Best Budget Blenders For Smoothies 2019 – Reviews & Buying Guide
If you’re looking to make smoothies for health or fun, you’re going to need a blender. However, it’s not always easy to shop online. There’s a ton of models, and it can be hard to distinguish what separates great blenders from those that don’t live up to the hype. If you’re having that problem, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve assembled a list of reviews of some of the best budget blenders for smoothies of 2019, which means that you should be able to find a model that has all of the features you need and know that you’re getting a good deal, to boot. We’ve also created a buyer’s guide, so if you don’t know what to look for when shopping for a blender, you can learn about the thinking that went into our reviews and what makes for a great buy.
Our Top 5 Picks of 2019:
|Ninja Professional BL610|
|NutriBullet NBR-1201||8 lbs||4.8/5|
|Hamilton Beach Wavestation 54615|
(Best for the Money)
|Magic Bullet MBR-1101||5 lbs||4.3/5|
|BLACK+DECKER BL1210RG||8 lbs||4.0/5|
5 Best Budget Smoothie Blenders – Reviews:
1. Ninja Professional BL610 – Top Pick
The Ninja Professional BL610 is our top pick due in large part to the incredible power, and the fact that you can pick it up for less than $50 is also a big sell. It’s not often that you’re going to find a blender with 1000 watts of power at this price point, so it’s already a good deal before considering other features. Beyond its great power, it also comes with a massive 72-ounce container. That’s more than enough to make smoothies for a family of 4, or maybe more, in just a single blending session.
This model comes with a Total Crushing Blade that can take just about anything and turn it into a liquid. This feature combined with its massive power mean that ice won’t give you any trouble and that your blends should generally be very smooth. If we had one complaint, it’s that this model only comes with three speed settings, low, medium, and high, and we generally like to see more on our blenders. But, that’s hardly a downside when you consider this model’s power and capacity.
2. NutriBullet NBR-1201 – The Runner-Up
The NutriBullet NBR-1201 is great for people who want to have a lot of blending flexibility. It comes with three different blades so that you can customize the machine to the task at hand. It also comes with three different cups in different sizes, meaning you can always make the amount that for which you’re looking. As a bonus, it’s small, which makes it easy to store, and it comes with a recipe book which will inspire you to make a lot of great smoothies.
It comes with 600 watts of power, which is enough to blend ice efficiently and will make short work of fruits and vegetables. The one downside to this model is that it has some quality control issues. Some models come leaky, and some eventually end up that way. This flaw is what ultimately keeps this model out of first place.
3. Hamilton Beach Wavestation 54615 – Best for the Money
The Hamilton Beach Wavestation 54615 provides great value for the money. It’s rare that you’re going to find a blender capable of consistently dealing with ice at this price point, but this model can do that, and more. It comes with Ice Sabre blades designed to punch through ice and frozen fruit. It also comes with a “wave-action” jar, which is designed to circulate its contents back down onto the blades, which keeps you from having to open it up and tamp down what you’re trying to blend.
It also comes with a neat dispensing spout, which means you can make smoothies or drinks for multiple people in one go in the 48-ounce jar, and easily dispense it into multiple cups. One downside of the Ice Sabre blades is that they generally leave the final blend coarser than you might get with from models with different blades. However, this model is still a great deal, especially if you’re making drinks for multiple people.
4. Magic Bullet MBR-1101
The Magic Bullet MBR-1101 is a discount model in almost every way. Its best features have little to do with the experience you get while blending. For instance, it comes with dishwasher-safe cups, which makes cleanup easy and fast. It also comes with a travel lid that is great for smoothies or other drinks that you plan to take on the go.
However, this model comes with many of the flaws that you’d expect from a discount unit. It only comes with 250 watts of power, which means that you’re going to have mixed results when working with frozen fruit or ice. You may be able to get the consistency that you want, but it’s not a sure thing when power is that low. This model also has durability problems, especially if used frequently. If you’re planning to take drinks on the go and need a model that you won’t use much, this model can work for you, but if you need something that will stand up to daily use, you should look elsewhere.
5. BLACK+DECKER BL1210RG
The BLACK+DECKER BL1210RG is a disappointing blender. It comes with a 700-watt motor, which in theory should be enough to power through ice and make short work of fruits and vegetables. However, the poor overall design wastes much of the motor’s power. This model requires constant tamping to make sure that the ingredients make contact with the blade.
If that’s not bad enough, the lid is porous and prone to splattering, which means that you’re probably going to have to clean up a mess after every blend. Tack onto that the fact that this blender has huge durability problems, sometimes failing just a few months on moderate or light use, and its hard to conclude that you could easily spend your money better elsewhere. Simply put, if you’re getting this model, you’re setting yourself up for a frustrating experience.
Hopefully, our reviews have given you some ideas about what we consider important when it comes to blenders. However, if you have more questions about what separates the best models from the rest of the pack, you should check out this buyer’s guide, which is full of great information about blenders in general and should help you gain a full understanding of what you should be looking for when shopping for blenders. Finding the model that’s right for you is doable, even when shopping online, and reading this guide is a great first step towards that final goal.
Many people would guess that power is the most important feature of a blender, but that’s not the case. One of the best things you can do when shopping for a blender is to make sure that you get one that comes with one, or multiple, high-quality blades. Low-quality blades can make increases in power less valuable, and so that you end up paying more for a more-powerful blender but end up with less overall blending ability. That makes for poor value and a crummy experience.
Some models come with interchangeable blades, which can be a good thing or not-so-great. First, you must consider the quality of the interchangeable blades. Is there one that is good and the rest bad, or are all the same quality? The highest-quality blades can do all tasks, so the inclusion of multiple blades might be a sign that the manufacturer is trying to disguise a lack of power by including multiple blades, each said to be great at a different task.
Stainless-steel blades tend to be the strongest available on the market and also tend to hold their edges the longest. In some cases, the blades are Teflon-coated, which further extends their life, helps them keep sharp for longer, and generally improves the overall aesthetic of the machine, as Teflon helps the blade resist scratches. While you might not care if the blade is scratched, some people use their blenders as display pieces, and it’s important that they keep a “new” appearance, even if you subject them to heavy use.
It’s also important to pay attention to how the blades connect to the machine. In some models, the blades are mounted in such a way that makes it so that food can get trapped under the blade and won’t get blended. If that’s the case, you can expect to have to open the blender and manually move the food around to get it to blend. This flaw also makes cleaning up harder than it must be.
However, this isn’t always a blade or mount problem. Sometimes it can be attributed to the shape of the container, which sometimes drives ingredients away from the blade instead of back towards it. The result is almost always a lower-quality blend or a situation where you have to do a lot of tamping to get a blend with which you’re satisfied.
You might not think much about the container or jar that comes with your blender, especially if you’re looking to buy a discount model, but it’s one of the most important parts of the blender, and it can make or break the experience. If the container is well-designed, then you’re not going to think about it at all while using the blender. However, if it’s poorly-designed, then you’re going to be thinking about it all the time when it causes problems, and probably wishing you got a different model.
Some blenders come with diamond or rounded-square containers. Unlike round containers, they’re designed to move ingredients back onto the blades, which reduces the amount of tamping you have to do to get things to blend. The one downside is that due to their shape, these containers tend to be a bit harder to clean than their round compatriots.
Manufacturers tend to make containers out of either plastic or glass. Contrary to popular belief, plastic containers tend to be the better choice, which is why you see blenders that cost hundreds of dollars but come with a plastic container.
Plastic tends to be far less fragile than glass, so it should last longer than a glass container that you use an equivalent amount. It’s also far more durable if dropped, and if it does break, it doesn’t create a colossal, dangerous mess as glass does. Plastic is also easier to shape and can have thinner walls with the same strength, so its light, but also more easily formed into the diamond shapes described above.
The one downside to plastic is that if you don’t properly and promptly clean it after use, it can take on a smell, which is something that will never happen with a glass container.
Occasionally, and this is a manufacturing flaw and not a problem inherent to plastic containers, manufacturers will print labels on plastic containers in a way that makes them hard to see. If you use your container for precise measurements, then that can be a pain. If you’re going to be measuring with your container, it’s better that you get a model with clear, easy-to-read markings. However, if you want precision, it’s always better to measure ingredients in a measuring cup beforehand.
Something else you should consider is the container’s size. If you’re blending just for yourself, a single drink at a time, then you’re not going to need a massive container. However, if you’re blending for your family or a party, then you’re going to want to get a blender with a 48, 64, or 72-ounce container. Have a large container saves you a lot of time, as you can make enough drinks for multiple people at once.
However, if you’re making smoothies for yourself, it makes a lot of sense to get models that blend the smoothie in the cup you drink out of, which you can transform into a travel cup with the addition of an included lid. That also makes cleanup fast, as you won’t have to clean both a container and a separate travel accessory.
Finally, we’re talking about power. It’s one of those statistics that manufacturers and advertisers like to throw around, but it’s not always quite as meaningful as they make it out to be. Like we mentioned in other sections, there are features on a blender that can offset gains in power. The most powerful blender in the world, for instance, won’t be great to use if it doesn’t do a good job of redirecting ingredients onto the blade and requires constant tamping. Likewise, a subpar blade can do a poor job of blending, even if it’s has a powerful motor.
That’s not to say that power isn’t important, but that sometimes less-powerful models are a better buy because they have a design that maximizes the quality of the blend through design. However, you can tell roughly what a blender will do well based on its total wattage.
If a blender falls below a certain wattage threshold, then doing certain tasks will become difficult. If a blender has under 350 watts of power, then you’re going to be limited regarding what you can do. You can’t expect to get supremely-smooth blends, and you also generally won’t be able to deal with ice at all. At 500 watts, the blender has reached the threshold where crushing ice is always possible, and perhaps even done easily. If you’re under this wattage, you’ll want to look for models with ice-crushing blades, which manufacturers include to offset the overall lack of power.
Once you get past 500 watts, most blending jobs should be possible, and you generally shouldn’t have to worry about a machine’s ability to blend ice or do other tough blending jobs. Increased wattage past this point generally has diminishing returns regarding how smooth the blend will be. However, you can expect higher-wattage machines to get the job done faster than those with a lower wattage.
The absolute very best models, which you’re unlikely to find at a budget price, are those that rely more on their power and blade speed than the edge on the blade itself. They still come with a high-quality blade, but they keep their ability to blend ingredients even as the blade dulls over time. If you go with a less-expensive model, you may have to replace the blade every few months to keep blending times low and blend-quality high.
Other blender features
If you’re going to be making smoothies or other drinks to take on the road, then you can go wrong with getting a blender that comes with travel containers and lids. These make creating a single serving easy and make cleanup fast as well. Some models come with multiple travel containers, while others come with just one, so you should make sure you know which kind you’re getting before you buy.
You should also check how many speeds the blender has. The more speeds, the more control you’re going to have over the final texture. Three speeds are usually the bare minimum for a good blender, though many models come with more. You should also look into whether the model comes with the option to pulse, and while you may not think that you’ll use it, many people find that they use it more often than they think they will.
Which blender is right for you?
Which model will best fit your needs is largely dependent on what kinds of things you’re planning to blend. If ice factors into the recipe, then you’re going to need a more powerful blender. If not, then you can probably get a long, satisfying life out of a less-powerful model. Another major feature to consider is container size. If you get that wrong, you’re not going to enjoy using your blender.
Our goal is to help you get the model that’s right for you, and the ultimate blending experience should be fast and easy and make you want to blend more than you did before. The most important thing you can do for yourself in that regard is to make sure that you know what you want to get out of your blender before you buy. If you do that, you can match the features of each blender to the list of what you want, until you find the model that best fits you.
The Ninja Professional BL610 is the best model on our list due to its great power, blade, and its big container. The NutriBullet NBR-1201 comes with a ton of cups and blades but falls out of first due to leaking problems. The Hamilton Beach Wavestation 54615 is the best value on our list, due to its wave-action system that reduces the amount of tamping you’ll have to do. The Magic Bullet MBR-1101 falls to fourth because of durability problems and a lack of power. The BLACK+DECKER BL1210RG is last due to its need for constant tamping and splattering and durability problems.
It’s not always easy to shop online, but we hope that our list of reviews has helped you understand what separates a great smoothie blender from one that doesn’t live up to its price. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to find the model that works best for you.
Related buyer’s guides:
- See our favorite ninja blender for the money here (buyer’s guide & review)
- Which blender with a glass jar is our favorite? Learn this here
Table of Contents
- Our Top 5 Picks of 2019:
- 5 Best Budget Smoothie Blenders – Reviews:
- Buyer’s Guide