Typically speaking, a standard kitchen blender is an inexpensive appliance and is built using inexpensive parts and materials; plastic is used whenever possible. When plastic is not an option, such as when manufacturing a blender’s blades, manufacturers will typically use a low-cost low-grade metal. Blenders built with these low-quality materials can in fact perform well and last a number of years if used exclusively to blend soft foods and beverages such as sauces, fruits, vegetables, and ice cream smoothies. However, blending ice cubes will significantly reduce a standard kitchen blender’s lifespan; they are not ideal for such heavy-duty use. While they are frequently used to ‘blend’ ice, their low-quality blades and typically low-powered motors are simply not designed for this purpose and, generally speaking, their performance and lifespan will quickly deteriorate as the blades are worn down much more quickly than they would have under normal light-duty use.
In contrast to the standard kitchen blender is the margarita machine (margarita mixer/margarita maker). Margarita machines, typically speaking, are not inexpensive. In fact, a quality margarita machine can set you back a few hundred—or even a few thousand—dollars. This difference in cost is due primarily to the quality of the materials used in the mixer—specifically the blade and motor(s). A margarita machine typically comes equipped with a quality stainless steel blade, a high-powered motor, and a variety of other features not found on a standard kitchen blender. For instance, Margaritaville’s Frozen Concoction Makers come equipped with an additional compartment, separate from the blending jar, that houses its own motor and blade in order to separately shave (not blend) the ice before mixing it with the ingredients in the blending jar. This is a superior method as opposed to simply blending ice as it ensures that there are no leftover granules of crunchy ice-bits that are so commonly found in homemade frozen margaritas. By shaving (not crushing) the ice, a Margaritaville blender ensures that the consistency of the frozen margaritas it produces are as smooth as possible.
If you’re comfortable serving average homemade frozen margaritas to your guests then a standard kitchen blender may be the right choice for you. However, if you’d like to serve restaurant quality frozen margaritas, and be able to do so on a regular basis, there’s simply no substitute for owning a quality margarita machine.