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Customer Review

280 of 300 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great little device for daily smoothies, but does not last even a year, May 12, 2010
This review is from: Hamilton Beach 51101B Personal Blender with Travel Lid, Black (Kitchen)
This is an amazing value for the price! I have a full-sized blender, but it was just too much for what I needed (1 serving smoothie), and was annoying to clean such a large thing afterwards... so I wanted something smaller. I LOVE the design of this blender - it's a very simple 1-button machine that allows me to throw everything in it, blend, and then just twist off and GO! The lid slides open to allow for drinking my smoothie directly out of it (so it serves a double purpose). The design of the lid is very good - it's very easy to sip the smoothie from this (it has a nicely designed drinking lip), and the size of the container is perfect for my car cup holder. After you are done with base, the cord twists and locks into a recessed area in the bottom of the blender, making cleanup even easier. The blender looks awesome just sitting on my countertop, ready to make smoothies at any time! The only thing I could possibly wish for is more power.

Pros:
1) This is a perfect smoothie maker! Has been able to handle almost anything (see Cons below for more about this) I've put in there, even frozen fruit.
2) The design is just genius to me. I'm able to make a smoothie and go in 5 minutes. After blending, just twist off and go, and lid slides open to allow you to drink/sip... it's totally portable. Device itself is very small, takes up little space on your counter, and does look nice (especially since the cord is pretty much concealed at base of blender). I actually like that it only has 1 button - makes it easier for me.
3) Cleanup is a breeze. Splash some water and a little soap in there and swish around, dump out and air dry, or just let water sit/soak for a few minutes if the food is harder to get off. I've read from other reviews that the lid can become a little flimsy, so I always handwash it. Dishwashers can warp some delicate plastics sometimes...

Cons:
1) As stated on some other people's reviews, there IS a burning smell if you push button for too long or if you throw something in there that it cannot handle. Always pulse this thing for maybe 20-30 seconds at a time, do NOT just keep your finger on the button for too long. This is basically just a baby blender, so it's a little more delicate than many of us are used to.
2) This little blender is not able to handle large & hard items very well - I wish it had more power. Examples of things the blender has had trouble with: big pieces of cubed ice, whole frozen strawberries. I used the crushed ice dispenser from my fridge when I need ice, and cut the whole frozen strawberries in half when I need those. If you stick something in there that it cannot handle, the blade is just going to freeze up on you (i.e. get stuck).
3) The blade is small, so it's not always as easy as "blend & go" - sometimes I have to pulse a couple of times and then "help" it by mixing the things at the top into it with a spoon so that everything is able to make it to the blade at the bottom and get blended properly. This isn't a big deal to me, although I know that the super expensive blenders that people use for smoothies, like VitaMix or BlendTec, don't require help from spoons as much as this one :)
4) This blender does not blend as well as more professional blenders. I've had a green smoothie (i.e. has spinach in it) from a pro blender and it's perfectly smooth and blended, you don't see any food particles at all, looks beautiful. With this blender, you do see the small pieces of chopped up spinach mixed in it (they ARE small, however). This doesn't bother me at all personally, although it grosses some of my co-workers out :)

TIPS!
1) Because this blender is not very powerful, I've found that it works better if you put the liquid and/or soft items in FIRST and then begin to blend in the frozen items and ice.
2) Remember to pulse, do not continuously blend for more than 20-30 seconds I'd say (or you will get the burning smell!). I actually pulse for about 10-15 seconds myself (I want this thing to last me a long time!)

Conclusion:
Despite the cons, this VERY inexpensive blender has still been an amazing purchase for me. You definitely get more than your money's worth, in my opinion. I have owned and have used it everyday for 2 months now and it works fine as long as I remember that it isn't super powerful and might need some "help" sometimes. The design of the blender is amazing though and is what makes this stand out from other blenders. It makes it so easy to create a smoothie and go. I am kind of lazy but wanted to change my diet. I have a full-sized blender but it was burdensome - too much - too big - a pain to clean. This blender has made it SO easy that I'm now drinking extremely healthy smoothies everyday, full of things like spinach, veggies, fruit, yogurt, flaxseed oil, and organic raw egg yolks. I've lost 7 pounds and am FULL of energy now also. I'm so happy!! This little blender has made a large positive impact on my health. I'm sure I'll eventually get a VitaMix one day since I'm eating the smoothies so much now, but only when this one dies on me (let's see how long it lasts).

UPDATE Aug 2010: Originally bought this blender May 2010. It's August 2010, and the lid finally cracked - well, I guess I got what I paid for. The crack is getting bigger and starts to leak liquid now as I blend. I've used it almost daily now for 3 months... since I know that smoothies are going to stay a part of my diet now, I am considering upgrading to a Vitamix blender.

UPDATE Aug 2011: I have officially trashed this little blender and am downgrading my rating to 3 stars because it's no good for long term use. I bought another one soon after the lid cracked on the previous one (hey, at under $20 a pop, I didn't think much of it to just buy another). WELL, a couple of months after purchasing that 2nd blender, the bottom of the plastic cup cracked! Grrr... The mechanism/motor of the units worked just fine each time, it was the VERY cheaply-made plastic container/cup that makes this product a bad idea for long term use. I have purchased a Ninja Prep Pro system and although it's not a Vitamix, it's a HUGE improvement over this little blender (and the Ninja is also Consumer Reports' #2 blender right now, right behind Vitamix!)

UPDATE Oct 2015: I purchased the Ninja Prep Pro in Aug 2011. It was a far sturdier option than the Hamilton Beach (although larger, with many more pieces!). The motor was much stronger and so it was capable of handling most of what I wanted. It did not crack/break. Even with that one though, things did not get blended completely. I was fine with it, but it didn't impress me. FAST FORWARD TO 2013: I got married in Nov 2013, and one of our wedding gifts was the Vitamix 750 Pro!!! THIS thing is a forever thing. It has not once struggled with anything I've thrown at it. It can handle anything, and everything is blended COMPLETELY. It's solidly built - is very heavy. We've used it multiple times per day, every day since Nov 2013, and not 1 issue (and we'll probably never have one since these things are built to be used all day long - this is what higher end smoothie shops use). I know someone who has a Vitamix that is over 20 years old, and it's still working fine. This will last us almost forever. The warranty on them is outstanding as well. I was right, Vitamix is the only blender that works for me. I highly recommended Vitamix! The only question/problem with Vitamix is the cost. Vitamix is the absolute best blender on the market. I hope I can encourage people to buy a Vitamix - buy this blender, and it will perform amazingly for a lifetime. Or, you can buy many blenders over a lifetime that will be horrible, or only work so-so for you. At the end of the day, the cost is probably actually the same...
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 5, 2013 1:31:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2013 1:31:59 PM PST
Excellent review with bonus Updates. Very much appreciated, Mary. Thank you. That being said, I don't have much choice in ordering this due to budget reasons. But I will be keeping the Vitamix in mind for the future. We did have the Ninja, but it's missing. None of us can figure out what happened to it. Back then I never used it. But now I want to start juicing my greens. For one thing, research shows that cooking our greens kills the nutrients. Kills the nutrients in onions and garlic, too. Not worried about losing the fiber because there's not much in it anyway. I can get fiber from other sources.

Posted on Jul 18, 2013 7:34:10 PM PDT
nobody says:
If you're gonna compare the Ninja Prep Pro & Vitamix to this $15 Hamilton blender, give prices. That way, people know you're comparing expensive blenders to a $15 blender.

Posted on Jul 23, 2014 11:27:50 AM PDT
Flo in Texas says:
I had one of these for each of my grandchildren to make juices, smoothies etc, and I have had them since they came out for my own use. For the price common sense says this is not a Blend Tec and does not work like a big blender but I have run frozen fruit through it in smoothies and worked well.....

Posted on Feb 3, 2015 4:19:08 AM PST
Kingfish says:
Awesome blender! Works well with this nut milk bag Top Chef Quality Nut Milk Bag - Large 12"x10" Professional Grade - Reusable Fine Mesh Food Strainers - Cold Brew Coffee and Tea Strainers - Makes Juices and Milk Substitutes - Free Recipes when making nut milk - juice combinations.

Posted on Oct 15, 2015 8:52:40 AM PDT
TJ says:
mine didn't last a year either, went with the magic bullet...didn't last a year, they replaced it, again didn't last a year..... so if your going to spend the $50 on a bullet, save yourself the $35 and get this one. I am looking to spend $ on something that lasts. don't know what that is yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2015 9:58:17 AM PDT
That would be a Vitamix!!! That was an easy question to answer :)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2015 10:40:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 15, 2015 10:51:35 AM PDT
Terri, I have both the Hamilton and Magic Bullet. Magic Bullet is way more powerful. The Hamilton can not handle the smoothie load that I use. I put milk, whey protein, bagged greens, two ice, frozen blueberries into it and it works great. It's not perfect, but smooth enough. Magic Bullet is only $15-$20 dollars more than the Hamilton. I've had mine nearly a year, and if it goes, I'll upgrade to the Nutri Bullet. It's just barely large enough for the amount of ingredients that I use in mine.

Also, the Magic Bullet can be priced as low as $35 (that is what I paid here on amazon) to it's current price at $40. The Hamilton is $15-$20. Go with the Hamilton if you want big pieces of spinach and uneven quality... or lots of jamming. It can't even handle both ice and frozen berries. It's really just a travel blender for very lite mixes. It isn't designed for smoothies. On the other hand, The Magic Bullet works more like a very lite version of a food processor. Again, even the MB isn't perfect. It could be a bit smoother but you'd need to go high end to achieve that.
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