Best Cheap Blenders
Home cooks can choose among a few different types of cheap blenders: conventional countertop blenders, immersion or hand blenders, and increasingly popular single-serve or personal blenders. This buying guide covers all three types, but the best cheap
What We Considered
To make our final picks, we relied primarily on blender reviews posted by consumers on retail sites such Amazon, Best Buy, Sears, and Walmart, as well as testing by the Good Housekeeping Institute. Budget blenders don't get much attention from experts, however, even in a nearly exhaustive review of the market by a leading consumer-product testing organization. As a category, cheap conventional blenders receive mixed reviews for performance and durability. Many can handle small pieces of vegetables and greens, with appropriate amounts of liquid thrown in, but grinding foods such as raw meat or coconut generally is not recommended. There is consensus that all the small kitchen appliances we researched are easy to clean and user-friendly, although the countertop models, in particular, seem noisy. Inexpensive blenders may last years or just months depending on frequency of use, the tasks imposed on them, and just plain luck. Pushing a blender beyond its capacities likely will lead to an early demise.
We Looked At
The true test of a blender's worth is how well it executes. Does it blend thoroughly? Can it grind nuts finely, chop carrots evenly? What about turning ice cubes into snow? For the most part, the answer to those questions is "yes" for the best cheap blenders, although a minority of reviewers assert that our picks fail at even the most rudimentary blending jobs. It's possible, however, that results depend partly on the user: Did he or she follow the manufacturer's instructions to, say, add cool water to the container when chopping raw vegetables or limit the amount of coffee beans for grinding to 1 cup? The answer to this is unknowable and complicates the assessment of any blender's performance.
Taking the reviews at face value, though, this is what we found: The Hamilton Beach Power Elite earns 4 or 5 stars from more than 70 percent of nearly 2,000 reviewers on Amazon, many of whom proclaim it whips frozen fruit smoothies (even with added extras, such as oatmeal or protein powder) to a veritable froth and makes mincemeat of ice cubes. The Oster Accurate Blend 200 merits similar accolades from scores of reviewers on sites such as Walmart, while the Oster Simple Blend 200 wins praise for solid performance overall. We came across occasional griping about all these machines for lumpy results and vibrations or shaking. Relatively more complaints are lodged against the Black & Decker FusionBlade for such failings.
All the conventional blenders on our list come with a warranty of at least two years. Although some churn merrily away without mishap, early breakdowns (sometimes within days of purchase), cracked lids, and leaking from the bottom are reported for each model. This latter flaw shows up comparatively more often in reviews of the Black & Decker FusionBlade than for the others.
Replacement parts are available for some budget blenders. Oster, for example, charges $10 for a new glass jar that fits the Accurate Blend 200, and Hamilton Beach asks $13 for a new blade assembly for the Power Elite model. Some consumers take advantage of the spare parts, but others say they'd just as soon buy a new blender given the minimal cost, especially after factoring in shipping for the parts.
Our Top Pick
The Hamilton Beach 58148 Power Elite (starting at $28) is a wonder for smoothies, shakes, and juice drinks, according to hundreds of online reviews. On sites such as Best Buy, the blender's powerful motor and sharp blades are credited with making quick work of frozen berries and yogurt for smoothies, tomatoes and jalapeños for salsa, nuts for batter, and ice for whatever. Many users say the blender stands up to the punishment of daily use for shakes and breakfast drinks. They praise the simplicity and value for the money.
But all is not perfect. Some reviewers grouse about lumps that remain in smoothies, ingredients that lodge under the blades, contents that aren't fully processed, and ice that doesn't get crushed. Pulsing apparently helps with harder items and sometimes taking a timeout to stir things around is necessary. Comments about loud noise are common, but that doesn't seem to deter reviewers from using the blender. A small minority of units seem plagued with build-quality problems, such as leakage around the blade housing, a slight burning smell, or a motor that gives out prematurely or just lacks oomph.
Features on the Hamilton Beach 58148 Power Elite are standard in this price range and much appreciated by users. They like the hinged opening in the lid for easy pouring and adding ingredients in the midst of blending; the cord that retracts into the bottom of the blender for storage; and the four-button display, plus one for on/off. There are four tips on the blade and 12 blender functions, including grating, crush ice, and easy clean; pulse is an extra. (Reserve the easy-clean cycle for quick washouts between multiple batches of the same food, says the manufacturer.) The motor hits a peak of 700 watts of power and the 40-ounce glass container can withstand thermal shock. All removable parts, including the stainless steel blade and housing, are dishwasher-safe. The Hamilton Beach Power Elite is backed by a three-year warranty.
This is a no-nonsense conventional blender that is sating the appetites of many a smoothie fan. Although capable of other tasks, its primary purpose seems to be churning out shakes and drinks. A starting price under $30 is easy to swallow.
The very budget-friendly price of the Oster Accurate Blend 200 (starting at $22) notwithstanding, reviews attest this is a reliable countertop blender. Users who have posted feedback on sites such as Amazon, where the average rating sits above 4 stars, commend the consistent performance on smoothies and vegetable purées, with several asserting it bests pricier Ninja models. Other Oster Accurate Blend 200 reviews crow about daily problem-free service for large families with a hankering for smoothies and shakes. Users rely on it to grind coffee beans, blend glazes and marinades, chop kale, and crush ice. Many admit being surprised by the overall quality, including the thick glass pitcher.
But as with all multi-serve blenders in this price range, praise is not universal. Critics make their case with reports of lumpy blends, needing to stop the action to dislodge ingredients stuck to the sides or bottom, leaking from around the lid and near the blade, and shaking at higher speeds.
The Oster 6694 Accurate Blend 200 sports 14 speeds, from mincing and stirring to blending and creaming, as well as ice crush and pulse modes. The button controls are managed by on/off and high/low switches and powered by a 700-watt motor that drops from its peak to 450 watts for blending. There's a four-tip stainless steel blade in an all-metal drive that's backed by a 10-year warranty. (The blender as a whole comes with a three-year "satisfaction" guarantee.) The 48-ounce glass pitcher is shatterproof and dishwasher-safe, and features measuring marks, by cup, up the side. A removable cap in the lid lets users add ingredients while the blender is in motion and accurately measures up to 2 ounces for add-ins such as lemon juice or a shot of alcohol.
A countertop blender of this quality at such a low price is hard to pass by -- even with its occasional hiccups. It keeps smoothie addicts happy and gives home cooks an efficient assist for tasks such as grating, shredding, and grinding.
A good conventional blender selling at a budget price, the Oster 6647 Simple Blend 200 (starting at $25) pleases most users most of the time. Reviews on Amazon, for example, extol the performance-to-price ratio, citing feats such as transforming ice cubes into shavings and thoroughly blending ingredients for homemade lotions. Wrangling fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and nuts into creamy smoothies is par for the course. Some reviewers even assert that this small countertop appliance bests machines bearing up-market labels such as Ninja and Vitamix. One buyer says his wife is thrilled even though her heart had been set on a model with a triple-digit price tag.
And yet, this multi-serve blender claims its share of detractors. A handful of users report finding chunks of ice in their smoothies, watching contents drip down the outside of the pitcher, or seeing smoke billow out after just several weeks of use. A few reviews say the machine seems top-heavy and could use a sturdier base.
The features on the Oster Simple Blend 200 are basic. There are 10 speeds, including grate, grind, liquefy, purée, and blend, as well as an easy-clean option and an ice-crush setting controlled by low and high buttons; pulse is an extra function. The motor's peak power is 700 watts and the blending power settles in at 450 watts. The stainless steel four-tip blade is housed in an all-metal drive backed with a 10-year warranty. The 40-ounce shatterproof glass jar is dishwasher-safe and provides cup-measurement markings along the side. A small removable cup in the lid holds up to 2 ounces, enabling users to precisely measure add-in ingredients. A three-year "satisfaction" warranty applies to the entire package.
Dozens of user reviews suggest this blender is unlikely to disappoint. It's been on the market for a while and continues to prove its value.
Middling reviews trail in the wake of the Black & Decker BL1130SG FusionBlade (starting at $25). It earns an average of 3 stars out of 5 on Amazon and the Walmart website, where some users write that the countertop blender does a decent job processing smoothies, crushing ice, mixing dips, and crumbling cookie wafers -- the types of tasks that cheaper blenders are meant to do. In general, they consider this an acceptable small kitchen appliance.
Other reviewers are less impressed. They cite problems that largely fall into two categories: insufficient power and build-quality issues. Contents aren't thoroughly blended, resulting in chunky rather than smooth drinks, for example, or ingredients clump around the blades and require quick action with a spoon to loosen them. The whip function leaves liquid swirling at the bottom, one user says, while another asserts that peppers and garlic are beyond the FusionBlade's capacity. Some say the motor seems to strain even with light use and others report that it conked out completely after a few weeks. The gasket also gives users fits, according to reviews. There are a number of comments about contents leaking out from around the blade assembly, and one consumer warns it's possible to screw in the blade without it sealing properly.
Features on the Black & Decker BL1130SG FusionBlade don't quite match those of the best blenders in this price class. There are 12 speeds, starting at stir and ending at ice crush, with the usual assortment in between (e.g., mix, blend, chop, liquefy), plus the option to pulse. The motor hits 550 watts at peak power, unlike the top choices on our list, which max out at 700 watts. The stainless steel blade has two tips versus four on the best cheap blenders. The 48-ounce glass jar displays cup measurements along the side and can accommodate hot liquids. The lid has a 1-ounce removable cap for measuring and dribbling in ingredients. The cord can be neatly stored and all removable parts are dishwasher-safe. This model comes with a two-year warranty.
Users like the sleek look of the FusionBlade but aren't sold on its performance. At this price it's an okay buy, but given the other options, think twice before putting one in your cart.
Other Products We Reviewed
The Hamilton Beach 59765 2-Speed Hand Blender (starting at $22) appeals to consumers short on counter space, or allergic to washing yet another dirty container. This handheld stick blender, which goes directly into a pot, deep bowl, or container, easily replaces a countertop blender for many tasks, reviewers say. Gilding the lily, this model comes with a whisk attachment and a small chopping bowl and blade that nearly mimic the roles of an electric hand mixer and a traditional blender, albeit in compact form. Three-quarters of the 800-plus reviews on Amazon award this immersion blender 4 or 5 stars for a combination of power, practicality, value, and ease of use.
Comments posted on the Walmart website are equally enthusiastic. The Hamilton Beach 59765 hand blender is one of the few small kitchen appliances that's actually useful and doesn't hog counter space, one review asserts. Consumers rely on it to blend soups, gravy, shakes, slushies, and applesauce; purée baby food and mashed potatoes; chop onions, almonds, canned tomatoes, and ingredients for pesto; and whip peaks of cream. (When used as an immersion blender, users caution that the blade housing must be fully submerged to avoid splashing all over.)
Some reviewers don't share the love. Gripes such as cracks in the plastic housing, food that clings to the shaft, burning odors, and attachments that don't fully lock into place are sprinkled here and there in reviews. Tests by Good Housekeeping found that this Hamilton Beach hand blender failed when tasked with chopping frozen ingredients, but the experts awarded it 4 stars nonetheless.
This versatile hand blender runs on a two-speed 225-watt motor that powers all three attachments: the stainless steel wand and blade, whisk, and 2-cup plastic chopping bowl and blade. All are dishwasher-safe. The power cord is 5 feet long.
Consumers looking for a small appliance with dedicated attachments will find value in the Hamilton Beach 59765. The price is right, the ergonomic design is user-friendly, and the results meet expectations.
Single-serve blenders are all the rage these days among harried commuters, busy parents, and fitness-minded consumers. The Hamilton Beach 51101 Single-Serve Blender (starting at $15) handily churns out smoothies, frozen drinks, veggie drinks, and breakfast mixes, according to scores of reviews on the Walmart website and on Amazon. Lest anyone think this is a one-trick pony, reviews also say the Hamilton Beach 51101 does a masterful job blending coffee, smushing baby food, and crushing small amounts of ice. Moreover, reviewers continue, the compact size makes it the perfect tool for a small kitchen and the portable, lightweight design renders it a favorite accessory for travelers.
Not surprisingly for a personal blender in the cheap price range, some consumers are less enamored of this model. Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender reviews gripe about leakage from around the lid, ice that proves impervious to the blade, generally inadequate power, a tendency to overheat even when not overtaxed, and battles lost to greens.
When the similar Hamilton Beach 51101R was evaluated by the Good Housekeeping Institute, it churned out an impressive milkshake but underwhelming margaritas. Tomato sauce didn't stain the plastic container, the volume measurements were deemed easy to read, and the lid snapped on and came off easily. The Hamilton Beach 51101R was one of the quietest models in this test of more than two dozen blenders.
The Hamilton Beach 51101 Single-Serve Blender is powered by a 175-watt motor that's manually controlled by an on/pulse button. The four-tip blade is stainless steel and the portable 14-ounce plastic blending container is BPA-free. The jar fits into the cup holders in most vehicles and comes with a travel lid. Both the jar and lid are dishwasher-safe and the cord can be tucked away around the base. The base and matching lid are available in white (51101), black (51101B), red (51101R), and green (51126). The Hamilton Beach 51102 is equivalent except that it comes with two jars and two lids (available in white, red, and green) -- and it costs about the same.
For blended drinks on the go or one-offs at home, this personal blender from Hamilton Beach is hard to beat in terms of price and performance.
The Ninja Master Prep QB900B (starting at $30) is something of a hybrid. Instead of a base, like a traditional countertop blender, it has a pulse-controlled "power pod" that fits on top of the pitcher or an included work bowl for food processing. A master ice crusher and food chopper, this model draws accolades in hundreds of user reviews. It earns an average of 4.6 stars in ratings on the Walmart website and similar scores on Amazon and the Sears Marketplace.
There's little that users don't like about this unconventional small kitchen appliance. Although it seems to be most commonly used for slushy drinks, reviewers call on it for multiple purposes, from crushing ice and blending green smoothies to dicing onions, smashing guacamole, and turning oatmeal into flour. Despite a peak of just 400 watts, proponents crow about the power in Ninja Master Prep reviews. Some assert that it outperforms countertop blenders for puréeing fruits and vegetables and liquefying powdered drinks. Likewise, some users say it beats food processors for small shredding and chopping tasks.
A few complaints are aired in Ninja Master Prep reviews. One user reports that tomatoes lodge in the blade, making it hard to clean. Others say chunks of frozen fruit remain in blended drinks, foods are unevenly chopped, raw cauliflower presents an insurmountable challenge, and pesto is a no-go with this machine.
The Ninja Master Prep QB900B comes with a 48-ounce pitcher and a 16-ounce work bowl, each with its own blades. The plastic containers are BPA-free and used with the designated set of two stackable blades, each of which has two stainless steel tips. There are splash guards to use while operating the appliance and lids to cover the contents once the job is complete. (Unlike regular blenders, the Ninja has containers designed for food storage.) All parts, except the power pod, are dishwasher-safe.
This blender alternative may take some getting used to (How much do you pulse? How long do you hold down the pulse pad?), but sticking with it yields rewards.