients.
However, once it did, the results were silky smooth.
BuyBeko Vacuum Blender
Best for: Nutrient-rich blends
Key specs – Dimensions: 31.7 (H) x 24.2(W) x 15.8(D) cm; Capacity: 1.5 litres; Power: 1000W; Settings: 6; Accessories: 0; Dishwasher safe: Yes
The most notable feature of this blender – as the name gives away – is its vacuum blending technology. What does that mean for you? Well, removing the air from the cylinder while blending prevents fresh ingredients from oxidising, preventing separation or discolouring, and retaining the flavour nutrients found within.
For example, Beko claims that the vacuum helps retain up to 40 per cent more vitamin C than other methods. With a bigger than average 1.5-litre capacity, it’s also great if you’re looking to batch blend. Six pre-settings are also helpful, including a soup/ sauce and a smoothie option. One of the most helpful though has to be the Auto Clean function, which when water and a dash of washing up liquid are added, takes care of getting rid of tough-to-budge ingredients for you.
However, the machine is fairly noisy, especially when on the vacuum setting. And there’s no getting round that this is a pricey bit of kit. But if you’re looking for something sturdy, stylish, and to retain as much of the goodness of your ingredients as possible, then this is for you.
BuyVitamix Ascent a2500i and Blending Cup Starter Kit
£549 plus £100 for starter kit, Vitamix
Best for: Serious food lovers
Key specs – Dimensions: 20 (H) x 43(W) x 28(D) cm; Capacity: 2 litres; Power: 1000W; Settings: 3; Accessory pack: 2 x cups, 2 x lids, 1 x blade base; Dishwasher safe: Containers, lids and blade base in starter pack
There’s no getting around the price that this bit of kit demands. Aimed at professional chefs and passionate foodies, the Vitamix Ascent itself is a full-size blender, albeit a compact one. Use it to grind spices, knead dough, or create and heat soups and sauces. The thing that makes the Vitamix Ascent part of our list though, is the add-on accessory pack.
The Blending Cup Starter Pack effectively converts this powerful blender into a bullet blender, containing a blending blade and two 600ml blending cups. Pop the blade and cup on the top and the container detect technology connects to the unit and recognises the container size you’re using and adjusts the blend time accordingly. The machine also comes with three pre-programmed settings (smoothies, purées and frozen desserts).
If you’re spending this much on a blender, then you’re likely to use it often. The 10-year warranty that this machine comes with, then, is key.
Buy Vitamix Ascent a25001
Buy Blending Cup Starter Kit
This article has been updated. It was originally published in December 2018.
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