(Pocket-lint) - Blenders are one of those bits of kitchen kit that doesn't feel essential until you've got one.
Whether it's to help you get into a daily smoothie routine, or you're hoping to make more soups, or if milkshakes particularly float your boat, there are myriad reasons to pick up a blender.
There are also countless blenders on the market, though, ranging from slim fruit-only options to full-on food processing beasts. We've rounded up some of the best options available right now for you, across a variety of sizes and shapes.
Best blenders available to buy today
Nutribullet 600 Series
Nutribullet sort of came out of nowhere this century to dominate in the blender game, with its quick and easy stylings and smoothie-ready machines.
The 600 Series is super-affordable and impressively powerful for its size and price.
The machine is small enough that it's easily stored, but also won't eat up space if you want to leave it out on the counter.
More importantly, its 600-watt motor will make mincemeat of fruit and most vegetables, and can be a useful aid for souping and more adventurous cooking.
Still, the tougher the processing job, the more you'll want to consider a heftier blender.
If you do want to take a step up, but don't necessarily want to abandon the principle that your blender should be relatively small, Vitamix's S30 is a great bet.
It's like a deluxe version of many base models from rivals, with a bit more control on the base unit. You get a chunk more power, too, meaning that you can trust it to mince up a wider, tougher range of foods than cheaper equivalents.
That said, at full price, the S30 can be a little prohibitive — if you can find it discounted since it's been out a little while, that's the better way to pick one up. With a bigger container, too, and a nice design, it's perhaps a little more adaptable, as well.
Hamilton Beach Power Elite Blender (58148A)
Hamilton Beach has enough appliances to fill your entire counter, and the Power Elite blender should be a staple of any good home setup.
It's powerful enough to crush ice, thanks to the 700 watts of power, and pulls the mixture down for a more even blend. In total, there are 12 blending functions for you to explore, and five buttons to shift between, which allows you to create everything from an icy drink to a hearty soup.
Thankfully, it's another blender that's also very easy to clean after use. The blades can be removed, and, along with the jar, can also be thrown into the dishwasher.
NutriBullet ZNBF30500Z Blender Combo
We wouldn't necessarily recommend this set for those who just want to try out the blender life, but those seasoned with the routine and looking for something a little more on the advanced end should certainly consider this NutriBullet offering.
There are three speeds, a pulse mode and an extract program to give you complete control over your blend, with a whopping 1200 watts of peak power, too.
Once you're all done, the pitcher and cups can be placed in the dishwasher, while the extractable blades with soap and water.
Ninja Professional Countertop Blender (BL610)
Ninja is another name that's synonymous with elite kitchen gadgets, and the BL610 fits right into that mold.
There's a huge liquid capacity to play with, and the 1000 watts of power mean it can essentially crush anything you throw at it (possibly even your dreams) - particularly excelling when it comes to preparing icy cold beverages.
You get the option to pick between low, medium and high power - as well as pulse mode - with the jar also dishwasher-friendly.
Magimix 1.8L Le Blender
With a classic, no-nonsense look, Le Blender from Magimix is a dead straightforward option if you want a counter-top blender.
It's got an easy-to-use power dial and three buttons to control the blender itself, and well-designed blends make for an even chopping and blending action.
One of its really nice features comes during use — it's not too loud at all, compared to most competitors, which is something that you'll appreciate over time, the more you use it.
Plus, a clever cleaning setting lets you relatively easily blast away any grime left after a particular blend.
Smeg's kitchen appliances are immediately identifiable by their iconic design and distinctive colours, and the BLF01 is no different.
You can pick it up without breaking the bank, with some patience, and it's a great fit for those who want a blender they're not ashamed to leave out.
Whether you want to blitz ice, fruit or cooked vegetables, the BLF01 is capable of it, and has a nice measuring jug container for pouring out when you're done. It's solidly built and has some smart touches, making it a real contender.
This pick won't really be a sensible choice for most people — the lower-powered, consumer blenders featured above are adaptable, and easy-to-use enough for almost anyone.
If you're dead serious about your blending, though, and need huge power to back it up, the Vitamix 5200 will sort you out.
It's got a massively powerful motor, with high-speed modes that will absolutely blitz most obstacles, and on its highest settings can even heat soup up as it blends it.
That said, the likelihood that you actually need this much power, with the noise that comes with it, is fairly low. An option for the enthusiasts, this one.
KitchenAid, like others on this list, knows its appliances and has a pedigree in the blending and mixing game.
This five-speed blender is a really impressive unit that isn't priced at all outrageously and can handle most things you throw at it.
It also has a nice look to it, one that wouldn't seem out of place in a much older kitchen setting, or a classic American diner.
Its container has been smartly designed to funnel chunks towards the blades, and usefully has a partial-opening feature to let you add more ingredients while blending. It's dishwasher-safe, too, which is always appreciated.
Black + Decker Crush Master (BL2010BP)
The Crush Master is a bit of a dramatic name for a blender, but, still, Black + Decker's entry-level blender is a great option for beginners to try out.
There's plenty of control - 10 speeds with a Pulse mode - to allow you to find the right power from the 550-watt motor and achieve the right consistency.
Providing you're not trying to create multiple big cups at a time - or a family-sized serving of soup - the 48oz jar is also more than enough for most users.
Washing up is also a breeze, since the blade component, pitcher and lid can all be thrown in the dishwasher.