Crushing ice isn’t the easiest task to accomplish. If not handled by a durable unit, the blades could easily get damaged or worse, your blender could break down once and for all.
Safe to say that it is not something just any kind of blender can do. It requires a combination of certain specialized features but once you have the right equipment, you can make creamy smoothies and icy drinks quickly and safely at the comfort of your home.
Today, we are going to look at some of the best blenders for crushing ice the market has to offer. There are altogether 7 contenders, covering both high-end and budget-friendly options so without further ado, here’s our list of the best blenders for ice:
What is the Best Blender for Crushing Ice?
1. Vitamix E310 Explorian Professional-Grade Blender
The Vitamix E310 Explorian Professional-Grade Blender doesn’t need much of an introduction perhaps – it is one of Vitamix’s bestselling products ever after all.
It does an exceptional job in pulverizing ice in particular, thanks to several practical features it is equipped with that prevent common problems like overheating.
You see, when weaker machines attempt to crush hard ingredients, they tend to overheat due to the weight of the job. Worse, it could break the appliance down completely.
Not with the E310 Explorian’s 2-HP (horsepower) motor. For context, most household blenders fall within the 500-750 watts range, which is around 1 horsepower (max) so that is some incredibly powerful motor we have here with the E310.
Naturally, it is able to pulverize ice without much of a sweat. The laser-cut stainless-steel blades play a big part in this too because when spun continuously, it produces heat that is able to make hot soup and stews. When such heat comes in contact with ice, it helps to melt them, thereby reducing blending time by almost half.
Adding to its overheating prevention measures is the E310’s thermal protection system that keeps internal temperature at a minimum, as well as a radial cooling fan. This way, even when your machine has to use up more force to crush extra tough ingredients, it can maintain its temperature at an optimal level and prevent the appliance from breaking down.
So yes, even though the Vitamix E310 Explorian Professional-Grade Blender is comparably more expensive than other blenders, we think it is an investment well made. It is incredibly reliable in the wear and tear department and the blades remain just as sharp even after several years of use.
Of course, its ten variable-speed settings with pulsing feature and self-cleaning function are worth a shoutout. The former allows you to have better control of your blending (get the desired consistency and avoid over-blending) while the latter makes hours of scrubbing and washing a thing in the past.
2. Ninja BL770 Mega Kitchen System Blender
Contrary to popular belief, a blender for ice need not always be expensive. There are plenty of affordable options that offer tremendous value (in terms of cutting strength and durability), and the Ninja BL770 Mega Kitchen System Blender is certainly one of them.
Boasting a similar 2-HP motor that makes ice-crushing a breeze, it doesn’t vibrate excessively like some other models. This goes to show that it is a machine well put together, and we are pleasantly surprised at just how smoothly it operates.
This blender is particularly suitable for larger families as it has a maximum capacity of 72 ounces. This way, you don’t have to go a few rounds to make enough for everyone but you can still make for individual cups as it also comes with two additional 16-ounce on-the-go cups (with matching lids!).
Incidentally, it bears a bulkier build so it will take up more counter space compared to other blenders. There is also no variable-speed dial, rather, the four pre-programmed settings will customize the job in terms of blending, mixing, making dough, and preparing single-serve portions. It is very easy to use but if you’re one that prefers setting the speed and strength yourself, then this may not be the blender for you.
For all that it offers – 64-ounce food processor bowl, a short recipe book and a couple of other blades, we think the Ninja BL770 Mega Kitchen System Blender is one of the most all-rounded options. Definitely a value-for-money buy if you are not ready to splurge on a blender!
3. Blendtec Total Classic Original Blender
Are you looking for a mid-tier option with tremendous potential? We’ve got just the right one for you – the Blendtec Total Classic Original Blender which bears a stylish and slender frame.
If the bulky build of the Ninja BL770 is a bit too much for you, the slim design of the Blendtec Original Blender here will be right up your alley. Do not let that fool you though – this is probably one of the most potent machines around.
What makes it particularly efficient in crushing ice is its patented stainless-steel blades with wings, which is also its most distinguishing feature. 80% thicker and 10 times stronger than the common cutters, it powers through hard ingredients like ice as if they were nothing.
The mind-blowing thing is that the blade isn’t even extra sharp or anything, you know, those where just a slight touch may slice your finger already. In fact, many may even question its effectiveness after touching the blades but don’t worry, we can vouch for it after testing it out ourselves. If anything, it even lessens the risk of injuries and removes the need for constant sharpening.
Like the Vitamix E310, Blendtec’s Total Classic Original Blender is equipped with blade friction technology. Although primarily used for savory meals, the added heat helps to melt each chunk of ice so less power is used up.
The clean display layout is easy to understand and use – there are six pre-programmed cycles with an option for manual control through ten variable-speed settings. One can achieve their desired consistency quicker by managing how fast or slow the blender moves it, so the Blendtec Total Classic Original Blender is also a common sighting in commercial establishments besides being a household favorite.
4. Ninja BL610 Professional Countertop Blender
We have another nominee from Ninja, not a surprise there really. The brand has been producing appliances since 1994 after all, and has built itself a reputation of reliability and excellence. The BL610 Professional Countertop model is one of their most popular offerings – let’s see why.
First of all, it strikes the perfect balance between affordability and functionality. Compared to the BL770, it is almost half the price but it has everything one would expect a blender to have, hence a staple favorite amongst individuals like students, newlyweds and the average household.
It may not have BL770’s 2HP motor but its 1,000-watt motor (equivalent to about 1.5HP) is powerful enough to blend most hard ingredients with ease, including ice. The 64-ounce maximum liquid capacity will make enough for the average household, and it has a cover that can be opened through a small spout for easy pouring.
Different from BL770’s bulky build, the Ninja BL610 Professional Countertop Blender has a narrow design and weighs only 7.1-lbs. It is therefore ideal for smaller kitchens with limited counterspace or tight cabinets, and the long cord makes it possible to work in areas with limited sockets.
One downside we find with the Ninja BL610 Professional Countertop Blender though is that it only has four pre-set speeds available. From our experience, this limits the overall flexibility especially if there is a certain consistency you want to achieve.
Nevertheless, it is sufficient for most personal household use so we would still recommend it especially if you’re looking for an affordable option. However, if you intend to buy it for commercial establishments, we would suggest looking elsewhere for an alternative.
5. Hamilton Beach 54221 Wave Crusher Blender
Based solely on its price, you’d probably think the Hamilton Beach 54221 Wave Crusher Blender is unreliable. Take a closer look – literally and figuratively – and you will know that that’s not the case at all.
This portable model is made predominantly from stainless steel for added durability and performance through any kitchen task. This includes handling cold ingredients and although its 700-watt peak power motor may not be as powerful as other contenders, its Ice Sabre blades make up for it by crushing contents at a reasonable pace.
As per the manufacturer’s projection, it can go through as much as 8,000 frozen drinks in its lifetime. Now that’s a lot of slurpees, slushies, and margaritas!
In order to prevent any cracks, the glass jar (yes, glass!) is thermal shock tested so it is capable to withstand extreme temperatures. This allows you to whip up a hot pumpkin soup followed by an ice-crushing session immediately after to make your cold drink without any issues.
The container is only mid-sized though, with a maximum capacity of 40-ounces so if you need to make bigger portions, you’ll have to go through it a number of times. There are 14 different blending functions available but it doesn’t offer a variable-speed dial, so achieving a specific consistency might require a bit of adjustment.
Still, we can’t complain much because out of all our nominees today, the Hamilton Beach 54221 Wave Crusher Blender costs the least. Just remember not to use this machine consecutively for long periods as you might end up cashing in from its three-year warranty package – and nobody wants that.
6. Ninja BN701 Professional Plus Blender
The Ninja BN701 Professional Plus Blender is an upgrade from the BL610 model in a number of aspects.
For our purpose that is ice-crushing ability, this one here has a 1,400-watt (equivalent to 2-HP) motor so it will definitely crush through ice and other hard objects much easier compared to the BL610. The former is good enough but if you need more power, this is a worthwhile upgrade to make.
There is also Auto-IQ Technology in-built in this one with three pre-set programs for preparing smoothies, ice cream, and grinding ice. The best part is that each function has an option of low, medium and high speed so even though it may not have manual dials, this allows you to have better control. While the speed isn’t as precise as when you control it manually, in our opinion, it wasn’t by very far off.
As with most blenders from Ninja, the BN701 is completely BPA-free and is dishwasher safe. The only downside we would say is its lack of versatility in terms of blending stringy fruits and vegetables.
We notice fibers tend to get stuck around the blades, causing waste buildup and prolonging the cleaning process. Fortunately, taking it apart and assembling it after is pretty straightforward so we would say it is still rather easy to maintain. Nevertheless, we would conclude that the Ninja BN701 Professional Plus Blender is better suited for firmer ingredients, those that get to be broken down quicker.
Once again, given its price, we couldn’t complain much. There definitely isn’t any problem in the ice crushing department so we’d say this is a good buy for added durability, larger capacity, and increased performance.
7. Oster Pro 1200 Blender
The final contender on our 7 best blenders for ice list is a real classic – the Oster which has been around since 1946 and is well-known to be one of the very first manufacturers of quality blenders.
Their Oster Pros 1200 model may have been introduced fairly recently but it still exemplifies many qualities that the brand is known for. As a bonus, it’s also really affordable, too.
What we like most about this blender is the flexibility it offers. The 6-cup Boroclass glass jar it comes with lets you prepare food good for an entire family, however, alone, you can use the 24-ounce container for single serves. Both accessories are included in the package and are perfectly compatible with the blender’s settings.
Speaking of settings, the Oster Pro 1200 Blender’s control layout may seem overwhelming at first glance with its many buttons. However, its Smart Settings Technology helps simplify and ties everything together. There are altogether seven different speeds and three pre-programmed functions set for smoothies, milkshakes and salsa.
To crush ice, simply turn up the machine to its top (or close-to-top) power and watch the hard solid structure morphs into snow right before your eyes. It only takes a few short seconds and such powerful strength is a major reason for the blender’s immense popularity, particularly among homemakers, small boutique restaurants or people who love cooking.
Its brushed nickel body is made of hard plastic so this helps in preventing the blender from shaking uncontrollably when put on high speed, something that could potentially lead to accidents and is rather common amongst blenders.
What to Consider When Buying a Blender for Ice
As you’d probably realized by now, not all blenders are capable of crushing ice at an efficient rate. They need specific qualities to perform the task properly, while also protecting itself from potential long-term damages.
In this next section, we’ll list out the seven most important factors to consider when buying a blender for ice so that you can make sure your investment doesn’t get flushed down the drain.
Naturally, cutting strength or grinding power is top on our list when it comes to crushing ice.
You see, when kept inside the freezer for a long period, ice can be extremely firm and hard. A blender’s motor must be able to maintain its blending speed consistently under such circumstances to be able to make an impact i.e., pulverize and crush ice. Otherwise, it will just be futile if it cannot bear the weight of the job.
A motor with at least 1.5HP (horsepower) will be required. Best, if you can find 2-HP (or roughly 1500-watts), that would be even more ideal. And that’s for home use. For commercial establishments, you’ll need at least a 2.5 or even 3-HP motor. This will not only get things done quicker but also have the durability to be used on a daily basis.
Another reason you’ll need a strong motor as such is for safety. Pushing a machine beyond its capacity to do something it is not designed to do may cause overheating or worse, a small kitchen fire. Therefore, choose one that is already e quipped with the capabilities to carry out the task you want to save yourself the trouble.
Quality of Blades
The quality of blades used is also another important factor to consider. Out of all parts, a blender’s blades will experience the most ablation. After all, it’s the component that comes directly in contact with all the tough ingredients day in and day out, sometimes with minimal breaks in between.
Given how extremely dense ice or other frozen food can be, you’ll need to go for stainless steel blades. That’s probably your only option as aluminum or carbon material simply won’t cut it (pun intended) so don’t waste your time.
It is worthy to note that the theory where the sharper the blades are, the better they are is simply a misconception. At least not in the case of crushing ice. When pitted again each other, they actually function similarly so it’s not necessary that you go for the sharpest blades.
In fact, dull blades might even be better in the long run because there will be less maintenance i.e. sharpening or replacing them.
Sturdy Base and Frame
Have you ever experienced blending something very tough? Your machine vibrates more, right? It is the same when it comes to crushing ice. Which is why having a sturdy and well-put-together frame is so important.
Like blades, a stainless-steel body is our gold standard. However, those made from hard plastic, brushed nickel or aluminum are good too so you can consider them. More importantly, it is to evaluate how ergonomically everything is designed and we’re pleased to inform that all 7 blenders we’ve shortlisted above are satisfactory in this department.
In theory, having a wider base help in balancing and minimizing shaking. It is also observed that unnecessary noise is lessened too so if this is the first time you’re buying a blender, this will be a good tip to remember.
Price and Budget
The price point of some of the best blenders for ice currently available on the market could range from as low as $50 to somewhere around $400-$500. That’s good news, as it means there is something for everyone on a different budget.
While their quality and durability vary, they all set forth a certain level of efficacy so the first thing to ask yourself is probably this: how much are you willing to spend on a blender? More importantly, what will you be using it for?
Typically, purchasing one for business purposes would usually mean a bigger budget as you’ll have to invest in something more high-end. On the contrary, if you’re buying just for personal household use, then opting for a basic variant seems to be the practical and realistic way to go.
Ultimately, set yourself a threshold and look for options within that range. This should help you narrow down the list of candidates considerably so it’s easier to make a final decision.
The same principle applies in the warranty context. As we always say, warranty serves as your safety net. You probably don’t wish to use it ever, but you’ll be glad to have it there.
Since blenders for ice are often used in a more vigorous manner comparatively, you really need a warranty package that is both lengthy and comprehensive. Don’t settle for anything less than three years (although five years should be the norm in our opinion) because issues really only begin to show up after 24 months, usually.
In terms of inclusions, just make sure all the basic components are there and that should suffice. Also, having enough service centers in your area is non-negotiable. The same goes for complementary maintenance service and parts replacement (after a reasonable period, of course).
We also see brands extending a money-back guarantee lately. While this is good for public-relations, very rarely are consumers actually able to avail of it so that’s not something we’d put too much weight on.
Size of Container
Container size may be an insignificant detail but trust us, choosing the right one could save you so much in terms of time and electricity cost.
Imagine preparing dinner and drinks for a group of ten people. With a large maximum liquid capacity of 72-ounce like the Ninja BL770 Blender, you will only need to go (roughly) two rounds of preparation. While those with a 48-ounce pitcher would need at least double the effort. See the difference?
Again, this would require you to consider how many members you have in your family or circle of friends, and how often you will be using this machine.
If you’re a person who loves entertaining guest, opt for a bigger model even if this means you’ll need to fork out more initially. The same goes for caterers, chefs or restaurant owners. Save yourself time and effort in the long run – it will be worth it.
Of course, blenders that come with several containers of varying sizes like the Oster Pro 1200 is the best. Especially when there are pre-programmed settings available. This way, you get the best of both worlds, while preserving your long-term flexibility in doing different tasks.
User-Friendliness of Controls
Have you ever noticed that some blenders for ice use a manual variable-speed dial, while others are all purely digital? The debate is still ongoing in terms of which is better but to us, we think both have their own merits.
A manual control system gives users more flexibility in terms of achieving their desired speeds and ultimately, the consistency level they want. It may seem more difficult on the outset but professionals actually prefer this setup more as it helps them achieve their desired consistency, while minimizing the risk of over-blending.
On the contrary, a digital control panel usually comes with pre-set functions. You’ll only need to press a button and the machine will automatically select a specific speed and power. Usually, this is based on certain tasks. Crushing ice, making smoothies or dicing up vegetables are among the most common ones.
When deciding on this particular factor, it really boils down to personal preference. Some models like the Blendtec Total Classic Original Blender have married both in one but generally, you’ll have to decide if you want to stay manual, or go digital.
A tough job requires a reliable machine. Crushing ice, especially when done on a daily basis, can take its toll on your blender. If not equipped properly, you might just end up wasting your money.
Out of the 7 options we’ve selected above, if you are to ask us to choose just one to be the best blender for ice, it will have to be the Vitamix E310 Explorian Professional-Grade Blender.
Backed by several decades of experience, this is a manufacturer who has consistently introduced innovative gadgets simplifying how we work at home and this particular model, well, it has everything it requires to take up the title.
Powerful cutting strength coupled with strong stainless-steel blades, easy-to-control variable speed settings and cutting-edge safety features that guarantees your safety – you have a durable and effective machine in hand there we tell you. They all work cohesively to give you a seamless and pleasant experience which is why even though it may be a little more expensive, we still highly recommend it – both for personal or commercial use.
Invest in a high-quality blender for ice, and you should experience only good days ahead. Happy shopping!