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Back to Basics Smoothie Express Smoothie Maker
Back to Basics Smoothie Express Smoothie Maker: The Single Serving Blender
The Back to Basics Smoothie Express Smoothie Maker is a decent, portable, single serving blender. In fact, this smoothie maker has been my go-to blender every morning for the past 4 months. I have made over 150 smoothies with it and am very impressed.
The 26 Oz container is a nice size for those wanting to make a quick grab-n-go green (or fruit) smoothie that contains a decent serving size of refreshment.
It does take a little getting used to loading the jar properly prior to blending because you put the ingredients you want on top when blending, in first (on the bottom of the open jar) so when the jar is turned upside down and placed on the blender base, everything is orientated correctly.
Once your brain get a hold of reversing the order, (though I still put the ingredients in backwards occasionally – I’m in such a habit of “soft, leafy greens, frozen last” order), this blender blends up a surprisingly decent smoothie that is a very generous serving size. Not silky creamy mind you but a very good consistency. that you’ll enjoy drinking.
The 400 Watt motor, for the size of the smoothie maker, is powerful enough that frozen fruits or ice cubes don’t present a problem PROVIDED you have enough of a liquid base – about 12 Oz. But that’s true of all lower and even mid-priced smoothie makers – the motor in these blenders simply don’t have the power and torque to overcome thick smoothies.
- 3 speed settings, plus pulse
- Sharp ice-chopping blades for frozen ingredients
- 26 Oz insulated container doubles as travel mug – fits most cup holders
- Secure-fitting spill-proof lid
- Compact design for space-saving storage
- 1-year warranty
Motor/ Controls/ Speeds
The Smoothie Express smoothie maker features a 400 Watt motor. It is surprisingly powerful and is able to handle most ingredients you would add to a smoothie whether it be frozen fruit, regular size ice cubes, fibrous leafy greens like Kale and Collard Greens (including their stems), or powders.
I pack this jar full every morning (see my review video below) and it has yet to hiccup at making a great smoothie when I turn the switch on.
The Control Panel has a rotary switch dial that is a nice size and easy to grip with wet or dry hands. Turning one click to the left from the Off position give pulse control. Turn to the right for Low, Medium or High.
This four speed selection gives very good control over your blend and minimizes the chance for cavitation – material unable to be pulled into the spinning blades, thus forming an air pocket and preventing further blending. Most times, I will pulse first to eliminate the chance for an air pocket and then switch of to High speed once everything is blending nicely.
The smoothie maker dimensions are 5” Wide x 5.5” Deep x 14” Tall.
Not only will it not take up much space on your counter top, it is a nice to travel with. The base is 6” tall by itself and the jar/blending base is 9” tall. Not nearly as compact as the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Smoothie Maker, but not so large as you it couldn’t be packed for travel.
Container & Base Info
The single container holds approximately 26 Oz of your favorite smoothie and is made of plastic. Once you’re done blending your favorite smoothie in the jar, remove the blending cap, screw on the travel top and it’s ready to drop in your cup holder for the ride to work (or play). The nice sized handle is easy to hold with its rubberized grip.
The jar tapers from its 3.75” opening at the top to 2.75” at the bottom, allowing it to fit most cup holders found in today’s cars. The travel top has a waterproof seal that works well to prevent anything from spilling if tipped.
It also features a sip hole with watertight cover however, the hole is a tad small if you have anything but a thin (think V8 juice) smoothie. Using the opening to insert a straw seems to work well a la your favorite milkshake.
Oh, and as a side note, this is a right-handed container only if using the travel lid and taking with you in the car.
You’ll notice in the picture above, the relationship between sip-hole and handle. This won’t be a problem for the driver using this setup but I wasn’t able to find a way to re-orientate the hole for lefties. Sorry.
The base has a nice weight and doesn’t dance or jump around on the counter top when blending ice or frozen fruit. Since this smoothie maker can be used by the traveler, I wish the base had some type of cord wrap to make it a bit more tidy when carried in a bag or luggage but is not a huge deal.
The speed dial is large and easy to move through all positions, even with wet hands.
Use & Cleanup
The Smoothie Express Smoothie Maker makes up a fine green smoothie. In months of daily use, it hasn’t failed to exceed expectations and has become my go-to, single serving smoothie maker.
The 26 Oz jar allows me to make a full-size serving of smoothie in only a few steps. The blending lid has never leaked and though I don’t use the travel lid (I simply can’t get the smoothie through the small sip-hole), in my leak tests, it has never leaked.
It did take awhile to get use to loading the jar “backwards” – putting what I want on top (the frozen fruit or ice cubes) in first so when I put the blending lid on and turn everything upside down to blend, the frozen goods are on top.
As always, it’s important to get enough liquid base in the jar so as not to tax the motor too much. As long as the first items touching the blades when starting the blend cycle are liquid and soft fruit or veggies, everything should be fine. Just make sure to pulse the mix a few times to get everything blending successfully and there shouldn’t be too much trouble.
I have blended spinach, apples, celery, kale and collard greens (with stems), frozen and fresh fruit including peaches, strawberries and blackberries, oranges, tomatoes (yes, in a green smoothie – try it!), ground flax seed (this would NOT blend whole flax seed) and have consistently come out with a smooth, creamy smoothie.
Not silky smooth in comparison to my high speed blender but a very nice smoothie to not only drink, but look forward to – lumpy smoothies may be fine for awhile but I’ll bet after weeks (months) of daily drinking, you’ll long for something smoother.
You won’t be able to get all 26 Oz of liquid use unless you fill the jar, blend, and fill the jar a second time. This isn’t a huge deal but, since the ‘lid’ was used as the base to blend, it will be quite messy when you take it off to refill the jar.
Once done, you have the option to take the blending base off and screwing on the travel lid, drinking with no lid or, dumping the whole container into another glass.
As stated previously, the sip-hole in the travel lid is nice and doesn’t leak when closed BUT, also doesn’t provide a big enough opening to allow anything thicker than V8 Juice consistency to flow through it. So your options really boil down to no lid or using your own glass. Either work.
Clean up is hand wash or rinse only. non of the components are dishwasher safe, I suspect because of the seals pressed into the lids. This hasn’t been an issue because the jar cleans up very easy with either a rinse under hot water or a little soap and water. The blending lid gets the same treatment and the base is just a wipe or two with a damp wash rag.
No there aren’t any accessories included with the Back to Basics Smoothie Express Smoothie Maker. You’ll get the base, jar, two lids (blending and travel) and a use guide. There are a few recipes contained in the guide.
- Good selection of speeds
- Control dial is nice sized
- Fast at making smoothies
- Ice or frozen fruit… no problem
- Size, perfect for one or two servings
- Easy clean up of all parts
- Small and stylish, not another monstrosity to find counter space for
- Cup has oz, ml, and cup measurements on side
- Handle is a little large
- Handle is somewhat fragile if constantly gripped to remove stuck lid
- Hole in travel lid small – hard to get “creamy” smoothies out
- Long term reliability?
- No cord wrap on travel size base
- Not dishwasher safe
Most of the reviews are positive, in fact…
Overall, the Back to Basics Smoothie Express Smoothie Maker has:
A 3.7 out of 5 Stars Rating
(Over 120 reviews)