If your blender is smoking, that’s a clear sign that something is wrong with it.
A smoking blender can be caused by a variety of different reasons, some of which can be easily resolved at home, others of which may require replacement parts or an entirely new blender.
This article will walk you through what to do when your blender is smoking, as well as some reasons why you might have a smoking blender, and other relevant FAQ.
Let’s get into it!
5 Potential Reasons Why Your Blender is Smoking
1. Overworked motor
If your blender is smoking it means that something got too hot.
It could just be that the temperature of the contents of the blending container is too high. Not all blenders can handle hot ingredients, so the first thing is to make sure you aren’t putting hot foods in a blender that can’t handle certain high temperatures – this could potentially cause a plastic pitcher to melt/burn (hence, smoke and/or a burning smell).
More likely, the motor is overheating from being overworked.
The motor of a blender can get overworked if:
- Container was overfilled (and/or filled with too much solids, not enough liquids). In general, don’t fill the container more than 3/4 full, and include enough liquid to at least cover the blades.
- Too many thick, heavy foods. This goes hand-in-hand with the above. If your container has too many thick, hard, or chunky foods, it will need a lot of power and liquid to be able to blend through it, especially in large amounts.
- Ingredients were added to the container in the wrong order (ex: ice or hard ingredients surrounding the blades).
- Speed was increased too quickly.
In cases where your motor is overheating for any or all of these reasons, most blenders have a breaker that will turn off the motor. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of blending on high speeds and then your blender just stops on its own. This is likely due to a thermal protection system put in place to prevent potential overheating.
…other blenders will just keep heating up until they start smoking!
2. Jammed blades
This problem goes hand-in-hand with the above-listed causes, in that it can be caused or exacerbated by something like an overfilled container, or it can exacerbate the problems that come with something like an overfilled container.
If, for some reason or another, your blades are not working as smoothly or efficiently as they should, there is the increased potential for overheating. Jammed or slowed blades mean that something is preventing them from moving properly, which means the motor is going to be overworking itself trying to compensate and work through a task that is just too challenging for it to handle.
Reasons for jammed or slowed blades include:
- The above-mentioned blending errors such as overfilling the pitcher, including too many thick solids and not enough liquids, speeding up too fast, etc. These can seriously jam up the blades or at least make their job much harder than it needs to be.
- Food stuck in and around the blades, preventing the assemble from rotating smoothly or at the proper speed.
- A broken or worn-down part in or around the blade assembly. (more on this below)
3. Broken or worn-down parts
Similar to the above point, your blender may have a malfunctioning or broken part that is causing the blender to overheat and/or smoke.
This could include:
- Broken, loose, or wobbly bearing/component in blade assembly. This can cause the blades to not spin properly and potentially rub into something and wear it down.
- Worn-down plastic/rubber parts. Couplers on cheap, poor-quality blenders will strip very quickly and easily at high speeds.
4. Liquid or food in the wrong place
Liquids and especially oils can find their way into parts of the blender they shouldn’t be in. For example, if the gasket or seal of the blender is worn, the contents of the pitcher can seep through and potentially get into the gears and the motor base of the blender. These liquids and oils can then heat up as the blender is running, and start to smoke.
This is more likely to happen if a part of the blender is broken or loose.
5. Too high voltage
Depending on where in the world you are using your blender, you may be using too much voltage to power your blender. This could cause overheating of the electrical components of the blender, which may result in smoking and damage to the motor base of the blender.
What to do When Your Blender is Smoking
1. Stop the blender
The first thing to do when you notice your blender is emitting smoke or a burning smell, is to immediately speed down and stop the motor, and turn off and unplug the blender.
2. Let everything cool down
Let the blender sit for a moment to let the motor and/or the contents of the blender cool down completely. Crack open a window if need be to air out the smoke or burning smell.
3. Assess the situation
Next, inspect your machine.
- Where is the smoke coming from? Is it coming from the contents of the pitcher or from the motor base? Is it smoke or just steam?
- Is there an accompanying smell? Does it smell like burning food? Burning rubber/plastic? – this could indicate which part has the problem.
Best case scenario, the motor just got a little overloaded, and you can slowly start up again, helping it along as needed with the following tips:
- Make sure nothing is jammed under or around the blades.
- Remove any big chunks of solid ingredients, especially things like ice and frozen fruit. These can be gradually re-added, but make sure they are chopped up small beforehand and there isn’t too much to start with.
- Remove some of the contents if too full (i.e. more than half or 3/4 full)
- Add more liquid.
- Use a tamper while blending and/or stop and scrape down the sides as needed.
- Gradually increase speed and/or use pulse function if you have it.
- Give the blender a pause/break after each 0.5-1 minute of blending.
If the smoking persists, there is likely a bigger problem that should be addressed before further use.
At this point, it would be a good idea to thoroughly clean all parts of your blender.
You want to clean not just the pitcher, blade, gasket, and especially around any seals, but also the coupler/attachments where the container sits on the base, and the outside of the motor base itself.
Look for and remove any food residue or oils that can smoke when they get heated up enough from high speeds or from getting in the wrong place.
Warning: Let everything dry completely before plugging in and using your blender again!
A thorough clean and inspection of all parts of your blender will really help you find any problems you might have missed, such as parts being broken or worn, which is the next thing to assess:
- Look for any broken parts, chips, or weak areas in the motor base where liquids or foods can get in.
- Make sure no seals are leaky – check gasket.
- Check if any moving rubber/plastic parts are worn/striped – drive coupler and all connecting gears and bearings.
If you’re worried your blender might be broken, first visually inspect, then carefully test each control/setting on low and controlled speeds. Test each function one at a time and look for when and where the smoking starts.
If you notice an accompanying smell, this can help identify where the problem is occurring. Ex: the smell of burning rubber/plastic may be coming from a drive coupler that is getting stripped as the blender is run.
If you identify a broken part, or if you can’t identify the problem, you may have to get your blender checked by the manufacturer or consult customer service.
In the end, you may have to buy a replacement part or return/exchange/toss your blender. Remember to always check your warranty!
Why does my new blender smell like it’s burning?
It is actually quite common for new blenders to emit a kind of burning smell with the first uses. This is because there are oils and lubricants for the motors and moving parts in the blender, left over from the manufacturing process.
You should always clean a new blender (specifically the pitcher and blades) before using it for the first time, but you cannot clean inside the motor base of a blender which is where these lubricants are most likely to be. You can usually just let the blender “burn” them away; the smell should go away after using the blender a few times.
If the smell is particularly egregious or won’t go away, there could be something wrong with the blender and it might be good idea to contact the manufacturer.
How do you know if your blender is broken?
A broken blender will typically give several signs that it is broken.
First of all, one obvious sign that signifies that something is wrong is if the blender is not blending. A blender is broken when it is no longer doing its job which is to blend properly.
However, when assessing a blender’s blending ability, make sure you’re not overloading it – test it with plenty of liquid and some soft fruit to see if it can handle that.
Keep in mind that blenders have different capabilities (depending on their quality, price, etc.), so it could just be that your blender is not that powerful. Check your blender’s manual for the types of ingredients it can blend (ex: ice, frozen fruit, hard/tough ingredients, seeds, dry mixtures, etc.). It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s broken just because it can’t blend through certain mixtures – it could just be that it is not made to handle such ingredients/usage.
Other signs of a broken blender include:
- emitting funny smells
- making funny noises
Also keep in mind that just because your blender is broken in some way, doesn’t mean it’s permanently broken and needs to be thrown out. In most cases, the problem can be traced back to a specific part of the blender that is broken/worn-down/not working properly. In these cases, you may just need to replace that part.
How often should a blender be replaced?
The lifespan of a blender varies greatly depending on the quality and design of the blender.
The price of the blender definitely factors in here. The more expensive the blender, the longer it should last and the more frequent and flexible use you should get out of it. Most high-end blenders come with warranties that last several years, meaning they will replace the parts or even the entire blender if they malfunction within that time.
Even cheap blenders should be able to last you many years without needing replacing, if you stay within the blending requirements and limitations of the blender.
A blender is an appliance that should not need frequent replacing, as long as you use it within it’s limits.
It is more likely that specific blender parts will need replacing rather than the blender itself.
Only replace a blender when it is broken and not worth replacing the parts.
How long can a blender run?
If you’re wondering how long you can let your blender continuously run, the first thing to do is check with your blender’s user manual. It may specify the recommended usage times, and it should provide a warning that states the maximum run time.
How long a blender can run depends on the design and functionality of the blender, as well as the quality of the parts.
Many high-end blenders, such as Vitamix blenders, advertise the use of the blenders for making hot soup. This requires several minutes of constant blending at high speeds. These blenders were made to handle this type of use, power, heat, etc. Most cheaper, lower-end blenders will not be able to be used like this.
In general, assume that you shouldn’t leave your blender running more than a couple minutes, unless otherwise stated in the blender’s manual.
You shouldn’t really need to blend for longer than this anyways, as most things can be fully blended in under a minute – assuming you have the right blender for the task at hand.
If you’re not making progress after 1-2 minutes of continuous blending, your blender probably just isn’t capable of handling the task and you likely risk damaging it with continued blending. If you do want to keep blending, as a precaution speed down and stop the blender for a moment, then gradually speed up and resume. And on busy blending days, it’s a good idea to just give your blender a bit of a break between blends.
Issues with blending too long include:
- Motor can overheat.
- Parts can wear down, especially moving/spinning parts and plastic parts (including the container which can definitely get scratched this way).
A smoking blender can be caused by a variety of different problems, including an overworked motor, jammed blades, broken/worn-down parts, liquid/food in the wrong place, or too high voltage.
If your blender is smoking, first turn off your blender and let it cool down, then assess the situation to find out what is causing the smoke.
Sometimes, it’s a problem that can be quickly and easily resolved by simply adjusting your blending techniques. Other times, it’s a more complex problem that requires replacing a part or the entire blender.
If you’ve experienced a smoking blender and know of any other causes and solutions not covered in this article, please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear your experiences!