The Best Ice Blenders

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Blenders chop, mix, puree and crush food, coffee beans and often, ice. In fact, many home cooks rely heavily on their blenders to crush ice for smoothies, margaritas and other drinks and desserts. Blenders that are used to crush ice should be workhorses, with a powerful motor and sturdy but easy-to use design. Most important, they should work just as well two years later as they did the first time.

KitchenAid KSB560

  • The KitchenAid KSB560 is rated as a top blender by Consumer Search, Chow and Cook's Illustrated. Not only is this blender extremely easy on the budget (at a price of around $100), but it also consistently crushes ice very well. In fact, Consumer Search reports that it performed much better in tests than other blenders twice the price. The design of the pitcher, which is shaped like a teardrop, makes it easy to handle and pour liquids without spilling. The jug, which is made of polycarbonate, is lighter than glass. The blender has an "ice crushing" button, comes in 10 colors and is dishwasher-safe. The blades are attached to the jug, so the entire unit goes in the dishwasher together.

Breville Ikon Die-Cast Blender

  • Popular Mechanics ranks this blender tops in crushing ice. This strong unit has 750 watts of power and a special "ice crushing" mode, which will turn large cubes of ice into smooth slush in about 60 seconds. The stainless-steel design looks equally beautiful in modern and traditional kitchens, and the price, around $200, is not too hard on the wallet.

Oster Classic Beehive Blender

  • This budget-friendly blender was the top-rated of 28 blenders by Good Housekeeping. The blender makes "near flawless" smoothies and frozen drinks, and it is extremely easy to use. The price (around $80) more than makes up for two small flaws: it is somewhat noisy and does not have an automatic pulse feature.

Vita-Mix 5200

  • This extremely powerful blender will turn ice into "snow" in a matter of seconds, according to Consumer Search. At a price of around $500, you would expect it to do other things just as well -- and it does. The motor is powerful enough to chop up an apple core and all, and spins the blades so fast it generates enough heat to make hot soup. Use it to grind grains into flour, coffee beans, and cheese fondues without worry. This blender is extremely durable and has a long, seven-year warranty.

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