It's the #1 Best Seller in Personal Size Blenders on Amazon for a reason: Most owners agree that for quick beverages on the go, the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender is a steal. Experts and users say it's easy to use and clean, and fast and efficient. Just don't expect this cheapie to last a lifetime. It comes in your choice of four color options as well as stainless steel, each with different model numbers, but they're the same basic blender.
Great for smoothies and shakes on the go. The idea behind the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender is simple. Toss your smoothie or shake ingredients into the lidded travel cup; stick it on the blender base, whirl and go. Most owners say it works great and they love it. Good Housekeeping testers say it makes "excellent" smoothies and frozen cocktails. Most have no problems blending normal smoothie ingredients -- ice cubes, frozen strawberries, banana chunks, apple pieces with skin, spinach, even sticky prunes -- as long as they include plenty of liquid. One expert tester says the smoothies tend to come out thicker than from high-end blenders, but we found few complaints from users. Reviewers say it's very quiet.
Simple to use -- but not foolproof. Owners find the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender pretty straightforward, but say you'll get the best results if you take a little care. Don't overfill the 14-ounce cup, and put hard items (like ice) in last. You might also have to stir or shake to get everything blended. Users love that the blending jar doubles as a travel cup, which means there's only one small thing to wash. Check your owner's manual to see if the cup and lid in your particular model is dishwasher-safe.
Little and lightweight. The design of the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender is simple: A clear plastic cup (sized to fit in a car cup holder) on a blender base. Both parts are similar in size and shape, which makes for a sleek look. The entire unit stands less than a foot tall and weighs about 2 pounds, so users say it's perfect for small kitchens and dorm rooms -- and commuters love that it fits even in small cupholders. It comes in four color options (black, white, red or green) as well as stainless steel, and all cost around the same, give or take a couple of dollars.
Cheap enough to replace, if you must. At this price, most owners don't expect the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender to last forever and if it does conk out, they say they'd buy a new one in a heartbeat. We saw some complaints that the motor smells hot -- like burning oil or plastic -- and that it dies quickly, but not as many as you might expect at this price point. Most report that it holds up well, and some say the blender has lasted for more than a year so far. Some owners suggest pulsing is easier on the motor than holding down the blend button. Several owners complain that the travel lid (which is also the blending lid) cracked after a few months and can leak while blending or drinking. Hamilton Beach covers the blender with a one-year warranty.
The Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender is one of 79 blenders tested by editors of ConsumerReports.org. Testing methodology includes blending yogurt, pureeing soups and crushing ice for smoothies. They also evaluated convenience, noise and durability. User reviews are also helpful for real-world perspective, but are not part of the editor's evaluation process.
Review: Blenders , Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Valentina Palladino reviews five single-serve blenders, including the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender. Although it's the least expensive model in the roundup, it earns the top spot with an overall rating of 8 out of 10. Palladino says it works quickly and does what you need it to do, although smoothies come out a bit thick.
Review: Smoothie Operators: 5 Single-Serve Blenders Tested, Valentina Palladino, June 13, 2013
3. Good Housekeeping
This is an older review, but the product hasn't changed significantly since it was published. Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute give the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender an overall rating of A-. They say it's excellent at making smoothies, but not good for large groups, which seems like an unfair criticism for a single-serve blender.
Review: Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender 51102, Editors of Good Housekeeping , July 2010
More than 3,700 owners review the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender 51101B here, giving it an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. Most love it, saying it blends great frozen-fruit smoothies with just a few seconds of pulsing. Others note drawbacks -- some find it hard to clean, for example -- but they say it's still pretty good for the price. This page also includes reviews for the three other color options -- red, white and green -- but not the stainless-steel version, which gets its own review page and rates similarly.
Review: Hamilton Beach 51101B Personal Blender with Travel Lid, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2014
More than 800 owners review the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender in red, white and a no-longer-available blue color, but not black. It earns an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Most love the size and say it's perfect for quick smoothies to go in the mornings. There are a few durability complaints, but most agree that it's great for the money.
Review: Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender with Travel Lid, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of July 2014