How to Buy the Best Blender for Smoothies
It seems that the smoothie recipe articles I've posted here have become pretty popular, so much so that people are actually writing and asking for more. That's great news!
I was chatting with a friend the other day, discussing some of my favorite smoothie recipes, when the friend asked me out of the blue, "How do I choose the best blender to make these smoothies?" This question took me by surprise, as I kind of thought all blenders were created equal. After a bit of research, I can finally tell you that it's actually kind of hard to buy best blender for smoothies.
Juicer vs. Blender vs. Food Processor
Do you know the difference between a juicer, a blender, or a food processor? Do you know which is better for your smoothies?
When it comes to getting juice from fresh fruits and veggies, the juicer is the perfect extractor. It will shred up all of the fiber, which it will then discard as the fruit or veggie juice drips nicely into your cup. If you want fresh juice, the juicer can be your best friend.
Need to turn something from a solid into a liquid?
The blender is what you need, as the blades of the blender will liquefy everything that you place into the cup. For smoothies and drinks, there's nothing better than a blender.
The blades of the food processor are made for dicing and slicing more than for pureeing. You'll find that this machine will save you time and effort when you're cooking, as you don't have to chop anything. Just drop the ingredients you want diced up into the machine, and "Voila!"
So, when it comes to smoothies, the machine you want sitting on your kitchen counter is definitely a blender. Just pour your milk, youghurt, ice cream, water, soy milk, almond milk, or fruit juice into the cup, add the fruits, veggies, nuts, berries, or chocolate you want to make your smoothie with, and turn it on. Within seconds, you've got the perfect smoothie.
The reason I'd recommend using the blender is because it doesn't extract the juice from the fruit - it simply turns the fruit into juice. That means that all of the healthy fiber from the fruit is still inside the blender.
If you juice the fruit, all you get is the simple sugar, which won't be as good for your health or your diet. With the fiber added, you'll get complex sugars that will make the fruit juice healthy!
But wait a minute! A juicer still has its place in your kitchen, too. You may not want tons of fiber if you're making green shakes or healthy veggie smoothies. You can run some of the fruits or veggies through the juicer to extract just the juice, and pour it into the blender along with the rest of the raw foods you're going to "smoothie up".
This means you'll still get lots of fiber, but not so much fiber that you have to pick it out from between your teeth. If you're making green smoothies, carrot smoothies, beet smoothies, or smoothies with fruits like pineapple or apple, you'll want a juicer handy as well as a blender.
The Blender Challenge
What makes it hard to buy best blender for smoothies or buy best blender for juicing is the fact that all blenders are so similar. They look pretty much the same, and it seems that they work almost the same. However, the key to finding the right blender for your smoothies or juicing is:
- Look for one that's easy to clean
- Look for one that is durable
- Look for one with power
With these three tips, you've got the basics of buying the best smoothie blender!
Keep in Mind: Find a blender with a cup and blades that you can easily replace. Stick with commonly used brands like Oster or Cuisinart, as you'll be easily able to find a replacement part online or in stores when the cup breaks - which it eventually will, no matter how well you take care of it!
Let's get into a bit more detail on what features you need to find in a good smoothie blender:
This is one of the most important aspects of your blender. You need a motor that is powerful, as it's going to have to power that blade to slice through ice, frozen fruits, and vegetables like carrots and celery.
Your motor should have at least 350 Watts of power, but 500 or 600 Watts will be better. The most important thing to remember is that your motor shouldn't just be powerful, but it needs to be built to last as well!
Even if it's powerful, a poorly constructed motor will burn out with heavy use - and making smoothies every day definitely counts as heavy use in my books!
The base of a blender may not seem like a big deal, but it usually tells you what the blender motor is like. There's nothing wrong with a plastic base, but the solid metal bases will almost always be a better choice.
Feel the weight of the base when testing different models. If the base feels heavy, it means that the motor is usually pretty powerful - and has plenty of torque to power the slicing blades.
Do you really need 10 to 12 speeds to make a good smoothie? Not really.
You basically need three settings: the "Pulse" setting to chop up the ingredients initially, a medium speed setting to turn the chopped up food into liquid, and a high-speed setting to turn that liquid into a smooth, creamy drink of the Gods.
As long as you have these three settings, you're ready for smoothie time!
Other than the motor, the blender cup is the most important feature of the appliance. You're going to need a cup that's tough and durable, as you'll be chopping up ice, frozen foods, and hard veggies and fruits in this thing.
A heavy duty glass cup is your best choice when it comes to smoothies, as it will handle the heavy use. If you're prone to breaking things, a metal blender cup will be just as durable - but won't shatter if you drop it.
The downside to a metal cup is that you can't see what your drink looks like.
Cleanliness is Godliness
Finding a blender that's easy to clean can be a challenge. Most blenders will require you to remove unscrew the blades from the bottom of the cup, as you'll need to rinse off the liquid that has seeped into the space between the gasket and plastic holding up the blades.
That's just part of life, and it's something that you have to do every time you use the blender. Just make sure it's easy to screw it back on again!
Sneaky Secret: You may think that the stick blender is just to use for making pureed soups, but you can actually make a killer smoothie using this blender. Just add the ingredients into a bowl or pot with high sides, and turn the blender on full. It will turn your foods into a nice smoothie, and it's much easier to clean. It takes practice, but it's worth trying!
The Best Juicers
Need a juicer for your kitchen? Here are three of the best juicers you'll find:
Hamilton Beach "Big Mouth" Juice Extractor
For about $60, you can turn anything into juice with this machine.
It has a wider opening than most juicers, so you can basically toss whole fruits into its maw.
It's a cheap, affordable machine for those that only occasionally juice.
Breville 800JEXL Juicer
With a motor that runs at up to 1000 Watts, this is a powerhouse of a juicer.
It is actually designed to reduce the amount of heat generated by the juicing process, reducing the enzymes boiled out of the juice.
Need to do some serious juicing?
This is a commercial juicer that extracts the juice at low speed, meaning it gets more nutrients from the fruits and veggies you run through it.
It's a tough machine that's surprisingly easy to clean!
You might also like: >>What Are The Best Juicers To Buy On The Market in 2014?<<
The Best Blenders
Here are some of the best blenders for your smoothies:
Oster Classic Beehive
With its solid metal base, its tough 600-watt motor, and its durable glass cup, this is the smoothie blender that belongs in every kitchen.
It has just 2 speeds: power blending, and Ultra Mega Super Power blending.
The only downside is that it doesn't have a pulse setting, but it can cut through any smoothie ingredients - no matter how frozen!
Cuisinart Smart Power
The cup on this blender is probably the most durable one around, and it will take a lot of heavy smoothie-ing to break it.
It's noisy and a bit of a process to use, but cleaning it is nice and easy!
Hamilton Beach Blender Chef
The 12 speeds on this machine are a handy feature for control freaks like me that want total domination over our smoothie process.
The plastic cup on this blender isn't as durable, but it's cheap and easy to replace.
It's time to get blending!