April 20, 2020 – For just $89 (today), Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-iQ (BN701) is a big-batch making smoothie, ice crushing and ice cream making wizard of a beast.
With a very generous 72-ounce pitcher (capable of blending a full 64 ounces) and three preset Auto-iQ Programs, one-button convenience is at hand to create ice cream, smoothies and frozen drinks limited only by the user’s imagination. That is this beast’s forte. Have a look at the Ninja Total Crushing Blades! Mean and nasty, high performance.
This new model has a more powerful motor than previous Ninja blenders and features a new motor base design that caters to the current smoothie trends. Unlike the competition, that 72-ounce pitcher is sure to be a family and party pleaser, and that’s the idea, I am sure.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Here is what it is NOT, not that there is anything wrong with that. It is NOT an all-purpose blender of the type and commensurate expense of products from brands including Vitamix and Blendtec. Ninja Professional Plus Blender will, however, do a better job of its specialty jobs than will the more expensive products and here is why . . .
WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES WELL
The removable blade “tree” in this behemoth assures perfect blending without cavitation, the air pocket that most certainly will be created in those expensive products and in any others with the blades in the bottom of the pitcher. If you have one of those, you know this to be true.
Dump frozen ingredients into one of those and start blending. It is likely that you’ll have to stop, shake the contents to the bottom, use a spatula to push down and scrape the sides or use a supplied tool through the lid to break up the air bubble and push contents to the blades at the jar bottom. Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-iQ powers through the frozen contents for total and perfect blending from top to bottom.
This blender is NOT to be used with or to create a hot liquid product, as is OK with the more powerful and more expensive Vitamix blenders, as an example.
Got it? COLD for this blender to make mounds of powdered ice, perfectly blended smoothies or frozen adult beverages, and to make ice cream that’s ready for the freezer. Also, blend the ingredients COLD that can then be heated to make a wonderfully thick and tasty soup after transfer to a pot on the stove. Spend $200 more, and up, to get a Vitamix or other premium product that will not only blend but also create enough friction that translates to heat right there in the blender jar. Ah, but is it worth the extra money? What features and capabilities do YOU want in a blender?
It’s not complicated. With the blade tree in place, load the pitcher. Secure the lid with a snap of the pull-down locking bar. Place the loaded blender jar on the motor base observing the pictorial directive to twist clockwise to lock the pitcher in place. It will snap and turn no more. Depending upon the surface the Ninja sits on, a pair of lightly suction-capable feet along with two plain old rubber bumper feet may help stabilize and prevent the assembly from “walking” while in use.
Then, plug it in, choose a MANUAL setting or PRESET according to the desired outcome and GO. In manual mode, start, pulse and stop as desired. In program mode, Ninja Professional Plus will perform automatically and stop when the program has completed.
Unlike some products that require a break-in period and the honeymoon period wherein users get to know a product, put it through its paces, discover likes and dislikes, such is not the case here. I like that! The slight honeymoon period consists of trying a variety of capabilities, and that is just a matter of taking the time to put it through its paces.
Cleanup is easy, too. One way is to remove the blade assembly from the pitcher, treating it very carefully. It’s SHARP! I think washing the blade “tree” by hand using a dish washing brush is most effective, but it is said to be safe for the top rack in an automatic dishwasher. The blender jar is also said to be washable on the dishwasher top rack, but I think it is impractical to put that BIG thing on its side up there. With the blade tree removed, wash it by hand and dry it with a dish towel. I’d stay clear of the blades and let them air dry. Much easier.
Though not instructed to do so, I washed this Ninja blender jar with blades installed by following the same procedure used on my Vitamix. With the blade tree installed, I fill THIS blender jar with six ounces of lukewarm, NOT hot water, add no more than three drops of Dawn liquid dish soap and then secure the lid. Then, I pressed (Manual) LOW, then MED, and then after about 10 seconds, I pressed HIGH and let it run an additional 30 seconds. DO NOT walk away. Keep an eye on it to be sure the suds from the tiny bit of dish soap do not create so much foam as to overflow the pitcher. If using just the two or three drops of soap, there will not be too many bubbles.
After the cleaning cycle as described, I removed the jar from the base, headed to the kitchen sink where I removed the lid and the blade assembly. There, the lid, blade assembly and pitcher were rinsed in fresh cold water. Avoiding stains and deposits from the hard water where I live, I dried the jar and lid with a kitchen towel, but I left the blade assembly to air dry so I could steer clear off the razor-sharp edges.
Here is a benefit offered by THIS product over any other blender with non-removable blades at the bottom of the blender jar. On ALL those others, it can become a bit tricky to fully clean the bottom inside of the jar, especially where the blade base meets with the gear-like piece on the underside that mates with the motor. It is this meshing of the gears that allows the motor to turn the blades inside the blender jar.
In this Ninja design, however, removing the blades reveals not only the entire blade assembly but also the entire and unobstructed inside bottom of the blender jar. Nothing can hide from thorough cleaning. In fairness, however, I never had a problem cleaning the inside bottom of my Vitamix blender jar using the prescribed method above. Just a little food for thought!
A BEAUTIFUL NOISE
What else can I tell you? Is it noisy? The answer is relative. Comparing the noise from Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-iQ to other blenders, I’d have to say it is comparable to, say, Oster, Waring and Breville blenders I have used. My perception is that on its highest setting, my Vitamix is louder, but, then, it is spinning faster with its more powerful motor. Conclusion: This Ninja is not obtrusively loud.
After cleaning with the few drops of Dawn the evening of the day it was received, I was ready for testing the next morning with a clean blender jar.
As easy as it is to use, it is also difficult to make a mistake in assembling the jar, blades and lid, and then placing it on the motor base with a twist turn to lock it all in place.
A quick lesson I learned is that the lid goes on only one way. Users must observe the locking tabs on the jar and under the lid. Mate these properly and the lid snaps closed with ease. Try to put on the lid while incorrectly oriented and it just won’t work, as I discovered on my first try at crushing ice. I thought the blade tree was off kilter and wondered why the lid would not lock. This “defective customer” had not properly placed the lid. Lesson learned. It’s amazing how well things go when directions are followed!
READY FOR ACTION
Test number one – ice crushing/shaving. I loaded a full tray of ice cubes into the blender jar and pressed the ICE CRUSH button. Et voilà, loads of beautifully crushed ice for blended drinks or snow cones.
Test number two – smoothie time. The video above shows the end of the programmed cycle. Initially, it appeared that I would need to intervene to help things along. Patience was rewarded! At some point during the Smoothie program cycle all that was flung to the sides slid down to the bottom and was picked up by the blades. Glorious!
The Internet is loaded with smoothie and other frozen drink recipes so take the time to look around to find and make note of favorites, unless you are already a pro with your own favorites. Use the QUICK START GUIDE linked above and that comes packed with the product for your own quick start guide.
If the smoothie’s too thick, add COLD liquid of choice. If too THIN, add more frozen fruit or some ice. Once you have determined how to get the desired consistency, you are on your way to creative smoothie nirvana.
Don’t forget that a smoothie is a kissing cousin to a milk shake. I have no doubt that this Ninja would make fine milk shakes.
Just as milk shakes are easy to create in this gadget, so, too, is salsa, using the MANUAL button then PULSE for the desired consistency. The included CHIPOTLE SALSA recipe is delicious as well as easy to make. I add ½ teaspoon of ground cumin to their recipe.
Moving along the continuum of smoothie variants, try your hand at making dips and sauces as well as blending the ingredients for thick and hearty soup. Another capability I intend to exploit.
Test number three – ice cream. Oh, boy, this is fun! I have made delicious coffee-based dark chocolate orange mocha ice cream as well as simple and flavorful lime sorbet. This could be habit forming.
The Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-IQ is a fine and fun addition to my collection of countertop kitchen gadgets. It performs its numerous functions well, with easy cleanup.
I have two favorite features of this Ninja blender – one is the 72-ounce blender jar, not unique to this model. I assume that the Ninja will blend as desired. The other favorite feature is the removable blade assembly which allows thorough cleaning of the jar, blades and lid.
Were it to cost more, I would expect more. For example, it feels a bit cheap. Sure, the makers could have done nothing more than add weight to the motor base, and who would be the wiser, but they did not. It does not have a heavy duty feel as do the more expensive, heavier-duty products. I remind myself that this is a sub-$100 product that does so many things well, and that I cannot expect too much, so I do not. Cheap feeling aside, it performs like a champ and comes with a 12-month warranty.
The motor has not exhibited any signs of stress through any of its paces over the past days of intensive testing.
The parts and pieces assemble easily and operate smoothly. It is difficult to err when using this Ninja. Properly snap the jar onto the base as it is difficult to do otherwise. Place the blade assembly onto its mount in the bottom of the jar. This, too, is difficult to do incorrectly as is removal of the blades. Lift it out and that’s that. The lid fits well and the lid locking bar works flawlessly to seal the lid to the jar, as well as releasing the lid when the lid locking handle is raised. The pouring spout snaps shut against its seal to prevent leakage, and is a part of the lid assembly that works without fuss.
Now, with the ability to make a perfectly blended hefty portion to satisfy several thirsty friends and family members AND to make more than a quart of ice cream, this $100 kitchen gadget could see lots of action. Add to that the other capabilities, and it is easy to see that, given the desire to do so, Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-IQ will see regular use for years to come.
As with ANY countertop appliance, the only other consideration before purchase is figuring out where it will live when not in use. There must be a space for it that does not interfere with day-to-day use of the kitchen counter space. Fortunately, I was able to create and dedicate a space outside the kitchen and adjacent to the dining area where my countertop appliances can live both when in use and when stored and ready.
SPECIFICATIONS AND WHAT’S IN THE BOX
BN701 Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-iQ
The Ninja Professional Plus Blender with Auto-iQ features a new modern design and a more powerful motor than Ninja’s original Professional Blender.
1400-Peak-Watt Motor Base
72 oz. Total Crushing Pitcher with Stacked Blade Assembly and Lid
64 oz. max liquid capacity
Recipe Inspiration Guide
Quick Start Guide