Looking to bulk up? Combined with the right exercise regimen, protein shakes are the perfect way to do just that. But to make a truly great protein shake, you need the right blender.
The good news is that you don’t really need to spend a great deal of time agonizing over features or functionality. Any blender powerful enough to make a decent smoothie will suit your purposes just fine. That said, there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration.
While you certainly can blend protein shakes in a massive commercial rig, that doesn’t mean you should. Small, relatively inexpensive personal blenders are the ideal choice, since many of them include cup attachments that allow you to start drinking your shake the moment you’re finished blending it. Of course, if you already do have a standard countertop blender, you should just use that – there’s no need to buy another one just for protein shakes.
The Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender (affiliate link)is a great example of what kind of lightweight, portable, and (most importantly) affordable model you should be looking for. Its 14 ounce, BPA-free blending jar doubles as a travel cup, its 175-watt motor works like a charm for blending up soft shakes, and at $14.96 (as of 1/20/2016), the price is a steal.
As you should expect at that price, the motor isn’t terribly powerful, and it definitely isn’t made for long blending times or crushed ice. It can, however, crush frozen fruit, which is what we would recommend using in place of ice.
A blender doesn’t need to be a powerhouse in order to mix up a protein shake. Anything higher than 200 watts should work just fine, assuming the design puts that power to use effectively. Now, the one caveat to that rule is if you want crushed ice in your drinks. That’ll require something a little more powerful – typically in the 800 watt range, since smaller blenders simply won’t have the necessary power.
The Magic Bullet NutriBullet Pro 900 Series(affiliate link) is a great choice if you simply can’t have a protein shake without some crushed ice. Equipped with a 900-watt motor, its powerful blades can blend most things you would expect for home use, and portable blender cups make it easy to take your drinks to the gym. Unfortunately, extensive use (more than two smoothies a day) may result in blade failure or leakage, requiring replacement.
The NutriBullet costs $127.50 (as of 1/20/2016).
If you want to bring a shake along with you to the gym, you’ll want to focus on blenders that come with cups. Beyond that, there aren’t really any blender accessories you need to keep an eye out for. Cookbooks can occasionally contain some tips to help you enrich your shakes, but that’s about it.
The Cuisinart CPB-300 Portable Blender (affiliate link) is the gold standard here, with an electronic touchpad that’s both sleek and easy to use, and a 350-watt motor that’s great for mixing up the perfect workout drink. It’s also portable, and the cup accessories let you bring your smoothies with you wherever you need to go. While it works on ice, it needs plenty of fluid, and it doesn’t crush large chunks of ice very well. It may have some trouble with larger chunks frozen fruit as well. It’s currently available for $61.00 (as of 1/20/2016).