The Smeg BLF01 is a full-size blender with an attractive '50s-style design. Although its motor body is aluminum, it doesn't feel well-built as it has a cheap-feeling plastic gear and a loose-fitting gasket around the blade assembly. It can make a decent smoothie and snow-like crushed ice, but with thicker mixtures, the blades tend to push the ingredients to the sides of the jar where they get stuck. The jar and two-part lid are dishwasher-safe, which is nice, but the removable blade assembly needs to be cleaned by hand.
Note: During testing, our blender's jar consistently leaked liquid onto and through the motor base. While this may not affect every unit, there are a few reports online from users who say they had the same issue. If you have this blender, please let us know your experience in the discussions.
The Smeg BLF01 is bad for multi-purpose use. While it can crush ice and make a decent smoothie if you add enough liquid, it can't make almond butter or blend hot ingredients. It's also badly built since some parts feel very cheap, and our unit leaks when blending liquid ingredients. It's not easy to clean since the blade assembly isn't dishwasher-safe, and you need to unscrew it and wash it by hand after each use to properly clean the blender.
The Smeg BLF01 is alright for smoothies and protein shakes. You need to add more liquid to the jar than some other full-size blenders, or the ingredients get stuck to the sides of the jar. However, with enough liquid in the recipe, it can incorporate kale into a well-blended smoothie. It can also make snow-like crushed ice. Unfortunately, it's not well-made and is also a hard blender to clean.
The Smeg BLF01 is good for ice crushing. With its pulse mode, it's able to break ice cubes down into snow-like crushed ice. Unfortunately, the 'Ice Crush' mode doesn't work very well. It takes longer to crush ice than some more powerful, better-built blenders, and some of its parts feel very flimsy and cheap, so it's not a great option if you make a lot of crushed ice and want something durable.
You can't safely use the Smeg BLF01 for hot blending, so it's not suitable for making soups.
The Smeg BLF01 is inadequate for professional use. The 48-ounce jar is on the small side, and our unit leaks liquid, which is particularly annoying if you use your blender often. The plastic used for the gear and the base of the jar also feels very cheap. While it can make snow-like crushed ice and decent smoothies if you add enough liquid, it can't be used for hot blending and fails to make almond butter. You can put the jar and lid in your dishwasher, but the blade assembly needs to be unscrewed and washed by hand every time you use the blender.
The Smeg BLF01 comes in several different colors: 'Black' (BLF01BL), 'Cream' (BLF01CR), 'Pastel Blue' (BLF01PB), 'Pastel Green' (BLF01PG), 'Pink' (BLF01PK), 'Red' (BLF01RD), 'Silver' (BLF01SV), 'White' (BLF01WH). There's also a variant with a bright pattern design (BLF01DGUS), which is part of a collaboration between Smeg and Dolce and Gabbana and is a more high-end limited edition.
We tested it in Black and you can see the label for the unit we tested here. We expect our results to be valid for the other variants as well.
If you come across another variant, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.
The Smeg BLF01 stands out for its stylish, '50s-inspired design. It comes in several different glossy colors that match other Smeg appliances and takes up less space on your counter than many full-size models that we've tested. Unfortunately, it has a worse build quality than some much cheaper blenders, such as the Hamilton Beach Power Elite Multi-Function or the NutriBullet Blender Combo, and it's a pain to clean.
The KitchenAid K150 is better than the Smeg BLF01. The KitchenAid has a much better build quality, can make spreadable almond butter, can blend hot ingredients, and is much easier to clean by hand. The Smeg does a better job of incorporating kale into a smoothie, but only if you add extra liquid compared to the KitchenAid.
The Vitamix A3500 is better than the Smeg BLF01. The Vitamix has a much better build quality and a better overall blending performance, especially when it comes to tough tasks like making nut butter. It can be used for hot blending, has a bigger capacity, and it's quieter when it's running.
The Blendtec Classic 575 is better than the Smeg BLF01. The Blendtec has a significantly better build quality, can make decent almond butter, and produces snow-like crushed ice in less time. It's also much easier to clean by hand. However, the Smeg does a better job of incorporating kale into a smoothie, but you have to add more liquid to the jar than the Blendtec.
The Vitamix ONE and the Smeg ΒLF01 have different strengths, and you may prefer either. The Vitamix has a much better build quality and makes silkier smoothies in its 32-ounce jar. It's also much easier to clean by hand. However, it's not intended for crushing ice on its own, while the Smeg BLF01 can make snow-like crushed ice.
The Smeg BLF01 is compact for a full-size blender. Its motor base is only slightly larger than the NutriBullet Rx's, so it doesn't take up too much room on your kitchen counter or in a cupboard. You can also remove the jar for easier storage.
The Smeg BLF01 has a poor build quality. At first glance, the aluminum motor base looks premium and sturdy, the power cable is thick, and the controls feel clicky and well-made. However, the grey plastic on the motor base and the bottom of the jar feels thin and cheaper than the rest of the build. There's a safety feature that ensures the blender can't start unless the jar is mounted on the motor base, but it doesn't stop you from blending with the lid off. You can remove the blade assembly from the jar by using the removable center piece of the lid as a key, but unlike the tool that comes with the NutriBullet Rx, it doesn't give you much extra leverage and is tricky to do when your hands are wet. It also seems likely to cause damage to the plastic center piece over time.
Our unit also began to leak the first time we used it to blend liquids for a smoothie. This may be because the rubber gasket on the blade assembly fits loosely. The liquid dripped through the blade assembly onto the top of the motor base into the small hole for the safety feature. It then went through the motor itself and ended up on the counter. This happened every time the blender was used to process liquids, including during cleaning. Also, the metal nut under the blade assembly heated up so much that it fused slightly to the plastic base of the blade assembly and began to burn it.
The blade assembly has four sharp blades. You can remove it by turning the jar upside down and using the plastic centerpiece of the lid as a key to unscrew it. Unlike the jar and lid, it needs to be cleaned by hand.
There's a two-part lid for the jar. You can remove the plastic center piece to add ingredients mid-blend and doubles as a small measuring cup. You also need it to unscrew the blade assembly when you want to remove it from the jar. Both parts of the lid are dishwasher-safe.
The power cord is thick and long enough to reach an outlet near your counter. When it's not in use, you can wrap it around four plastic fins on the underside of the motor base to keep it out of the way.
The Smeg BLF01 is decent for making smoothies. It can incorporate kale into a smooth drink with no unprocessed bits. However, it only works if you add more liquid to the jar than other full-size blenders like the Vitamix Explorian E310 or the KitchenAid K400. With only 1/2 cup (120 mL) of orange juice in the jar, the blades quickly push the ingredients to the sides, creating empty space for the blades to spin in, similar to the almond butter test.
Moving the ingredients towards the blades with a spatula doesn't help very much, and the blender fails to make a drinkable smoothie unless you add extra liquid. It can process the ingredients with the smoothie preset mode with an additional 3/4 cup (180 mL) of orange juice in the jar, which takes about a minute and a half. The result is smooth, although a bit airy and thick. It tastes slightly warm, but that may not be an issue if you add more liquid from the very beginning to avoid blending for too long.
The Smeg BLF01 is excellent for ice crushing. If you use 'Pulse' mode, it takes about two minutes to process 12 ice cubes into fluffy, snow-like crushed ice. There are a few small unprocessed chunks leftover, but the ice is mostly uniform. Unfortunately, when using the dedicated 'Ice Crush' mode, it does a much worse job and leaves behind big chunks of ice.
The Smeg BLF01 can't make almond butter. Gradually increasing from the lowest to the fastest speed setting, it doesn't seem to have too much of an issue chopping two cups of almonds into small pieces.
However, after that point, the blender starts to fling the ingredients to the sides of the jar, where they get stuck. Even if you stop the blender every 30 seconds to push the chopped nuts towards the blades, within a few seconds of restarting the blender, the blades push the ingredients back out of the way and end up spinning in empty space. This may be because the blades are short relative to the width of the jar. Using either of the preset modes or pulse mode doesn't seem to help. After about 10 minutes in total, the result is dry almond power that you can't spread on toast.
The Smeg BLF01 has a dial with four speed settings as well as 'Ice Crush' and 'Smoothie' preset modes. You push the dial to start or stop blending, and there's also a dedicated button for pulse mode. The red light above the dial flashes all the time when the blender is plugged in, which some may find a bit annoying. When it's running, the white ring around the dial lights up. This blender doesn't offer as big a range of speeds as some full-size blenders since its minimum speed is still quite fast. It's not too loud at maximum speed, though.
The Smeg BLF01 has an 'Ice Crush' mode and a 'Smoothie' mode that each run the blender for set period. There's no self-clean program, but there are instructions in the manual for cleaning the blender using pulse mode with soap and water in the jar.
The Smeg BLF01 is difficult to clean. The manual says to clean it, you should fill the jar partway with water, add a drop of soap, and run the blender using pulse mode in two-second intervals for about 10 seconds in total. This eliminates most of the residue in the jar, even if you're working with sticky ingredients. However, you need to remove the blade assembly each time you clean the blender because debris gets stuck around where it screws onto the jar and under its rubber gasket. It's particularly tricky to clean after making something like almond butter, and you need to use a sponge and a brush to clean under the blades. Since our unit leaks, if you make something like a smoothie or even put soapy water in the jar to clean it, you also need to wipe down the top of the motor base around the gear. The liquid also drips down into the motor itself through a small hole near the gear. Since you can't access that part of the blender, it's unclear how to clean it properly. If you're looking for a blender that's easier to clean by hand, try the Hamilton Beach Professional Quiet Blender.