Ninja Kitchen System Pulse (BL201) Review

ninja-kitchen-system-pulse-bl201The Ninja Kitchen System Pulse (BL201) is one of the most desirable blenders at the price under $100. The gadget presented in commercials as very versatile that will make smoothies, crush ice and knead your favorite recipe dough. Overall, it sounds promising… but how it performs in the real life kitchen environment?

Functionality and Versatility

Smoothie:  40 oz. bowl makes acceptable smoothies from soft ingredients like banana, mango, cored pear or apple. But process very gritty drinks when you throw into the container leafy and hard ingredients like carrots, kale or spinach.

40 oz. bowl is useless at processing berries, nuts and seeds and will leave chunks and bits of unprocessed food and berry seed residues.

The 16 oz. single serve cup handles better all ingredients and makes acceptable quality smoothies and drinkable green smoothies.

Juices: While the Ninja commercials claim this machine makes juice, in fact, it is not. It will not separate liquids from fiber. So, this machine is not suitable for juicing neither it is able to make decent smooth smoothies aka “whole” juice.

Frozen ingredients/desserts:  The gadget does not handle ice with minimum liquid or without it. The frozen ingredients usually leave some unprocessed chunks in the drinks. So, it is not suitable for making snow cones or other frozen desserts. But it will make decent slashes if you add enough of liquid.

Pureeing: It will handle only cooked vegetable to puree them, the more liquid you add the better it will process.

Chopping/food prep: The gadget is good for the light duty job and chops well vegetables for salad or salsa. It also chops well nuts, grate cheese or crumbs.

Dough/batter:  Although, Ninja Kitchen System Pulse comes with cookies paddle and dough hooks, it does not have the power to make them. Mixing batter or kneading dough is a challenging task for this machine. It fails to make them without stopping the gadget and scrapping the walls manually. The mixture just glues to walls and jams without moving. When making batter or dough you have to hold the base, otherwise, it moves like the mad ones aging proving that it is a very hard job for the machine.

This machine is not designed for such challenging tasks as making nut milk or nut butter, process hot ingredients (containers are not high temperature proofed) or even for grinding coffee beans, herbs or milling soft grains.

Speed Settings and Programs

Ninja Kitchen System Pulse does not have a classical control panel. It is operated using only one-speed pulse function. Which is activated by pressing down in short intervals on the handle of the 40 oz. bowl lid or the top of the single serve cup. The user must keep pressing until achieving the desired consistency of ingredients.

Such a primitive control panel design does not allow much flexibility to a user over the blending process. It does not allow to create and experiment with the variety of recipes.

Ease of Using and Cleaning

The Ninja Kitchen System Pulse requires some efforts to assemble it for use. It has the removable blades and locking mechanism for lid and containers. So it involves few steps to set it up and make ready to run.

Assembling and operating the single serve cup: Fill the cup with ingredients up to the max fill line. Screw on the single serve cup assembly. Turn the cup upside down and align special tabs on the cups with the grooves on the base unit. And twist to until you hear the click. Plug in machine and keep pressing the top of the cup until desired consistency.

Assembling and operating 40 oz. bowl: Place the bowl on the base unit and turn to lock until you hear a click. Place the blade assembly inside the bowl and fill the bowl with ingredients. It is not very convenient because the blade assembly sticking out and does not allow them to fall freely down. Align the arrow lid with the arrow the top the bowl, push the lid and press the handle to close the lid.

To start blending,a  user has to push the lid handle to activate a pulsing function. Keep pushing until the needed consistency. You may stop few times to mix the content manually because this machine is not very good at creating a proper vortex. Also, you have to press down the handle all time while blending so you cannot run it on its own even for 1 minute.

Remember do not process over 1 minute in one go, allow some break then continue.

Cleaning: The containers, blades and attachments are dishwasher safe. However, it is still not very easy to clean because the blades are sharp and should be handled with care. The hand washing is a challenge as it is hard to wash the blades without cutting yourself, the lid is also difficult to wash as it has many grooves and cavities.

The self-cleaning is probably the easiest way – fill the container halfway with water, add few drops of detergent and pulse for few seconds. Then rinse thoroughly and dry.

Base Unit and Motor Power

The Ninja Kitchen System Pulse is equipped with only 550 watts power motor what is modest for the blender over $50. It also has an automatic shutoff system to prevent the overheating of the motor and may shut if the user runs it over 1 minute in one go.

The weak side of this machine is the plastic blade shaft and blade to a motor drive coupling what assumes the quick wear out of the drive parts and short life expectancy of the machine.

Container

This machine comes with 40 oz. food processing bowl and two 16oz. single serve cup for blending drinks on the go. Both types of containers are made from low-quality polycarbonate material and reported by many customers very fragile and prone to cracking. These containers often crack within few month of moderate use. Replacement ups and bowl are almost the half price of the entire blender thus not worth for this high price.

The containers also come with the blending lid and storage lid for the 40 oz. bowls and 2 travel lids. However, the travel lids have no closer and you will not be able to pack them when you go to work in the morning. For this reason, I find them almost useless to have/be included.

Blades

This machine comes with all removable 40 oz. bowl blade assembly, the single serve cup blades system, plastic cookies paddle, and dough hook. The 40 oz. bowl blade assembly is constructed rather like the food processor blades than blender what is typical for all countertop Ninja gadgets. It has four very sharp blades staggering around the plastic shaft. The cookies and dough attachments are made completely from the plastic and thus not very strong and functional.

The single serve blades assembly has a usual design. The blades pars are stainless steel and very sharp but have a problem of dulling usually within 1 year of use. The plastic parts are also not very durable and wear out also within 1 year of use.

Special Features

Colors: the machine comes in black color. The white one is also available but it has a more powerful 700 watts motor and cost more.

Certified Refurbished: There are certified refurbished models of Ninja Kitchen System Pulse (BL201)

Available and the priced usually $10-20 cheaper than an original version.

Use in countries outside of USA/Canada: This machine comes with 110-120 voltage system and suitable for operation in USA/Canada and the regions with an appropriate voltage. The customers from the countries with the 220-240 volts system should buy the blender from local distributors. Although, it could be operated over via the voltage adapter but not recommended for the extended use by a manufacturer and will void the warranty in this case.

Set Includes

  • 550 Watts power base;
  • 40 oz. (5 cups) food processing bowl;
  • Lid with handle;
  • Storage lid for 40 oz. bowl;
  • Food processing bowl blades assembly, dough dook, cookie paddle;
  • Two 16 oz. (2 cups) single serve cups;
  • Single serve cup blade assembly;
  • 2 to go lids;
  • User manual; 

Warranty and Customer Service

Ninja Kitchen System Pulse (BL201) comes with 1-year limited warranty what means the customer must pay the shipping cost for repaired or returned units. The manufacture may also charge the extra fee for some repairs or replacement parts. Overall, the customer service does not have a good reputation among the consumers what is not surprising because Ninja blenders are not made to last.

Noise

This machine is quite noisy and outputs definitely something around 90 decibels despite its very low power motor. The standard advice to reduce noisiness of blenders is to place rubber mat underneath of the base unit.

Optional Accessories and Attachments

Ninja blender does not have interchangeable attachments and there are no extra accessories available to buy for this model. However, all replacement parts are could be bought from manufactures or other online retailers. But they usually have quite a high price so no worth to buy.

Dimensions

The machine has quite a small footprint of 5.5 inches x 9 inches thus the motor base will not occupy much space on the counter and with the height of 13.5 it fits under all the kitchen cabinet. However, it comes with multiple attachments and they will require some space for the storage.

It has a cord storage underneath of the base unit to keep unused part of it neat and tidy.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Comes with single serve cup, blending blades, cookie paddle and dough hook for very light kneading and mixing tasks;
  • Single serve attachment makes fairly decent smoothies;
  • It is not tall and fits under all kitchen cabinets;

Cons:

  • 40 oz. bowl is not able to blend good quality drinks;
  • Blender take an effort to assemble and disassemble;
  • Gadget is not easy to clean because of sharp blades and multiple parts;
  • Cookies paddle and dough hook cannot really handle properly their job;
  • Non-durable plastic motor drive to blades coupling;
  • The blender handle only light duty job and cannot perform what it claims;
  • Comes with multiple attachments and requires a place for storage.

Ninja Kitchen System Pulse Consumer Reviews

This machine has mostly excellent reviews at the most of the online resources despite the fact that this machine really does not deserve them. It is not powerful, designed for light duty tasks and not durable but so many consumers leave really praising reviews. I can explain this only by very powerful and professional advertisement for this blender. There is nothing to praise and even a quick glance at technical parameters of this machine can reveal it.

Amazon rating – 4.5

Ninja Kitchen System Pulse Price

This blender is available from many retailers with the price of $55-$65. Although the price seems reasonable from such versatile blender as it advertised but the machine is not really durable and well-made and cannot perform most of the task it claims. There are quite a few more powerful, versatile and better-made blenders on the market for this price.

Ninja Kitchen System Pulse (BL201)
List Price:$79.99
Price:$71.99
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Summary

Despite a number of excellent reviews and outstanding popularity, I can hardly recommend Ninja Kitchen System Pulse (BL201). This machine is a way too oversold and thus overpriced. It does not even handle half of the tasks it claims and designed for light duty tasks only. No wonder it comes with only with 550 watts motor that is typical for blenders under $30. In addition, it is not well-made and durable with only 1 years warranty and questionable quality customer service.

There are much stronger and better made machines are available on the market for the price of under $100. While for those who are fans of Ninja, Kitchen System Pulse (BL201) is not the best Ninja machine. Ninja does not excel at producing countertop blenders but manufacturers decent personal type gadgets.

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