1. Power Player
If you’re looking to join the cult of Vitamix, you’re gonna shell out some cash. But the small-scale S55, which comes with a tamper and a to-go cup, can hang with the brand’s higher-priced pro models. It aced our ice-crushing test and blitzed beets and carrots into pulp-free juice. Smooth nut butter was no biggie, either. Vitamix S55, $450, vitamix.com
2. Big Rig
Want to make a huge batch of bisque? The Performance FusionBlade Blender was a top performer by all of our testers’ standards, and with a 64-ounce pitcher, it’s the fastest way to puree a lot of soup or make Mudslides for a crowd. Black & Decker Performance FusionBlade Blender, $100, blackanddeckerappliances.com
3. Space Saver
Our test kitchen loved the straightforward MagicBullet NutriBullet Pro 900. No buttons or dials here—just screw the blade to the jar like a lid (24- and 32-ounce sizes are included), then flip the whole thing over and twist onto the base for one-speed whirling. MagicBullet NutriBullet Pro 900, $100, bedbathandbeyond.com
4. Ice Breaker
The Crux 7-Speed Blender “crushed ice like a champ,” said our tester—just five seconds for a pitcher full of fluffy shavings! Along with party drinks, this unit can tackle smoothies and soups and features a self-clean cycle for a little help after a crazy night. Crux 7-Speed Blender, $90, macys.com
5. Quiet Type
The Professional 1500 Watt Peak Power Quiet Blender has a noise-dampening shield that fits over its blending jug, so morning smoothie making emits only a “light whir,” according to one tester. The 4-cup-capacity container is on the smaller side, but the dial offers lots of control over blending speed. Hamilton Beach Professional 1500 Watt Peak Power Quiet Blender, $150, hamiltonbeach.com
Good to know!
The order you put your ingredients in the blender matters. First liquids, then solids. Add ice last. Start on a low setting, then build up speed.