7 best blenders for smoothies, soups and sauces

·10-min read
One of these handy devices even has a vacuum pump to remove gas from blended liquids (iStock/The Independent)
One of these handy devices even has a vacuum pump to remove gas from blended liquids (iStock/The Independent)

In recent years, bullet blenders have been all the rage. These Nutribullet-style machines are rightly prized for their space-efficient design and simple operation – but do they really deserve all the limelight?

Jug-style blenders are easy to handle and ideal for blending large batches. A jug blender is a classic-style blender, consisting of a mixing jug with a handle and lid, and a base with a motor that spins an array of blades in the mixing jug.

These handy appliances can be used to make a variety of foods and drinks, including smoothies, milkshakes, sauces and, in some cases, hot soup. Some models even have additional features that may appeal to certain customers.

For instance, one of the types featured in this article has a vacuum pump designed to remove gas from liquids. Another has a juicing function in addition to its blending capabilities.

We’ve reviewed a wide range of jug blenders, representing the full variety of features and price points available today. Our aim is to help you pick the perfect kind for your kitchen.

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The best jug blenders for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Tefal infiny mix tritan blender BL91HD40: £164.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best high-capacity blender – Ninja 2-in-1 blender with auto-IQ BN750UK: £127.47, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best variable speed blender – Philips avance high speed vacuum blender: £224.88, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best premium blender – Kitchenaid artisan K400 blender: £279, Currys.co.uk

  • Best affordable blender – Salter EK4246 deluxe blender set: £52.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best multipurpose blender – Sage the 3X bluicer pro: £289.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for soft ingredients – Russell Hobbs retro blender 25192: £79.99, Currys.co.uk

Tefal infiny mix tritan blender BL91HD40

Best: Overall

  • Capacity: 1.75l

  • Power: 1600W

  • Settings: 10

The Tefal infiny mix tritan blender has some of the highest performance specs of any of the blenders we tested, at a price that could represent good value to those who plan on doing lots of blending. Its 1.75l capacity is sufficient to blend big batches in one go, and the 1600W motor is up there with the most powerful you can get.

We became more impressed with the infiny mix tritan the more we used it. The components are well made, the touchscreen controls are pleasant to use, and it won’t start until the lid is properly attached – a great feature for safety and cleanliness. As you might expect, it also blends brilliantly.

Please note that this model is not designed for use with liquids with a temperature of over 60C, so it’s not a good buy for those wishing to make soup.

Buy now £164.99, Amazon.co.uk

Ninja 2-in-1 blender with auto-IQ BN750UK

Best: For high capacity

  • Capacity: 2.1l

  • Power: 1200W

  • Settings: Three

We wouldn’t like to meet this beast of a blender in a dark alley. It is a formidable performer, with a 1200W motor powering a three-tiered spinning column of sharp blades. In our testing, it made light work of grinding a wide variety of ingredients, from berries and peanut butter to rolled oats and seeds. The ingredients came out very smoothly mixed – with the exception of a few patches of peanut butter that stuck to the sides of the jug.

In terms of capacity, versatility and power, the BN750UK ticks all the boxes. It also has a really effective shape at the corner of the jug, which helps with pouring. The only potential downside is that some might find it a little too large to store conveniently.

Buy now £127.47, Amazon.co.uk

Philips avance high speed vacuum blender

Best: For different speeds

  • Capacity: 1.8l

  • Power: 1400W

  • Settings: Variable speed

We were blown away by this high-speed vacuum blender from the Philips avance collection. The appliance is sleek and space efficient, operates quietly relative to other machines, and the variable speed dial offers an excellent degree of creative control. And, most importantly of all, it produces beautifully blended results.

One of the best features is its vacuum setting, which pumps excess gas out of the liquid inside the jug. This helped us make smoothies that were bursting with flavour and vibrant colour.

Buy now £224.88, Amazon.co.uk

Kitchenaid artisan K400 blender

Best: Premium blender

  • Capacity: 1.4l

  • Power: 1200W

  • Settings: Eight

Powerful, versatile and beautifully well-made, the Kitchenaid artisan K400 is a truly premium product, suitable for shoppers with exacting standards and a significant budget. In our testing, it proved capable of blending a variety of hard and soft ingredients effectively. We were particularly impressed with how little residue was left on the sides of the jug.

There’s no doubt that this blender goes beyond the average user’s requirements – but if you’re looking for a top-notch appliance to play a big role in your kitchen, that can only be a good thing.

Buy now £279.00, Currys.co.uk

Salter EK4246 deluxe blender set

Best: Affordable blender

  • Capacity: 1.5l

  • Power: 400W

  • Settings: Two

This great-value machine from Salter offers fantastic versatility and solid performance. As well as a roomy jug, there’s a food processor add-on with attachments for chopping, slicing and shredding. As a blender, the EK4246 works very well. Its motor may not be the most mighty, but this thrifty machine still managed to blend a wide range of ingredients, including dark chocolate digestive biscuits (which go very well in milkshakes, by the way).

The EK4246 is both easy to use and easy to clean, and while it’s components may not be the heaviest or the most luxurious, it still feels very well designed and made. We rate this as the ideal blender for shoppers on a reasonable budget.

Buy now £52.99, Amazon.co.uk

Sage the 3X bluicer pro

Best: Multipurpose blender

  • Capacity: 1.5l

  • Power: 1350W

  • Settings: 10

The brilliant 3X bluicer pro from Sage is a jug blender and a centrifugal juicer rolled into one. We particularly enjoyed the process of using the Bluicer to turn fruit into fresh juice, funnelling that juice into the blending jug, and then whizzing up the juice with other fruits to make a smoothie. All the components and tasks required for the process fitted together intuitively and worked exquisitely well.

Of course, you won’t always need fresh juice for your smoothies or, perish the thought, soups. In such cases, you can set the blending jug up normally. The only real downsides to the 3X bluicer pro are the price and the fact it requires quite a lot of washing up.

Buy now £289.99, Amazon.co.uk

Russell Hobbs retro blender 25192

Best: For soft ingredients

  • Capacity: 1.5l

  • Power: 825W

  • Settings: Three

This cute and kitsch blender from Russell Hobbs looks like something out of a 1950s milkshake parlour. And it can certainly make a good milkshake (or a smoothie, or even soup).

We’d be lying if we said the 25192 is one of the most powerful models we’ve tested – it can struggle a little with tougher ingredients. But, with that said, this charming machine still does a great job of blending softer ingredients such as fleshy fruit. And the manufacturing quality is good, considering its mid-market price.

Buy now £79.99, Currys.co.uk

Jug blender FAQs

What’s the difference between a jug blender and a bullet blender?

Classic, jug-style blenders hold several advantages over bullet blenders. Most jug blenders have multiple speed settings, whereas most bullet blenders are single speed. Also, a jug blender will typically have a greater capacity meaning that they tend to be easier to pour liquid from.

Why do I need a blender?

A blender could be the key to helping you unlock your culinary potential by creating meals that are more fun and exciting.

They’re also so much more than a way to conveniently chop or mix wet and dry ingredients. Jug blenders allow you to make a whole range of dishes, from soup to smoothies, silky purees, cocktails and even pancakes.

What to consider when shopping for blenders

  • Power and wattage – The most important specification of a jug blender is usually the power of its motor. This goes a long way towards defining which ingredients it can grind, and how efficiently it does so.

  • Capacity – The blenders in our roundup range from 1.4l-2.1l capacity, which size you choose will simply depend on how much liquid you’re looking to make. For instance, are you likely to make big batches of smoothie for your whole family, or is it more likely to be a glass or two for yourself every now again?

  • Settings – Another point to consider is the number of speed settings offered. Most blenders come with a low, medium and high setting, as well as extras like a pulse settings. Low is best for slowly grinding and crushing ingredients, medium does much of the same but works best with slightly harder materials such as nuts, while fast will make smoothies and juices like a dream. The pulse setting will come in handy when whizzing up finer textures as you can stop and start the blender as you wish.

  • Suitability for usage with hot soups – As we’ve seen in our roundup, not all blenders are designed to take on hot liquids – take our best buy for instance – so it’s best to check before buying. Our advice is that if you are going to blend hot liquids, make sure you put less liquid in than you normally would, as steam can cause pressure on the lid, making it more prone to food explosions once you remove it.

  • Ease of cleaning – When it comes to cleaning your blender, not all are dishwasher-safe, so you will need to check before buying. That said, cleaning without a dishwasher is still pretty straight forward – pop some washing up liquid and warm water into the jug and blend as normal and this should shift any leftover mess.

  • Size – Unless you want to give your blender pride of place on your kitchen countertop, you’ll want to make sure you have room to store it, so check the dimensions before buying. That said, habitual blenders may want to keep it on the counter anyway for easy access.

  • Glass vs plastic jug – While a plastic jug may be lighter and less likely to smash, there are many advantages of glass. It looks better for starters, but in practical terms it’s more resistant to stratches and won’t absorb food colour and odours like plastic can.

How much should I spend on a blender?

How much you spend will depend on what you want it to be able to do. However, the good news is that there are plenty of great options if you’re on a tight budget, and you can still pick up a decent basic model for under £50.

If you can spend a little more though, a budget of around £100 will give you more options including those which come with additional attachments, extra blades and different speeds and programmes.

There are premium blenders too. Costing more than £500, these models come courtesy of brands like Sage and can tackle many more tasks, such as milling grains and making nut milk.

The verdict: Jug blenders

Offering top-of-the-class performance at a really decent price, the Tefal infiny mix tritan blender is our best buy. The only drawback is that it’s not suitable for very hot ingredients.

If you’re looking for an appliance of similar quality which can handle soup, try something like the Ninja BN750UK instead.

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