How the test was made
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. Our blender tests were carried out by an inspired foodie and gadget nerd. All models have been tested by preparing many different dishes under the same conditions – smoothies, soups, spreads and crushed ice. Some tests were repeated several times. When evaluating the results, we used a jury consisting of several people. We also had children use the products. We tested the noise level and how easy it is to clean the blender. We have carefully reviewed user manuals and guarantees. We also spoke to employees of juice bars to benefit from their experience of different models.
We evaluated the promises made by the manufacturers; for example how quickly ice can be crushed. All models have been tested over a longer period, and some have been tested over several years. We retain the models that perform best for long-term testing and continuously add updates to our reviews.
In our assessment we have focused on the following areas:
Functionality and performance: How many pre-set programmes does the blender have, and how strong is the motor? How well does the blender do what it's intended for? Are smoothies smooth? What about hummus or sweetcorn dip? Is it easy to crush ice?
Ease of use: How easy to use is the blender? Are the buttons and controls easy to understand and use? How easy it is to clean and does it take up a lot of space? Is the blender so noisy that it'll wake the neighbours? How safe is the blender for children to use? How long is the cable and is there a cable winder?
Quality and design: How well designed is the blender? How much stress can it cope with, both in terms of vibrations and temperature? How long can you run the blender without it overheating? Has it been manufactured from high quality, non-toxic materials? What guarantee does it have?
We have given each blender a score according to its value for money, in other words how good it is at each task in relation to the price tag. We thus have higher expensive of an expensive product than a cheaper one, and vice versa.
Well-known French brand Magimix was founded in 1970s, and their blender is simply called Le Blender. On the UK market, it's available in steel, chromium, black and orange. Le Blender has the majority of functions and characteristics you'd expect: a stable design, pre-set programmes, a pulse function, a blender rod – and it's also easy to operate. One advantage of the blender rod is that it's designed like a spatula, which makes it easier to scrape out the jug, for example if you've been making pesto. The jug is made of thick glass, and the motor unit is well balanced, which means that the blender remains stable during operation. The jug is quite heavy, but the height of 24 cm makes it easy to store.
In tests, the Magimix performs extremely well. The only disappointment is the smoothie programme of 60 seconds, which runs on a relatively low speed and therefore leaves lots of pieces in the smoothie. The majority of people naturally want a completely smooth smoothie, so it's better to run it on full speed instead. Another weakness with Le Blender is that the noise level is somewhat higher than on the majority of other models. In our tests, it was measured at 90 dB at a distance of 20 cm. This is OK, but not great. One thing to remember with the Magimix Le Blender is that you can unscrew the bottom of the jug. This makes it easier to clean it properly. But occasionally during our tests the bottom wasn't screwed on sufficiently tightly after cleaning, with the consequence that we ended up with smoothie all over the kitchen worktop. The Magimix Le Blender is extremely well designed and is an effective kitchen appliance that the real gadget nerd will love.
Blendtec are extremely well-known among kitchen equipment firms and are also known for their YouTube series "Will it blend?", which has had millions of views. In this series, they test crushing everything from an iPad to golf balls. There's no doubt that Blendtec wants to market the fact that this is an exceptionally effective blender. And it is indeed good, provided you are willing to spend a little more. Blendtec blenders are used by the Juiceverket juice bar chain. The Classic 575 is low, with a jug 23 cm tall and a total height of 38 cm. The jug is light and easy to use. The buttons on the discreet and elegant panel are built in so that the motor unit can simply be wiped off. One great function is the digital display where the timer counts down how many seconds remain on the pre-set programme and count up when you run the blender without a programme. This makes food preparation easier and gives you a feel for how long it takes to prepare certain dishes. Blendtec also get a plus point for safety – there's a switch on the back which makes it more difficult for small children to start the machine themselves.
Despite its neat size, it has a motor power of 2200 W. And this is clearly one of the important reasons why the Blendtec machine performs so well in our tests – because it really does. For spreads, it's quite simply in a class by itself. You can't get smoother hummus in 60 seconds, and for sweetcorn dip and smoothies the results are also exemplary. Ice is crushed as small as you'd want it for a daiquiri, even if the light jug shakes rather a lot when the ice is crushed. So is the Blendtec an almost perfect blender? Well, it does have some weaknesses. The biggest of these is probably the noise level, which is 93 dB at a distance of 20 cm. The stated maximum volume of the jug is also only 1.0 litre. There is a little more space in the jug, but if you often want to make a big batch of smoothies for the entire family, the Blendtec is perhaps not the machine for you. The fact that there's no blender rod is also a negative aspect. It also feels more natural to control the speed with a knob, rather than the buttons that the Blendtec has. But overall this is a really good blender, with functionality and quality in focus.
The Vitamix is a real premium blender. It's a well known brand, and professional versions of the machine are used by many juice bars, such as Blueberry. The TNC 5200 model has been around for a number of years and you can find many comparative tests with Blendtec blenders online. We have used the Vitamix TNC 5200 for several years – and despite a great deal of use it shows no signs of deteriorated performance or wear. This is quite simply a solid, high quality piece of equipment. The jug is made of robust hard plastic. One important characteristic is that the TNC 5200 has a motor that can run for a long time, which means that you can heat the food as it is mixed. The TNC 5200 also produces consistently good test results. In terms of smoothies, it's fantastic – the results are really well mixed and smooth. Even when it's time to crush ice, it produces top-class results despite the fact that it lacks an ice programme.
The jug narrows at the bottom, which means that the ingredients get really well mixed. But sometimes this also causes problems as larger ingredients can easily get stuck above the cutting blades. However, the TNC 5200 does have a blender rod, which helps avoid this issue. The blender jug is relatively tall, which makes it difficult to store, difficult to scrape out and means that it sometimes feels wobbly. Oddly, it also lacks both pulse function and pre-set programmes, and it's difficult to understand why you need to controls to regulate the speed. Despite the fact that the TNC 5200 has few controls, this means that it is still quite difficult to use. And it's rather poor in terms of safety as the blender can start at maximum speed if the turbo button happens to be up. But despite this, the Vitamix is one of the very best blenders in the test. A Vitamix on the kitchen worktop indicates that you are a real foodie, and the high quality of the machine means that it will be your best friend in the kitchen for many years.
Wilfa is a traditional Norwegian brand that was founded in the 1940s. They have a wide range of kitchen machines and other smaller domestic electrical appliances. The Knus S. WBL-1200B falls into the mid-level of their range. The Knus S. is the cheapest blender we tested. It has a substantial jug of thick glass which is dishwasher safe. The markings on the jug are clear and make it easy to measure volumes. The markings on the control panel are just as clear, with different symbols indicating the speed you should use, for example to prepare a spread or sauce. Pre-set programmes are available for smoothies and for crushing ice, and the blender also has a pulse function. So it has all of the standard functions for the normal user. It also has a useful cable winder underneath, with a good cable connection on the back of the machine. This means that you can store excess cable neatly.
The WBL-1200B's performance is perfectly acceptable on smoothies and spreads. It's nothing like as good as the very best machines, but if you take the price into account, you get a lot from the Wilfa Knus S. The results are also sufficiently good when you're crushing ice for a cocktail. The chassis of the Knus S. feels plasticky and not as solid as the housing of other machines. Another disadvantage is that the bottom of the jug is strongly sloped, which makes it more difficult to clean properly. We would also have liked to see a blender rod included. But you get a lot of blender for the money with the Wilfa Knus S. WBL-1200B, and it does everything a normal family needs from a blender.
Despite the fact that the Blender Hero delivers a full 1400 W, this is a blender that's kind on your wallet. The substantial glass jug is tough and the control panel is easy to use, with clear buttons. With a dishwasher-safe jug only 23 cm tall, it's easy both to clean and store. It has programmes for smoothies, crushing ice and a pulse function. This is pretty well all you need in terms of everyday blending. Underneath it has suction cups that keep the machine stable.
Given the price, the Blender Hero 1400 W performs well on spreads, smoothies and crushing ice. One disadvantage is that the bottom of the jug slopes sharply. This makes it a bit more difficult to clean the jug properly without unscrewing the bottom. For such a large kitchen appliance manufacturer, it's also surprising that there's no cable winder underneath. The box states that the product has a 10-year guarantee, but this only applies to motor parts, and the rest of the machine has only a 2-year guarantee. However, the OBH Nordica Blender Hero 1400 W is a useful, good value for money blender which is easy to use, has a substantial jug and a strong motor.
Oster is a classic American brand that has been producing kitchen machines since the 1940s. And it's clear that their machines' functions and properties have been developed over many years. The Versa, with its red and black design, is priced above the mid-class models but costs less than both a Vitamix or Blendtec machine. It has a couple of positive characteristics that make it stand out: it's the only blender that has specific programmes for dips (such as hummus and pesto) and which has a pre-set smoothie programme that takes just 30 seconds. The other models' smoothie programmes take 60 seconds. The motor can be run for up to 10 minutes and the food can therefore be heated with the friction heat from the motor as the blender is run. The blender jug can hold a volume of 1.9 litres, which covers most requirements. At the same time, the jug is only 23 cm high without the lid, which makes it easy to scrape out, clean and store.
Another plus is that the Oster Versa has a blender rod which makes it easier to process ingredients when the blender is running. The buttons are easy to understand and clean. The small top lid has a straightforward locked position. The Oster Versa's test results are just under those of the best models when it comes to making spreads and crushing ice. The pre-set smoothie programme is disappointing, however. A finished result in half a minute would have been fantastic, but the short mixing time simply isn't long enough. There are lots of big bits and lumps left. If you run the blender on full speed for 60 seconds, the result is considerably better. Another disadvantage is that the manufacturer recommends you wash only the blender rod in the dishwasher. Overall, however, the Oster Versa is a substantial, effective blender that will do the job in the majority of kitchens and without many obvious weaknesses.
The ProBlend 6 3D Avance Collection is part of the range that Philips call "high speed blenders". The idea is that the rapid rotation breaks down the ingredients and also releases more nutrients. With its top speed of 35,000 rpm, this is the second fastest of all the blenders in the test. It's a substantial machine, equipped with a 2-litre jug. The jug material looks like glass but is actually very durable plastic. It also weighs less than glass equivalents, which is useful. The controls are commendably simple and because a blender rod is included, food preparation is made very easy. The blender also has suction cups underneath to keep it stable on the worktop. The jug is light but a little fiddly to attach to the chassis before use.
The Avance HR2653 performs consistently well when preparing a range of dishes and drinks. It also succeeds extremely well at crushing ice. However, the standard programme for crushing ice lasts 120 seconds, which is twice as long as other blenders. The problem with the high speed is that the noise is dreadful – 95 dB at a distance of 20 cm. This is probably a consequence of pushing a motor of only 1400 W to 35,000 rpm. In other words, this isn't a good blender if you have noise-sensitive neighbours. As with its sister model, the HR3556, you can remove the bottom of the jug to facilitate cleaning. This is particularly important on this model as the base of the jug slopes quite a bit towards the edges. This makes it more difficult to clean without unscrewing the base, and the ingredients get stuck in the corners. If you live in a detached house with a family who aren't light sleepers, the Philips ProBlend 6 3D Avance Collection HR3653 is a good value for money blender that can cope with everything you need – smoothies, soups, spreads and crushed ice.
As everyone knows, Philips produces a wide range of household machines. Within blenders alone they have 10 models to choose between, with prices from less than £50 to several hundred. This Viva blender has a power of 700 W and falls into the lower mid-section of their range. The ProBlend 6 (HR3556) is easy to use, and has only one control with large symbols. This also means that it lacks pre-set programmes with timers, but it does have a pulse function. The jug is made from thick glass and is easily installed into locked position on the motor unit, which keeps it stable. The motor section is relatively light, which means that the blender can feel a little wobbly. However, this is counteracted by the base having suction cups to keep it firmly attached to the worktop. The blender also includes a neat portable mixer that means you can mix directly in a plastic smoothie mug.
The base of the jug on the ProBlend 6 Viva Collection can be unscrewed. This is useful for more thorough cleaning, even if it also means that there's a slight risk of it coming undone when the jug is full – so remember to keep it properly screwed on! In terms of results, it's clear that the ProBlend 6 Viva Collection is a slightly cheaper model. When we make smoothies, it does a reasonable job but no more. And during the preparation of a range of spreads, there are quite a lot of large pieces left. You can crush ice with it if it's in a smoothie, but if there's only ice in the blender it's a bit less satisfactory. However, this applies to the majority of blenders. One problem is that the cable is only 84 cm long. This makes it quite difficult to position it in many places in the kitchen. In purely practical terms, however, the blender is easy to store as the jug is short, and the entire jug is dishwasher safe, which is useful.
Just like its big brother, the Raw Pro X3.5 Turbo, the Raw X1500 is designed to look impressive. The control panel states "Professional Series" and "High Power" – so there's no need to wonder whether the target group is culinary macho men. With its 1500 W and 2-litre jug, this is a substantial blender that can cope with pretty serious tasks. One intelligent detail on the X1500 is the rubber pad between the chassis and the jug. The construction reduces the noise level, and with a measured 86 dB at a distance of 20 cm, it's one of the quietest blenders in the test. Another good feature is the stepless control for speed and the delayed start. This means that you have good control when you're mixing and avoid unnecessary splashing. A positive detail compared to the Raw Pro X3.5 Turbo is that there is a cable winder beneath the machine to store the electric cable.
However, we were slightly disappointed in our tests. When we made hummus, there were far too many large pieces left after a minute. The same applied to the test for smoothies, and other models succeeded in getting a much smoother result. However, the blender performs quite acceptably – and significantly better than its stronger and more expensive big brother, the Raw Pro X3.5 Turbo – when it comes to crushing ice. The Raw X1500 2.0HP has eight knife blades, which were probably designed to produce a better result. Unfortunately, the consequence of this is that it's difficult to scrape a spread out of the blender, as it gets stuck under the blades. The jug is also 27 cm tall, so make sure you measure your cupboards carefully to make sure you have space for it. If you like this slightly more robust design, the Raw X1500 2.0 HP gives you a strong blender with large capacity.
This is a really macho blender, and the design simply oozes muscles. The motor power is a full 2200 W, but to appeal to a male target group the manufacturer has translated this into horsepower – 3.5 hp! The volume of the jug is 2.5 litres, and the blade can rotate at an unreal 40,000 rpm. The control panel, which resembles one from a 1980s amplifier, presents words like raw, turbo, horsepower and professional. The blender is easy to use and when the speed increases with the stepless control there's a slight delay, which is good. This means that you have better control when mixing and that the ingredients don't fly about and make unnecessary splashes. It's also useful that there's a blender rod to help with processing. The motor unit is heavy and makes the construction robust. At the same time, the jug is 27 cm tall, and narrow. This is placed on the motor unit without being locked in place, making the Raw Pro X3.5 rather wobbly. It's also difficult to store the jug in a normal cupboard. Compared with the other blenders, the handle is broad. This can be worth remembering if you have small hands or if children will use the blender. But the smaller lid has a neat grip and can easily be locked with a twist.
For smoothies and spreads, the Raw Pro X3.5 Turbo performs well. However, it doesn't succeed in crushing ice very well at all, despite repeated tests. This is surprising because on the box it states that the machine can crush ice in only 15 seconds. Another failure with this model is that it has no cable winder, which means that it makes the kitchen worktop rather messy. There are eight rotating blades, which perhaps makes mixing more effective but makes it much more difficult to scrape out something like a spread. The Raw Pro X3.5 Turbo is a powerful blender and is suitable for those who feel that bigger is better.
Caso Design is a German brand with an extensive kitchen equipment range. Many of their products have a modern, pared down design in stainless steel. Quite simply German. The Novea B4 blender also comes in this stainless steel version. The light jug is perfect for those who think that equipment shouldn't weigh too much. It's dishwasher safe and at 24 cm tall it's easy to store. The centre lid can be locked in a straightforward way. The motor unit is wide and low, making the whole construction stable. The jug can hold up to 1.8 litres, but is wide and easy to scrape out and clean. The discreet buttons are easy to wipe off, but the symbols on the buttons are unnecessarily complicated. It feels as if design and graphic expression have come before user-friendliness. Instead of a knob to regulate speed, the Caso Novea B4 has six buttons, which makes it more difficult to use. It's quite simply not intuitive.
During our different tests, the results varied from top-class to right at the bottom. When we made a smoothie, the result was really good without pieces and we were just as happy with the result when we crushed ice. But when it comes to spreads, the Caso Novea B4 has major room for improvement – here far too many ingredients are simply not blended properly. We expected more of a blender in this price class. Something else that reduces the score of the Novea B4 is that it's rather noisy. The noise level at a distance of 20 cm is 92 dB, and this is quite loud. The same applies to the warranty period, which is only two years. The Caso Novea is a stylish and modern blender and anyone who primarily uses it to make smoothies won't be disappointed.
Kitchenaid is perhaps the world's best known brand within kitchen appliances. The first appliances were manufactured almost a hundred years ago and the most famous are probably the stand mixers. Many people appreciate the typical design which has been largely unchanged since the 1930s. A design advantage is that the Artisan blender is available in a full 13 colours. It's a robust machine, with a substantial motor section in cast metal that gives excellent stability. The jug is made of thick glass and is only 24 cm tall, which makes the blender easy to store. It also includes a useful 0.75 litre blender container. The fact that the control panel buttons are completely without edges and joints is useful as it makes them easy to clean.
Unfortunately, it feels like it's not just the design that has stood still for Kitchenaid, but also the functionality and performance. The majority of competitors have increased their motor power over recent years as a result of the increased demands from consumers. Kitchenaid have stuck to a power of only 550 W, which is less than half that of comparable models. The maximum speed is 12,000 rpm, which is also low and means that it can't mix and crush as well. Nor does it have pre-set programmes. The recommended speeds for various processes are significantly lower than for other appliances, which typically gives a less good result. But of course this is also a question of taste. The Kitchenaid Artisan is one of the few models that have buttons to regulate the speed instead of a knob. This makes it more difficult to use. In our tests, the Artisan performs less well than comparable models in terms of smoothies and spreads, with significantly more larger pieces remaining. However, it does extremely well when it comes to crushing ice. There's no cable winder underneath the machine, which means that despite the short length of the cable it can take up unnecessary space and collect dirt on the kitchen worktop. The Kitchenaid is primarily a nice feature in a well-designed kitchen, and is great for those who prioritise design.