Oster 6694 Accurate Blend 200 Review

(From $22.00 Best)

A traditional blender with a 48-ounce capacity and 14 speeds, the Oster Accurate Blend 200 lives up to its name. Users report it churns out creamy smoothies and deftly manages other food-prep tasks.

The very budget-friendly price of the Oster Accurate Blend 200 (starting at $22, Amazon) 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.

Where to buy

Hamilton Beach 58148 Power Elite Review

(From $28.00 Best)

This inexpensive countertop blender boasts all the right features, including a 700-watt motor, large glass pitcher, and four-tip blade. Noteworthy accomplishments include silky smoothies and shakes.

The Hamilton Beach 58148 Power Elite (starting at $28, Amazon) 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.

Where to buy

Oster 6647 Simple Blend 200 Review

(From $25.00 Good)

The Oster 6647 Simple Blend 200 gives most users what they want: an inexpensive machine with standard features that makes frozen drinks and handles basic blending, chopping, and similar tasks.

A good conventional blender selling at a budget price, the Oster 6647 Simple Blend 200 (starting at $25, Amazon) 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.

Where to buy

Black & Decker BL1130SG FusionBlade Review

(From $25.00 Think Twice)

The Black & Decker FusionBlade lags the competition in performance and power for the price, with 550 watts instead of 700, although some users are satisfied, saying this model does what's expected.

Middling reviews trail in the wake of the Black & Decker BL1130SG FusionBlade (starting at $25, Amazon). It earns an average of 3 stars out of 5 on Amazon and the Walmart website, https://www.walmart.com/reviews/product/34517575 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.

Where to buy

Buying Guide

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 blender for most consumers is a conventional full-size model. Countertop blenders in the under-$40 range are versatile appliances that can purée, crush, chop, and mix -- perhaps not with the abandon of pricier models but good enough for smoothies, soups, salsas, frozen drinks, and the like. Our analysis of specifications, user reviews, and tests by consumer-product experts turned up decent blenders for a fraction of the cost of a Vitamix.

Cheap Blenders Buying Guide

The two models that top our list are class stalwarts: the Hamilton Beach 58148 Power Elite (starting at $28) and the Oster 6694 Accurate Blend 200 (starting at $22). Some contrary reports aside, both garner support among consumers for their ability to process silky frozen-fruit smoothies, ice cream shakes, and hearty soups and to pulverize semi-hard foods. Standing in second place for similar reasons but with slightly fewer enthusiastic reviews is the Oster 6647 Simple Blend 200 (starting at $25). The Black & Decker BL1130SG FusionBlade (starting at $25) claims some fans but has been tarred by other reviewers for insufficient power and leakage.

None of these models is a universal winner. Cheap blenders are bare-bones kitchen appliances with a small motor, a blade with several tips, a container with a lid, and push-button controls. Although users are satisfied with the overall value, we didn't have to look far to find grousing about apparent lemons (total breakdown), undesirable texture (lumpy shakes or uneven crumbs), and parts that malfunction (cracked lids or gaskets, for example).

Blender Brands.

Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and Waring make popular high-performance models with stronger motors and features such as electronic touch pads and variable speed. Still, they often earn about the same average ratings from users as the best budget blenders do. At the apex of the universe for home countertop blenders stands Vitamix, with the usual array of upscale features, plus a seven-year warranty and a favorable reputation among consumers. In the end, though, even some experts question whether the package is sufficient to justify a mid-triple-digit price tag. The entry-level end of the market is dominated by Oster and Hamilton Beach, each fielding multiple entries that boast more similarities than differences. Black & Decker and Proctor Silex are lesser presences and overall don't claim the same following among consumers.

Other Blender Types.

An immersion (aka hand, stick, or wand) blender that's plunged into a pot, bowl, or canister excels at liquidy concoctions, puréed soups, dips, and baby food. It's convenient -- one less container to wash -- and small enough to store out of sight. The best entry-level immersion blender we found is the Hamilton Beach 59765 2-Speed Hand Blender (starting at $22).

Single-serve blenders are popular with smoothie addicts keen on afternoon pick-me-ups and blended drinks to carry on the go. The best value buy in this category is the Hamilton Beach 51101 Single-Serve Blender (starting at $15), which comes with a travel lid.

The hybrid Ninja Master Prep QB900B (starting at $30) features a pulse-control power pod with detachable blades that goes into a large pitcher or small work bowl. This cross between a conventional blender, an immersion blender, and a mini food processor appeals to consumers with a fondness for slushy frozen drinks. Reviews indicate it also does a commendable job puréeing vegetables, blending smoothies, and shredding cooked meats.

Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

(from $28)
Peak Power 700 watts
Speeds/ Functions 12
Container Material Glass
Container Capacity 40 ounces (5 cups)
Blade(s) 4 tips
(from $22)
Peak Power 700 watts
Speeds/ Functions 14
Container Material Glass
Container Capacity 48 ounces (6 cups)
Blade(s) 4 tips
(from $25)
Peak Power 700 watts
Speeds/ Functions 10
Container Material Glass
Container Capacity 40 ounces (5 cups)
Blade(s) 4 tips
(from $25)
Peak Power 550 watts
Speeds/ Functions 12
Container Material Glass
Container Capacity 48 ounces (6 cups)
Blade(s) 2 tips
(from $15)
Peak Power 175 watts
Speeds/ Functions Pulse only
Container Material Plastic
Container Capacity 14 ounces
Blade(s) 4 tips
(from $22)
Peak Power 225 watts
Speeds/ Functions 2
Container Material Plastic
Container Capacity 2 cups (bowl)
Blade(s) 2 tips
(from $30)
Peak Power 400 watts
Speeds/ Functions Pulse only
Container Material Plastic
Container Capacity 6 cups (pitcher), 2 cups (bowl)
Blade(s) 2 tips

What We Looked For

700 Watts of Power.

Although other factors affect performance, generally the higher the wattage, the heavier the load a blender can handle. Consumers who plan to churn out viscous shakes and purées, mash softer foods, and pulverize cookies into crumbs should choose a blender with at least 700 watts of peak power. This zenith occurs the moment a blender whirs into action and then decreases, typically to 450 watts, as it blends away. Any less and the results are likely to disappoint, especially for things like hard nuggets of ice, frozen fruits and vegetables, powders, and cooked beans. High-priced blenders with double or even triple the power can take on heavy-duty tasks -- such as milking almonds for all they're worth -- that would shorten the useful life of an entry-level blender.

All three of our top picks put out 700 watts of power for that initial spurt of energy. By contrast, peak power on the Black & Decker FusionBlade is 550 watts, a level that users assert isn't often up to the smooth-smoothie challenge. The 400-watt motor on the Ninja Master Prep QB900 seems weak on paper, but scores of users report that the power pod handily crushes ice and bests conventional blenders for routine tasks, a performance that may reflect the pod's pulse action and top-down two-tier blade design.

Four-Tip Blade.

The blade at the bottom of a conventional blender container should have four tips that are slightly tapered or serrated, with two curving upward and two curving downward. This arrangement helps to keep the contents churning without leaving ingredients sitting unprocessed at the top or sides of the container. All our top picks meet this standard. The Black & Decker FusionBlade uses a proprietary two-tip blade.

Glass Pitcher.

Some blenders in the budget price range come with a plastic pitcher, but glass is generally preferred -- and included with all the countertop models among our top picks. It's quieter, easier to clean, more stable, and better able to accommodate hot liquids.

Plastic pitchers are lighter and less prone to breaking but can crack, stain, discolor in the dishwasher, and absorb food odors. For compact single-serve machines, a plastic container is the norm -- and safer for travel. Many consumers look for plastic containers that are BPA-free, and the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender and the Ninja Master Prep meet this criterion.

40-Ounce Capacity.

The preferred pitcher capacity clearly depends on the intended purpose. Choosing a conventional blender that can hold at least 40 ounces (5 cups) ensures flexibility: Use the appliance to make one serving or several, purée soup for the family, mix frozen cocktails for a crowd, or experiment with DIY mayonnaise. Among our top picks, the Oster 6694 Accurate Blend 200 has the largest capacity: 48 ounces (6 cups). The Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender holds 14 ounces.

One handy feature of all the conventional models we researched is a removable cup or hinged cap in the lid that leaves an opening to add ingredients while the blender is running. The cups typically contain measurement markings to help when adding small amounts of ingredients.

What We Ignored

Speeds.

Entry-level countertop blenders feature multiple speeds and/or settings. Standard functions include stir, mix, crumb, whip, chop, blend, liquefy, purée, and so on. Some sport an ice-crush mode and an easy-clean setting, and most include pulse. (The hybrid Ninja Master Prep is pulse-only.) At this end of the market, experts and consumers say there's little difference from one speed to the next, although having options with a span from low to high (plus pulse) is critical. In other words, it doesn't matter much whether there are 10 speeds or 14. That said, the primary difference between Oster's Simple Blend 200 and Accurate Blend 200 is the number of speeds, and we saw fewer positive reviews for the 10-speed Simple Blend 200 than for the 14-speed Accurate Blend model.

Blender Reviews

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.

Blending Performance.

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.

Cleanup.

If you have time to hand wash a blender instead of putting it in the dishwasher, do so. Despite manufacturers' assertions that some blenders are dishwasher-safe, experts say the rubber gasket may shrink or warp over time from frequent exposure to the high heat and drying cycles in a dishwasher. Fortunately, most blenders offer no-fuss cleanup. In several blender reviews we read, consumers say pouring in soapy water and whirring the blender for a few seconds does the trick.

Durability.

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.

Additional Products We Considered

Hamilton Beach 59765 2-Speed Hand Blender Review

(From $22.00 )

The Hamilton Beach 59765 2-Speed Hand Blender (starting at $22, Amazon) 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.

Where to buy

Hamilton Beach 51101 Single-Serve Blender Review

(From $15.00 )

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, Amazon) 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.

Where to buy

Ninja Master Prep QB900B Review

(From $30.00 )

The Ninja Master Prep QB900B (starting at $30, Amazon) 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.

Where to buy