“Personal blenders” have smaller footprints, lower price tags, and lids that allow them to transition neatly from jars to travel cups. Which is best?
Last Updated June 26, 2023. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 17: Refreshing Desserts
We love our winning full-size blenders, but personal blenders have promising perks. They’re about half the size of regular blenders, with a smaller capacity of 18 to 33 ounces, so they take up less space in the kitchen. Many personal blenders come with lids that convert the blender jar into a travel mug, letting you take your drinks on the go, and many also have closed lids that make it easy to store your smoothies, milkshakes, or salad dressing in the refrigerator. They’re a bit more limited than full-size blenders. Because they’re small, you can’t blend large batches of food in them, and they lack the power needed for the tougher jobs we ask of full-size blenders, such as making nut butter or crushing ice. But they’re ideal for people who want to make a single-serving smoothie each morning or small batches of salad dressings. They’re also great for cooks with limited storage or counter space.
There are two main types of personal blenders. A few of the models we purchased are designed like traditional blenders—the blade is permanently centered in the bottom of the pitcher jar, and you can drink straight from the pitcher jar or pour into another cup. The others work differently. To operate them, you screw on a cover fitted with a blade and invert the pitcher jar onto the blender base so that the blade engages for blending; after blending, you remove the pitcher jar and flip it back over to remove the cover and screw on a travel lid. Some of the models offer variable speeds or settings, and others came with as many as 16 pieces, including superfluous handles and specialty blades. We focused our attention on the jars, the blades, and the travel lids.
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Kate is a deputy editor for ATK Reviews. She's a culinary school graduate and former line cook and cheesemonger.
Sarah is an assistant editor for ATK Reviews who is deeply passionate about anchovies and sourdough bread.