How to buy the best personal blender
A personal or mini blender could be the perfect choice if you or your family need a little extra encouragement getting your five-a-day. You can quickly whip up tasty, single-portion smoothies that can be enjoyed on the go.
Chances are you'll probably have heard about the Nutribullet, which kick-started the craze for portable smoothies. But is it right for you? Or are there cheaper or better models worth considering?
In this expert guide and video above, we'll help you decide whether a blender like the Nutribullet is the right type for you, tell you how much you need to spend to get a good one, and which handy features to look for.
How much do I need to spend?
Most personal blenders cost between £20 and £130 (the costs around £80) but you will find exceptions. The Vitamix S30, for example, will set you back a whopping £400. For this hefty price tag you'll get some unique added extras, including a soup setting that chops, blends and then cooks your ingredients.
We've yet to find a Best Buy personal blender for less than £60, but our tests have uncovered some decent models for under £25 that are worth considering if you're on a budget.
What type of blender do I need?
Whether you opt for a personal blender or a traditional jug blender, you shouldn't need to compromise on quality of blending, as long as you choose a good model. Below, we explain the pros and cons of each type to help you to decide which is best for you.
Personal / mini blenders
Personal or mini blenders are usually smaller than traditional jug blenders, and have a smaller bullet-shaped blending cup which unscrews at the base, meaning that it can be easily converted into a drinking mug with lid after blending. They are designed to be quick and convenient, originally envisioned as a way to whip up a quick smoothie en route to the gym for those on a health kick. They're smaller, so they won't take up much space on your worktop. These blenders are great for people who just want to blend one smoothie at a time.
Pros: Usually simpler to use. Blending cup is ideally sized for one portion, and doubles up as a travel mug - saving hassle and washing up.
Cons: Not suitable for making bigger batches.
These have a larger blending jug with a handle and removable lid, although some allow you to unscrew the base for easier cleaning. They are larger than personal blenders - usually around 1.7l capacity compared to around 600ml - so are a better choice if you want to blend large batches of smoothies and soups to feed a family. They tend to take up more worktop space, but often have dedicated blending programs for different tasks such as pureeing, ice-crushing, and smoothie-making.
Pros: Good for whipping up big batches of soup, or more than one smoothie portion.
Cons: Smaller portions can be tricky to blend, some are difficult to clean around the blades.
Features to look out for
When you're choosing a personal blender a number of extra features might catch your eye, but which ones are actually useful to have? Below we explain what extras are available and what they do, so you know what to look out for.
Automatic blending programs: Some blenders have automatic programs for different blending tasks that adjust between mixing and pulsing to tackle either tougher or softer ingredients. This theoretically means you can walk away and leave the blender to it, but make sure you check our reviews first to see if the programs really work.
Dishwasher-safe parts: A good blender shouldn't be a hassle to clean. Look for a model with dishwasher-safe parts and removable blades to cut down on washing-up time.
Extra cups: Some personal blenders, including most , come with extra blending cups in a variety of sizes – helpful if more than one family member is going to be clamouring for a smoothie in the morning rush.
Ice crushing: Although ice crushing is a more common feature of standard jug blenders, some personal blenders offer this, too. Look out for this if you want to use your mini blender to whip up cocktails or frozen smoothies. With some blenders, you'll end up with a sorry mix of slush and cubes when you try to crush ice, so check our reviews before buying.
Insulated containers: Some models come with insulated drinks containers designed to keep soups warm - and smoothies cool - on the go. A handy extra, but they are usually found on more expensive models only.
Speed settings: Typically, the more speed settings your blender has, the more flexibility you'll get over what you can make. If you want to make a range of purées, ranging from nut butters and mayonnaise to sauces and soups, look for one with a higher number of speed settings.
Sports lids: These fit onto personal blending cups once you've made your smoothie, transforming them into travel mugs. Useful if you want to take your smoothie into work or to the gym.