From smoothies to pesto: Seven blenders reviewed

Whether you're a casual home cook, a smoothie fanatic, or the next Gordon Ramsay, we've got the perfect blender for you.

Blenders are fun, but buying the wrong one is anything but. With countless models available at a wide range of price points, it can be hard to tell the upgrades from the downgrades. Are more watts always better? How much does the shape of the jar matter? Could a top-of-the-line blender be the smartest upgrade you'll ever make? The dumbest?

If your head spins just thinking about it, don't worry -- our handy blender roundup will help you find the perfect machine for your needs, whether you're looking to spend $50 or $500.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Blendtec Designer Series WildSide Blender
Will it blend? If you're using a Blendtec Designer Series WildSide Blender, the odds are in your favor. With 1,560 watts, more than any other blender we tested, this powerful little appliance is capable of blending everything from smoothies to cheese to Apple products, and its unique touch-screen controls make it look like something straight out of "Star Trek." It's hard not to like this blender, but at a retail price of $454.95, it also might be hard to afford it. Still, for blending large quantities of, well...whatever the heck you want, the Blendtec's about as good as it gets.

Read our full review of the Blendtec Designer Series WildSide Blender.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Breville Hemisphere Control Blender
There are a lot of blenders living in that middle ground of too cheap and too expensive -- if you're looking to hit that sweet spot with an upgrade, it can be hard to tell where to turn. Might we suggest the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender? At a price of $199, it yielded some of the most impressive results in our tests, even managing to keep up with the top-of-the-line Vitamix and Blendtec blenders in certain situations. Another plus: it was one of the quietest blenders we tested.

Read our full review of the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Cuisinart PowerEdge 1000 Watt Blender
The Cuisinart PowerEdge 1000 Watt Blender is the most powerful blender that Cuisnart offers (and at $199, its most expensive, too). Entering our tests, we certainly had high hopes for it, but unfortunately it found itself edged out by the equally priced Breville and Ninja blenders at almost every turn. We preferred the $50 cheaper KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender over it, too, and aren't even sure that the Cuisinart makes more purchasing sense than an over-achieving budget-blender like the $39 Hamilton Beach model that we tested.

Read our full review of the Cuisinart PowerEdge 1000 Watt Blender.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Hamilton Beach Smoothie Smart Blender
For basic blending -- smoothies, milkshakes, salsas, what have you -- you could do a lot worse than the $39 Hamilton Beach Smoothie Smart Blender. With a 48-ounce jar and better-than-you'd-expect performance, just call it the little blender that could. We didn't think we'd be able to get pesto out of it, for instance, but lo and behold, we got pesto. The same can be said of almond flour, whipped cream, and more -- with 700 watts, it's got just enough juice to surprise you. It won't knock your socks off, but it'll get the job done, and at a price like that, you really can't ask for much more.

Read our full review of the Hamilton Beach Smoothie Smart Blender.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender
At a price of $149, the KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender was the second most affordable blender that we tested, and it shined in our performance tests, too. With a classic, almost retro, look and more color options than a box of crayons, the Diamond might be the perfect blender for the style-oriented kitchen, but most importantly the thing blends like a champ. In our torture tests, it flat-out demolished a block of cheese, beating out the competition and leaving our jaws on the floor. Seriously, watch Katie's video and try not to be impressed when the cheese hits the fan.

Read our full review of the KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Ninja Ultima
If you want a powerful machine, but you aren't looking to spend upwards of $500, then the Ninja Ultima might be the blender for you. At $259, it's far more affordable than the Vitamix 7500 or the Blendtec Designer Series Wildside Blender, yet it can compete at their level, boasting 1,500 watts of power. We were impressed with its performance, especially when it came time to grind almonds down into almond butter -- the Ninja did it faster and better than any other blender. This Ninja also comes with two single-serving jar attachments, perfect for blending your morning smoothie straight into a sealable to-go glass. How clever is that?

Read our full review of the Ninja Ultima.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Vitamix 7500
The Vitamix 7500 is one of the newest offerings from one of the oldest and most respected blender manufacturers out there. With a 2.2 peak horsepower motor capable of spinning laser-cut, stainless steel blades at up to 37,000rpm, the Vitamix is easily one of the most powerful and capable blenders you can buy, and with its seven-year full warranty, it's one you'll be able to depend on for a long time. But that level of quality won't come cheap -- at an MSRP of $529, the Vitamix 7500 was the most expensive blender that we tested.

Read our full review of the Vitamix 7500.

About the author

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies, and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. He has a strong appreciation for nifty, well-designed tech that saves time, looks stylish, and/or helps him avoid burning his dinner quite so often. Ry lives in Louisville, KY.


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