Cult blender brand Nutribullet is facing a new attempt at a class-action lawsuit from a US consumer, following a number of similar cases claiming that Nutribullets had exploded during use, causing lacerations and burns.
The latest claim accuses Capital Brands, the parent company who owns Nutribullet, of failing to adequately warn consumers about the potential for its blenders to explode without warning, and seeks damages, along with a ban on continuing to sell the products. It is also seeking class-action status.
At least 22 people claim to have been injured by Nutribullet blenders in the US. Most claims relate to the blender getting too hot during use and pressure building up to unsafe levels. This can cause the blending cup to burst, spraying the heated liquid contents over the user.
A small number of exploding Nutribullet claims have also been made against Nutribullet in the UK. In 2017, film producer Richard Moore took legal action after being left with scars when his Nutribullet exploded, and in 2015 Tysha Stapleton suffered second degree burns on her face and neck after the blender burst open.
Has your blender exploded? Tell us about it here.
Exploding Nutribullets: what’s going on?
The compact blending cup and simple twist-and-go design is part of the Nutribullet’s appeal, However, as the blending cup is a sealed unit you do need to take care when blending.
Nutribullet advises users never to put hot or carbonated ingredients in its blenders, or to run them for longer than 60 seconds at a time, as either action could result in pressure building up in the appliance and a risk of explosion*. It also states that its blenders have a thermal cut-out, designed to prevent the appliance from overheating.
According to reports from US news outlets, the brand claims that incidents of exploding blenders are due to misuse. However, claimants have insisted they were using the Nutribullet properly at the time.
We didn’t experience any problems like this during our blender testing, and we haven’t had any reports of this nature from Nutribullet owners – although we’ve seen a couple of reviews on retailer websites that mention similar experiences. We’ll be looking into this further. We’ve contacted Nutribullet for comment but haven’t yet received a response.
Fake Nutribullets explode in tests
Some exploding Nutribullet blenders have been linked to counterfeit products. Electrical Safety First issued a warning about fake Nutribullets exploding in December 2015. In tests designed to simulate ingredients jamming the blades, the cheap knock-off version overheated and exploded after just four seconds.
For advice on what to do if you think you’ve spotted or bought a fake product, head to our guide to counterfeit goods.
Using your blender safely
Personal blenders offer a quick and convenient way to make smoothies. However, their simplicity can be deceptive.
Most kitchen gadgets such as blenders, food processors and mixers specify maximum run times and other restrictions designed to keep you safe and prolong the life of the product. These can differ significantly depending on the individual product, so you should always read the manual before you get started.
Here are six ways you can stay safe when using your blender:
- Don’t exceed the maximum run time – this can be found in your manual and on our blender reviews in the specs section. In most cases, it varies from just 30 seconds to around a minute. Ignoring it could risk the motor overheating and shortening the life of your blender. In the worst case, it could cause the contents to overheat and the blending cup to explode.
- Never blend hot ingredients or liquid – blending cups have no vent (unlike some jug blenders which have vented lids) so pressure can’t escape. This could lead to contents ejecting from the cup, either through a crack or when you untwist the blade unit after blending.
- Don’t overfill it – this will make leaks more likely and can also increase pressure on the blending cup.
- Follow washing up instructions – this usually means wash by hand, as the heat of a dishwasher could cause the blade unit, seal or blending cup to become misshapen, leading to possible leaks or increased friction and overheating. Follow the guidelines on dishwashing in the manual, if applicable. Generally, it’s best to use the top rack only and to stick to lower temperatures.
- Take care with ice – it can keep your drink cooler during blending but not all blenders are suitable for blending ice cubes. Nutribullet suggests you use pre-crushed ice to prevent dulling the blades. Frozen fruit is a good alternative.
- Check the blender seal / gasket regularly – if the rubber seal around the blades on your Nutribullet is damaged or warped, you’ll need to replace the whole blade unit. Replacements can be bought from Nutribullet and cost £10-£15, depending on the model.
Our campaign on tackling dangerous products
We’ve been calling on the government to urgently reform the UK’s product safety regime and take a stand against unsafe products. Join our campaign to demand action on dangerous products, which to date has nearly 100,000 signatures.
You can also tell us about any safety problems you’ve had with your appliances. Use our product safety reporting tool to tell us your story and help us to track down dangerous products.
*The exception to the 60-second blending rule is the Nutribullet Rx blender, which has a seven-minute soup blending program designed to heat ingredients. This model has a vented blending jug for this purpose.