Ninja Compact Kitchen System Blender (AMZ493BRN) Specifications
The Ninja AMZ493BRN might catch your eye with its sleek design and generous suite of accessories. However, there's unexpected downsides that could dampen your enthusiasm. Beyond its aesthetic charm and singular ability to crush ice with ease, the blender is an entire disappointment when faced with more complex tasks, especially ones that involve multiple ingredients.
Our testing was revealing. Although it didn't stumble significantly, it didn't excel either, delivering only a passable performance across the board. Even making tropical green smoothies was a stretch for this AMZ493BRN.
If your kitchen demands are centered around ice crushing or basic food processing, the AMZ493BRN could be a reasonable choice. However, if you are unwilling to part with over $200 in exchange for a one-trick ponies, we recommend considering other blender options. The Ninja AMZ493BRN is simply not worth the money.
Things We Like
- The blender's robust build promises a stable and reliable performance.
- It excels at crushing ice, making it an ideal choice for preparing chilled beverages.
- The provided set of accessories enhances the blender's versatility, allowing it to accommodate a wider range of tasks.
- The user-friendly control panel makes operation simple and straightforward.
Things We Don’t Like
- It struggles with even simple tasks like making green smoothies, frozen fruit smoothies, and nut butter.
- The containers are prone to scratches
Sporting a potent 1200 watt motor, the AMZ493BRN takes pride in being a progeny in the distinguished lineage of Ninja's high-powered blenders. With the prospect of versatility at its core, it invites you to imagine an experience where you could interchange roles between a smoothie maker, dough kneader, and a food processor with a simple push of a button. Accompanied by its suite of containers in varying sizes ( 72 oz, 40 oz , and 18 oz), the AMZ493BRN also promises a customizable convenience to cater a wider array of culinary needs.
But brace yourself, as the actual practicality awaits in the chaos of a real kitchen, not just on paper. Can the AMZ493BRN withstand the fast-paced demands of a busy lifestyle? Will it keep up with the rhythm of everyday recipes? Does its practicality truly align with its impressive aesthetics? We've dared to put it through a series of tests. The result? Stay with us as we unravel a surprising turn of events.
We challenged our Ninja AMZ493BRN with green smoothies brimming with tropical fruits and fibrous kale, frozen smoothies made with icy fruits, protein shakes packed with oats, raw nuts, and dried berries. We even undertook the delicate process of crushing ice and preparing butter from whole almonds. Although not being overly demanding, four out of the five tests received only an average score. Despite its reputation as a heavy-duty blender, the AMZ493BRN didn't bring much to the table. Its only standout performance was in its exceptional ability to crush ice.
In this test, the Ninja AMZ493BRN delivered a conflicting performance. While it excelled at liquifying soft-textured fruits, it struggled to break down the tougher cell walls of leafy veggies, specifically kale. After a total of four minutes of blending, the green was merely chopped, not liquified so our smoothie was nowhere near the desired smooth texture. (We made the decision to award points based on the three-minute mark, as the texture and consistency of the kale saw no significant improvement in the additional minute of blending.)
This failed performance stands in stark contrast when compared to its competitors. Take the NutriBullet as an example. Despite similar power ratings and lowered price tag, the NutriBullet outshined the Ninja AMZ493BRN in terms of both blending time and result quality. It successfully yielded almost perfect, silky smoothies within just a minute, sans any struggle.
The root cause of this gap can likely be traced back to the blade assembly of these blenders. Stacked blades of the Ninja AMZ493BRN are typically designed to create multiple blending zones which we believe only excel at chopping and seem to fail in generating a sufficient vortex.
6.3Frozen Fruit Smoothie
Starting on a positive note, the Ninja AMZ493BRN did manage to produce a fairly smooth result. Although it left behind a negligible amount of strawberry seeds and skin, this is a minor shortcoming prevalent among many blenders on the market, including the premium Vitamix 5200.
However, this result was not without drawbacks. In total, it took the blender a substantial 4 minutes to pass the test. This was three times slower than some of its competitors, like the Vitamix 5200 and the NutriBullet. As a matter of fact, when it comes to preparing frozen fruit smoothies, a longer blending duration didn’t equate to a better blend. On the contrary, it results in the fruit thawing more, which inadvertently dilutes the overall consistency.
We believed the primary cause of this prolonged process was related to the blender’s stackable blade. Due to the centrifugal force at play, the blade just directed food outward and upward, rather than towards its prongs. Unless you intervene to manually redistribute the food, as we did, there's a strong possibility that the fruit will be chopped rather than smoothly blended.
However, keep in mind that pushing food back towards the blades is not really simple. The bulky stacked blade assembly, spanning the entire height of the blender, compounds this issue by significantly restricting the space available for maneuvering a spatula.
For this test, we went for a wholesome mix of oats, dried blueberries, crunchy almonds, and creamy milk. Predictly, the Ninja AMZ493BRN continued its trend of delayed performance, taking a lengthy 4 minutes to fully blend the ingredients, almost double the average blending time.
However, contrasting with the previous two tests, the story wasn’t all doom and gloom this time around. The Ninja AMZ493BRN justified the prolonged wait by delivering an acceptable protein shake without the need for additional manual assistance. Even though tiny bits of almond and blueberry skin were left, they were minor enough not to detract from the shake's overall texture and flavor.
When we performed the task of making almond butter with the Ninja AMZ493BRN, we were somewhat prepared for the performance nuances we had previously experienced. However, we were still quite disheartened when the blender did indeed replicate some of the issues we faced during the frozen fruit smoothie test.
The initial phase of breaking down the almonds into smaller fragments was fairly quick, but as we progressed, the blade's centrifugal force just pushed these fragments to the jar's sides, leaving only those closest to the blades effectively emulsified.
After 5 minutes of blending — a considerable amount of time for this task — we were able to achieve a somewhat acceptable almond paste. However, this involved manually stirring the almonds with a spatula in an attempt to guide them back towards the blades.
Out of the five tests, this was where the Ninja AMZ493BRN flexed its muscles and set a remarkable standard for its competitors. With ease, it carved through 12-ounce hard ice cubes as easily as slicing through soft fruit, turning all of them into a light and fluffy texture in a remarkably short amount of time.
The uniformity of the crushed ice was even further impressive, with each piece nearly identical in size, indicating a precise and consistent blending process. The blender ensured that no large chunks escaped the blades and, importantly, there was no pool of water to suggest over-blending.
Although the Ninja AMZ493BRN occupies a moderate amount of countertop space, its height could present overhead limitations when it’s placed directly under kitchen cabinets. Despite showing minor wear over time, the blending container's functionality remains largely uncompromised. Key features such as automatic overload protection and non-slip feet are integrated for safety and stability, yet the absence of a suction feature slightly limits its secure placement on certain surfaces. Our tests confirm the blender’s consistent, prolonged performance, devoid of excessive vibrations or heat build-up.
In the Box
- Motor base
- 72-ounce blending container with lid (64 -ounce max liquid capacity)
- Chopping blade assembly
- Pro extractor blades assembly
- Stacked blade assembly
- Dough blade assembly
- 18-ounce single serve cup and spout lid
- 40-ounce processor bowl
- User manual
At 17.25 inches, the AMZ493BRN is taller than many of its counterparts. Given that the typical clearance between countertops and cabinets is 18 to 20 inches, this blender should fit in most kitchen setups. However, the need for additional overhead room for tasks such as lid removal or adding ingredients is noteworthy. While the blender's height may allow it to fit under most cabinets, performing these actions could be slightly inconvenient if the unit is placed directly under kitchen cabinetry.
Also, if your kitchen deviates from standard dimensions due to custom-built cabinets or a unique layout, there may be challenges in accommodating the blender's height. A more ideal spot for the blender could be an open space on a kitchen island or table.
The blender's precise engineering ensures a perfect fit between its motor, container, and lid.
The motor, with its sleek design, smooth edges, and flawless finishing, not only contributes to the blender's aesthetic appeal but also reflects the advanced technical specifications that form its backbone. Our hands-on testing has found it to consistently deliver prolonged performance without succumbing to excessive vibrations or heat build-up. The lid and blade assembly also mirror the reliability of the blender, boasting well-balanced design and quality materials that are equally commendable.
The blending container seems to not be as good quality, though. Just after a few uses, slight wear becomes visible, including minor scratches and a slight loss of its original sheen. While this doesn't compromise the blender's performance, it may be worth considering how the container's aesthetic appeal may be affected over time.
The Ninja AMZ493BRN comes with four different blade assemblies, three of which sport stackable designs, and one that follows a cross-configuration.
The blade assembly designed for the 72-ounce container features a six-prong design, with each sharp blade positioned at different heights along a central column. A similar configuration is employed for the 40-ounce container, albeit with a shorter assembly of four prongs. The dough blade assembly, on the other hand, features a three-prong structure, with each prong being intentionally dull for effective kneading or processing dough.
Completing the assortment is the cross blade assembly for the 18-ounce single-serve cup. It helps extend the versatility of your blender, turning it into a personal, compact unit, ideal for smaller servings of protein shakes or any other blends.
Quality-wise, these blade assemblies are remarkably robust. They indeed can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear. However, our testing has revealed a differing story when it comes to the overall efficiency. While three of the blade assemblies live up to expectations, the six-prong blade for the main, largest container leaves much to be desired.
The Ninja AMZ493BRN is powered by a 1200-watt motor. One of the noteworthy features of this motor is its intelligent recognition system, which can discern which container is affixed to the base, and subsequently, illuminates only the suitable functions on the control panel that correspond to the chosen container.
The motor base is also thoughtfully designed with safety mechanisms to ensure user safety and enhance the appliance's lifespan. They include an automatic overload protection. Should your blender be overheating, a thermal switch will be automatically activated for a temporary shutdown of the motor.
The operational stability of the Ninja AMZ493BRN is bolstered by four non-slip feet incorporated into the base. These feet significantly reduce unwanted movement, providing steady operation during use. However, the lack of a suction feature on these feet might limit the blender's stability on specific surfaces or during the process of attaching or removing the container.
The Ninja AMZ493BRN is designed as a 3-in-1 unit with three distinct containers. The largest container is ideal for large batch blending while the smallest one is perfect for single-serving batches. Meanwhile, the 40-ounce container is used for kneading or chopping.
Design-wise, all of the containers come with the same plastic quality. Plus, each is equipped with clear measuring indicators. These markings, strategically delineated in ounces, liters, and milliliters, ensure precise ingredient measurements for flawless recipe execution.
The lids of the AMZ493BRN are constructed from durable hard plastic. Each lid is meticulously designed to perfectly fit its corresponding container and is not intended for interchangeability. What sets these lids apart is their user-friendly locking mechanism, comprising a responsive release button and a convenient push-and-lock handle. This thoughtful design makes removing the lids a breeze. It also serves as a safety feature, ensuring that the containers will only operate when the lids are securely attached.
Furthermore, the lids are equipped with a practical pouring spout, which allows for controlled and mess-free pouring.
The AMZ493BRN’s control panel is a model of simplicity and intuitiveness, on which the buttons are labeled clearly and each set of function-related commands is grouped together logically.
We also appreciate the buttons’ responsiveness. Each press elicits a quick and reliable reaction, which offers us a satisfying sense of control over the blending process.
Extra Accessory: No
The Ninja AMZ493BRN comes with less-than-convenient usability. Blending wasn't as effortless as we'd expected; we had to frequently halt to stir or scrape ingredients for even blending. Cleaning was mostly easy with dishwasher-safe components, but the blade assembly required extra care. Also, the 'coupling' in the blade assembly, trapping food particles, demanded a detailed scrubbing.
6.0Ease of Blend
As everyday users, we find it profoundly enjoyable to operate a blender that intuitively fulfills our needs. The mild hum of a powerful motor and the efficient rotation of blades that blend to perfection without our intervention give us a sense of satisfaction.
However, our experience with the Ninja AMZ493BRN was far from this ideal. Its operation turned our culinary endeavors into a series of inconvenience rather than a joyous exploration. Our blending process was characterized by frequent interruptions and unexpected hurdles.
Quite often, we were compelled to halt the blending, remove the lid, and manually stir or scrape the ingredients that had migrated to the sides or were simply missed by the blades. This also meant that you could not just set the blender to work and walk away—a luxury that you might expect in modern kitchen appliances. The blender demands your undivided attention, or you would return to find our ingredients still in a chopped, inconsistent state rather than the smooth blend you’re after. Not to mention the frustrations caused by the blade assembly while you’re guiding the stray ingredients back towards the blades.
Moreover, the blade assembly of the Ninja AMZ493BRN doesn't lock in place. To pour your mixture, you must remove it beforehand or it will slip out and dive into your dish. But the adventure doesn't end there! Another challenge presents itself: finding a place to rest the blade. Clearly, a blade coated with food can't be placed directly onto a clean countertop.
To measure the noise level of the AMZ493BRN, we conducted tests using ice cubes and water as ingredients to simulate the process of making frozen smoothies.
Consistently, our measurements indicated that the Ninja AMZ493BRN blender produces an average noise level of approximately 98.6 dB. If you primarily use the blender in a well-insulated kitchen or an area where noise is not a major concern, this noise level may be less of an issue for you. Furthermore, while this is a relatively high sound output, the pitch of the blender's noise is not excessively harsh or grating, which helps to make the overall experience more bearable.
The process of connecting the container to the motor base and securing the lid is quite intuitive, thanks to the clear symbols on the components. Even though it might require a learning curve, a little practice will soon make you fluent.
But remember, the blade assembly can operate even when it's not correctly hooked up to the lid. With no warnings or audible signposts to signal proper placement, it's up to you to carefully inspect and ensure its correct installation before you begin blending. We once experienced an issue with the improper blade assembly on the Ninja BN701— the predecessor of this AMZ493BRN. As a result of the misalignment, the lid was permanently damaged.
When it comes to disassembly, the lack of stability caused by the inadequate suction provided by the feet on the base becomes an issue. This instability increases the likelihood of slipping, requiring a firm grip on the base with one hand while using the other to t remove the container. The situation is further complicated by the torque resistance of the locking mechanisms when you twist the container. As the weight of the container increases or for those with smaller hands, this resistance becomes even more noticeable.
Most of the Ninja AMZ493BRN's components make cleaning a breeze as they are entirely safe for placement in the top rack of a dishwasher. The motor base of the blender, while not dishwasher safe, is very easy to clean owing to its smooth surface. A swift wipe down is usually sufficient to keep it spotless and ready for the next use.
When it comes to hand cleaning, however, your experience could become slightly nuanced as the blade assembly requires a more mindful approach due to its sharpness and intricate design. Careful handling is necessary to avoid accidental injuries during cleaning, and the use of protective gloves is recommended.
Another subtle challenge is the small cavity in the blade assembly known as a 'coupling'. Designed to allow a relaxed fit of the blade onto the drive gear, it becomes a catchment for food particles. Thoroughly removing them may involve scrubbing with a clean brush, rather than just a mere rinse under tap water.
About your guide
Tina Pham is a staff writer and reviewer, with five years of experience in the industry. As a passionate amateur home cook, she loves to discover practical cooking solutions, and has made it her mission to bring her findings to every kitchen. Her ultimate goal is making cooking more of a pleasure for all.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.