Weak motor, for the price. In one top test, the Waring Pro MBB518 rates Good -- a middling score -- for making frozen drinks like piña coladas, although it's an excellent ice-crusher. It purées soup and grates Parmesan cheese very well, but plenty of blenders work better overall, including the cheaper Ninja Master Prep Pro QB1004 (*Est. $65).
In more than 160 reviews at Amazon.com, about half give high marks to the Waring Pro MBB518 -- but it's sometimes unclear whether they're talking about the current model or an older Waring blender they happen to have. The new Warings look the same, but plenty of owners say they don't pack the same power as the old-school models.
"One day, while making a fruit smoothie, flames shot out the base," one says. The owner called Waring customer service, who "told me that the blender was not capable of blending frozen bananas." The owner's manual posted on Waring's website doesn't caution against blending frozen fruit -- in fact, it includes a shake recipe that calls for fresh or frozen strawberries -- but several owners say frozen fruit broke the blades on their MBB518s. Another says that with ice cream drinks, "you have to baby it a little bit or you will notice the motor starting to smell."
Waring lists the MBB518's motor at 550 "peak input" watts, but Amazon.com lists it at 390 watts. Either way, that's weaker than the 750-watt motor you'll find on the top-rated Breville Hemisphere Control BBL605XL (*Est. $200) and other blenders in this price range.
Pared-down controls aren't easier -- and hand-washing is a chore. The Waring Pro MBB518 has a very simple design: A slender glass pitcher and a base with a single flip-switch. Many owners like it that way.
"Fast, faster, stop ... Those are the speeds. That's all I need," writes one Amazon.com customer. But others wish for a slower speed -- and a bigger jar. The 40-ounce jar is smaller than others, and the Waring owner's manual says you shouldn't fill it past three cups (24 ounces) for best results. One Cooking.com customer says they're not kidding.
"I tried blending a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes and [s]plashed three of my kitchen walls and myself profusely," the owner writes. "The cover is simply too soft (yes I was holding on tightly) and starting this thing creates such a vortex that it bends the cover out of shape and all juices exit in a hurry." The jar has fluted sides (it looks like a four-leaf clover from above), which some owners say helps mix up the contents -- but others say just makes for a lot of splashing, and they have to stop the blender to push ingredients toward the blades. (By contrast, the Breville Hemisphere Control BBL605XL can hold its entire 48-ounce capacity, and we saw no complaints about splashing.)
The blades aren't removable, which some owners find easier. "You don't always have to disassemble and reassemble," one says. "Just put some dish soap inside and run it, then rinse."
Well, not quite. Other blenders with built-in blades do recommend simply whizzing soapy water to clean the jar. But immediately after each use, the Waring's owner's manual instructs you to first scrub out the jar by hand, then whirr soapy water for two minutes (always keeping one hand on the jar), and then whirr clean rinse water for two minutes (again with a hand on the jar).
And unlike the Breville, the Waring isn't dishwasher-safe. One owner learned the hard way. "Now I know why they don't want you to use a dishwasher. Over time the dishwasher scrubs out the lubrication on the blade shaft. Ours starting binding."
Elegant art-deco body. Stylish and sleek, the Waring Pro MBB518 is a "stunning slice of kitchen couture," one Amazon.com owner writes. Its slim glass jar and stepped-pyramid base stick very close to the original Waring art-deco design.
Many owners say it breaks. "The team that built your grandmother's Waring in the '40s? They retired in 1978!" writes another Amazon.com customer. His Waring Pro MBB518 broke three times in three years -- the final time with a blue arc of electricity and a puff of smoke, while blending a frozen-fruit smoothie.
The Waring Pro MBB518 passes one expert durability test (crushing ice 45 times). But other users describe leaky jars, dead motors -- and worse. "One of the four prongs of the metal blade broke off in the shake ... fortunately my husband detected it before ingesting the blade!!" We found several similar complaints. One says that while blending, the blades "grated out the bottom of the jar ... the entire contents of the glass jar along with little pieces of glass were all over the countertop and floor."
Some owners say Waring's customer service seems slow, reluctant to help or even rude. When one Amazon.com customer called to have her leaky MBB518 replaced -- under warranty, she was informed that blending frozen fruit constituted as misuse and it would not be replaced.
Others tell similar stories. Some complain that Waring forced them to mail the entire blender -- at their own expense -- for warranty service, or that service took weeks. One owner says Waring took a month to replace her blade assembly.
The Waring MBB518 has a one-year limited warranty, with five years limited for the motor. It's average-size for a mid-price blender.
Middle-of-the-road for noise. One expert source runs blenders empty for 30 seconds to measure noise. The Waring MBB518's noise level is judged Good, like most blenders in the test. Only a few rate Very good for quietness.
Owners are split on the issue. Some find it pretty quiet, at least for a blender ("you still wouldn't want to be on the phone while blending," as one owner says). But owners are just as likely to find it too loud. And not just the motor -- some owners complain that the blade rattles noisily.
Waring is the original blender (popularized in the 1930s by big band leader Fred Waring), and plenty of owners remember their parents' or grandparents' Waring blenders chugging along for decades. But good looks aren't enough to make the Waring Pro MBB518 a top blender pick. The Best Reviewed Breville Hemisphere Control BBL605XL costs more -- but reviews also say it's a much stronger, sturdier blender.
Excellent The Waring Pro MBB518 is compared with more than 50 blenders in tests here. ConsumerReports.org uses the blenders to crush ice, blend frozen drinks and more. Editors also take noise, durability and convenience (such as ease of cleaning) into account before naming the top picks.
Review: Waring MBB518, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, June 2012
Good About half of the 165 owner reviews here award the Waring Pro MBB518 blender 4 or 5 stars -- but the other half give it low ratings, usually because the blender broke quickly. Several also complain about Waring's customer service.
Review: Waring Professional Bar Blenders, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Oct. 2012
Fair Averaging 4.5 stars in about80 owner reviews, the Waring Pro MBB518 is one of the top-ranked blenders on this retail website. A couple of owners say the blade shaft broke.
Review: Brushed Stainless 40-oz. Professional Bar Blender by Waring, Contributors to Cooking.com, As of Oct. 2012
Fair About 20 owners post reviews, and the Waring Pro MBB518's 4.5-star (out of five) overall rating makes it the best-rated blender here. Most of the reviews are several years old.
Review: Waring Pro MBB518SS 2-Speed Blender, Contributors to Epinions.com, As of Oct. 2012