How We Tested Personal Blenders
Based on the results of previous Lab and home testing, we chose 20 personal blenders to purchase and evaluate side-by-side in our product Lab. We took extensive notes as we made the same three recipes in each model and performed a variety of other tests.
- Smoothie performance: We made two different smoothies in each blender. To test the ability to break up tough greens and fruit skins, we combined orange juice, kale, blueberries, and ice. We blended these on the smoothie setting (or the normal setting if there wasn’t one) for 30 seconds, then stopped to look at the texture before blending for 30 seconds more. The second test used banana, oat milk, peanut butter, date, and protein powder to evaluate how well the blenders could combine thick and pasty ingredients. We blended these for a minute, then in additional increments of 30 seconds until the mixture was as smooth as we could get it. We taste-tested all the smoothies sipped straight from a cup as well as through a straw.
- Chopping performance: We made a basic salsa in each blender, with identical mixes of onion, jalapeño, tomato, lime juice, and spices. Using four to six 1-second pulses, we tried to get the ingredients thoroughly mixed and evenly chopped while still remaining chunky. We poured the salsas into bowls to evaluate texture, and gave them all a taste-test for good measure, of course.
- Leak protection: Most of the blenders we tested include a leak-proof travel lid that attaches to the blender cup itself or to a separate drinking cup. We assessed these by filling the cups with water and sealing the lids, then knocking them over on a countertop to look for any leaks. We also let the cups lie on their sides for 5 minutes to see if any water dripped out over time.
Ease of cleaning: After each of the three blending tests, we disassembled and thoroughly washed and dried each blender following the manufacturer’s instructions. We noted whether there was sufficient room to access the area under the blades, and if any bits of kale or smears of peanut butter got stuck anywhere hard to reach.
Accessories and options: Personal blenders are often used for on-the-go meals, so the containers, lids, rings, and similar accessories included with each machine were an important consideration. (We also looked at whether other accessories are sold separately, and if so how much they cost.)
Value: After performing all of our other tests, we revealed the retail price of each blender to compare cost to performance across the full set of 16. The prices of the models we tested ranged from $23 to $180, with an average of $84.
About Our Testers
- Our Lab team has spent collective decades working in professional kitchens, developing recipes, and testing kitchen gear.
- Sharon Lehman, RDN, is the small appliance expert for The Spruce Eats. She’s a registered dietician nutritionist and also writes about health and wellness. She home-tested the Ninja Nutri Pro. She also tested the Cuisinart EvolutionX, a cordless model that didn’t make our final list, and the Blendjet 2, which initially made our list but has since been recalled due to safety risks.
- Amanda Lauren, who tested the Beast Blender at home, contributes to publications including Reader’s Digest, Forbes, and Real Simple. She is also the host of the Bougie Adjacent podcast.
- Tierney McAfee is an experienced lifestyle journalist who writes for The Spruce Eats along with People, NBC News, and more. She home-tested the Cuisinart Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System.
Other Options We Tested
- NutriBullet Pro 1000: This is the slightly more powerful cousin of our overall winner, NutriBullet’s 900-watt Pro. The extra 100 watts raise the price but don’t really do much for performance: The 1000 actually performed slightly worse than the 900 in our tests. This is a good blender, but there’s one from the same brand that’s better and cheaper.
- PopBabies Portable Blender: We tested four models of USB-charging portable blenders, and this one was notably at the bottom of the pile. The cheap machine had lots of trouble with kale and couldn’t handle full-sized ice cubes at all. (It comes with its own small-cube mold, which might have worked better but is a pain to have to deal with.) The battery could also only hold enough charge for four or five 20-second blending sessions, and the narrow opening makes it tough to clean, too.
- Tribest PB-350 Personal Blender: This blender is a little more expensive than average, and in our tests it did…fine. It left a few chunks in the smoothies, and we couldn’t get its travel lid to seal tightly. Those are minor negatives, but they aren’t outweighed by any special functions or accessories.
- Blendjet 2: Although this portable blender initially made our list for its convenient cordless design and decent performance, it has since been recalled due to safety risks.
What to Look for in a Personal Blender
Blender Cup Capacity and Quantity
How big is your morning smoothie? Do you like the idea of blending once and then portioning it into several cups, or do your family members have different flavor preferences? Look for a kit that’s the right size for you. Larger cups can, of course, blend more at once, but they’re less portable. Many personal blender models come with more than one small cup, which lets you make a kale smoothie and then a strawberry-banana one without having to wash everything out in between. (Most of the brands on our list sell additional blender cups, so you can buy extras if needed.) Keep in mind that some personal blenders are also compatible with Mason jars, giving you lots and lots of inexpensive options.
Lids and Accessories
Some personal blenders come with travel lids that screw right onto the cup, which is a lot more convenient than pouring the cup into a separate mug to get your smoothie into the car. Some screw-on lids even include a mug-style handle for easy gripping. Other blender models offer multiple sets of blades for chopping and grinding, while cordless models can charge their batteries via USB and don’t need a wall plug in the car or on the trail.
While wattage isn’t the perfect indicator of a blender’s effectiveness, it’s a pretty good hint. In general, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the appliance and the higher the price. If you typically blend softer foods like bananas and yogurt into liquid-heavy smoothies, you might not need as much power as someone who plans on blending dense vegetables, ice, and frozen fruits. Higher power can also mean that the blender will be noisier, which might be a consideration if you’re blending in the morning while your family’s still asleep or have an easy-to-wake infant.
How powerful are personal blenders?
In general, personal blenders aren’t as powerful as standard-sized blenders—more powerful motors are simply bigger and heavier—but there is some overlap: 1,000 watts is on the weaker end for a full-size blender and the stronger end for a personal one. On the other hand, the smoothies, sauces, and shakes you’d typically use a personal blender for don’t need extreme levels of power. Some budget-priced personal blenders have motors with as few as 200 watts, though cup and blade design can help do more with less power.
Can you put frozen fruit in a personal blender?
You can put frozen fruit in a personal blender, but the key to getting a smooth blend is adding the right ratio of liquid to frozen ingredients. Check the user manual for recommendations. If you find yourself ending up with unblended bits, try letting the frozen fruit sit out at room temperature for five to 10 minutes before blending to partially thaw. If that doesn’t help, you might need a more powerful blender.
Can a personal blender crush ice?
Some personal blenders are powerful enough to crush ice, which is a necessary feature if you like making icy coffee drinks, slushies, and frozen margaritas. Higher-wattage blenders will be better at crushing ice quickly, while weaker models will take too long to break up large cubes before they melt. Trying to crush ice in a low-end blender isn’t unsafe or anything, just ineffective.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie has used a veritable flock of blenders, from manual to hand blenders to a high-end Vitamix, that she tested for The Spruce Eats. To make sure she found the perfect personal blenders for everyday use, she spent hours doing even more research online to narrow down the list to the best of the best.
This roundup was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef, Sharon Lehman, a home cook and registered dietitian nutritionist,Allison Wignall, a writer who focuses on food and travel, and Jason Horn, a commerce writer at The Spruce Eats.