How do we test blenders? We conducted extensive research of over 55 different models, then bought the best on the market today and pitted them head-to-head to find our award winners. Splitting our testing process into five weighted rating metrics, the sections below detail our testing process and scoring methodology. For more information on picking a specific product, take a glance at our comprehensive, side-by-side blender review, or consult our buying advice guide for a breakdown of the different types of blenders and what to look for when shopping for a new one.
The most important metric of our testing process is our Smoothies rating metric, taking credit for 30% of the overall score. After looking through dozens and dozens of recipes, we selected four different drinks that we felt were representative of the wide range of smoothies out there. These drinks were a berry smoothie, a hearty fruit and oat smoothie, a green smoothie, and an Oreo malt. We mixed each drink according to the manufacturer's recommendations for each product, then graded the results.
For the Oreo malt, we rated each product on how well it completely broke down the sandwich cookies, whether or not there were any chunks of ice cream that did not get mixed into the drink, and if we had to intervene to get the mixture to blend. Some models demolished everything without issue, while other times we had to repeatedly stop and scrape the sides of the pitcher to get it to liquefy.
For the fruit and oat smoothie, we evaluated if each product completely broke down the fruit, almonds, and oats, as well as the texture. The best blenders achieved a smooth and creamy mix, while the mediocre ones created a drink that was thick and grainy. We also took into account if we needed to scrape the pitcher to get it to blend successfully.
For the berry smoothie, we strained the final mixture, looking to see if the blender successfully destroyed all of the berry seeds and skins, as well as completely blended all of the fruit.
For our final smoothie assessment, we judged how well each blender liquefied some leafy greens. We again strained the mixture, looking for a completely liquid beverage. We also scored each smoothie on its texture and its flavor profile. High performance blender had a uniform texture and taste throughout, while poor performers had a wildly varying taste and consistency throughout the drink
Our next metric, Ice, consisted of two different tests and accounts for 20% of the total score. We ranked and scored each appliance on how it performed at crushing a full pitcher of ice without any liquid and on its skill at blending a perfect margarita.
The ice crushing test was simple. We filled each pitcher with ice and followed the manufacturer's directions to crush it. We deducted points if the instructions said to add water and we evaluated how well the ice fed into the blades, whether it crushed continuously or if we had to pulse the power to get it to feed.
For our margarita challenge, we made the same recipe in each blender, again following the manufacturer's recommendation. Our panel then judged the texture and consistency of each beverage, only consuming them in moderation, of course!
Ranking on par with out Ice metric, our Convenience metric is also worth 20% of the final score for each blender. For this metric, we evaluated and scored how easy it is to actually use each product, including cleaning it.
One of the first things we noted was whether or not the components of the blender are safe to clean in a dishwasher, awarding points to those that were. Next, we looked at the difficulty of cleaning the components of each blender by hand, noting any problematic areas that are difficult to reach or if it was hard to clean the blades without getting cut, like the Nutri Ninja's triple blade.
We also looked at if it is possible to place the pitcher back on the base in a way that it would dry adequately after washing or if you needed to lay out all the components on a drying rack to prevent mold.
Next, we looked at the preset functions on each machine. We defined a preset function as one that regulated both the time and the speed of the blender.
We also scored each on how clearly the presets are labeled and if there is a digital timer built in.
We also looked at how loud each blender is to operate, though this did not impact the scores.
Accounting for 15% of the final score for each blender, our Pureeing metric is composed of a trio of tests: liquefying soup, heating it, and making nut butter.
We used a recipe for almond butter consisting of almonds, honey-roasted peanuts, and oil for our first test, attempting to make an identical spread in each machine. We followed the manufacturer's instructions if available, or followed the directions in the recipe if there weren't any. To determine scores, we first noted if the blender even accomplished the task, then judged the quality of the finished nut butter and the time it took to achieve. We also noted if the base of the appliance began to heat up.
We used the same tomato soup recipe in each model, then strained the final mixture to see if it was fully blended. Points were awarded if the soup passed through the sieve without issue and deducted points if there were whole chunks of food or the mixture was too thick to pass through the sieve.
We also measured the temperature of the soup right after blending.
We awarded points based on how hot the soup got, giving full marks to models that hit 150°F — more than hot enough to serve right from the blender.
For our final metric, we assessed how well each blender did at grinding up hard food. Again, we used a trio of tests and this metric made up the remaining 15% of the whole score. We milled cornmeal, grated parmesan cheese, and made powdered sugar to determine the scores.
For our parmesan cheese challenge, we were looking for finely-ground cheese, akin to what you would find in the shaker at a pizza place. The finer the grind, the higher the score.
For the powdered sugar test, we were again looking for a finely-ground final product, with all trace of the granulated sugar being obliterated.
The evaluation for the final test was similar, though this time we out the ground popcorn through a sieve and based the scores on the amount that passed through.
Hopefully, this article has fully explained our testing rationale behind our blender review and clarified how we came up with scores. For the full results of our tests, take a read through our exhaustive blender review for more information on how specific products stacked up, or take a look at our Buying Advice guide for more information on blenders in general and the various types available today.