Nutribullet Smart Touch Blender
CNN  — 

My health-conscious side is hooked on whipping up a daily green smoothie. My snack-obsessed side, on the other hand, can barely get through the afternoon without freshly made nut butter or creamy dips. And that side of me that longs for happy hour, no matter the time of day? Frozen margaritas, pina coladas and boozy frappes are in frequent rotation.

So it’s no wonder that a good blender has a permanent space on my kitchen counter. And while I can’t deny the allure of the unparalleled Vitamix, not everyone is willing to shell out $600-plus for the small appliance. Enter the NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender. Intrigued by its sleek touchscreen and promise to deliver high-powered results at a $129.99 price tag, I spent several weeks putting it to the test on everything from banana-spinach smoothies to carrot-ginger soups to lemon-lime margs. Did it deliver? Read on to find out.

What is the NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender?

Famed for its personal, single-serve countertop blenders (with more than 50 million sold), Nutribullet also makes full-size versions, including its newest offering, the Smart Touch, which launched earlier this month. With an intuitive, user-friendly touchscreen display, the model comes with a powerful 1,500-watt motor base, large 64-ounce pitcher with a locking lid, tamper (a long plastic tool that helps remove air pockets and keeps thick ingredients from getting stuck) and recipe guide.

Nutribullet Smart Touch Blender

The touchscreen helps take the guesswork out of the blending process, with a light-up panel featuring controls for four preset blending settings: purees, soups, frozen drinks and smoothies. It also has four speeds — pulse, low, medium and high — for more precision, as well as a digital timer that counts down when using presets and shows time elapsed when using the speed controls. To turn it off and on, simply tap the power button.

We also like that its suction feet stick firmly to your counter without any effort at all. In fact, we had to pull up on its sides to get the thing to move. This is a nice feature since high-powered blenders can tend to dance around as they work, and no one wants their blender taking a dive off the counter.

How does it perform?

Getting started with your NutriBullet Smart Touch is a snap: Pull it out of its box, wipe out the jar and lid, and you’re good to go. Since smoothies are a morning staple in our house, we started there, adding milk, fresh and frozen fruit, spinach, almond butter, protein powder and ice to our concoctions. We were impressed at how well the blender blitzed the spinach — leaving no chunks of green bits behind. We love a thick, spoonable a smoothie, so we tend to go heavier on the ice, and thought the NutriBullet did a pretty good job at incorporating it, although it did lead to a frosty — rather than super creamy — texture. The less ice we used, the smoother and creamier the drink became. The smoothie setting, at 50 seconds, was always pretty much dead-on time-wise.

Nutribullet Smart Touch Blender

Next up was soups. This blender does not allow you to make hot soup (some high-end blenders, such as the Vitamix or Breville Super Q heat soups as they blend, saving you lots of time and dirty dishes to clean). We followed NutriBullet’s included recipe for carrot-ginger soup, cooking it on the stove and then adding the cooled mixture to the blender to make it smooth. It worked like a dream, delivering extra-creamy soup.

Frozen drinks were also a winner. The NutriBullet crushes ice to a fine snow-like texture in about 30 seconds and almost makes whipping up a pitcher of margaritas too easy. Our coffee-loving teens found it made excellent frappuccinos, resulting in an icy caffeinated treat.

But for those who like to make their own nut butter at home, you can do better. The NutriBullet merely turned our peanuts into a sort of peanut flour, also leaving some nut chunks behind.

What’s the build like?

With a slightly slimmer profile than a Vitamix, the black matte Nutribullet looks sharp on the counter. The digital display only appears when it’s powered on and, as a safety feature, won’t turn on if the lid is not fully snapped into place.

So, about that lid, which is quite rigid: It’s not easy to take off. We continued to wrestle with removing it even after several uses. As for the pitcher, it’s constructed of high-quality, BPA-free plastic (the norm for blender pitchers and glass versions are more susceptible to breaking) and is top-rack dishwasher safe (as is the lid; the tamper is hand-wash only).

Nutribullet Smart Touch Blender

If you choose to hand wash the Smart Touch, be aware that the blades are not removable from the jar, so you’ll need a bottle brush to avoid cutting yourself as you clean it.

One other thing to note is the blender’s noise factor. While there’s no such thing as a silent — or even quiet — blender, the NutriBullet is really loud, much louder than a Vitamix when compared side by side. So if there are sleeping babies or grouchy teenagers in your household, be forewarned.

The bottom line

If you have money to spend, prefer a longer seven-year warranty and want the ability to crush peanuts into smooth peanut butter, or you’re a soup fiend who would rather skip the whole stovetop step, investing in a higher-powered blender would be a wise decision.

But If your main blender need is to whip up a smoothie as part of your daily routine, the NutriBullet Smart Touch is a great option. With a one-year limited warranty, it does a fine job of blending up fruits and veggies to a smooth and velvety consistency. It will also blitz your cooked soups into a crazy-creamy puree and when it’s margarita time? You’ll be the belle of the neighborhood block party. Now, who wouldn’t say cheers to that?