After in-depth real-world testing on five of the best portable blenders, we concluded that the best portable blender on the market today is the smoovii. It offers both powerful blending and it is wireless for true portability, not to mention it is insanely easy to clean!
At Gadget Discovery Club, we know a quality product when we see one. We’re constantly testing new and innovative kitchen gadgets, bringing you informed analysis of the best products on the market.
Our review of the best portable blenders pits five leading products against each other in real-world tests. From grinding coffee to making smoothies, we’ll show you the ins and outs of these competing products. And if you want to skip to a particular review, use the links below.
In this article…
- smoovii - Best Overall
- Magic Bullet - Best for budding amateur chefs
- Nutribullet GO - Best for lovers of peace and quiet
- Popbabies - Best for space efficiency
- Nutra Ninja Pro - Best for heavy duty food prep
- How did we test?
- What to look for when choosing a portable blender
smoovii Portable Blender - Best Overall
- Very powerful for a wireless blender
- Simple packaging and no unnecessary accessories
- Glass cup has a pleasingly tactile feel
- Super easy to clean with it’s auto-wash feature
- Exposed cross blade has no cover when cup isn’t over it
This is a refreshingly simple product to assemble, use and clean, with a 350ml cup made out of glass rather than plastic. This adds a tactile appeal lacking from its competitors, especially since it’s the only storage unit supplied in this minimalist six-item box.
The kiwi colour aesthetics are pleasing to the eye and it comes in a blackberry colour also. The main downside is that the exposed cross blade’s become exposed when the cup is unscrewed whereas the other exposed-blade product on test, the Nutribullet, comes with a plastic cap.
In operation, its power coped well with most blending and chopping tests. It sometimes stopped when large pieces of food were detected under the cross blade, though it’s relatively light weight which makes shaking the base and cup easy. The cup itself is a delight to drink out of, and it cleans much better than the plastic cups I tested as, over time, the food stains and smells gets stuck in the plastic jars. It should last longer too. Its simplistic 2 piece design allows you to clean the blender by adding water, soap and blending in 10 seconds, making it the easiest to clean blender i have tested!
Magic Bullet - Best for budding amateur chefs
Weight: 810g (base unit only)
Capacity: Three cups, containing 400ml, 350ml and 100ml
Volume: 75 dB
- Offers lots of accessories like lip rings and steamer lids
- Mains power means it’ll never run out of juice
- Handle on second cup is practical for meals on the go
- Too heavy to easily transport
- Difficult to store due to poor packaging and numerous accessories
- Oil managed to escape from tightly-sealed cup during blending
Resembling a scaled-down blender rather than a portable device, Nutribullet’s mains-powered Magic Bullet is something of a halfway house. It has the power to slice herbs and whip cream within seconds, but its 65mm cross blade design struggles with solid materials like frozen fruit. The 200W motor is less prone to cutting out than other models we tested, and its 75dB sound output is on par with other products.
This 11-piece kit includes accessories which you’re unlikely to use, and storing the chunky base is awkward.
With no modes or buttons, I found this an incredibly easy product to set up and use. It’s dishwasher safe, but food does tend to get stuck to the four ridges inside each cup. However, its three cups are all different sizes, offering 850ml of combined storage. If you’re a keen amateur chef, the presence of lip rings and steamer lids will be welcome, though I ended up using the same large cup and resealable lid every time. I also experienced oil leakage on one occasion, but the screw-on caps and lids generally fit well despite a lack of rubber seals.
Nutribullet GO Portable Blender - Best for lovers of peace and quiet
Volume: 60 dB
- Comprehensive instructions and minimal parts
- Cup lid has a carry strap for portability
- Quiet and smooth operation
- Exposed blades require constant use of the plastic protective cup
- Least powerful blender we tested, with the smallest cup
- Tricky to clean blade, and it’s not dishwasher safe
The attractively packaged Nutribullet GO is a slimline device weighing in at just 435g, making it the lightest product we’ve tested. Its brushed steel base unit requires several hours of USB charging before a blue light flashes five times to confirm readiness for operation. My device had enough charge for a single rotation of the cross blade before it went flat.
Because the base unit is inserted upside down onto the cup (as with the smoovii), Nutribullet supply a plastic protector to keep the exposed cross blade from causing accidents. This product is less safe around children and pets than a device with internal blades, and I nicked my finger while attempting to clean the base unit. The single lid for the 300ml cup has a handy carry strap, though there’s no lip ring for comfortable drinking. At least the mouth of the cup is wide enough to accept large objects, unlike the Popbabies.
The modest 60W motor and diminutive size might suggest this blender will struggle, but it made light work of smoothie ingredients. Within 15 seconds, that buzzy little motor had whizzed everything together effortlessly. This is by far the quietest product we’ve tested, though it’s also the only one which isn’t dishwasher safe.
Popbabies Portable Blender - Best for space efficiency
Volume: 76 dB
- Only one way to set up and use, with no superfluous peripherals
- Attractive blue finish makes it stand out on worktops or in cupboards
- Handy accessories
- Can’t be used straight out of the box
- Food regularly gets stuck under the cross blade
- Instructions hard to follow given mangled English
Like the Nutribullet, the Popbabies’ base unit requires several hours of USB charging prior to first use. Other than a covered charging slot, there’s not much to this minimalist cordless device, supplied with a single cup and lid combo. The flexible pouring funnel and ice cube tray are nice touches, and they’re finished in the same powder blue shade as the motor and cup lid. It’s worth noting that the cup nozzle is relatively narrow, so a clump of frozen berries might not fit through until you break it up.
There’s only one way to configure this blender, which is ideal for technophobes. However, English clearly wasn’t the first language of the people responsible for writing the minimalist user manual. Similarly, the recipe booklet lists ingredients (but not quantities) for dozens of smoothies, which is slightly disappointing.
In testing, I found the 175W motor repeatedly cut out when it detected food under the stainless steel cross blade, flashing a red-and-blue error message that has four different meanings. The Popbabies did produce a tasty smoothie in around 60 seconds, generating 76dB of sound along the way, but I had to disconnect the cup from the base unit half a dozen times and vigorously shake it. However, it passed the whipped-cream and diced-herbs tests with ease.
Ninja Smoothie Maker - Best for heavy duty food prep
Weight: 1200g (base unit only)
Capacity: 940ml (across two cups)
Volume: 79 dB
- Cleverly packaged and easy to store
- Only includes the components you really need
- Comes with detailed recipe booklet
- Far too heavy to be truly portable
- Generates almost 80 dB of noise during operation
- Nowhere to store the plug or cable
There’s a pleasing thoughtfulness to the Ninja Smoothie Maker, which comes economically packaged and cleverly presented. From the box lid’s QR code registration process to the enclosed 24-page recipe booklet, Ninja have invested a lot of thought in creating a strong first impression as you remove this gadget from its highly informative packaging.
Design ingenuity extends to the discreet rubber ring on the motor unit’s base, which makes the Ninja extremely planted when placed on a work surface. It’s the noisiest blender we’ve tested at almost 80 dB, and weighing almost 1.2kg, it’s not something you’d take on holiday. However, the combination of mains power and a 700 watt motor makes mincemeat of ingredients.
With only six components, the Ninja won’t take up too much space in your kitchen. Of all the blenders in this test, it’s the one I found myself defaulting to when I wanted to whip up a curry sauce. I especially liked the power it could generate – this is the closest item in our guide to a full kitchen blender, and the only one which wasn’t stumped by ice cubes. However, it’s not exactly portable.
How did we test?
At Gadget Discovery Club, we believe in real-world testing. Each of the five blenders in this feature was tested in the same conditions, with the same ingredients and to the same criteria. We measured everything from sound output to ease of repackaging, and below we’ve considered five factors which will be relevant to you, the consumer…
Portability isn’t purely down to weight. It depends on accessible packaging, how many ancillary accessories may need to be accommodated, and ease of movement. Plus, it determines how easy it is to take and consume foods on the go.
If portability is crucial to your choice of blender, it’s easy to discount the mains-powered Magic Bullet. It has the most components out of the box (11), it’s the hardest to repackage in that box, and has a one-metre mains lead and plug with nowhere to store it. The latter drawback also befalls the Ninja, though this only has half as many components and can be more easily stored. However, it’s by far the heaviest product on test, with the base unit alone weighing 1.2kg. The cups may be portable, but the device itself isn’t.
The Nutribullet GO is the lightest of our five candidates, but the exposed cross blade counts against it from a safety perspective. While the same is true of the smoovii, overall, the lightweight, rechargeable smoovii portable blender offers the best combination of portability and power.
We wanted to push our blenders beyond their comfort zones of smoothies, so we also tried blending pesto ingredients, ice, whipping cream and herbs. The latter proved no problem even for the least powerful product on test, but ice was a stumbling block.
Every blender struggled with the largely dry ingredients involved in pesto. Surprisingly, the low-power Nutribullet GO did particularly well in this, albeit serving up chunks of unblended garlic even after several shakes.
Frozen fruit stumped the Popbabies, which has a crude cut-out mechanism when it detects food beneath the cross blade, though it did a grand job of smashing up room-temperature ingredients. As expected, the mains-powered devices were more comfortable blasting frozen berries and banana pieces into pulp. I did find myself routinely shaking the cups mid-blend on all five products, which was a minor irritation. I liked the smoovii’s tactile glass cup which had a greater capacity than the disappointing 300ml plastic cup supplied with the Nutribullet.
Like portability, there are elements of a product’s durability which can easily be overlooked. How sturdy does the device feel? How reassuringly tactile are the screw-on caps? Do the buttons you push feel engineered to last?
The Ninja seems pretty unburstable, with its solidly-planted base unit and easy storage in its original packaging. By contrast, the Nutribullet was reminiscent of a small Italian car – buzzy and fun, but unlikely to last forever. It has an exposed cross blade like the smoovii, though the latter’s serrated edges and chunkier cup suggest they’ll last longer without losing their effectiveness.
Despite feeling solid, the Magic Bullet leaked oil through its unsealed plastic screw – only the smoovii has a traditional rubber grommet to prevent leakage. I couldn’t repackage the Magic Bullet in its original box, meaning the variety of accessories will probably end up lost at the back of a cupboard before too long. The ridges on the inside of its cups are likely to accumulate sediment over time, whereas the smoovii’s glass cup should be good for hundreds of uses without any build-up of residue.
Ease of Use
Blenders which were easy to set up and clean gained high marks here, while ones with unclear instructions or vague warning lights were marked down. Our chosen blenders all aim for out-of-the-box simplicity.
The Popbabies is simple to set up, but the narrow cup neck made it hard to insert larger ingredients. Its red-and-blue light system has multiple meanings which aren’t always obvious, and the ESL instructions were frustrating. The smoovii portable blender was by far the easiest to clean with it’s simple 2 piece design and auto-wash feature. The Ninja performed well also for being easy to assemble and disassemble.
Ease of Cleaning
Smoothie makers are supposed to be labour-saving, so you want a product which is easy to clean as well as use. We poured maple syrup into the cups of all five products to see how easily this sticky syrup came off, and we also investigated design flaws which render them harder to clean.
As a manufacturer, Nutribullet has work to do in this area. They need to remove the square ridges running down the inside of the Magic Bullet cups, since these sharp folds are a haven for food fragments. The Nutribullet GO isn’t even dishwasher safe, which is a major black mark on a product aimed at delivering convenience. The others all came up smelling of roses with washing liquid and a scrubbing brush, while my dishwasher delivered three spotless cups when placed in the top rack.
However, the smoovii came out on top with its simple 2 piece design allowing you to “auto-wash” after use in 10 seconds. You just add hot water, soap and blend, simple. You can do this with other blenders however you will find they still require some manual scrubbing due to food getting stuck in the different parts of the blender.
What to look for when choosing a portable blender
When purchasing a portable blender, look beyond the packaging and think about how you’ll use it. Do you have space in your kitchen cupboards to store multiple cups and lids? If you regularly commute to work, is it important for a cup to have either a built-in or detachable handle? Would accessories like ice cube trays and steamer lids be handy for the things you’d be making?
If you live in a building with thin walls (or have a nervous pet), the 80dB noise generated by mains-powered blenders could be annoying compared to the 60-65dB output by some rechargeable units. A new blender will be kept for several years, so consider long-term practicality. Exposed cross blades pose future risks as babies become toddlers, while people who regularly relocate for work should think about how easy a device is to repackage for transit.
By definition, a portable blender lacks the power and sophistication of its full-size sibling. Although the smoovii portable blender was not as powerful as it’s mains powered rivals, it had by far the best combination of being super portable, easy to clean and being able to blend most ingredients we tested.
Its main rival, the Magic Bullet, fell short despite being a good product in isolation. It has an unnecessary number of accessories and proved the hardest to clean of our five products.
The buzzy Nutribullet GO was the lightest and quietest blender on test – ideal for shared kitchens or squeezing into an overnight bag.
The Popbabies has an element of fun to its cyan design, and its rubber pouring funnel and ice cube tray were uniquely thoughtful touches.