Check out our blade-to-blade competition.
Before you make a massive investment in a piece of equipment to spin your ingredients into a meal, consider your lifestyle and local options. If there’s a place on the corner that you literally walk by every day charging you less than $10 for your favorite made-to-order shake, it might just be the way to go. By the time you buy all of the ingredients and buy the blender, do some math. Using pricing on FreshDirect.com and somewhat unscientific calculations, we determined you could spend approximately:
$.75 on a serving of almond milk
$2 to $4 on a serving of kale
$.75 on a serving of almond butter
$2 on a serving of frozen organic almond butter
$1 to $2 on the protein in your shake
Case in point: depending on your ingredient list and measurements, you’re looking at $6.50 to $9.50 on ingredients. That’s before you’ve bought a machine.
If you like the idea of blending at home, there are several blender options—contenders perhaps to the holy grail of blenders: the Vitamix. Does the average shake drinker need the mother lode when buying a blender? The Entertainologist and celebrity chef Lulu Powers in Los Angeles, who has cooked and catered for Will Smith and Madonna and many other celebrities, says not necessarily. She has both the Vitamix and the Magic Bullet.
“If you want your shake to be absolutely smooth and silky, like I sometimes need for professional jobs, then you need the Vitamix,” she says. “But the Bullet is great if all you’re doing is making is your morning drink. I use it all the time too. Anything in between will blend your ingredients if that’s all you need to do.”
So we searched around to find blenders in every price range. Here's what our research revealed:
The Cadillac of Blenders
Vitamix 300 ($$$$) This machine is serious. It can make shakes and apparently even crush an iPhone with the click of a button. It’s a professional grade smoothie maker, but it comes with a hefty price tag. The 300 model is $559. There are less and more expensive models as well starting at $330.
The Main Competiion
Blendtec Designer 675($$$$) Vitamix’s main competition in terms of price and grade, is the Blendtec Design Series. Blendtec also offers various models with similar features, also north of $500.
The Budget Blend
Ninja Professional Blender ($$$) It looks like a Vitamix, it spins like a Vitamix…but the price tag is half of the 300 model—with some Ninja models dinging you in the $200 range. The company claims to be as good as its high-ticket competition. Outsiders have tested the two head-to-head and found if noise and ease of use weren’t an issue, it might just be a draw.
Cheap and Cheerful
Cuisinart SmartPower Compact Portable Blending System ($$) Cuisinart makes a single serve blend-and-go cup sized machine that can whip up your shake for $70.
The Magic Bullet ($) This is the Little Engine That Could of shake-makers. Dramatically lower wattage than the big dogs, but it is space friendly for tiny kitchens and gets the job done for $50. Since it’s not as powerful as the bigger machines, it might take longer to crush ice and blend the more fibrous ingredients.
Make sure to check warranty, parts replacement parts before making a buy. Then, go ahead, shake things up.