Best blenders 2020: top jug blenders for smoothies, soups and juice
Liquefy in style with these best blenders.
Hand, jug, stand, single-serve. There are many types of blenders at wildly varying prices. Despite them all effectively doing one thing – turning solids into liquids – finding the best blender can be a minefield of conflicting reviews and jargon.
For the past month we've put the blitzing power of 10 of the most popular blenders to the test from brands including Ninja, Nutribullet, Sage, and KitchenAid in an attempt to simplify your choice.
UPDATE: KitchenAid has just released a new blender designed to be fast and easy. The K400 Blender comes in a total of 11 colours including Empire Red, Almond Cream and a new green called Kyoto Glow. The asymmetric stainless steel blades are angled to blend with ease and the Intelli-speed Control senses ingredients so that it can maintain the optimal speed to get the most out of your food.Available now for £279.
The clear winner, storming ahead in almost every category was the Ninja Blender Duo. Our best value choice is the Nutribullet Magic Bullet. It is cheap and cheerful but does the job as well as, and in some cases better than, its more expensive rivals.
- Want more versatility? Don't miss our best food processor test. If you are looking to use that energy from your smoothie to do some cleaning then our best cordless vacuum cleaner and best robot vacuum cleaner guides.
It may be loud and simple but it does the job better than many of its rivals for a pleasingly low price. For £40 you get a compact, single-serve blender, with a separate cup, that makes light work of smoothies and juices.
The Ninja Blender Duo not only offers great value, with its high-capacity jug and separate single-serve Nutri Ninja cups, it outperformed more expensive models in almost every test and comes with a host of speed settings to suit every occasion.
The expert's view
The shortlist: best blenders
1. Tefal Blendforce II Glass
Its six blades promise to blend 30% faster compared to Tefal’s previous models and it comes with a 2L jug that offers two speeds plus a pulse function. A measuring cup is built into the lid. Available in black only.
2. Dualit VortecS Blender
The Dualit blender’s VortecS technology and six-pronged blade has been designed to blast ingredients to breakdown skin, seeds, nuts and pulp in seconds, helping release their nutritional benefits. It comes with a 2L performance jug, a built-in timer and seven speed settings. Available in silver.
3. Nutribullet Magic Bullet
Nutribullet sells its Magic Bullet as a blender, mixer and food processor in one. It comes with a 0.6L single-serve jug plus two spare cups and a steamer/shaker attachment. Instead of power buttons, the different options are controlled by hand – press and hold to blend, press and release to pulse. Available in silver.
4. Swan Retro Stand Blender
This blender from Swan has been designed to fit in with its wider range of Retro products, each intended to look like they came from the 1950s. It has a 1.5L jug and offer five speed settings plus a pulse function. Available in blue, black, red, green, orange, white, grey, and pink.
5. Ninja Blender Duo with AutoIQblender
The Ninja Blender Duo with AutoIQ has a 2.1L performance jug and three separate single-serve cups. Its AutoIQ technology knows which container is attached and then automatically runs the unique pulse, pause and blend patterns needed for the drink or food you’re making. Available in black.
6. KitchenAid Artisan blender
KitchenAid’s Artisan blender offers seven speed settings and a 1.5L jug with a die-cast base and touch panel controls. You can buy a larger, 1.75L pitcher or smaller 0.75L culinary jar separately. Available in red, white, silver and black.
7. Sage The Fresh and Furious blender
Nine touch controls and a digital LCD timer display are built into the Sage’s base and the machine ships with a 1.5L jug. Its four blades are made from “surgical grade stainless steel” and have been designed to deliver food processing tasks. Available in silver.
8. Wilko Power Blender Plus
The Wilko Power Blender Plus comes with a 0.8L single-serve blender jug plus two spare cups with stay-fresh screw lid, and sip lid. It has a plastic base and is available in black only.
9. Smeg BLF01BLUK 50s-style blender
The Smeg BLF01BLUK's die-cast aluminium body is designed to look and feel like blenders from the 1950s. It ships with a 1.5L jug, plus a 45ml measuring cup that fits into the jug’s lid and comes with four speed settings plus a pulse function. Available in black, silver, red, cream, pink and green.
10. Russell Hobbs Desire Matte Black Jug Blender
The Russell Hobbs Desire Matte Black jug blender has four stainless steel blades, a 1.5L jug and two speeds, plus a pulse function. Available in black only.
Best blenders: how we selected them
The terms blenders and food processors are used almost interchangeably online, yet they have different pros and cons. The majority of food processors can be seen as "jack of all trades, masters of none". They’re typically good all-rounders, able to handle most kitchen tasks thrown at them, including grating and slicing but aren’t built with one particular task in mind.
If it’s a processor you’re after, check out our test of the best food processors. Blenders, on the other hand, offer less versatility but are designed to excel at a specific set of liquid-based tasks. At their most simple, the best blenders are those with enough capacity to handle multiple fruit and vegetables for smoothies and juices, and that turn those ingredients into smooth liquids quickly and quietly.
In selecting our shortlist of best blenders to test, we automatically discounted hand blenders. Hand blenders have their uses, being most suited to aerating, beating and emulsifying, but they don’t offer the versatility of jug blenders. Little separates stand and jug blenders, divided only by the shape of the container, so we included both in our search, alongside single-serve (also known as smoothie-making) blenders made popular by the likes of Nutribullet.
We began by selecting the 50 highest-rated blenders within these categories from leading homeware sites AO.com, Argos, John Lewis, Currys and Amazon before reading hundreds of customer reviews to pick out the 25 most popular blenders based on real-world use. The highest-scoring models from each individual brand in our list of the top 25 was chosen before we handpicked models based on features and price.
In terms of features, we were looking for blenders with enough capacity and power to make a batch of carrot and coriander soup, a blueberry and banana smoothie, and cucumber and red cabbage juice. We wanted the ability to crush ice too.
Each blender needed to fit comfortably on our kitchen top and within the £200 budget we set. Within this budget, we wanted at least two premium models and two cheaper brands, with the other blenders providing an assortment of options in the mid-range.
This left us with blenders from Ninja, Nutribullet, Smeg, Swan, Sage, Dualit, Russell Hobbs, Tefal, KitchenAid and Wilko ranging from £30 up to £200.
Best blenders: how we tested them
We judged each blender on both quality and quantity across a total of 14 criteria. Half of these scores ranked the blenders based on their specifications and features including price, capacity, the number of speed settings, power, size, weight and colours. The other scores were taken from performance tests, each blender’s design, how loud they are when crushing ice, and how easy they are to use and clean.
The cheapest blender, the £29.99 Russell Hobbs’s Desire Matte Black Jug Blender, achieved the maximum score of 10 for price, for example. But this bargain cost means it has low power and offers few colour options, which law it drop points. The Sage Fresh and Furious excelled at making soup, scoring full marks, but lost nine of these points for being the most expensive.
We began by crushing the same amount of ice in each blender for 30 seconds before tipping the crushed ice into individual plastic cups. The name of each blender was written on the underside of the cups so we couldn’t see which ice came from which machine. We then ranked the samples based on their consistency. This test was repeated to measure the decibel levels of each blender as the ice was thrown around the jug.
For the smoothie test, we added the same amount of milk, bananas and blueberries to each blender and blitzed the ingredients for a minute. These ingredients were chosen because they offered a variety of textures and sizes. The smoothie mixture was poured into labelled cups and judged blind on colour, texture and taste. The individual scores of these three rankings were combined to get the total smoothie score.
This process was repeated for making juice, this time adding blueberries, cucumber and red cabbage to each blender. These ingredients were similarly chosen for their different textures and sizes, but also because of the vibrancy of the red cabbage.
The blended liquid was passed through a cheesecloth into labelled plastic cups and each juice was judged on taste and colour. Again, these scores were combined to get the total juice score.
Finally, a single batch of carrot and coriander soup mixture was divided into 10 and blended in each machine for two minutes. The soup was similarly blind-judged based on texture, colour and taste and the scores were combined. Each model was used on its lowest setting, and for the Ninja model we carried out testing using the jug blender but have also since repeated the tests with its single-serve container for reference.
Best blenders reviews: The test results
In previous appliance group tests, little has separated the best performing models but before we’d even scored the blenders on specifications, one model was a clear winner – the Ninja Blender Duo with AutoIQ. It scored top, or in the top three, for every performance test and in three of the seven specifications rankings.
In second place was the Dualit VortecS blender. It’s lighter than it looks and is surprisingly quiet. This is also impressive given its high power. It performed admirably in most tests but dropped points for being a little confusing to use.
Coming in third was the KitchenAid Artisan. It’s huge and heavy but this affords it a large capacity and high power motor, putting its performance up there with the Ninja and Dualit blenders.
We had expected the Nutribullet to take a podium place, given the brand’s popularity when reading customer reviews. However, its Magic Bullet is the only single-serve blender in the top five, rivalling much more expensive and powerful models for performance and specs, so it still performed well. Its marketing on the box promises a simple, quick blend and that’s exactly what you get.
The most expensive model in our list, the £199.95 Sage Fresh and Furiouscame fifth. It looks similar to the Dualit but is a little sleeker and offers a great range of settings without being too difficult to use. A built-in timer is also a great addition. Sadly, while it nailed some tests, it fell flat in others and we expected more for the price.
Sixth place went to the Wilko Power Plus blender. Despite its name, it lacks some of the power and finesse of the more expensive models but we were impressed with just how well it performed for such a cheap, compact single-serve blender.
Smeg’s retro blender aesthetic is fantastic; its retro design looked great on our worktop and its score was boosted by the range of colours available. Sadly it offers more style than substance and its performance results were wildly inconsistent, knocking it into seventh.
If it was judged purely on its specifications, the Swan Retro Stand blender would have scored higher as it’s light, compact with a large capacity and a good range of colours. Its performance dragged it down to eighth, though, after failing to fully blend basic ingredients.
Tefal’s Blendforce II Glass blender was terrible at crushing ice, the worst on test, but redeemed itself with a decent soup and how easy it was to use, managing to just avoid last place.
With the cheapest blender, Russell Hobbs’s Desire Matte, you get what you pay for. Its black design is inoffensive, and it has a decent capacity but it’s performance was largely poor, sadly affording it our One To Avoid award.
The best blender reviewed:
Ninja Blender Duo with AutoIQblender , £149.99
For a small appliance you’re not likely to use every day, paying £150 for the Ninja Blender Duo may seem a little steep but it’s worth almost every penny. Second only to the KitchenAid Artisan in terms of power, it has enough oomph to be the best blender for crushing ice by quite a distance. It was the only blender to completely turn the cubes to a consistent slush and did so quickly with one of the lowest sound levels of the lot.
It made the smoothest, freshest tasting smoothie without any lumps, and its juice was delicious, albeit lacking some of the vibrancy in colour of the juices produced by the Sage and Dualit blenders. Similarly, its soup was almost perfect. The only thing that separated it from the top-scoring Sage model was a single lump of carrot found at the bottom of the Ninja soup.
This fantastic performance was undoubtedly due to the Ninja’s blender jug having the largest capacity on test, coupled with having a tall, six-blade design – a unique feature of the brand. For reference, we performed each of these tests using the accompanying Nutri Ninja blender and it more than held its own. Its performance wasn’t as good as the Ninja’s jug blender but regularly ranked in the top three places when compared to its rivals.
The trade-off for this performance, and the reason the Ninja Blender Duo is only almost perfect is that it’s not the easiest of blenders to use and it’s a chunky, heavy piece of kit. Its AutoIQ feature determines which container –the jug or the single-serve – is attached and highlights the most appropriate settings.
For example, when the juice ingredients were added to the single-serve blender, the Low, Med, High and Pulse settings lit up, as did the Puree button. The Frozen Drinks/Smoothies button did not, neither did the two dedicated Nutri Blend buttons, which provide more power to the jug blender when its attached.
Once an option has been selected, the technology will automatically run the pulse, pause and blend patterns needed for the particular drink or food you’re making. While this sounds easy, and it does produce great results, knowing which button to press in the first place isn’t always straightforward and takes some getting used to. Other blenders simply have a dial with numbers that correspond to the amount of power, and these are easier to control.
On the plus side, Ninja’s system does have a timer, and it gives you a wider range of options meaning you can be much more precise and tailor the type of blend to the recipe, rather than just blitzing the food and hoping for the best.
Elsewhere, the Ninja lacks the style of some of its rivals. Its chunky and heavy design suits its industrial-style performance. You also have to store the extra jug and cups when they’re not in use, and they’re not small either. This means the Ninja Blender Duo may not suit smaller homes or where space is at a premium. But if you have the room, we’d sacrifice a little style for the power and versatility.
The best blender for value reviewed:
Buy a Ninja Blender Duo and you’re paying a slight premium for its versatility and power. But if you’re not interested in bells and whistles, and just want a blender that does the job without breaking the bank, we highly recommend the Nutribullet Magic Bullet. For almost a quarter of the price of the Ninja, you get an easier to use, more compact single-serve blender without sacrificing too much on power and performance.
Its small size and low weight mean it can easily be stored in a cupboard when not in use or will tuck in tidily on your worktop between a kettle and toaster. It doesn’t have a power button on the blender itself. Instead, you press and hold the jug in place for the desired length of time. Alternatively, you can achieve a pulsing motion by pressing and releasing the jug multiple times.
If you want hands-free blending, before turning the Magic Bullet on press and twist the jug to lock it in place. Turn the power and the blades will rotate automatically until you untwist the jug or turn it off at the mains. We liked this ease of use but can imagine the lack of varying speed options, and the hands-on nature of the Magic Bullet may soon feel restrictive if you’re planning to make a variety of meals or drinks.
In all the performance rankings, with the exception of the ice crush test, the Nutribullet scored in the top half of the table. It made an above average smoothie, a tasty soup and a vibrant juice. In fact, it ranked top for the taste of its smoothie, but dropped points for having a thicker, lumpier consistency than some of its rivals. It has a limited capacity – the smallest on test – and while this didn’t seem to impact its performance with softer ingredients, the Nutribullet struggled to effectively crush ice, leaving large lumps. This may also be a downside if you want a blender to batch cook for the week.
The Nutribullet’s closest rival in our group test, in terms of design and functionality, is the Wilko Power Plus blender. The two models look almost identical, spare some branding differences, and the Wilko blender is a fiver cheaper, but it’s incredibly noisy and doesn’t offer pulsing features. Both come with two spare cups. If space, or money is tight, we recommend getting the Nutribullet over its larger rivals and paying the extra compared to the Wilko model will give you better results.
Comparing the rest on test
With the second largest capacity of the group, a wide range of settings and its flat (as opposed to Ninja’s tall) six-pronged blade, the Dualit VortecS got the closest to the Ninja in terms of performance, albeit still 12 points off. It came second only to the Nutribullet for how quiet it is, which is impressive given its hefty motor, and it made a great juice. Dualit has crammed a lot of tech and power into a narrow frame, meaning the VortecS would be comfortable addition to most homes.
Undoubtedly the most striking looking blender of the group, the KitchenAid Artisan is large and heavy, and is seemingly designed to stand out rather than blend in. Excuse the pun. Its highly powerful motor made it great for crushing ice, coming second only to the Ninja, and it’s smoothie was almost up there with Ninja’s taste and consistency. This was all done with relatively little noise, too. The KitchenAid lost points for a lacklustre juice and for leaving lumps in the soup.
Proving price doesn’t always match performance, the Sage Fresh and the Furious fell short of cheaper models, sitting in the middle of the pack. It excelled at both the smoothie and soup tasks, and offers the most speed settings without being overly complicated.
Its timer is a welcomed addition too. However, its juice mixture had large pieces of cabbage and cucumber left in it, it was one of the loudest machines and came second only to KitchenAid’s Artisan in terms of its large size and weight.
It may be the loudest blender in the list, with a capacity only marginally larger than the Nutribullet, but the Wilko blender is still a decent choice. It does the job if you don’t want anything fancy and for £35 you get a compact single-serve blender with spare cups. It lost points for its lack of colour and speed options and it made an awful soup.
How the Smeg BLF01BLUK 50s-styleblender could be so wildly inconsistent confounds us. In the smoothie and ice crushing tests, the Smeg was brilliant, achieving a score of nine and eight respectively. Yet put juice ingredients in, or attempt to make a soup, and you wouldn’t know it was the same blender. Both tests lacked taste and had poor consistencies. For its price we’d also expect more power. We did like the measuring cup in the top of the lid, though.
The Swan Retro Stand blender completely failed in making juice, only managing to cut the very bottom layer of ingredients and leaving the rest intact. Its smoothie didn’t fare much better, the ice wasn’t crushed and its soup was lumpy, although the overall consistency of the vegetables that were blended was good. It gained points for being a good looking, compact, quiet machine. Similar to the Smeg model, the Swan Retro Stand blender offers more style over substance. But unlike Smeg, its price is not sky-high.
Tefal’s Blendforce II Glass scored largely down the middle in the majority of tests, which matches its mid-range price. The blender wasn’t overly loud and it has a large capacity, offering a decent range of speed settings. It fell into last place, however, for making a terrible soup and smoothie and failing to crush the ice at all, merely cutting a few shards off the cubes.
Any blenders to avoid?
Russell Hobbs’s Desire Matte Black Jug Blender is cheap, and it shows. It’s a fairly chunky machine without the power that accompanies some of its other, similarly large rivals, namely the KitchenAid Artisan, and this meant it struggled with many of the performance tests. Its juice ranked among the worst, as did its ability to crush ice.
A couple of silver linings. You do get a large capacity for the price, and its smoothie was one of the smoothest and tastiest we made, so it’s not all bad, but we can’t recommend this machine when others which aren’t that much more expensive – the Nutribullet and Wilko – and do a significantly better job.