When you’re planning to throw amazing parties, you want the best appliances and products to turn out memorable food and drinks. The Margaritaville blender is more than just a blender; it’s a “frozen concoction” machine that delivers margaritas and daiquiris that will elevate your entertaining style.
Kudos to Jimmy Buffet for turning a hit song into a billion-dollar brand. Although we prefer “Cheeseburgers in Paradise,” because it’s more upbeat, there’s no missing "Margaritaville’s" impact on American culture. You’ll find hotels and resorts, restaurants, casinos, and clubs, even specialty foods with the Margaritaville name on them.
All these products – and even the Internet radio station – work to transport you to the tropics. And who couldn’t use a little Key West in the middle of a stressful week or a gloomy February?
What’s a Margaritaville Blender?
The Jarden Corporation, once known as the historic manufacturer of Ball canning jars and lids, teamed up with the Margaritaville brand to produce a really elegant piece of bar equipment. We have to be frank — some of the Margaritaville home products are pretty kitschy looking. Plastered with palm trees and parrots, they can be a bit too tiki for the serious home bartender. And for those who do live the tropical beach lifestyle on the water, the whole Margaritaville vibe can seem a bit cartoonish, even condescending.
Luckily, designers for Jarden stepped in and insisted on creating a truly professional-looking frozen drink machine that anyone would be proud to own. While it does have more of a Miami Beach Art Deco feel a Key West style, it’s an attractive looking machine.
What’s Different About the Margaritaville Blender?
To create a restaurant-quality frozen drink, product designers incorporated an ice shaver. This gives the resulting cocktails the slushy consistency people expect from a bar or restaurant. Typical home blenders crush ice into chunks, and somewhat inconsistently too. The Margaritaville blender uses an ice shaver instead.
Along with the improved consistency, the Margaritaville blender has pre-programmed drink settings, so you don’t have to fuss over it to get that improved consistency. Basically, pour in the ingredients, push a couple buttons, and behold: great frozen cocktails.
Margaritaville Blender Models
While all of them are excellent, high-powered, and attractive machines, the Margaritaville blender comes in several different models. Each has its own capacity and drink programming settings.
- The Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker with 36-ounce blending jar is an easy-to-use margarita machine that lets you easily...
- Machine features the No-Brainer mixing tool with measurements for making pina coladas, daiquiris, and margaritas....
- Automatic shave 'n blend cycle mixes the right proportion of ice with ingredients; manual blend only/shave only cycles
The simplest version they make, this machine has one pre-programmed drink – a margarita, naturally -- and makes a 36-ounce pitcher (about 3) during its automatic cycle. You can also override the program and choose your own drink consistency for other frozen drinks. It features 400 watts of power and an ice hopper large enough to make one pitcher of drinks.
The unit measures 14 by 9 by 18 inches, so it requires some heads space on your counter. You'll also get a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Amazon customers rate the Bahamas Margaritaville blender 4.6 out of 5 stars. Target customers gave it 4.9 out of 5, as did Best Buy customers. You’ll find it priced online between $ to $ depending on the retailer. Several, including Best Buy and the Margaritaville Cargo website, offer financing.
- Makes up to 2.5 pitchers of frozen concoctions thanks to its extra-large ice reservoir
- Creates premium shaved ice rather than crushed ice like a blender, for an authentic frozen concoction experience. Key...
- Includes 4 pre-programmed drink settings, plus automatic shave 'n blend cycle and manual blend only/shave only cycles
The Key West Margaritaville blender is a popular model because its ice hopper has a much larger capacity than the Bahamas model. With 450 watts of power, it stores up to three pitcher’s worth of ice for frozen drinks and has three program settings for drinks.
The unit measures 9 by 14 by 19 inches, so like the other models, it will need some headroom in the kitchen or on the bar. Like other Margaritaville blenders, it comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
There are currently three versions of the Key West Margaritaville blender on the market, and the price you pay will vary accordingly. The original model may be hard to find at this point, although used versions may pop up occasionally. The new model features two additional drink programs and an easy-pour spout. You'll find it readily online priced between $ to $$.
- Restaurant quality frozen drinks without the guesswork
- Frozen concoction maker shaves ice and blends up to 36 ounces
- Drink selector for 1,2, or 3 drinks (12 oz. each)
You'll also see 10-year anniversary edition that features new, teal accent colors, a Jimmy Buffet signature graphic, and additional drink programs. Ratings for the anniversary editions are slightly higher than the original model, too. Amazon buyers give it 4.5 out of 5, Target shoppers rated it 4.9 out of 5, and Walmart shoppers gave it 4.8 out 5. Accordingly, the price on this model is higher, too, running from $$ to $$, depending on where you shop.
- Three 24-ounce blending jars automatically creates of 72-ounce of frozen drink per cycle
- Capability to create 6+ different drink types (margarita, daiquiri, colada, mudslide, mojito, smoothie)
- Rotating ice chute creates spectacle appeal
For the ultimate party machine (which is what Margaritaville calls their frozen drink makers), the Tahiti Margaritaville blender whips up three separate pitchers of drinks for a total of 72 ounces.
Each of the three blending stations has separate controls, so you can mix up a pitcher of margaritas, a pitcher of pina coladas, and a pitcher of mojitos. Your guests will be impressed as the machine automatically rotates while making three different pitchers of frozen drinks in a row. The rotating ice hopper automatically switches from one station to the next. You barely have to do a thing except for adding the ingredients and pushing the buttons.
Each station features a 24-ounce plastic blender jar, and each station offers six programmed drinks: smoothies, margaritas, coladas, daiquiris, mojitos, and mudslides. The 750 watts of power drive the multiple drink stations and ice shaver. The unit measures about 20 by 20 by 20 inches and looks great on your bar top with stainless steel and bamboo accents.
Amazon buyers rate the Tahiti Margaritaville blender 4.3 out of 5 stars, while Walmart shoppers gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Bed, Bath and Beyond buyers and Target shoppers gave it 4.5 out 5 too. Prices for this party machine run from $$ to $$$ online.
- 60 oz. jar capacity
- 4 pre-programmed drink settings: Margaritas, Daiquiris, Coladas & Smoothies
- Settings can be programmed to mix either half-chamber or full-chamber batch sizes
If you have really big blowout parties, you may want to consider the Bali Margaritaville blender. Along with programs for margaritas, daiquiris, pina coladas, and smoothies, it features an ice hopper for up to 60-ounces of frozen drinks and a 60-ounce blending jar that holds up to six large servings.
Instead of a pouring blender jar, the Bali Margaritaville blender features a press-and-pour dispenser. Just put your glass under the spout and press a lever to recharge your drink. There's also a remix feature to keep your drinks perfectly blended between servings.
The professional-looking appliance has stainless steel accents and no parrots or palm trees for a discreet look that is in no way hokey or contrived. With 650 watts of power, it makes quick work of a whole extra larger pitcher of drinks without jamming. You’ll also get a 1-year limited warranty. The unit is sizeable, about 13 by 19 by 22 inches tall, and looks impressive on your bar counter. Best of all, the jar and dispenser unit are dishwasher safe.
Amazon customers only gave it 3.7 out of 5 reviews, with many complaining that their units didn’t last much more than the 1-year warranty. More concerningly, others stated that customer service was slow and inadequate. Other stated that the machine is just too loud. And others claimed that had received used machines with missing parts. This trend only appeared on machines sold through Amazon, however.
On the other hand, Walmart customers gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Bed, Bath and Beyond buyers gave it 4.5, as well. And Target customers gave it 4.7 of out 5. So, your experience with this particular model may vary depending on where you purchase your machine. Prices online range from $$ to $$$, depending on the retailer.
The Margaritaville Blender Against the Competition
In this comparison, we’ve discounted professional machines — by which we mean freestanding slushy makers often used by restaurants and caterers for big batches of margaritas and daiquiris. These models cost in the thousands and aren’t considered consumer units. They make gallons of frozen drinks and feature built in compressors to keep the drinks frozen.
We’ve identified only one brand that we consider similar enough to compare to the Margaritaville blender. Nostalgia Electrics, which manufactures several products specifically for margaritas, daiquiris, and other frozen tropical drinks, has several models on the market.
Nostalgia Electrics makes several frozen drink makers of varying capacity. These definitely serve as consumer units, although they do boast that the appliances shave ice instead of simply crushing it like a regular blender.
- 40-ounce pitcher
- Unit simultaneously shaves ice and stirs for perfectly mixed drinks
- Two shaving settings produce snow or slush ice textures
With a 40-ounce pitcher, this cheery red unit with Art Deco styling has two settings for shaving ice for either snow or slushy texture. It measures about 10 by 9 by 13 inches high. This means it's compact enough to store away when not in use. It doesn’t really do much else than shave the ice mix it into your liquid with a plastic paddle, which customers found disappointing.
Amazon buyers rated the Nostalgia FBS400 3.3 out of 5 stars, with several complaining that you have to hold the ice texture setting down during processing. They also said the plastic paddle didn’t blend very well. Walmart shoppers were even less generous giving it 2.4 out of 5 stars. Online pricing ranges from $ to $$.
- Dimensions: 8.1W x 7.8D x 17.6H inches
- 200-watt margarita, daiquiri, and blended drink machine
- Powerful motor shaves ice to perfect drink consistency in 1 min.
With a higher profile and more power, the Nostalgia Electrics MSB64 makes 64 ounces of margarita or other frozen drinks in just a minute. It only has 200 watts of power, which is one problem separating it from even the smallest Margaritaville blender. It measures about 8 by 8 by 17.6 inches high, and only has one speed and one ice texture.
Amazon customers gave it 3.1 out of 5 stars, with many saying it was just a good-looking but cheaply made blender. Walmart shoppers were equally unimpressed, giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Online pricing for this model ranges from $$ to $$
- Makes up to 32-ounces of your favorite slush drinks
- Easy-flow spout dispenses consistently smooth frozen drinks
- Tank detached from base for easy cleanup
While this model seems to hope to compete with the Margaritaville blender at a lower price point, its plastic construction isn’t quite up to snuff. It makes up to a gallon of frozen drinks. And it also features a blending cage with stainless steel blades for perfect ice consistency. The chamber is also double-walled for insulation, and it comes with a levered dispenser for self-serving. Measuring 6.9 by 14 by 22.8 inches high, it’s a more substantial machine. This is a very new product from Nostalgia. So, the few reviews we found were too mixed to form an opinion. However, you will see it online priced between $$ and $$.
- Makes up to 1 gallon, or 32 4 ounce drinks
- Dual wall construction keeps drinks cold for hours
- Powerful motor quickly shaves ice to the perfect consisency
This older version of the one-gallon margarita maker doesn’t seem to have impressed customers, either. Made of lime green and white plastic, it looks cheesy and cheap, especially for the price. It also features a double-wall tank for insulation, stainless steel shaving cage, and dispenser spout. It seems the main difference between this and the newer model above is appearance. Admittedly the newer model is somewhat better looking and less expensive. The Nostalgia MSB600 is also a bit bigger, measuring 11 by 11 by 20 inches tall. For the most part, all of the Nostalgia Electrics machines seem to be way under-powered for shaving ice.
Amazon buyers only gave it 2.8 out of 5 stars, with many saying the motor burned up after just a few uses. Walmart shoppers gave it 3.8 out of 5, and Best Buy shoppers only gave it 2 out of 5 stars. You can find it only priced between $$ and $$$.
Margaritaville Blender Pros and Cons
The Margaritaville blender apparently stands pretty much head and shoulders above the admitted small field of competition. However, they also may have disadvantages to consider. Before investing in one, take the following under consideration:
Should You Get a Margaritaville Blender?
Before purchasing, consider the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Margaritaville blender. Since their only competitor in this niche market is Nostalgia, you may want to weigh the benefit of having a well-made machine or paying a lot less money. What your decision may come down to is your budget and how often you actually make tropical frozen drinks. For a one-off graduation luau, the Nostalgia brand or your existing kitchen blender may be adequate to the purpose.
Margaritaville blenders can seem a bit spendy, depending on your budget. Consider the cost vs. the capacity of the machine. Then, purchase according to how often you entertain and how many guests you normally invite. The Bahamas model is the perfect size for the occasional round of pina coladas on a lazy Saturday. The Tahiti is an impressive machine for any party of 10 or more.
However, if you’re truly interested in taking your entertaining style to the next level, purchase a Margaritaville blender is a bit of a no-brainer. Whether you choose the Bahamas model for occasional special events or the Tahiti drink machine for your inner party animal, you really can’t go wrong if you enjoy frozen tropical drinks.
How We Reviewed the Margaritaville Blender Line
As long-time fans of frozen tropical drinks, we’ve been known to enjoy a pina colada or two while watching the sun as it sets over the Gulf of Mexico. We formed this review and our conclusions by examining the products and the manufacturer’s specifications. We separated the most useful features from the overrated design features. Most of all, construction and materials made a big impact on our review, as did the products' design and appearance.
We also consulted other publications that review home goods as well as the reviews of consumers on a wide range of consumer advocacy and product sites. We also noted trends in consumer reviews to identify product flaws and customer service issues.
Lastly, we considered product support and company engagement. Companies that provide their customers with a wealth of resources and respond swiftly to complaints usually earn our vote of confidence. That said, Margaritaville provides a wealth of helpful information for its customers. Their blog is chock full of drink recipes, tropical food recipes, and travel tips.