Product Review: Ninja Professional Blender

26 11 2010

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.

DSC_0825 DSC_0824

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.

Pros:

  • 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!

Cons:

  • 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.

The Verdict:

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!

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11 responses

27 11 2010
Edward - If You Can Read, You Can Cook

Very interesting. Considering how loud blenders are in general and how quiet ninjas are supposed to be, I guess the question to ask is “how loud is it?”
I love the fact that this has removable blades; my old $20 blender had that and my new $20 blender doesn’t. Having the blades fixed is a real pain in the butt.
I’m not a big fan of safety lids. I’ve never had a blender lid explosion accident, and my mini food processor gives me fits because of it’s locking lid which only locks in one direction but latches in two directions. I spend half my time with that thing trying to figure out why it won’t run.

27 11 2010
Angela

Hmm, that is a good question. I would say the motor is definitely quiter than the average blender. But, if you’re chopping up something really hard, such as frozen pumpkin or lots of ice, you get a good deal of vibration of the contents against the plastic jar for a few seconds until it starts to really blend it, which is pretty loud. I think that could really be improved with a glass jar. I like the locking lid – I had a history of not holding the lid down tight enough on high-volume blending items. It is pretty easy to lock and release. There is a part that flips up when it is released, and you simply press it down to lock it. I have one of those same types of food processors, in which I do not like the locking mechanism, but this one is very easy to know when it is or isn’t locked. The biggest thing that swings me over to liking this blender is really how easily, quickly, and thoroughly it blends. I can blend a typical smoothie with frozen fruit and ice in less than 20 seconds…

30 12 2010
Rene

I am interested in buying one, mostly for juicing purposes. How does the Ninja juice? Do you have to add a lot of water?
Thanks.

31 12 2010
Angela

Hi Rene,
I haven’t used it for straight up juicing yet – that is a good idea! I’ll try it and amend this review in the next week or so. Personally, I think the ninja’s strength is more around thicker items like smoothies and ice crushing. I have used it for making various veggie purees for baking, such as sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, applesauce, etc. For pureeing, you have to add less water than a traditional blender, but, you do still have to add water. If you mostly want juicing, you might better off with a traditional juicer, IMO. But, if you want something that is pretty diverse, this probably could work for you if you are willing to do some trial and error. What is a typical juice you would want to make? I can give it a shot for you and report back! I love a new experiment…

31 12 2010
Rene

Sounds like a great machine. For juicing I was thinking of just regular veggies. Carrots, peppers, tomatoes, apples, oranges, ginger. Nothing too crazy. I know that some higher end blenders claim they can juice but it just ends up in a thick mess. People have been saying the Montel Williams Health Master blender doesn’t do the greatest job juicing,j which it claims to do, and it seems similiar to the Ninja. Thanks for the reply and look forward to hearing how the Ninja does with juicing.

31 12 2010
Angela

Ooh, I’m excited to try this out! I’ll do some sort of juice test with a couple different ingredients this week and write a post about it. Thanks for the comment and the inspiration for a new test!

4 01 2011
Angela

Hi Rene,

Here is the result of the juicing experiment: http://testkitchentuesday.com/2011/01/04/getting-juiced-how-to-make-juice-with-a-ninja-blender/

I’m surprised at how well it did, but if you’re a daily juicer, I would still probably recommend a dedicated juicer machine. But if you want something that is more multipurpose, it is possible to juice with the Ninja, as long as you are willing to manually strain the pulp with a sieve.

Good luck!

8 01 2011
ceseme

I can’t get the lid off. I push the release button and pull the handle upward, but the lid stays firmly in place. What am I doing wrong?

8 01 2011
Angela

Hmm, that is not a problem I have had. The lid can be sticky sometimes if you put it on right out of the dishwasher when it is a little damp around the edges. I have found that doing this makes it kind of like a suction cup and you really have to pull. Best advise I can offer is to pull really hard if it is sticking. You might need to take it off its base to get enough leverage if it is really stuck, since it is so tall. Otherwise, if that doesn’t work, you might want to call Ninja directly – it shouldn’t be impossible to remove!

13 04 2011
Chandana

Hi there Angela, just got to this site 🙂 .. and have saved it :).
Do you still like your blender? Is it still functioning as efficiently? Would you still recommend it?

13 04 2011
Angela

Hi Chandana!

Yes, I love the blender. It’s awesome – I think it is my most favorite kitchen item ever. I have a few scratches in the jar now because it is plastic, but otherwise, it is still working great, and I use it almost every day (much to Dan’s chagrin). 🙂

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