Best Countertop Blenders of 2017
Don't end up with another kitchen gadget you don't use. Read our shopping guide and check out our top three countertop blender selections before making a purchase.
Best Countertop Blenders for Smoothies, Sauces, and Soups
Are you looking for a great new blender for your countertop? Perhaps you want a high-powered blender that can heat your soup and grind your coffee beans. Or perhaps you want a standard blender that performs everyday tasks such as mixing smoothies and shakes.
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If you're ready to purchase a blender, please see the product matrix at the top of this page for our recommendations. If you'd like to learn more about your blender choices, please continue reading this shopping guide.
Countertop Versus Immersion Blenders
Before we go any further, let's examine the differences between countertop blenders and the other main type of blender you can buy for your kitchen: the immersion blender.
A countertop blender is an appliance that's designed to sit on your countertop, ready for use when needed — although those with little counter space might store theirs in a kitchen cupboard or pantry.
A countertop blender has a sturdy base on which the controls, either analog or digital, are housed. It also includes a jug or personal-size blending cup, blades for doing the blending, and a lid so everything stays inside when you switch it on.
Countertop blenders tend to be fairly powerful and have multiple speeds and settings.
An immersion blender is sometimes called a "stick blender" or "handheld blender." It consists of a long wand with blades on one end and controls on the other. You immerse the wand in your mixing bowl and blend away.
Immersion blenders aren't terribly powerful and usually offer only one or two speeds, but they are handy for basic blending jobs, like puréeing soup.
In this review, we'll be focusing on countertop blenders.
Personal Versus Full-Size Blenders
Countertop blenders come in two forms: personal and full-size. The type that's right for you depends on how you plan to use your blender. Personal blenders like the NutriBullet are trendy right now, but would a personal blender truly satisfy your needs?
Here's a look at the pros and cons of each type.
A personal blender includes a few small blending containers that double as drinking cups. It's designed to create a serving for one person rather than a family.
Personal blenders are compact and fit neatly on a countertop.
The individual cups come with lids so you can make yourself a smoothie and take it on the road.
While personal blenders are geared toward making smoothies, they can also make salsa, sauces, dressings, pesto, and guacamole.
Personal blenders tend to be fairly affordable.
Compared to a full-size blender in the same price range, they're also quite powerful.
As the name suggests, these appliances are designed for personal use. They're not ideal if you're making food for the whole family.
Personal blenders usually have just two settings: on and off. This makes them less versatile.
Most personal blenders can tackle only cold food.
A full-size blender is an upright blender with a jug-like blending container. If you're blending for more than just yourself, a full-size blender would probably be the right choice.
Full-size blenders have larger capacities. They're appropriate if you're preparing food for more than one person.
You can blend both hot and cold foods in most upright blenders. Some have heating elements that will warm up your food, too.
Full-size blenders offer multiple speeds.
Some have pre-programmed settings to make the process even simpler.
High-powered models can be pricey.
Full-size blenders are large and may consume lots of counter space.
Countertop Blenders Features
Keep these features in mind when searching for a new countertop blender.
How much food do you want to prepare at once in your blender?
- Personal blenders have the smallest capacity of all: around 18 to 24 ounces. This is fine for an individual, but it's too small for a family.
- Full-size blenders are larger, but some are still bigger than others. We've seen them as small as 40 ounces and as large as 64 ounces.
Bigger might seem better, but buyer beware: It may be difficult to blend small amounts in an extra-large blender. For example, if you wanted to grind a handful of nuts, you might find that the ingredients just sit under the blades without blending properly.
The higher a blender's wattage, the more powerful it is.
- The most powerful blenders on the market exceed 1,500 watts. However, a blender with 1,200+ watts is considered to be a pro-grade appliance.
- Most home users will find a blender of 600 to 900 watts perfectly acceptable.
What do the extra watts in pro-grade appliances do? If you want to make homemade almond milk or perfectly smooth peanut butter with little to no oil, a high-powered blender could help you achieve this.
Additional Countertop Blenders Features
RPM stands for revolutions per minute. In the blender world, it refers to the number of times the blades turn a full circle in one minute.
- Most high-speed blenders achieve somewhere in the region of 20,000 to 30,000 RPM on their highest setting. This rate lends itself to silky smooth sauces and lump-free smoothies.
- That said, a good countertop blender can also function at a low RPM. For instance, some blenders dip as low as 400 RPM, allowing them to knead dough.
Ease of Cleaning
When cleanup time rolls around, nobody appreciates a blender with lots of hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. As such, we recommend a blender with detachable blades. That way, you won't end up with crusted debris that you can't easily remove.
Some blender reservoirs and lids are dishwasher safe. If you don't like washing your dishes by hand, you would probably appreciate this feature.
Different blenders offer different types and degrees of control.
- Some countertop blenders feature a lone dial that controls speed.
- Some units have full digital displays with a number of preset programs.
Some high-tech countertop blenders offer a number of preprogrammed settings that perform specific jobs. For instance, your blender may offer a "dough" setting or a "frozen drink" setting. With the press of a button, the blender automatically prepares your ingredients at the right speed for the right amount of time.
Countertop blender jugs are made of either plastic or thick glass.
- Plastic jugs are lighter and less likely to sustain damage. But they don't have the high-quality look of glass, and they may absorb food colors and odors.
- Glass jugs look great and have a sturdy, high-end feel to them. What's more, they won't be tainted by food color or odor. On the down side, glass jugs grow heavy when full, and they're more likely to crack or chip if dropped.
Some countertop blenders contain a heating element in the base. With this feature, you can enjoy piping hot soup without turning on your stove.
Countertop Blender Prices
$20 to $50
You could certainly buy a countertop blender in this range, but most of them aren't very powerful or durable. Unless you're on a strict budget — or you use your blender only once in a blue moon — we predict you'd find more success by advancing at least one step up in price.
$50 to $100
In this range, you can find some high-powered personal blenders that put out up to 1,200 watts and 25,000 RPM. In terms of full-size blenders, you might be able to find a good 1,000-watt machine.
$100 to $200
You'll find some respectable countertop blenders in this price range from well-known brands such as KitchenAid and Ninja. They might not be as powerful as some top-of-the-line appliances, but they would satisfy most people.
If you're able and willing to pay this much, you'll find yourself choosing from among the biggest and best brand names. Machines of this quality effortlessly pulverize nuts into nut butter and whip up green smoothies without so much as a fleck of unblended kale.
Tips for Using Your New Countertop Blender
Follow these tips to stay at the top of your blending game.
- While the pulse button can be used to chop foods, it can also dislodge food stuck under the blades. If something gets stuck, turn off the blender and press the pulse button a couple of times. The food should release, and you should be good to go.
- If you're blending hot soup, allow some steam to escape out the top. You can do this by removing the filler cap on your lid or halting the appliance and lifting the lid a few times. If steam can't escape, too much pressure could build up, causing a messy explosion.
- Place your liquid ingredients in the blender before your solids. The liquids will create a vortex that pulls the solids down toward the blades.
- If you're mixing solids with liquids, begin blending on "low" and gradually increase your speed. This helps the ingredients disperse more evenly.
Q. Do I need a high-powered blender?
A. Powerful, pro-grade blenders like the Vitamix are all the rage right now. But for most people, a high-powered blender is overkill. If you just want to make your own hummus or the odd breakfast smoothie, a standard model would do just fine. However, if you want to make your own nut butters or velvety smooth cashew cream, a high-powered blender would help you easily achieve these goals.
Q. What can I make in my countertop blender?
A. Here are just a handful of the delicious foods you could make in a blender.
- Almond milk
- Cashew cream sauce
- Salad dressing
- Fresh tomato sauce
- Nut butter
- Cake batter
- Oat flour (or other gluten-free flours)
Q. Can I crush ice and make frozen drinks in my blender?
A. If frozen drinks are your passion, look for a blender with an "ice crush" feature. If yours doesn't have one, then it may not be able to tackle ice. Attempting to crush ice with an ill-equipped blender will blunt the blades.