The Ninja Ultima is this manufacturer's attempt at a Vitamix-strength blender. This blender is a combination of a traditional blender with the bottom blades, and the vertical blade mechanism that the Ninja blenders are well-known for. This "Dual Stage Blending" is supposed to both crush and liquify your ingredients, and for some tests it did do a better job than the traditional setup from this manufacturer, like the Nutri Ninja DUO with Auto-iQ that we tested. That being said, it didn't quite measure up to all of the other high-performance blenders that we tested, leaving us wondering if the vertical blade is more of a gimmick than a truly good way to blend ingredients. This machine also made a high-pitch whine, and the top pour spout continuously popped open on us during use, which automatically shuts off the motor. If you are looking for a great blender without the hefty price tag, then our Best Buy winner, the KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond, is a better and less expensive option, or you can also consider the $400 The Breville Boss, which offers near Vitamix-like performance for several hundred dollars less.
Ninja Ultima ReviewPrice: $190 List
Pros: Good liquifying for smoothies and purees.
Cons: Loud, poor grinding performance, pour spout pops open shutting off the machine.
Bottom line: There are better blenders out there for the same price, or less.
Weight (pounds): 15
Extra tools: None
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ninja Ultima is a 1500 Watt blender (2.5 Peak Horsepower) with a two blade mechanism: a bottom set of four blades and a vertical insert with four additional blades. The vertical blades are removable for making dips or emulsifying salad dressings, when only the bottom blades are preferred. This blender has only three settings (Low, Med, and High) and a Pulse feature, with no presets or digital timer display. It comes with a two-year warranty.
Ease of Use
The Ninja Ultima's settings are fairly basic (three speed settings only and no presets), which makes it a little more hands-on to use compared to a model like Blendtec Designer 675 with its handy one-touch programs. The lack of a timer is a bit of a disappointment too considering that the slightly less expensive Nutri Ninja DUO with Auto-iQ has one.
This model received the lowest score for Ease of Use because of the lid. The lid has to be on correctly for the motor to engage. While it's fairly easy to line up and close thanks to markings on the container and lid, the lid handle kept popping up during our testing, which caused the motor to automatically shut off. During our almond butter grinding test the handle popped up repeatedly, causing some frustration.
This machine also jumps around during use. There are suction cups on the bottom to try and help it stick better, but they didn't work that well and we could see it slowly jiggling forward during our tests. If you buy this blender, just remember to keep it far back on the counter. Finally, if you are used to other blenders where you take off the lid and start pouring, DO NOT do that with this or the Nutri Ninja! The vertical blades are not attached and can easily fall out of the container, making a mess and potentially cutting you. Always use the pour spout with the Ninja blenders.
This blender made a fairly good green smoothie. The contents were well-blended and incorporated, as opposed to the Oster Versa, which could not break down the tough kale and broccoli in the mixture that we used. The smoothie was slightly thick though, particularly compared to the Vitamix Pro 750 and Blendtec Designer 675, and it wasn't as bright green as those smoothies.
The Ninja Ultima actually tied the Blendtec for second best berry smoothie. The skins were broken down and well-incorporated, and the seeds were not as numerous or as large as the Oster Versa or Nutri Ninja.
This machine made our least favorite margarita. The drink was aerated as opposed to slushy, and didn't taste very good.
This was the category that the Ultima scored the highest in. It perfectly pureed our carrot soup, resulting in a creamy and velvety mixture that was similar to The Breville Boss and Blendtec Designer 675.
This blender scored lowest out of all the models we reviewed for grinding. We ended up taking the vertical blade out, as the two cups of almonds sat below those blades and they were getting in the way for the constant scraping we had to do. After more than 15 minutes of opening and scraping and trying to get the grind going, we gave up and finished it in the Vitamix. The difference was pretty striking.
This machine didn't have too high of an overall decibel rating, but it did produce a high pitch whine that was more annoying to listen to than the other models.
This blender worked best for smoothies and purees. If you don't plan on doing some heavy duty grinding and milling, then this model will work just fine.
This blender is available as a standalone machine, or with a food processor and single serve cups. As a standalone blender, it doesn't deliver the same performance as the Vitamix Professional 750, but it's about a third of the price. So, if you use your blender only occasionally, or like the versatility of a food processor option, then this model would be a good value.
Ninja touts this blender as having "more versatility than a traditional blender" thanks to the double-blade system, but we just didn't see it making that much of a difference, and it struggled to make with eight blades what the Vitamix Professional 750 did with four.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Ninja Ultima is also available with two individual blending cups, and as the "Kitchen System" with a food processor attachment in addition to the two cups.