Crushing ice for drinks is easy when one uses a blender. And yet not all blenders in the market today do it well.
That's because a blender for crushing ice has to have a powerful motor and an efficient blade system in order to effectively grind ice to small particles or to slush.
Most blenders today carry a 500-watt motor which is fine if you’re mixing small bits of ice cubes in your drink. But if you’re looking to crush and grind regular-sized ice cubes, you would have to use a blender that has more wattage.
You would also have to consider the blade system as well. The power of the motor won't make a large difference without a great blade design.
For instance, some cheaper blenders use a single-blade assembly that is simply inefficient in chipping away at an ice cube. More often than not, this kind of blade will easily be jammed causing the motor to burn out.
And there are different types of blenders. Some are designed for portability but are not of much use when crushing ice. It's either the blades aren't strong enough or the design isn't really suited for chopping hard ingredients.
Immersion blenders, for example, are great for mixing fluids and soft fruits but might be difficult to use when crushing ice. You'll dull the blades, overwork the motor, and still find out that you haven't crushed even half of the cubes.
Also, you'll have to have good arm strength in order to use the immersion blender on to the ice cubes without splattering bits and pieces everywhere.
Similarly, a food processor won’t work either. Using a food processor for ice damages the blade, making its serrations all wonky and out of line. The process will also be hell on the working bowl. The ice won't stay put and will create an awful racket, scratching the sides of the bowl.
The worst part is the sharp shards of ice working their way into the feed tube. Your food processor won't stand a chance.
I find that the best ice crushers are the countertop blenders, including those that are designed for protein shakes. That's because they're designed to take the abuse that comes from crushing hard ingredients. With their metal bases and the lids on their jars, they can grind ice and frozen fruits easily and conveniently, without any spillage.
Here are my top choices for the best blenders in the market.
The Best Blenders for Crushing Ice
- Oster Blender Pro 1200
- Ninja Professional
- CRANDDI Blender
- Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher Blender
- Aicok Professional Blender
1. Oster Blender Pro 1200
Powered by a 1200 watts motor, this blender can crush up to 6 large ice cubes at a time, without adding water.
It features a blade system that's 50% larger than previous Oster blenders. It also has a dual direction blade technology that prevents food from jamming the blade. It's equipped with a smart setting technology that enables the motor to change direction 4 or 5 times every 10 seconds so that the ingredients are exposed to the blades and are fully crushed or pureed.
It has 7 speeds, including 3 pre-programmed settings. It also has a pulse feature for that extra power and precision.
Its 6-cup jar is made from thermal and shock resistant glass and the blender comes with an extra large capacity 24-ounce smoothie cup made from BPA-free Tritan plastic.
- Dual direction motor
- Reliable 3-year Warranty
- Replacement for accessories are hard to find online
- Some users found the noise too loud when using the blender
2. Ninja Professional 72 Oz Countertop Blender with 1000-Watt Base
Powered by a 1000W motor, this blender grinds down ice cubes in just 10+ seconds. It will also easily quickly turn them to slush as well, using its Medium power settings. It's perfect for making large batches of margaritas or smoothies.
It has a 6-blade assembly made from stainless steel. The 72-ounce jar is lightweight and made from BPA-free Tritan plastic.
It also comes with safety features: the bottom has a locking mechanism that ensures the blender will only operate when it’s properly positioned. It also has non slip rubber grips on the bottom of its motor base for added stability.
- Convenient pour spout which has its own flip-up cover
- Easy to clean; just wipe the motor base. The container, blade, and lid are dishwasher safe.
- The blade is very sharp; may cause injury when cleaning it carelessly
- Poor after sales service
3. CRANDDI Blender
This heavy-duty blender is powered by a 2200W motor and has a 6-point stainless steel blade assembly that can reach speeds of 38000 RPM. Crushing ice will be an afterthought for this hunk of a machine.
Its 2.2-liter jar is more than enough for making drinks for 4-6 people. It’s made from BPA-free Tritan plastic and includes a feeding port on the lid to make it easy to drop ingredients into the jar. It also has a tamper that fits through the lid to help crush dense ingredients.
It has 15 speeds and also features a Pulse setting. One nifty feature is a sound proof cover that reduces the noise it makes when it's crushing ice. The cover also functions as a shield against splatter or leakage during blending. Other features include a non-slip handle, overheat protection, and self-cleaning settings.
Accessories include a 20-oz personal travel bottle with its own to-go lid.
- Good for large families
- Easy to clean
- Relatively big and heavy
4. Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher Blender
This blender has Ice Sabre Blades that, when powered by its 700W motor, can crush 2 tons of ice, according to the manufacturer. It’s also durable, having been tested to blend 8,000 drinks.
This blender has a wave action system that prevents clumping of ingredients along the walls of the jar. This ensures that the food is directed into the blades for smooth and even chopping.
It has 14 blending functions capable of making a variety of drinks for parties or large families. It also has an easy-pour spout that prevents messy servings and eliminates spillage.
Its 40-ounce jar is made from thermal and shock resistant glass. It’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe, along with its lid and blades.
- 3-year warranty
- Its motor base comes with a storage for the electric cord
- Super tight fitting top
- Poor after sales service
5. Aicok Professional Blender
More than just an ice crusher, this blender can also function as a juicer, meat grinder and even a hot soup maker.
Its 1400W motor runs at 35000 RPM of power which is enough to bring cold liquids to steaming hot in just six minutes. It has variable speed settings divided between Auto modes (dessert, ice crush, smoothie) and Manual modes (low, middle, high).
It's big enough to hold 70 ounces so this blender can be used for commercial purposes. The blades are made from aircraft-grade stainless steel which makes it 90% more effective in breaking down and blending food.
The jar is made from BPA-free Tritan plastic and can be washed by hand or by dishwasher.
Safety features include an auto shut-off to prevent overheating and overloading.
- Easy to clean; self-cleaning features
- Reliable after sales service
- Takes a while to get used to the buttons
- The tight lid might be difficult for elderly use
Buyers Guide to Picking the Best Blender for Crushing Ice
Not all ice-crushing blenders are built alike. Many models cannot withstand the rigors of frequent use, especially when making iced beverages. So here’s what you need to look out for when picking the best of them.
Pick a motor that runs at least at 700 watts because handling ice requires a strong motor. In fact, the larger the wattage the better because more watts means that the motor can handle the resistance.
A low-power motor will burn out quickly especially if it is used frequently. It’ll also take a long time to crush ice. For many low-end blenders, it takes around 2-3 minutes to crush a pitcher of ice cubes. Higher-end models, which are generally equipped with heavy duty motors, will do the job easily in just 30 seconds.
The blades must be made of metal in order to truly crush ice cubes. Stainless steel is the industry standard but there are different grades of steel. Food grade stainless steel, also known as 304-grade stainless steel, is fine to use but if you can get a blender equipped with a 316-grade blade, that's even better because it's more durable.
Here's one tip: the descriptive “aircraft-grade” or “durable stainless steel” is usually another name for these stainless steel grades.
You also need to choose between dull or sharp blades.
Dull blades are safer to clean but they take too long to crush ice. Manufacturers work around this by assembling them in a way that creates a vortex to draw food into the blades for optimal crushing.
Sharp blades, meanwhile, are usually enough to crush ice. But sometimes, you might find a blender that combines sharp blades and a unique assembly design in order to crush ice more quickly and efficiently than its competing brands.
A pulse feature is an important function in a blender that’s used for crushing ice. That’s because pulsing provides a burst of power which is helpful in crushing the tougher bits of ice.
Some extra functions elevate a blender into a multipurpose food processor. You might want that if you’re looking for more than just an ice crusher.
Blenders have varying accessories. An important one, however, is a tamper. This accessory will help you push the ice into the blades so that you can easily crush them the way you want it.
Some accessories come with a blender’s special functions. For example, products that are marketed as quiet blenders tend to have a transparent cover that reduces the noise it makes when crushing ice.
Look for blenders that come with additional cups. They'll be handy for storing extra servings of your beverage.
Always check for reliable warranties. A quality blender should at least have a 1-year warranty. The best ones have 2-year warranties or even longer.