We're calling it: The must-have kitchen appliance is not a trendy air fryer or an Instant Pot (although we love those, too). It's much more basic. What you need in your kitchen right now is — quite simply — a great blender.
It's a serious game changer for making smoothies and soups, whipping up a quick pesto or simple sauce, doubling as a food processor, and so much more. Because a blender truly is a cornerstone kitchen appliance, we took it upon ourselves to test out some of the most popular, top-rated blenders to see which models live up to the hype.
The Best Blenders of 2021
- For Creamy, Dreamy Smoothies: Vitamix 5200 Blender
- Most Efficient Design: KitchenAid K400 Countertop Blender
- Lower-Cost Vitamix Rival: Ninja Professional Blender
- Best Travel Blender: Oster My Blend Travel Blender
- The Queen of Convenience: NutriBullet Pro
- Best for Blending Hot Liquids: Instant Ace Plus Blender
- Best Blending Combo: NutriBullet Countertop Blender Combo
How We Chose
While researching the best blenders, we scoured reviews from Amazon consumers and also cross-checked other expert sources including Good Housekeeping and Business Insider. In finalizing our list, we also kept the below criteria in mind:
- Noise: How loud is this blender?
- Footprint: How much space does this blender take up?
- Versatility: What is this blender best for? Smoothies, frozen drinks, etc.? Are there any limitations on what it can do?
- Special Features: Any extra bells and whistles? Can it blend hot liquids? Can it crush ice? Can it double as a food processor?
In addition to the above testing criteria, we also asked editors to provide feedback on their favorite and least favorite features, as well as their thoughts on how these blenders performed in comparison with their older models.
More than 50 smoothies, 20-plus hours of testing, and a few batches of frozen margaritas later, here are the best blenders of 2021 to jump-start those healthy eating goals.
For Creamy, Dreamy Smoothies
The cult-favorite Vitamix 5200 is surprisingly quiet given its powerful 120-volt motor. Best suited for homes versus small apartments (with equally small kitchens), the Vitamix 5200 weighs just over 10 pounds and has a fairly sizable footprint.
If you make smoothies on the regular, and especially smoothies that incorporate leafy greens or frozen berries and fruit, this blender will be a game changer for your daily routine. As our tester Christine Anderson said, “I’ve been a smoothie queen since getting the Vitamix 5200! They’re so much creamier than my previous blender and the tamper (the rod-shaped food pusher) is literally a life-changer.”
The Vitamix can also be used to blend soup, make nut butters and non-dairy milk, knead pizza dough, make baby food, and it even acts as a food processor. You can mince garlic, chop carrots, shred potatoes, and grate hard cheeses with it. A multitasker!
Most Efficient Design
This KitchenAid model is quite powerful at 110 volts, and it's definitely on the louder side, especially if you live in a smaller apartment. This blender also has a larger footprint, as its base is both hefty and heavy. Recommended for larger kitchens with ample counter space, this blender is incredibly versatile yet cumbersome, so keep its size in mind.
Designed with a single, user-friendly dial that controls the speed and veracity of the blades, this KitchenAid blender is ideal for making smoothies, crushing ice, whipping frozen fruits, and mixing protein powders without gunking them up.
Our tester Scott Simone also pointed out that he loved the contoured shape at the bottom of this blender, which keeps everything flowing to the blades so they keep spinning. This shape also makes this blender super easy to clean.
Lower-Cost Vitamix Rival
This Ninja Professional Blender gets our seal of approval as a more affordable Vitamix alternative. Priced well below $100, the Ninja is actually quite versatile for ice crushing, blending, pureeing, and controlled food processing. This blender does make some rumbling noise, especially when crushing ice or frozen fruit.
Although this blender takes up a precious foot of counter space, its modern silver-and-black aesthetic makes it seamlessly blend into virtually any modern kitchen. Our tester Bridget Clegg used this blender most for smoothies with frozen fruit, spinach, almond milk, and protein/collagen powder and noted that it blends smoothies in 20 seconds with only a few rogue spinach leaves left at the top of the pitcher.
With its 64-ounce capacity beaker and powerful 1,000-watt motor, this Ninja blender can also be used to make hot concoctions — like hot coffee and almond milk — 0r to whip up a froth, tomato bisque, and other types of soups.
Best Travel Blender
With an average noise level, given its less-powerful 400-watt motor, this Oster Travel Blender is ideal for individuals making smoothies on the go for pre- or post-workout nutrition. It's also a steal at under $30, making this a great budget-friendly pick.
This blender is designed for personal use and single-serving formats. Our tester Latifah Miles was able to blend ice-based drinks with big cubes of ice, as well as smoothies with frozen fruit. As Miles noted: “The only limitation that I found was that the shape made it a bit more difficult for it to properly blend if the mixture was on the thicker side. Also, thinner drinks tended to leak through the sealed top (I tried to blend hot chocolate for some reason). But it’s perfect for smoothies and frozen drinks.”
We love that you can blend a smoothie or protein drink and pop the top on to take it on the go and drink from it. This smaller blender is perfect for a smoothie fanatic or a protein-shake junkie who loves that daily drink but hates the multiple dishes and cups.
The Queen of Convenience
Another smaller and lightweight blender that's ideal for single servings, the NutriBullet packs tons of versatility into a compact footprint. This is a pretty straightforward yet incredibly reliable personal smoothie blender with some food-processing capabilities. This blender comes in a literal rainbow of fun colors to choose from, and the under-$100 price point really can't be beaten. This blender has a moderate noise level but won't wake the neighbors.
This 900-watt personal blender is best for cold liquids, though NutriBullet just launched a full-sized countertop blender that can blend hot liquids (keep reading!) Our tester Scott Simone was also able to blend up a mean pesto using this appliance, which adds even more versatility.
Best for Blending Hot Liquids
If you're looking for a blender that can be used to blend both hot and cold liquids, we recommend the Instant Pot Ace. The one-touch buttons make it easier than ever before to make smoothies, hot soups, margaritas, dips, nut butter, salsa, and more. This blender has four hot-blend and four cold-blend settings, which make it super versatile.
We will point out that this blender is quite loud given its mighty 1,300-watt motor, but the selection of presets functions on a timer, which gives users the freedom to simply tap a preset button and walk away.
The large 54-ounce pitcher is a bit cumbersome, so it ends up being pretty tall when stacked on top of the base for storage. Our tester Zarah Kavarana was particularly amazed by its soup function that cooks, stirs, and blends all ingredients into one uniform mixture.
As Kavarana pointed out, “you can walk away for 20 minutes and return to deliciously silky soups and luscious broths without ever needing to touch the stove.”
This blender can also easily crush ice (it makes a killer margarita), and it can fully incorporate cubes into a smoothie without leaving chunks floating adrift in the liquid.
Best Blender Combo
This NutriBullet blender is fairly noisy, but this just shows how much power its 1,200-watt motor has. Footprint-wise, this blender is definitely bigger than a KitchenAid or Cuisinart and might not be the best option for apartment living — but if you live in a home with some counter space, it’s a solid product that works very well.
Our tester Erica Murphy used the NutriBullet Blender mostly for smoothies and frozen drinks, and she found that it had zero trouble blending full ice cubes. While she didn’t try making any hot foods with it, she noted that the brand claims that the pitcher can also handle heat.
Perhaps our favorite feature of this blender is how easy it is to clean — it comes with just a simple base and easy-to-rinse pitcher that is dishwasher-friendly. The base also has suction cups to keep everything in place, so this blender feels super sturdy during use.