This will be the most expensive piece of equipment you will need to buy and is a worthwhile investment for your kitchen. While just about any blender will mix or blend your ingredients into a smoothie, there are some very important things to consider when choosing your blender. Making an informed choice in the beginning will give you the best results long-term and save you some frustration.
The best blenders are from Blendtec and Vitamix. They build and sell excellent blenders and if you have the budget to afford a blender from either company, you cannot go wrong. A quality blender from Vitamix or Blendtec can easily cost several hundred dollars, so if this is beyond your budget the good news is you can find an acceptable blender to get you started for much less.
There are certainly blenders that you can buy that are very inexpensive (cheap) for around $50, but you will find yourself replacing these blenders often, cleaning up messes and drinking poorly mixed smoothies. These cheap blenders wear out quickly and will struggle to make many smoothies in this book, particularly when ice is involved.
Blenders in the mid-range price of $75–$130 are going to be a better investment for your dollar. They have many of the characteristics you will require for making better smoothies. Blenders in this price range will provide most of the basics for making smoothies until you are ready for a top-of-the-line blender.
As we mentioned, Vitamix and Blendtec are the leaders in blender manufacturing; their blenders are built for commercial use. These machines will easily handle any smoothie recipe you can throw at them. These blenders will last for years, come with long warranties, and are meant for daily use. A blender you buy from Vitamix and Blendtec could easily be the last blender you buy.
Regardless of your price range, there are some characteristics your blender should have:
- Base: For stability, the blender should be heavy with a sturdy base, preferably made with metal.
- Motor: The motor should be at least 350–500 watts. This is a minimum and the more you can afford the better. Higher watts means more power for pureeing frozen fruits, frozen vegetables and ice.
- Speed Control: A variable speed control is helpful as it give you the ability to slowly increase your blade speed. We like a dial for maximum control, but at least three speeds should be available.
- Carafe: Your carafe (jug or pitcher) should be made from glass or a polycarbonate plastic. Many people would suggest glass over polycarbonate plastic, but for safety reasons we prefer polycarbonate plastic. The carafe should be square not circular; this provides better blending of ingredients
- Lids: Lids should be heavy and fit firmly in the carafe’s opening. Loose-fitting lids that don’t secure tightly will lead to cleanups. You don’t want to clean liquefied blueberry from your ceiling.
- Blade Assembly: This should be fixed to the carafe. Cleanup may not be as easy, but leaks are worse. The interlocking gears should be made of metal, not plastic.
- Accessories: A blender plunger can be your best friend and higher-end blenders come with one. You can use a wooden spoon, but be ready to buy a lot of wooden spoons. Never, ever use your fingers—they are much harder to replace.
What blender do we recommend? The Vitamix Super 5200 makes incredible smoothies and sounds like an airplane taking off with its 2-peak HP (1380 Watts) motor. We have yet to see it struggle with any smoothie recipe. This is a blender you have for a lifetime and then hand down to your children. We recommend it highly.