Generally, there are 3 types of blenders: Full-size, Personal and Immersion versions. However, immersion blenders are considered as specialties than common tools for kitchen.
Best Blenders for Smoothies & Purees
Honestly, for ‘really’ good smoothies---velvety, silky-smooth smoothies without leaving seeds or harsh fibers, you need a high-powered blender. Standard, old-school blenders under 500-watt ones might work but can’t deliver that standard.
For serious smoothies, look for high-performance blenders that come with powerful motor, roughly more than 1,000 watts. These are enough for pulverizing fibered-packed kales, raw carrots, and berry seeds and making better flavor. Also, we recommend ones that have traditional jars, tall and narrow than wide-extended jars, with pulse function. Tampers are useful for making purees and soups, but not initially essential.
Apparently, Vitamix blenders excel for food extracting, which are smoothies, soups, thick purees, and nut butters. The Vitamix 5200 (Est. $450) is considered as a generic machine for good-for-everything, both for blending and grinding. While the newer versions, the Ascent series, have same shape and design of older ones but attach more technological features, longer warranty, and sleeker look.
The Vitamix 750 (Est. $600) is another popular model, which comes with a 64-ounce low-profile jar and 5 programs.
For Ascent series, the Vitamix Ascent A2500 (Est. $500) is the earnest pick to get the upgraded features and 3 most-used programs: Smoothies, Hot Soups, and Frozen Desserts, in compromise cost.
Still, if budget isn’t your issue, going for a flagship Vitamix Ascent A3500 (Est. $600) for touchscreen controls and 5 programs, which includes self-cleaning, is worth the hype.
For cheaper alternative, Cleanblend 3HP (Est. $199) comes with 1,800 watts, 3 peak horsepower and nearly the same appearance with Vitamix 5200.
Actually, any high-performance blenders can handle both smoothies and crushing ices easily and vastly. Still, some machines can do better---not too significant but noticeable. Blenders that excel for ices crushing should have big motor. We prefer containers that have wide base for easier dropping ice cubes from a tray and rectangular shape for making perfect crushing effect.
With these criteria, Blendtec blenders obviously excel for ice crushing and frozen fruit smoothies, slightly better than Vitamix. (In fact, they perform on par with Vitamix for smoothies and soups, but not good for thick and dry ingredients.)
The Total Blender and original Designer series are our favorites but about to discontinued. You can still find them in some stores.
The Classic 575 (Est. $400), as the replacement of Total Blender is a good pick to begin.
The Designer 675 (Est. $550) comes close to original Designer Series. It has 1,675 watts, 3 peak horsepower, slide speed adjustment and 5 preset programs.
The sleek Designer 725 (Est. $550), a flag ship, is a most powerful blender around here with 3.8 peak horsepower, 100 speed adjustment and 6 programs.
If you want a high-powered machine that isn’t noisy, the Blendtec Pro 800 (Est. $800) is a real one.
For economical choices, the Oster Versa Pro (Est. $550), 1,400 watts, is recommended. It successes for ice crushing and making nut butters, with 3 programs.
Most under $150 machines can produce pleasant smoothies, dry grinding, or making nut butter. However, some machines can perform far better than the price.
Ninja Professional (Est. $100), 1,000 watts, is steal. With food processor blades and a tall square 72-oz jar, it’s good for making smoothies and soups and other big batches jobs.
KitchenAid 5-Speed (Est. $120), 550 watts with lovely vast of color options, proves that efficient of motor is better than size as it can handle many kitchen tasks beautifully, from home smoothies, mayonnaises, soups to nut butters.
Preset programs are useful for people who want like-a-chef effect but can’t find the sweet spot or just make it simple. Good preset modes should have well-design cycle for each job. We prefer ones that offer programs for smoothies, soups, ice crushing, frozen desserts, and additional pulse.
Breville Boss (Est. $400), a reliable high-powered blender, offers very easy and practical control with 5 preset programs and a timer. It also has self-cleaning function. It’s best set-and-forget blender we’ve ever found.
Cuisinart Hurricane CBT-1500 (Est. $200), 2.25 peak horsepower, has only 2 preset menus: smoothies and ice crushing, and a pulse. However, the simple adjustment and programmable countdown timer makes easy and practical for good blending.
Cuisinart Hurricane Pro CBT-2000 (Est. $300) offers more power, 3.5 peak horsepower, and preset programs: smoothie, ice crush, soup, self-clean and a pulse than Hurricane while produces good jobs in one touch.