Best Blenders For Green Smoothies – Top Picks & Reviews 2020
It’s not impossible to chop greens fine enough for perfect smoothies, but it is pretty hard. Part of the job is knowing how to stack what you’re blending, with the most fibrous things – probably your greens – on the bottom and progressively getting mushier.
The other part is getting the right blender. It’s not just a matter of buying the one with the most powerful motor. It’s a matter of getting the right mix of features while also trying to stay within a budget. That mix includes things like how much noise it makes, how easy it is to clean, and if you need to spend an arm and a leg.
We took a look at some of the more popular models you might run across while shopping, and wrote reviews we hope help guide your choice. We also included a buyers’ guide to further explain how we arrived at our decisions and to give you a clearer idea of what to look for when you buy your own.
A Look at our Favorites (updated in 2020):
The 8 Best Blenders for Green Smoothies:
1. Vitamix E310 Blender – Best Overall
Vitamix’s Explorian places super-sharp stainless steel blades atop one of the most powerful motors of any blender for cutting action that practically liquifies greens. With just a little bit of liquid, you’ll plop in fibrous kale and spinach and think you’re blending mushy strawberries, bananas, and yogurt.
For all that power, it’s quiet. It’ll give you no stress making a bunch of racket blending up a breakfast smoothie. It’s simple to clean, despite the fact that the blade column isn’t removable. Just pour some warm water into the basin with a drop or two of dish soap and turn it on. It self-cleans in a minute.
The other thing that makes this a great blender for greens is that green smoothies help strengthen your heart, which you’re going to need once you look at the price. It’s super expensive.
2. Blendtec Total Classic Blender
The blending action of Blendtec’s Total Classic Original Blender starts with purposefully dull blades. They crush produce and turn to mush the tough fibers that make greens so hard to get right for smoothies. The Blendtec cylinder on which the blades are mounted creates a vortex in your smoothie that pulls ingredients into the blade rather than pushing them out. The result is a smooth, light green drink.
Like our top pick, it’s simple to clean. Just add water and a little soap and it’ll clean itself through the power of its motor. It’s also got programmable cycles for maximum versatility. In fact, it’s got so much utility that if you want it to, the blades whirl with enough friction that it’ll even warm soup.
What you won’t like about it is the price. It’s not coming cheap. You won’t like the noise, either. You’d be forgiven for thinking the world is coming to an end.
3. Ninja BL610 Smoothie Blender – Best Value
It does a pretty good job grinding things up, although it doesn’t get greens quite as smooth as our top two. It doesn’t have a lot of moving parts, so it’s pretty easy to clean and there isn’t much risk of losing components. It’s also got a big pitcher, so you can make a lot of smoothie at once and enjoy it throughout the day.
Be warned that the pitcher is made out of plastic. If you hate old blenders because plastic pitchers have a way of letting you down, it won’t do much to inspire confidence. It’s also old-pitcher loud. Be thankful for that oversized pitcher, because you won’t have to blend as often.
4. Cleanblend Green Smoothie Blender
If you’re looking for a good compromise between quality blending and price, we’d suggest the Blender By Cleanblend. It doesn’t quite have the blending abilities or features of our top two picks, and it isn’t as affordable as our best for the money. It sits right between them.
It does a good enough job on green smoothies, if you don’t mind the occasional string of fiber, and like our top two picks, it’s self-cleaning. Just use a drop of dish cleaner and some hot water, and you’re set. We also like the 64-ounce pitcher because you can make a lot in one go.
It is pretty noisy, of course. You won’t want to wear ear protection, but you also wouldn’t want to use it in a room full of sleeping people, unless they’re people you don’t like. While it cleans itself, everything occasionally requires a full disassembly for a thorough cleaning and maintenance. This one is tough to get apart.
5. Oster 16-Speed Blender
The biggest thing the Oster 6812-001 Core 16-Speed Blender has going for it is its price. Compared to some of the other models we looked at, it provides great value by the mere fact of what it costs.
Oster built this thing on a classic Oster design. It hasn’t changed in decades, which means the foundational notion behind it is brute power. For what you pay, you get a lot of power.
It’s also a blender designed for the 1980s. It isn’t made with smoothies in mind, and especially not smoothies made out of greens that people didn’t eat in the 80s. Don’t expect it to turn kale into liquid velvet. That old-school design also means it’s got four blades where more modern designs mostly have six or even eight. Old-school blenders were hard to clean. This one is, too.
6. NutriBullet Smoothie Blender
The NBR-1201 from NutriBullet is marketed as a nutrient extractor rather than a blender. The company says that its blades tear apart cell walls, releasing the nutrients inside. We have doubts about that, but we have no way to either verify or dispute it, so we’ll just leave it at that.
We will say that it’s a budget-friendly option for making smoothies, especially compared to some of your other options. It also does a pretty good job reducing greens to a smooth liquid, which we do attribute to its extractor design.
Some words of caution, however. It can be tricky to clean, and you need to keep an eye on the seal between the extractor blades and the pitcher. That can fail and cause leaks. It’s also got only four blades in a six-blade world, so it will take a little longer to make smoothies. Clean it right after use. If the smoothie bits dry out, this one is hard to clean.
7. Breville BBL620 Blender
The Fresh & Furious Blender, Breville’s model BBL620, is a clunker. It’s overpriced and underpowered, and you have to stop it occasionally to mix the ingredients manually.
To us, the problem just comes down to its motor. It needs a newer one with more power. We tend to like the way it looks, but the Fresh & Furious needs a redesign for a more powerful motor. If Breville sacrificed power for looks, then its design holds back its performance. Considering the shortcomings of the motor power, it’s also much too loud for what it ought to be.
It is easy to clean, either in the dishwasher or on its self-clean mode. The four-blade assembly is also built to last. Those two things are small consolation, however, for the significant drawbacks of this model.
8. Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher Blenders
If you’re looking for something to mix margaritas, the Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher is a perfectly good option. It’s an affordable, multi-speed general-use blender that’s perfect for mixing adult beverages. As a smoothie blender, especially when it comes to chopping up greens like kale and chard, it’s not so good.
While it can turn ice to snow, provided you don’t overfill the pitcher that’s a little on the small side, it chops up greens to a consistency more commonly associated with salsa than smoothies. In fact, one of its slower settings is perfect for making chunky salsa. As we said, it’s a good general-purpose blender.
It’s also as loud as a conventional blender, which is to say that it’s really loud. If it did a decent job of making greens into smoothies, we could forgive that. But it does a bad job at that, so it gets our bottom ranking.
Making smoothies out of greens is a relatively new thing in eating healthy. In the past, those greens were mostly used as salad bar garnishes. The idea of buying a blender to make green smoothies might seem a bit daunting, because it starts with the question of just what makes those greens so challenging to chop to a drinkable consistency.
We put together this buyers’ guide to answer those questions and to give some useful tips about how to buy a blender that you can use to make green smoothies.
Why greens are challenging
Greens are a challenge to make into smoothies for the same reason your doctor says you ought to eat them. Most of them are high in fiber content, in both the stalks and leaves. In fact, if you cook these as a side dish, the primary way you prepare them is by boiling them for a long time to make them tender enough to eat. They tend to be the hardest things to either juice or blend into smoothies because of that. When people look for a blender that does a good job with these, they’re really looking for a blender that performs best doing the most difficult work. It’s also a pretty safe bet that if a blender does a good job on greens, it’ll do a good job on things like fruit and nut butters.
First obvious consideration is the amount of power, measured in watts, that a blender can max out at. Most blenders can operate at a variety of speeds, but how powerful one is at its fastest is a function of how much power the motor can offer. The more watts a blender can bring to the job, the better its chances of giving you green smoothies without a lot of fibrous chunks.
Old-style blenders had four blades, two pointed up and two pointed down, which whirred around at the bottom of the pitcher. This was good enough to chunk up ice and make smoothies out of the mushiest of fruits and yogurts, but they just didn’t have the cutting qualities for liquifying greens.
The old thinking about blenders was that the blades had to be razor-sharp. That’s no longer necessarily true. Some blenders are designed specifically to have dulled blades. This not only means you don’t have to worry about the blades getting dulled but that you’re less likely to cut yourself when cleaning and performing maintenance.
When shopping for a blender to make green smoothies, take a look at how many blades it has, how they cut, and how the cutting column is designed. It sounds counterintuitive that something will cut better when dull. Blendtec’s Total Classic Original Blender is successful with dull blades because its design draws what you’re turning into smoothies in close to the cutting column.
Most modern blenders have a self-cleaning mode. You put in some hot water and a drop of dishwashing liquid and turn it on. The blending action creates a column of cleaning liquid that cleans out the pitcher, even reaching into the nooks and crannies. The alternative to this is taking the pitcher apart by unscrewing the blade column from beneath and washing it by hand. It’s laborious work that doesn’t always produce the best results.
That said, sometimes you do actually need to pull your blender apart for a deeper clean or to perform maintenance.
Blenders are, by their nature, loud gadgets. A good purchasing point is knowing how much capacity the pitcher you blend your smoothies in has. A higher-capacity pitcher means you don’t have to blend as often, which means making that much less loud, aggravating noise.
A good rule of thumb is that the more powerful the motor, the louder the blender will be. Some manufacturers will do things to dampen the sound, however. When buying a blender capable of liquifying greens, check that it has some features to at least minimize the noise.
If you’re buying a blender capable of making greens into smoothies, it’s probably going to be more expensive than a blender used to do lesser work. The good ones are pretty expensive. While there’s no putting a price tag on your health, there is making sure that if you spend a lot of money, the gadgets you buy can do as many things as possible. Versatility can go a long way towards justifying a hefty expenditure.
Most of the blenders we looked at come in a wide range of prices. The ones at the bottom end of the price spectrum are just basic blenders that cost less than a fill-up of your car tank, while the ones at the upper end are specialty machines that cost hundreds of dollars. Know where you stand as far as how much you’re willing to spend. Figure out which features you absolutely need, and which ones you can afford only if they don’t cost a lot of additional dollars.
We found that the Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender is the best green smoothie blender out there. It liquifies even raw kale and is easy to clean, but you will absolutely pay for it. Blendtec’s Total Classic Original Blender was a good contender for the top pick and costs a little less than the Explorian, but it’s also much louder, so we gave it our runner-up rank. The Ninja Professional Countertop Blender doesn’t grind to the smooth consistency of our top two, but it does deliver for what you’ll pay. We gave it our best for the money rank. The Blender By Cleanblend is a great mix of value and performance, grinding up greens and turning ice into snow, but it’s loud and difficult to take apart if you need to replace a part.
Oster’s 6812-001 Core 16-Speed Blender is an old-school design that gives you as much blending power for as little money as the company could charge. It’s got good value, but leaves something to be desired as a green smoothie maker. The NutriBullet NBR-1201 uses a novel extractor design to deliver smooth green drinks in a budget-friendly fashion. It can also make a bit of a mess and is tough to clean, especially if you let it sit.
Breville’s Fresh & Furious is a snap to clean and has a sturdy blade assembly. It also costs too much money, has an undersized motor, is loud, and is a pain in the neck to use. The Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher is a good general-purpose blender but is a complete dud when it comes to the special challenges of blending greens. It got our last rank as a result.
Related buyer’s guides
Table of Contents
- A Look at our Favorites (updated in 2020):
- The 8 Best Blenders for Green Smoothies:
- Buyer’s Guide