A blender makes a great addition to every home and the best blenders will serve you as well on day 1,000 as they did on day one. While they're fab at making fresh smoothies, that's not their only talent. They can also be used to throw together healthy soups and sauces all year round, making it twice as easy to get all the vitamins your body craves – and also making it twice as easy to justify the worktop space your new blender will use.
If you're not so worried about space but are concerned about extra washing up, there are lots of clever blenders that have been designed with your struggles in mind. Many models now blend directly into a cup or bottle, usually with an attached lid, so you can sip it straight away or even store it for later without having to deal with any added washing up. Some even come with special cleaning cycles and dishwasher-safe parts to make clean-up even easier.
Not sure which features you need to look out for? Below we've put together a handy guide focusing on the features you need and the ones you don’t. If you're already clued up or just want to browse before diving into details, below is our list of the best blenders and smoothie makers available right now.
The best blenders to buy
1. Breville Blend Active Personal
Breville Blend Active Personal Blender & Smoothie Maker with 2 Portable Blending Bottles (600ml), 300W, Green [VBL062]
£18.00 & FREE Delivery on your first eligible order to UK or Ireland. Details
Excellent make-and-go drinks
You don't need to break the bank to get a blender that does a great job. Available in a choice of lime green, pink and orange models, the Breville Active Personal is more neon running shoe than classy kitchen appliance – although it does also come in a more tasteful blue. At this price, however, it's something of a steal.
It might not scale the perfect smoothie-crafting heights of the some, but it produces consistently good smoothies time after time. It comes with two plastic bottles with easy-seal flaps, so you can guzzle your fruit-based creations without having to reach for a glass. Sure, you might have to blend your creations for a little longer than some of its pricier rivals, but if you just want tasty smoothies without the expense, this is the blender for you.
2. Nutribullet 600
A smooth finish every time
With so many different models in NutriBullet's range, you might find yourself suffering a bit of blender fatigue. Luckily, we've tested all the best NutriBullets you can currently buy and found the 600 series to be the perfect mix of affordability and power. It comes with one short cup for one-person smoothies or sauces and one classic cup ideal for two.
In testing, the blender's high-speed blades were no match for fibrous vegetables, nuts or seeds, whipping up a classic green smoothie in fewer than 30 seconds. Every smoothie or sauce attempted came out incredibly silky and bright. What's more, we found that smoothies made in the NutriBullet appeared to keep their colour and freshness for longer than those made in cheaper models.
While you can crush small amounts of ice in this version, we'd suggest opting for a higher-powered model if you're planning on regularly using it for super-tough jobs.
3. Salter Nutri Pro 1000
Salter EK2002V4SILVER NutriPro 1000 Multi-Purpose Blender with Blending Cups and Lids, 1 Litre, 1000 W, Ideal For Smoothies, Frozen Cocktails, Soups & On The Go Drinks
Excellent quality, BPA-free cups
Thanks to a very substantial price cut since it first launched, you're actually getting a £150 blender here. It feels expensive, too, with a large, heavy base that houses the super-powered 1,000W motor. You also get three blending cups: two chunky 800ml cups and a third, taller one-litre cup for when you really want to go on a fruit smoothie frenzy.
The blending performance puts the Nutri Pro not far off the best we've tested. It struggles a little with tricky leaves such as kale, and requires a little longer than some to create a perfect texture if you use the larger one-litre cup, but give it an extra whizz and the results are worth waiting for. The only downside? This is a noisy blender.
4. Philips Daily Collection Mini Blender
Philips 3-in-1 Daily Collection Mini Blender with On-The-Go Tumbler and Multi Chopper, Plastic, 350 W, Oyster Metallic, HR2605/81
Compact design is easy to store
The Philips Daily Collection Mini Blender is powerful enough to blend fruit, vegetables, nuts, coffee and even meat with ease – and, thanks to its small footprint, it won't take up that much room on your worktop either.
Naturally, that compact design means the working liquid capacity is slightly on the small side at just 600ml in the 900ml jug. The on-the-go tumbler, which you can blend into directly, has the same working capacity, so it's a puzzle why the jug isn't a little more generous. On the plus side, there are two speeds to choose from, giving this model more options than a single-speed design, and the jug is made from glass, which gives it a more robust feel.
Overall, this is a compact blender that can deal with plenty of different foodstuffs, but you'll have to resort to a full-sized blender for a round of smoothies.
How to choose the best blender for you
Do I need a smoothie maker or blender with multiple speed settings?
Multiple speed settings provide greater control when blending. In our research, many blenders have at least two speeds, while some have programs designed for specific tasks, such as milkshakes or ice-crushing. If your blender doesn’t have an ice-crusher setting, though, we'd steer clear – it can blunt the blades.
What type of jug do I need?
Plastic jugs are lighter but can also become scratched and absorb odours over time. Glass jugs, on the other hand, are sturdier and more aesthetically pleasing, but can be very heavy when full. You'll pay a premium for high-quality BPA-free plastics such as Tritan, which is strong, light, and looks like glass, but it does offer the best of both worlds.
If you get the entire household into a smoothie habit, it’s worth looking for a bigger blender that not only makes fruit and veg drinks, but can aid your healthy eating habits and add variety to your diet. More powerful blenders can often whip up dairy-free milk, nut butter, sauces, soups and frozen fruity desserts for the whole family. If that’s what you’re after, look for options that come with tampers or heat-proof jugs, alongside greater capacity and specific settings or programmes.
Will a more powerful wattage give me smoother results?
High-performance blenders with a high motor wattage will have an easier time of breaking down tougher ingredients. So if you're making a simple thin sauce, a low wattage blender will do. If you want to make super smoothies with all kinds of ingredients or thick sauces and dips such as hummus, though, then you really should consider something more powerful. Some low-wattage blenders can handle tough ingredients but you're at a higher risk of burning out the motor and permanently damaging it.