Features of your blender to prepare the finest juices


To create your smoothies with the ingredients I’ve discussed in our already articles, you need a blender. There’s a huge range of options out there, but they aren’t interchangeable in terms of quality.

Getting the right blender matters. Poor-quality blenders won’t do a good job of blending properly, so you’ll end up with chunks or weird textures. They also won’t last very long with daily use. To find the right one for your needs, there are four features you need to look at: power, blades, the jug, and the price. Let’s break it down.


Power

Many smoothie makers believe the power of a blender is the most important feature, which makes sense. Without the right amount of power, you won’t be able to blend everything you want, like ice and frozen fruit.

A weak blender will also wear out much faster than a powerful one. Websites like Spruce Eats and Taste of Home recommend at least 500 watts for a smoothie blender. For the purpose of this article, I’m recommending a blender with a higher wattage, however, because of how often you’ll want to make the recipes.

Generally, the higher the wattage, the faster and more effective the blender will be at blending everything to a smooth consistency.

Blades

After power, blades are the most important part of a blender. You could have a high-wattage blender, but with the wrong blades, your smoothies won’t turn out as good as they could. The best blades will be durable and able to handle tasks like blending ice, root vegetables, and other tough ingredients.

You’ll often see blenders advertising features like multiple rows of blades, which can be good for pureeing fibrous ingredients like kale. Be sure to pay close attention to the materials used, however, before choosing a blender.

High-grade stainless steel is a great choice. You’ll also want the blades to be removable, which is pretty standard these days, but there are still some with “fixed” blades. Don’t get any of those.

The jug


The container is where all your ingredients actually go and get blended up. Most of the time, blender jugs are made of thick plastic. Be sure it’s BPA-free and dishwasher-safe, if you don’t want to hand-wash the jug every time. A leak-proof lid is another great feature to consider. 

You should also check out the jug size, which lets you know how many servings the blender can make. Small blenders make single servings around 1-2 cups, while big ones can make enough smoothies for 4 or more people. If you’re the only one drinking a smoothie, a smaller blender is a good idea. With a larger one, you’ll end up with leftovers, and smoothies don’t taste the same after a stay in the fridge. A smaller blender will also take up less space on your counter.

The price

You can find a great smoothie blender no matter what your budget is. Smoothie blenders range significantly in price, from under $100 to $400 or more, if there are extras like travel cups, etc., included with your purchase.

Brand name often plays into the price, so there may not be a huge difference in quality between a blender that’s $100 and one that’s $150. Look at reviews to see what real people are saying before making your selection.

Other features

The four features I mentioned above are the most important, but blenders often come with additional qualities that you might care about. These can include manual speed control, tampers, add-ons like travel cups, and so on.


Many blenders have set speed modes, but a lot of people like manual speed control. Why? With manual control, you can gradually speed up the blending process, which ultimately creates evenly-blended smoothies free from air bubbles, which can lead to chunkiness.

A tamper also helps with blending; it lets you push down larger chunks to the bottom of the jug for better circulation. With blenders that don’t have a tamper, you’ll be tempted to use a wooden spoon or other tool, and those can hurt the blades.

The last feature, extra products like travel cups and lids, are basically convenient goodies that can make an expensive purchase more worth it. Depending on the brand, however, a 12-piece set for cheap probably means the products aren’t that high-quality, or the company wouldn’t be practically giving them away.

Most popular brands

What smoothie blender brands are people buying? There are quite a few to know about:

KitchenAid ;  reliable brand with affordable options
NutriBullet ;  sleek design w/ mid-range price
Oster ; wide range of prices
Breville ;  wide range of prices and sizes
Ninja ; lots of budget options
Vitamix ;  the mother of blenders and pricey

How to blend the perfect smoothie


Equipped with a good blender and your ingredients, you are ready to make a smoothie. However, you can’t just throw in the ingredients willy-nilly and expect perfect results. There is a method to the madness. Take a look at the graphic below for the proper order of ingredients:

How big will a smoothie turn out? It depends. I generally try to keep the smoothies around 2 cups or so, with 1 cup or so of a liquid or yogurt base. Other ingredients like fruit or vegetables add another cup for a total of 2 cups.

Washing your blender

Cleaning up after a smoothie is never fun. However, it can be done really quickly. Simply fill your dirty blender halfway with hot water and add a teeny bit of dish soap. For extra cleaning power, squirt in a little lemon juice. Attach the blender back to the motor base, and blend for 10 seconds or so.

This gets every corner really soaped up, and the power of the spinning blades and moving water breaks down smoothie residue. After blending, pour out the water and rinse the jug really well. Every once in a while, you will want to do a deeper clean where you actually remove the blades, wash them by hand, and make sure there isn’t any gunk hanging out.

Other good equipment

You don’t need a lot of equipment beyond a blender to make smoothies. In fact, I think you really only need three other things: freezer bags, ice cube trays, and a little food processor.

Freezer bags

For freezing fruits and vegetables, you need bags meant for the freezer. Gallon Ziploc bags work just fine. They are designed to keep out freezer burn and they’re cheap.

Ice cube trays

Smoothie recipes occasionally call for ice, though I usually avoid it, because it waters down a smoothie. Sometimes that’s what you want though. You may also want to freeze fruit juice, pureed fruit, or even coffee at some point.

Chowhound recommends a silicone ice cube tray, because it’s really easy to get out the cubes. Be sure the tray you select is BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. If you make a lot of smoothies with ice, get two trays, so you always have ice on hand.

Little food processor

Why is a food processor important? A food processor lets you make your own nut butter if you want, and it lets you grind down whole nuts, flaxseed, and oats into smaller, more blendable pieces. When you use pre-ground nuts, seeds, and oats, it’s much easier on your blender’s motor. This is the most expensive of the three extra pieces of smoothie equipment, but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg.

You can get a good little processor for $40 or so. Whatever brand and model you choose, just make sure it’s sturdy enough to make nut butter. That means it will definitely be up to chopping nuts, seeds, and grains. 

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