I’ve been getting many questions about the kind of blender I use for making smoothies, so I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about blenders and smoothie makers to shed some light onto the many machines out there on the market.
Let me start by defining what a blender actually is. A blender is a kitchen machine that is used to mix liquid-based food into smooth drinks, purees or pastes. The difference between a food processor and a blender is that a blender needs liquid to run smoothly, while a food processor does not need a liquid base to function properly.
My definition of the two is quite simple: I use my blender to make smoothies or any other drinks = liquids, and I use my food processor to make more solid things like hummus, energy balls or any kind of dough.
What to look for when you buy a blender
When you want to invest in a blender, there are four questions that help you determine which one is best for your personal needs:
- How often are you planning on using it?
- How much money do you want to invest?
- How much kitchen storage do you have?
- How many people are you serving?
Nearly every blender brand has different types of blenders, varying in motor power, container volume and height. The stronger and larger you want your blender to be, the more money you typically need to invest.
There are many different models on the market, and it might be a bit confusing what actually distinguishes the quality brands from low-quality brands. To find out if a blender is worth investing in, you need to look at four different criteria: number of rotations per minute, motor power, the container, and the blade. The number of rotations is important, because it determines how well a blender can break down plant fiber in order extract minerals and vitamins. Good high performance blenders should have a minimum of 25,000 rotations per minute. However, it is not always easy to find out this number as many brands do not provide this kind of information. They do, however, provide the motor power of their machines. I would recommend looking for a blender with a motor power of at least 900 W if you’re planning on using your blender frequently. If you only use your blender occasionally then 600 W is also fine, and if you’re just starting out, and do not want to spend a lot of money then 300 – 600 W is a good start. However, the more powerful your blender is, the better it will be able to blend smoothies and other drinks, and it won’t break as easily. Another important aspect is the container. Did you know that powerful blenders need to have square containers and not round ones? The reason for that is that round blenders simply stir the ingredients around, whereas square blenders provide a counter-flow of the liquids, which results in better blending of the ingredients. The containers of high performance blenders should also be made out of BPA-free plastic and not glass, mainly due to safety reasons. Blenders with less power usually have glass containers though. The final criterion is the blade, which should be made of stainless steel to be able to withstand strong pressures.
High price segment – the high performance blender Vitamix
I am quite lucky to have been given a Vitamix*, which is one of the strongest blenders currently found on the global market. I honestly have to say that this blender has completely changed my perception of smoothies. It’s truly the best blender I have ever used, and I now know why smoothies are called smoothie: because they are actually smooth! Even when you use greens like kale or spinach, you won’t ever taste pieces of them, because the Vitamix really transforms everything into an incredibly smooth texture. I have been using the Vitamix Pro 750, which is the strongest model on the European market so far. It has a 2 liter container, which is exactly what my smoothie-loving household needs. We use it every day, and are still amazed by its power. What I also love about the Vitamix is that it cannot only make smoothies, but it also makes great nut milks, soups, purees and pastes. It can even heat up the soups, which is a unique feature for a blender. That’s why I personally consider the Vitamix to be a hybrid – a mix between a blender and a food processor. I am not getting paid to say this, I just wanted to share my honest opinion on the Vitamix. Unfortunately the Vitamix is not exactly cheap, it ranges from 499 to 899 Euros, which is quite a heavy price tag, and I am fully aware that not everyone can afford a Vitamix.
Fortunately, there are cheaper alternatives on the market that even students like me can afford.
Middle price segment
My mother has been using a blender of the Phillips Avance collection for quite a while now. It costs around 100 Euros and is available across Europe. With 900 W, the Philips blender makes great smoothies, that come quite close to the quality of the Vitamix. I also really like its feature for crushed ice, and I’ve even used it to crush vegetables, too. The 2 liter container is large enough to serve a family, and it is easy to clean. The only thing that I dislike about this blender is that the container is made out of glass, because I consider BPA-free plastic containers as safer options. But all in all, the Philips Avance blender is probably the best blender in terms of quality and price.
The other brand that has been recommended to me is the Nutribullet, which is quite popular in the United States and the U.K. I have not tested this blender yet, but I have heard many great things about it. Its price ranges between 100 and 300 Euros depending on the model, so it is more affordable than the Vitamix. It has a small glass container than that serves 1 – 2 people. What I like about this blender is that you can use the container as a to-go-bottle, which is pretty handy, when you are in a morning rush. Another plus is that it is rather small, so it easily fits under the kitchen counter.
Both the Philips and the NutriBullet are not available in the U.S., so for my American readers, I can recommend the Nutri Ninja Series, which starts at around 150 Dollars. It is a very powerful blender with 1200W, and it makes heavenly creamy smoothies according to my American smoothie-loving best friend. I believe that the Nutri Ninja is one of the best first investments before upgrading to the Vitamix.
Lower price segment
I have tested many blenders throughout my life, and I have to say that a higher price usually pays off. There are many cheap blenders on the market, but most of them simply do not have the power to make great smoothies. If you are just starting to drink smoothies, and are not sure if a healthy lifestyle is for you, then I can recommend the brand Russell Hobbs, which is available across Europe. Its blenders start at 50 Euros, and which is very affordable. My best friend has been using hers for many years now, and she has been very content with its results. What she really likes is that it comes with a bottle-to-go so you don’t need to fill your smoothie in a different container when you’re in a rush.
I have not tested a lower price segment blender that is available in the U.S., so if you have any recommendations for more affordable brands in the U.S., I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Can you make smoothies with the Thermomix?
And then finally, there is of course the Thermomix. The thing with the Thermomix is that it is actually not a blender, but a complete kitchen machine. I love my Thermomix, because it has so many features like a build-in steamer or food processor. However, like I said at the beginning of this article, food processors are just not meant to create great smoothies. Thermomix promotes that it can also make smoothies, and it absolutely can. However, in my opinion, you can still taste little pieces of kale or other greens in its smoothies, something that I just don’t like. I love you Thermi, but you’re just not a smoothie maker.
To sum up, finding the right blender is a question of what you need and how much you are willing to spend on it. If you are a big fan of smoothies and you make them every day, I would highly recommend investing in a stronger model like the Vitamix. It’s simply the best blender on the market, and it will give you great joy for a long time. There is a reason why many smoothie bars use this brand, because it simply creates the best results. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a blender though, I highly recommend the Phillips blender, or the Nutri Ninja which are the best buys in terms of price and quality.
*I was given a Vitamix Pro 750 for testing purposes. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Heavenlynn Healthy.