Of course, when you travel, you can't bring everything you're deeply attached to—and yes, that includes your most beloved kitchen items (you bonded so much this year!), blender included. While this is definitely a first world problem and it's probably not your most pressing concern, for those who feel that smoothies are a core part of your morning or post-workout routine, this distance can still leave you wondering what the heck you're going to do. Especially if you're going to be away for a week or longer.
That's where a portable blender can come in handy. Smaller and lighter than traditional blenders, they're easier to pack. They also don't have to be plugged in. Most portable blenders are either battery-powered or rechargeable, which means they're ready to be used in places where there isn't electricity. ["Besides traveling], portable blenders can also offer convenience for the office, beach, pool, dorm room, camping trip, or even in the car after a workout," says registered dietitian Dana Angelo White, RD, the author of Healthy, Quick, and Easy Smoothies ($13).
Just like any other appliance, not all portable blenders are created equal. You want to make sure you're buying one that will hold up, especially if you're bringing it with you on vacay where getting a replacement isn't really an option, right? Keep reading to find out exactly what to look for when shopping for a portable blender, how to care for it to ensure it lasts, and to see the top-rated portable blenders on the market.
What to look for when buying a portable blender
Tess Masters—aka The Blender Girl and author of many smoothie-centric recipe books—says before buying a portable blender, it's important to first know about its limitations. Even the best portable blender isn't going to compare to what you may be used to. "Portable blenders aren't as powerful, so they aren't going to be able to break down fibrous ingredients like nuts, seeds, dates, and other hard ingredients," she says. She has also found first-hand that portable blenders are more likely to leak.
That said, Masters adds that they are good to use for when you don't have access to a traditional blender and work perfectly fine for blending smoothies with ingredients like spinach, bananas, protein powder, and alternative milk. In other words, they're great with softer ingredients.
She also points out that most portable blenders are only around $20, which is far less expensive than most traditional blenders. For this reason, Masters says they're perfect for buying for a trip, pool party, picnic, or other occasion where you want it to serve its purpose for a short time and not necessarily be used every day. "Portable blenders tend not to last as long as traditional blenders, but you know what, that's okay. They aren't very expensive so it isn't a big deal [for most people] when it's time to dispose of it," she says.
Okay, got your expectations in place? Let's get to shopping. Both Masters and White offer up some helpful tips on what to look for when comparing portable blenders. White recommends first checking the size. "Most containers range from 12 to 14 ounces, which is less than two cups." If you're cool with that, NBD. But if you are blending up smoothies (or, hey, cocktails) for more people than just you, considering a portable blender with a bigger container size will be a better bet.
Masters also recommends checking to see how powerful the motor is. The more powerful (meaning the higher the wattage), the better it will be at breaking down food. She also says to check to see what the blender is made of—particularly the blades. Masters says that blades made of stainless steel are going to be the most powerful while ones made of plastic will be the least.
"It's also a really good idea to read reviews," Masters adds. "The beauty of buying anything now is that you can easily look up reviews online. People tend to be very outspoken with their thoughts, whether they loved something or hated it."
With this in mind, rounded up below are the portable blenders that have the absolute best customer ratings on Amazon. We guarantee you'll find one that will fit perfectly into your vacation breakfast game (and budget).
5 best portable blender options based on consumer reviews
This rechargeable blender has six blades and comes with a USB port so you can charge it via your laptop or a power bank. It has a rating of 4.6 out of five stars based on customer reviews, with many commenting on how lightweight yet powerful it is.
Made with a rechargeable USB power source, this top-rated portable blender isn’t quite powerful enough to break down ice cubes, but works perfectly for smoothies and protein shakes. Best part? It’ll whirl them up in less than a minute. Customer reviews also note that it isn’t super loud, like many blenders (a huge perk for those staying in smaller rental spaces with friends or family members who like to sleep in)!
At just $14, you can’t beat the price of this portable blender. Like the Foruisin, it has six blades instead of the traditional four, which contributes to its power. It also has a magnetic induction switch for safety and will not blend unless the juicer cup is firmly in place.
With over 9,000 customer reviews, people had a lot of positive things to say about this portable blender. One person shared that they liked using it at work because it wasn’t too loud. “The PopBabies blender is a must for anyone that drinks shakes and smoothies. I was blown away by how effective this device is at blending my fine-powdered shake,” another customer shared.
While it’s a bit pricier than the other portable blenders highlighted here, Masters says this pick looks like it could be a very solid one to invest in although she has not tried it herself. She likes that it has stainless steel blades and a rubber base—which means it will actually stay in place on the counter when you’re trying to blend. It also comes with a two-year warranty.
Whatever portable blender you buy, Masters offers up some tips for extending its life as long as possible. First, she says to cut your ingredients into small pieces as to not overwhelm the blades. If you're adding nuts to your smoothie, she recommends soaking them in water first, which will soften them and make them easier to blend. Last, she recommends cleaning the blender right after using it and drying it well so the blades won't rust.
If you're a diehard smoothie lover, a traditional blender is still going to be your best bet. But if you're looking for something small to bring with you while you travel, stash at work, or bring to an afternoon out with friends, it can be a great option. Sometimes a pool party just isn't complete without a refreshing post-swim smoothie. And with a portable blender, you can make it happen for you and your friends.
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