Welcome to Skimm Tested, where we put products to the test and then give them a report card. (Check out all of our tried-and-tested faves here.)
To see if the new Nutribullet Ultra ($149.99), a personal-sized blender, could whip up my daily smoothies faster and more thoroughly than my years-old, single-serve blender can.
What I tested…
Launched in September, the Nutribullet Ultra ($149.99) is the brand’s newest personal blender model. It has 1200 watts of power — double the power of the OG Nutribullet personal blender — along with a stronger blade and quieter motor, according to the brand.
Straight A’s in…
Effectiveness. Put simply, this blender works leagues better than my old one. Previously, I would have to whip up my smoothies in batches — first blend up the softer, fresh ingredients, then add the frozen ones. With the Ultra, I stuffed everything in at once, including tougher-to-blend ingredients like ice, frozen fruit, and chia seeds, and the blade was powerful enough to blend it all together smoothly. No chunks of frozen fruit or globs of protein powder detected. I noticed some lumpiness with a date smoothie, but I think that’s evidence less against the blender and more against the ingredient itself. (Are fridge-cold dates ever not a little lumpy?)
Noise level. I’m pretty sensitive to loud noises. No blender will ever be truly quiet, but the Ultra is still noticeably quieter than my old blender. I don’t absolutely need to pop in my noise-canceling earbuds every time I run it, a requirement when using my previous blender.
Ease of use. I’m a less-is-more kind of person when it comes to gadgets, so I appreciate that this blender is free of distracting (read: frustrating) bells and whistles. You just pop the blade and cup into the base and it runs automatically. If you choose the automatic setting, it’ll use intuitive technology to stop running as soon as your concoction is fully blended. You can also opt for the “pulse circle” if you prefer to blend manually. Both options are programmed into sleek-looking, illuminated touch screen buttons.
Design. All components of the blender are thoughtfully designed for good performance. The blade has some weight to it, so it spins and locks onto the cups in a cinch — but it never gets stuck on the cups. This may be a weird thing to say, but I get some ASMR-inflected satisfaction out of how smoothly the blade and cup click onto the base. The base has super-strong suctions on the bottom so it won’t jiggle around on your countertop if you use the blender hands-free. And the overall design is sleek, so it doesn’t take up much space on my countertop or aesthetically interfere with my kitchen (and I keep it out all the time, since I use it almost daily).
Room for growth…
Cup sizes. For a personal blender, I found the two included cup sizes to be slightly too large and I never use the handled cup. I wish it came with one of the smaller cup sizes, either 18 or 20 ounces, which you can buy separately. That said, the largest size works well for making two smoothie batches at once, either to share with someone else or to store in the fridge for later. The to-go lids come in handy for storage.
Smell. I noticed a subtle burning rubber smell the first few times I used the blender, but customer support confirmed that this was normal. (Their answer: “this is entirely normal since there is excess factory lubrication in the motor and blade.”) True to customer support’s feedback, the smell disappeared after about 10 uses.
Extra features. This blender is noticeably lacking the functionalities you might find in a full-sized blender, like different food settings, a timer, and speed settings. I personally prefer a blender with fewer settings, particularly because I use mine for smoothies 99% of the time. This might be a drawback for people who regularly use their blender for dishes that require more finesse or utilize different temperatures, like soups, or as a food processor.
Works best for…
Those who live alone or with one other person. This is a fast, efficient tool for making blended dishes for up to two people at a time.
People with minimal available space. The blade is a little bigger than usual, but the base and cups are both relatively small, so they won’t take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter or in your cabinets.
Gets extra credit for…
Nutribullet has a good amount of blender-friendly recipes for smoothies, soups, dressing, purees, and more on their website and in the pamphlet that comes with the order. All the recipes are simple, fun (I see you, astrology-themed cocktails), and account for different dietary restrictions and preferences.
I’m vouching for the Nutribullet Ultra here, but keep in mind that Nutribullet offers six different personal blender models with varying degrees of wattage and functionalities. Prices range from $69.99 for the original Nutribullet up to $179.99 for the Nutribullet Rx Cooking Blender.
How I did my homework…
I tested the Nutribullet Ultra for a month, comparing its performance with the personal blender I’ve been using for about three years. I used it almost daily to make smoothies and dressings with ingredients with different temperatures and textures to determine how thoroughly the blender broke everything down and incorporated them together. I cleaned the cups and blade both by hand and in the dishwasher to evaluate the upkeep process.
Nutribullet Ultra, $149.99
The order includes the base, blade, a 32-ounce cup, a 24-ounce cup, a 24-ounce cup with a handle, and to-go lids
The order also comes with a physical recipe book, user guide, and warranty, or you can download all of them from the Nutribullet website
The cups, lids, and blade are dishwasher-safe
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