Q: I'm on the hunt for a good blender, but I only want to spend between $50-$100. Can you recommend one? Or a few?
- Lauren, www.oatmealwithafork.com
A: In our Navitas kitchen, we regularly use (and love) our Vitamix blender, but recognize that this is not always in the budget for the home kitchen! Luckily, there are many other kinds of blenders that are great fit for home kitchens...and can be purchased for $100 or less! Here are a few of my top picks:
If you're looking for a good mid-range blender (one that's a step above the plastic light-weights at drugstores, but not a high-end professional machine), there are several viable options. KitchenAid's 5 Speed is an excellent blender that has great reviews and is aesthetically pleasing (you can find it for $100 or less on Amazon). If you don't have a food processor, I'm also a fan of the Cuisinart SmartPower Duet, which comes with one base, but two interchangeable tops so you can use it as a blender or a food processor - basically two machines for the cost of one. I had one of these when I was in college and had limited counterspace (and an even more limited budget), and it lasted a couple years with heavy wear and tear before the motor finally gave up. You can also save a little extra money and get the version that comes without the food processor attachment.
If you're planning on just making a single serving of smoothie at a time, personal-sized blenders are an even better option. (Even if you already have a large blender I still recommend investing in one of these little machines at some point.) I adore this style of blender: they're great for single-serve smoothies, ideal for batches of homemade sauces and salad dressings, and are the easiest to clean. Plus, if you travel, you can even take the Smoothment lifestyle with you, packing your personal blender in the bag for smoothies on the road - easy to do as they're light and don't take up much room. There are several great brands to chose from. Nutribullet is a great choice, which is admittedly slightly over $100, but comes with a ton of attachments. A more cost effective option is Tribest, which has several different packages to choose from...including a couple that are BPA free (I bought this one for my mom a while back - she loves it).
Blender Purchasing Alternatives:
If you're a person that finds scoring good deals as euphoric as drinking a superfood smoothie, search for blender listings on sites like Craigslist and eBay. You'd be surprised at how many people have no idea of how much of a treasured appliance they have! I've acquired a couple of high-end, legitimately brand-new kitchen appliances for as little as a third of the retail cost. Always worth a look!