The Nutri Ninja range of personal blenders are for anyone who wants a smoothie (or 2) made fast. Specifically designed for people who like to blend and go, they make getting out the door, smoothie in hand super easy.
There are some basic models of Nutri Ninja that perform the ‘blend and go’ function more than competently. But here, we are looking at the next generation that takes it to the next level with ‘smart’ technology.
This Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ review includes all you need to know about Auto-iQ technology, what it allows this blender to do (and not do) and some other key points to know. But if you are in a hurry, click here to see the Nutri Ninja BL480 with 1000 Watt Auto-IQ Base on Amazon.
What Is Ninja Auto-iQ?
Ninja Auto-iQ technology was developed to overcome two problems found in the first wave of personal blender models.
First, the need to be ‘hands on’ and operate the machine manually by pushing down on the container. With these models, pulsing and blending only happened if manual pressure was applied. This manual operation can be a real pain and time waster.
In time these models evolved to have containers with ‘lock in tabs’ that allowed the machine to run without the need to hold the container. But, the second problem still remained – inconsistent results with smoothies that had chunky bits and fibers still remaining.
It can difficult when blending manually to know if you have ‘pulsed’ and ‘blended’ long enough to liquefy all the ingredients. This often means chunks in your smoothie that you only find once you’re sipping away.
Enter Auto-iQ technology which allows you to press a button and walk away while the blender does the job. With pre-programmed settings, the machine will pulse, pause and blend in a set sequence to make sure the end result is super smooth. You won’t need to ‘chew’ any of your smoothie.
Although you don’t need to be hands on with Auto-iQ programs, it is fascinating to watch (the first few times any way). The machine starts, stops, starts, stops and then goes flat out like it has a mind of its own. You can see the smart technology at work and bit by bit, the pieces in your smoothie seem to dissolve.
Just like we have smart phones and smart TV’s, this is a smart blender. Press a button, walk away and let it do its job.
Big Plus – A Choice of Programs
With the Nutri Ninja there are two Auto-iQ choices – blend and ultra blend. These programs operate on a count down timer.
Blend is for softer fruit and vegetables running for 45 seconds. Ultra blend is for the tougher jobs – ice, frozen fruits and fibrous produce. It runs on a 60 second program making sure all fibers, seeds and ice are completely pulverized.
Choosing the right auto program allows you to blend up whatever you want in a smoothie. No ingredient is off-limits and with a little practice you will know which program to use. Experiment with your favorite recipes and ingredients knowing the blender can handle them all.
Sometimes you will want to use the manual functions. There is a Stop/Start button that operates the blender on one speed and counts up. While handy to have, if you are mainly making smoothies, this feature is one you won’t use a lot. It is better to let the Auto-iQ handle smoothie making.
There is also a pulse setting which is perfect for small food processing jobs like salsas and dips. Pulsing control ensures you don’t over process these types of recipes. You can control the degree of chopping to give a perfect end result.
What Can It Do? Crush Ice? Grind Nuts?
This machine is small but very powerful thanks to the 1000 watt motor. While it is not built as a food processor, it is still capable of some tasks beyond blending smoothies.
Can it crush ice? Yes. The blender is powerful enough to crush ice and any other frozen ingredients. Blending up granitas, margaritas and other icy drinks is easy.
Can it grind nuts? No, not on their own. The Nutri Ninja is not designed for dry blending and you must always add liquid to the cup. This means it can’t be used for grinding hard, dry ingredients like nuts, coffee or seeds to a powder.
But don’t worry, you can include nuts and seeds in smoothies and other drinks with no problem at all. They will be completely pulverized and blended smoothly.
Chopping small quantities of fresh produce is possible. You will want to use the manual buttons for this to ensure they are not over-processed. Making up a batch of fresh salsa, chopping herbs and mincing garlic can be done in a matter of seconds.
Other food processing jobs can be handled by this machine include mixing batters, blending sauces and combining salad dressings. Having a small, fast machine to do these tasks can be a time saver and minimize clean up.
What The Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ Can’t Do
Apart from the limitation of no dry blending, the Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ can’t be used for hot liquids. If you want to blend a soup or hot sauce, this is not the machine to do it with. This is not because the blender isn’t powerful enough, it is because the containers aren’t designed for hot blending.
So while you can’t take your favorite soup from stove top to blender, you can let it cool down to room temperature and then blend. This may be suitable if making these types of recipes in advance or storing them for later.
Beware of This Problem Area
Every time you use the blender you will clean it – that’s only natural. Either give it a rinse or put some water in the blender with a drop of dish liquid and give it a spin on the motor base.
But, what many people forget to do is clean under the silicone seal. This is where food can build up very quickly and if not cleaned, will start to smell. It will also compromise the quality of your food and smoothies with a build up of bacteria and mold.
Being aware of this issue is important because there is no mention in the manual about cleaning the seal. It is also a common complaint among buyers who don’t realize the need to clean the seal until it starts to stink. By then it can be difficult to get it completely clean.
Cleaning is very easy to do and should be done every time you use the blender. Use a small sharp knife or other tool to gently remove the seal, give it a good clean and allow to dry before putting back in place. Also make sure to thoroughly clean around the rim where the seal sits to remove all food.
While not everyone has a dental pick lying around, this video gives an overview of how to remove the seal.
Another great suggestion is to tie a piece of floss around the seal each time you put it in place. Let the ends hang out and when done blending, simply pull them to remove the seal.
This issue is not specific to the Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ blender – any blender with a silicone seal will need to have it removed and cleaned. But it is one that comes up often in product reviews and is worth knowing about.
What Buyers Love and Hate
On the whole there are many more buyers who love this product, than hate it. The consistent delivery of great smoothies at the push of a button makes this machine a winner. Owners are impressed with how well it blends and the ability to cut through everything – ice, frozen fruits, greens, nuts – whatever they throw at it.
The Auto-iQ also gives confidence that the machine won’t burn out by being allowed to run too long. This can be a big problem for small blenders – they simply don’t have the capacity to run at a high speed for long periods of time. Their specialty is short, fast, powerful blending. And the Nutri Ninja delivers this to its buyers.
Fast, easy clean up is another welcome feature. Unlike larger countertop blenders and processors, the small containers can be rinsed clean easily.
BUT, as mentioned above, don’t miss cleaning the seal! This is definitely an issue that buyers have highlighted as a problem. In time, there will be a build up of food and smelly bits under the seal. For some this happened very quickly and it is likely to depend on what ingredients are being blended.
Most of all, buyers love the price of this blender compared to bigger brand names. Some have used other brands and found the Nutri Ninja more than holds its own, without the price tag. For students, or budget conscious smoothie fans, it is an ideal price point.
What’s In the Box
The following is what you will get with your Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ:
- 1000 Watt motor base with Auto-iQ technology
- 2 Auto-iQ Programs, 2 Manual Programs
- Regular 24 oz. Nutri Ninja Cup
- Small 18 oz. Nutri Ninja Cup
- Sip and Seal Lids
- Pro Extractor Blades
- 30 Recipe Inspiration Guide
- Instruction Book
- Quick Start Guide
There is nothing you need to get started once the machine is unpacked. Plug it in and start blending right away (although it is a good idea to wash the containers first).
If you need some recipe inspiration, that is included too. Otherwise, get started with your favorite smoothie blend.
Having 3 cup sizes available makes it easy to blend a smoothie for 1 or 2. It also means you can make up a smoothie and store it, while still having a cup handy to whip up something else. There is no need to pour into other containers and just create more cleaning up.
Is It Worth Your Investment? The Verdict
Morning smoothies are a whole lot easier and a lot less hassle with this blender. If you really want a smoothie every morning, but dread the thought of making it, this blender is the answer. Because it thinks for you, just add ingredients, press one button and walk away.
If you want to make a smoothie and go, this blender will do the job too. Choose the cup size you need, blend, put on the lid to seal and head out the door. While there are other blenders that also offer ‘blend and go’, the Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ is a well priced option.
It can be used for some food processing jobs but the real power is in the Auto-iQ technology. A combination of convenience and portability at an affordable price, definitely make this smart little blender a worthwhile choice.