Earning the Best Buy Award, the NutriBullet is our top recommendation for anyone shopping for a new blender on a budget. It's a fantastic value option that holds its own with blenders that cost significantly more and we had a hard time finding any major issues with it. It made silky-smooth smoothies and blended drinks, pureed nut butter with ease, and even ground hard cheeses without too much difficulty. Unfortunately, it does lack some of the convenience features the top-tier models have but we think the NutriBullet more than makes up for it by retailing for so much less.
NutriBullet ZNBF30400Z Review
Pros: Great blended drinks, excellent at pureeing, solid at making nut butter
Cons: No presets, digital timer
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|Pros||Great blended drinks, excellent at pureeing, solid at making nut butter||Fantastic smoothies, great at crushing ice, silky-smooth purees||Excellent at crushing ice, perfect at pureeing, superb at smoothies||Great at grinding, fantastic for smoothies, crushes ice with ease||Fantastic at crushing ice, very convenient, great value|
|Cons||No presets, digital timer||Blade showed signs of wear and tear||Pricey||Not the most convenient to use, expensive||Motor felt underpowered for pureeing nut butter|
|Bottom Line||This budget blender holds its own with the top-tier products fairly well||Tying for the top score, the Hurricane Pro is one of the best you can get, though the blade showed damage quicker than others||This burly blender tied for the top score overall but comes at a premium price||This top-of-the-line blender did exceptionally well in our tests, but there are less expensive model that performed comparably||If you are searching for a solid blender on a budget, then the Ninja Chef should be your first choice|
|Rating Categories||NutriBullet...||Cuisinart...||Vitamix A2500...||Vitamix Pro 750||Ninja Chef...|
|Specs||NutriBullet...||Cuisinart...||Vitamix A2500...||Vitamix Pro 750||Ninja Chef...|
|Power||1.6 HP||Peak 3.5 HP||Peak 2.2 HP||Peak 2.2 HP||Peak 2 HP|
|DImensions||16.5" x 9.8" x 7.5"||10.05" x 8.50" x 17.55"||11" x 8" x 17"||17.5" x 9.4" x 7.7"||17.99" x 9.72" x 8.46"|
|Jar size||64 oz||64 oz||64 oz||64 oz||72 oz (64 oz max liquid capacity)|
|Dishwasher safe||Pitcher; top rack only||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The main features that this blender lacks compared to some of the premium models are its lack of preset blending functions and a digital timer. While this does mean you have to manually control the speed and duration when blending, we didn't think that it was too much more work. Additionally, you can also get a combo pack that includes some personal smoothie cups if you want an easier way to take your smoothies on the go.
Accounting for 30% of the NutriBullet ZNBF30400Z's final score, our Smoothie metric consisted of four different beverages: green, berry, and a fruit & oat smoothies, as well as an Oreo malt. The ZNBF30400Z did very well but our judges did rate it just behind the top models in terms of taste and texture.
For our green smoothie test, we ran the ZNBF30400Z on high power for 70 seconds, which produced a very good, albeit foamy, drink. It tasted great and this blender obliterated almost all of the frozen fruit, spinach, and kale aside from one small chunk.
This blender performed just a little bit worse in our berry smoothie test. The beverage was well blended but it couldn't completely break apart all of the berry seeds, leaving plenty of seed bits behind after 60 seconds of blending. This was particularly noticeable after we let the drink sit for a bit, as the seed particles began to separate noticeably.
The fruit & oat smoothie is one of our harder blending tests, as there is hardly any liquid in the recipe, only strawberries, almonds, yogurt, oats, bananas, and maple syrup. The ZNBF30400Z did struggle just a bit more with this beverage — as expected — but still produced an overall good showing. It did leave quite a bit of unblended material on the sides of the pitcher and the resultant mixture was a little grainy but our judges unanimously agreed that the smoothie was perfectly palatable.
The ZNBF30400Z finished out this metric with a solid showing when it came to making a malt. It tasted great, with every judge emptying their glass, but we did notice that the texture was a little more grainy than the premium products and it took a little effort on our part with the tamper to get the mixture blending.
For our Ice metric, worth 20% of the NutriBullet's final score, we ranked and scored how well it did at creating a perfectly blended margarita and at crushing ice cubes alone. This blender is jam-packed with power and delivered a phenomenal performance in both of these tests, earning it one of the top spots overall in this rating category.
This blender didn't struggle at all when it came to demolishing the ice cubes, obliterating the cubes in about 10 seconds. The resulting crushed ice was fairly uniform and didn't have any large chunks that escaped the blades.
The margarita was of uniform slushiness and had the correct texture for a blended cocktail. The motor weirdly sounded like it was struggling just a bit while running for the 60 seconds we took to blend the drink but it had no issues when we ran it for longer in our soup test and it didn't repeat this performance with other drinks, so it seems like something of an anomaly.
Our Convenience metric assessed how user-friendly and easy to operate each of these kitchen appliances are, which is also responsible for 20% of the final score. We awarded points based on how easy it is to clean each blender after use, how intuitive the interface is, and any other convenience features that it might have. The NutriBullet ZNBF30400Z isn't the easiest to use kitchen appliance we have tested so far but still scored just above average.
The ZNBF30400Z has a pitcher, lid, and a blade that is safe for the dishwasher and are fairly easy to clean manually. The pitcher has a nice wide mouth but it can take a little bit of work to clean under the blades. We missed bits of food trapped there multiple times throughout testing, so you definitely want to pay close attention when cleaning to ensure that no trapped food starts molding or rotting.
The lid is very easy to clean and remove from the pitcher but we did find that we needed a dish drainer to dry out the pitcher after washing, as there is no way to place it on the base to allow adequate airflow underneath to dry it out.
The labels on this blender are easy to follow, as it has very simple controls: low, medium, high, and pulse. As mentioned before, this blender lacks any automatic presets, hurting its score slightly.
Next, we moved on to some of the more difficult blending tasks for these products. In our Pureeing metric, we scored the performance of the NutriBullet when it came to making nut butter and tomato soup, as well as seeing if it can actually heat the soup while it pureed. It delivered another excellent set of results, earning top marks. Combined, these tests are responsible for 15% of the final score.
This blender did a great job of churning up some almond and peanut butter, creating a smooth and creamy spread in about eight minutes. The machine didn't seem to struggle too much but we did have to add about ½ tablespoon of oil to get the mixture going right at the start.
The ZNBF30400Z also did very well at whipping up some tomato soup. We ran this blender for six minutes on the high setting and the resulting puree was extremely fine and very uniform, pouring through a mesh sieve like it was water. Even better, the ZNBF30400Z heated it to pretty much a serving temperature while blending. The soup reached a temperature of 152.1°F and even had a bunch of steam exit the pitcher when we opened the lid.
For the remaining 10% of the total score, we pushed the ZNBF30400Z to its limits with some of the hardest tasks you can set for a blender: milling corn flour, powdering sugar, and grinding hard cheese. It continued to impress in this metric, earning another great score.
After 60 seconds of blending, the ZNBF30400Z reduced the vast majority of the granulated sugar to powder but the result wasn't quite as light and fluffy as some of the top appliances. Additionally, the sieve caught a decent amount of larger granules that escaped the blades. It did about the same when it came to the parmesan cheese. It did struggle a bit to get going but easily reduced the bulk of the cheese to fine particles once it did. There were a fair amount of larger chunks remaining but we doubt you would even notice them if serving on a pasta dish or similar.
Unfortunately, the performance dropped a bit when it came to milling corn kernels. Only about 75% of the finished product made it through the sieve after 60 seconds of milling, with the remaining pieces being much larger and less evenly ground.
If you are looking for a high-powered blender on a budget, then we highly recommend the NutriBullet ZNBF30400Z. It holds its own with the top models, all while retailing at a fraction of the cost.
We would highly recommend the ZNBF30400Z to anyone who is shopping for a new blender on a limited budget and doesn't want to make any huge concessions regarding performance. The lack of presets and a timer do make it just a bit harder to use but it costs so much less than the top-tier models that we think the NutriBullet is well worth the added effort.
— Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman