First, you should know that Ninja® took the blender market to new heights with earlier releases of their affordable ice-crushing blenders which by the way, continue to garner great consumer reviews, so I was excited to be able to test one of their newest releases.
There is a Ninja for every kitchen whether your blending needs are small, your counter is space-challenged or you're the creative type who wants to fully explore the food blending and processing world. And it's ok, you can think of your Ninja as your helper, because these kitchen appliances do that.
What really caught my eye with this new Nutri Ninja® Auto-iQ blender-extractor-plus-food-processor is the guesswork factor. It's gone. Totally gone. Don't stress over how long you need to operate it for this or for that. With the Auto-iQ, you surrender total control over to this Ninja, so no more fears of over blending or forgetting what 'pulse' really means.
I'm all for simplicity. Let someone else figure all that out.
I just want the end results. And, the smart base can tell which cup or bowl you have onboard too, so only the available preset settings are lit.
The full line of Nutri Ninja blending systems includes various models. Check this model comparison (bottom of this page) to better understand the choices you have when selecting one of these blenders, to ensure you get the accessories you want. The blender reviewed includes Smooth Boost (model LB491) and is considered a compact system. Here's a few specs to wet your appetite:
- 1200 Watts motor base; 1.4 HP motor
- Nutrient & Vitamin Extraction* AND high-performance blending all in one base
- Interlock system
- Pro Extractor Blades®
- Auto iQ One-touch Intelligence
- Smooth Boost blending technology
- 40 Oz Blend & Prep Bowl; BPA free and dishwasher safe
- 48 Oz XL Multiserve Jar for making large batches of smoothies or frozen beverages, BPA free, dishwasher safe. Uses interchangeable Pro Extractor Blades®
- 24 Oz Stainless steel (double-walled) blending cup, BPA free, lead free, phthalate free, (NOT dishwasher safe), attaches to the Pro Extractor Blades and keeps beverages colder long.
- 24 oz. Tritan BPA-free blending cup; dishwasher safe
- Sip and seal lids
What this machine can do:
This model is all encompassing. You can blend, chop and extract nutrients from fresh fruits and hard veggies, all with only one powerful (1200W) motorized base to park on your counter. And it might be the only blending and food processing system you need, if the capacity is right for you. That's up to 48 oz blending and 40 oz mixing, kneading or chopping. That would help cut down on appliance clutter.
It might even be adequate for you with the extraction function, saving you from buying a juicer if you just want to turn hard veggies and fruit into a healthy drink. Note that it will pulverize seeds, stems and skins, but will not collect pulp for removal. These will be blended in.
You can blend ice - turn it into snow - without taxing this machine. Ninja's are great at that. So you can make custom smoothies for one, two or more (48 oz jar), blended as smooth as you want. Though there are preset selections, you can still stop the process at any time. You can even add a sip lid and take that smoothie or veggie drink with you.
The beauty of this system is that control is a button (or two) presses away. If your lifestyle is busy, you'll appreciate these smart shortcuts. I do. It counts down a preset function, occasionally pauses then resumes. I found it can be tough to resist interrupting it and allow it to complete the cycle, especially if it looks like the contents appear to not be blending. That pause does help to move contents.
The term 'compact' is subject to interpretation. It's larger than I was expecting, so you'll want to refer to the various Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ Smooth Boost models available to get the right accessorized package, especially if you want to minimize storage and save a little too. But keep in mind that you only need to keep on your counter, the base and whatever bowl or cup with blade you use most and store the rest.
You can also chop and mix with this system, in the 40 oz Blend and Prep bowl. This is a practical capacity for general mixing and chopping for most kitchens.The double blade is effective and there's also a plastic blade for mixing dough. That makes this a versatile kitchen prep tool.
How this blender system performed:
I love this much blending power. It means the motor can handle crushing ice, frozen fruit and hard veggies. You can custom blend at will without fear of burn out. Note that some liquid should be added to your veggie drink, or you'll have a very thick concoction. I also added a couple of ice cubes, since I like it very cold.
Just so you know, I am NOT a health nut but I do strive to eat better than I did twenty years ago. I love fruit smoothies but have entertained the thought of bringing that up a notch by combining fruits with soft and hard veggies. That said, I'm not prepared to go all out and get an expensive juicer, because for me, the cleaning required would quickly zap my zeal.
The simplicity of being able to use this Nutri Ninja's extraction feature to blend a healthy beverage is what got to me. It works. If you don't want chunks at all, use the Smooth Boost, plus the Extract setting. Blend totally dissolved spinach and broke up blackberry and raspberry seeds - you could see pieces, but still drinkable.
On Extraction (with SmoothBoost), hard carrots, celery, berry seeds, whole tomatoes, apple halves with seeds/core intact all blended completely. A little green and red pepper kicked up the flavor. No (celery) strings, seeds or chunks of any kind. Drinkable. Wonderful.
And for those inquiring minds, fruit flavor does dominate when blended with veggies.That makes me want to blend a healthier beverage more often. And clean up? A 24 oz cup and blade to wash, and a wipe of the motor base. That's it. Now that's totally doable. Love it!
I wondered why this set did not have a 12 oz cup which I would prefer for my fruit smoothies, but the 24 oz cup is essential if making a veggie drink for one. Hard veggies will not compress at first and you need room for expansion too. Making a healthy drink for two? I'd use the 48 oz Multiserve Jar. A 12 oz cup can be purchased separately.
The chopper bowl (40 oz) is perfect for small processing needs. I used it mostly for onions and veggies for pasta sauces, meatloaf, salsa, as well as for making crumbs, chopping nuts and more. It chopped fairly evenly and is not sluggish. I haven't tried mixing pastry with it yet. I really like the capacity which is practical for us.
As for operating noise, it is louder as expected, when if extracting nutrients or blending ice. All in all, I really like this well-rounded blending and processing system and especially the easy preset settings.