Whether you like ice slushies or margaritas, a blender that can crush ice into a fine texture is necessary for the perfect frozen drink. Although some blenders struggle with ice since it can get caught under the blades, others can make snow-like ice with an evenly-processed crush. These blenders should also be able to break down frozen fruit and veggies into a cold, silky smoothie.
We've tested over 90 blenders, and below are our recommendations for the best options for making frozen drinks. If you're looking for more blenders, check out our recommendations for the best blenders for crushing ice, the best blenders for smoothies, the best immersion blenders, and the best blenders.
The Vitamix 7500 is the best blender for frozen drinks we've tested. This full-size blender is well-built, which is particularly important if you regularly blend tough ingredients like ice cubes. It also comes with a seven-year U.S. warranty, depending on where you buy it. It can quickly crush ice cubes into uniform, snow-like crushed ice, perfect for blended cocktails and frozen treats like slushies. The main jar's 64-ounce capacity is enough to make multiple servings at once, and it has a two-part lid that lets you pour in more liquid as needed or use the tamper for thicker blends.
Aside from its ice-crushing ability, this blender also easily creates a silky blend with fibrous ingredients, so it's a great choice if you're looking for the best blender for frozen fruits. It doesn't perform as well if you're working with small batches, so if your recipe contains fruit, it will perform better if you fill the jar to its full capacity. This blender also has no automatic blending programs, so you have to use the pulse switch manually. It doesn't take long to crush ice, but if you want frozen drinks at the push of a button, consider the Vitamix A3500. This higher-end Vitamix model is just as good at crushing ice, and you can use its 'Frozen Drinks' program. However, this blender is more expensive.
For those not interested in paying that much for a blender, the KitchenAid K400 offers similar performance at a lower price. This cheaper blender has a shorter warranty than the Vitamix and doesn't have the same premium build quality. However, it's still well-built and easily handles fibrous fruits and vegetables, so frozen drinks with ingredients like pineapple or blueberries have a smooth texture. It has a smaller 56-ounce capacity and takes a little longer to crush ice, but it's still well-suited for frozen drinks like slushies and blended margaritas. It performs well with small batches of ingredients, meaning you can use it for single-serves.
Unfortunately, it's not as well-built as our top pick and has a much shorter one-year U.S. warranty, which may be a concern if you use your blender daily. It's also a bit louder, but on the plus side, it has preset programs for 'Ice Crush', 'Icy Drink', and 'Smoothie', so you don't need to stand near the blender the whole time it's running. The non-removable blades can require some scrubbing when cleaning by hand, but the jar and lid are dishwasher-safe.
The Ninja Foodi Power Pitcher System is the best mid-range blender for frozen drinks that we've tested. This blender is a good option if you're looking for the best blenders for margaritas, piña coladas, and other blended treats at a more affordable price. It comes with a step down in build quality compared to the previous picks, and its design isn't as convenient since it lacks a two-part lid. Still, it's fantastic for ice-crushing and has no issue processing fibrous fruits like berries or pineapple. Although the lid doesn't let you easily add more liquid mid-blend, it has a pouring spout, so you can serve drinks without removing the lid to help avoid spills.
If you use a lot of fruit in your recipes or like to make smoothies and pureed soups, the previous picks can make an even smoother blend with fibrous ingredients. Also, while it has a pulse mode that works well for ice crushing, the speed dial offers a limited range of speeds, so you have fewer options for adjusting the speed to suit different recipes. The sharp blades make it harder to clean by hand, but the jar, blades, and lid are all dishwasher-safe.
The Ninja Professional Blender 1000 is the best budget blender for frozen drinks that we've tested. This blender has a simpler design than the Ninja Foodi Power Pitcher System—it doesn't have any blending programs besides 'Pulse' and has a limited number of speed presets instead of a dial. However, the simpler controls don't matter very much when it comes to ice crushing, and it easily makes snow-like ice, just like the previous pick. It also comes with a similar lid with a pouring spout.
However, it's not as well-suited for fruit-based drinks since it makes a grainy blend with fibrous ingredients like fruit skin, even after several minutes of blending. Unlike many pricier Ninja blenders, it has no extra jars or accessories. Still, it's well-built and quiet for a full-size blender. It's not the most versatile, but you might prefer its design if you don't plan to use your blender for much aside from frozen drinks.
If you like making frozen drinks for a crowd at summer parties, you may want a blender with a large-capacity pitcher, like the other full-size blenders listed here. On the other hand, if you're not usually serving a lot of people or want to save space in your kitchen, the Ninja TWISTi High-Speed Blender DUO is the best blender for frozen drinks we've tested. In terms of size, it's between a full-size blender and a personal blender. Its 34-ounce main jar can fit enough to serve one or two people and easily crushes ice for recipes like blended margaritas and slushies. There's also a personal jar included if you want to make a smaller batch.
The lid has arms built into it that you can rotate to stir your recipe as it blends. This 'built-in tamper' feature can make it easier to process thicker mixtures, like drinks with a lot of ice or frozen fruit like strawberries. This blender also makes a smooth blend with fibrous elements like blueberry skin, so your frozen drink will be free of unprocessed bits and grains. It's sturdy and offers a few automatic blending programs. Unfortunately, it's the loudest blender on this list, which will be irritating if you use it to make several batches in a row.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best blenders for margaritas, slushies, and other frozen drinks for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper blender wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no blenders that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for blenders, sorted by their performance crushing ice. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no blender is perfect, most blenders are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you look for them.