With farmer's markets and produce stands about to burst, now is the time to pick up a new blender. Besides mixing up a season's worth of smoothies, you can experiment with whole-food juicing, whereby all or most of the fruits and vegetables are blended to a refreshing, vitamin-packed drink. Too healthy sounding? The following picks from our latest blender tests will also make a killer margarita.
We put blenders through a series of tests to measure their total performance. Some do well with one task, but not others. The Big Boss Multi Blender, $50, did a very good job of pureeing, but it's smoothies were loaded with lumps. The Bon Appetit BAPBL010, $130, was excellent at crushing ice, but it flunked our durability test.
For a well-rounded machine that won't break the bank, consider the top-rated Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004, $60. It does practically everything well, including smoothies and icy drinks, and it's also very quiet. Its brand mate, the Ninja Professional NJ600, also delivers excellent versatility for $100.
Vitamix is another top brand to consider. The original uber-blender is priced at the high end, with models in our Ratings starting at $530. But you get consistent performance, including the ability to make hot soups when cooler weather comes. The new Vitamix Professional Series 750 for $650 is several inches shorter than the $450 Vitamix 5200, so it can slide under the upper cabinet while sitting out on your counter. Whole-food juicing is not part of our standard test, but we tried it with a Vitamix blender and got great results.
Breville also makes very good blenders, including the Breville Ikon BBL600XL for $200. Smoothies and icy drinks were both very good in our tests and it was excellent at pureeing. Plus the Breville is more sleek looking than a lot of other models, thanks to its glass jar and die-cast aluminum base.
Check out our complete blender Ratings of more than 70 models for other winners, as well as models that might have a hard time lasting until Labor Day.