Drinks

best blender for making smoothies with ice

The best blender for making smoothies with ice is the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender. This model has a powerful 700 watt motor, which can easily crush ice. It also comes with a stainless steel blade that's easy to clean and dish
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Test Kitchen Preferred The Best Blender TkpClaire Krieger/Taste of Home

Whether you’re a smoothie fanatic, milkshake aficionado or a homemade soup lover, you need a good blender to help you whip up your favorite blender recipes at home. But with so many different models on the market, it can be hard to know which blenders will be strong enough to crush ice or nuts, and smooth enough to puree vegetables for soups and sauces.

While our blender buying guide is a great place to start, our Test Kitchen also evaluated the top models to find the best blenders for all of your blending needs.

How We Found the Best Blender

Our food stylists and cooks regularly used five of the most popular blenders over the course of several months. Then, to see how the blenders stacked up head-to-head, they put each machine through a series of tests and evaluated them according to these standards:

  • Blending: How well did each blender whip up a kale smoothie? Was the liquid frothy and full of air bubbles? Were there large pieces remaining?
  • Pureeing: How long did the blenders take to puree a batch of butternut squash soup? Was the final result smooth?
  • Crushing: How long did each blender take to crush ice for a frozen drink? Did the blades get stuck?
  • Power: How many watts does each blender have? Do they have horsepower?
  • Price: Are the blenders affordable? Does the price reflect the performance?

After subjecting the blenders to our rigorous testing process, we felt confident that we could identify the best blenders for mixing up smoothies, pureeing soups, crushing ice and more.

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Blenders

Among the five blenders our experts tested, one model stood out from the rest as the best all-around blender. But if you only need a blender for one particular use—for example, to make smoothies or to whip up homemade soups—we have recommendations for three other models that will help you get the job done.

Best Blender Overall: Vitamix Explorian Blender

Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender, Professional-Grade, 48 oz. Container, BlackVia familycuisine.net

The Vitamix Explorian Blender beat out every other model with a five-star review from our Test Kitchen. Our experts loved its variable 10-speed controls, aircraft-grade steel blades, powerful motor and self-cleaning system. We also love that while it can hold plenty of liquid, the entire machine and all of its parts comfortably fit into a kitchen cabinet.

This blender impressed our food stylists and cooks at every turn. It was one of the few blenders that whipped up a healthy kale smoothie to perfection, producing a smooth, completely emulsified drink without excess air bubbles. It also turned out velvety butternut squash soup and crushed ice into snow-cone consistency—one of the most difficult challenges for any blender. The ice got stuck once or twice during the process, but the tamper made it easy to get the cubes whirring again.

The only drawback to this blender is the price. It’s a major investment for a small appliance, although you can often find it on sale for less. But for folks that reach for their blender often, it’s worth every penny.

  • Size: 48 ounces
  • Power: 1,440 watts
  • Speed settings: 10
  • Price: $349.95

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Best Blender for Smoothies: KitchenAid High Performance Series Blender

KitchenAid High Performance Series Blender, One Size, Black MatteVia familycuisine.net

The KitchenAid High Performance Series Blender is the most powerful blender we tested. Our experts thought it was the best blender for homemade smoothies because the kale smoothie emulsified just right—staying thick, creamy and smooth with no separation. According to one member of our Test Kitchen, this model whipped up a smoothie that had a superior consistency compared to the smoothies made in other blenders.

With a wide range of variable speeds, stainless-steel blades and large capacity, this KitchenAid blender was a close second behind the Vitamix. Like the Vitamix, it also comes with a tamper to push ingredients into the blender jar.

  • Size: 60 ounces
  • Power: 1,800 watts
  • Speed settings: 9
  • Price: $289.99

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Best Blender for Crushing Ice: Ninja Professional Blender

Ninja Professional 72 Oz Countertop Blender with 1000-Watt Base and Total Crushing Technology for Smoothies, Ice and Frozen Fruit (BL610), BlackVia familycuisine.net

You can’t beat the Ninja Professional Blender‘s affordability for a 1,000-watt motor. It handled the ice-crushing and soup-blending well, but left the kale smoothies a little too grainy. Its multiple blades blocked ingredients from falling to the bottom, and sometimes the blade fell out while pouring.

Overall, this was the ice-crushing champion, so it’s a great option if you love to make cold treats like snow ice cream or a classic snow cone (try this Fuzzy Navel Snow Cone Syrup). As the largest blender we tested, this model is also great for whipping up big batches.

  • Size: 72 ounces
  • Power: 1,000 watts
  • Speed settings: 4
  • Price: $89.99

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Best Blender for Pureeing Soup: NutriBullet Pro 900

NutriBullet Pro® 900Via familycuisine.net

The NutriBullet Pro 900 makes silky homemade soup in seconds. This little blender pureed the butternut squash evenly and without any large chunks for a super-smooth texture. Alternatively, immersion blenders are another great tool for making homemade soups.

When it came to smoothies and crushed ice, the NutriBullet’s 900-watt motor fell short, leaving behind a few larger pieces of ice and a frothier smoothie. However, this blender’s accessories, including two 32-ounce cups and three types of lids, make it a convenient choice for those on the go.

  • Size: 32 ounces
  • Power: 900 watts
  • Speed settings: 3
  • Price: $79.99

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What to Make with Your Blender

Our Test Kitchen’s favorite blender recipe is this Berry Smoothie Bowl, but you can make so much more with your trusty blender. It’s just the tool you need to make smooth soups like this Contest-Winning Roasted Tomato Soup, and it’s great for whipping up sauces quickly—try it out on this Cod with Hearty Tomato Sauce recipe.

Blending food can be a messy business, so it’s important to learn how to clean a blender so you can keep this go-to appliance clean. After each use, wash the inside of the jar with soap and water and wipe down the outside with a damp cloth.

Teddy Nykiel, Taste of Home Associate Digital Editor, contributed to this article.

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