If you’re keen to use a blender for ice and frozen fruits, you’ll need something powerful. Ice will take its toll on a lesser appliance, and you certainly can’t use a juicer. Let’s take a look at the best blender for ice.
Ice can add a new dimension to smoothies, creating a slushy, refreshing consistency. Likewise, frozen fruits last much longer in the freezer than fresh ingredients. Picking up the best blender for frozen drinks can open up a range of new smoothie opportunities.
Pick of the Best Blender for Ice 2021
- Top Pick – Vitamix 5200 Blender
- Budget Pick – Ninja Professional Blender
- Upgrade Pick – Vitamix A3500 Blender
What to Look for in an Ice-Crushing Blender
When shopping for the best blender for crushing ice cubes, look out for the following characteristics.
- A powerful motor – look for a minimum of 1,000 watts, ideally more.
- Sturdy blades made from stainless steel.
- A wide pitcher that allows the ice to move around.
- The ability to choose different speed settings.
- All of the above at a price point that you can comfortably afford.
By taking these qualities into consideration, you can use your blender for smoothies with ice.
Reviews of the Best Blenders for Ice and Frozen Fruits
Let’s take a look at seven of the best blenders for frozen fruit smoothies, and for the use of ice in general.
Top Pick – Vitamix 5200 Blender
When it comes to an overall pick for ice-crushing blenders, I fall back on one of my favorite blenders, period. The Vitamix 5200 is available in three colors – black, white or red – and it’s a thing of beauty that will benefit any kitchen.
The motor of this blender runs cool, despite boasting ten different speeds, so you’ll maintain nutrition from your frozen fruits. The appliance can also be used for a variety of different purposes, so you won’t just be limited to chilled smoothies. Baby food, nut butters, desserts, batters and more are all available.
The 5200 comes with a 64 oz jug, so you’ll have a job lot of whatever you choose to mix up. Crushing, chopping and pulverizing ingredients are all simple though, and with speed dial, you can choose just how fine you’d like your ice.
Now, I should be clear – the Vitamix 5200 is priced at the upper echelons of the scale. Happily, though, there’s a seven-year warranty included in this cost. You won’t need to replace this blender for quite some time, making it a worthwhile investment.
- Overall consistent performance.
- Parts built and shipped from the USA.
- Doubling up as a juicer.
Budget Pick – Ninja Professional Blender
If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, the Ninja brand will rarely steer you wrong. Don’t pick up a standard Ninja, though. Instead, use this Professional Countertop model. It’s the size of a traditional blender, and every bit as powerful.
You can still use this blender for single servings if necessary. There are plenty of options open to you, though. The device has three speed settings – each of which can be activated with the touch of a single button – and, crucially, a pulsing feature. This can be used to crush ice.
The blender comes with two to-go cups, both of which hold 16 oz of smoothie goodness. The motor is 1,100 watts, so it’s powerful enough to cope with tough ingredients as well as ice. As always with Ninja products, the nutritional content of fresh fruit and veg is also admirable.
The warranty of this blender is for a single year, but that’s fine. It’s very much a starter model. There are others with more bells and whistles, but this is a great way to trial blending and ice crushing.
- Frozen smoothies on a budget.
- Occasional use.
- Novice blender users.
Upgrade Pick – Vitamix A3500 Blender
Given my fulsome praise of the Vitamix 5200, you’d be forgiven for assuming that I consider that model to be impossible to improve upon.
Within certain context, that’s true. The 5200 remains my overall recommendation. If you can afford an upgrade to a professional standard blender, however, the A3500 is a thing of beauty. The ten-year warranty may also set your mind at rest.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first, though. This is a professional blender, designed for use in smoothie bars and similar locations. That means it may be beyond the price range of many average consumers. If you do have the funds to spare, however, you won’t regret this model.
This appliance utilizes wireless smart technology to adjust itself to the size of container attached – and an Android smartphone for remote use. It also comes equipped with a range of pre-programmable settings that can be tailored to whatever you’re making. Obviously frozen smoothies are among these, alongside other potential recipes.
You can control exactly how finely your ice is chopped or crushed in this blender. This means you can also pick and choose how you’d like your frozen fruits to taste. In the unlikely event that you grow weary of blending cold drinks, you can then use the A3500 for soups, desserts and dips.
- Blending a wide range of ingredients for a variety of meals and snacks.
- Chopping, grinding and blending ice.
- Spending big and not needing to upgrade or replace.
KitchenAid KSB1570OB Blender
The KitchenAid KSB1570OB manages to blend no-frills and low-cost blending with serviceable performance. This is a perfectly fine budget model for those experimenting with blending, especially frozen fruits and ice.
There are some drawbacks to this model, so let’s address those first. The warranty of this appliance is just a solitary year, and the jug is a little smaller than most at 56 oz. Let’s turn that into a positive though – its less waste for single-serve blending.
There are also four different colors to choose from, so you can pair this device to your kitchen aesthetic. The array of buttons
The blender is equipped with IntelliSense and five different speeds, so it automatically learns what ingredients are placed inside and react accordingly. With pulsing and cursing functionality, it will make short work of any ice-based ingredient.
- Affordable blending.
- Choice of colors.
- Small serving sizes.
Cuisinart CBT-2000 Blender
This blender from Cuisinart is less heralded than some, but I cannot imagine why. It’s an impressive appliance, boasting great capability, user-friendly operation and an LCD display that ensures you’ll always know what you’re working with.
The CBT-2000 is available in two motor sizes, peaking at 2.5 or 3.5 horsepower. Personally, I used the 3.5 and found it hugely impressive. Coupled with a Turbo Boost feature, this leads to blades speeds of 30,000 rotations per minute. Your ice will not know what hit it!
You can also program your own cycles in this blender, saving them into the memory. That could be invaluable once you have mastered the perfect frozen fruit smoothie. There is also a button exclusively for crushing ice, which takes a lot of guesswork out of basic function.
The motor of thus blender is covered for ten years by warranty, though when it comes to parts this drops to three years. This means it’s up to you if you consider the outlay for the CBT-2000 a risk worth taking. Speaking for myself, I see no reason why it would not be.
- High-speed function.
- Memory function for pre-set cycles.
- Crushing ice at the touch of a button.
Oster Pro 1200 Blender
Picking up a high-quality blender that’s capable of crushing ice does not need to break the bank. Take the Oster Pro 1200 as an example. This appliance performs well, boasts a seven-year warranty, and doesn’t skimp on quality. Shop around though, and you’ll get change from a $100 bill.
The blender is packed with different settings for particular ingredients, and a recipe book is also included for inspiration. This blender has a chopping feature if that’s your preference, though it also pulses and crushes ice perfectly well.
The blades rotate at a head-spinning 28,000 rotations per minute, making use of a powerful 1,400 watt motor. That’s the equivalent of 250 mph. This means that no ingredient will be left unblended.
There will be a degree of heat generated, leading to a little foam and a slight loss of nutrition, but that’s a price worth paying for performance at such a low price.
- Chopping ice.
- Powerful motor.
- Specialist settings for different ingredients.
Blendtec Total Classic Blender
I started with one of my favorite blenders in the form of the Vitamix 5200, and I’m closing my list with arguably this model’s closest rival. The BlendTec Total Classic is a wonderful appliance, boasting many similarities to the 5200 at a lower price point.
Arguably the biggest selling point of this blender is the simplicity of use. The BlendTec Total Classic has ten speeds but also boasts half a dozen cycles that are already programmed into the appliance. Chief among these is the pulsing feature, which will be invaluable for crushing ice.
The blades are also notable in this model. Not only are they tougher than most competitors, but they are also blunt. This will not restrict performance, but it does make cleaning much safer. You could even just pour some soapy water into the jug and set the blender to self-clean mode.
Finally, we have the eight-year warranty assigned to the blender. You shouldn’t need it, but if you do, the fact that Blendtec is a US-based company makes parts easy to source.
- Longest warranty on the market (8 years).
- Safe operation.
- High performance at a reasonable price.
Ice cubes can be used in a powerful blender. Always check the instruction manual of your blender and confirm this is the case, though. A smaller blender that lacks sufficient power will struggle to break the ice down, sending it flying around the container and potentially breaking the glass.
As you’ll see from my reviews above, my overall picks for blending ice and frozen drinks are the Vitamix 5200 and A3500 models. These are quite expensive, though. If you’re shopping at a lower end of the range, consider the Ninja Professional Countertop Blender or the KitchenAid KSB1570OB.
To create a smoothie from frozen fruit ingredients, you’ll need a powerful motor and high performance. There is little point in using frozen fruit if you’re going to sacrifice nutrition. As always, I’ll point you toward the Vitamix 5200 or A3500. The BlendTec Total Classic is also a great device for frozen fruit.
Not all blenders perform the same tasks. Ensure you pick up an appliance that meets your needs, including ice crushing. The models that I have reviewed above are all capable of crushing ice. Smaller blenders with weaker motors will struggle with any frozen ingredient, so keep ice away from them.
If your blender should be capable of crushing ice but fails to do so, check that it’s not overloaded. Start with one, two or three ice cubes at a time. Make sure that you have plenty of liquid, too. The ratio should be three 3:1 in favor of fluid.
If you are exclusively looking to chop ice, pick up the Oster 1200 Pro. As you’ll see from my review, this appliance has a specialist chopping blade that can cope with ice. This blender is also packed with a range of other features that make it a worthy addition to your kitchen.
The Magic Bullet blender operates with just 250 watts of power. This means that it cannot be used to crush ice. Doing so will damage the blades and eventually render your appliance useless. If you’re looking for a blender that crushes ice, look for something bigger and more powerful.
The Nutribullet Pro cannot cope with pure ice. Ice can be fed into the device though, alongside liquid. Crush your ice manually using a rolling pin or similar heavy object. You can then add the ice to a liquid recipe. Just keep the ice quantity below 25% of the cup’s volume.
Yes and no – it depends on which model of Ninja you are using. As a rule of thumb, bigger is better if you are looking to crush ice in a Ninja appliance. The cups used in single serve Ninja blenders are not designed for use with ice and frozen ingredients. Pick up the countertop model I reviewed above.
With that, we have come to the end of our journey through the best blenders for frozen drinks. I hope that you now understand the benefits – and limitations – to using your blender for crushing and chopping ice cubes.
I’ll say once more for luck – pick up the Vitamix 5200 if you’re able. This isn’t just the best blender for ice. In my eyes, it’s the best blender, period. If frozen drinks are your interest, however, you can’t go wrong with any model that I have reviewed.