Hey peeps! I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. Once upon a time, I used to have a little side gig doing electronics reviews.
Seriously. I’m not making this up. Televisions; tablets; LCD monitors, laptops; iPod accessories, and kitchen appliances – I reviewed them all. But it was soul-sucking work; I mean, once you’ve written over 20,000 words on all of the latest must-have gadgetry that drives the chaos at the Black Friday sales in the States, you start to wonder if it’s your enthralling descriptions of the products that drives people to beat each other up over a TV that’s 80% off.
So I gave that up. I’d rather write real reviews about the things I love. And my little Ninja BL660 Professional blender is one of them.
My Road To the Ninja Blender
Backstory: I’m hard on blenders (and gas-powered lawn trimmers too, but that’s another story). I am a huge smoothie and mixed drink fan; the family loves them as well. So when the base cracked on my old trusty Black & Decker blender (the one that has 16 different speed settings that pretty much all do the same thing), I went hunting for another one.
I shot out some questions to my friends on Facebook, asking them for recommendations. And a few mentioned the Ninja blender family. I mean, come on – how could a guy NOT buy a blender called “Ninja”? If marketers were on the ball, they’d slap that brand on everything from vacuum cleaners to dish soap and guys would practically be begging to do housework! (Hey marketing pros – you heard it here first. I want my 2% commission.)
Knowing that a bunch of friends were coming over the next night, and that crushed ice and liquor were likely to be involved, I rushed out after work to take stock of the available blenders in my neck of the woods.
I hemmed and hawed for a bit, but there’s three features that led me to get the Ninja BL660 Professional blender:
- Ice crushing – this thing claims to make snow out of ice in less than 30 seconds. With my old blender, the manual told me I could only crush ice if it was covered by liquid. (I was pretty sure that advice didn’t apply to me. But that also might be why my old blender smelled like ozone and subsequently broke. Ah well.)
- Individual size carafes – sometimes you just wanna blend something small. It’s all well and good to blend 72oz of healthy smoothies for the family, but you know what kids? Sometimes Mommy and Daddy need to make a special smoothie for themselves with a particular ingredient called “patience juice”. No, you can’t have that kind of juice until you’re 19. Don’t ask why.
- Controlled pouring – yeah, I know it sounds like a boring feature. But in standard blenders without a special pouring spout, the viscosity of the smoothie causes the liquid to spread out horizontally when you pour, making a huge mess. This causes Mommy and Daddy to grumble about having more cleaning to do and also results in more special “patience juice” being consumed.
The Unboxing of the Ninja Blender
So I brought the thing home and opened it up.
HOLY SWEET MOSES THIS THING HAS NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT THREE MOTHERFLIPPING BLADES IN THE CARAFE. That just about made my day. I can see why they call it a Ninja – this is one serious blender that doesn’t mess around.
With the vertically stacked blades that rest about 3 inches apart, it’s no wonder this thing can pulverize ice like it does. In your standard blender with a single blade on the bottom, there’s no way that it can possibly handle a full load of ice, as that design depends on the vortex effect created by the blades to pull things down to the bottom. The three blades on this monster just thrash the hell out of anything that stands in their way.
I also loved that the front control was flat, with sealed touch buttons that could just be wiped clean. Not that I’m a messy blender chef. No way.
Along with the main 72oz main carafe, there’s two smaller 16oz personal size blending carafes with screw-on take along lids. While not quite big enough to create a smoothie to share, the smaller carafes make short work of blending that morning smoothie, even with sticky and crunchy crap in it, like honey poured over ice. Iced honey is enough to bring most blenders to its knees, but the Ninja blender kept chugging along like a champ.
(Aside: Check out the recipe at the end of this article that I stole from an ex-con media celebrity on the Internet. It’s just the right amount of ingredients for a personal size smoothie blend in the Ninja BL660. And that’s a good thing.)
But Will It Blend?
The real test was Saturday night – an occasion which we like to call “Games Night” with our friends from out of town, but which turned into a drink-mixing competition and a late-night philosophical debate. At least that’s what I think happened. The police report might differ slightly.
Anyhow, there I stood, 72 ounces of ice packed into the Ninja blender. My friends stood around, waiting expectantly for me to demonstrate drink-mixing Nirvana after extolling the virtues of this monster machine on Facebook.
I put the lid on, snapped the safety-interlock into place, closed my eyes and whispered quietly, “Don’t let me down, little Ninja.”
WHIIIIZZZZZSHMSHMSHMSHSHZZSHSMSHSMZZZZZ went the Ninja blender…and then all was still. In 20 seconds I had a blender full of crushed ice — nay SNOW — and my friends erupted in cheers, lifted me on to their shoulders and paraded me around the house, holding the blender high for all too see.
(Okay, well, not exactly. They looked into the top of the blender and said “Wow, that’s pretty impressive!” But my version sounds cooler.)
Unbelievably, the small carafes do an equally great job with shredding ice cubes or frozen fruit — I made a few individual frozen strawberry daiquiris that night as well, and they turned out to be the favourite blender drink of the evening.
Clean up is super-simple too, which is good news when your friends think that 1am is too early to leave a party. The blade assembly lifts out of the main carafe for washing and everything just goes in the dishwasher. Done and done. There’s no gaskets to leak, nothing to fall apart together – just a couple of pieces that are beyond easy to clean.
This is especially handy when you’re making a few personal-size smoothies in a row; the blade assembly can be rinsed really quickly to get ready for the next concoction. Especially given that the Law of Smoothies and Children states that no two children shall ever want the same kind of smoothie together. Ever.
The Bottom Line
The Ninja blender isn’t the cheapest model out there, to be sure, but so far it’s been worth every single penny, and I’m completely happy with it.
The only tricky thing I’ve found is that you can’t easily add ingredients during the blend; you have to stop, remove the safety-interlock handle, pry off the lid, add your ingredients, replace the lid, lock the handle, and then resume the blend. But with three motherflipping blades spinning around in there like a crazed samurai, I don’t blame Euro-Pro for not letting people dangle their fingers through a hole in the top of the lid.
Bottom line? The Ninja BL660 Professional blender is the best blending system I’ve ever owned. Hands down. I suspect you won’t be disappointed either.
If there’s ever a Ninja matching washer and dryer set, you might just find me doing laundry…with a full cup of “patience juice” smoothie by my side.
Here’s that smoothie recipe I mentioned earlier:
Body Moment Ninja Avocado Breakfast Smoothie
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 c greek yogurt
- 1/2 banana
- 3/4 c OJ
- 4-5 ice cubes
- 1 tbsp honey
Throw it all in the 16-oz personal size carafe of the Ninja in the order indicated and blend the crap out of it. Soooo good.
To avoid having the honey stick to the side of the carafe, I usually put the ice cubes on top of everything, and drizzle the honey on the ice cubes.