Blenders for ice and for all other blending tasks
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The Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series blender is the grand-daddy of all appliances for turning ice cubes into snow. The superb build quality of this appliance is unrivaled, and its durability won’t be beaten. However, this premium blender comes with a price tag. And it’s a big one.
Ninja’s Mega Kitchen System isn’t only an ice-crushing beast; it’s a large-capacity blender, single-serve convenience, and can be transformed into a food processor with a change of blade and bowl. Best of all, this excellent destroyer of ice cubes comes with a super-low price point.
There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a delicious smoothie, a snow cone, or even some homemade ice cream, and these three cool treats all have one thing in common; ice.
If you want to make your own snow cones and smoothies (or any recipe that requires crushed ice), you’ll need a blender that can reduce frozen cubes of water to fluffy ice as quickly as possible.
Not all blenders are created equal, and if you choose the wrong one, you’ll end up with rock-hard chunks of ice hiding in your drink or cone, just waiting to ruin your day. But worse still, if your blender is not up to the job, you risk breaking your appliance and being left out of pocket.
Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a list of the five best ice destroyers in the business. We’ll look at their strengths and weaknesses, so you can choose the right one to meet your needs and fit your budget, saving you time and money.
What Makes a Great Ice Blender?
There are multiple variables to consider when searching for the perfect ice blender. While no single appliance is ideal in all aspects, each machine is superior to the other competitors on the market when it comes to shredding ice.
So what are these variables?
- Power: No blender can pulverize ice cubes without a sufficient level of power to rotate the blades. An appliance needs a bare minimum of 900 Watts, or it will be relatively ineffective at smashing ice cubes.
- Durability: Blending ice is a violent process, and unless a blender’s blades, motor, and container are made from robust materials, it won’t be long before the machine begins to fail if you’re regularly blending ice. Blades will dull, motors will wane, and pitchers will crack, rendering the product useless.
- Capacity: While choosing an appliance’s capacity is dependent entirely on the needs of an individual, the general rule of thumb when blending ice is the more space, the merrier. A 50oz pitcher or above should be sufficient for the job unless, of course, you want to make solo portions, then a 24oz+ container will be more than enough.
- Presets, Attachments & Accessories: Some blenders come equipped with pre-programmed settings to remove the guesswork, while some have attachments and accessories that will help you blend ice to perfection.
- Versatility: Chances are, you won’t only be using your blender for crushed ice recipes, so the more versatile a product can be, the more value you’ll get for your money.
We’ll also consider the approximate cost of these blenders, but be aware that they are only ballpark figures as price points change over time.
1. Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series
- Program Settings: Five program settings (for Smoothies, Hot Soups, Dips & Spreads, Frozen Desserts, and Self-Cleaning) ensure walk-away convenience and consistent results. The A3500 pairs with the Vitamix Perfect Blend App: Unlock the Ascent Series A3500's full potential with 17 programs and 500+ recipes with the iOS + Android app.
- Touchscreen Controls give the machine a sleek silhouette and are easily wiped clean.Electrical Ratings - 120 V, 50-60 Hz, 12 Amps. Cord: 4 feet. HP: 2.2-peak
- You're in Control: Variable Speed Control and Pulse feature let you manually fine-tune the texture of any recipe
- Power: The Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series countertop blender is the Rolls Royce of small kitchen appliances. The 1380 Watt power output might not be the most powerful on paper, but this premium motor base will smash ice consistently for years. 4/5
- Durability: Manufactured in the USA, Vitamix products are the pinnacle of premium quality and durability. The laser-cut hardened stainless steel blades are robust and won’t deteriorate, while the thick BPA-free plastic pitcher won’t crack or break during use or even if you drop it. 5/5
- Capacity: The 64oz capacity pitcher that comes with the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Blender isn’t the largest of the five appliances on our list, though it’s still pretty substantial. This blender will be adequate for smashing a good amount of ice enough for 3 to 4 people, depending on what you’re making. 3.5/5
- Presets, Attachments & Accessories: The patented pitcher design forces the contents to fold in on themselves so that all the ice gets crushed evenly, while the ‘Speed Control’ and ‘Pulsing’ give you more precise control over your appliance. The pre-programmed settings (heat, chop, grind, blend, and emulsify) give you a selection of textures to choose from.
You can buy a tamper to help with blending and single-serve cups for convenience to go along with the Vitamix A3500, but considering the astronomical price point, they really should come with the appliance. 4/5
- Versatility: If you want a blender that can meet all your blending needs, Vitamix has you covered. This appliance is so much more than just an ice-blaster. The programable timer frees you up in the kitchen to do other things, ‘blade friction heating lets you make hot soup inside the blender, and a self-cleaning mode makes the clean-up process a breeze. 4.5/5
- Price: The Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series blender is the most expensive blender by far. But if it falls within your budget, you get a lot of premium quality for your money. 2/5
Final Score: 23/30
2. Ninja Mega Kitchen System (BL770)
- 72 ounce total crushing pitcher pulverizes ice to snow in seconds for creamy frozen drinks and smoothies; 2 horsepower
- Eight cup food processor bowl provides perfect, even chopping and makes up to 2 pounds of dough in 30 seconds
- Two 16 ounce Nutri Ninja cups with to go lids are perfect for creating personalized, nutrient rich drinks to take on the go
- Power: The Mega Kitchen System from Ninja has a meaty 1500 Watts of power at its disposal, which is suitable for blasting ice cubes to pieces and lets this appliance dominate in different areas of blending and food processing. 4.5/5
- Durability: Though Ninja products are well made and very competitive against similarly priced appliances, this blender’s quality is a step down from the premium devices. The stainless steel blades are effective against ice; however, the plastic pitcher has been known to crack for several consumers when smashing ice. 3.5/5
- Capacity: With a large 72oz capacity pitcher, the Mega Kitchen System is the second most substantial blender on our list, capable of reducing vast quantities of ice cubes to snow in double-quick time. But if you only need a single serving, there’s a couple of 16oz containers for your convenience. 4/5
- Presets, Attachments & Accessories: Ninja has a specific ‘Total Crushing’ setting for ice which lets you select the texture of your smashed ice for crunchy snow cones or smooth and creamy cocktails. There’s also a pulse function to intermittently blast your ice until it reaches the required consistency.
The previously mentioned two ‘to-go’ cups are a nice touch, while five manual programs give you many options when blending and processing. 5/5
- Versatility: The Mega Kitchen System from Ninja is well named. For it’s not just a large-capacity blender; it’s a food processor, single-serve machine, and dough mixer too. There’s very little you can’t accomplish with this appliance. 5/5
- Price: The price point is not the lowest of these five appliances, but it is easily the best value for money. The massive capacity and extraordinary versatility for this low cost are unrivaled in the small kitchen appliance industry. 4/5
Final Score: 26/30
3. Blendtec Classic 575
- Easy blending cycles 1-touch buttons 4 pre-programmed cycles pulse and 5 speed manual control with the ability to achieve a variety of textures Complete control to adjust your blending at any time while blending Lcd display shows blending cycle time remaining
- No chopping prep save time and never a need to chop slice or dice in advance of blending
- Patented blade/80% thicker stainless-steel forged blade with wings for amazingly smooth blends (10x stronger than other blender blades) note Blade is not sharp blade is dull No more cuts and pokes
- Power: The Blendtec Classic 575 is the most powerful appliance on our list, with a 1560 watts power output. Which makes it ideal for destroying ice and gives it a maximum of five points in this category. 5/5
- Durability: Made in the USA and fitted with patented forged steel blades 80% thicker than previous models, the Blendtec blender is excellent for blasting through large volumes of ice super quickly. The dull blades are better ice smashers than sharp ones. Unfortunately, the plastic pitcher isn’t as durable as the Vitamix, and the lid has been known to leak over time. 3.5/5
- Capacity: This giant blender has a 90oz that eclipses all other blenders on this list. You’ll be able to crush as much ice as you’ll ever need in this cavernous pitcher. Perfect for cocktails for parties or making tons of snow cones for all the neighborhood kids. 5/5
- Presets, Attachments & Accessories: The ‘Precision Pulse’ setting lends a helping hand when crushing ice, or 30-60 second cycles can do the job just as well. Though there are variable speed options, there are relatively few settings on this blender, and all the attachments are sold separately. 3/5
- Versatility: ‘WideSide’ pitcher helps this blender fold the contents in on themselves for really even blending, making this appliance competent at ice smashing, ripping vegetables to pieces, while the winged blades are suitable for heating soup. 3.5/5
- Price: The Blendtec Classic 575 doesn’t reach the heady heights of the Vitamix price points, but it’s not far off. This is not surprising when you look at the massive power output and capacity. 3/5
Final Score: 23/30
4. Breville ‘The Fresh & Furious’ (BBL620SIL)
- The Breville Fresh and Furious is where power meets versatility; Designed with 9 one touch programs and 5 speed settings for instant smoothies, green smoothies and ice crushing to make what is a rough start, a smooth finish
- EVEN BLENDING HEMISPHERE PERFORMANCE: A blender that combines the functionality of a powerful blender with some food processing tasks for versatility and convenience; Crush and chop to turn ice into snow, fold and aerate for creamy smoothies and soups
- COMPATIBLE WITH THE VAC Q: The Vac Q removes air from the jug before blending, providing smoother textures, brighter colors and richer flavors to your blend; The vac Q is sold separately
- Power: With 1100 Watts, the ‘Fresh & Furious’ blender barely crosses the 1000 Watts threshold, though, with almost half the capacity of Blendtec’s Classic 575, that lower power isn’t as detrimental as you would think. It’s still an acceptable power level for shattering ice cubes. 3.5/5
- Durability: The Breville ‘surgical grade serrated ice crushing blades’ are sharp, which isn’t ideal for blitzing a lot of ice, and they will dull over time, making the blender less effective at other jobs. The pitcher is made from ‘Shatterproof Tritan plastic’ and seems durable enough. 3.5/5
- Capacity: The second smallest blender on our list with a 50oz pitcher, the Breville Fresh & Furious is a better choice for folks who don’t need to blend massive volumes of food. Though it does hamper crushed ice production a little if you want more than a couple of servings. 3/5
- Presets, Attachments & Accessories: The ‘Auto-Pulse Ice Crusher’ feature removes the guesswork from blending and is a firm favorite among consumers and makes sure you’re not left with any unwanted chunks of ice cubes in your snow-like finished product. The assist lid is designed to keep all the contents inside the appliance during blending yet should be easy to remove, though it’s not as effective as you would hope. 3/5
- Versatility: The Breville Fresh & Furious is aimed more towards blending smoothies, green drinks, cocktails, and ice than it is other types of foods and potentially more challenging jobs. It has auto settings for smoothies, green smoothies, and ice crushing. The pitcher has a unique design that helps bring ingredients together and eliminate lumps. 3.5/5
- Price: This blender has a price point that is slap-bang in the middle of all the other models featured on our list. Striking a nice balance between affordability and quality. 3.5/5
Final Score: 20/30
5. Nutri Ninja Personal Blender (BL480D)
- Auto IQ technology optimizes ninja: Pro extractor blades and power to deliver powerful nutrient and vitamin extraction
- Powerful nutrient and vitamin extraction provides great tasting, nutritious beverages
- 1000 watt motor has the power to crush through whole fruits, vegetables and ice in seconds
- Power: It’s no surprise the only single-serve blender on the list has the lowest power output at 1000 Watts. But that’s still plenty for such a small device. So while it will score poorly against the other machines on our list, don’t think for a second that this blender doesn’t have what it takes. 3.5/5
- Durability: Ninja make very reliable and durable products for machines of this price point, and while you clearly won’t get the quality of a Vitamix, the ‘Pro extractor blades’ and ‘Tritan plastic cups’ are still very well put together and durable. 3.5/5
- Capacity: The 24oz and 18oz to-go cups that you blend directly into aren’t designed for smashing multiple batches of ice simultaneously; the Nutri Ninja is called a ‘personal blender’ for a reason. Though this machine is only suitable for single folks and couples and you’ll be required to blend only one batch at a time. 2.5/5
- Presets, Attachments & Accessories: ‘Timed intelligent blending’ and Auto IQ technology gives this compact blender a lot more versatility than you’d expect to find on a compact appliance, and the pulse feature is super for crushing ice. The to-go cups and spout lids are a nice touch as well. 3/5
- Versatility: Of course, the versatility of a single-serve appliance is limited, but this blender is aimed more towards convenience and efficiency than it is versatility. Still, the relatively high-powered motor coupled with the smaller capacity means you can even blend soups, salsa, dips, cocktails, and sorbets, just in much lower volumes. 3/5
- Price: Nutri Ninja personal blender is by far the most affordable appliance on our list. Of course, there’s a considerable drop-off in terms of power, capacity, and versatility, but this blender is excellent for small volumes of ice for single people and couples. 4.5/5
Final Score: 20/30
All five appliances on our list are featured here for a reason; they’re all excellent choices if you want a blender not only to smash ice into snow but for other jobs in the kitchen too.
However, two models stand head and shoulders above the rest: the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series and the Ninja Mega Kitchen System.
While it’s true that the Ninja BL770 scored marginally higher than the A3500, truth be told, the Vitamix is better at crushing ice. It just isn’t $450 better (and the Ninja is more versatile and has a larger capacity). So if you have disposable income, a Vitamix Ascent Series blender will keep you in crushed ice and cocktails for years to come. We have compared Vitamix blenders to Ninja and to Blendtec models.
But not everyone can justify that price tag, and Ninja’s Mega System Kitchen gives you almost comparable results when it’s reducing ice cubes to snow-like consistency, and it won’t break the bank. It’s super versatile thanks to to-go cups, a food processor bowl, and a dough mixing blade.