Unique design crushes ice, blends smoothies and chops veggies well. In lieu of the traditional blender setup with blades at the bottom of the jar, Ninjas have a post full of blades running lengthwise through the jar and included chopping bowl. The motor sits on top of the unit.
Good Housekeeping testers praise the way it works. "It excelled at grinding coffee beans and chopping up onions; it also whipped up a great smoothie," they write. "The small and versatile Euro-Pro Ninja Master Prep blender can be depended on for all-around good performance."
Ninja heavily advertises the Master Prep's ice-pulverizing prowess, and many owners say it really is a champ with ice cubes. However, Mariette Mifflin, About.com's guide to housewares, finds ice crushing with the Ninja a pain. "Yes, it does make snow, but I found it tedious and it usually required more than one try," she says. She had to hold down the motor housing firmly while pulsing, or it would bounce off the pitcher requiring reassembly. "On the other hand, blending drinks with both ice and liquid were the easiest, creamiest and best ... it does blend a super creamy iced coffee." She likes the chopper part even better: "It has lots of power to cut cleanly, especially noticeable with celery."
Smoothies get mixed reviews. Mifflin -- like some owners -- says the Ninja Master Prep fails to purée some ingredients (like bananas) finely enough to drink through a straw. One Amazon customer writes that after manually holding the lid while blending, the resulting smoothie was still chunky. But others disagree.
"I've used this blender every single day for the past 6 months and it's just awesome," says one owner at Amazon.com. "I make myself a smoothie every single morning (frozen strawberries, orange juice, yogurt, one banana, honey) and it hasn't broken down on me, gotten stuck, or not blended my drink all the way."
Another says, "I can make my refried beans, chop onions and garlic, smoothies and sauces."
Dishwasher-safe, but difficult to clean if washing by hand. The Ninja Master Prep QB900 comes with a 48-ounce blending pitcher and 16-ounce chopping bowl (both BPA-free plastic), plus storage lids for both. Good Housekeeping likes that the pitcher can be positioned for right- or left-hand use and that all parts (except for the motor housing) can go in the dishwasher.
If you don't have a dishwasher, though, reviewers say you will have problems. "This thing has an absurd amount of horribly engineered nooks and crannies on its top, AND there's a section which you will never, ever be able to properly clean because it is recessed inside," says one Amazon.com reviewer. "Within a few months you'll have a nice fuzzy colony of bacteria in there." Food can accumulate on the blade axle, too, other owners say, "so be careful when unscrewing the incredibly sharp blades to clean the axle."
About those sharp blades: "My first day with it, I sliced my thumb almost to the bone!" says one owner at Amazon.com. "To clean the blades … your fingers [get] hazardously close to the blades, just asking for your fingers to be sliced and diced."
The Ninja has one speed, and you have to press the On button the entire time you're blending. Good Housekeeping editors -- and some owners consider this a con. "The whole design is very awkward to use," says one Amazon.com user. "You can't turn it on and walk away ... And when you want to add something else to the mix, first you remove the motor, then you remove the lid, and finally add your ingredient only to do it all over again when you want to adjust the taste again."
Lots of parts to keep track of. "Right out of the box, the Ninja food processor and blender is bigger and more impressive than expected," says Mifflin at About.com. "Made of quality plastics, the Ninja food processor seems very durable."
The Ninja is mostly plastic -- a colored plastic motor housing atop a clear plastic pitcher and chopping bowl. It's not heavy or bulky, but "there are lots of small parts to store," Good Housekeeping testers say. And, an Amazon.com owner adds that the parts don't nest. There's no cord storage, either, bringing the Ninja's overall Good Housekeeping grade down to a B+.
Ninja's plastic parts seem durable, but there are few long-term reviews to confirm. We didn't find many long-term reviews for the Ninja Master Prep QB900, but some owners say it has worked fine for six months or longer. Still, others say the plastic parts break, or the blades grind into the plastic pitcher or lid.
"It broke after two months," says one owner at Amazon.com. "The long blade shaft snapped one inch below where it attaches to the motor. I was surprised to see it was partially hollow plastic!"
A quiet blender. Good Housekeeping testers find the Ninja Master Prep "very quiet during use." Owner reviews largely back that up.
"I used it for the 1st time this morning and it made the perfect smoothie in 10 seconds! And no one complained about the noise!" says a 5-star review at Target.com. Several other owners at the site and at Amazon.com agree, and only one describes it as loud: "an inadvertent alarm clock for others in the apartment".
Its plastic parts aren't indestructible, but reviews say the Ninja Master Prep QB900 is pretty impressive -- for a cheap blender. Still, the slightly pricier Ninja Master Prep Pro QB1004 (*Est. $65) strikes reviewers as more powerful and easier to clean, and it's our top-rated budget pick.
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1. Good Housekeeping
Good The Ninja Master Prep blender earns a B+ at Good Housekeeping. It's great at chopping onions and grinding coffee beans, and it makes a good smoothie. Editors don't like pressing down on the lid while blending, though, and they count the lack of cord storage and myriad small parts as cons.
Review: Euro-Pro Ninja Master Prep Blender, Editors of Good Housekeeping, July 2010
Good Averaging 4.2 stars (out of 5) in more than 130 owner reviews, the Ninja Master Prep QB900 is one of the best-liked blenders at Amazon.com. Most users say it blends and chops extremely well. However, some say it doesn't achieve completely smooth beverages. Several say the blades and blending lid have nooks that are impossible to clean without a dishwasher, and some say their Ninjas broke quickly.
Review: Ninja QB900B Master Prep Revolutionary Food and Drink Maker, Gray, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Oct. 2012
Fair The Ninja Master Prep blender creates a creamy iced coffee, and the chopper bowl turns out cleanly chopped celery, onions and more. Turning ice into snow is a tedious task, and the blender doesn't quite blend a banana smoothie smooth enough to drink through a straw, but overall, housewares and appliances guide Mariette Mifflin recommends the Ninja. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Euro-Pro Ninja Master Prep Food Processor and Blender Review, Mariette Mifflin, Sept. 29, 2009
Fair Averaging 4.5 stars (out of 5) with about 60 owner reviews posted, the Ninja Master Prep is one of the top-rated blenders at Target.com. Only a few post negative reviews -- one says the blades are too dangerous, and two others say the Ninja can't crush ice without leaving chunks.
Review: Ninja Master Prep -- Black/Silver, Contributors to Target.com, As of Oct. 2012