Of the 10 blenders recommended in Consumer Reports recent blender tests, three cost a whopping $450. Since our CR Best Buy, the Ninja Master Prep Professional, can be had for a mere $60 we wondered what you get for that extra money. The answer is impressive performance and sometimes another capability such as juicing. But you don't have to pay that much to get the best icy drinks and smoothest soup.
The Vita-Mix 5200 is the top-rated model in our blender tests. It excels at all of our performance tasks, makes superb frozen drinks, smoothies and purees, and crushes ice with ease. It's also very durable although not the quietest we tested.
The Hamilton Beach Commercial Tempest HBH650 crushed the ice crush test and was excellent at pureeing soup and grating cheese. It also did very well at making an icy pina colada. It stood up to repeated use but like the Vita-Mix could have been quieter.
As its name implies, the Breville Juice & Blend BJB840XL is both a blender and juicer. It performed very well in all our blender tests but was not as good at making juice as most dedicated juicers that we've tested. And it's another durable machine with noise issues.
For almost $400 less there's the Ninja, which was tops at crushing ice and making icy drinks and very good at all other tasks. And it was quieter too. The other six recommended blenders range in price from $70 to $200 and include such brands as KitchenAid, Cuisinart and L'Equip.