BUFFALO, NY - A great blender can add variety to your diet - letting you whip up smoothies and icy drinks, purée soups, and even make ice cream.
Consumer Reports ShopSmart wanted to know if you have to pay lot to get a great one. Testers just sized up blenders costing anywhere from $40 all the way up to $600.
When it comes to blenders, everyone is getting in on the action. Consumer Reports tested more than 50. Along with the usual Cuisinarts and KitchenAids, testers evaluated Food Network star Sandra Lee's $45 blender, $60 Ninja and a $130 blender from Bon Appétit.
On the high end, Consumer Reports also sized up a Blendtec and two Vitamix blenders.
Dan DiClerico with Consumer Reports says, "Blenders are one of those appliances that can do a bunch of different tasks, but performance varies, so we really put them through their paces."
Testers crushed ice and ran the blenders for 20 seconds to see how uniform and snow-like the end results were.
They also puréed soup, and made piña coladas.
The Bon Appétit blender didn't deliver on frozen drinks, it left chunks of ice. But far worse - Sandra Lee's blender. It could barely crush ice. And there were whole ice cubes left in the piña coladas!
De Clerico says, "This model had the lowest overall score out of every tested model."
As for the $450-$600 Vitamix blenders, both did an excellent job in all of Consumer Reports' tests.
The super-versatile $60 Ninja Master Prep Professional aced the tests, too - puréeing smooth soups and mixing up a great icy drink.
Consumer Reports also recommends the $100 KitchenAid model number KSB565. While it wasn't as good at puréeing as the Ninja blender, it offers a glass container instead of plastic, five speeds and sleek touchpad controls.