How we test blenders
By Aaron West
We've put a wide range of blenders to the test, using popular and tricky-to-blend foods to see which blenders can make great soups and smoothies in a flash, and also tackle tough tasks such as making pesto and crushing ice.
We've tested both the larger jug-style blenders and personal or mini blenders head-to-head as, whatever type of blender you have, you'll still want it to blend quickly and smoothly.
Our tests reveal which blenders can turn the rough into the smooth, and our in-depth reviews will help you to find a model that'll suit your blending needs.
- Can the blender make decent soup and smoothies?
- What's it like with tougher ingredients, such as veg and nuts?
- Can it crush ice?
- How noisy is it?
- Is it quick to blend?
- Is the blender easy to use and clean?
- Should I buy it?
Find out which models blitzed their way to success in our tests by heading to our blender reviews.
Can the blender make decent soup and smoothies?
You'd hope that every blender can do what it says on the tin and blend food. But that's not always the case, so our unique blending tests check to make sure there are no lingering lumps. We make three different types of smoothie with each blender, and our smoothie recipes include ingredients such as frozen and fresh fruit, ginger, leafy greens, nuts, dairy and ice.
For soup, we cook up a classic vegetable soup of carrot and coriander, but with some added celery to make it a little more difficult. We then wait for the cooked mixture to cool before blending it, as most blenders warn against blending hot food in them. After blending the cooled soup, we strain it through a fine mesh sieve and inspect to see what's escaped unblended, so that you don't end up with the likes of stringy celery in your soup. A Best Buy blender will whizz everything to a smooth, even consistency.
What's it like with tougher ingredients, such as veg and nuts?
Not all blenders do a good job of blending tough, dry or fibrous ingredients such as herbs, nuts, seeds and raw veg. Our fruit and veg smoothie challenges blenders with frozen berries, whole almonds, leafy spinach and fibrous ginger to see if they can blitz complex mixes into tasty drinks.
To really sort the versatile blenders from the one-trick ponies, we challenge each blender to make pesto: combining garlic, basil, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil to make a smooth paste. We see significant differences between blenders in this test - some manage fine with more liquid smoothie mixtures, but struggle to blend drier ingredients.
Can it crush ice?
Crushing ice in a consistent way is a task that many blenders struggle with, and we've only got really good results from a handful of blenders. A good blender, whether a jug blender or personal blender, will transform the cubes into even, fine crystals while poor blenders may leave you with large, uneven chunks or an over-processed mush.
Blenders are generally better at processing ice as part of a liquid mix - such as a smoothie - rather than on its own. If you're keen on making crushed ice, make sure you check our blender reviews to find the best ice-crushing blenders.
How noisy is it?
Blenders are generally quite noisy, but some are positively ear-splitting - annoying if you want to make an early-morning smoothie without waking up the household, even if they are usually only on for less than a minute.
We rate how loud each blender is, providing a comparative rating and highlighting any that make exceptionally annoying or unpleasant noises.
Is it quick to blend?
Some blenders reduce your fruit and veg to pulp in a matter of seconds, while others will leave you hanging around, poking the mix with a spoon and trying in vain to get the lumps out.
We don't just rate the end result to ensure you get a lump-free smoothie, we also time how long it takes to get there, so you can get a perfectly blended mix in the quickest time possible.
Is the blender easy to use and clean?
A blender might make lovely lump-free smoothies, but if it's a pain to use and clean, it's only a matter of time before it gets relegated to a cupboard to gather dust.
That's why we don't just focus on blending ability. We also check how easy each blender is to set up, use and clean afterwards. Some are intuitive, while others will have you scratching your head and consulting the manual.
Our tests reveal which blenders will leave you spending ages cleaning out nooks and crannies, and those which are a doddle to clean or can be popped straight into the dishwasher.
Should I buy it?
We combine all the scores from the tests listed above to come up with an overall rating for each blender.
We know that a good blender that's also easy to use and clean is more likely to be a hit with you, so we only award Best Buy status to blenders that blend well and are a breeze to use.
The final blender review score is made up of:
- 50% performance
- 45% ease of use
- 5% time to blend
A model has to achieve 80% or more to earn our Best Buy recommendation, and anything scoring 45% or less is highlighted as a Don't Buy that is so poor at its intended job that we think its best avoided.