Shaker cup. Shaker bottle. Protein shaker. Mixing bottle. Handheld mixer. Whatever you call it—and the names are numerous—we’re talking about the container used to mix up your protein shakes.
But what is a shaker cup, exactly, and what makes it different from a standard water bottle or lidded cup? The standout feature of any shaker cup is a mixing mechanism that works to break up and blend ingredients into a smooth liquid shake. Even the mixing mechanism can be called many different things—whisk ball, shaker ball, mixer ball, or agitator, to name a few.
In addition to the agitator, there are several other features that differentiate various shaker cups, and figure in when choosing the best protein shaker for you. It just so happens we know a thing or two about the topic; our standard-setting BlenderBottle® Classic™ is the world’s best-selling shaker cup, and since launching our original bottle in 2004, we’ve designed numerous other innovative shakers to meet specific needs.
Let’s take a look at the features that are important in any shaker cup.
The Bottle Material
There are three main components to a protein shaker: the bottle material, the mixing mechanism, and the lid. The bottle material not only makes a difference aesthetically, it can impact the taste and temperature of your shake.
- Plastic shaker cups are the most common type—but not all plastics are the same. It’s important to make sure your shaker is BPA and phthalate free, like all BlenderBottle® brand shakers. Otherwise, harmful chemicals can leach into your drink. One of the best food-grade plastics is Eastman Tritan™, known for its extreme durability and clarity, as well as being stain and odor resistant—a highly desirable quality that prevents today’s smoothie from tasting like last week’s protein shake. Many BlenderBottle® plastic shaker cups feature Eastman Tritan™ as the bottle material.
- Insulated shaker cups keep drinks cold, making them an extra refreshing option on hot days, or helping to preserve freshness if you don’t drink the entire shake at once. We use double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel in bottles like the BlenderBottle® Radian™ Stainless, which keeps the contents chilled for up to 24 hours.
- Glass shaker cups are yet another option. Glass is inherently odor and stain resistant, and many people prefer drinking from what is perceived as the purity of glass. Glass shaker bottles are generally encased in some type of protective sleeve (like the silicone that surrounds our BlenderBottle® Radian™ Glass shaker) to help prevent breakage if the bottle gets bumped around.
The Mixing Mechanism
Shaker cups differ from traditional cups or water bottles because they contain a mixing mechanism to blend the ingredients. There are several types of mixing mechanisms: ball or propeller-shaped agitators, built-in screens or strainers, and even self-contained mini motors. All BlenderBottle® shaker cups use our patented BlenderBall® wire whisk—the mixing device that revolutionized the handheld mixing industry. Made from 316 surgical-grade stainless steel, the BlenderBall® whisk cuts through even the thickest ingredients (think bananas, nut butters, dense protein powders, honey, syrup, and more), whipping around inside the bottle to reach every last bit of the mix-ins and blend the smoothest possible shake. Plus, it can stay in the bottle while you drink—the BlenderBall® whisk will never rust, chip, or peel, nor will it tumble out of the drinking spout.
With all this mixing, it’s critical that the lid to your shaker cup stays securely in place. It’s no fun to wind up with protein powder and milk splattered all over your clothes and kitchen, rather then inside your belly! All BlenderBottle® shakers include lids engineered to stay tight, backed by our leak-proof guarantee. The lids twist snugly in place, forming a secure seal; with a distinctive snap, the caps click tightly closed and you’re ready to shake away. Our BlenderBottle® Pro32 and BlenderBottle® Pro45™ shakers even contains a special SpoutGuard™, which keeps dirty gym fingers from touching the drinking spout. Did we mention our bottles use our StayOpen™ flip cap, which conveniently keeps the lid from banging on your nose as you drink?
Shaker cups come in many sizes—from extra large shaker bottles, to mini shaker cups. Ours range from a tidy 20-oz. capacity (the BlenderBottle® Classic™ and the BlenderBottle® SportMixer®) to the beefy 45-oz. BlenderBottle® Pro45™. The size you choose depends on what you’re doing and what you plan to mix inside. Carrying the bottle for a run, tucking it into your handbag, or wanting a small serving of shake? A small shaker cup is perfect for you. Craving a double dose of your favorite shake, or mixing a recipe with many different ingredients? A large shaker cup fits the bill. Our shaker cup sizing guide shows the entire range of BlenderBottle® shakers to help you choose.
The main purpose of a shaker cup is to mix up protein shakes. But they can also be used for any drink—from juice to sports drink to iced coffee or just plain water. The BlenderBottle® SportMixer® shaker is ergonomically designed with an easy-to-hold grip, allowing it to double as an active lifestyle water bottle. We even make a protein shaker bottle with compartments—the BlenderBottle® ProStak®— with built-in storage for powders, snacks, and pills. Some people put shaker cups to work in other ways entirely, such as blending dressings, marinades, and pancake batter. In fact, we launched an entire brand, Whiskware, that utilizes the same patented BlenderBall® whisk to address these food prep and cooking needs.
Shaker cups are designed to be functional—but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Style is equally important, especially for a product you use nearly every day. Many BlenderBottle® shaker cup fans embrace their bottles as fashion accessories, matching them to outfits or their personal sense of style. We have plenty of cool protein shaker options to pair with your personality, including our artsy BlenderBottle® SportMixer® Signature Sleek™, our mojo-inspiring Motivational Classic™ collection, and our school pride-sporting Collegiate Classic™ collection. For anyone wanting a fun and funky new design each month, a subscription to the Color of the Month Club delivers a new shaker right to your door. And now, you can even create your own custom shaker cup in quantities as low as 1, using our online design tool.
Now that you’re fully educated as to the ins and outs of shaker cups, the question remains: which shaker cup will you choose? Let us know if you have any additional questions about BlenderBottle® products or shaker cups in general—we’re always here to help.