Review: Russell Hobbs Illumnia Jug Blender – Perfect for a budget conscious green smoothie beginner

Illumina Jug Blender (2)

Image from Russell Hobbs

I do adore my Vitamix which I use every morning for whizzing up my green smoothie, but am aware that it is a very expensive gadget which will blow many people’s budget.   Russell Hobbs sent me a jug blender from their new Illumnia range to put up against the Vitamix for making a green smoothie.    So how did we and the blenders get on?

This blender from Russell Hobbs is perfect for those who are interested in trying out smoothies, but don’t wish to invest in a high end professional or prosumer device. It’s solidly built, with a thick and robust glass jug of 1.5 litre capacity, allied to an 850 Watt motor. The plastic housing for the motor also looks to be able to stand up to lots of use. The big advantage of this machine is the price: a penny under £70 makes it a fraction of the cost of one of the high end machines.

We liked the suction cups on the bottom of the motor which keep it securely positioned when in use, and as mentioned also approved of the glass jug. It uses a twin blade cutter, with a titanium coating that is aimed at staying sharper for longer than plain stainless steel. There is a ring of lights around the base of the unit that change colour with the different speeds: pale blue for low, purple for medium, green for high and red for pulse. This feature is common across the Illumina range, which includes a stick blender, a hand mixer and a food processor, with the colours being the same for all devices.  I am not sure how useful the similarity in colour for speed actually is in practice, unless you own every gadget in the range.

We tried it out on a green smoothie, one of our staple breakfasts, and it did pretty well in general and very well when considering the price point. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t as quick as a 1200 watt Vitamix, and needed a little encouragement with a shake or two, particularly for the leafy greens we like – kale and spinach. After adding and blending a handful of frozen fruit – which it dealt with without trouble, we have to admit that the final result wasn’t as silky smooth as the identical one made using the Vitamix, there was still some texture from the greens, but all in all, it handled it impressively well.

Of course this blender does not have the power, and will not handle the grinding and the soup making that the Vitamix does, but if you want to try out green smoothies before making an investment in an elite machine, or will only be making them occasionally then this is a good machine to start with, but for us and out eating and blending habits the Vitamix reigns supreme.

Fuss Free Flavours received a Illumnia blender to review.   All opinions are our own and we were under no obligation to write a positive review.

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About Helen

Helen Best-Shaw is a freelance food & writer, photographer who has been writing about achievable, affordable and mostly healthy food on Fuss Free Flavours since 2007. She also contributes articles, recipes and photos to a number of online and print food magazines. Please do contact me if you would like to discuss commissioning work.

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Comments

  1. Totally agree Helen, you pay for what you get, but not everyone can fork out for a top of the range machine. I think this sounds like a brilliant blender for basic soups and smoothies that’s an affordable price and looks pretty attractive too.

    • I an very conscious that I like to write about affordable food, but have a blender that costs more than the average weekly wage. I would not be without my Vitamix, but I am delighted that this one makes green smoothies and the health benefits available to more people.

  2. Impressed it has a glass jug. They seem quite hard to get hold of. I’m not at all keen on my plastic one. One day I might have something that can cope with one of your green smoothies!

  3. I’m thinking of investing in a blender and I certainly don’t have the cash for a Vitamix, so this would be very good option for me. Shall definitely bear it in mind. Really need to start making green smoothies!

  4. Sounds like a good quality blender. I’m not a fan of smoothies, but a blender is really good for blending soups and sauces too.

  5. I can’t see past vitamix now. If mine broke, first I would cry and then I would start saving. This blender would be a good stand in while I saved.

  6. Always good to compare a higher end product with a more affordable product. Like you and Jac, I too love my Vitamix, but I know that it is still very expensive for everyday kitchens, which is such a shame. Good to have a back-up to recommend when asked.

  7. Yes it is true you do get what you pay for – but that said it looks like the Russell Hobbs did a good job considering the much more affordable price.

  8. I must start making green smoothies, yours always look so good. This blender would be a good place to start but I would give anything to get my hands on a Vitamix if I could!

  9. I broke my blender last year and have to use hand one for everything, which is a bit of a pain sometimes!

  10. I must say I too love my Vitamix not just smoothies but great ice creams from frozen fruit.

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