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

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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.

7.2 Overall
  • Performance 8
  • Usability 5
  • Design 8
  • Features 7

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.

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.

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.

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.

Use the tamper to help keep things moving.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

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.