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Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender review: This blender brings the noise, and the power

It's not quick or stealthy, but this sleek-looking midrange blender keeps up with costly competition.

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Andrew Gebhart
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Andrew Gebhart

Senior Producer

Andrew loves writing about cool, futuristic technology. He's reviewed everything from vacuum cleaners to beer brewing robots in pursuit of the perfect smart home. He wants the smart home to make him feel powerful, and it's getting there.

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4 min read

The Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender hopes to compete with the high-powered stalwarts of the blending world -- such as Vitamix and Blendtec -- for less. It draws its name not from trying to evoke a law firm, but from the celebrity trainer behind it -- Harley Pasternak -- and Canadian appliance manufacturer Salton.

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7.2

Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender

The Good

The Salton Harley Pasternak Blender does the job of high-powered machines that cost twice as much, and with style.

The Bad

You'll need extra patience to use this blender, as it takes longer to complete tougher tasks than similarly powered blenders from Vitamix, Blendtec or Ninja. It's also loud, so you can't just turn it on and ignore it while it works.

The Bottom Line

If you have patience and earplugs, the Salton Harley Pasternak blender fulfills its promise to make powerful blending affordable.

After putting the Salton blender to the test, I'll attest to its power. It turned almonds into almond butter, made pesto and pulverized a block of cheese. It just took awhile to complete each of those tasks, and it's loud enough that you can't reasonably ignore it while it works. It's successful in that it does offer a viable alternative to Vitamix and Blendtec for less, but I'd recommend the better performing $260 Ninja Ultima over it. The only reason to pick this Salton blender over the Ultima is if you like the design -- you can pick from several color options.

Salton Harley Pasternak Blender stirs up a lot of noise

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Cumbersome and competent

Perhaps I've been spoiled by modern blenders such as the Ninja Auto-IQ which lets you remove the blades to easily reach the bottom of the jar, but I found the clover-shaped jar and fixed bottom of the Salton Harley Pasternak blender difficult to use. Cleaning is easy enough -- fill the jar with hot water and a couple of drops of soap, and clean it with a quick blend.

Blend anything thick, though, and you'll have trouble scraping food out from under the blades. In particular, after both the almond butter test and the block of cheese test, it took me upward of 10 minutes to try to get all of the food out of the jar, and I ended up quitting on it and washing edible clumps down the drain just so I could move on with my life.

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The shape of the jar makes it tough to scrape out ingredients.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Given that the blender takes awhile to complete just about any task, spending extra time excavating the jar grated on my nerves, as did the sound of the machine while it ran. Especially at high speed, the Salton Harley Pasternak is the loudest blender I've tested.

The $40 Hamilton Beach Smoothie Smart or the $90 Nutri Ninja are the best options if you just want to blend a smoothie. The appeal of the Harley Pasternak becomes clearer as you turn to more difficult tasks.

It looks the part of a high-powered blender. It's tall and a little bulky, but I like the red finish and simple controls. Plus, again, you can pick your color from several different options.

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Use the tamper to help keep things moving.

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Included in the box is a to-go cup and a tamper. You can't blend right in the to-go cup as you can with the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go or the Ninja Ultima, so the Salton blender doesn't have any exceptional features. About the only thoughtful extra it has it a cord wrapper on the bottom of the base.

You can buy the $250 Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender from Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Ace Hardware. It's also available in Canada at a number of small appliance retailers. It's not available overseas.

Slow and steady

With a 1,500-watt motor at its disposal, an all-metal drive and eight stainless blades, four of which have a sawtooth edge, the Salton Blender has the power to keep up with high-caliber competition. By comparison the $450 Blendtec Designer Series Wildside Blender has 1,560 watts, and the $529 Vitamix 7500 comes in with a 1,440-watt motor.

The 67.6-ounce jar (2 liters) has helpful measuring lines in liters and ounces, and the filler cap twists off so you can add ingredients mid blend or use the tamper to keep things moving.

Once I started using the Power Blender, the responsiveness of the speed dial impressed me and the clover-shaped jar with the curved bottom does keep things flowing most of the time.

Here's a look at how it performed on our tests. We ran it through the gauntlet with basic tasks like chopping ice and mixing a smoothie to stress tests like pulverizing a block of cheese and breaking down whole almonds into almond butter. On each test, it reached the finish line, eventually.

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It worked through 2 cups of ice eventually. The Salton blender pulverized the ice near the blades immediately, but took awhile to work through to the cubes on top of the pile.

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The pancake batter test showed the problem -- food can get stuck along the edges of the clovers and under the blades. For the most part, though, the Salton blender keeps things moving well.

Chris Monroe/CNET
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The Salton blender impressed me on the pesto test. It still took awhile. Ninja and Vitamix models can finish the same test in 15 to 20 pulses. The Salton blender took a couple of minutes and I needed to vary the speeds to help it snag the spinach leaves.

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The final result, though, was uniform and creamy.

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When we first tried the almond butter test, the blender started smoking and shed some plastic. Fortunately, we found no plastic in the jar itself, just on the outside. And we tried to replicate the problem on a new unit and couldn't.

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The second time we tried the test, the Salton blender successfully turned almonds into almond butter. It needed around 18 minutes for the task, though, and I had to help it by stirring frequently. High-end Vitamix, Blendtec and Ninja models do the same task in less than 10 with less interference.

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The verdict

The Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender is loud, slow, attractive, and competent. Most importantly, for $250 it'll blend anything you throw into its sizable 67.6-ounce jar with its 1,500-watt motor. So it can do the same stressful processing and grinding tasks of the $529 Vitamix 7500 and the $450 Blendtec Designer Series Wildside Blender for much less.

The only reason I don't recommend it more universally is the $260 Ninja Ultima, which offers faster blending at a similar value. Still, the Salton blender is worth a look if you're a Harley Pasternak fan or like the variety of color options. It's a fine machine at a reasonable price. So if you're willing to add a dash of patience to any recipe you'd like to blend, the Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender makes for a fine buy.

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7.2

Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender

Score Breakdown

Performance 8Usability 5Design 8Features 7