Taking your morning smoothie on the road used to require a separate travel cup. So-called personal blenders simplify the process by combining blending and drinking in a single device. The containers on these mini mixers typically hold 2 to 3 cups and feature a travel lid and handle or carry hook. Consumer Reports' latest blender Ratings include five personal models ranging in price from $20 to $120. While none delivered the all-around performance needed to make our recommended list, depending on your blending needs they might still be worth a look. Here are the details:
We put personal blenders through the same tests as full-size blenders. That includes whipping up pina coladas, pureeing soup, and crushing ice. The $35 Back to Basics Blender Express BPE3BR performed superbly across all tasks, but it didn't pass our durability test, which involves crushing successive batches of ice. The Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51101, which costs just $20, performed fairly well, though one of its samples also flubbed our durability test. Three other models from Oster, Big Boss, and NutriBullet proved durable, but they earned subpar scores in our frozen drink/smoothie test.
The bottom line? Personal blenders as a category don't offer the same power and performance as their full-size countertop counterparts. For low-impact tasks, however, say blending fresh fruit smoothies or mixing up a milk shake, the Back to Basics and Hamilton Beach models should do the trick. If your recipes call for ice and other hard objects, like nuts or frozen fruit, you're better off investing in a full-size blender. Our Ratings of more than 60 models include 10 picks starting at $100.
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