Welcome to the lump-free revolution – whether it’s nutritious smoothies, restorative soups or fun cocktails, the latest jug blenders will tackle them. It’s easy to see why a good blender is an essential addition to your kitchen.
For more expert advice on the gadgets to get, read our buying guide reviews
The latest models have moved on substantially from the lacklustre liquidisers of the past and now come packed with more power and innovative internal design than ever before. Never again will you find yourself sieving sauces or splashing money you don’t have on expensive smoothies. A good blender sat on the worktop might just change your life.
Why do I need a blender?
There’s just so much you can make with a blender, kitchen essential, just like their culinary cousin, the stand mixer. As well as the obvious smoothies and soups, you can create dips, spreads, sauces, milkshakes, nut butters and pestos. Those with a sweet tooth can quickly whip up brownie mixture, mousses, waffle batter, sorbets and ice cream.
A versatile blender can take you through from breakfast to dinner, and from spring to winter, mixing, blitzing, milling and whipping. Importantly, it will save you time and mess in the kitchen.
How much should I spend on a blender?
How much you spend depends on what you want your blender to be able to do. The good news is that if you’re on a tight budget, you can find a decent, basic blender for under £50. Its motor may have less power than more expensive models and the features will be limited – but it should still be able to handle everyday tasks.
Spend more than £100 and you’ll get a better choice of attachments and extra blades, usually a glass jug or a thermally resistant plastic one, and more choice of speeds and programmes. At the other end of the scale are premium blenders that have evolved from those found in professional kitchens.
These blenders will be far more powerful, sometimes enough to gently heat the contents. These blenders frequently come with a price tag upwards of £500.
Best blenders 2021
1. Vitamix A2300i blender
Best blender overall
Dimensions: 43.2 x 20.3 x 27.9cm
Power: 1440 watts
Reasons to buy: Incredibly versatile, large 2L jug, smooth results
Reasons to avoid: With a hefty price tag, you may want a cheaper alternative
For those whose blender budget is more generous than most, it’s worth considering a Vitamix. That’s because its models are made for more than just blending.
The Ascent 2300i, for example, can be used to make your own butter (no churning by hand, yet all of the wow factor at your next dinner party), dips, nut butters, mayonnaise, non-dairy milks, hot soup from scratch without a pan in sight, bread and pasta dough, wholegrain flours, baby food and frozen desserts – essentially, almost anything you could make in a food processor.
To which end, it’s built with a more durable construction than you’d expect your average blender to have. There’s a large base to find space for in your kitchen, plus a two-litre plastic jug with a wide spout that manages to be both lightweight yet sturdy and a secure push-on lid that prevents leaks.
And while there aren’t any programmes, the Ascent 2300i doesn’t lack options – 10 speeds plus a pulse button mean you can scroll between gentle liquefying and pulverisation.
Other points of difference are a comprehensive recipe book, a tamper to nudge frozen ingredients towards its blades and an on-off switch so it’s not accidentally flicked into life. In testing, it made a smoothie that was completely lump and fleck-free in about a minute, staying steady on the worktop even at the highest speed. Its count-up timer on the front came in especially handy for keeping an eye on blending times.
Similarly, it took a minute to blend cooked ingredients into smooth soup and 6 mins 30 to blend and heat using the friction of its blades. A few pulses were all that was required to crush ice, and it cleaned easily after messy jobs by using water and washing-up liquid, with the mixture even reaching the lid for a thorough clean.
An investment appliance but one that’ll prove its worth.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
2. Sage Super Q
Best quiet blender
Type: Plastic carafe and cup
Dimensions: 21 x 46 x 27cm
Power: 2400 watts
Reasons to buy: Powerful motor, quieter average noise, simple controls
Reasons to avoid: Big price tag
Putting off making your morning smoothie for fear of waking the whole household, or even the neighbours? The Super Q is here to save the day. While blending is never going to be a quiet activity, this speedy, commercial-grade machine does its best to dampen the usual racket, and, importantly, the sound it does make is less of a jarring whine – because it’s often the pitch that’s a blender bugbear as much as the volume.
However, it’s not just noise suppression that makes this blender an asset – it’s also the breadth of programmes, versatility and efficiency. In the box you’ll find a good-sized two-litre jug with a lid that clips firmly into place, a 700ml cup with removable blades and a lid that you can use to blend shakes or smoothies, tamper, spatula, and a sleek silver base unit.
The controls are devilishly simple to get the hang of – there are five programmes at the push of a button, such as green smoothie, frozen dessert or soup (designed to heat up ingredients rather than blend already hot soup), plus a manual dial for ramping up through 12 speed settings and an LCD screen showing count up or count down times.
What’s especially clever though, is that the jug is compatible with the separate Vac Q pump, which enables you to suck the air out before blending. In our tests, this resulted in far less froth in a fruit and veg smoothie and noticeably velvety butternut squash soup, heated in less than six minutes (although this was noisy).
The smooth textures also owe a lot to both sets of blades, which feature serrated knives and are powered by a mighty 2400W motor.
A final reason to love it is its frozen food and ice-crushing abilities – it transformed cubes into snow in about 30 seconds (the programme lasts a minute), which was easily scraped out. The only downside is the price – but if other blenders are leaving you disappointed or deafened, the Super Q is a superhero solution.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
3. NutriBullet Rx
Best blender for smoothies
Type: Plastic carafe/cups
Dimensions: 36.2 x 21.8 x 46 cm
Power: 1700 watts
Reasons to buy: Great value, lots of accessories, make soup quickly
Reasons to avoid: Blades aren’t dishwasher safe
Fans of the original Nutribullet looking to upgrade to something with more oomph will love the Rx. While some bullet blenders can leave behind flecks (of leafy greens, for example) the Rx uses its 2.3hp/1700W motor to create a flawlessly smooth consistency. Inside its blade unit, you’ll find four angled blades that screw into an oversized or short cup for smoothies or its Souperblast pitcher.
This comes with a vented lid, so you can use a special programme to blitz veggies into hot soup in only seven minutes. There’s no on or off button or speed settings. The Rx adjusts automatically to the contents and for the right amount of time – just drop the cup onto the base. In tests, it effortlessly blitzed smoothies using seeds and nuts. It easily tackled black treacle and broccoli too, all of which were thoroughly blended.
This super blender then made piping hot soup from vegetables and pre-made stock. It’s worth noting that it won’t brown ingredients, so some may need cooking beforehand. It was also used to blend creamy nut butter from almonds and oil.
One downside is that the blades aren’t dishwasher-safe, so you’ll need to clean out any residue by hand. Also, the cups are bulky to drink from directly and the kit it comes with doesn’t have an obvious way to stack it for storage.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
4. Magimix Power Blender
Best blender for one-touch programmes
How much blending is too much? If you’re the sort of person who feels like you’re always second-guessing your appliance or over-processing, meet the Power Blender. It comes with five auto programmes (one of which is a time-saving self-cleaning setting) that help take the effort out of blitzing ice, smoothies, desserts and soups, alongside four speeds plus pulse for when you want more control.
There’s also a recipe book in the box that gives you an idea of what you can make with it, and a spatula to help nudge stubborn ingredients towards the blades.
On the design front, it’s everything you’d expect from Magimix – clearly labelled buttons and a dial, a choice of three classic finishes, easy drop-on jug, and a good balance between sturdy and stylish. However, there are some quirks to be aware of, such as 1.8-litre glass jug. It’s heavy even without anything in it, so pouring out accurately can be tricky.
The push-on, pull-off lid can also be stubborn at first, and there’s a max run time of a minute. Beyond this, there’s a lot to love – the jug splits apart for cleaning, it’s all dishwasher-safe and you can blend soup that’s still relatively hot (up to 60 degrees C) so you don’t have to wait long after cooking.
Its smoothie programme, which was a gradual ramping up of speed, followed by low then high, took about 30 seconds to whiz through a fruit and veg smoothie. There was no trace of leafy greens left and the blend was beautifully consistent.
Its cleaning programme using warm water and washing-up liquid left the jug spotless with some residue remaining around the lid. It also crushed ice into snow in seconds while its auto programme turned hot chunky vegetable broth into silky smooth soup in just over a minute.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
5. KitchenAid Artisan Power Blender Plus
Best blender for power
Dimensions: 44.9 x 26.7 x 23.1cm
Power: 1800 watts
Reasons to buy: Excellent design, produces great smoothies
Reasons to avoid: Very noisy
If the smoothest of smoothies is a priority, the Artisan Power Plus blender will deliver. Equipped with a peak 3.5hp motor and billed as the most powerful blender available, it liquefies everything from frozen fruit to nuts and grains.
There’s a choice of 11 speeds plus high or low pulse and three programmes for juice, smoothies and soups, plus a self-cleaning option. Its 2.6-litre blender jug is superbly designed – made from BPA-free dishwasher-safe plastic, it has a dual-wall construction so the exterior doesn’t become hot even when it’s heating soup. Inside the blender are four heavy duty 3mm-thick angled blades.
On top, a vented lid lets out steam, while a tamper comes in handy for solid food. The blender power cable also detaches for storage. Available in three glossy shades, the Artisan Power Plus blender is beautifully designed and rightly so – at 9.4kg, lifting it in and out of a cupboard would be a chore.
It’s more of an investment than your average blender, so you’d need to get lots of use out of it to justify the cost. It’s also an exceptionally noisy blender – anything over speed 7 may have you fleeing the kitchen. However, in tests, it gave a peerless performance with smoothies, soup and ice.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
6. Philips HR3652
Best blender for smoothies and soups
Dimensions: 21.6 x 43 x 31.6 cm
Power: 1400 watts
Reasons to buy: Fine blending, dishwasher-safe
Reasons to avoid: Speed settings are unnumbered
Most of us could probably do with eating more fruit and veg. Proven to motivate you into upping your five-a-day is the 1,400W Avance blender, which will turn unpalatable vegetables into smoothies and soups with ease. Its makers claim it produces 50% finer blending than a previous model – which is great news for the fruit and veg-phobic. For its price, it brings a lot to the table.
This blender has a two-litre glass jar with 1.5-litre working capacity, 13 speeds plus pulse, two one-minute programmes for smoothies and ice crushing. It has cable storage and a spatula that inserts through the lid to move contents around.
The manual speeds are only marked min to max without numbers between, so it’s more difficult to reproduce a recipe if you’ve already found the perfect setting. It also can’t be used for more than three minutes at a time. In tests, it turned a couple of handfuls of ice cubes into snow and made a fruit and veg smoothie, both using the dedicated programmes.
The smoothie was consistently blended, though some traces of pear grit and a little texture remained. The jug and blades split apart for cleaning and it’s all dishwasher-safe.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
7. Cookworks 1.5L Jug Blender
Best basic blender
Dimensions: 41.4, 16.4, 22cm
Power: 500 watts
Reasons to buy: Value for money, compact
Reasons to avoid: Not dishwasher safe
Proving that affordable doesn’t mean having to make too many compromises, this basic blender should prove to be a hard worker in your kitchen. Plus points include three speeds with a pulse for more control over blitzing.
It’s relatively compact, with four sucker feet on the base that clung to our worktop when we attempted to move it – so it’s almost guaranteed not to shift when in operation.
Where you will have to compromise is that it’s not dishwasher safe – and getting the blades spotless by hand means you’ll have to be careful – and blending soups. Even though the jug is made from plastic, the lid isn’t vented, meaning any soup will have to cool to room temperature before blitzing.
There’s also a maximum run time of a minute, which could limit your blending horizons, and no guidance as to what speed to use for different foods. One other concern is the flat base of the blender, which sometimes made it tricky to seat on the base without trapping fingers.
In testing, we found that our fruit and veg smoothie wasn’t as consistent as the same recipe made in other models. As well as noticeable texture, there were visible pieces of fruit skin and leaves after a minute of blending on top speed. This may be because during blending, the vortex wasn’t quite strong enough to suck the contents on the surface down towards the blades.
Ice crushing using the pulse also took longer than expected, about 30 presses of the button, and some larger shards remained at the end. That said, given the good performance with other tasks, such as batter and cooled soup, it’s still an excellent option for those on a limited budget.
Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars
8. Ninja CT660UKV
Best blender for froth-free smoothies
Dimensions: 435 x 170 x 210 mm
Power: 1100 watts
Reasons to buy: Vacuum cup reduces foam, sleek design
Reasons to avoid: Hard to wash
Powerful blenders can turn tough fruit and veg into yummy smoothies but all that whizzing makes for a foamy drink. Enter the vacuum pump – designed to suck the air out of the jug or cups before the high-speed action begins. This incorporates fewer bubbles in the process, so you can pour out a silky-smooth beverage.
The other benefit of using a vacuum is better colour retention (so the green doesn’t turn to sludge brown as quickly). And, unlike some vacuum-compatible blenders, Ninja’s Smart Screen Blender comes with the pump and enough batteries to run it.
It’s not just the vacuum pump that makes this a good buy for smoothie fans either. Concealed within the base unit is an 1100W motor, which gives the stacked six-blade assembly of the jug enough power for its smoothie, purée, frozen drink or ice cream programmes.
You can also blend smoothies directly in a pair of on-the-go cups using a screw-in blade tool, and there are high, low and pulse speed options.
What we especially liked about the Smart Screen Blender was its sleek buttonless control panel: it was easy to wipe it clean, with nowhere for mess to hide, and when the machine was off, it was completely blank.
Its performance was also good – our smoothies only had small flecks of spinach and berries remaining and had a bright, vivid colour. Blending them was very loud but only took just over a minute. However, the vacuum process adds on about another 20 seconds for the cups and a minute for the jug, so may not be suitable for busy mornings.
Plus, while all the parts are dishwasher-safe, we found that cleaning by hand was awkward – there’s no brush for the stacked blade assembly and it’s hard to wash thoroughly without coming into contact with sharp edges.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
How to buy the right blender for you
1. Check how powerful your blender is
The wattage can work as a guide but higher doesn’t always mean a better blender. Take into account additional features that it uses to process food thoroughly, such as jug and blade design. A blender’s power can sometimes be displayed in horsepower (746W = 1hp) instead of watts. While basic liquidisers sufficed with two blades, most modern jug blenders will have at least four, sometimes with mini blades nestled around the stack. They’re usually angled, which helps them to whisk up pieces from the bottom of the jug and create a vortex to drag blender contents down from the top.
2. Check blender settings and speeds
Basic models tend to have just a few speeds while more feature-packed models will have several. Both will usually feature a pulse option for quick bursts of speed. You can also find blenders with programmes for blitzing specific foods, such as soup, ice crushing, smoothie, pureé and frozen desserts. A cleaning programme is another handy option, allowing you to clean the jug in-situ by running it filled with water and washing-up liquid.
3. Check blender materials
The blender jug itself will be made from either glass or plastic. Glass tends to be sturdier and less likely to become scratched but a good quality BPA-free plastic, such as Tritan, is a smart choice. This is because it’s strong yet lighter than glass, which can make all the difference if you’re lifting a heavy jug of soup. Jugs vary in total capacity and working capacity (ie how much they can safely blend without the contents trying to escape). This is usually lower for hot liquids. A 1.6-litre jug should cover most everyday blending but to be able to get the most of out of your blender, look for around two litres.
4. Check blender practicality
Look for blender jugs that have two-part lids, too, so you can add food or liquid as it blends. This is ideal for making sauces that can easily split, such as mayonnaise, or when processing hot food, so steam can be released.
5. Check for extras
The lids may include small measuring cups. Some blenders have additional milling and grinding blades (which can be used for seeds, nuts and sometimes coffee beans), mini containers for mincing smaller amounts of food, personal blender cups and even food processor bowls. Another useful blender accessory is a tamper. This fits through the lid of the blender so you can move solid chunks of food, such as frozen fruit, towards the blades.
What other key questions do I need to ask about blenders?
Are blenders easy to clean?
You’ll get more use out of a blender that’s easy to clean, so look for those where all the removable parts are dishwasher safe. Some blender jugs will split apart so that the blades can be safely cleaned separately and more thoroughly. If the jug has fixed blades, it can be difficult to clean around them by hand, so always use a brush.
Are blender noisy?
All blenders will be noisy, though some more than most. The pitch can differ from blender to blender, too, meaning that some noises, while not louder, are more annoying than others. If possible, try before you buy.
Will my small kitchen accommodate a blender?
Blender cables can be substantial, so look for machines with built-in storage to prevent the flex getting out of hand. Unless you’re buying a machine that you’re happy to have on display on the worktop, your blender will probably live in a cupboard. If so, choose one that can be easily dismantled, is light enough for you to lift in and out and won’t take up too much storage room.