Blenders are for more than just making smoothies. They can mix, they can puree and they can emulsify food into virtually any type of liquid form, Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
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While food processors might be your go-to for a host of meal prep duties, blenders are key for pulverizing and evenly combining wet and dry ingredients, Harris-Pincus says. Many newer and professional-grade models can perform functions that were once reserved for the food processor or several minutes of knife work. Soups, sauces and dips are totally in the cards.
"My favorite sweet concoctions to prepare in a blender are smoothies, frozen cocktails and 'nice' cream made from frozen bananas," Harris-Pincus says. (Don't miss our 64-calorie-per-scoop Cocoa-Mint Soft-Serve Nice Cream.) "I also love to make savory dips and soups in minutes."
These best blenders — chosen based on a dietitian's recommendations and stellar Amazon reviews — will help you puree like a pro, delivering thick and creamy recipes in a matter of seconds.
There's sure to be a blender option you'll want to add to your kitchen tool collection for the ultimate recipe success.
1. The Best Powerful Blender for Your Budget
Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-iQ
Blend 8 cups of food or drink in the dishwasher-safe pitcher of this blender, one of Ninja's strongest models. Costing less than $100, this blender is a deal, effectively crushing ice and blending fruit just as well as its more costly competitors.
Three Auto-iQ programs do all the work for you to create creamy smoothies, slushy frozen mixed drinks and ice cream.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $89.99
2. The Best Blender for Big Families
KitchenAid K150 Blender
With two 16-ounce single-serving blender jars and a 6-cup pitcher, this blender can tackle small and large jobs alike. It's strong enough to crush a half-tray of ice in 10 seconds and comes with three preset speeds that you can cycle through for the just-right blend.
No matter which speed you choose, the blender starts off with a gentle feature that invites ingredients into the vortex slowly so they don't splatter or jam up. The Intelli-Speed Motor Control will sense when to move faster or slower for mixing perfection.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $149.99
3. The Best Blender for Smoothies
OYeet Personal Blender
Designed to pulverize ice and frozen fruits, this twist-and-blend, super-powerful appliance needs about 10 seconds to make smoothie dreams happen. OYeet's vortex blending system can tackle the thickest protein powder-packed smoothies, and ample airflow around the motor means it won't overheat.
The slender design won't take up too much kitchen counter space, and because the blender "pitcher" also serves as your cup, you'll have fewer dishes to clean. That cup is thick and essentially shatter-proof, so you can take it to go.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $65.99
4. The Best Blender for Hot Soups and Sauces
Instant Ace Nova Cooking Blender
Brought to you by the makers of the Instant Pot, this blender can mix smoothies and also puree and heat soups all within the same appliance. A heating element in the base gently boils and stirs so all you need to do is dump, heat and pour your soup recipe into bowls for slurping.
This Ace blender also has a crushed ice setting that makes homemade margaritas and daiquiris a breeze.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $92.99
5. The Best Immersion Blender
Mueller Austria Ultra-Stick Immersion Multi-Purpose Hand Blender
With an immersion blender, you can puree soups in the same pot you cooked them in. Affordable and easy to store, we love this one in particular because it has a non-slip, comfortable grip and a motor that won't overheat — even when pureeing potatoes.
Besides soups, this stick blender comes in handy for milkshakes, baby food, smoothies and frothy coffee drinks.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $29.97
6. The Best Blender for Anyone Who Hates Doing Dishes
Vitamix 5200 Blender Professional-Grade, Self-Cleaning
Like all Vitamix blenders, this 8-cup appliance masters durability and power. But this one scores some serious extra points: It has a cooling fan to keep the motor from getting too hot, as well as the ability to create steaming hot soup by the friction produced from blending at such high speeds.
And yet, it's the self-cleaning feature that truly takes the cake: Add a drizzle of dish soap and some warm water and this blender cleans itself in less than a minute.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $449.50
7. The Best Blender for Techies
Vitamix A2300 Ascent Series Smart Blender
With an 8-cup capacity, this family-sized blender can tackle big blending jobs. Chalk up the steep price tag to the blender's smart tech features: Not only does it have wireless connectivity and an app that can guide you through more than 500 recipes, but it also comes with variable speed control that senses when to increase the speed or pulse to blend just right.
No need to keep a super-close eye on your blender recipe, either — the machine knows when your smoothie's ready and will automatically turn off so your mixture doesn't overprocess.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $429.95