Are you looking for the best blender for making frozen drinks or crushing ice into snow? If you are, then keep reading. That is what this article is all about.
Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick summary of our top picks – click below to check prices:
|Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender||A+|
|Vitamix A3500 Blender||A+|
|NutriBullet ZNBF30500Z Blender Combo 1200 Watt||A+|
|Blendtec Total Classic Blender||A+|
|Cleanblend Commercial Blender||A|
|Ninja BL660 Professional Countertop Blender||A+|
Blenders are one of the most versatile kitchen appliances you can own, which explains why according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, over 90 percent of American homes have at least one. They can be used to make smoothies, grind coffee beans, or make nut butter and milk.
Ask many people, and they will tell you that the best use for a blender is creating refreshing frozen drinks. Whether you want a chilly green smoothie to help your workout recovery or a daiquiri to unwind with after a hard day, you’re going to need a blender with ice-crushing capabilities.
Just about every blender on the market will say they can crush ice, but to be honest, this is more hype than the ability for many. They may be able to accomplish the task but will take a frustratingly long time, and even then only do an inadequate job.
The best blenders for crushing ice and making frozen drinks have specific power combinations, properly designed blades, and sturdy builds.
To help you find the perfect blender to suit your needs, we offer our top picks for ice-crushing blenders, a short guide to what you need to look for in a blender for making frozen drinks and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about blenders to crush ice cubes.
Top 6 Best Blenders for Crushing Ice & Frozen Drinks
Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender
With Vitamix’s reputation over the last 100 years, it should come as little surprise that one of its blenders should land at the top of our list for best blenders for crushing ice and frozen fruits.
The truth is that in our opinion, there is no better blender on the market than the E310 for making:
- Icy drinks
- Hot Soups (Can Heat)
- Salad Dressings
- Nut Butters
- Frozen Desserts
The Vitamix E310 comes with a full 2-hp of power pushing the patented laser-cut stainless steel blades. You’ll never have to worry about this blender bogging down with such a powerful motor, but there is much more to the E310 than just power.
Its controls are intuitive and straightforward, with a ten-speed variable speed dial and a pulse/run button leaving. Still, no fancy digital interfaces to learn or confusing functions to figure out. This blender was intended to be an everyday workhorse, which is what it is.
As with all Vitamix blenders, clean-up is a breeze. There isn’t even a need to disassemble the blender. Just add a drop of dishwashing liquid and water and run the E310. It takes 30-60 seconds, and your blender will be ready to start whipping up the next batch of frozen drinks.
- Radial cooling fan
- Thermal protection system
- Simple controls
- It comes with a tamper
- 1.4 Liter pitcher
- 7-year warranty
- Some users have reported that it is very loud
- It tends to vibrate when loaded with difficult to blend items
- It doesn’t have many bells and whistles
Vitamix A3500i Blender
Definitely not a budget blender in terms of price or performance, the A3500i is intended for the person who demands the performance of a professional countertop blender and understands that it comes at a price.
It comes with five pre-programmed functions:
- Hot Soup
- Dip & Spread
- Frozen Dessert
For set and walk away convenience with outstandingly consistent results.
Naturally, the frozen dessert setting functions just as well for crushing ice and frozen drinks as it does for making sorbet. In truth, though, there is little this blender cant accomplish.
Its low-profile blending jug lets it fit under low-hung cabinets, and interlock technology assures you of safe operations.
Perhaps the A3500i’s best feature is SELF-DETECT® Technology, which allows the 3500 to evolve as new features and accessories become available. You will never have to worry about your blender being outdated, as it will constantly upgrade itself.
- 10-year warranty
- Programmable timer
- Variable speed control plus pulse
- BPA free Tritan plastic blender pitcher with pouring spout
- 3-inch blade assembly
- Can pulverize ice
- Comes with tamper
- Buttons are not backlit
- Tends to vibrate and walk with when heavily loaded
- Some users report 64-ounce pitcher doesn’t perform well with small batches
NutriBullet ZNBF30500Z Blender Combo
The NutriBullet Combo is one of our choices for blending ice and frozen drinks because of its high-quality build, excellent power, and versatility.
Its 1200-watt motor base coupled with easy-twist Extractor blades make this the best blender for crushing anything, including ice and frozen fruit. Like a cold smoothie? No problem.
You can load the 32 or 24-ounce to-go cups with your favorite ingredients, including tough leafy green and ice, and have a frosty drink perfectly blended and ready to go in mere seconds. If you need to make a larger batch, that is just as easy as the combo also comes with a 64-ounce pitcher.
To make life even simpler, the ZNBF30500Z has a dedicated extractor setting just for breaking down hard to blend ingredients. Beyond that, this is a no-nonsense blender combo with three-speed settings and a pulse button, and of course, all of its parts other than the motor base are dishwasher safe for cleaning.
- Economically priced for its performance
- Stainless steel extractor blades
- 64 oz blender jug has vented cap for hot soups and sauces
- 1-year limited warranty
- BPA free
- Dishwasher safe
- Simple to use
- Plastic to-go caps tend to leak with frequent use
- Some plastic components in the drivetrain
- Blade assembly wears quickly and needs frequent replacing
- It doesn’t have a thermal disconnect
Blendtec Total Classic Blender
With stainless steel blades that are 80% thicker than the industry standard and a 1,560-watt motor, the Blendtec Total Classic can crush ice cubes and much more. In fact, hot or cold this blender performs like a champ.
It comes with six pre-programmed cycles, including a dedicated ice crush setting guaranteed to blend ice smoothly and deliver the silkiest frozen drinks you’ve ever experienced. The other settings this smart blender offers include:
- Hot Soup
- Whole Juice
- Ice Cream
At the heart of the Blendtec Classic is a blending jar with a proprietary design that breaks up cyclonic action seen in other blenders and causes it to draw ingredients to the blades more efficiently.
How exactly this works, we aren’t sure, but we can testify from personal experience that it does.
- Lightweight for the power it possesses
- A large number of preset programs
- Sturdy BPA free blending jar with 32-ounce blending capacity
- 2-year standard warranty extendable to 6-years
- Self-cleaning for easy care
- Sturdy blades
- Some users have reported that the gaskets leak over time
- Small capacity for a countertop blender
- Very loud compared to other models of similar power
Cleanblend Commercial Blender
Cleanblend may not be the best-known ice-crushing blender on our list, but the company is quickly making a name for itself.
Considered by many to be an entry-level commercial blender, this beast of a blender with its 1800-watt (3 hp) motor has enough power to blast ice into powder in mere seconds and create frozen smoothies that are as silky as they are nutritious. Even kale and other leafy greens simply disappear into a milkshake-like texture.
Surprisingly, considering its production standards, this high-quality blender is one of the more affordable blenders on our list and costs less than half of what many home blenders will run you. This is in part due to its lack of bells and whistles.
Professional chefs are more interested in durability and performance than any set and forget or other new fangled features. They want a blender that will perform every day, day in and day out. As one culinary professional expressed it, the simpler the appliance, the less there is to go wrong.
That is an idea that Cleanblend clearly understands. Simple and elegant this blender has a dial speed control that allows for infinite adjustments, an on/off switch, and a pulse button. Everything a professional chef needs.
- Comparatively low price
- Power to spare
- 64-ounce BPA free pitcher
- Stainless steel blades, bearings, and drivetrain
- 5-year warranty
- It comes with a tamper
- Makes hot soups and sauces
- Some users have reported blender doesn’t work as well with small batches
- Blades cannot be replaced separately; the whole pitcher must be purchased
- Noise levels can be extreme
Ninja Professional Blender
Buying the Ninja Professional Blender BL660 is for all practical purposes, like purchasing two blenders for one price. It comes with a 72-ounce blending jug and two 16-ounce Nutri Ninja cups giving you the option of using it as a personal blender or more traditional countertop unit.
Its split personality doesn’t end there. Besides the normal ninja blender blades, it comes with the six-bladed total crushing technology system that Ninja has become known for—giving you the option of ice crushing power or high-speed blending depending on what works best for the task at hand.
Of course, the BL660 comes with all of the features that have given Ninja blenders a reputation as some of the safest on the market. If the cup or jar is not positioned correctly, it won’t run. If the lid is not installed correctly, the blender will not operate. If everything isn’t properly positioned for safe operations, the blender’s power light will flash, and nothing else will happen.
Beyond your safety, Ninja also helps to assure long life itself by having a thermal disconnect that prevents the motor from being damaged by overheating and a radial cooling fan to keep all the mechanical parts cool even during extended blending sessions.
- Simple, intuitive controls
- 1,100-watt motor
- Comes with Pro-Extractor and Total Crushing Blades
- It comes with single-serve and large batch jars
- One of the safest blenders on the market
- 1-year limited warranty
- It sounds like a jet taking off
- Some users have complained of lid leaking when large batches are blended
Selecting a Blender for Frozen Drinks and Crushing Ice
There are many things you should consider before you even begin to look for a blender to handle ice and frozen ingredients. Knowing what you are looking for in the below eight areas can help you quickly eliminate many blenders from consideration and speed up your shopping process.
Having your requirements listed can also help you avoid getting caught up in the excitement of looking for a new toy and spending more than you needed to or settling for a machine that won’t meet your needs.
There are many different classes of blenders depending on what specific feature you are talking about, but the most commonly used categories are related to size and power.
Personal blenders are generally regarded as making single servings or having limited capacity best suited to use by one person. These would include blenders like the Magic Bullet, Nutribullet Pro, and Ninja Nutri Pro.
Many of these smaller, portable blenders are are capable of blending ice but not all. If a single serving blender is an ideal size for you, be sure it has at least a 1,000-watt motor and blades designed for crushing ice.
Countertop blenders are the most traditional-sized blenders that most people think of when they hear the word. Compared to personal blenders, these are larger-capacity blenders and are suited to most common culinary uses.
Many countertop blenders have very fancy features, including pre-programmed settings, while others are limited to variable speed control.
As with any blender for crushing ice, the main features you want to look for are a powerful motor, durable blades and drive system, and the best available warranty.
High performance is a catchall classification that can contain blenders of different types and sizes but is generally considered any blender built to exceptionally high quality, power, and performance standards. Most commercial blenders are regarded as high performance, as are all Vitamix blenders and the very top offerings from companies like Ninja Kitchen, Nutribullet, and Blendtec.
While high-performance blenders are higher-priced models, you will not likely ever be disappointed in how they perform. Unless just intentionally abused, it will deliver home kitchen service way beyond the exceptionally long warranty periods most of them come with.
What capacity blender will work best for you is a very personal decision that will be impacted by both your lifestyle and living arrangements.
If you are single and don’t entertain much, a smaller capacity personal blender might be your best option. Some of these have blender jar options large enough to be sufficient even for couples.
If you have a large family or love having guests in your home, you will probably want a larger countertop blender. These come with pitchers that can range in size up to Ninety ounces.
The drawback, of course, is that larger blenders take up more space, and if you want a model with the power to handle large volumes of ice, you are going to need a powerful blender.
A high-powered blender is going to be heavy and difficult to store. As nice as it is to have a large capacity blender with power to spare, if you have a smaller kitchen, a more compact blender might be better.
Few of us have the luxury of living a price is no object lifestyle. That being said, If you want a blender capable of crushing ice cubes into the snow and creating smooth frozen beverages, then you will need to be prepared to spend what a quality blender costs.
Some budget blenders on the market can handle the task, but they don’t fall into the cheap category.
Crushing ice is one of the most difficult jobs that a blender can ask. It places an extreme load on the drive mechanism, high impact forces of the blades, and requires a very powerful motor not to become bogged down or overloaded.
This means top-shelf materials and engineering. Neither of which comes with a low price tag.
The general concinnous is that a blender with a minimum of a 1,000-watt motor is needed for producing crushed ice. The keyword here is ‘minimum.’
Based on personal experience and extensive research, blenders at this power threshold should only be considered in the personal blender category. For compact countertop models, 1,200-watt to 1,500-watt motors should be considered entry points, and for full-sized blenders, 1,500 and above is where you start looking.
Lower powered blenders are capable of crushing ice and may perform satisfactorily for a period of time. However, They are not likely to last and should only be considered if backed by extensive warranties and companies with a sterling reputation for customer service.
Next to the motor, the blades of a blender have the greatest impact on how well they can crush ice. Some manufacturers like Hamilton Beach, with their patented “Ice Sabre Blades,” make specially designed blade assemblies just for this purpose.
Most better brands do not need such specialization. They are more than capable of blending frozen fruit and crushing ice without the need for a dedicated ice crush blade to produce a margarita or other frozen drinks.
Two things that should be remembered when looking at blender blades for crushing ice are that they should be stainless steel blades and shouldn’t be too sharp.
Despite the popular myth, ice doesn’t sharpen a blender’s blade. Ice is crushed by the impact. All that can be accomplished by putting ice in a blender that depends on sharp blades to work is shortening the life span of the blades and the blender.
Durability comes from a blender being made of the proper materials like having a tempered glass or shatterproof plastic jugs and stainless steel blades. But there is way more to it than that.
Durability has more to do with how it is engineered. If you want a blender that can stand up to the rigors of crushing ice and last a long time, then it should have a metal drivetrain with commercial-grade ball bearings.
Beyond that, it should have a radial cooling fan to keep the internal parts cool and in case else fails, the motor should have a thermal protection system like a fusible link to protect it from overheating and eventually burning up.
Ease Of Care
An often overlooked area that can make a blender either a pleasure to use or a nightmare to own is how easy it is to assemble, disassemble, and clean.
That is one reason many of us have beautiful appliances that rarely get used. Even if they function flawlessly and save tons of time, they are simply too big a hassle to deal with when it is time to clean up.
Blender parts are hard to line up or get to mesh properly, they have too many small parts that are a pain to keep up with, or they have little nooks and crannies that require hand scrubbing even after being run through the dishwasher.
Before purchasing a blender for crushing ice and making frozen drinks sift through the company’s website, look for exploded views and care instructions. These will often hold clues as to how simple or difficult a blender is to care for.
It might not be the best blender for you if it seems overly complicated.
The simple truth is that sometimes even the best companies let a bad part slip through their quality control process. That is why you always want to pay close attention to what a blender’s warranty does and doesn’t cover. If something does go wrong, you want to be sure your investment is protected.
A lesser-known reason for paying close attention to a blender’s warranty is that it provides a valuable clue as to the life expectancy of the blender. Companies spend a very large portion of their R&D budgets determining how long they can expect their machines to run without issues.
It may seem like an old joke, but there is a reason most of us have experienced something breaking a week after the warranty expired. Engineers are very good at what they do and can predict how long parts will last with uncanny accuracy.
The simple truth is that a better-built machine, assembled from superior parts, will almost always have a better warranty by a company with high quality-control standards.
Wrap Up of Best Blenders for Crushing Ice
Crushing ice and blending frozen fruit are two of the most challenging jobs you can ask of a blender. Performing requires a quality blender with plenty of power, a tough drivetrain, and sturdy blades that can handle high-impact forces.
These are not features that you will usually find in bargain-basement machines. There is no need to break the bank to get a quality machine that can perform quite well. All it takes is a little forethought before making your choice and careful shopping.
Of course, the greater your budget, the more blender you will be able to purchase. Perhaps the biggest takeaway we hope you have received from this article is that there is a blender to fit everyone’s needs, and your world will be much richer once you find yours.