Between starting a day off with a cold smoothie or entertain guests with frozen drinks, a powerful blender is a versatile kitchen tool. For icy beverages, not just any blender will do—you’ll need a machine that’s strong and sturdy enough to crush ice and frozen fruit.
The best blenders for ice and other ingredients will include heavy-duty blades and plenty of horsepower. Read on to learn about other useful attributes to look for and to see a rundown of some of the top machines available.
- BEST OVERALL: Ninja Professional 72 Oz Countertop Blender (BL610)
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hamilton Beach Power Elite Blender (58148A)
- BEST MIDRANGE: Oster Blender Pro 1200 with Glass Jar, 24-Ounce
- UPGRADE PICK: Vitamix 7500 Blender, Professional-Grade
- BEST PERSONAL: Ninja BL480D Nutri 1000 Watt Auto-IQ Personal Blender
- BEST SYSTEM: Ninja BL770 Mega Kitchen System and Blender
- HONORABLE MENTION: Oster Reverse Crush Blender BVCB07-Z00-NP0
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Blender for Ice
While shopping, there are specific features to look for when choosing the best blender for ice, including ample power, sharp and sturdy blades, and versatile settings. Buyers will also want to take into consideration material, capacity, accessories, and additional features. Find out what to look for with the following shopping considerations.
Blender construction is similar across brands. The pitcher or jar is commonly constructed of plastic, but sometimes it’s glass. If choosing plastic, it’s important to look for BPA-free options to avoid chemicals leaching into your beverage. For ice-crushing, heavy-duty glass may be the sturdiest option.
The jar lid will often be made of rubber for easy sealing, as will the seal ring or gasket around the blade, which is used to prevent leaking. The blades require a durable material that is capable of lots of wear and tear, so they are often made from solid stainless steel. Finally, the base may be plastic or stainless steel depending on the model.
Size and Capacity
There is a wide range of sizes when it comes to blenders. Capacity can range anywhere from 3 to 14 cups. Shoppers looking to simply make a morning smoothie should be fine with a lower-capacity machine, while those hoping to entertain guests with frozen drinks may want to choose a larger model.
It’s also important to keep in mind available kitchen space for storing the unit when not in use. The most compact options are single-serve blenders. Shoppers who plan to move or transport the blender frequently will want to consider the weight of their choice. An average blender will be around 6 pounds, but heftier models can easily weigh in at over 10 pounds.
Since crushing ice takes plenty of power, it’s important to choose a blender with a strong motor. While 500 watts may be plenty for a typical blender workload, consider 1,000 to 1,500 watts or higher for ample ice-crushing power.
The stronger the motor, the higher the price point. Since motors can sometimes get overheated at a higher wattage, some newer models come with an automatic cooling feature that will automatically turn the blender off to cool it down.
The blades are the powerhouse of the machine, especially when the main goal is to crush ice. For ample performance, it’s important that they’re made from sturdy materials like stainless steel.
The blade shape will also matter when it comes to efficiency. Food blenders will typically have an X-shaped blade, while beverage options will have a larger wing-style blade that features more blunt edges for crushing ice. All-purpose models may combine the two blades for multipurpose use.
Controls and Blender Settings
The controls on your blender should be clearly marked and easy to use. Many machines will simply feature an on-and-off button and two to 10 variable-speed settings and a pulse option. However, certain models will offer additional, more specific buttons, such as stir, puree, chop, and liquid options.
For frozen beverages, some blenders will feature preprogrammed settings for ice-crushing, frozen drinks, or smoothies. Users may prefer simple manual control over predetermined settings for more influence over texture preferences.
There may also be a power setting that automatically reverses the blades to keep food items from getting jammed. Other functional features can include overheating protection and self-cleaning settings.
Stand-Alone vs. System
A stand-alone blender is just what it sounds like—an independent machine used for all the user’s blending needs. This may be fine for basic blending purposes. For those looking to add value and versatility, a blending system offers a variety of tools for different purposes.
Blending systems consist of different elements that can be used with the motor base, including items such as a standard pitcher, a single-serve smoothie cup, a food-processing bowl, and a dough blade. Other common items that can be found with blender systems include a handheld blender, a mixer whisk, and different blades.
The best blender for ice may feature special modes for ice and frozen drinks, and some will include additional blades for different uses. Many will also come with other accessories, such as travel bottles and smoothie cups with lids to take on the go.
A soundproof lid for a quieter operation is another bonus addition, as is a pouring spout for neatly transferring liquids. Other features include a feeding port in the lid for adding last-minute ingredients and a tamper, which pushes ingredients toward the blades for thorough blending. For easy cleaning, you may want a model with removable dishwasher-safe parts.
Our Top Picks
The best blenders for icy beverages are both powerful and versatile. They will be easy to use and offer accessories for added convenience. Consider one of the following models while shopping, as each gets high scores for these qualities and much more.
Along with plenty of horsepower, this model has six blades for fast and efficient performance. Four speeds for ice crushing, blending, pureeing, and controlled processing lets users choose their preferred consistency.
It has plenty of room with a 72-ounce blender jar providing ample space for frozen desserts, cocktails, or smoothies. The unit is made from plastic that is free of BPA and the parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
With a 700-watt motor, this model should have enough power to crush loose ice, especially with the company’s wave-action system, which continuously pulls the ingredients down into the blades for smooth and even results. Five control buttons are marked clearly, each with three recommended functions to crush ice and create beverages such as smoothies and frozen drinks.
Once blended, a no-mess pouring spout makes it easy to transfer liquids. The 40-ounce jar is made of glass for the utmost durability and is dishwasher safe, as are the removable blades and lid.
This smart blender comes with seven speed options including three preprogrammed settings for specific functions, including making smoothies and milkshakes. It has 1,200 watts of power with 900 watts used for ice crushing with the pulse feature. The company boasts a 50 percent larger blade system compared to previous models and patented dual-direction technology that allows blades to move in a forward and reverse motion.
The 48-ounce glass jar can withstand thermal shock and is dishwasher safe. It comes with a 24-ounce plastic smoothie cup that is BPA-free and can be used as an attachment for a single-smoothie blending option.
The 64-ounce low-profile container offers plenty of room for ingredients while still fitting below most standard cabinets, yet a 6-foot cord makes it easy to find a convenient connection. A variable-speed dial includes 10 settings for users to find their preferred consistency, while a pulse feature allows for efficient ice crushing. The included tamper can be inserted through the lid to easily free any stuck ingredients.
With 1,400 watts of power and the company’s aircraft-grade stainless steel blades, this blender can stand up to the toughest frozen ingredients. While working hard, a radial cooling fan and thermal protection system shield the unit from overheating. The self-cleaning function is a highlight. After using the machine, just add dish soap and warm water to the unit and run it at its highest speed for self-cleaning in under a minute.
Ideal for making individual frozen beverages, this 1,000-watt machine has enough force to crush ice and whole fruits. With the company’s Auto IQ technology, users have the option to control blending or choose from two preprogrammed settings. The extractor blades rotate at high speed for quick and consistent crushing.
The machine can be used with an 18- or 24-ounce cup, so it’s easy to make two smoothies in a single blend. Also included are sip-and-seal lids and a guide with tips and recipes. The unit is made of BPA-free plastic and is dishwasher safe.
If entertaining is a priority, then this unit will offer ample output for guests. Included with the company’s powerful 1,500-watt motor base are an extra-large 72-ounce pitcher, an 8-cup food processor, a dough blade for baking, and two 16-ounce single-serve smoothie cups with to-go lids.
Five manual programs allow for user-controlled blending, with controls marked for kneading dough, standard blending, crushing ice, and single-serve smoothies. The BPA-free plastic parts can be removed and are dishwasher safe.
With 1,000 watts of power and 600 blending watts, this blender can handle tough jobs. The stainless steel blades have a six-point design and dual-direction capabilities to efficiently chop or crush ingredients.
The backlit display features seven speeds ranging from low to high pulse and two preprogrammed settings for frozen drinks and food chopping. A handy 2-ounce filler cap can be used to measure and pour ingredients into the blender. The heavy-duty 48-ounce glass jar is durable and easy to clean.
FAQs About The Best Blender for Ice
Now that you’ve learned about what to look for when shopping for a blender, you may still be wondering how many watts you need to crush ice and how to blend frozen items smoothly. Get the answers to these and other commonly asked questions about blenders below.
Q. Can any blender crush ice?
Not all blenders are created equal, and some are better for pureeing than crushing. When choosing a model for breaking up ice, you’ll need ample power and strong blades to meet the challenge.
Q. How many watts do I need to crush ice?
While 500 watts might be plenty of power for a typical blender workload, 1,000 to 1,500 watts or higher provides ample ice-crushing power.
Q. How do you blend ice smoothly?
Let the ice sit for a couple of minutes before filling up the blender about a third of the way, leaving enough space for the cubes to bounce around. Once the lid is secured, use the pulse setting five to seven times in short bursts until you reach your desired consistency. Drain excess water out over the sink once you’re finished crushing.
Q. What foods should not go in a blender?
Unless you’ve purchased a multipurpose system with additional features, a standard blender is not intended to handle dough or mashed potatoes. Also, dehydrated fruit and vegetables should not go in a blender since their hard and sticky texture can damage your blades and strain your motor.