10 best jug blenders
Whether you’re whipping up smoothies, soups or nut butters, these are the machines that will get the job done
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Whether you are kickstarting a healthy morning smoothie regime or are keen to make more homemade soups, dips, nut butters or just a great margarita, there is a blender out there for you.
We’ve tested a large range of devices, some of which are aimed towards one-person use for creating nutritious smoothies, some with hot food features, and others that almost replace every other kitchen gadget.
All blenders were tested to see how they coped with raw chopped fruit and vegetables, nuts and ice. The key quality we were looking for was smoothness and speed of blitzing.
The devices we tested used a variety of motors with various levels of power, however we found that the strength, shape and size of the blades was almost as important to the final result, as was the speed of rotation.
Ease of use and functionality were also key factors – no one wants to spend hours referring to an instruction manual in order to make a simple soup.
We found that simple one-button designs were the most user-friendly and generally all that was required. Finally, though all blenders do tend to be rather noisy, those that were on the quieter side were judged favourably.
Nutri Ninja 1500W Blender Duo: £119, Amazon
A well-loved blender with an impressively powerful 1500W motor, it comes with a huge 2.1 litre capacity pitcher, as well as attachable single-serving cups for takeaway smoothies. We loved how quickly and effectively it blitzed both chunky whole vegetables and ice, and were very impressed with the much-hyped “Auto-IQ” settings, which meant we could press one button, get on with something else and come back in a minute or so to a perfectly blended soup or smoothie. We were also big fans of the suction pad feet, which stopped the blender from dancing around the worktop. Our only complaint was that it is definitely on the louder side, so be prepared for your breakfast smoothie to get the whole family out of bed.
Our testers’ first reaction was to gasp at the price; the second was to gasp at the machine. It’s basically an entire kitchen in a box: a jug blender, yes, but one that also makes bread, grinds coffee, chops, grates, whisks, steams, juices, works as a slow cooker, makes cake mixture in under a minute, and even complicated sauces in seconds.
It’s like a kitchen robot with hundreds of recipes inbuilt, and thousands more online if you go for the “smart” Thermomix option. Our most nervous testers loved it the most: the Thermomix gave step-by-step instructions for cooking, say, fruit sorbet, baba ganoush or pad thai. It also has inbuilt scales so it tells you when you’ve added enough of each ingredient, then sets itself to blitz or saute (it heats up to 120C) for the exact time, so you can get on with another job.
Our most competent testers liked the ease of making complex sauces, and the extra steaming basket that meant while one food cooks another steams above it. “If I was getting married, this would be the first and only thing on my wedding list,” said one tester. Another said her dinner party guests piled into the kitchen to watch agog as the Thermomix ground up sugar, whizzed up fruit and proffered delicious sorbet in 10 seconds. She said: “It’s at the absolute investment end of the scale, but it’s so worthwhile.”
Beko Vacuum Blender TBV8104, £199, AO
The packaging promised “state-of-the-art vacuum blending technology”, and our testers were sceptical about whether that actually meant anything – but it does: the vacuum sucks out all the air before blending, which prevents oxidisation, meaning you don’t see fruit-packed smoothies turning brown. It’s not just aesthetic – more nutrients can be preserved (Beko claims smoothies contain 40 per cent more vitamin C as a result), and our more organised tester loved the fact she could whizz up a smoothie overnight and have it at breakfast, keep it in the sealed jug until she was ready, then drink it still fresh.
The 1000W motor easily cut through fruit and veg, and nuts too; it did ice but sounded a bit strained/unhappy about it. The auto clean setting – pour water into the jug, and the blender pulses to clean every crevice – meant an end to the usual cleaning hassle.
Tower T12008 Glass Blender, £29.99, Asda
The chunky glass jug makes this blender feel far more expensive than its bargain price, and our testers found it worked well for basic tasks too, making quick work of frozen fruit for smoothies, and coming with a small grinder attachment that was useful for coffee beans or spices. The motor wasn’t strong enough to blitz ice or frozen fruits, and one reviewer thought she had broken it by trying – this isn’t a heavy duty machine, but it’s a good choice for anyone who wants a cheap machine to whizz up soups (you’ll have to cook them separately on a hob or microwave though) and smoothies.
Vitamix Ascent A2500i: £499, UK Juicers
It pitches itself as the grand-daddy of blenders, and the Vitamix is a mega-machine with a commercial-grade motor that we found crushed ice, and blitzed frozen fruit, nuts and more “like a tornado”, as one tester put it. Alongside its power, the Vitamix was superfast, too, making steaming-hot soup in 10 minutes (in the jug, no hob needed) and turning frozen fruit into sorbets in a few seconds. Our testers liked the way the blender also automatically detects whether you’ve used the large or small (included) jug, so there was no need to use the large-capacity container every time.
The 30-second self-cleaning button worked well, requiring just a thorough rinse after, and the machine can even make dough, so it’s far more than a smoothiemaker. It needs to be at the cost – but the Vitamix has come down in price a lot, and the range of this machine meant our testers reckoned it was good value – especially as it comes with a 10-year guarantee.
Smeg BLF01 50s Retro Style Food Blender: £150, John Lewis & Partners
A chic addition to any kitchen, this Smeg blender stays true to the brand’s retro aesthetic and comes in seven vintage pastel shades. Although not the most powerful of those tested, its 800W motor was very efficient at blitzing vegetables into a smooth puree in just a minute or two. We liked how simple it was to use, avoiding the use of multiple complicated buttons in favour of one simple knob with four settings, plus pulse and ice functions, which allow for any variety of consistencies. Our only complaint was that, although the plastic 1.5 litre jug is solid and strong, we would have preferred glass for the price.
Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Boss to Go Blender: £109.99, John Lewis & Partners
According to Sage, “the key to the perfect smoothie is smoothness”. We can’t argue with that here, or the effectiveness of this blender’s powerful 1000W motor and impressive kinetic blending action. Specifically designed for blending drinks, it comes with two travel cups and one pulse setting, which is extremely powerful. Within one minute we found that even stringy or unpeeled fruit and veg were blended to silky smooth. Although it’s excellent for smoothies and fine soups, those looking for a multifunctional blender would be better off choosing a design with additional speed options.
Russell Hobbs Your Creations Glass Blender 18995: £55, Debenhams
A great blender for the price, this heavy-duty 600W machine has two power settings and an ice-crushing function. Though not as powerful as some of the more expensive blenders, it did a great job of blending vegetables to a smooth consistency, it just needed a minute or two longer. One of our favourite features is its additional grinder attachment, which is great for coffee beans, nuts, spices and seeds. A highly recommended multifunctional blender that works well with both hot and cold ingredients.
NutriBullet 600 Red: £54.99, Amazon
The ever-popular NutriBullet is always a solid choice for those who are predominantly looking to blend fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds into smoothies. Although it only uses a 600W motor with one strong setting, its blades rotate at an impressive 20,000 rpm in a cyclonic motion to speedily break down stems, skins and seeds at great speed. The entire device disassembles for easy cleaning in a dishwasher, which our testers really liked, along with its small, neat design. An incredibly effective product and one of the most easy to use, store and clean.
Blendtec Classic 575 High Speed Blender: £399, Amazon
It’s pricey, but Blendtec’s 1560W powerhouse of a blender is an investment you can feel confident in. A favourite in professional kitchens, this is a commercial-quality blender with a solid eight year warranty. Designed to blend practically anything, it claims to have the capability to replace many standard kitchen appliances too, including juicers, bread makers, mixers, coffee grinders and more. An impressive kitchen aid, we couldn’t fault it for speed or effectiveness, and really liked the heavyweight blunt blades and 60-second easy-cleaning function. Choose from six colours.
The Verdict: Jug blenders
The super-charged multi-functional Nutri Ninja was our testers’ favourite as a pure blender. But you can’t argue with the power and range of functions of the Thermomix machine. If you’re looking for an investment purchase, or haven’t got any other kitchen appliances, it’s a brilliant multitasker that will be your sous chef for yonks. The “precision-engineered blades” and “total crushing technology” lived up to the marketing hype, and we found it incredibly speedy and robust.
We were also very impressed by the vacuum technology of the Beko jug blender for making easy stay-fresh smoothies.