There’s a huge amount of choice if you’re in the market for an affordable blender, so it’s good to see one that comes with plenty of bang for your buck. The Blend-X Fresh – big brother to the Blend-X Compact – is billed as a blender for cooks of all abilities, adapting to everyday tasks as easily as more intense blitzing.
Equipped with three speeds, pulse and a handy ice-crushing button, it offers plenty of control over consistency, making it as useful for pâtés and soups as it is for batters, mayonnaise and smoothies.
While it might not have the sweeping lines or detailing of more expensive blenders, the Blend-X Fresh is nevertheless well designed. The base is sleekly sculpted with a grey trim to contrast against the white gloss finish. It's also available in a black finish, although this costs extra.
Sucker feet underneath the base ensure the Blend-X Fresh stays firmly in place while in use. Front and centre, a no-nonsense dial controls the speed, and below that you'll find a large ice-crushing button that will help in your quest to make the perfect margarita.
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As with the Compact model, the jug and lid are plastic and therefore suffer the inherent problems of not being able to blend hot food and potential staining from spices. However, it boasts a great working capacity of 1.6 litres, denoted by markings on the exterior of the jug. You’ll be able to squeeze in up to a litre of milkshake or thin liquids, 1.6 litres of soup, and 800ml of fruit smoothies.
In addition, the Blend-X Fresh's detachable blades follow the "MultiZone"design, with each blade separated by a spacer to spread them over a wider area for better blending.
While the blade unit detaches from the jug for cleaning, reassembly is simple. The blades screw into clearly visible grooves at the bottom of the jug, and the whole then twists into the base unit.
We started by crushing ice using the dedicated button. The instructions advise crushing only a small amount at a time, about six cubes, so you won't be able to process a jug-full in one go. It also isn't a programme, so requires the button to be pushed repeatedly. After several presses, the ice was snowy and fairly evenly crushed, with only one or two larger pieces that had spun away from the blades.
Next, we tried making a fruit smoothie using blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, milk and ice. We blitzed the fruit on speed 3, which almost doubled its volume, although it was a little noisy while doing so. The blender handled the ice cubes especially well – no shards remained and the smoothie was beautifully ice cold, bubbly and evenly mixed.
We finished by making waffle batter, to take advantage of the appliance’s varying speeds and removable cap. Starting with oil, milk and eggs in the jug, we began by blitzing the liquid on speed 1, slowly adding the dry ingredients through the hole in the top of the lid. The hole is a good size – large enough to ensure minimum spillage, yet not too large as to allow any of the liquid mixture to splash out.
As the mixture became thicker and more viscous, the motor started to struggle, so we turned it up to speed 2. As the final dry ingredients were added, they started to sit on top of the mixture, so we finished off with speed 3, which created enough of a vortex to suck the remaining dry ingredients down. The resulting batter was of a perfect, gloopy consistency – with no lumps – and rose well in the waffle iron.
Clean-up was straightforward. The blades were washed by hand, which was a little tricky as they were sharp, but the rest of the jug and two-part lid could be cleaned in the dishwasher.
It might be something that affordable blenders don’t usually have but the ice-crushing button feels like a superfluous secondary pulse function. We would have preferred to see an automatic programme in its place that does the work for you. That aside, the Blend-X Fresh does feel like it offers more than comparable models, handling most tasks well with its varying speeds and practical design.
Plenty of power, affordability and easy cleaning make this a great first blender – but don’t be too surprised if you’re looking for an upgrade soon.