What is the difference between a blender and a smoothie maker?

Both blenders and smoothie makers are kitchen appliances used for mixing and blending ingredients, but they have some key differences. Blenders are designed for more heavy-duty blending tasks, while smoothie makers specialize in making smoothies and shakes.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about blenders vs. smoothie makers:

What is the main difference between a blender and a smoothie maker?

Blenders are more versatile and made for heavy blending tasks like pureeing soups or crushing ice. Smoothie makers are optimized for making smoothies and shakes.

Which is better for making smoothies?

Smoothie makers are specially designed for making smoothies. They blend smoothies better and have features like pre-programmed settings.

Can you make smoothies in a regular blender?

Yes, you can make smoothies in a regular blender. However, smoothie makers are optimized for smoothies and may provide a smoother texture.

What can you do with a blender that you can’t with a smoothie maker?

Blenders can handle tougher blending tasks like crushing ice, making nut butters, pureeing soups, and mixing dough. Smoothie makers are not designed for heavy-duty blending.

When would you use a smoothie maker vs a blender?

Use a smoothie maker for making smoothies, shakes, and frozen drinks. Use a blender for tough blending tasks and variety – like soups, dips, nut butters, and more.

Blenders vs Smoothie Makers

Now let’s take a more in-depth look at blenders and smoothie makers and how they differ.

Motor Power

One of the biggest differences between blenders and smoothie makers is motor power. Blenders have more powerful motors that range from 500 watts to 1500+ watts. Higher wattage equals more blending power.

Smoothie makers have less powerful motors, usually between 300-700 watts. But this less powerful motor is actually ideal for smoothies – too much power can overblend ingredients.

Appliance Common Motor Power
Blender 500-1500+ watts
Smoothie Maker 300-700 watts

Blending Vessels

Blenders often have large, upright pitchers that can hold 6-8 cups of liquid. This allows blending of large batches.

Smoothie makers have smaller containers around 20-30 ounces, sized for 1-2 servings. Some have single-serve blending cups.

Appliance Common Blending Vessel Size
Blender 48-64 oz pitchers
Smoothie Maker 20-30 oz containers


Blenders often have 3-4 pronged blades that are serrated and angled for chopping and grinding. This allows them to handle hard ingredients.

Smoothie makers have 2 pronged blades that are blunt and vertical. The blades are designed for blending soft ingredients rather than chopping.

Pre-Programmed Settings

Many smoothie makers come with pre-programmed cycles for smoothies, frozen drinks, and more. Just press a button for automated blending.

Blenders may have some presets, but usually rely on manual control with variable speed settings. This allows more customization for each blend.


Blenders are more affordable, with entry-level models starting around $40 and high-performance models ranging $150-$600.

Smoothie makers are more specialized appliances and therefore more expensive. Expect to pay $100-$400 for a quality smoothie maker.

Ease of Use

Smoothie makers are designed to be very easy to operate. Just add ingredients, select a preset cycle, and blend. Many are portable and have detachable blending cups.

Blenders offer more manual control which means a bit of a learning curve to get the desired consistency. But blenders give more flexibility too.

Noise Level

Smoothie makers operate at lower speeds so they generate less noise than most blenders. This makes them great for early morning smoothies.

Blenders are known for being quite loud appliances. Look for noise-dampening features if blender noise is an issue.

Clean Up

Smoothie maker containers are easy to rinse clean after blending smoothies or shakes. Some are dishwasher safe.

Blenders require a bit more cleanup, especially after blending chunky recipes. Look for dishwasher safe blender pitchers.

Space Requirements

Counter space is at a premium in most kitchens. Blenders have a larger footprint, usually over 10 inches tall once assembled.

Many smoothie makers have compact bases that store easily. The blending cups often detach for portable blending too.

Additional Features

Here are some additional features that may be found on blenders and smoothie makers:


  • Pulse function
  • Variable speed control
  • Recipe books included

Smoothie Makers:

  • To-go lids for blending cups
  • Insulated blending cups to keep drinks cold
  • Spout lids for easy pouring

Considerations When Choosing

Here are some things to consider when deciding between a blender vs smoothie maker:

Your Planned Uses

Think about how you plan to use the appliance. If you’ll primarily make smoothies and shakes, a smoothie maker is likely the better choice. If you want to blend soups, nut butters, batters, etc., go with a blender.

Frequency of Use

For occasional use, a smoothie maker should meet your needs. If you’ll blend every day, consider a heavy-duty blender instead which will be more durable over time.

Blender Capacity

Blenders often come in different sizes – 48oz, 64oz, etc. If you’ll blend large batches, choose a larger capacity model. For individual use, smaller is fine.


Smoothie makers range from $100-$400 while blenders start around $40. Decide how much you want to invest based on your needs.

Available Counter Space

Blenders take up more space so make sure you have room to keep it assembled on your counter. Smoothie makers have a smaller footprint.

Noise Level Tolerance

If noise is an issue, smoothie makers operate much more quietly than most blenders.

Ease of Use Needs

Smoothie makers are designed to be very simple to use. Blenders offer more customization but require more effort to operate.

The Bottom Line

Here is a quick summary of the key differences between blenders and smoothie makers:

Blender Smoothie Maker
Best for Heavy blending tasks like soups, batters, etc. Smoothies, shakes, frozen drinks
Motor power 500-1500+ watts 300-700 watts
Capacity 48-64+ oz 20-30 oz
Price range $40-$600 $100-$400
Presets Some models Standard feature
Ease of use More effort required Very simple

As you can see, both appliances have their advantages. Blenders offer more versatility and power, while smoothie makers excel at – you guessed it – smoothies!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you grind nuts and seeds in a smoothie maker?

Most smoothie makers do not have the power or blade design to effectively grind nuts and seeds. You’re better off using a blender if you want to make homemade nut butters or flours.

Can you crush ice in a smoothie maker?

Smoothie makers can blend ice into frozen drinks, but cannot crush ice like a blender can. If making crushed ice is a priority, choose a blender with a powerful motor and strong blades.

Is it worth getting both a blender and smoothie maker?

For most home cooks, investing in one high-powered blender is the best option as it can tackle smoothies and a wide range of other tasks. But if smoothies are a daily thing, a smoothie maker alongside a blender gives you options.

Do smoothie makers and blenders come in different colors?

Yes, both appliances are available in a variety of colors. Popular options include black, silver, white, red, and brushed stainless steel. Vibrant colors like light blue or pink are also options.

Which type of appliance has more safety features?

Blenders and smoothie makers both contain blades that spin at high speeds, requiring safety features. Common safety mechanisms include lid locks, non-slip bases, blade guards, and automatic shut-off. Overall, they have similar safety capabilities.

Can you puree hot liquids or soups in a smoothie maker?

No, smoothie makers cannot handle hot ingredients and do not have the power to puree thicker concoctions like soups. You’ll need a blender for prep tasks involving hot foods.

Is a smoothie maker just a blender with less power?

While smoothie makers do have lower-powered motors, they also have design optimizations specifically for smoothies. This includes features like narrower blending shafts, pre-programmed cycles, to-go lids, and blade designs that emulsify rather than chop.


When it comes to blenders vs. smoothie makers, blenders offer more versatility for food prep while smoothie makers excel at – you guessed it – smoothies! Think about your blending needs and preferred features. Blenders provide customization and power for tough tasks. Smoothie makers optimize smoothie-making with presets and portability. For occasional use, a smoothie maker should meet your needs. But if daily smoothies and soups are on the menu, a high-powered blender is likely your best bet.

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