If you usually start your day with a smoothie or protein drink and you want to continue the habit when you're away from home – camping, staying in a holiday house or in the office – a portable blender could be the answer.
Compact enough to fit in your bag or backpack, these battery-powered blenders mean you can whizz up a shake or smoothie even when you're away from your trusty benchtop blender.
With a recommended retail price of $99.99, the Ninja Blast is pricier than other portable blenders from the likes of Kmart, Aldi, Temu and well-known brands such as Nutribullet (Aldi is spruiking its $24.99 Aldi Ambiano portable blender as a Special Buy on Saturday 20 January). But this Ninja portable blender makes big promises with its 'stainless steel BlastBlade designed to effortlessly power through ingredients with speed and precision'.
Taking the Ninja Blast on a real-life road test
When the school holidays rolled around this year and I found myself road tripping with my vegetable-averse 3-year-old and my smoothie-loving 7-year-old, taking along a portable blender seemed like an ingenious idea. I could blend up nutritious fresh smoothies for my kids on the go without taking up too much boot space. (Top tip: they can't taste the spinach when you load up the mango and banana.)
Plus, it was a great opportunity to put this much-hyped blender to the test.
Here's what I found.
- Powered by a lithium-ion battery you recharge via a USB-C cable and port.
- A BPA-free, dishwasher-safe container with a sippy lid. It can hold up to 470mL of liquid ingredients.
- A rechargeable, water-resistant base with stainless steel blades.
- Separate on/off power switch and blend buttons.
- The power switch lights up to tell you when the battery is charged, when it's ready to blend, if the blades are blocked or when it's running out of power.
- The blend button allows you to pulse or run a 30-second blend cycle which you can repeat to achieve your desired results.
- It weighs 780g with dimensions of 9.5cm x 10cm x 25.5cm (LxWxH)
- Available in six colours (we had Denim Blue).
- One-year warranty.
The Ninja Blast coped well with blending fresh and frozen fruits.
While on holidays, our go-to ingredients for morning smoothies were bananas, whatever leftover berries or fruit we had from the previous day's snacking and coconut water or milk.
The Ninja Blast made light work of these smooth ingredients, and just two or three 30-second blitzes made for smooth fruit blends the kids loved (no need for shaking or stirring of ingredients). I was impressed with the performance of such a compact unit, and it wasn't anywhere near as noisy as our full-size blender at home. It also easily coped with chunks of frozen mango – a win all round.
But a few problems arose when I added ice cubes and fibrous vegetables such as kale into the mix. The blender instructions specify to add liquid ingredients first and this is vital with such a small surface area across the base of the blender, to prevent ingredients getting lodged under the blades and causing them to stick.
The first time I attempted to blend roughly chopped kale with banana, coconut water and ice, the blades became stuck
The first time I attempted to blend roughly chopped kale with banana, coconut water and ice, the blades became stuck, even though I added the liquid ingredients first, and I had to shake it multiple times to dislodge the blockage.
After 3–4 more 30-second blasts, I was able to get a relatively smooth green smoothie (although there were definitely still bits, a few more blitzes may sort that out). Loose spinach leaves might be a better option if you want to pack some greens into your smoothie and retain a smooth texture.
When you consider that even some full-sized blenders struggle with blending kale and ice, this is a pretty good result for such a small, battery powered unit.
Portable blenders are not complicated appliances, and this one is no exception. You just charge, add ingredients and push a button to blend.
It took about two hours to fully charge, and lasted for 10–12 rounds of 30-second blends – which was much more than I'd expected of such a small appliance.
A small annoyance is that the USB-C charging cable provided with this blender is quite short (about 40cm) and you'll need your own USB wall socket or charger. You could of course use a longer USB-C cable to charge, or plug the base into a laptop or other charging device.
The blender container's sippy-style spout with a non-spill lid makes it easy to drink from, and made for mess-free pouring when distributing smoothies between cups.
It also has a carry handle for when you're out and about, and it's very easy to clean (the base rinses easily and you can pop the cup into the dishwasher).
The Ninja Blast was a welcome passenger on our road trip.
Smoothies on the go
A key advantage that portable blenders have over mains-powered personal blenders is that you can take them with you and blitz up a smoothie when you're ready to drink it, rather than drinking a beverage that was blended hours ago and may have separated or oxidised.
You can't separate the rechargeable base from the container, though, so you'll need to take the whole unit with you. I think it's slightly too heavy to pop in your backpack if you have to carry it over a long distance, but it does fit in the cup holder of my car so it's useful if you want to whip up a fresh smoothie on a car trip.
What else can you use it for?
As well as smoothies, frappes, shakes and protein drinks, the blender is a great mini size that makes it suitable for making smaller quantities of things such as salad dressings, sauces or dips. (It's not suitable for blending hot ingredients, though.)
I don't own a mini blender, so I could see myself using it at home as well as while travelling.
The blender is designed so you can drink straight from the cup after blitzing (rather than detaching the drinking vessel).
Compact, easy to use and transport, and suitable for blending a variety of ingredients (but less effective at blending ice and fibrous greens such as kale), the Ninja Blast blender earned its stripes on our family holiday.
It made preparing nutritious smoothies for the family while on the go or staying in accommodation easy and gave consistent results. I would definitely take it away on holiday with us again, and I can also see myself using it at home to whizz up salad dressings and dips.
I think its capabilities and portability justify the price tag.
While we haven't extensively reviewed battery-powered portable blenders in our CHOICE kitchen lab, we have tested single-serve personal blenders that are mains powered, and stick blenders, which are other space-saving options for making smoothies, shakes and sauces.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.