As someone who loves smoothies and is mindful of my budget, I recognize the importance of finding a high-quality blender without spending too much money. The Nutribullet 600W is my top recommendation for anyone looking for the best cheap smoothie blender.
It's great for making tasty protein shakes and smoothies, thanks to its strong motor. I've had mine for years, and I use it multiple times daily. Replacement parts are easy to find on Amazon, as well.
Btw, this is NOT a sponsored post. I'm just sharing about my personal experience with making protein shakes and smoothies in various blenders over the years.
- Understanding Blender Types: Full-Size vs Personal
- Motor Power: The Key to Creamy Smoothies
- Blender Settings: Speed and Simplicity
- Leafy Greens and Tough Ingredients
- Portable and Compact: Blenders for Small Spaces
- Crushing Ice: Non-Negotiable for Smoothie Lovers
- Capacity Matters: Small Batches or Big Batches?
- Beyond Smoothies: Multipurpose Blenders
- Price vs Performance: Finding Value
- Top Picks for Budget-Friendly Blenders
- Blend Well Without Breaking the Bank
Understanding Blender Types: Full-Size vs Personal
When looking for the best blenders, you'll primarily find two types: full-size blenders and personal blenders.
A full-size blender stands tall and has a large capacity pitcher. It's great if you have a big kitchen and want to make lots of smoothies at once, like for a party, meal prep, or a quick family breakfast. These blenders often have a powerful motor, letting you blend tough ingredients like ice and leafy greens.
On the other hand, personal blenders are all about being convenient and space-saving. The smaller blending cups double as travel mugs, so you can blend and go with ease. They might not be as powerful as the full size blenders, but for everyday single servings, they're perfect. They fit well in small kitchens, and portable versions can come with you on trips and daily outings.
One thing about personal blenders vs full size blenders worth noting: If you're taking the time to carefully measure your ingredients for macro or calorie counting, you won't want half of your thick smoothie spread along the inside of a large blender. That always drove me nuts! With a personal smoothie blender, you can use the blender cup as the serving cup and drink all the yummy calories and macros you counted!
And in case you are wondering about using immersion blenders for smoothies, I wouldn't recommend it at all. The blades are too small and there isn't enough power to get through the ingredients.
Motor Power: The Key to Creamy Smoothies
To make your smoothies super smooth, you need a powerful blender. The power of a blender, measured in watts, decides how well it can handle tough ingredients. The Nutribullet 600W is great because it has a strong 600W motor. It can easily crush ice and frozen berries to make your smoothie thick and smooth. The 600W motor is a good balance of being affordable and capable for everyday use.
If you plan to blend very tough ingredients like kale on a regular basis, a smoothie blender with a stronger 900-watt motor (like the Nutribullet Pro) might be better. While the 600W can get tough ingredients blended smooth, 900W+ can get them almost creamy.
Blender Settings: Speed and Simplicity
When we talk about the best budget blenders, we're not just considering the price tag; we're also focusing on the value they bring to our daily routines. How easy and convenient is it to use this blender on a daily basis?
While full size models will offer different speeds, if you're primarily making single-serve smoothies, you won't need all the different speed settings.
And the settings can be confusing, too. If I'm making a smoothie with some frozen fruit and ice, do I need the smoothie setting, the ice crush setting, or simply the high setting? Which will give me the smoothest smoothies? In the time it takes to think about this, I could have already made my smoothie on a personal smoothie blender.
The Nutribullet 600W has one speed of blending and is designed for ease of use. It has a simple one-touch operation, making the whole blending process quick and easy. It has a pulse feature as well, which is great for non-smoothie tasks, like turning rolled oats into oat flour, chopping nuts, etc.
Leafy Greens and Tough Ingredients
Choosing a blender with strong blades and a tough motor is very important when you want to add healthy leafy greens to your smoothies. If you try to blend kale, spinach, or even the tough parts of pineapple with a not-so-great blender, you'll end up with a disappointing, chunky texture. But with a blender that can handle these ingredients (like the Nutribullet 600W), you'll have super smooth smoothies even with tough ingredients.
Portable and Compact: Blenders for Small Spaces
If you're juggling kitchen appliances in a small kitchen (like I am in my NYC apartment), a compact blender is a necessity. Smoothie blenders like the Nutribullet have a small footprint and are short enough to fit on your countertop under cabinets.
While portable blenders are easier to transport than the whole Nutribullet blender, they are much less powerful at blending and the blending cups are often much smaller in capacity. They are great for mixing protein powder with milk and a few frozen berries, but I wouldn't rely on a portable blender for making breakfast smoothies every day.
And let's not forget the convenience of the Nutribullet cups doubling as to-go containers (they come with to-go lids). You'l be much quicker out the door than with a full-size countertop blender!
Crushing Ice: Non-Negotiable for Smoothie Lovers
While I don't usually add ice to my smoothies (I prefer to let frozen fruit do the job, as ice can dilute the flavor), I do recommend having a blender that can blend through ice and leave you with a smooth and frosty shake. This caramel pecan date smoothie calls for ice and comes out super smooth in the Nutribullet.
To crush ice, you'll want to look out for the following in your blender:
- a robust motor, ideally 600W or higher.
- sharp blades, stainless steel for durability and performance.
- a sturdy blending cup made from thick glass or BPA-free plastic to ensure longevity despite the rigors of daily ice crushing.
And I highly value user feedback on how well a blender handles frozen fruit and other icy components. For me, I want a blender that can handle all my smoothie ingredients, plain and simple.
Capacity Matters: Small Batches or Big Batches?
When looking at the best affordable blenders, we of course want to determine the capacity that makes most sense for us. Do you mostly make single serving smoothies? Are you making smoothies for the whole family, or for meal prep?
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I always laugh when I see recipe creators pour shakes and smoothies from their giant blenders. And the recipe serves 2. Do people really want a smoothie recipe for two? (Do you all have partners who drink the same thing you do?) I think they just need a double serving to get the giant blender to actually blend it. 🤷🏻♀️
I write all of my protein smoothie recipes for a single serving, and they can be made in a personal blender. As I mentioned above, I just can't see having so much of a thick smoothie all over the inside of a large capacity blender cup. And then having to take out a spatula to scrape it down and get it all out. Nah, I'll pass. Nutribullet all day for me.
The goal here is to find a high-powered blender that aligns with your lifestyle, whether that's single serve travel cups for fitness shakes or a hefty glass jar that has the entire family's morning smoothie needs covered.
And if you need both, this Ninja blender is a great choice. It comes with a large capacity cup and two small capacity personal smoothie cups. (I had a previous model of this blender in a previous apartment, when I had more counter space.) It can blend a whole lemon, rind included, as in this protein lemon bars recipe.
Beyond Smoothies: Multipurpose Blenders
As I mentioned above, I find the Nutribullet to be more than the best smoothie maker. I regularly blend up rolled oats into oat flour and chop nuts using the pulse feature. This high-performance blender would be great for chopping onions and whipping up salsa, too, serving as a food processor. It really is the best cheap blender, in my opinion. It's a great value for the functionality and simplicity it offers.
The smaller capacity does help in this regard, too. It would be difficult to chop a small amount of nuts or onions in full-size models.
One thing to mention, though. While some full-sized blenders (with their ventilated tops) are able to blend hot soups, I would NOT put anything hot in a closed container blender like any of the personal blenders. It could cause a high pressure situation inside the blender cup, and potentially explode the blender cup.
Price vs Performance: Finding Value
The best budget blenders stand out by combining cost-effectiveness, power, and durability. The Nutribullet 600W is known for its impressive balance of power and price, making it a great option for those on a tight budget and making it my personal preference.
Its 600-watt motor is strong enough for daily smoothie making, easily blending frozen fruit, leafy greens, and tough ice cubes. The blending cup serves a dual purpose, acting as both a blending container and a travel cup, making it convenient for on-the-go nutrition.
Using the pulse function, it can be used in place of a food processor, as well.
And in case you need extra blender cups, replacement blades or rubber gaskets, these are all easily (and affordably) found on Amazon.
Top Picks for Budget-Friendly Blenders
To recap what I've written above, topping the list of best smoothie makers for those who are on a budget, the Nutribullet 600W stands out for its excellent balance of power and price.
It has a robust motor to tackle frozen fruit and ice with ease, making it a solid choice for your daily green smoothie or protein shake. I've been using this for years, and I find it to be the best high-powered blender for fruit smoothies and shakes.
If you need something slightly more portable, the Magic Bullet Portable Blender seems to be the best of the bunch. It's not going to have the power or durability of the Nutribullet, but it'll do if you need a portable option for travel.
If you want the best of both worlds, full-size capacity as well as personal smoothie cups, the Nutri Ninja is a great choice (as I mentioned above). I had a previous model and found it to be a great all-around blender.
The Oster Pro 1200 seems to be a similar blender with a larger personal smoothie cup and is another great value.
Each of these models meets the criteria for the best budget blenders and best smoothie blenders: powerful motors, the ability to crush ice, and a design that caters to personal smoothies.
They are all great options for anyone looking to enjoy delicious smoothies without investing in a large high-end blender (like a Vitamix blender).
Blend Well Without Breaking the Bank
Remember, you don't have to spend a lot on a fancy device to meet your needs. While high-powered blenders with advanced features are available, a simple and robust machine can perform well for most smoothie recipes. Whether you're into green smoothies, thick protein shakes, or frozen fruit blends, there's a blender out there that can do the job without breaking the bank.
Check out our collection of protein smoothies and shakes and let us know how your new smoothie blender whips them up. The recipes are all for simple smoothies that are DELICIOUS and blend up smooth and creamy in a good blender.
I hope this article has been helpful to you. Happy smoothie making!