Consumer Reports: Best and Worst Blenders

A great blender can add variety to your diet by letting you whip up smoothies and icy drinks, purée soups, and even make ice cream. But do you need to spend a lot to get a great one? Consumer Reports tested more than 50. Along with the usual Cuisinarts and KitchenAids, testers evaluated Food Network star Sandra Lee’s $45 blender, the $60 Ninja, and the $130 blender from Bon Appétit. On the high end, a Blendtec and two Vitamix blenders were also sized up.

Blenders are one of those appliances that can do a bunch of different tasks, but performance varies, so Consumer Reports really puts them through their paces. Testers crush ice and run the blenders for 20 seconds to see how uniform and snow-like the end results are. They also purée soup and make piña coladas.

The Bon Appétit blender didn’t deliver on frozen drinks. But far worse was Sandra Lee’s blender. It could barely crush ice, and there were whole ice cubes left in the piña coladas! Sandra Lee’s blender had the lowest overall score out of every tested model.

NBC 5 contacted Sears and Kmart, which sell Sandra Lee's blender, for a response to the Consumer Reports' tests they gave this response:

The Sandra by Sandra Lee Dispensing Blender is designed to combine traditional blending with a dispensing feature that allows you to dispense your drink directly into a glass with the press of a button. It is ideal for those who entertain, particularly if you are serving multiple drinks. There is minimal clean-up due to the dispensing feature as well as the dishwasher safe jar and dispensing spout.

We are committed to providing this kind of innovation to our customers, and equally committed to offering quality and value. Based on the recent Consumer Reports findings, we will be conducting independent testing to determine whether or not the Sandra by Sandra Lee Dispensing Blender meets our high standards for performance. Should the findings of that independent test demonstrate any performance issues we will re-visit the design for future models. The blender comes with a two-year limited warranty. In addition, we offer a generous 90-day return policy. Customers are welcome to contact us with any concerns regarding their purchase.

As for the $450 and $600 Vitamix blenders, both did an excellent job in all of Consumer Reports’ tests. Vitamix has one of the more active online communities and people are really passionate about the blenders, but you don’t need to spend that much to get a really great blender.

For far less, the super-versatile $60 Ninja Master Prep Professional aced the tests, too—puréeing smooth soups and mixing up a great icy drink. Consumer Reports also recommends the $100 KitchenAid model number KSB565. Though it wasn’t as good at puréeing as the Ninja blender, it offers a glass container instead of plastic, five speeds, and sleek touchpad controls.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

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