Best Blenders for Making Smoothies

A handful of blenders from CR's tests stand out for blending the smoothest smoothies

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Winter isn’t time to put smoothies on ice. More than seasonal concoctions, they can be enjoyed year round.

All you need is a solid smoothie recipe and a solid blender. In CR’s lab, we put blenders through a battery of tests, including two that evaluate a blender’s ability to make smooth smoothies: In our icy-drinks tests, we make batches of nonalcoholic piña coladas and use sieves of various mesh sizes to evaluate smoothness and thickness. “If a blender rates Excellent in this test, you can expect a smooth, consistent texture, especially when blending strawberries, bananas, and other soft ingredients,” says Larry Ciufo, CR’s chief blender tester. A rating of Very Good means there are tiny bits in the mix. 

If you plan to blend apples, carrots, and other hard items, or add greens to your smoothies, check the results of our puréeing test. And this one’s tough. “An Excellent rating there indicates the blender serves up smooth smoothies and soups, with no stringy greens,” Ciufo says.

The Overall Score for each model in CR’s blender ratings combines results from these and other lab tests with data from our latest surveys of CR members about their experiences with over 47,000 full-sized blenders. The results show that Calphalon, Vitamix, and Wolf remain the most reliable brands.

Below, we review nine full-sized blenders (listed here in alphabetical order) that will serve up terrific smoothies. They all ace our icy-drinks test, and some even earn an Excellent rating for puréeing—a rare achievement among the models we’ve tested. 

You can also see our guide to the best and worst blender brands (which ones fail prematurely and which should stand the test of time?), and CR members can delve more deeply into our complete blender ratings for all of the details. Be sure to visit our blender buying guide as you shop.

CR’s take: The Q BBL820SHY1BUS1 pulverizes frozen fruits and renders even the stringiest produce into a smooth liquid, earning it an Excellent rating in both the icy-drinks test and purée test. It does well in the ice-crushing category, too, if you ever decide to swap a smoothie for a snow cone. Breville earns an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction, meaning CR members would recommend Breville blenders to friends and family.

CR’s take: The Cuisinart Hurricane Pro CBT-2000 earns a Very Good rating in our ice-crushing tests, turning out ice similar in texture to a snow cone. It holds 8 cups and is a whiz at puréeing. The container is plastic, as is the case with all of the blenders featured here. Plastic can absorb stains and odors, so it’s best to clean it right after use. All blenders are loud, but this one is a little noisier than others on this list.

CR’s take: The Dash Chef Series Digital blender earns an Excellent rating in our icy-drinks test, and puréeing was just as good. The blades stood up to our durability test, in which we repeat our ice-crush test 45 times. At 22 inches, it stands taller than most full-sized blenders, so make sure you have enough clearance under your cabinets.

CR’s take: The Instant Ace Plus blender, from the company that makes the Instant Pot, is a strong choice if your primary objective is making smoothies and you don’t want to spend too much on a blender. Its 7-cup capacity is fairly high for the category, and this model’s 1,300-watt motor did quite well at making icy drinks, scoring an Excellent in CR’s tests for that function, as well as a rating of Very Good for puréeing soup ingredients. It’s not the quietest blender in CR’s tests, but it’s also not the loudest.

CR’s take: As a brand, Ninja full-sized blenders earn a Very Good rating in predicted reliability, according to our member surveys. The Ninja with Duo Auto-IQ BL642 is a CR Best Buy. It combines impressive performance and an appealing price. The Ninja’s removable blade helps make cleanup a cinch and is a reason this model did very well in our convenience tests.

CR’s take: Ninja blenders garner a Very Good rating in owner satisfaction in our member surveys. The 1,100-watt Ninja Smart Screen Duo with FreshVac CT661V is a CR Best Buy and comes with a battery-powered vacuum pump that attaches to the top of the blender when you want to vacuum out air before blending. Why would you want that? Our tests found that in vacuum mode, the Ninja makes smoothies that are smoother, less foamy, and more consistent in texture than smoothies made in regular mode.

CR’s take: You’ll see nine full-sized Vitamix blenders in CR’s ratings; this is the best one that goes for less than $500. The Vitamix 5200 has an 8-cup capacity and a seven-year warranty. And it’s skilled in more than smoothies. Due to the friction created by the fast-whirring blades, it can actually make hot soup in 5 minutes. At 20 inches, this model is on the tall side. (You can compare dimensions in our blender ratings.)

CR’s take: The Vitamix Professional Series 750 easily serves up fine smoothies, with ice the texture of snow—perfect when margaritas are in order. And Vitamix as a brand rates Excellent for predicted reliability. Though it’s pricey, it’s also among the most powerful blenders made (1,650 watts is well beyond the typically 500- to 800-watt middle ground). It holds 8 cups and is a master at puréeing—it can make hot soup, like the Vitamix above.

CR’s take: The top-rated Vitamix 7500 is on a par with the Vitamix 750 above—both outshine most of their competitors, especially when it comes to blending thick, delicious smoothies. The key differences: This model lacks the 750’s self-cleaning capability; it comes with a different recipe book; and at $70 cheaper, the 7500 rates Excellent for purée performance, ice crushing, and durability. That means it’s powerful 1,656-watt motor aced tests in which we crushed ice 45 times over a two-day period. This blender also has an 8-cup capacity and stands 18 inches tall—so again, measure your cabinet clearance space.

BW Headshot of Consumer Reports author Keith Flamer

Keith Flamer

As a kid in Delaware, I lived a few blocks from Bob Marley, who once said, "It is better to live on the house top than to live in a house full of confusion." At CR, I'm psyched to help readers navigate this cluttered, hyper-commercialized world we live in. I've covered luxury real estate, interior design, and culture—reporting on everything from smart home technology to racial hypocrisy at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate. Since the pandemic started, I cherish simplicity, covering accessible topics like decorating, cooking, and cleaning. Give me a smoothie blender over a mansion any day. Blenders are slightly easier to clean.