Written by: Kate Beamer
Tired of trying to pour out your blender only to have a giant blob splatter across your counter? The Back to Basics® Smoothie Jr.™ offers a unique spout in its design to solve this problem plus some other bonus features.
As the name suggests, this 32 oz. blender is designed specifically for smoothies and even comes with smoothie recipes on note cards. However, I can attest that it also makes a good margarita, milk shake, and purée. Its other notable elements include a stir stick to go through an opening in the lid and markings to suggest solid and liquid ingredients necessary to create the perfect consistency. These markings are not a cut-and-dry rule, however, and you can easily use the Smoothie Jr.™ for your own creative concoctions. Mine also came with a one-year-warranty that never had to be cashed in, but it was nice having that fall back option.
Unfortunately, speed settings are limited to Low, High, and ‘Pulse,’ and I’ve noticed that the drink maker’s 400-watt motor can experience a bit of trouble with ice and chunked frozen bananas. The stir stick, designed to never come close to the blades regardless of angle you insert it through the top, can sometimes fall short of reaching that last ice cube. Newer models at least boast a hint of blue, but my gray version is a bit unimaginative in aesthetic design. Additionally, because of several rubber parts, the Smoothie Jr. cannot be put in the dishwasher, and many tight spaces making cleaning difficult. This version is now more difficult to track down, but prices are good—from what I saw, ranging from around $16.99 to $22.99 on sites like Google shopping and Amazon.
- Convenient spout to avoid spillage
- Stir stick
- Included recipes
- Markings to suggest ingredient ratio
- Difficult to clean
- Less than exciting appearance
Overall, the Back to Basics® Smoothie Jr.™ is a good bargain and made a great graduation gift for me, lasting through several liquid diets and going strong 4 years later. If you’re looking for a more finished looking product and/or a bigger container, the Back to Basics® Brushed Chrome Smoothie Elite is still a relatively good deal at around $36-$50 depending on the online retailer you choose. If an equivalent version is what you’re looking for, though, the Hamilton Beach Wave Station Express Dispensing Blender is a mere $19.88 from Walmart. The Smoothie Jr.™ doesn’t outshine competitors, but for basic smoothie/frozen drink needs, it is an efficient and cost effective choice.