Product Review: Ninja Professional Blender
Don’tcha just love to blend?
I don’t know about for you, but for me, blending is cathartic. It lets me get out my pent up anger on innocent pieces of fruit and vegetables. A few pulses, a swirl of the blades, and even the most frozen of items can be turned into liquid deliciousness. I love to blend so much that I wrote an ode to green drinks on my non-cooking blog last month.
A few weeks ago, I dropped the glass jar of my trusty red Black & Decker blender, and had a dilemma on my very messy hands. Initially, I thought I’d just replace the broken glass jar and go on about my day. But, replacement jars cost almost as much as a new standard blender, and, once you add on shipping, they can be more.
Ironically (or perhaps coincidentally), 2Chili had been on my case to buy a heavier-duty blender because he felt I blended enough to warrant something beefier. Translation: he was annoyed by the length of time he was required to listen to smoothie blending during football games or other important entertainment. He had a fair point.
After quite a bit of research online, I could not find a blender on Amazon.com, my preferred shopping destination, that met the “looks good” and “gets good reviews” qualifications I had in mind. As much as I would have liked to get a Vita-Mix, I couldn’t pull the trigger on a $500 blender. So, we got in the car and headed to Target one night to see if perhaps there was something there that at least fit the “looks good” category.
We came home with something called the Ninja Professional Blender. It was the only one they had, and, we came this close to not getting it because we couldn’t figure out how to get the blasted thing off its base in the store. Turns out the floor model was glued together. Jeesh.
So, is it all ninja-like and stuff?
Well, I have never met a ninja, but I imagine if ninjas could blend, they would blend at least this well. I have given it some fairly decent challenges, like frozen cubed pumpkin, and lots of ice, and it blends them up like nobody’s business. It has some cons, though, which I’ll get into below. For the record, removing the jar from its base just requires a very simple twist.
- Very powerful. It has a 1000 watt motor. For the price (roughly $99 not on sale), that is pretty amazing.
- High volume. At 72-ounces, the pitcher can hold a lot of whatever it is you are blending.
- Locking lid. The lid locks down, and you can’t run the motor without the lid locked. This is good from a safety perspective, but also from a “no splattering” perspective. How many times have you had the blender lid blow off and its splatter everywhere when blending up a pretty full jar of goodness? I am not embarrassed to admit that happened to me quite a bit in the past. No longer. The lid locks down and doesn’t budge until you release it with a “release” button.
- Nifty pour spout. You can blend up your favorite smoothie and pour it out neatly, without worrying about that landslide of smoothie that could come flying out at any minute if you’re not careful. This is a nice touch!
- Blends pretty much anything in no time. I would say my blending time has been cut at least in half, if not by 75%. Because there are three blades that rise into the blender, instead of just one at the base of the jar, there is less of a worry about getting the delicate balance of liquid-to-solids down just right. Put in your ingredients, and either pulse to combine, or blend at a speed of “1,” “2” or “3,” and the machine takes care of everything. I can blend things into an ice cream consistency now because the machine will blend with a lot less liquid.
- The blades are removable. No more scraping at the bottom of the blender jar to get out that last bit of whatever you’ve blended – just release the lid and pull out the blades, and you can easily remove all the mixture.
- Easy to clean. I was initially leary about putting the jar into the dishwasher, even though the instruction manual says it’s dishwasher safe. But, after a few times of cleaning it with the other method listed — putting a drop of detergent into the jar, with the blades in tact, fill with water to the 3/4 line, and blend for 20 seconds — I decided to try out the dishwasher. And, I can confidently report, it is perfectly dishwasher safe. After about 10 dishwasher cycles, it still looks brand new. No fogging, which is what I was worried about. I think this plastic must be very heavy duty, unlike the plastic on my food processor jar!
- It is tall. The assembled blender just barely fits under our upper cabinets. I have to be really careful sliding it under the cabinets, as the “release” button on the lid protrudes a bit and can get caught on the face frame of the cabinet. Also, it can be awkward to fill using the water spout in your fridge (if you have such a thing, as we do).
- The blades are removable. Yes, I know that was also a “pro.” The thing is, if you’re not careful and leave the blades lying around, they can do serious damage to human flesh. Just ask 2Chili. He managed to cut his hand the very first night we had the blender. After that, I started either cleaning the blender immediately, or, if I put it in the sink, I made sure to store the blades in the blender jar.
- The jar is plastic. I really, really didn’t want a plastic jar, as we all know what happens to plastic over time. It gets foggy and scratched. But, I did break a glass jar, so I guess there is no really perfect solution here. Just be careful when removing the blades, because if you touch them to the jar, well, the jar scratches.
As time has gone by and this page has seen more and more traffic, I have seen a few trends what is driving folks to the review, so I thought it was worth updating the page.
- Blender Won’t Start. I seem to get quite a few visits from folks having troubles getting the Ninja to start. If your power button is blinking red and your blender won’t start, the most likely culprit here is that the lid is not locked. Be sure the lid is locked down and clicked into place, and that will probably fix your issue. If it doesn’t, you should contact the Ninja Support folks.
- Can’t Remove the Lid. A second driver of traffic to this page is not being able to remove the lid. I have found that if you wash the Ninja jar in the dishwasher and then put the lid in place when it’s still slightly damp, a suction cup effect forms. You then have to pull very, very hard to remove the lid. I recommend pulling the jar off its base and putting it on the counter so you can get a little more leverage when pulling off the lid.
I found it amusing that product description for this blender states that “it’s a socially positive appliance that can bring joy to all.” I doubt it will really help you in social situations unless you are a margarita-blending maniac or you regularly hang out with the crew from Jamba Juice. But, it does blend and it blends well. If you are looking for a heavy-duty blender with a low-duty price, you might want to check this one out. I have never used a Vita-Mix, so I can’t compare this “professional blender” with the gold standard for blenders. For my very pedestrian purposes, it works great!
If you enjoyed this review and decide to purchase this blender, purchasing from Amazon via this link – Ninja Professional Blender – helps support Test Kitchen Tuesday by providing a small referral fee from Amazon. Thanks for stopping by!