Blenders are one of those appliances that can do a bunch of different tasks, but performance varies, so Consumer Reports really puts them through their paces. Testers crush ice and run the blenders for 20 seconds to see how uniform and snow-like the end results are. They also pure soup and make pia coladas.
The Bon Apptit blender didn't deliver on frozen drinks. But far worse was Sandra Lee's blender. It could barely crush ice, and there were whole ice cubes left in the pia coladas! Sandra Lee's blender had the lowest overall score out of every tested model.
As for the $450 and $600 Vitamix blenders, both did an excellent job in all of Consumer Reports' tests. Vitamix has one of the more active online communities and people are really passionate about the blenders, but you don't need to spend that much to get a really great blender.
For far less, the super-versatile $60 Ninja Master Prep Professional aced the tests, too-pureing smooth soups and mixing up a great icy drink. Consumer Reports also recommends the $100 KitchenAid model number KSB565. Though it wasn't as good at pureing as the Ninja blender, it offers a glass container instead of plastic, five speeds, and sleek touchpad controls.
Sears & K-Mart Response to story
Sears and K-Mart had the following response to Consumer Reports' test on the Sandra Lee Dispensing Blender:
"The Sandra by Sandra Lee Dispensing Blender is designed to combine traditional blending with a dispensing feature that allows you to dispense your drink directly into a glass with the press of a button. It is ideal for those who entertain, particularly if you are serving multiple drinks. There is minimal clean-up due to the dispensing feature as well as the dishwasher safe jar and dispensing spout.
"We are committed to providing this kind of innovation to our customers, and equally committed to offering quality and value. Based on the recent Consumer Reports findings, we will be conducting independent testing to determine whether or not the Sandra by Sandra Lee Dispensing Blender meets our high standards for performance. Should the findings of that independent test demonstrate any performance issues we will re-visit the design for future models. The blender comes with a two-year limited warranty. In addition, we offer a generous 90-day return policy. Customers are welcome to contact us with any concerns regarding their purchase."