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Your college student's dorm-room packing list no doubt includes disinfectants and hand sanitizer this semester, but don't forget nutrition. Send them off with a personal blender to make it easy for them to whip up healthy smoothies—and get closer to the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
All they have to do to make a nutritious smoothie is stuff a single-serve blending cup with a handful of frozen fruit and leafy greens, some milk, and maybe a spoonful of almond butter; screw on the blade; and let it whirl for a minute or so. Then take off the blade, pop on the lid, and it’s off to class. These machines aren't limited to smoothies, either. They make it a cinch to prepare healthy soups, salsas, and more.
At Consumer Reports, we test personal blenders by mixing up virgin piña coladas and gauging how well they make icy drinks and smoothies. To assess a blender's soup-making abilities, we purée vegetables and broth. Our ice-crush test assesses how well the blenders break up ice alone.
Here are four personal blenders (listed in alphabetical, not rank, order) that are small enough to stash away in any dorm room. For more options, see our complete blender ratings.
Black+Decker PowerCrush PB2000G
CR's take: The sleek CR Recommended PowerCrush PB2000G can crank out smoothies every morning, no problem: It earns an Excellent rating in our tests for making icy drinks. Your child’s roommate will be happy, too, because this blender earns a Very Good rating in our noise test—meaning it’s relatively quiet (all the other blenders we tested rate only a Good or Fair). Black+Decker’s personal blenders earn a middle-of-the-road Good rating for predicted reliability, based on data from CR’s member survey.
Breville Boss to Go BPB610BAL
CR's take: A recipe book comes with the Breville Boss to Go, which allows your child to branch away from the standard strawberry-banana smoothie with confidence. This model earns a Very Good rating in our icy drinks test, so it’ll put the “smooth” in the smoothies. The Breville also scores a Very Good rating in our purée test, so students could make soups for a healthy lunch. They'll just need to heat it up after they blend the ingredients if they want hot soup.
Ninja Nutri Ninja Pro Personal
CR's take: The Nutri Ninja Pro doesn’t have any dials or buttons; to operate it, simply put the blender cup outfitted with its blade on the base and press down. This model earns a Very Good rating for making smoothies and an Excellent rating for puréeing ingredients for soups, and the included recipe book makes it easy to get started. Ninja’s personal blenders also receive Very Good ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, based on information from CR’s member survey.
Ninja Personal Blender with Auto-iQ BL480
CR's take: Ninja’s Auto-iQ technology takes easy-to-use to a whole new level. It features preset programs that automatically adjust the blending speed and pulsing needed based on what you are making. The CR Recommended Ninja BL480 also has a unique digital countdown timer that displays exactly how much time is remaining while it’s whipping up a snack. It comes with a recipe book for making smoothies and soups. In our tests for those two tasks, the Auto-iQ earns Very Good ratings.
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