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 85 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 that we've tested. This full-size blender is exceptionally well-built, which is important if you're blending tough ingredients like ice cubes regularly. It comes with a seven-year U.S. warranty, although it depends on where you buy it. It quickly crushes 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. There are plenty of speed presets to help you get the texture you want, but no automatic blending programs, so you need to turn the blender off manually when it's done. The jar and lid are not dishwasher-safe, but they're easy to clean by hand.
If you're not interested in paying that much for a blender, the KitchenAid K400 offers similar performance at a lower price. Its main downside compared to the Vitamix 7500 are its less sturdy build and much shorter warranty. Still, it's very well-built and, just like our top pick, handles tough-to-blend ingredients like pineapple with ease, so drinks with fresh fruit come out silky-smooth. It takes a little longer to crush ice cubes than the Vitamix but produces snow-like crushed ice perfect for slushies. The main jar has a fairly big 56-ounce capacity, and it performs just as well with small batches of ingredients, which is nice if you sometimes make drinks for just one or two people.
It's very sturdy, with a metal base and a solid-feeling jar, meaning it can stand up to frequent ice crushing. That said, it's not as exceptionally 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 every day. 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.
You don't necessarily need to pay high-end prices to find a great frozen drink blender. If you want the best blender for margaritas, piña coladas, and other icy drinks at a mid-range price point, take a look at the Ninja Foodi Power Pitcher System. This cheaper blender doesn't feel as sturdy as the KitchenAid K150, but it's still well-built and does an outstanding job of crushing ice. Unlike the previous picks, the 72-ounce pitcher doesn't come with a two-part lid, so you can't add ingredients mid-blend. However, the lid has a pouring spout that opens and closes, so it's easy to serve drinks directly from the pitcher.
If you like to make fruit-based blended cocktails, it can make a very smooth blend even with fruit like pineapple and blueberries. That said, the KitchenAid K400 and Vitamix 5200 do an even better job of blending fibrous ingredients, which you might care about if you make a lot of fruit-based drinks. While it doesn't have a wide range of speed settings, its controls include a few automatic blending programs, including a dedicated pulse mode that works well for ice crushing. Unfortunately, you have to be careful not to cut yourself on its very sharp blades when you're cleaning it. On the plus side, the blade assembly is dishwasher-safe along with the jar and lid.
The Ninja Professional Blender 1000 is a more straightforward blender from Ninja. If you're looking for a budget-friendly option, this full-size blender offers a big 72-ounce jar and performs just as well as any other blender on this list when crushing ice cubes into snow-like ice. It lacks blending programs and has fewer speed presets and accessories than the Ninja Foodi Power Pitcher System. Otherwise, its design is similar, including a lid with a pouring spout.
Unfortunately, it struggles a lot more with fibrous ingredients than the Ninja Foodi. It doesn't completely liquify fibrous elements like ginger or fruit seeds and skin, so it's best suited for recipes that mostly include ice and liquids. It has a good build quality, but some users have reported that the base of the jar is fragile and cracks or breaks quite easily. Unlike many more expensive Ninja blenders, it doesn't come with any additional jars or accessories, although you might prefer its simple design if you mostly use your blender for drinks.
If you like making frozen drinks for a crowd at summer parties, you probably 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 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 very smooth blend with fibrous elements like blueberry skin, so your frozen drink should 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.
Dec 23, 2022: Made minor text updates and checked that the products are available.
Oct 24, 2022: Updated text to add more detail about the blenders' performance.
Sep 12, 2022: Restructured article to help users find what they're looking for. Added the Vitamix 7500, the KitchenAid K400, the Ninja Foodi Power Pitcher System, and the Ninja TWISTi.
Jul 12, 2022: Checked that the picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
May 12, 2022: Checked that the picks represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are in stock.
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.