Consumer Reports: Smooth Operator

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People buy more than eight million blenders a year, and it's no surprise that sales go up in the summer months — who doesn't love a cool smoothie on a hot day? Consumer Reports just tested almost two dozen blenders, and found you don't have to shell out big bucks to make a delicious smoothie.

Here at this smoothie shop, they can make almost any kind you can imagine.

The professional blenders make short work of crushing the ice.

If you want results like this at home, you need a blender that's up to the challenge.

Consumer Reports just tested 22 from names like Hamilton Beach, Oster (PRON: OH-stir) and Black and Decker. Prices ranged from just 25 dollars all the way up to three hundred.

There are stainless steel containers — stylish, but pricey. Other blenders have plastic or glass jars.

Tester Ginny Lui checked the controls to see how easy they are to use, and how hard they are to clean.

Then it was time to put the blenders through their paces. A key test is how the blenders handle ice.

While most of the blenders tested can crush ice, with some you need to add water.

That makes for slushy results.
To see how smoothly the blenders mix, Ginny made two different types of fruit drinks. First, she whipped up strawberry smoothies. Next, she made alcohol-free pina coladas.

Some blenders didn't measure up — leaving chunks of ice in a watery drink.

But when all the tests were done, Consumer Reports' named one blender a Best Buy. The top-rated Braun PowerMax MX2050 makes a very good pina colada, and an excellent strawberry smoothie. And it costs only 50 dollars.

Consumer Reports says if you're shopping for a blender, ignore the hype from manufacturers about extra speeds and lots of power. Three to five speeds are enough, and power claims are often overemphasized — more watts doesn't necessarily mean better blending.

View more Consumer Reports stories here.

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