It’s hot out there, which means two things: we’re wearing less clothing and we’re thirsty. No wonder smoothies seem to beckon from every corner. Time to break out the personal blender.
My smoothie habit has become unsustainably expensive, so these days I’m more inclined to make them at home. And while my Vitamix is unfailing in it’s ability to eviscerate whatever I throw in it, I’m intrigued by the new crop of personal blenders, which seem like they make less mess, are easier to clean, and are sized right for making a single cup. I’ve pitted a pricey one and a cheaper challenger against each other to compare their smoothie-making power.
The main contenders, Magic Bullet’s NutriBullet and Big Boss’ copycat Healthy Boss (originally called “NutriBoss”), both blend right into the cup—which doubles as the blending container—but Healthy Boss is about a third of the price. So how do they stack up?
Unlike the company’s original product, Magic Bullet, the newer NutriBullet can handle trendy, sinuous greens such as kale and spinach, plus nuts and seeds. At $80, the entry level NutriBullet has 600 watts, while the top-level “Rx” NutriBullet ($182) has a shocking 1700—think jet engine. For a power comparison, consider that the Magic Bullet Mini ($30) has a mere 250 watts (I’d entrust that to stuff you’d easily chew, like tomatoes and bananas). Also, some users were surprised to learn that you’ve got to add a bit of water to get any of the NutriBullets to blend.
That said, all of them promise to handle both leaves and produce, make nut butters, grind flour and make frozen desserts, though only the Rx can also heat soup. Each level spins a bit faster than the last, and offers larger cup capacity. All the NutriBullets also have relatively nice-looking metallic bases and come with two blades, either three or four cups, two lids and a recipe book, plus a one-year warranty.
The reviews on these products are stellar. However, last year Consumer Reports expressed concern about another NutriBullet model, the Nutribullet Pro (we didn’t test that one). They warned that trying to blend ice cubes could possibly result in a chipped blade, fragments of which could hide in your smoothie. Yikes. The company has not recalled the item, and has responded by saying that trying to blend large ice cubes with no liquid is a misuse of the product. I’m thinking let’s all avoid this model until we’re sure we won’t be sipping metal with our maca.
Yep, they copied the Bullet, and they claim they’ve done it better. The Big Boss HealthyBoss (sometimes called the Nutriboss) is arguably sleeker-looking than the NutriBullet, it comes in more colors (including a grape-tastic purple), and it’s one-third cheaper than the comparable 600-watt Nutri Bullet at about $55. Plus [highlight] it can blend your produce without requiring added liquid [/highlight], thanks to razor-sharp blades. Keep in mind that sharp blades eventually turn dull, but the impressive three-year warranty may help. It comes with one blade, three 30-oz cups (a little bigger than the entry level NutriBullet), six lids and a recipe book. Though it won’t heat soup with its motor, they say you can place the cup in the microwave using the “steamer lid” (though I typically don’t ever put plastic in the microwave, so that’s your call).
By our tests, if you’re planning to make a lot of green juices and peanut butter, I’d recommend looking closely at the NutriBullet Rx and it’s powerful motor. I see it as a tough kitchen tool that should last. But if all you want is a blended refresher on a hot day, it seems Healthy Boss’ price and power can’t be beat.
Do you have a favorite personal blender? Let’s discuss over smoothies in the comments.