(Consumer Reports) -- A great blender can add variety to your diet by letting you whip up smoothies and icy drinks, purée soups, and even make ice cream. But do you need to spend a lot to get a great one? Consumer Reports tested more than 50. Along with the usual Cuisinarts and KitchenAids, testers evaluated Food Network star Sandra Lee’s $45 blender, the $60 Ninja, and the $130 blender from Bon Appétit. On the high end, a Blendtec and two Vitamix blenders were also sized up.
Blenders are one of those appliances that can do a bunch of different tasks, but performance varies, so Consumer Reports really puts them through their paces. Testers crush ice and run the blenders for 20 seconds to see how uniform and snow-like the end results are. They also purée soup and make piña coladas.
The Bon Appétit blender didn’t deliver on frozen drinks. But far worse was Sandra Lee’s blender. It could barely crush ice, and there were whole ice cubes left in the piña coladas! Sandra Lee’s blender had the lowest overall score out of every tested model.
As for the $450 and $600 Vitamix blenders, both did an excellent job in all of Consumer Reports’ tests. Vitamix has one of the more active online communities and people are really passionate about the blenders, but you don’t need to spend that much to get a really great blender.
For far less, the super-versatile $60 Ninja Master Prep Professional aced the tests, too—puréeing smooth soups and mixing up a great icy drink. Consumer Reports also recommends the $100 KitchenAid model number KSB565. Though it wasn’t as good at puréeing as the Ninja blender, it offers a glass container instead of plastic, five speeds, and sleek touchpad controls.