Consumer Reports: Blender buying

Why wait for summer to break out the blender? In addition to crushing ice, blending pina coladas and measuring durability, Consumer Reports' testers also puree soups.

And considering the price tags on some blenders, you'll want to use them year round, if not every day! Consumer Reports' latest tests include blenders that cost as little as $40 all the way up to more than $600. Not only are the price tags big, but some of the blenders are quite large in size, too.

The $180 Dash might not even fit under your kitchen cabinet. And this $500 KitchenAid weighs 21-pounds and takes up precious counter space. While both can turn out an icy drink or puree up a nice soup, neither made Consumer Reports' recommended list. Nor did the Vitamix TurboBlend 3-speed blender.

Consumer Reports has yet to see any of the blenders outperform the top-scoring Vitamix Professional, which has been at the top for quite some time. But the Vitamix will set you back $650. For less money, consider the Electrolux Expressionist for $170. It's excellent for icy drinks, durable and whips up a nice warm soup, too.

Although it didn't make Consumer Reports' recommended list for its mediocre scores in pureeing soups, you may want to consider the $100 Ninja Professional NJ600. It's easy to use, safe and excellent for crushing ice and making frozen drinks.