Looking for a personal blender to simplify your morning routine? You’ve come to the right place. We enlisted Adam Hickman, an expert from our test kitchen, to test and review every personal-sized blender we could get our hands on. The verdict? You’ll get the most bang for your buck with the NutriBullet. But before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s talk about what exactly a personal blender is—and why you need one:
Personal Blender vs. Countertop Blender
Close your eyes and picture a blender. Most likely, the image in your mind is of a countertop blender. The bulky kitchen appliance, which dates back to the 1920s, traditionally lives on your counter and is incredibly useful for mixing, pureeing, and emulsifying food products.
The personal-sized blender is much newer to the world of food—these small but mighty tools have taken off in popularity over the last decade or so.
While they’re typically less powerful and have fewer functions than their countertop counterparts, single-serve blenders are easier to use, clean, and store.
Why Do You Need a Personal Blender?
WATCH: How to Make an Apple Pie Smoothie
If you’re an active person looking to invest in a healthy lifestyle, you may want to look into adding a personal blender to your arsenal—especially if you like to start your morning with a smoothie (and minimal cleanup).
Adam noted that none of the products we tested were comparable to countertop blenders. Because of their compact size, single-serve blenders are limited in power and functionality. But that’s the nature of the product—if you want a powerful blender with lots of bells and whistles, you may want to look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a cheap and easy-to-use and easy-to-store kitchen appliance, however, a single-serve blender might fit right into your daily routine.
How We Tested Each Blender
We only tested products with single-serve bowls that fit into the personal-sized blender category.
“To be considered a personal blender, we believe it should have a blending cup that also doubles as a drinking cup,” Adam said.
He evaluated the contenders by conducting three tests:
- Ice test: Adam blended 6 ounces of oblong, freezer tray ice in each product to test its durability and motor.
- Green smoothie test: For this test, Adam blended chopped celery, frozen banana, fresh spinach, and cashew milk for 30 seconds (without shaking). This determined “how well it blends on its own and how quickly it blends to a desired consistency.” Ideally, all celery and spinach fibers would blend seamlessly into the concoction and be unidentifiable in the final product. The texture of the smoothie should be thick, but not too thick.
- Fruit smoothie test: Finally, Adam blended a fruit smoothie made of 6 ounces of orange juice, 4 ounces of frozen peaches, 2 ounces of frozen blackberries, and 4 ounces of vanilla yogurt. He specifically chose a thick smoothie to evaluate how well the blenders handled a hearty mixture. After 30 seconds of blending, he added an additional 2 ounces of juice, then blended for another 30 seconds.
Here’s what he found:
Best Blenders at a Glance:
- Best All-Around: NutriBullet, $60; Amazon
- We Also Recommend: Ninja Fit, $50; Walmart
- Best Bargain Buys: Black & Decker, $25; Walmart and Hamilton Beach, $18; Amazon
Best All-Around: NutriBullet
Adam was most impressed with the NutriBullet.
“While it still left chunks [of ice], it fared much better than all the other blenders, which shows that it’s good at getting large pieces of food to fall into the blades,” he noted.
Though the motor seemed to rotate slower than the other contenders, it didn’t seem to affect the results.
The wide-mouthed container was definitely an advantage: It made filling the bowl extremely easy, and is likely the reason the NutriBullet made the greenest smoothie of all. Adam credits the extra space with more advanced blending.
- The base is slightly oversized, but the wide-rimmed container made smoothie-making a breeze.
- Simple to operate.
- Lock mechanism makes blending easy.
- More expensive than the other products we tested, but still well under $100.
Buy it! NutriBullet NBR-120, $60; Amazon
We Also Recommend: Ninja Fit
The Ninja Fit did the best job of blending without additional help from the user (Adam had to shake or stir most smoothies mid-blend to reach the desired consistency for the final product).
Though there were a few small fibers left in his green smoothie, they weren’t big enough to be bothersome.
Strangely, the motor was louder than all the other blenders with no noticeable advantage.
Adam did appreciate that the containers are marked with an easily readable scale (8 ounces and 16 ounces) that made adding the appropriate amount of ingredients simpler.
Ninja Fit Highlights:
- Stylish blender that looks sleek on a countertop.
- Blends well and consistently.
- Container features measuring marks.
- No locking mechanism—you have to hold the jar down to blend.
Best Bargain Buys: Black & Decker and Hamilton Beach
The Black & Decker product’s motor felt powerful for its size, which was definitely a plus. However, despite the claims in the name, this motor didn’t feel particularly quiet compared to other blenders.
Adam wasn’t super impressed with its initial blending ability during the fruit smoothie test, but felt that adding additional juice mid-blend was helpful.
The green smoothie test went a bit smoother (pun definitely intended).
“This did a fine job pulling the ingredients into the blade,” Adam explained. “I didn’t notice any fibers from the celery or spinach.”
Black & Decker Highlights:
- Fairly powerful motor.
- Simple to use buttons.
- Sturdy base.
The Hamilton Beach may not be as powerful as some of the other blenders we tested, but you can’t beat the $18 price tag.
Adam appreciated the wide-mouthed jar, but wasn’t overly excited about either smoothie.
His fruit smoothie wasn’t blended completely after the first 30-second session, though the extra juice helped smooth things out.
He also noticed that, while his green smoothie turned out OK, the motor was noticeably struggling to blend the ingredients into a smooth consistency.
Hamilton Beach Highlights:
- The most affordable product we tested.
- Basic blending abilities.
- Wide-mouth jar that makes adding ingredients easy.