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Braun PureMix JB7130BK review: Braun's PureMix is too weak

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The Good The Braun PureMix JB7130BK blender is sleek, compact and attractive. It has a large 56 ounce pitcher and runs quieter than competing models.

The Bad It lacks the power to blend difficult ingredients unless you give it some manual help. It uses a traditional blender design that's harder to clean and assemble than updated appliances. It doesn't come with a mixing spoon or tamper.

The Bottom Line Though it has sleek and attractive looks the compact Braun PureMix JB7130BK can't match the performance of other midrange blenders including the KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond.

5.6 Overall
  • Performance 5
  • Usability 5
  • Design 7
  • Features 6

With sleek styling, modern LED-lit controls plus a smattering of stainless steel, the $130 (£100 in the UK, roughly AU$174 in Australia) Braun PureMix ($67 at Amazon) JB7130BK certainly looks like it can blend up a storm on your kitchen counter. Unfortunately underneath its fancy chassis in an underpowered motor chained to an outdated blade and jar design. As a result the appliance struggles with difficult ingredients and it's harder to clean and assemble than it should be.

Because of these annoyances, you're better off spending a little more on the $149 KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender which may cut a 1950's-esque profile but is surprisingly capable for its price. The same is true of the $260 Ninja Ultima especially if you can find a good discount on a refurbished model.

Design and features

If you've spent time around kitchen blenders you know they tend to be large, heavy and loud. True beasts of the home appliance world, blenders such as the Ninja Ultima, KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond and Vitamix 7500 are all over 9 inches (24 cm) deep and eat up plenty of counter space. With heights of 17 inches (43.2 cm) or more, like Ninja's machine which towers 18 inches tall, they're hard to squeeze under low-lying cabinets. That's not the case with the Braun PureMix.

Standing 16 inches tall and spanning 6.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches deep, the PureMix is tiny by comparison. Tipping the scales at a scant 7.1 pounds (3.2 kg) the Braun blender is also much lighter than the Ninja Ultima (11.4 pounds, 5.19 kg), KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond (11 pounds, 5 kg), Vitamix 7500 ($460 at Amazon) (12.5 pounds, 5.7 kg), and Blentec Wildside (8.3 pounds, 3.8 kg). Of course the most monstrous blender we've taken for a spin to date is the KitchenAid Pro Line Series. Staggeringly massive, the Pro Line weighs 22 pounds (10 kg) and dwarfs them all.

What helps the PureMix appear even smaller are its sleek lines and smoothly tapered edges. This plus the blender's piano-black and stainless steel color scheme translate into an undeniably handsome appliance.

The Braun PureMix is sleek and compact for a blender.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The only physical button is a power button on the machine's front face. Running along the top lip of the blender is a membrane-style control panel. Here you'll find flat keys for "pulse", "crush ice", along with five speeds each labelled for its function. They start at a slow "stir" and "chop" and climb to "mix", "puree" and "liquify" at the blender's fastest mode. All keys are backlit in bright green when active.

The blade assembly sits inside the blender jar separated by a thin gasket.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Under its slick exterior, the PureMix is quite basic. The blender's jar and blade assembly are particularly old school. Just like classic blenders from decades past, the blades sit freely inside the jar's base separated from the food above by a thin O-ring gasket. By contrast the sturdy jars on the Blendtec Wildside, Ninja Ultima and KitchenAid Pro Line all have attached blades that connect their containers.

Performance and usability

I'm sorry to say the Braun PureMix's weak motor and old jar design didn't handle our gauntlet of blender tests well. Whether I asked the appliance to process soft, hard, wet or dry items the blender took its time to produce the final product. I also had to stop and remove the jar many times throughout blending to either hand mix, chop or prep my ingredients.

One bright spot, although this is likely a factor of its underpowered motor -- for a kitchen blender the PureMix is relatively quiet. By this I mean the machine emits a whine a few notches lower than the typical earth-shattering din made by many other blenders.

Some ice chunks remained unscathed.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Ice

The PureMix required 15 pulses on high speed mode to completely crush two cups of supermarket bag ice. It's an adequate result though far from stellar since powerful blenders can zip through the task in as little as 10 pulses. I don't recommend using the PureMix's "crush ice" setting since at the end of its 30 second automatic cycle, most of the ice in the top remained unchanged.

Smooth smoothies are possible but not without some mixing on your part.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Smoothies

Blending frozen strawberries and orange juice into drinkable smoothies isn't the PureMix's forte either. After a full 15 pulses on its highest setting, called "liquify", only the lower half of the pitcher's contents were smoothly blended. Ingredients in the top half, which were also out of blade reach, remained untouched.

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