Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Is a Blendtec Worth Over $500? {REVIEW, part one}

December 6th, 2012 · 81 Comments · What to Buy

Blendtec

Folks often save up a fund for vehicles, vacations, and home remodels.

Real foodies are crazy enough to have funds saved up for kitchen tools: Dehydrators, grain mills, and high-powered blenders seem to top the list of what I like to refer to as “small appliances that cost as much as large appliances.”

I have a dehydrator.

I have a Nutrimill grain mill.

A few years back I started pining for a high-powered blender, so I wrote to Vitamix and Blendtec with a cool multi-blogger idea for a big comparison review. No one wanted to work with the team I’d pulled together.

Phooey badooey on that!

The high-powered blender remained just in the on-deck circle of my gift wish list. I wasn’t even adding it because (a) they’re so expensive and (b) I really wasn’t sure which one I wanted.

Which High Powered Blender is Best? Blendtec or Vitamix?

It sounded like the Vitamix and Blendtec, the two frontrunners in the field, were very similar in performance from the few reviews and notes I read, just as I came across them from bloggers.

The biggest drawback many listed was that the Vitamix would be too tall to fit under a standard cupboard, and that was a HUGE deterrent for me! I didn’t know where I’d store it if not on the counter – or if I’d avoid it if I had to stash it somewhere out of the way.

So every time I smelled burning when making smoothies with lots of frozen fruit in the blender I bought for $7 at a garage sale, I felt the yen.

Last spring, I pondered on Facebook “Vitamix or Blendtec?” and got 74 comments worth of advice. A few other machines got some votes, too, including:

  • Waring Pro (although now I’m not sure if the commenter meant that one for over $300 or the Food and Beverage Blender for around $100)
  • The Ninja, with mixed reviews, which runs around $160 right now
  • The Healthmaster, which runs around $200
  • Some gave props to “normal” blenders like KitchenAid, Farberware, and Hamilton Beach.

You can see the whole conversation here. UPDATE: The Blendtec vs Vitamix comparison videos are pretty conclusive and fun to watch.

Needless to say, when I got a two-line email from Blendtec in August asking if I’d like to review one of their blenders, I rubbed my eyes pretty hard, squinted at the screen, and wondered if someone was playing a joke on me.

When I checked on the retail value of the Blendtec – over $450 for the base plus another $120 for the special “Twister” jar – I really wondered what I would be getting myself into!

But of course, I had to say yes to the offer.

In spite of my excitement, it still took me at least three weeks to find time to open the box and read the instructions. Life is just so busy, and I actually get a bit intimidated by any new appliance.

Blendtec’s First Day

On the Blendtec’s first day out of the box in the Kimball house, I was able to wash it in 30 seconds (cool!) and used it FOUR TIMES:

  1. Bread crumbs with buckwheaties for zucchini crisps – no easier or faster than my mini chopper though, maybe slower because it is too big for a small job.
  2. Soup from package insert – pretty darn cool to watch it go, even a whole carrot and red pepper slice were blended right up – but there was something (serious) about the soup that no one in the family liked. Maybe just that it was raw was too weird for us. DH said it was too “frothy” in texture, and that is true. I did add a few leaves of bok choy, so hopefully that wasn’t the downfall. Everyone ignored the leftovers, which separated in the jar. I finally heated them up but couldn’t enjoy a bowl.
  3. “Ice cream” with bananas, milk, ice, vanilla, honey, another recipe from the Blendtec book – Holy cow yummy. But. It took two times on ice cream cycle to really get the little ice balls out of there. How come?
  4. Butternut spice bars from my own Healthy Snacks to Go – whizzed them up and poured them out. Nice and easy (but nothing a blender couldn’t do).

The wash instructions, by the way, are to put about a cup of hot water plus a drop of dishsoap in and run a cycle. It “washes itself” that way, and you just rinse it out. (In theory at least.)

What About Smoothies?

green smoothies (5) (500x375)

In blender conversation, it seems many people would like to have a high-powered blender for smoothie-making capabilities. I like to cram mine full of frozen fruit for green smoothies, and that has been a problem for my basic blender. (Now truly, if I would just add more liquid, it would probably be fine. I can blend the greens up completely by just running it for at least a minute with just the liquid and the greens, before adding anything else.)

When we got the Blendtec, I couldn’t wait. I was going to do a whole week of smoothies from Nourishing Meals for breakfast…and in reality, I managed a few new recipes during a week’s time. I took notes about the Blendtec’s smoothie performance, which went something like this:

In making smoothies, the Blendtec hasn’t blended perfectly on the first cycle. There’s some chunkiness. I made a really bad-tasting one and added 6 dates to the liquid after the fact, and it didn’t chop them up even after I used the arrows [to manually make the power level increase for an amount of time I thought might be sufficient] and then for a whole “smoothie” cycle. The dates were still in huge pieces.

Another day:

With a lot of frozen fruit, even though there’s liquid in there, sometimes it seems as though the blades are working on the food on the bottom only, so they’re simply not touching enough food and missing some of the chunks that are on the top. I guess I didn’t expect to ever have to open the lid and scrape food down and around in a machine this powerful expensive.

And another day:

It is amazing how well the blender does on smoothies . They’re totally blended without question, much thinner than a regular blender when finished. I almost miss that ice cream consistency, but not the 5 times I’d have to stop the blender and push things down…

How Does a Blendtec Work?

I always wondered what would make these high-powered blenders better than the under-$100 “normal” blender competition.

First, the Blendtec has a super high-powered motor, so it simply moves faster. It’s got 1560 watts of power, which is double and more that of some other “powerful” blenders and slightly more than the Ninja, which rings in at 1100 watts.

Second, the Blendtec has a very wide, square jar and one sturdy 4-inch blade, which is supposed to move food around a bit better, more like a food processor in some ways.

Which leads me to my first and greatest disappointment with the Blendtec. I had always assumed that a high-powered blender, based on what I felt others were saying about them, would be able to replace both my blender and my food processor.

I quickly realized that there was no way for the Blendtec to shred or slice, two functions I adore in my food processor.

Besides that, I didn’t think the Blendtec was as efficient for some favorite food processor recipes, like black bean dip and homemade Larabar style bars.

Functionally, the Blendtec is much like the blender we got for our wedding which we loved, but it died after about 5 years. It was a $70 Oster, and it had cool function buttons for grinding nuts, baby food, smoothies, etc. The Blendtec is similar. Its “blend cycle” buttons include:

  • ice cream, frozen yogurt
  • whole juice
  • soups, syrups, fondues
  • sauces, dips, dressings, batters
  • ice crush, milkshake
  • smoothie

I can’t say I’ve used all of them, but I think they’re a good idea, because the blender will vary its speed nicely to really get everything incorporated into the mixture as it blends.

The extra “Twister Jar” (for $120) is designed for less-liquid applications like hummus, baby food, frozen foods without liquid, nut butters. It has a special lid with scrapers that go down the sides of the jar and move the food toward the blade while you’re blending. You’re supposed to manually rotate the whole lid counterclockwise when the machine is on. The jar is quite a bit smaller than the other jar.

On my version, which is the more basic model (the designer series has a lit touchpad), I have buttons for each of those blend cycles, plus an arrow UP and DOWN to manually choose from speeds 1-10.

Let me tell you, 10 is something serious. It’s SO loud and fast, it makes the baby (who used to like big noise machines before we got this one) cry, and the 4yo go running. The adults cringe. I feel like it’s going to take flight and perhaps levitate off the counter, causing a grand mess.

The last button is the “pulse” button, which does what you expect.

Did you notice what’s missing? There’s no stop button.

So dumb.

I’m sorry, but I can’t even sugarcoat that.

You push “pulse” to stop the blender.

A blender that looks like it might take flight.

And there’s no obvious, red, marked button for STOP.

It’s not only not intuitive to use “pulse” for “stop,” it’s counter-intuitive. And dumb. And maybe dangerous.

General Likes and Dislikes on the Blendtec

What I liked…

  • Has an on/off switch so it can be plugged in and not on, although I don’t use that functionality.
  • Makes a hands-off smoothie for the most part, so that definitely saves a few minutes in the a.m. versus my old blender which needed lots of stirring and attention.
  • The fake-o “ice cream” made of just bananas is wonderful. I do think my regular blender and food processor would have trouble with that – a side-by-side race has been on my list for many weeks now, but I haven’t found/made the time. And now I’m out of frozen bananas because I did make the time to pit the Blendtec vs. a Vitamix at my friend’s house the other day…

What I didn’t like…

  • NO stop button! Seriously?!
  • Very, very loud.
  • You can’t take it apart to wash it. The blade is permanently attached to the housing, so the only way to get little chunks out that might be glued to the bottom, if it doesn’t come out when you whiz some soapy water around, is to dig it out with a spatula or your hands. Difficult. Annoying. Time-consuming.
  • Not recommended for the dishwasher.
  • Made of plastic! My husband saw the container(s) and immediately said, “That thing is $500 and it’s made of plastic? How much did you spend on our glass blender?” (A: $7.) Sure, it’s BPA-free, but for longevity and overall safety, I always prefer glass. Plus, I like to be able to soak things right in the blender overnight, and the Blendtec says not to. I don’t love soaking in plastic, anyway.
  • Takes a long time to get up to speed 7, which is often used for nut butters or flour grinding. You really have to push the keypad buttons quite hard, and you can’t go in rapid succession like I’d like to when trying to get up to speed.
  • The Blendtec does have a tendency to throw food high up the sides and then it doesn’t come back down, so there’s often a need to scrape.
  • When I air dry it, it always looks dirty. Always.
  • No pour spout. It’s messy, and considering it’s a blender, made for liquids, I thought that was odd. Ironically, the Twister Jar, which is made for more solid things, does have a pour spout, which actually allows liquids to splash out while it’s running.
  • It can’t actually replace my food processor. I look at the Ninja, and it has 4 or 5 different jars for under $200, including a food processor and slicing/shredding attachments.

One thing that swings both ways…

  • Easy to wash with liquids– except for what doesn’t come out with the whizzing wash as described earlier in the post, which is anything on the edges of the lid and the very top of the jar, plus thick stuff like hummus, nut butters, and date/nut blends.

What Else Did you Make?

Believe me, we’ve run the Blendtec through quite a bit. I’d say about half the stuff I made could easily be made in my regular blender or food processor, another fourth do fine in the normal machines but were justifiably easier in the high-powered dealie, and the last fourth really need the powerful model.

chocomole (14) (475x356)

1. Chocomole

This is the fake-o pudding with an avocado, cocoa powder, and honey. It’s easy to make in a food processor and went awesome in the twister jar.

2. raw applesauce

I used the twister jar – at first I was trying to do it myself with the speeds, up to 4 and 5, then down lower, then back up. It took a while and wasn’t perfect.

I finally tried the “sauces” button, and it does pretty well. Sometimes it needs to run twice though. Twisting has to be a bit more back and forth than just counterclockwise. The Twister Jar only holds two large apples, quartered. Disappointing there. Sometimes sauce squirts out the pour spout while twisting. It’s weird that it’s made more for thick stuff and NOT liquids and yet there’s a pour spout.

3. black bean spread

This is from Real Food…Real Easy! and is much like hummus in preparation. I used the regular WildSide Blendtec jar, because 4 cups beans is too much for the Twister, and I think the big Blendtec should be able to do stuff like this without a $120 add-on! Here’s why I’d rather have a food processor:

  • I think the food processor does it more smoothly and with equal or less tamping down with a spatula to make sure all the beans get incorporated.
  • It’s far easier to get things out of the food processor since you can tip the blade right out.

A number of folks on the Blendtec giveaway are saying they’d like to make hummus with it. Seriously, just get a food processor – any inexpensive one will probably do!

4. almond flour crackers

I  tried these, which I have made in the food processor before, in the wild side jar. It did grind flax okay, but the coffee grinder is faster and more even. There are some pieces that get missed, get thrown too high and can’t fall back down, etc.

It made dough acceptably, but nothing better than my food processor. It’s actually kind of hard to get dough out, unlike a food processor when you can just take the blade out. I don’t like scraping way down in there.

Our Bottom Line so Far…

My husband says, for as expensive as it is – that’s a small house payment right there, or the price of an entire dishwasher or washing machine – it should be perfection. I should never be disgruntled with its performance or uneven chopping.

Perhaps you can guess how I feel about the Blendtec so far?

I’m left with some questions:

  1. What needs might someone have that would require a high-powered blender?
  2. Is it worth the high price?
  3. Is the Blendtec the best choice, or are there other brands that either perform better, are more versatile, or are less expensive?

In part two of the review, I’ll share about our little visit and race with the Vitamix, and part three covers trying the Blendtec for wheat flour, nut butters, and the question of who might “need” a high-powered blender.

Do you have experience with high-powered blenders? What do you think?

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81 Comments so far ↓

  • Erin D.

    Hi Katie – What a disappointment! I’ll bet you’re glad you didn’t have to pay for that sucker. :)

    Looking forward to reading the comparison you and Adrienne did the other day, for sure!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Adrienne Reply:

    Hey – you blew my cover :-). (At least I didn’t see that I was mentioned in here …..) maybe I’m just too tired.

    Great post, Katie!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Alaina

    Wow. I have to be honest and say I am a bit shocked. We love our Blendtec. Love. I love the nut butters, that it can grind grains, thst my mayonnaise is gorgeous. I have never had trouble with smoothies once I read the directions that require you to put the liquid on the bottom of the jar. The loud doesn’t bother me because it takes so much less time.

    I have used a Vitamix at a friend’s home and I do see the draw, but in my opinion, they work the same pretty much, and I want mine on the counter. That was case closed for me.

    So anyway, I will agree to disagree. I only spent $350 on mine brand new, so I am unsure why this one retails for more. Our house burned down this summer (seriously) and a new Blendtec was one of the first kitchen items I repurchased!

    I findit fascinating how we all see the world so differently. I love it!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Christy S. Lube

    I don’t know how your race went between the two, but from your description (especially of the “cons” of the BlendTec), I’m now incredibly happy that we have a VitaMix instead. The dials and switches work very well, it’s easy and quick to get up to speed, turning it off is simple, and it has a pour spout… lol. I’ve never had any trouble cleaning it by the same recommended method, even when we made peanut butter.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Lisa Reply:

    My thoughts exactly, and my vitamix is about 15 years old to boot.

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  • Heather

    Thank you, Katie. I’ve wanted one for a long time but if I’m honest with myself I just don’t make anything that really requires such a high powered blender. We have a 1000 watt model (don’t remember brand off the top of my head) that I received as a gift a few years ago. The things that it isn’t powerful enough for I either have already made alternative methods part of my routine or we just don’t make it. We’ve never felt deprived. *If* it was perfection, as your husband so wisely put it, I could see altering our kitchen routines and saving up for it. Given those serious down sides though I think I’d rather keep up the search for the perfect bread machine. The way my husband and kids go through bread *that* would be a worthwhile investment (not that it exists either).

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Erin

    After much research, we went with the Vitamix mostly because reviews said the dry blade of the Vitamix was far superior to the Blendtec (so I’m hoping the blowout was for the Vitamix!) I leave the base on the counter and put the container in the cupboard above, so no big deal there for me. I love it and use it ALL the time–flours, nut butters, smoothies, butter/whipped cream (takes literally a minute to make fresh butter!), soups, and tons of other things. I do still have my food processor and use it for some things, but I use the Vitamix pretty much daily!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Tarisa via Facebook

    I have a Vitamix. I love it for nut butters and I use it at least once a day, which I never did with my old blender because it was a pain to clean. I have a squat model that fits under my kitchen cabinets (from Williams Sonoma).

    The plastic issue bothered me but I think the reason they use plastic and not glass is because glass can’t handle the thermal shock from the motors of these high-powered blenders.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Tarisa via Facebook

    * oh, and I don’t know if Blendtec has a tamper, but that thing is ingenious.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Trezlen

    Thanks for the review. I had been deliberating between the two and finally got a Vitamix after trying out a Ninja beforehand. I have never had such smooth smoothies! I use a lot of frozen greens with a bit of fruit and water. I needed a fork to eat the smoothie from the ninja. Glad to know I dodged a bullet on the Blendtec.

    I look forward to seeing part II.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Marjie via Facebook

    I think it’s worth it. I love that it pulverizes nuts and seeds for maximum digestibility. The Ninja leaves chunks, albeit small ones. I love that you can make flour with it, so maybe it could replace a grain mill? Not sure on that. I can’t afford to pay that much for one though. I wouldn’t expect it to replace my food processor (I like the shallower bowl on that).

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sara

    hmm, definately doesn’t sound worth the price! I’m glad you didn’t have to make the purchase to find out. I’m a big ninja fan here! My husband bought me one this year, when I was needing to make our 3 year old almond milk, due to allergies, and it has stood the test of time. The blade (that comes out to clean) runs the length of the container and has multiple blades. It whips smoothies up with no problem, and I can even chop things up. It has replaced my food processor. It also can mixes up small batches of cookie dough, and says it can do bread dough, but I’ve not tried it. My only complaint, like yours, is it’s plastic, but I’m okay with it, since it works so well.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Stacey E Reply:

    I read a lot of good reviews for the Ninja, but they really haven’t been in business long enough to know whether their blenders have any kind of longevity. Working well for a year doesn’t really tell you anything. We have cheap-o blenders from K-Mart that have been working for several years, but they also don’t get used continuously, and certainly wouldn’t hold up to us trying to make flour and peanut butter in them more than a few times. Ugly as the Vitamix is, I will probably get one of them because I continuously read about people who’ve had one for 20 years or so. I hope those aren’t all from people being paid to promote the brand. Blendtec is supposedly the brand Starbucks uses (or used) and it’s why I originally was going to get one. Reading about the lousy service several customers have had has changed my mind. Unfortunately, Vitamix is cheap looking. It looks a lot like the crappy blender Montel Williams used to peddle on tv. A $400 blender should not be made mainly of plastic. But if it lasts for 20 years or more, I might be able to overlook that.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Tricia via Facebook

    I got a Vitamix for significantly less, especially since I was willing to buy one that had been used in demos. It had been completely timed up, came with new containers, and still carries the 7 yr warranty. Unless Blendtec can make broth by itself, I’ll be glad I saved the money!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Heather via Facebook

    I talked myself out of a blendtec or vitamix last year, and I settled with a KA which was supposed to be able to handle my intentions for it…..It did great for the first couple of months, but I had destroyed it by the 8 month mark. If I add up the price of all of the lower -end blenders I uave bought and used to death…well I am pretty sure that I could have bought a blendtec by now. So if it last more than 2-3 years I would say it is absolutely worth it.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Katherine

    Thank you for this review!!! If you have time, I’d be interested to hear how it does at regular sweet cream butter. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kimberly via Facebook

    I’m debating a Vitamix, can’t wait to see how they compared!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Gayle via Facebook

    I won a Blendtech at a Green Smoothie Girl seminar. It makes wonderful smoothies, but I have several dislikes about it. 1.It is very noisy!
    2.It always looks dirty. Nothing seems to get it looking “clean”.
    3.It is difficult to get everything out of it.
    4.I HATE the lid!!!
    5.Things get stuck on the top edges and have to be scraped down. I did order a Wildside jar and it is much nicer, but still has the awful lid! I have an old stainless steel Vitamix which is noisy, but nice. I like its spout. I haven’t tried their new plastic ones. I used a Kitchenaid blender for quite a while, but it didn’t get things very smooth.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Suzy Reply:

    Hi Gayle,

    I have a Blendtec and love it. I think the lid is great–what don’t you like about it? If you have trouble getting out all the food, you might want to get one of Blendtec’s specially designed spatulas. It’s my favorite spatula for Blendtec jars and everything else.

    Regarding some other people’s comments, I think the key is to load the jar properly (liquids, then softer ingredients, then hard/dense ingredients) and to use the blend cycles programmed on the blender. Blendtec works like a charm for me. :-)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Deborah Reply:

    Thank you!!! I have one one the way and I actually researched and found that between the vitamix and the blendtec, blendtec seemed better for me. Good to read something positive.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lorina

    Great post! Waiting expectantly for part two! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    From your description, I’m REALLY glad I have a Vitamix.

    It’s loud and tall, and when I have the bigger container on it doesn’t fit under the counter. I solve that problem by keeping the smaller container on the base and the larger container next to it.

    But…it doesn’t leak. It has a pour spout. It gets from 0 – 10 very quickly. It has an “off” button! It can go very slowly and function as a food chopper (I don’t know about slicer…). It comes completely apart to wash. It goes in the dishwasher just fine. With this and my mandolin slicer I really don’t need a food processor. I am happy I have a Vitamix. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Hmmmm, Kate, I have a mandolin, too, but I still love the SPEED of the automated slicing on a food processor. I’m sure the Blendtec would chop food too, like a Vitamix, but I’ve not tried it. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • ToriAnn

    I am a big fan of BlendTec and use mine probably twice a day. But I do agree with some of your cons. However, I’ve loved the Twister jar for my peanut butter and hummus. I did hummus before in my food processor and it took forever to get it as smooth as it takes my BlendTec to do it in one minute.

    Two additional tidbits of information:
    1. The jar is plastic not glass because the force is so strong from the speed of the blender that it would break a glass jar. That is what I was told by the wife of the inventor of the blendtec, who lives near me.
    2. The stop button isn’t necessary because ANY other button besides an arrow button will stop the machine–not just the pulse button.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Tori Ann,
    Ohhhhhhh! I’m glad there’s at least a “sound” reason for the plastic container, pun intended. Thank you for schooling me! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Pavil, the Uber Noob

    I can’t imagine not having a big ass blender. We got our Vitamix refurbished to save some dough (this is before Blendex came out). I love that I can grind down the cacao nibs into creamy cacao liquor in a few minutes. That would burn out the toy blenders.

    Ciao, Pavil

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Hey Pavil,
    Admittedly, it’s a darn cool machine – but I have never felt the need to make cacao liquor, so maybe that’s where I’m missing something. I probably don’t even know WHAT I’m missing, what things the Blendtec/Vitamix can do that I haven’t tried yet. But for my life the way it is now and the things I make, it’s only a small upgrade from a regular blender. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kimberly

    Vitamix owner here, but I did compare the blendtec with it before buying. I forget what ultimately made me choose the vitamix, but I can say I have been really happy with it. There are definitely some limitations–like the Blendtec, it is not a food processor, also the factory canister is huge, etc. That twister jar that the blendtec makes looks like it would be really useful, but $120!?! (Vitamix extra containers aren’t any cheaper though). Looking fwd to part 2!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Adrienne Reply:

    I think Vmix containers are $99 – at least that’s what I paid. Still…it’s a lot.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kimberly

    I’ve wondered if I was missing out on a high-priced blender, so thanks for the review. I have a Ninja, the cheaper one that costs around $70. Honestly, the ONLY thing I can’t do with it is make mayo. You can’t add ingredients while blending. The thing I love most is that I have NEVER found a chunk in anything, and that includes after bleeding ice cubes. For the money, I’ll keep it. Maybe I just need to add a hand blender for the mayo.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Pavil, the Uber Noob Reply:

    Use a stick blender for mayo. Just pour all stuff in and squeeze.

    Ciao, Pavil.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Kimberly,
    I’m a HUGE stick blender fan. It does mayo super awesome, so I never even tried it in the Blendtec, never thought of it. I use my stick blender as much as most use the Blendtec, and it’s 1/10 the cost and takes up 1/10 the space. Big fan! ;) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker

    Wow, Katie! The irony! I have, or, er, had, a basic Black & Decker blender that I LOVE that I got as a wedding gift 7 1/2 years ago. I use it nearly every day! I knocked it off the counter this morning, and it shattered. :( I nearly cried. I pulled out the Magic Bullet that I NEVER use for my smoothie today and was planning on emailing some companies. Thanks for the thorough review!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Erin,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. ;) How does a Magic Bullet do for smoothies?
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Nia Reply:

    Does great smoothies, but the bottom of the blade (plastic)base can get worn down and shredded, so it needs replacing. I’ve had mine about 5 years and use about two new blades per year.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Julia

    Oh the suspense! Anxiously awaiting part 2. My Mom has me a Vita-Mix under the tree for Christmas. I hope I made the right choise. For those who are curious, the Vita-Mix now has a canister that will fit under the counter. You can purchase it separately or if you are buying a new one, you can get it instead of the large one.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Mare @ just-making-noise

    I’m surprise you don’t like it. I LOVE mine. I used a Vitamix for 2 years and didn’t like it very much, but was grateful that I had it… then I got a Blendtec to review on my blog and was blown away by how much better it did. Yeah, its loud (what do you expect?!). Overall, I love how smooth and thick our smoothie comes out of it… my Vitamix didn’t do that. I mainly use it for smoothies and ice cream shakes. I do use it to make sauces and have been very happy with it.

    Overall, I feel it does a way better job than Vitamix. Yeah, don’t think I would buy it unless it was on sale for a killer price :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Mare,
    Fascinating! I wonder if it depends on what you want to do with it? I figured that everyone would have differing opinions on this matter (potay-to, potah-to, you know?), and it’s fun to read them all. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Audrey

    I can’t wait to see the next post! I went back and forth on which one to get, and finally decided on the Vitamix. I spent $490 after tax, and that included the extra dry grains container (which I use all the time to make flour… We are gluten free and I love the savings on brown rice flour!). It won by a small margin, but I’m so glad I went with that one and not the Blendtec! I absolutely love it. It doesn’t have a problem with cleaning (even though the blade doesn’t come out), and I’ve never found chunks in my smoothies or anything. I could add rocks to my smoothies and wouldn’t find chunks! The plastic container is a drawback, but I’ve come to terms with it since it works so well. It has been an amazing investment! Can’t wait to read the next post!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Audrey,
    That’s wonderful! I wonder how you would like a grain mill for the brown rice flour…I’ll explore than in part two! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Audrey Reply:

    I actually always wanted a grain mill, but I have a small kitchen and very little storage space now, so I don’t like having appliances that only serve one function, which is why I love my vitamix! : D can’t wait for the next post!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • stephany

    I love my blendtec! I do everything in it… grinding flours smoothies etc… It takes a little bit of playing with, but definitely worth it! The electrical unit went out on mine and they paid for my shipping and handling – fixed it- and sent it right back… I don’t think it was gone for more than a week! The company seems great!

    [Reply to this comment]

    stephany Reply:

    By the way I think it’s important to support companies as well. Vitamix lost a patent infringement case http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2011/01/vitamix_ordered_to_pay_23_mill.html

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jamie via Facebook

    we have a Vitamix, apparently very comparable. We love our Vitamix, we use it at least once every day!!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Heather

    Thanks for this review! I had an older Vita-Mix and was using it for smoothie…when it broke. And it was cheaper to buy the blender attachment for my Cuisinart stand mixer than to buy the Vita-Mix parts, so I let it go. Honestly, the Cuisinart attachment blender does smoothies just as well, without being an entire separate appliance on my counter.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Julie

    Wow, I’m glad my sweet husband got me the VitaMix! We opted for the shorter jar, and in combination with a break in our overhead cupboards, we can leave it right on the counter without height interference. I just love it. We bought it during a month of surplus and probably could not afford it now, so I am thankful he chose to splurge on me!! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kelly

    I got a vitamix last year for Christmas and love it. Because I use it every day (sometimes several times a day), I do store it under my cabinets. It fits with the lid off. So I just prop the lid up on one of the back corners of the vitamix. At first this bothered me, but now I prefer it that way because after cleaning it, I don’t have to worry about drying it off. I can just put it back under the counter with the lid off and it dries on its own.

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  • Tammy

    I am right now trying to decide which item to buy. I have a oster blender with all kinds of mini cups, etc. It works ok, but wanted something that made smoothie smooth for my child with sensory processing disorder. Your cons, have definitely convinced me that this is not the blender for me.. Now to just find a review of the Vitamix…

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Tammy,
    I will say that if your main goal is smoothies, you might adore the Blendtec. Who knows? I wish I had a Ninja and some other medium-powered ones to do side-by-side tests with! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Michelle D

    Wow, can’t believe you don’t like the Blendtec. I use it 2-3 times a day & never have problems blending or chopping, making dough or batter, flour or nut butters. As someone else said, any button stops it not just the pulse. Also, I’ve never had anything yucky stuck under the blade that a cycle with hot water & dish soap didn’t remove. My favorite things to make: green smoothies & protein shakes. Perfection if you pulse the fruit(or powder) & water until slightly blended and then add greens (or ice) and push shake mode. Perfect every single time! Yummy! I suppose agree to disagree! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Michelle,
    You’re totally right – if we made smoothies every day, I might have weighted the power of the Blendtec a little higher (a lot higher!), but, and I say again – for the price – it wasn’t amazing me like I wanted it to. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Michelle D Reply:

    Katie,
    RE:price, to your point… I never told my hubby how much this cost as if was a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, & anniversary gift I convinced him to let me buy. :) RE: Noise, My kids love it b/c I can buy any kind of nuts & make smooth butter (they don’t like chunks!) but after they push the button the run out of the kitchen! LOL

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Shira

    I think it takes a bit of playing around to get these things to work well. I inherited a vitamix, and decided its great for puréed foods, basically, but not much else. We didn’t like the soup it makes. I can make better ice cream without a blender at all. But smoothies are great.

    Here is something you can do with it that I invented and is awesome. When baking, combine your wet ingredients in the blender. Instead of your usual sweetener, put some dates in with those wet ingredients. Blend up and combine in a bowl with your dry ingredients. The dates sweeten as well as your sugar, and are so healthy! I’ve only been eyeballing the amount so far, so you’d have to experiment with recipes yourself. I haven’t figured out the change of wet to dry ratio, because without the sugar the whole recipe comes out wetter. I also throw spinach in with the wet ingredients for extra nutrition in our muffins. Once it came out a bit too green… The kids ate it anyhow. Chocolate chips seem to make anything appealing to them. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Shira,
    Now that date trick is DEFinitely something that would never work in a normal blender. What a cool idea! I know I need to branch out and try more cool stuff, but sometimes changing one’s routines is difficult… :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Shira Reply:

    It didn’t take much change to my routine. Instead of cleaning out the blender after making a smoothy, I just leave it a bit and then when I’m ready to bake I just pour the wet ingredients in there. Its not worse than using a second bowl for wet ingredients. Then I just rinse it out after I use it. I find if you rinse it right away, you don’t need to do the whole blending soapy water thing.

    I noticed in the comments that with the blendtec you have to put the softer wetter stuff on the bottom and the solid stuff on top. In the vitamix its the opposite. The frozen fruit (or whatever) goes in first, the liquid goes in last. I wonder if that is why the blendtec ends up with chunks floating around in some reviews I’ve read.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • via Facebook

    Tarisa Schmid – that’s a HUGE difference between the Vitamix and Blendtec – no tamper. When I share the videos of the head-to-head sun/coconut butter challenge, you’ll see how that plays out. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Cheryl

    Great review! Bamix immersion blender owner here and recently I’ve been wanting a countertop version just for the larger capacity and the ability to turn it on and walk away. I make smoothies with the stick and couldn’t justify half a grand on a blender for a smoohie. lol

    I have seen via video the Vita-mix turn manzanita branches into dust within seconds and I was very impressed (purpose of the manzanita would be for bladder infections) and the Blendtec turn coconut into coconut butter within a minue. *sigh*

    With a blender that performed like that, I’d be acting like Tim the Toolman Taylor when I wasn’t plugging my ears and running the children to the upstairs to avoid the hearing damage. :)

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  • Shauna

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Anticipating a move, I told my husband that I would deserve some kind of reward for going through this again after just one year. He was shocked to hear my request was to be some high-end appliance. But now I won’t request this particular one. Cool you got to try it for free.

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  • Katrina

    Katie,

    I have the Breville Juice & Blend (http://www.brevilleusa.com/the-juice-and-blend-bjb840xl.html) and I love it! You can take it apart (but it needs a specail tool and it’s VERY sharp – I cut my hands when cleaning it and didn’t even know it!) it’s not too loud, and it’s glass. I use my juice attachments more often then the blend (I don’t like chunks that whole juicing gives). I made some of your soaked breakfast pudding in the blender and it worked like a charm. WAY too much at a time for just me, though;). I’m glad you didn’t spend the money on that one to try it!

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  • Jacqueline

    I love how your reviews are so thorough and honest! Thanks for the info!

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  • Rebekah

    Love my Blendtec. Katie, you might have already figured this out, you can actually push ANY of the buttons to stop the blender before the typical 50-second cycle is over… it doesn’t have to be the Pulse button.

    You definitely do need to layer ingredients correctly–yogurt or coconut milk first, not frozen fruit first.

    I think I paid about $350 for mine, using a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Andrea

    I have a Vitamix that I saved up for and bought used on craigslist (1 yr old and never used by its bachelor owner who received it as a gift)! It still has a 6 yr warranty left, and I use it daily. So glad to hear your review. Before the vitamix I had an Oster Fusion blender that we loved. In fact, I burned it out twice, broke the jar twice, and kept fixing it ’cause I loved it. But when I finally burned out the rubber coupling a 3rd time, I was done. I mainly did frozen smoothies and butter in it, but wanted to grind grains too, and these were just taking too long in the Oster, or burning it out. I haven’t gotten rid of my food processor either, because it is just easier for some things, especially larabars. I did save up and buy the dry container too, and it works ok. I’ve never tried a grain mill, but I’m glad to not have a separate appliance for something I do infrequently. It’s nice to just switch out the jars, grind for 1 min, and be ready to go. I agree the price is high, but I will have this product forever! I appreciate that you can almost always buy refurbished products from Vitamix for much less, and they are a great company to work with. The fact that people were selling their old stainless steel vitamixs on ebay for well over $100 made me realize this is a product that stands the test of time!
    One thing I don’t understand is the love of the stick blenders. I’ve had one forever and almost never use it. Perhaps I’m just doing it wrong, but every time I use it I end up getting liquid sprayed EVERYWHERE! So not worth the cleanup! What am I missing?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Andrea,
    Isn’t that funny? We all really use our kitchens differently. I use the stick blender for very thick things like making roasted pumpkin puree, for blending hot soups right in the pot and hot applesauce, and for making mayo (must do it in a tall jar, like a pint or quart wide-mouth). You def. do need to get the holes of the base in the liquid before turning it on though, or sploosh! ;) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Ashley

    Katie, my husband and I bought a Blend-Tec a while back and returned it for the same reason. For the money that we paid it should have been “perfection” it’s marketed like it’s perfection and it was only marginally superior to our other blender. I ended up going with a Kitchen Aid immersion blender, it’s powerful enough to do smoothies and I don’t have to stop and scrape every 4 seconds. I’m pretty happy with it overall. Super interested to hear how the Vitamix compares!

    The Blendtec also was so loud it made my baby cry and we couldn’t run it if she was sleeping, ugh.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Ashley,
    I’m glad I’m not the only one with high expectations! I feel badly about posting a negative review, but honesty is my only goal, so…eh. The Vitamix is still pretty darn loud…

    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kristine

    I actually bought a Blendtec from Costco earlier this year but I only had it for a week before I returned that sucker and bought a Vitamix. Let me tell you the Vitamix is by far the best blender out there. I hated how the Blendtec kinda bounced around on the base when it was blending and it made my smoothies semi WARM?!!! I can blend my smoothies 3 times in my Vitamix and still have em ice cold. The only downside is sometimes things become a little airy in the Vitamix but can easily be fixed by blending on the lowest setting to deflate. I will say that the best place to buy either blender is at Costco. You get the best price and they will return anything even after 2 years! I actually saw a lady bring in her old Vitamix to get the newer model!
    Really, I have to admit that I have contemplated returning it and busting out my old Kitchenaid….whats a few berry seeds if it saves $500!!

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  • Sandi in MN

    I also have a Vitamix and love it! One of the reasons we love it is that it is made in the USA. With our economy the way it has been, I love supporting the US market. We use ours every day. The only complaint I have is the loud noise but the new model is supposed to be quieter and shorter to fit under counters. I just put the container next to the base on the counter, problem solved. I would buy one again in a heartbeat!

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  • tami

    My family doesn’t LOVE the soup totally raw (we have a vitamix). But I can throw in whatever vegetables and steam them lightly to take the raw “edge” off , especially important if you are adding onion or garlic, and then put them in the vitamix with hot broth (this way it takes only 30 seconds or a minute), add some seasoning and you’ve got some delicious soup.

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  • tami

    and you can get a vitamix refurbished for much less (than full price) and they still have a 7 year warranty to boot!

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  • Terri

    I really, really like my Blendtec. I use it several times every day and have not a second of regret for the purchase. (Bought it at Costco for $375 with the regular jar and the larger one, plus a 7 year warranty) I use the “whole juice” button for green smoothies. It completely pulverizes sunflower kernels in 2 seconds for making crackers. I’ve never had any thing stick under the blade and I love that the blades are not sharp. It doesn’t slice or grate, true, but I never do that with a machine. It does everything my food processor does, except better and faster. At least if one purchases from Costco it can be easily returned if it isn’t liked. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Suzy Reply:

    I agree with you completely, Terri!

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    Suzy Reply:

    I agree with you completely, Terri! My Blendtec is amazing!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Cheryl

    My little guy (9mo) launched Facebook app and made my status something very similar. The above was not from him, though. He’s asleep. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Emily

    As I sit here sipping a silky smooth breakfast smoothie, I am SO thankful I went with the KitchenAid 5-speed when I bought my blender. I have never been dissatisfied with it. I use it multiple times a day and it always does a fabulous job. I use my KitchenAid 12-cup food processor for thicker things (hummus and homemade healthy ice cream), and my KitchenAid stick blender for a few other things. Ever made mayonnaise with a stick blender? Look it up on YouTube. It’s a revelation. I was so excited I almost cried. Anyway, my point is – I think KitchenAid should pay me :)

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    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    LOL! I make mayo with a stick blender, too – fabulous. :) Katie

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  • Macy

    Honestly, you’re using it wrong. You don’t have to set it up to the highest speed for things like dates, you actually want to use a lower speed that won’t throw the dates away from the blades. Also any button will stop the blender, not just the pulse button, which is great in my opinion because you can just poke the key pad or touch screen when you need it to stop! I love both of my Blendtec Blenders, but there is a learning curve, and they are not like any other blender. I love that I can just hit a button and then clean up my smoothie mess and know that I will have a perfectly made smoothie when I come back. Also, the bok Choy must have been the problem with the soup, that soup is delicious!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Macy,
    Thanks! I do know about the “any button” thing now, but it’s very tricky for someone visiting my home. Good to know about the dates; I guess I wouldn’t have thought of that. :) Katie

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  • Peter

    Dear Katie,

    We have blendtec for 4 which is working without problem. We are RAW family of 4 adults and 3 kids what means we use blendtec several times per day whit very heavy loads. If we overloaded it has temperature control fuse. Your review is very confusing and not objective. It seems that you are very biased against Blendtec. We also had Kitchen Aid (which started leaking after 4 months and Ninja after two years is still good but it doesn’t do the same job as Blendtec, Black and Decker with glass jar this one was overloaded and burn. Visitors of this website please find more reviews if you want to buy Blendtec. Regards

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Peter,
    I do appreciate your comments, but I actually just read through the whole review again, and after another year of use, I still agree with every single item on my lists. We still get a chunk of frozen banana or two that goes unblended in every smoothie (on the “smoothie” cycle), and I hardly even use the Twister jar b/c I think the food processor is better. If you watch the videos, you can see that the Vitamix does a better job on a few tough recipes, and the Blendtec overloads once. I’m sorry it felt confusing, but this was most definitely my experience and 100% honest. Have you ever tried a Vitamix? I don’t have one either, but I’d love to run more side by side tests. I think I’d like it better.

    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Arisela Reply:

    Katie, Thank you very much for putting so muchc time into this. I know moms and families out there appreciate this. Peter, thank you for your honesty. There are many reveiws here for Vitamix and I am glad to see those reviews and compare their likes and dislike about their vitamix and compare to Blendtec. I am also very appreciative of other brands posted on here because I am in the same boat of finding what is right for our family based on our needs, the performance of the product among ways it will be used. Again thank you all for your honest reveiews.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Good luck making the choice, Arisela! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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