Our Full Size Blender TestProtein Shake

Tina Pham
Lap Vo
Test Lead
Nguyen Ntk
Visual Specialist

While smoothies were traditionally the most common use for blenders, today, most people also associate these appliances with their ability to make protein shakes as the demand for fitness and healthy lifestyles continues to rise. So where do you start if you're considering buying a blender specifically for pre- or post-workouts? We can understand if it feels a bit daunting, with all the styles, technology, specifications and other things to consider. Accordingly, this test has been developed as a guide to aid in your decision-making.

Nine full-sized blenders sit on a table surrounded by four bowls containing testing ingredients (almonds, oatmeal, dried berries, and milk) and a container of protein powder.
The Protein Shake Test

Why the Protein Shake Test Matters

The use of blenders has expanded beyond traditional blending needs so the decision to include protein shake in our test was not based solely on its popularity, but rather, it’s proved to be a critical consideration for many consumers when purchasing a blender.

Our protein shake recipe includes oatmeal, protein powder, dried blueberries, almonds, and plain milk. We intentionally chose raw nuts and hydrated ingredients instead of fresh or root products, as they are denser and tougher to blend, thus allowing us to more accurately evaluate and distinguish between blender performance. Not to mention that oatmeal is quite difficult to liquify due to its irregular shape and combination of soluble and insoluble fibers, which can clump together and resist blending.

Through this test, you will have a better understanding on how long it takes each blender to create a batch of protein shake. You can also assess the smoothness of the resulting drink and evaluate the blender’s ease of use for this specific task. 

Testing Recipe: 2 Servings 

  • 12 tbsp protein powder  
  • 1.5 oz oatmeal  
  • 2 oz almonds  
  • 1 oz dried blueberries 
  • 2 cup whole milk

Testing Procedure

First, we add all the ingredients into the blender's container in a specific order: almonds, dried berries, oatmeal, protein powder, and milk. Following this, we blend them at the blender’s highest speed setting for one minute, and then strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to check its consistency. 

If all the oatmeal is entirely liquified, the test is complete. Otherwise, we will continue blending for an additional 20-60 seconds, depending on the amount of remaining solid chunks, and then check the texture again. This process is repeated until we achieve the desired consistency or determine that the blender cannot make further improvements. Pausing the blender at regular intervals during the process allows us to accurately measure its blending time, reducing the risk of any bias or inconsistencies in our performance testing.

We decided that one minute of blending is an appropriate time to check the shake's texture for the first time, as our initial tests found that some blenders could produce a perfect outcome within this duration. Therefore, this benchmark will provide a level playing field for all blenders by preventing over-blending and avoiding unfair advantages for lackluster performers. Again, we strive to ensure all of the testing products are evaluated consistently, and the final rating for each of them can be equitably awarded based on our performance standards.

It's also important to note why we deem silky-smooth oatmeal a must-pass criterion in our testing. Poorly blended oatmeal can create an unpleasantly gritty and uneven texture. Additionally, our rigorous process has revealed that when oatmeal is fully pulverized, other ingredients tend to achieve the ideal consistency as well. While minimal residual solids may remain, they are unlikely to deter most fitness enthusiasts.

Scoring Scale of the Protein Shake Test

Our protein shake test carries a weightage of 15% in the overall performance score, and we evaluate it on a scale of 0-10 based on the silky-smooth consistency of the oatmeal. The Blending Time (60%), Blended Almond Results (20%), and Blended Blueberries Results (20%) are the scoring factors. We use the same recipe for each test to ensure that the flavor doesn't impact the score.

Blending Time Score (70%)

The blending time score is based on how long each blender takes to fully grind the oatmeal. We assigned this task the greatest weight (70% of the final score) because it  more reflects the efficiency and effectiveness of the blender's motor and blades in breaking down the ingredients. A longer blending time not only leads to frustration for the user, but it can also impact the texture and consistency of the final product. Over-blending can cause ingredients to become overheated, resulting in a loss of flavor, texture, and nutritional value.

Here’s how our scoring breakdown was designed:  

  • ≤ 1 min: Through our extensive testing, we found that only a handful of blenders were able to produce a silky-smooth texture within one minute of blending. Therefore, we selected this timeframe as the benchmark for awarding a full 10 points to the blenders that truly stand out. 
  • ≤ 1 min 30 secs: 9.5 points 
  • ≤ 2 mins: 9 points 
  • ≤ 2 mins 30 secs: 8.5 points
  • ≤ 3 mins: 8 points
  • ≤ 3 mins 30 secs: 7.5 points
  • ≤ 4 mins: 7 points
  • ≤ 4 mins 30 secs: 6.5 points
  • ≤ 5 mins: 6 points 
  • ≤ 6 mins: 5 points 
  • ≤ 7 mins: 4 points 
  • ≤ 8 mins: 3 points 
  • ≤ 9 mins: 2 points 
  • ≤ 10 mins: 1 points 
  • More than 10 points: 0 points 

Blended Almond Result Score (20%)

We calculate this score by straining the completed shake through a mesh strainer and evaluating the shape, size, and quantity of any trapped almond chunks.

  • For instance
A batch of protein shake prepared by the Vitamix 5200 is checked for smoothness by being drained through a stainless steel mesh strainer.
The Vitamix 5200 produced a nearly flawless shake with only a few tiny almond chunks remaining, earning it a score of 9.75 points.
A batch of protein shake prepared by the Nutribullet is checked for smoothness by being drained through a stainless steel mesh strainer.
The Nutribullet left behind some noticeable almond chunks, but in a relatively small amount, so we gave it 8.5 points.
A batch of protein shake prepared by the Hamilton Beach is checked for smoothness by being drained through a stainless steel mesh strainer.
The Hamilton Beach blender resulted in a shake with a considerable amount of almond flakes, so we awarded it 6.5 points.

Blended Blueberries Result Score (15%)

 The score is based on the blender's ability to completely blend the dried blueberries and avoid leaving any noticeable chunks. To assess this score, we similarly examine the size, shape, and amount of unblended dried blueberries left after straining the shake.

  • For example:
A batch of protein shake prepared by the Vitamix E310 is checked for smoothness by being drained through a stainless steel mesh strainer.
The Vitamix E310 churned out a blend with barely any visible chunks of dried berries remaining so we allocated 10 points for it.
A batch of protein shake prepared by the Cuisinart blender is checked for smoothness by being drained through a stainless steel mesh strainer.
There is a small smattering of unprocessed berries left behind by the Cuisinart, but they are too insignificant to detract from the overall quality of the smoothie. We gave it 9 points.
A batch of protein shake prepared by the Oster blender is checked for smoothness by being drained through a stainless steel mesh strainer.
We assigned 7 points to the Oster blender as it left noticeably large chunks of dried blueberries behind.

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