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Whether you’re pureeing fruit, whipping up a morning smoothie, or simply chopping ice for your signature mint julep recipe, chances are a personal blender can satisfy your particular needs. These compact contraptions are small enough to be stored out of sight but large enough to accommodate individual servings you can consume on the fly or take with you on the road. And don’t let the tiny stature fool you: The best personal blenders are mighty enough to perform a host of functions, just like the big guys.

While countertop blenders are certainly a worthwhile investment for their volume capabilities alone, a personal blender is a worthwhile kitchen addition in terms of price and convenience. It’s also a step up from handheld immersion blenders that lack a travel cup, require manual effort, and tend to burn out after prolonged use. (Though it’s true that immersion blenders do a great job of breaking down solids, especially for soups and sauces, directly in large pans or Dutch ovens.)

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist with a focus on plant-based eating, often recommends that clients obtain a personal blender to help stick to a comprehensive nutrition plan. So we chatted with Gorin, the owner of Plant-Based Eats in Stamford, Connecticut, to learn what she believes makes the best personal blender, considering crucial features like power, size, and accessories. Here are her personal picks in five distinct categories: 

Features to Keep in Mind

Power

Ample power is important if you want to crush ice and pulverize veggies like kale and celery, and some personal blenders can process even the toughest customers. “Look for ‘high-speed’ on the packaging,” advises Gorin. “These blenders have more powerful motors and faster-spinning blades, which means they will crush ice faster and make it easier to whip up a smooth smoothie. You can also use them to make nut butter, soups, and purees.”  

The higher the motor’s wattage, the easier it will be to chop fruits, vegetables, and more (most professional blenders will start at 1,200 watts, as a reference). But don’t rule out less expensive options with lower numbers, especially if you’re only making smoothies. It may take longer, but it will still get the job done for anyone on a tighter budget. 

Size

Size matters, but bigger isn’t necessarily better. The volume of travel cups can vary, so invest in something that suits your lifestyle best. For example, if you’re keeping calories in check, a typical smoothie recipe will yield 8-12 ounces of liquid. And that’s after all of the solid ingredients (which take up more space in the cup) have been added. You do not want to purchase something smaller than this base amount unless it is part of a bundle that offers multiple cup options. 

Standard countertop blenders will usually be no less than 40 ounces, so keep that in mind if you’re making the majority of your smoothies in bulk for a hungry family. “Some blenders marry a regular blender container with a single-serve, on-the-go one so that you have multiple options,” Gorin notes. 

Accessories & Attachments

Today’s personal blenders can be much more than smoothie machines. Many kits offer attachments to concoct things like soups, zoodles, and even dough. “This will depend on your budget, but I like blenders that have a base that houses different attachments, such as a food processor, spiralizer, and/or juicer,” says Gorin. “This [also] cuts down so much on how much storage space you will need.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Ninja Personal Blender

With its impressive combination of performance, power, and size, this personal blender has maintained a five-star rating on Amazon with over 13,000 reviews. The two snap-lid, dishwasher-safe cups hold an ideal 18 or 24 ounces, the motor is a reliable 1,000 watts, and—perhaps most important of all—its blade and cup shapes blend ingredients better than anything else on the market. No more grit or unpalatable chunks, just smooth, velvety perfection. Another plus: The Ninja isn’t obnoxiously loud, so starting your morning with a healthy habit won’t rattle your nerves or wake others who might be sleeping in. 

Best Value: Oster My Blend

Anybody blending on a budget should look into this Oster model for less than $25. Sure, this personal blender is unabashedly no-frills, but it gets the job done—crushing ice and frozen fruit with 400 watts of power, and blending ingredients with 250 watts. The blade is made of stainless steel and the BPA-free plastic cup holds an ample 20 ounces. Its slim design won’t hog counter space, and it boasts a bright pop of color, so you may just want to leave it out rather than stow it away in the kitchen cabinet.  

Best Versatility: Magic Bullet

A personal blender that goes way beyond smoothies, the multi-purpose Magic Bullet was an instant hit when it was introduced nearly 20 years ago. The latest incarnation proves it to be as popular as ever. The do-it-all, 11-piece set relies on two blade options and a 250-watt high-torque power base to chop, mix, blend, whip, and grind. One of the high-impact plastic cups features a convenient handle for perfect pouring without spilling. 

Best Motor: NutriBullet Pro Plus

Consider the NutriBullet Pro Plus the Ferrari of personal blenders. With its whopping 1,200-watt motor, it hasn’t met a fibrous stalk of celery or a tough bunch of kale it couldn’t quickly and smoothly pulverize. Equally desirable is its convenient hands-free blending: No more holding a button or pushing down a cup until your smoothie reaches creamy perfection. Simply lock everything into place, press, and go about your business while the NutriBullet does the work for you, then shuts off automatically, 

Best Hybrid: Vitamix One Blender

Got a Goldilocks complex about personal blenders? Size-wise, this Vitamix with a 32-ounce Tritan BPA-free container is bigger than most personal blenders but smaller than typical countertop models. Plus, it offers many of the coveted features of its larger, more high-tech cousins at a significantly lower price point. While online product info doesn’t mention wattage or blade material, it’s powerful and versatile enough to make sauces, dips, butters, frozen desserts, and even baby food. The One also features an ergonomic handle and comes with a tamper to push ingredients towards the blades to ensure uniform blending.

Ask the Experts

Can I put frozen ingredients in a personal blender? 

Yes, most quality personal blenders can work with frozen ingredients. But you can extend the life of the blender’s motor if frozen ingredients are first chopped or sliced into smaller pieces. Then, most models should cut through and break down whatever you toss in with less wear and tear.

For a quick pop of protein, Gorin suggests adding some frozen edamame to any smoothie. It won’t noticeably affect the flavor, and it can impart a creamier texture without the addition of a dairy product. 

Will a personal blender crush ice? 

“It definitely will,” Gorin assures. “Some high-speed blenders even have a ‘frozen drink’ setting.” But be sure to pulse on this setting, being mindful of the power button’s sensitivity, to crush ice to your desired consistency. If you overdo it, you’ll have a watery mess rather than a thick frozen treat. 

Do I need to sharpen the blades? 

“No, you do not,” Gorin says. “But I do recommend purchasing a blender with a removable blade and hand-washing that blade so that it doesn’t dull.”

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