Whether you’re on a camping trip, a business trip, or a simple barbecue, a battery-operated blender is a must if you don’t want to sacrifice your cocktails or morning smoothies. Typically compact, lightweight, and impact resistant, battery-operated units are designed to be used outdoors and on the road. Their portability comes at a cost, however, as most battery-operated units don’t have as much power under the hood as a comparable countertop model.
When purchasing a battery-operated blender, consider the following.
Weight and size
How much are you planning to travel with your blender? If you’re just using it at a barbeque or on a brief camping trip, how much space it takes up probably doesn’t matter too much. If you plan to pack it into a suitcase for a road trip or long flight, however, you’re not going to want a 20 or 30 pound monster in your luggage.
The Margaritaville Cordless Blender(affiliate link) is one example of a battery-operated device that you probably aren’t going to be taking on any long trips. It’s a bit of a behemoth, weighing in at 18 pounds and measuring around 15 by 10 by 21 inches (though it’s still more compact than the average countertop model). The trade-off, of course, is that it’s one of the most powerful battery-operated blenders on the market, capable of making both slushies and regular cocktails with ease.
The trouble with this blender is that 18-volt battery pack, though packing a hefty charge, doesn’t always last as long as the manufacturer claims – in some cases, it might die after one or two batches. That said, the blender’s blades and presets work magnificently, even if the device is a bit loud.
How long can you operate the blender for? How many drinks can your blender make on a single charge? Shoot for something upwards of 20 minutes or sixty drinks – but be sure you read the reviews. As we’ve already demonstrated, manufacturers can sometimes exaggerate or over-estimate the longevity of their batteries.
As with a standard blender purchase, you need to give some thought to what you’ll be using this appliance for. Are you planning to attend a lot of parties? A larger, countertop-style blender is definitely more your speed. Do you just need something to prepare smoothies in the morning? In that case, you’ll want to go with a personal or immersion blender.
The Cuisinart CSB-78(affiliate link) retails at $79.95 (as of 1/20/2016), placing it towards the upper end of mid-range. Although not quite a powerhouse, it nevertheless works well for pureeing soups and making smoothies, though admittedly it struggles with large quantities of nuts or frozen foods. The cordless design makes it useful both on the road and in the kitchen.
The CSB-78’s one weakness is that its battery doesn’t retain a charge for particularly long – 20 minutes from full.
If immersion blenders aren’t quite your speed, something like the LaCuisine Tornado (affiliate link) also works quite well. Powered by disposable batteries, the tornado’s well-suited for smoothies and cocktails, but generally incapable of shaving ice or blending harder materials. In other words, it’s the perfect companion for the gym if you’re looking to blend a protein shake after a hard workout, or on a long trip if you need something for breakfast.
The greatest weaknesses of the Tornado is the fact that it ships with poorly-written instructions and the plastic lid is a bit brittle. Aside from those quirks, however, it’s an excellent little device, retailing from $29.99 (as of 1/20/2016).
Does the blender use a rechargeable battery, or disposable batteries? Models that use the latter generally don’t last as long, but batteries are easily replaced and it’s possible to carry several spares.
Accessories, materials, and attachments
Useful accessories (aside from all the standard blender attachments) include extra battery packs, travel mugs, and spare blades. Whatever extra parts your blender might have, you’ll want to ensure that any metallic components – blades included – are made of stainless steel. Anything else is prone to suffer from rust, particularly on long trips where cleaning might not be immediately available.
Whether for tailgating parties, drinks on the beach, or business trips, battery-operated blenders are a godsend if you’re looking to mix a few drinks outside of the kitchen. The best models are easy to use, power-efficient, and easy to transport. Of course, there are plenty of duds, too – appliances that seem incapable of even crushing fruit and others whose battery drains like a sieve.
It’s important that you do your research so you wind up with the former, not the latter. Where possible, go with a trusted brand, pay attention to battery life, keep weight and size in mind, and – most importantly – read as many reviews as you can find.