The Best Blender

After researching dozens of blenders, talking with five experts, and testing 16 models over the course of three years, and using several of our top picks for one year, we’re confident that the Oster Versa 1400-watt Professional Performance Blender with Short Jar offers the best value for most people. At roughly $200, it performs as well as blenders twice the price, and it blows cheaper blenders out of the water. With both variable speed and presets for things like soup and smoothies, it has one of the most user-friendly and versatile control panels we’ve seen.

Last Updated: May 29, 2015
We added dismissals for Vitamix’s The Quiet One and Blending Station, Blendtec’s Stealth 875 and Connoisseur 875, and Black & Decker Cyclone 12 Speed Blender. See the Competition section for why we decided not to test these.
Expand Most Recent Updates
April 23, 2015: After three years of researching and testing blenders, we’ve found the $200 Oster Versa is the best blender for most people. It performs as well as blenders that are twice the price and blows cheaper blenders out of the water. Its speeds are more nuanced than the competition’s, it runs more quietly, and it’s one of the only models that comes with a tamper for bursting air pockets in thicker mixtures.
January 27, 2015: We've addressed the "black fleck" issue with Vitamix jars—in short, they're annoying, but not harmful. Read more about how to replace the jar below.
October 29, 2014:
In the six months since we've been using the Vitamix 5200 we have no complaints. It has processed our smoothies beautifully, and we're looking forward to making lots of pureed soups over the winter. We have seen a couple complaints about a strange black residue forming on the inside of the jar after running the blender for a few minutes. We tried to recreate the black fleck problem but couldn't. We reached out to Vitamix for comment and they said they're investigating, but didn't know when they would have an answer--which is, unfortunately, a non-answer. Ultimately, we stand by our pick because it's come recommended by so many experts. We didn't find any 1-star reviews on either Amazon or Costco detailing the same issues. If we start seeing an uptick in black residue complaints, or when Vitamix updates us with the results of their investigation, we will update this guide.
May 30, 2014: After a substantial update, this guide now includes an explanation for why we didn't test any Blendtecs this year; additional context for what makes a good blender; a new step-up pick (Vitamix 300); and a complete breakdown of each model Vitamix makes.
April 22, 2014: Unfortunately, our previous pick got recalled due to a faulty blade, but our new pick, the Vitamix 5200, is extremely powerful, user-friendly, and time-tested. You can even mill your own grains with it! We also have a pick for those of you who don't want to shell out upwards of $500 on a blender you might not use everyday.
October 7, 2013: A problem with the blade that ships with the Vitamix Pro 300 has led to a product recall in the U.S. and Canada. If you already purchased this product, you can get a free replacement blade from Vitamix. If you haven't bought one yet, Vitamix says the new Pro 300 blenders are shipping with better blades that don't break. Since it sounds like Vitamix has cleared this problem up, we're still going to recommend the Pro 300 for now. Separately, we have also removed our budget pick, the KitchenAid, due to quality concerns and are working on choosing a new recommendation in that category.
October 3, 2013: We've noted some complaints of quality issues with the KitchenAid, so we're setting this guide to wait status while we investigate another pick for the budget category.

Compared with equally priced blenders, the Versa’s speeds are more nuanced, its 1,400-watt motor runs more quietly, and it’s one of the only models that comes with a tamper for bursting air pockets in thick mixtures. At 17½ inches tall, it’ll also fit better under a counter than most other high-performance models. We don’t think the Versa is the absolute best model out there, but its serious blending skills, solid seven-year warranty, and ease of use make this a great choice if you don’t want to plunk down half a grand.

Oster Versa
The Versa offers the best balance between performance and price that we’ve found, and it also has the most useful combination of variable and preset speeds. At $200, it performs as well as blenders twice the price.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $225.

When we first reviewed blenders, in 2012, we didn’t find one for less than $450 that really impressed us. That price may seem obscene, but quality blenders have historically been expensive. When Fred Waring introduced the Waring Blender in 1937, it retailed for $29.75—or roughly $485 in today’s dollars. Since we first published this guide (this is our second full update), we’ve found that companies, gunning to compete with the likes of Vitamix and Blendtec, have introduced relatively modest-priced blenders with really big motors that are surprisingly efficient at liquefying food. We think the Oster Versa is the best of this new breed of high-powered, but budget-friendly options. After a year of long-term testing, we’d say it’s about 85 percent as good as our former pick, the Vitamix 5200, but at roughly 40 percent the price.

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.

Cleanblend 3HP 1800-Watt
A relative newcomer, this makes some of the silkiest smoothies, and it’s the same price as the Versa at $200. But it lacks presets and has a cheap-feeling jar, and its speeds are less nuanced than our top pick’s.

If the Versa sells out, we’d go for the Cleanblend ($200), which makes creamier smoothies and piña coladas than our main pick. But we find its jar really flimsy and the overall design clunkier compared with that of the Versa. The controls are also more confusing to use and there are no presets. Its powerful 3-horsepower motor helps decimate berry seeds and ice, but there isn’t much variance between low and high speeds.

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $440.

Vitamix 5200 Series Blender
Our prior top pick blends more gracefully than any of the 15 other blenders we’ve tested. But at close to $500, it’s probably more machine than most people need.

For the third year running, a Vitamix blender performed best, overall, in our testing. The classic 5200 ($450) was our top pick last year (the Pro 300 the year before), and it was again the only one in our tests that would make creamy peanut butter and puree soup without spewing molten liquid up the sides of the jar, and it has the best range of speeds (far better than the equally priced Blendtec Designer).

It doesn’t have any preset speeds, which, after a year of long-term testing, we found we wished it had. And there have also been user complaints about black flecks—pieces of PTFE, a chemical found in nonstick coatings—breaking off the gasket around the base of the blade. Though we haven’t experienced this problem in our own usage, we also weren’t totally satisfied with Vitamix’s response to the issue. For the price we only think it’s worth getting the 5200 if you plan to blend a couple of times or more a week. Otherwise, we think the Oster Versa will satisfy most people’s needs for less than half the price. 

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

KitchenAid KSB1570ER 5-Speed Blender
While the KitchenAid 5-Speed isn't as powerful as the Oster Versa, it can churn out a great emulsification and decent (but chunkier) smoothies.

Not everyone wants to spend $200, let alone $450, on a blender. If you rarely use a blender, but want one for the occasional sauce or smoothie, the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender ($100) is the best less expensive model we have found. It produces much thicker, more rustic textures than any of our other picks, and its motor isn’t nearly as powerful (and more likely to burn out if overtaxed). But it’s a good, all-purpose machine that’s small enough to fit on the counter under most kitchen cabinets.

Table of contents

Why you should trust us

For the past two years, I’ve written specifically about kitchen gadgets that whirl, cut, and chop for The Sweethome. That includes our guides to food processors and immersion blenders, and last year’s review of blenders. I’ve spent many hours using our top blender picks in my own kitchen, foisting too many all-kale smoothies on my family and sipping a pool lizard’s share of piña coladas.

For professional advice, we turned to two blender experts: Julie Morris, author of Superfood Smoothies and the executive chef at Navitas Naturals; and Tess Masters, author of The Blender Girl cookbook and The Blender Girl blog. Combined, these women have tested nearly every blender on the market.

For a scientific perspective on the pervasive black-fleck issue reported with the Vitamix and other high-performance blenders, we spoke with Neal Langerman, chief scientist and owner of Advanced Chemical Safety, a consulting firm. We also reached out to Jonathan Cochran, a former blender salesman who now runs the site Blender Dude, for his take on the best Vitamix and Blendtec models to test. For our original guide, authored by the Sweethome’s Seamus Bellamy, we consulted with Lisa McManus, a senior editor in charge of equipment testing at Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country.

Should I upgrade?

If your current blender makes really thick or rough-textured purees and smoothies, and you want a more velvety consistency, we’d upgrade to a high-performance blender, which our guide’s pick, runner-up, and upgrade all are. 

If your blender only has a variable speed dial, and you wish you could turn the blender on and check your email while your smoothie finishes up, then you might want a model with preset speeds. 

If you’re really concerned about chemicals leaching from a plastic blender jar, you may want to go with a blender with a glass or metal jar.

How we picked and tested

A great blender should be able to smoothly process tough things like fibrous kale, frozen berries, and ice without burning out the motor. How efficiently a blender does this depends on a combination of blade length and position, the shape of the mixing jar, and motor strength. All three of these elements combine to create an efficient vortex that will bring food down around the blade.

According to America’s Test Kitchen, a good vortex is formed when the blender’s blades have a “wingspan” that comes close to the sides of the blending jar. If there’s a big gap between the tips of the blades and the jar, chunks of food will end up missing the blades. America’s Test Kitchen also found that blenders with a curved bottom, rather than a flat 90-degree bottom, created a better vortex. And, of course, a more powerful motor created a better vortex.

What separates high- and low-end blenders is that the former are more powerful and process much smoother textures, and they’ll generally last a lot longer than the lower-end, less powerful ones. Higher-end blenders—often called high-performance blenders—will also tackle things that you’d never want to try in a cheap blender, such as making peanut butter or milling grains. As Julie Morris told us, “Lower-end models market themselves to be able to do all the things that a higher-end one can, but they rarely can … or at least not for very long before breaking. High-end blenders are more of a machine than an appliance … a workhorse (and actually measured in horsepower).”

01blenders

High-performance blenders have larger motors, thus much larger bases, than regular blenders. Our winners, from left: Oster Versa, Cleanblend, Vitamix 5200.

As Lisa McManus, a senior editor at America’s Test Kitchen, told Seamus Bellamy in our 2012 review, “Blenders have a really hard job to do in that little space. The motor is only so big. The blades have to be able to move the food through the jar and create a vortex, so that the food is sucked down through the blades and back up again. There’s a lot going on in a blender. It’s kind of a challenge, engineering-wise. If you make it do something difficult every day, a lot of them burn out. If it’s being put in the dishwasher every day, the jars can crack, things loosen up, they leak. It’s a lot of stress to put on a little machine. They’re either not durable enough or they can’t handle it in the first place.”

The holy grail for many home cooks seems to be a $50 or $100 blender that performs like a $500 Vitamix or Blendtec. That isn’t realistic.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with a cheap blender as long as you understand its limitations. Julie Morris told us that she used a Cuisinart blender daily in college and liked it so much that when it burned out after a year, she just bought another one—it was still cheaper than buying a Vitamix. Judging from user reviews, though, the holy grail for many home cooks seems to be a $50 or $100 blender that performs like a $500 Vitamix or Blendtec. That isn’t realistic.

The biggest complaint we’ve found about cheap blenders is that their motors burn out easily and their jars crack or start leaking. Vitamix, Blendtec, Oster Versa, and Cleanblend models all come with warranties of five to eight years, and—at least for Vitamix machines—we’ve read plenty of user reviews about them lasting 20 years. You can’t really expect that level of performance from dirt-cheap models, which is probably why most of them come with only one-year limited warranties.

Preset speeds for making smoothies, soups, or crushing ice can be great if you want to blend while tackling errands around the house. But we’ve found that models, like the Blendtec Designer, that only have presets and no variable speed are pretty limited in what they can do. That’s why a combination of a variable speed dial and presets is ideal. Presets can significantly jack the price of a blender. For example, the Vitamix 5200 retails for around $450, while the Vitamix Professional Series 500—the same machine, but with three preset speeds—retails for $650. This is partially why we think our new main pick, which has three presets, is such a great value.

In our three years of testing, we’ve found that a tamper—a small plastic bat—separates the good from the great.

In our three years of testing, we’ve found that a tamper—a small plastic bat—separates the good from the great. It’s no coincidence that our top three picks have tampers. When a blender is really cranking, air pockets tend to form around the blade, and a tamper allows you to burst these without having to stop the machine. This jibes with what Tess Masters told us last year: “Vitamix is set apart for me because of the tamper. I actually think it’s the genius of the machine, and it’s why other companies are coming out with tampers. It allows you to use the tamper to burst air pockets.” Blenders that come with tampers have a removable opening in the lid to slide the bat through, so you don’t have to take the lid off. This is a safety feature and also helps reduce splatters.

02blenders

Models with tampers for pushing food down around the blade and bursting air pockets excelled in our testing.

A poorly designed blender can create some serious cleaning problems. Food trapped around gaskets or in the base of the jar will rot and cause a very unsavory odor. Some companies, like Breville and KitchenAid, have designed their blending jars so they are virtually seamless at the bottom, with just a bolt to connect the blade. We found these easy to clean.

Most of the blenders we tested come with BPA-free plastic jars. The Oster Versa, Vitamix 5200, and Breville Boss jars are made of Tritan plastic, which is very durable and has some flexibility. Many of the lower-end blenders don’t advertise what material their jars are made of, beyond being “BPA-free.” But the majority of these are probably made of polycarbonate, which is more rigid than Tritan but also very strong. Both materials will crack if heated too high, which is why these jars should not be washed on very hot settings in the dishwasher.

In our testing last year we tried 9 blenders (KitchenAid 5-Speed not pictured). Back row, left to right: Oster Versa with short jar, Oster Versa with tall jar, Vitamix 5200, Ninja Professional Blender. Front row, left to right: Breville Hemisphere, Magic Bullet, Oster Beehive, and Ninja Master Prep Professional.

In our testing last year we tried nine blenders (KitchenAid 5-Speed not pictured). Back row, from left: Oster Versa with short jar, Oster Versa with tall jar, Vitamix 5200, Ninja Professional Blender. Front row, from left: Breville Hemisphere, Magic Bullet, Oster Beehive, and Ninja Master Prep Professional.

Last year, we tested primarily budget blenders and were mostly unimpressed by all of them (our top picks were high-performance models). This year, we wanted to see how really good, high-performance blenders stacked up. We pitted last year’s winners—the Vitamix 5200 and Oster Versa—against five top-rated models: the Blendtec Designer, Waring Commercial Xtreme, Breville Boss, Ninja Ultima, and the Cleanblend.

This year we focused testing on 7 high-performance blenders. Back row, left to right: Ninja Ultima, Waring Commercial Xtreme, Blendtec Designer 675, Breville Boss. Front row, left to right: Vitamix 5200, Oster Versa with short jar, Cleanblend.

This year we focused testing on seven high-performance blenders. Back row, from left: Ninja Ultima, Waring Commercial Xtreme, Blendtec Designer 675, Breville Boss. Front row, from left: Vitamix 5200, Oster Versa with short jar, Cleanblend.

In each blender, we made a green smoothie packed with frozen berries, kale,  and ice. We made mayonnaise to test how each did with emulsification, and bean dip to see how well they made small batches of puree.

In each blender, we made a green smoothie packed with frozen berries, kale,  and ice. We made mayonnaise to test how each did with emulsification, and bean dip to see how well they made small batches of puree. As we did last year, we tried to process peanuts into peanut butter. To test the safety of the jars, we processed hot whole canned tomatoes and their juice to emulate making a hot soup. With our finalists, we made rounds of piña coladas to see how well they blended ice into slush.

05blenders

We also processed water for two minutes in each blender to see if any of the jars produced the dreaded black flecks that have fired up the blend-o-sphere the past few years. Additionally, we noted how easy or difficult each machine was to clean, how noisy they were, if any of them produced a burning smell while running the motors, if the jars were difficult to attach to the bases, and how easy the interfaces were to use.

Our pick: Oster Versa

Oster Versa
The Versa offers the best balance between performance and price that we’ve found, and it also has the most useful combination of variable and preset speeds. At $200, it performs as well as blenders twice the price.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $225.

We don’t think you can beat the value of the Oster Versa 1400-watt Professional Performance Blender with Short Jar ($200). It performs as well as blenders twice the price, making silky smoothies, purees, and blended cocktails. It has one of the best combinations of variable and preset speeds we’ve found, and its controls are more intuitive to use than those on other models we’ve tried. The Versa has a broader range of speeds, and the motor runs more quietly than equally priced blenders do. It comes with features usually only available in more expensive machines, like a tamper and overheating protection. And at 17½ inches tall to the top of the jar, it will fit under most cabinets, unlike many high-performance blenders.

The Versa passed almost every test we threw at it, blending nuts into butter (as long as there are about 2 cups to work with), and making a velvety puree. It does struggle to make mayonnaise; we could make an emulsification only once out of four tries. It also didn’t achieve the absolute smoothest textures—it leaves whole raspberry seeds in smoothies and makes a slightly grainy piña colada. But these minor faults will likely not be a big deal for most people. The slightly grainier texture, in particular, is barely noticeable unless you’re doing a side-by-side tasting with smoothies from the Blendtec or Cleanblend. And the Versa’s smoothies are much smoother than any from lower-priced blenders.

In last year’s testing, the Versa made far smoother textured smoothies than the equally priced Breville Hemisphere or our budget pick, the KitchenAid 5-Speed. And in this year’s testing, the Versa performed about equally with the Breville Boss ($400) and the Waring Commercial Xtreme ($360). The Vitamix, Waring, Cleanblend, and Blendtec made finer smoothies. Those last two also crushed ice better than the Versa. But in many ways our pick was more pleasant to use than the Blendtec. The Versa’s soup setting starts at a much saner speed, and you have more control overall because it comes with a variable speed option.

The Versa didn’t blend raspberry seeds, but otherwise made a very fine smoothie.

The Versa didn’t blend raspberry seeds, but otherwise made a very fine smoothie.

One of the things we like best about the Versa is its smart combination of variable and preset speeds for soup, dip, and smoothies. This offers a nice compromise that’s lacking in both Vitamix and Blendtec entry-level models, which have only variable or preset speeds, respectively. To get presets with the Vitamix, or a variable speed “touch slider” with the Blendtec Designer 725, you need to spend hundreds more. Having both makes the Versa really versatile.  We also feel that there are just enough presets on the Versa, whereas the Breville Boss, which comes with five, has too many. The Versa’s large variable speed dial is also more intuitive and easier to use than the much smaller dial on the Cleanblend.

We found the Versa’s large variable speed dial and three preset speeds more versatile and intuitive to use than the controls on other models.

We found the Versa’s large variable-speed dial and three preset speeds more versatile and intuitive to use than the controls on other models.

The Versa’s speeds aren’t as nuanced as those on the Vitamix, but they’re far more diverse than the Cleanblend’s.

The Versa’s speeds aren’t as nuanced as those on the Vitamix, but they’re far more diverse than the Cleanblend’s, which, despite a 10-speed dial, seems to have only two speeds: high and higher. In comparison, the Versa’s low speed is sane enough to start pureeing a batch of soup without hot liquid shooting up the sides of the jar (a problem with the Cleanblend).

All of the high-performance blenders we tested are loud, but compared with the Blendtec’s high-pitched whine, the Versa is far easier on the ears.

All three of our top picks come with tampers, and although the Versa’s isn’t the nicest (see below), it works sufficiently to burst air bubbles and help move things like peanuts around the blades. With the models without tampers, like the Blendtec and Waring, we often needed to remove the lid to either burst air pockets, or scrape ingredients down the sides of the jar with a spatula. With the Waring, in particular, we had to add more water to the smoothie to get all the ingredients to blend, whereas a tamper would have helped move the mixture around the blade without having to add water.

Like the Vitamix, the Versa will shut off if the motor is in danger of overheating. There’s a reset button on the bottom of the base. In the year we’ve been testing it, we haven’t had to use the button, but we consider the feature an advantage over cheaper models that don’t have it and tend to burn out easily.

The Versa, like other high-performance blenders, is a beefy machine. The base takes up 8 by 9 inches of counter space. But at 17½ inches tall to the top of the lid, it will fit better on the counter under most kitchen cabinets than the Vitamix (19¾ inches) or the Cleanblend (19½ inches). The Blendtec, at 15 inches tall, was the only other blender that would stow more easily.

The Versa comes with a limited seven-year warranty that covers “defects in material and workmanship.” This includes the motor and the Versa’s Tritan jar. That’s about on par with both the Blendtec and Vitamix, which come with eight- and seven-year warranties respectively.

Over the past year, we’ve found you can sometimes get deals on the Versa. At Costco last holiday season, it dropped to $160, so if you’re a member, it’s worth watching for sales.

The Versa comes with two cookbooks that are about on par with the one included with the Vitamix. The first is larger and hardbound, and it’s organized by dips and spreads, soups and sauces, main and side dishes, soups and drinks, and desserts and sweets. The second is more health-oriented, with a variety of smoothie and soup recipes, and it includes nutritional information.

Although we didn’t find it in any editorial reviews, the Oster Versa gets consistently great Amazon user reviews (4.5 across 271 reviews).

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Versa’s weakest link is its tamper, which is a little too short and oddly shaped. As opposed to the Vitamix or Cleanblend’s smooth cylindrical tampers, the Versa’s has three flat pieces of plastic that meet in the middle. It’s not as pleasant to use, but gets the job done.

The tamper for the Vitamix 5200, top, has a round, seamless design that we like better than the cross-hatched one from the Oster Versa, bottom.

The tamper for the Vitamix 5200, top, has a round, seamless design that we like better than the cross-hatched one from the Oster Versa, bottom.

 The Versa also struggles to make mayonnaise. We couldn’t make an emulsification in this machine last year, and could do it only once out of three tries this year. It did seem to help when we tried a recipe with a full egg and vinegar, which may have helped stabilize the emulsification better. If you plan to regularly make mayo, this machine will likely disappoint. Also, when blending mayo, we found the Versa spit and splashed out of the top when the center cover wasn’t in place—we recommend using an apron.

It was a little rougher blending peanuts in the Versa than in the Vitamix, and the resulting butter was also chunkier. We were able to make butter in the Versa last year, when we used 2 cups of peanuts, but this year we used fewer nuts (only a cup) and found it impossible. If you want to make super creamy nut butters, you may not be totally satisfied.

The blending jar, lid, and controls on the Versa also feel cheaper compared with the Vitamix. But given that this machine is almost $250 less, we’re comfortable with the lower-quality hardware.

Like all the high-powered blenders we tested, the Versa gets loud when the motor is turned up all the way. It’s much louder than the Vitamix. But it wasn’t as annoying or high pitched as the Blendtec. For now, this is just par for the course with high-performance blenders.

Long-term test notes

We’ve been using the Oster Versa for a solid year, mostly to make smoothies and soup. We’ve probably averaged using it about two times a week, if you account for heavier use in the spring and summer, and less in the fall and winter. Our biggest complaint is that it’s loud and very occasionally we’ll get a burning smell from the motor when it’s processing something thick. The motor has never overheated, though, even when we’ve let the blender keep running with the burnt smell. Overall, it has run reliably and we think it’s a very solid purchase.

Runner-up: Cleanblend

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.

Cleanblend 3HP 1800-Watt
A relative newcomer, this makes some of the silkiest smoothies, and it’s the same price as the Versa at $200. But it lacks presets and has a cheap-feeling jar, and its speeds are less nuanced than our top pick’s.

We prefer the Oster Versa’s friendlier interface, range of speeds, and shorter jar, but we were also really impressed by the equally priced Cleanblend ($200). A relative newcomer on the high-powered blender scene—the company was only started in 2013—the Cleanblend has an impressive 3-horsepower motor, and in some of our tests it blended better than the Versa, and even the Vitamix.

In our smoothie test, the Cleanblend was one of the only blenders to process berry seeds. It makes smoother textures, overall, than the Oster Versa.

In our smoothie test, the Cleanblend was one of the only blenders to process berry seeds. Overall, it makes smoother textures than the Oster Versa.

The Cleanblend was one of the best at making really smooth smoothies in our tests. There were barely any raspberry seeds left in our fine-mesh sieve; the only blender that did better was the Blendtec. The Cleanblend also came in second, behind the Blendtec, in blending a really smooth piña colada. We’re talking restaurant-worthy blended drinks here.

But a few of its features (or lack of) bumped it from our number one slot. The Cleanblend’s jar feels really chintzy and light compared with the Versa’s one (both are Tritan). We could see the jar cracking easily, or cracking over time, though we didn’t have any issues during our tests. We also found that when blending the jar tends to rotate slightly on the motor base. The handle is raw plastic and not that pleasant to grip, unlike the Versa, which has a smooth rubber handle cover for more pleasant handling. The Cleanblend’s taller jar makes the blender 2 inches taller, so it’s more difficult to store in the counter space under cupboards.

The Cleanblend’s controls look almost identical to the Vitamix’s. In fact, the Cleanblend’s design looks closely modeled after the Vitamix. It comes with only a variable speed dial, and two levers to switch from on/off and pulse. The dial is smaller than the variable speed dial on the Versa. Overall, we just felt the Versa’s combo of variable speed and presets, and its larger variable speed dial, makes it easier to use than the Cleanblend’s smaller dial and levers.

The Cleanblend’s controls look almost identical to those of the Vitamix. We found them less intuitive to use than the Versa’s.

The Cleanblend’s controls look almost identical to those on the Vitamix. We found them less intuitive to use than the Versa’s.

The Cleanblend doesn’t have a wide range in speeds. We couldn’t tell much of a difference between the slow and high settings. The blender really kicks into high gear, even at the 1 setting, which sent hot liquid shooting up to the lid in our soup test. And the motor also seemed to produce a lot of heat. Mayonnaise was noticeably warm.

Unlike our other picks, the Cleanblend doesn’t come with a recipe book. We’ve found the blender reviewed on a few blogs, including The Blender Experts, but not in comparative editorial reviews. It receives 4.5 stars across 143 Amazon reviews.

Also great: For avid cooks and perfectionists

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $440.

Vitamix 5200 Series Blender
Our prior top pick blends more gracefully than any of the 15 other blenders we’ve tested. But at close to $500, it’s probably more machine than most people need.

For most people, we think the Oster Versa provides the best combination of performance and value. But there are some things—like making nut butters or very placidly blending soup—that the Versa just isn’t great at doing. If you want the best performance you can buy in a home blender, we’d spring for the Vitamix 5200 ($450). This was our main pick last year, and it’s the most basic model that Vitamix makes. It consistently performed best in all of our tests last year and in most of them this year. It’s the model recommended to us by multiple experts and the one many pros keep in their own kitchens, and it’s recommended in many editorial reviews.

In last year’s test the Vitamix 5200 effortlessly blended ultra-smooth peanut butter. Both Oster Versas we tested made chunkier butters and struggled more in processing them.

In last year’s test, the Vitamix 5200 effortlessly blended ultra-smooth peanut butter. Both Oster Versas we tested made chunkier butters and struggled more in processing them.

In our tests, the 5200 did not make the absolute smoothest smoothies—that prize went to both the Blendtec and Cleanblend—but when it came to consistent and graceful performance, the Vitamix won every time. It was the only machine we tested that smoothly blends peanuts into butter. Where other blenders, like the Blendtec, Cleanblend, and even the Versa, spit bits of mayo up the sides of the jar and out the lid’s center hole, the Vitamix kept the mixture smoothly and evenly moving around the base of the blade.

The Vitamix smoothie was smoother than that from the Versa, but not as smooth as the Cleanblend’s.

The Vitamix smoothie was smoother than that from the Versa, but not as smooth as the Cleanblend’s.

The Vitamix was also the best blender for hot liquids. Because its low speed is truly low, you can start at a very lazy swirl and slowly increase the speed so that the hot liquid is less likely to shoot up toward the lid, risking a volcanic, trip-to-the-burn-unit situation. The Versa, by comparison, starts relatively slowly on the soup preset setting, but then really revs up, which is fine for certain, thicker soups, but could be problematic for thinner soups where liquid sloshes up the sides. The Vitamix’s calmer blending was another aspect that set it apart from the equally priced Blendtec Designer, whose soup setting created a tornado in a jar.

The Vitamix was also one of the only machines we tested in which you can mill grains. This is a handy feature if you avoid gluten or want to start using fresh, whole grains in baked goods. For this, you’ll need to purchase the 32-ounce dry grains container ($115), which has blades specifically designed to process grains into flour.

The Vitamix 5200 doesn’t have presets, which is a mark against it for some people. However, we found the variable speed dial to have the best range of speed of any of the blenders we tried. Its low is really low, and there is a noticeable shift with each number you go up.

Although we’d like the addition of presets, we think the Vitamix 5200’s simple manual controls offer the best range of speeds we’ve found.

Although we’d like the addition of presets, we think the Vitamix 5200’s simple manual controls offer the best range of speeds we’ve found.

If you want the blending power of the 5200, but prefer a shorter jar or presets, we’d look at some of the company’s other models. Vitamix sells two different lines—their C and G lines—with slightly different motors and jars. (Vitamix also sells its S-Series, which comprises several personal blenders.) If you want a breakdown of the different Vitamix models, Jonathan Cochran, of Blender Dude, compares them here.

If you end up going for one of the G-Series Vitamix models, with the shorter blending jars, make sure you buy one that was manufactured after July 2013. Models made before that date were recalled in 2013 because blades in the jars kept breaking. Blade date codes are laser etched onto the blades (the Consumer Product Safety Commission has more details).

Cochran also highly recommends certified-refurbished models. “My pick for ‘best bang for the buck’ continues to be the Certified Refurbished (Blendtec) and Certified Reconditioned (Vitamix) models. I have personally inspected hundreds of each, and for all intents and purposes they are indistinguishable from the new models at a significantly reduced price point.” While new Vitamix machines come with a seven-year warranty, certified reconditioned ones come with a five-year warranty.

The 5200 is America’s Test Kitchen’s favorite blender, and it’s recommended by Good Housekeeping, Serious Eats, and Real Simple. Our superfood smoothie experts Julie Morris and Tess Masters both told us they use this model in their own kitchens. It gets 4.5 stars across 322 user reviews.

If you just want a basic blender

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

KitchenAid KSB1570ER 5-Speed Blender
While the KitchenAid 5-Speed isn't as powerful as the Oster Versa, it can churn out a great emulsification and decent (but chunkier) smoothies.

If you’re planning to use a blender just a couple of times a week, or you want a starter machine for making smoothies and purees, we like the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender  ($100). It beat out all the regular blenders in our tests last year, and in a year of long-term testing we’ve found it works fine for rustic smoothies.

In our smoothie tests, the KitchenAid easily blended frozen berries and kale. It left a much more pulpy texture to the smoothies than the Vitamix or Oster Versa (you could noticeably feel the texture of the unprocessed berry seeds, for example), but it was about on par with the Breville Hemisphere (which costs $100 more).

Pulp strained from a kale-and-berry smoothie made in the KitchenAid 5-Speed.

Pulp strained from a kale-and-berry smoothie made in the KitchenAid 5-Speed.

The vortex on the KitchenAid is really impressive. In our white bean test, the blades easily pulled beans and kale down into the blades, blending everything into a smooth puree without stopping the motor to tamp down any ingredients.

The KitchenAid took a little while to crush ice, but not so long that it resulted in excess melt water. The shavings were fluffy and cocktail worthy.

To be clear, this is no Oster Versa—and certainly not a Vitamix—but for a fraction of the price it does a decent enough job. The other blenders we tested in this price range were either cheap feeling or very loud, or produced a gross burnt motor smell while running. We didn’t love the hard plastic lid on this blender, and the way the jar clips onto the base took some getting used to, but beyond that we have no complaints.

The KitchenAid 5-Speed’s simple interface includes five speed buttons, as well as a pulse and ice button.

The KitchenAid 5-Speed’s simple interface includes five speed buttons, as well as a pulse and ice button.

This blender does not come with a recipe book. Like the Vitamix and Versa, the KitchenAid jar is also made of BPA-free Tritan plastic.

The KitchenAid 5-Speed does have a spotty past in editorial reviews. In 2009, America’s Test Kitchen chose this blender as its budget pick, but it withdrew the recommendation after readers and editors who bought this blender found their machines leaked or the jar cracked after less than a year. Some Amazon reviewers said their KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender leaked from where the blade is bolted into the bottom of the blending jar.

Some Amazon reviewers say their KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender leaked from where the blade is bolted into the bottom of the blending jar.

Some Amazon reviewers say their KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender leaked from where the blade is bolted into the bottom of the blending jar.

That said, nearly all of the regular blenders we looked at received user reviews complaining about broken and leaking jars and motors quickly burning out. Proportionally, the KitchenAid user reviews aren’t any worse than the other blenders we tested. A lot of the negative comments go something like “great blender until it dies.” If you use it heavily, the KitchenAid may not last you many years, but we think it’s the best in its price range.

The Sweethome’s Lesley Stockton has also used this blender for years (six in the test kitchens at Martha Stewart and for two years in her own kitchen) and highly recommends it. Tess Masters also recommends the KitchenAid 5-Speed, and Real Simple rated this as the best overall blender of 52 models it tested, saying, “This model boasts a robust but quiet motor, and its compact size (16 inches tall) makes it a cinch to store.”

The KitchenAid 5-Speed comes with a one-year limited warranty.

The “black fleck” issue

Over the past year, we’ve received reader comments about some Vitamix 5200 jars producing small black flecks after running the blender for a few minutes. The black fleck issue seems to be rare. We haven’t experienced it in the Vitamix 5200 we’ve been testing over the long term, and none of the other blenders we tested produced any noticeable black residue.

Last year, Vitamix acknowledged the issue, saying in a statement: “We’ve identified that these flecks come from a seal in the bottom of containers. The material used to make the seal complies with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for food contact. The FDA certification allows for and addresses the safety of any possible migration of the components into the food.” That migrating material is PTFE, a chemical used in non-stick coatings. Teflon is the most recognized type of PTFE-based formula. At high temperatures (like in an overheated skillet), PTFE can break down into harmful by-products, but at lower temps it’s inert and if ingested should pass through your body.

We called Neal Langerman, principal scientist at Advanced Chemical Safety, to ask if PTFE poses any health risks when ingested. He said it doesn’t. As he put it: “Quite frankly, this is not a chemical toxicological problem. It’s purely a cosmetic problem.” But he added: “Now, I think it is a lousy engineering issue. When you’re paying $300 to $600 for a countertop food processor, it should not have a washer or bearing in it that chips.” We couldn’t agree more. If you’ve experienced this issue, and your machine is still under warranty, you can return the jar for a replacement (although Vitamix does not guarantee you won’t have the same issue with the new jar).

Care and maintenance

Both Tess Masters and Julie Morris told us that keeping a blender on the counter is the best motivation for using it. We’ve also found that appliances tucked away in cupboards get much less use than if they’re sitting ready on the counter. Masters keeps the base of her Vitamix on the counter, but stores the blending jar in a cupboard. This seems like a nice compromise.

If you find the blender having a difficult time processing ingredients, don’t be afraid to be aggressive (within reason!) with the tamper to get the mixture moving around the blades. Also make sure the blender jar is filled at least 25 percent full. Although high speeds will help process smoother mixtures, when ingredients just aren’t moving decreasing the speed may also help them start circulating. When following a recipe, it’s also good to add ingredients in the order listed. Blender recipe books tend to be specific with the order (Vitamix, for example, generally lists ice as the last ingredient).

To limit the risk of hot liquid shooting out the top of a blending jar, always start on a low setting and slowly increase the speed (presets generally do this automatically for you). Never fill the jar past the hot liquid fill line, and for good measure place a dish towel over the lid, with your hand firmly holding the lid down, while you blend to limit the risk of the lid popping off.

Placing a dish towel over the top of a blender jar helps limit potential splatters, particularly important when blending hot liquids.

Placing a dish towel over the top of a blender jar helps limit potential splatters, particularly important when blending hot liquids.

In our own testing, we found that the best way to clean a blender jar is to use a bottle brush or scrub brush. Processing water and a little soap in the blender jar will help loosen up tough ingredients like peanut butter, and the brush should do the rest. You can use a toothbrush to get gunk out of the controls, as Tess Masters does.

It’s not a great idea to wash plastic jars in the dishwasher. As has been reported, even BPA-free plastics may leach estrogenic chemicals, and heat causes even more leaching. You’re better off hand-washing the blending jar with warm soapy water rather than running it through the dishwasher (this may also help the jar last longer). And if you’re concerned about chemicals, don’t store liquids in the jar for extended periods of time.

The competition

​​

Will it blend? Yes, but not as well as our top picks.

Blendtec Designer 675 ($440): Will it blend? Yes, but not as well as our top picks. Despite Blendtec’s clever, if at times mildly sinister, marketing campaign of blending everything from rake handles to iPhone 6s, we’ve found their blenders wanting (we also tested the Total model in 2013). Although the Designer 675 really killed it on smoothies and blended drinks, its lack of variable speed or a tamper limits its usefulness. It was a head scratcher deciding which button to use for recipes—like mayonnaise—not specifically listed for the particular presets. In our tests, it didn’t make peanut butter (a tamper would have helped), and the preset speed for soup was frightening, with hot liquid flying wildly around the jar. We do think this particular model is quite beautiful, with a sleek black, light-illuminated base. It’s a great blender if you want something that looks super slick on your counter, and that can make amazingly smooth mixed drinks and smoothies. But for $440, we think your blender should be able to do a lot more than that well. The Designer receives 4.6 stars across  217 Amazon user reviews.

The Blendtec’s lack of a tamper made it difficult to blend peanuts into peanut butter.

The Blendtec’s lack of a tamper made it difficult to blend peanuts into peanut butter.

Breville Boss ($400): This performed about as well as the Oster Versa and Cleanblend, but it’s twice the price. It has a variable speed dial plus five presets. That’s almost too many presets (something this Serious Eats article also mentions). Like most Breville products, the Boss is built really nicely. It probably has the nicest jar of any of the blenders we tried, and the silver base would look great on the counter in many kitchens. Overall, though, we don’t think it performed better than our winner. The Boss gets an average of 4.8 stars from 18 Amazon users.

Waring Commercial Xtreme ($360): This blender made very smooth smoothies, and it feels very substantial. But ultimately it didn’t perform better than the Oster Versa, Cleanblend, or the Vitamix. If we were willing to pay this price, we’d go instead for a reconditioned Vitamix 5200. We do like that there’s a metal jar you can purchase for this machine. If chemical leaching is a concern, this blender with the metal jar is probably your best option for a high-performance blender. The Waring gets an average of 4.5 stars from 56 Amazon users.

Ninja Ultima ($225): The Ninja is roughly the same price as the Oster Versa and Cleanblend, but it’s not as good. We feel like this model has a lot of odd additions that might be making up for poor design. It has suction cups under the base to fasten it to the counter, presumably to keep it from moving on the counter when the motor is going. But a good blender should have a heavy enough base to keep it from moving. Its clamp-on lid was tedious to use compared with better-fitting ones offered by other brands. This model also has Ninja’s signature multi-blades, which didn’t perform any better than models with just a blade at the bottom (and cut both of our testers fingers when washing the blades!). We would only recommend this blender if you got it for free. A total of 346 Amazon users give the Ultima an average of 4.5 stars.

Attempting to make peanut butter in the Ninja Ultima: Just nuts blowin’ in the wind.

Attempting to make peanut butter in the Ninja Ultima: Just nuts blowin’ in the wind.

We also tested these during the past two years:

Vitamix Pro 300 ($530): This was our top pick in 2012, and we still think it’s a great blender. It has a shorter jar and is quieter than the Vitamix 5200. But in subsequent updates we found that the Vitamix 5200 is more highly recommended by a variety of pros cooks and editorial reviews. From a performance standpoint, the Pro 300 doesn’t outperform the less expensive 5200.

Blendtec’s Total Blender ($350): We tested this blender in our review from 2012, but found that it couldn’t compete with the Vitamix we tested. The lid felt flimsy and its panel controls seemed cheap. Blendtec has also phased this model out, although you can buy refurbished units through its site. It gets 4.1 stars across 901 Amazon user reviews.

Breville Hemisphere ($200): This was the Sweethome’s prior budget pick, and we still like this machine. It has a really nice control panel, with buttons that light up, an LCD timer, and five speed buttons. The vortex was very efficient, and it passed all of our blending tests. At this price point, though, we think the Oster Versa gives you more bang for your buck. Although the hardware on the Breville is nicer than on the KitchenAid 5-Speed, we thought the two machines blended about equally. The Breville Hemisphere is recommended by America’s Test Kitchen and Consumer Reports, and received 4.1 stars across 753 Amazon user reviews.

Oster Beehive Blender ($70): We thought this did a pretty good job at making green and berry smoothies. It left a lot of pulp behind, and we kept having to open the lid to tamp down ingredients for our bean spread and ice tests. Overall, if you have less than $100 to spend on a blender, we think this would make a good choice. It is super loud (and at a really annoying frequency). We do like that it has a glass blending jar and looks very retro. The Oster Beehive was recommended by Tess Masters, Good Housekeeping gave it an A+, and it received 3.8 stars across 685 Amazon user reviews.

Oster Versa 1400-watt Professional Performance Blender with Tall Jar ($250): This comes with the same motor as our main pick, but with a taller jar. It performed about on par with the Versa with the shorter jar. We preferred the feel of the shorter jar to this model’s tall jar. We also don’t like the hard plastic lid on this version, which is more difficult to remove than the softer lid on the short Versa. This Versa did make mayo, although we had to pour the oil very slowly, and we found that the emulsification broke easily. This Versa has 4.5 stars across 227 Amazon user reviews.

Ninja Master Prep Professional ($65):  For the price, the Prep Professional is a pretty good machine, but we don’t think it compares with the Versa, the Cleanblend, or the Vitamix. The Master Prep did a surprisingly good job at smoothies, bean spread, and blending margaritas, but the design fails at making mayonnaise. The motor is top-mounted, so you can’t actually drizzle anything into the jar. The Master Prep comes with three blending jars in various sizes. We felt like there were too many parts, and they would just end up cluttering our cupboards. Overall, the machine feels really cheap. The Master Prep received 4.5 stars across 3,397 Amazon user reviews.

Ninja Professional Blender ($100): This didn’t blend as well as the Ninja Master Prep or the Oster Beehive. For green smoothies, it left a weird confetti-like texture to the greens. Every time we ran it, there was a strong burning-motor smell. The jar is hard to get on the base, and the lid is finicky to clamp on. The mayo it made was super loose, which means more air was getting whipped into it. The base is big and clunky as well as cheap feeling. We really didn’t like this one. The Ninja Professional was also recommended by Consumer Reports. It gets 4.1 stars across 2,078 Amazon user reviews.

Magic Bullet ($60): This is the only personal blender we tested. It didn’t blend the kale in our green smoothie (there were big chunks of stem left over), and it left chunks of frozen raspberries and strawberries in our fruit smoothie. It did not emulsify mayo or blend the ice in our margaritas. It was a struggle to blend our bean dip (we had to shake the bullet to get things to process). This is probably an okay machine if you just want to make really simple smoothies with the convenience of taking the blending jar with you in your car, but it can’t really go head-to-head with an upright blender. It received 3.8 stars across 1,997 Amazon user reviews.

Other blenders we looked at but dismissed for testing:

Vitamix 5300: Several readers have asked us about this model, as it’s advertised as being an improvement or update to the basic Vitamix 5200. However, the 5300’s specs look almost identical to those of the Vitamix Pro 300, which we tested two years ago. They both have 2.2 horsepower, shorter 64 ounce jars, and a variable speed dial and pulse button (the controls look identical). Technically, the 5300 comes from Vitamix’s  “C” line—which includes the 5200—and the Pro 300 comes from their new generation “G” line. We opted not to test the 5300 because it looks so similar to the Pro 300. It’s probably a very good machine—like the 5200 and Pro 300—and if a shorter jar is important to you, it’s a little cheaper than the Pro 300. Ultimately, though, all of Vitamix’s many models are a variation on the 5200, which multiple experts have told us is the company’s best model for most people.

Vitamix’s The Quiet One and Blending Station: People often want to know what blenders coffee and smoothie shops use, and we’ve found that many employ these two pro-level machines from Vitamix. After calling five locations, we found Starbucks uses Vitamix’s The Quiet One blender (also called the 36019). Five Jamba Juice locations told us they were either using Vitamix’s The Quiet One or the Blending Station. Both are commercial-level blenders with 3HP, 48-ounce jars, and an extra flip top that goes over the blending jar. But at upwards of $1,000 (or more) for either, we consider both too expensive for most people. None of our experts recommended either machine for home cooks. We think the Vitamix 5200 will be more than sufficient if you’re looking for a high-end blender.

Blendtec’s Stealth 875 and Connoisseur 875: These can also be spotted in pro coffee and smoothie shops. Like Vitamix’s commercial machines, these Blendtec models have an extra plastic flip top. They come with Blendtec’s traditional Wildside jar, have 3.8 peak horsepower, manual speed, and programmed cycles. But, again, at upwards of $1,000 we don’t think either is right for most home cooks and our experts didn’t recommend them, so we opted not to test.

Black & Decker Cyclone 12 Speed Blender: The Tipsy Bartender, a popular YouTube channel, used this $30 Black & Decker blender in some of their earlier videos (although they’ve now moved on to a Ninja Master Prep). We didn’t get any expert recommendations for this blender, and it receives a dismal 2.8 stars of 80 Amazon user reviews, so we decided not to include it in our testing.

Omniblend V: This has received some good reviews, but we found it difficult to find user reviews or information about the company that makes this blender. It also didn’t look better than equally priced models we decided to test.

HomCom 1800W Multi-Function Commercial Juicer Blender: Another budget high-powered model. It didn’t get higher reviews than those we did opt to test.

Frothie: Another budget Vitamix-ish looking machine. We couldn’t find enough user reviews, or editorial reviews, to warrant calling it in.

Hamilton Beach Smoothie Smart Blender: Doesn’t look like it will blend ice, and didn’t receive higher user reviews than those we tested.

Vitamix 6000: Didn’t get high enough reviews to seriously consider for this review.

Ninja Ultima: Although CNET highly recommends this blender, it doesn’t have as good a warranty as the Vitamix or Versa.

Hamilton Beach Commercial Tempest HBH650: Didn’t get high enough reviews to seriously consider for this review.

Oster 6706 6-Cup Plastic Jar 10-Speed Blender: Received too many user complaints to seriously consider for this review.

Vitamix Pro 750: Does not get better editorial or user reviews than the Vitamix 5200 and is almost $200 more expensive.

Vitamix Pro 300 : We tested this in our last review and like it, but the Vitamix 5200 is almost $70 less and gets higher editorial and user reviews.

Waring Pro MX1000R: Didn’t get high enough reviews to seriously consider for this review.

L’Equip RPM Professional: Didn’t get high enough reviews to seriously consider for this review.

NutriBullet: This personal blender looks almost identical to the Magic Bullet, and is in fact made by the same company. Although the NutriBullet receives slightly higher Amazon reviews, we opted not to test it because at $90 it’s almost twice the price of the Magic Bullet but doesn’t seem to perform much differently. If we opt to test more personal blenders for an update we will likely include this model.

Braun PowerMax: Got great reviews, but Braun no longer makes kitchen appliances for the US market.

Wrapping it up

If you’re a regular smoothie maker and like using a blender for soups, sauces, and mixed drinks, we think you can’t beat the value of the Oster Versa. Although there are better high-powered blenders, we think this one does everything most people would need at a much better price.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $225.

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Sources

  1. Blender Reviews, Consumer Reports
  2. Blenders, America's Test Kitchen
  3. Lindsay Hunt, The Best Blender for your Kitchen, Real Simple
  4. Blenders Reviews, Good Housekeeping
  5. Ry Crist, From smoothies to pesto: Seven blenders reviewed, CNET, October 29th, 2013
  6. Mariah Blake , The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics, Mother Jones, March/April 2014
  7. Jackie Loohauis-Bennett, Humble blender hails from Wisconsin ingenuity, September
  8. Jonathan Cochran, author of the Blender Dude blog, Interview
  9. J. Kenji López-Alt, Vitamix vs BlendTec vs. Breville: Who Makes the Best High End Blender?, Serious Eats, December 16, 2014

Originally published: April 23, 2015

  • Heather

    I purchasedanother brand, Australian-owned and new in the UK, called the Froothie Optimum blender. I would highly recommend it as a blender at par with the popular Vitamix. Not cheap (but still cheaper than Vitamix), however it is commercial-grade, high quality and performs all the exact functions as the Vitamix. According to the specs, it is faster and has a more powerful blender, definitely worth checking out and reviewing

  • SickSix

    I’m partial to my $100 Ninja Professional blender. It obliterates ice, perfoms acceptably with chopped kale (no whole leaf happening there), and blends tougher fruits and veggies with ease with minimal prep. Cleaning the blades is simple, without the risk of destroying your cleaning utensils and reducing the risk of losing a finger. Granted, it’s no Vitamix, but for the cost, the ability to replace individual parts, and the performance: I’ll be sticking with my Ninja Pro for a while.

  • MJruns

    I’ve recently seen both VitaMix and Blendtec (not sure which models or what the prices were) at Costco – being demo’d on opposite sides of the store, same day. I think VitaMix also sells some refurb models on their site. I’ve got an on/pulse super “cheap” Oster that I’m finding takes more work/time and tamping/poking (esp w/kale and fresh fruit) than it may be worth, especially as I’m looking at making more smoothies. Hate to spend the $ on a VitaMix since I also have an immersion blender (never used), food processor (have to learn to use) and a just-purchased ice cream maker (my first electric ever!) – supposedly VM can replace all of those, plus make soup, etc. Sounds like it would make great smoothies, and might replace ice cream maker (and sometimes immersion blender) but the cost….then again, the frustration I have when making smoothies now is annoying! Thanks for the reviews.

    • Lar Mul

      Is the Oster the Versa model with the tall jar? The ads for the new Versa with a shorter jar have been all over the place and the price is quite a bit less than a Vitamix for what looks like an equivalent product.

  • Tara Raport

    Seamus,

    Consumer Reports rates your recommended Vitamix Pro 300 at 81/100. The full-size blender that CR recommends is the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004 (retailing for $60). For the record, its highest-scoring Vitamix blender is the Vitamix 5200.

    The CR link is at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/appliances/kitchen-appliances/blenders/blender-recommendations/blender.htm. I was able to view it freely by accessing it through my city library’s website.

    As I have trusted thewirecutter for buying my document scanner, I would also like to trust thesweethome. Please tell me:

    1. Did your review of blenders include the Ninja Master Pro?

    2. If you did test out the Ninja Master Pro, what are your comments on it?

    • Seamus Bellamy

      Hi Tara, Thanks for your questions.

      My review of blenders did indeed include the Ninja Master Pro as well as a number of the company’s other products. However, they simply did not measure up to the hardware I tested, for a number of reasons.

      In the case of the QB1004, it only has a 40 oounce jar, which was below the minimum size I set for the piece after speaking with the experts at America’s Test Kitchen. Second to this, the Ninja blender only comes with a two year warranty. I felt that this was a cause for concern, as one of the most important things about investing in a blender is it’s durability and longevity. The length of a warranty reflects the build quality and therefore the projected longevity of a product. No matter how well they may work at first, blenders, due to the extreme amounts of vibration and heat produced by their regular operation, are prone to breaking down, sometimes literally shaking themselves apart. This was an issue that America’s Test Kitchen discovered with one of their picks, which operated well and was priced under $300. But with regular use, The blender failed in under a year. When I see that a low cost piece of hardware like this comes with a two year warranty, I have no doubt that it’s not designed to last. The Vitamix we tested, by contrast, has a seven year warranty.

      It’s also worth mentioning that I was able to find a number of reports online indicating that the Ninja QB1004 was unable to reduce flaxseed to a fine powered, or handle kale as efficiently as the hardware we ended up testing. This speaks to the power of the blender and possibly, an inefficient blade design.

      I hope that helps!

      • Tara Raport

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I guess my heart will now say goodbye to the thought of buying the Ninja Master Pro.

        Maybe, for other shoppers who think highly of the Ninja after learning about Consumer Reports’ recommendation, you could add a section in your post on the Ninja?

  • Tara Raport

    Seamus,

    You say many watts is a good thing. Later, you quote John Kohler who said that the Vitamix may have less watts than a Blendtec, but it has more RPMs. So how do those 2 things square? If high wattage is a good thing, Blendtec is better. But because you did not disagree with Kohler, I’m thinking that RPMs is more important.

    Please explain your position.

    • Seamus Bellamy

      Choosing the best piece of hardware, for The Wirecutter and Sweethome at least, seldom comes down to the numbers, Tara. When I review a tablet, for example, the processing speed of its chipset doesn’t matter. What matters is the experience the hardware provides. It’s enough to say that it’s faster than another similar product, or that it’ll make most people happy.
      The same can be said for blenders. RPMs are important, and watts are important too. But in the end, it comes down to the over all performance, build quality and general feel of a product. I wanted to like the Blendtec hardware with its easy hands off settings, digital display and high RPMs more. But the Vitamix proved to be the better piece of gear due to it’s spartan features, ease of operation, raw power and blade design.

  • Tara Raport

    Seamus,

    You wrote:

    [The Vitamix] lid is constructed of thick rubber that was satisfyingly difficult to remove from or place back on the jar.

    I understand the “satisfyingly difficult to remove from jar” part (the lid won’t pop out when blender is in use). But I don’t get what’s satisfying about a lid that’s difficult to place back on the jar.

    Could you please let me know?

    • Seamus Bellamy

      I found that, at least for me, having a lid that I had to think a little about in order to put it on, ensured that it was secured and ready for use every time. Feeling the thick rubber of the lid snap in place gave me a sense of security that I didn’t receive from using the other blenders. With the other two finalists I tested, I felt compelled to stand there with my hand on the lid while they were operating. They were by no means insecure, but I wasn’t filled with the same confidence as the Vitamix gave me with it’s beefy rubber latches.

      • Tara Raport

        Ah! I see.
        Maybe it would be good to actually confirm how secure the other two are. Maybe measure the distance the lid has wiggled away from the “fully down” position. This would make the testing more scientific, I think. :-)

        • Seamus Bellamy

          That’s a good suggestion. I’ll be sure to include something along these lines the next time we test blenders.

          • Tara Raport

            If Sweethome or the manufacturers sends me the blenders, I’ll test them right away! :-)

  • Tara Raport

    Seamus,

    Thanks so much for answering my questions.

    Even with your thorough post and very helpful responses to my questions in the comments, I’m still not 100% in. Here’s why:

    1. Your reasons not to recommend the Ninja are not exactly strong:

    a. Short warranty (which you take to mean that the company doesn’t fully trust its own product, and with this reasoning, I am with you). But maybe they have a short warranty because, at the $60 price, they can’t afford the risk of too many returns. Vitamix on the other hand can afford a 7-year warranty, partly because of the huge $500+ price. How about test the Ninja until it breaks or doesn’t work? See how many days/weeks/months it takes. Then record the same for the other blenders you’ve tested.

    b. You’ve read reports of the Ninja unable to pulverize flaxseed or handle kale as well as your 3 tested blenders. I think it would be much much much better if you could verify these reports for yourself. The journalistic creed, “Trust, but verify”, would do well for all WireCutter, SweetHome reviews. And if Ninja won’t offer you or SweetHome a free test model, at $60, it should be financially easy to purchase one off Amazon.

    2. I trust Consumer Reports. I believe them to be unbiased in their opinions, and scientific and methodical in their testings. When they place the Ninja in their No. 1 spot, that influences my opinion very much. So now I’m left confused. Get the Consumer Reports-backed Ninja (and maybe risk the short life you suspect it has) or get the highly and widely praised VM (and spend 9 times as much)! Ah, decisions!

    I’ve emailed Consumer Reports with a question. And I have yet to hear back from them. You are 1,000,000,000 better in responding to my questions than Consumer Reports is. I really appreciate it, Seamus.

    P.S. I am not connected with Ninja or its makers in any way. I’m just a shopper who wants to make the right choice.

  • Brian Schack

    Dear Mr. Bellamy,

    Consumer Reports recently reviewed blenders also, and they recommended a different model –– the Ninja Master Professional which unfortunately you did not mention in your review at all. I am a fan of The Sweethome, but I think that this was an oversight.

    Two other commenters, MJruns and Tara Raport, noticed your omission also. So, a year after your original review, you gave three criticisms of Ninja in the comments. First, you mentioned negative customer reviews, but you didn’t link to them for me to evaluate. Second, you said that forty ounces was below your minimum size, but the Blendtec Total Blender that you reviewed was only thirty-two ounces. And third, you said that Ninja only provides a two-year warranty, but you reviewed the Breville Hemisphere Control with just a one-year warranty, and even if it did break, you could buy ten Ninjas for what Vitamix charges.

    I am inclined to trust Consumer Reports’ recommendation over yours for several reasons. First, they tested forty-nine blenders, but you only tested three. Second, they purchased them secretly at retail prices, but you asked the manufacturers for test models. Third, they don’t accept any advertising, but you take advertisements and commissions. And fourth, their reviews have been trusted since 1936 –– before The Sweethome and its writers were born.

    You didn’t have to agree with Consumer Reports or any other reviewer, but recommending “The Best Blender” was a bold claim which required a thoroughness that you omitted. I respectfully request that you update your review.

    Regards,
    Brian Schack

    • Brian Schack

      I hope I wasn’t too harsh…

      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewtagg Matt Tagg

        Well it came across a little hostile, but you’re just being honest. It’s odd that SH hasn’t acknowledged your post.

    • Peter Nguyen

      I would really like to see a reply to your salient post.

    • bpollen8

      They never responded, but when I wondered about this, when I saw the Consumer Reports blender ratings is that one thing that CR doesn’t include in its tests is durability/reliability. It merely performs a test and reports the outcomes at the moment, not taking longevity or even consistency over time into consideration. In doing exhaustive (compulsive?) research of blenders for the last several weeks, I’ve reached the conclusion that while some Ninjas (only one or two….not other models) perform well at first, they are prone to a lot of problems early on. Many Ninjas were returned for breakage or nonperformance or leaking even within the 30 day retail return window. Some lasted 6 months. Some lasted a year or 18 months. I saw very few reviews by people who had owned and used a Ninja for years without problems. That was not the case with the high end blenders. Other blenders had reliability issues, as well, of course. Breville is an example. Excellent performer, but some are prone to problems soon after the 1 year warranty expires. That includes BlendTec, which has a container leakage issue that still exists, as far as I can tell. Of course, if the blender is inexpensive, you can buy a new one every other year; it would take you years to equal the cost of a BlendTec or VitaMix. I must say that I don’t want to spend for a VitaMix, but that is the only blender I’ve run across with solid rave reviews across the board, on various sites, by new owners and those who have owned their blender for years. There is no doubt in my mind that that is THE blender to have, for quality and long term use, IF you can afford it. The problem comes in when you can’t afford it, as in my case. Then what do I get?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye
  • Alyosha

    One of the main reasons I want to get a blender is for pureeing hot soups such as split pea soup. I wonder if your review can look into how the blenders can handle the high temperatures of blending a hot soup near boiling temperature. My concern is the motor overheating or the materials wearing down over time.

    Thanks!

    • tbarribeau

      Hi Alyosha,

      While I didn’t write this review, I’m one of the other Sweethome writers who has this blender (based on Seamus’ excellent write-up). I use it regularly for boiling hot soups, and while I can’t comment on long-term wear, it’s done fine for about six months of heavy use. This Gordon Ramsey broccoli soup has become a firm favorite for “I’m lazy, here’s dinner” cooking

      Keep in mind, Vitamix blenders are essentially commercial grade, and often used in pro kitchens, so they tend to be able to take a hell of a beating. Plus the seven year warranty should see you through most troubles.

      -Tim

  • muledoggie

    I think a $550.00 blender makes this a specialized product few would buy and should be eliminated based on price. Just my $.02.

    • muledoggie

      BTW, LOVE LOVE LOVE thesweethome.com. Keep up the good work!

    • steven75

      I can see that point. This site and the wirecutter tend to operate on the principle of “getting it right the first time.”

      Long term, that can *save* money (and time). We bought this product on the recommendation here and have used it far more than I thought initially. I have no doubt that part of the reason we use it so much is because it works so damn well that using it is a reward in itself.

  • Matt Groener

    @homesweethome, please consider updating this post to include the rather copious information about the Ninja line into the review. We have just past the year mark for this article (no updates I can see). There is plenty of data available (in the comments) that suggests that there is confusion about the high CR review of the Ninja line vs. its absence from the review at all.

    For my own needs, I am more than willing to consider a product that has a significantly lower price entry point, also knowing full well what I am getting into with regards to warranty, etc. I feel on many reviews you have offered folks the “best of breed” while also giving others with limited budgets an alternative idea (I hesitate to call it a “recommendation” as the reviewer rightly says that a short warranty gives him pause to recommend it).

    My biggest gripe about the article is that the issue revolves partly around warranty, yet the other two picks in this article that *did* gain an “also-ran” status have one-year warranties. If this is true then the Ninja doubles that (and smart shoppers know there are clever credit card options that can double this again, especially in light of the abuse this kind of product is likely to sustain.

    I am in a transition time in my life and there is no single website that has helped me more to make accurate, qualified decisions about products than WireCutter and SweetHome. I dare say your sites are BETTER than CR or similar because they are as pragmatic as they are sensible, realistic as they are a kick to read. I love and value the “cut to the chase” mantra as well as all the backstory.

    There are several savvy inquirers in the comments now that are asking for an update. Please do not let us down.

  • TallDave

    I love my Blendtec HP-3A ($400). I bought it 4 years ago after reading many, many reviews stating Blendtec > VitaMix. I think vitamix spends more on marketing, which makes them more popular. Reminds me of Intel and VHS.

  • Lar Mul

    How about the updated Oster Versa. The ads and Amazon reviews are winning me over I have to say.

  • RocFinds

    This review was so weirdly anti-Blendtec from the beginning. I own neither, but in every other online comparison I have read, testers conclude that Vitamix and Blendtec performance is incredibly similar, not that the Blendtec was practically smoking after a water and kale test (??) A few comments–

    1) Vitamix recently had to pay $24 million dollars to Blendtec for patent infringement.

    2) At costco Blendtec is $360 and Vitamix is $500. That’s a major price difference.

    3) you quote the “blender dude” talking about the durability of the Vitamix, but you don’t mention the fact that in his 5-video series comparing the Vitamix and the Blendtec he called it a draw–i.e. one will work better for one person and one for another.

  • James

    I think one is better off taking the plunge and spending more (even if it is a lot!) for a good, hard-working, LONG-LASTING piece of equipment. Even so, you can wait some time for the price to drop or for refurbished models to appear (as you can now buy the 5200 for $329 and the Pro 300 for $439, both with a 5-year warranty, on Vitamix’s website!) With something that will last YEARS, buying one used, in my opinion, will be a good investment. Look on eBay or Craigslist. You might be surprised with the deals you can find. Also, it’s made in Cleveland, OH. GO AMERICA!

  • Run4Fun

    It is disappointing that SH missed the Ninja in this review.

    Regardless, the Vitamix and Ninja products, in my research, are both quality machines with price point being biggest differentiating factor discussed by most reviewers and commentators. In there arguments, I rarely see any mention of the fact that Ninja’s are made in China while Vitamix is made in America.

    Take this comment for what you want and make your own assumptions. I mean this comment to speak nothing of quality of either product but rather to point out how this factor is often overlooked by consumers.

    https://www.vitamix.com/Discover-Vitamix/Engineering

  • jasonswan

    I can’t agree with the kitchen-aid reccomendation. I went through three of them. They all failed at the bottom of the jar – leaking. Unfixable. I think it is a fundamental flaw of their design that cannot be fixed.

    I bought a breville hemisphere. No problems 3 years later doing the same things that killed three kitchen-aids.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Thank you for letting us know. We are testing this model long term and will watch closely for the issue you’re talking about. May I ask, when did you buy this machine? We’re keeping an eye out for whether KA has fixed this problem more recently.

      • jasonswan

        The last kitchen-aid I went through was a good while ago – at least three years. They very well may have changed the design since then.

      • bobigail

        I bought the KitchenAid last week and it died within five minutes of trying to puree stewed prunes. I’m not sure whether to try another one or step up to the Oster. I’m using it to make baby food

        • Christine Cyr Clisset

          Hi bobigail, that’s disappointing to hear! In my experience testing the KitchenAid, blending stewed prunes really should be an issue (the machine seems more than strong enough to do this, as long as the prunes are soft and there’s enough liquid to keep everything blending smoothly). If you like the size of the KitchenAid, I’d try another one before stepping up to the Oster Versa; you may have just gotten a lemon.

    • jstaggie

      A frend of mine has the Kitchen-Aid and after a couple of years ran into the jar leaking issue. But since a replacement KA blender jar was only $27 on Amazon he replaced it, that one is going strong after two more years of daily smoothies.

  • Brian Schack

    Good review! It addresses the comments on the previous review.

  • V13NYC

    I have a Vitamix 750 (received it as a gift). As mentioned above, having a blender or at least the base on the counter promotes using it. If it’s in a cabinet it just won’t get taken out as much. A 5200 or other classic series wouldn’t fit under our cabinets so we ruled them out. The 750 is a bit quieter but all high performance blenders are pretty loud. We really like the presets the 750 and the 6300 offer but I would agree they are relatively expensive upgrades for the presets. It seems like you are really paying to get the stainless look.

    Our 750 wasn’t impacted by the jar recall but I wouldn’t let that impact anyone’s decision on a 300/750. Vitamix definitely stands behind their products.

    I’m curious if you looked at the Dash Chef series as another alternative? It seems to be getting decent reviews and is only slightly more than the Kitchenaid?

  • Adam Goldfarb

    Is there an equivalent to the Vitamix 5200 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Costco? I know they use different item numbers but was just curious…BBB has the 1363 and 1709 Professional Series at $499 but I can’t tell what is different. I know Costco sells their Vitamix for $374…anyone know if any of these are equivalent to the 5200? Thanks.

  • Eric Brewer

    My VERY old Vitamix is finally having problems. Bought it quite used over 25 years ago for $13 (no idea how old it actually is) and it’s been rock-solid reliable ever since! Was thinking of doing a repair on it myself, but maybe it’s time for a new one. The 5200 is still essentially the same machine as mine, though they used to have all metal containers.

  • Aleksi Niiranen

    Last year I bought a Dualit blender with 2 liter can and 1000W engine. I’ve been mostly happy with my purchase. Cleaning it is really easy thanks to removable blades. Although it will leak if you put the seal ring on the can and not the blade part (learned this the hard way).

  • Sean Cotton

    I have the Dash chef series digital blender, and I think it is pretty awesome. I paid $99 for it at Sam’s club, and it is definitely a winner!

  • http://jgheaton.com/ Jeff Heaton

    Has anyone used the Waring Xtreme series? I’ve heard good things at almost $100 less.

    • http://www.wilmark.johnatty.com wilmark johnatty

      Its much less that 100$ cheaper and ITS SUPERIOR TO THE VITAMIX 5200. There are tests showing this, but VItamix devotees leave out the Waring from their comparisons – they compare it to Chinese crap like Ninja.

      • KB

        The slickdeals link I gave below has reports of some Warings exhibiting the same black flake residue problem as with the Vitamix.

        • http://www.wilmark.johnatty.com wilmark johnatty

          I have checked this (black flake) and i have not seen this on my waring.

  • http://xoxotara.wordpress.com Tara Melissa

    As an FYI, the reconditioned Vitamix 5200 is now selling for $299 + tax.

  • http://enkerli.wordpress.com Enkerli

    After hearing so much about Vitamix blenders, I’m eventually getting to understand what difference they make. Yet, I might not be ready to invest in such a device, at this point.
    Interestingly enough, Canadian models of the Vitamix series have different names. Looks like the “Total Nutrition Centre” is pretty much the same thing as the 5200, but it’s a bit difficult to check.
    Been intrigued by the Oster Versa line, especially the less expensive 1100 series (operating at 1100 watt). Not sure the difference in wattage has disastrous consequences and it actually has presets on top of the manual controls. Plus, blades can go in reverse, which might help in some cases.
    Might end up getting a Versa 1100 for the time being and upgrade to Vitamix after some more kitchen experiments (ricemilk, nutbutter, horchata…).

  • http://victorlombardi.com/ Victor

    I’m not satisfied with my Vitamix. For the price, it should be easier to add ingredients and (the real annoyance) not be so loud. I don’t like being in the same kitchen with the machine on high it’s so loud.

    This Popular Mechanics review is old but very good and the Kitchen Aid comes out on top. I recommended that to my friend and she’s been very happy with hers, for much less money…

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/tests/4332328

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      2009?

      • http://victorlombardi.com/ Victor

        Yes. Keep in mind the basic Vitamix design hasn’t changed much since 1994!

        http://dailyvitamix.blogspot.com/2012/08/vitamix-models-its-same.html

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          Wow it’s like just the look has changed.

          • http://victorlombardi.com/ Victor

            I just got in touch with a friend who bought the KitchenAid and was initially quite happy with it. After a year of making smoothies etc she decided to upgrade to the Vitamix. Just another data point.

  • http://perfectsmoothie.com Matt Sedlacek

    We filtered the top 50 most-recommended and most sold blenders on the market to determine what the best blenders were, specifically for making smoothies: http://perfectsmoothie.com/smoothie-blenders

    We also came to the same conclusion that the Vitamix 5200 is the overall best value.

  • KB

    I think people should know that there is a problem being discussed on slickdeals concerning Vitamix containers with blades manufactured in March or June of this year:
    http://slickdeals.net/f/7035600-vitamix-blender-certified-refurbished-246-75-25-shipping-5-year-warranty
    (See the post with the huge red lettering a few down from the top)

    Until this problem is resolved, I won’t be buying one. In fact, I’ve read some good things about the Omega 630, a 3HP blender with a 10-year warranty. Costco.com sells one for a “reasonable” price. I’m a longtime Vitamix user, but our Total Nutrition Center bought about 20 years ago seems to be dying. (The motor overheats often, shutting down for half an hour, while making smoothies.) Time to buy something new, and I had assumed it would be a Vitamix, but now I’m not sure.

    • jj

      Thanks for this, I think I will off for a little while as well. Vitamix is sending new jars to people who have the problem.

    • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

      Hi KB,
      So I read through that thread and did some tests of my own and I’m not convinced that there’s an issue here. I’m not saying that there isn’t (we will reach out to Vitamix PR), but from where I stand, there’s a couple of things going on here:

      1) This guy is talking about running it for 3-5 minutes before anything even starts to happen. I just did that and found no black specks. Also, I can’t think of any reason to run this thing for more than 2 mins tops, but maybe that’s just me being ignorant (I’ve only used it for smoothies, albeit daily smoothies)

      2) The thread refers to a refurbished 6300, whereas we recommend the new 5200. I don’t think this makes a difference in the container, since they’re both the same, but maybe there’s something going on in the refurbishment process that is causing the issue.

      3) This person claims it is a design flaw endemic to the Vitamix blade assembly design. Vitamix has shown a willingness to recall them in the past (see the 300 series recall), so I have little doubt that if this were the case, then we would see a recall.

      Again, we will reach out to Vitamix for comment, but for the time being, I think we can continue to recommend it.

      • KB

        Thanks, Michael, for looking into this, I really appreciate it. I’ve been wanting to buy a new Vitamix to replace our ancient (> 20 years old) model, but haven’t wanted to until this is resolved.

        1). I do have to run ours for 3-5 minutes when making soup. I can’t think of any other times I’ve had to run for more than about 90 seconds, but for soup I definitely have to.

        2). I know you don’t have time to read the entire thread (NO ONE has that kind of time), but I can tell you that there are plenty of people on there who have reported seeing the black specks from brand new, just purchased units. And some of them see it when running for only a minute or so.

        3). There have been at least 2 posts from people who went to Costco, talked to a person doing a Vitamix demo, and had them do the test. In both cases the black specs were found, and in at least one of them the demo person shut the demo down because of it.

        Based on what I’ve read in that thread, depending on who you speak with at Vitamix, they may deny there is a problem, may say they are aware of the problem and working on it, or may even say they found and fixed the problem. In other words, it’s a tossup.

        Thanks again for looking into this. I look forward to learning what you find out.

  • eslater

    You should mention their recall for those that bought their Vitamix in 2013.
    http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Vitamix-Recalls-64-Ounce-Low-Profile-Blender-Container/

    • jj

      The review does: “any of the models from Vitamix’s G line (with the squat 64-ounce
      jars)—make sure you buy one that was manufactured after July 2013.
      Models made before that date were recalled in 2013 because blades in the
      jars kept breaking.”

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We do if you read the guide.

    • Jenny Hunter

      woah, didn’t know about that.

  • http://www.wilmark.johnatty.com wilmark johnatty

    You guys conveniently left out the Waring Pro Extreme models – although you said that it didnt get high enough reviews – as of now there are about 120 reviews virtually ALL 4 and 5 star. Vitamix ‘lovers’ are a cult. Why else would you overpay for a tool and then call it “an investment” its NOT, ITS A BLOODY BLENDER. The Waring is more powerful, much cheaper and you can get every part including a stainless steel jug and other smaller jugs at reasonable prices at professional outlets. I have never needed the Tamper.

  • Sean F.

    Would like to ask about this… since Costco now has the Blendtec at $300 vs the Vitamix pushing up on $4-600, is this review still the same? I think the blendtec maybe a better option for the money right now given the similarities for the vitamix lines and the Costco Pricing.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      The Vitamix is still our top pick, but if the Blendtec is decent we will check it out when we refresh!

    • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

      They’re realllllly loud. But pretty good otherwise.

    • Kinu Grove

      This is exactly my thoughts. With the Blendtec being cheaper than the Vitamix it is the best value pick as they both do a good job.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Do you have a link to the Blendtec @ $300? I see it for $350+

      • Sean F.

        Its been running at Costco for around $300-$320 during the holidays, but I don’t think they are around anymore. I ended up going with the Oster Versa because I got it on the Amazon deal during Xmas for $125. For that price I couldn’t pass it up.

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          Ah. Gotcha. Cool thanks for the feedback!

  • http://waystomakemoneyworkingonline.com/ RatedProductReviews

    Great blender reviews. I like the vitamix 5200 series. Handles everything perfectly in my kitchen..

    Thanks,
    Tony @ http://www.blendyoursmoothies.com

  • Jenny Hunter

    Is the Vitamix REALLY worth almost $500?? I tend to lean towards Blend Tec, based on their amazing “will it blend” videos.

    You can read more about choosing a low-cost blender here: http://mu-sci.com/blender-buyers-guide-2014/

  • KB

    This YouTube video was posted recently:

    It’s long (too long — first 5 minutes is enough), but if anyone wants to see what the Vitamix black particles issue is all about, this one shows it well. YUCK!

  • bttab

    STAY AWAY FROM KITCHENAID BLENDERS. Sure, when you first try one, it works great. But the design depends on a rubber coupling between the motor and the blade. THIS COUPLING FAILS ALL THE TIME! Sure, it’s designed to save the motor from abuse, which I’m sure it does. But is it necessary? My parents had an old blender that plowed through anything and worked for 20 years — no rubber coupling needed. Anyway, with the KA, you will need to change the coupling, and perhaps as often as 2-3x a year. It’s a real hassle. Mine needs it AGAIN, and the half dozen couplers I bought a while back are all gone. Note: THIS IS THE KIND OF DETAIL THAT REVIEWS LIKE THIS ONE WILL NEVER UNCOVER. The coupling will last through a review or two. But it will NOT last a year or two with normal use. I’m going to sell this blender and get something else.

  • cautiously opinionated

    I bought the KitchenAid 5-Speed based on this review, and found it incapable of chopping half a carafe of frozen chunks of watermelon in any sort of speedy fashion (would think this would be easier than crushing regular ice, but only about an inch above the blades was pureed without extensive stirring and addition of over 8 oz of liquid). But for me the worst bit — the bit I wish I had been warned about — is how this thing SMELLS. The lid has an overwhelming, strong, chemical-y, plastic smell, even after several hand-washings (and what’s with the instructions to hand-wash the lid? why isn’t it top-rack safe? I suspect it’s a more volatile plastic…). When I open the cupboard where the blender is stored, the smell hits you in the face like latex glove. And the “BPA-free Tritan plastic” that the carafe is made from? Read about it here: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe?page=2

    • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

      Sorry about that smell. Our unit did not smell. I suggest a white distilled vinegar soak. That works well for persistent smell issues. As for that MJ article, It’s problematic to say the least and scaremongering at worst. You’re welcome to come to your own conclusions, but the science doesn’t back it. http://junkscience.com/2014/03/03/mother-jones-reashes-plastic-safety/

      • KB

        Michael, I’d really like to know if you’ve been following the slickdeals Vitamix thread, and whether you’ve tested for the black flake residue or not?

        • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

          Responded in your original thread.

  • Paul

    IMO There is quite a bit of very subjective cherrypicking here as far as Blendtec, and some of the points made are illusory.

    “We found that we had less control with the Blendtec’s preset buttons than with the Vitamix’s manual controls;”

    This is completely valid with the Total Blender. Not valid with their other models that have an added variable manual control.

    “We also found that the Blendtec’s components—the blending jar and lid—didn’t feel as nice as on the Vitamix”

    Since when does “it feels nice” factor into how something performs or how durable it is?

    “and we prefer that the Vitamix comes with a handy tamper to burst air pockets.”

    Some of that is a practical plus and some of that is also required – traditional Vitamix containers are not as good at sucking down the ingredients due to the differences in blade and container design (Blendtec’s is generally wider and more concave at the bottom), and thus need more tamping in general. That said some things are still helpful to have tamping to deal with. So you’ll have to add a tamper to the Blendtec.. but in general it doesnt need tamping for many of the scenarios where you would need it for Vita.

    “Although we don’t mind the preset speeds on some of the other blenders, we think the simple manual controls on the Vitamix 5200 will wear better over time”

    Better than mechanical push buttons? Yes I probably don’t disagree. Better than solid state electronic control pads (membrane based) like on the Blendtecs and even Vitamix’s own commercial models? No not a chance. Mechanical controls, dials, switches, do not hold up as well over time in comparison. Again no disagreement when it comes to push buttons.

    (regarding the Blendtec Total Blender)”The lid felt flimsy and its panel controls seemed cheap.”

    Again this is some highly subjective whimsy. What matters is how well they perform. Let’s logic this out. Blendtec is acknowledged to serve way more high-volume high reliability use cases with corporate chains than Vitamix. Those exact same types of lids and controls were and are still being used in more high volume environments than Vitamix. And they work fine. businesses that would not touch the regular Vitamixes because they did not trust the reliability for volume work, the lack of electronic cycles, the container design, and the time needed to clean, lack of stackable containers, and so on. Wait so you say well Vitamix is in Starbucks now! You’re right. But not with any of the blenders you see reviewed on this site or other consumer sites. Not even close.

    How did Vitamix win away Starbucks from Blendtec?

    By making essentially a Blendtec for specifically Starbucks (and now sold openly) and offering a great deal to Starbucks.

    http://www.basequipment.com/Vitamix-36019-The-Quiet-One-48-oz-Blending-Station-p/vit-36019.htm

    -Squared design and noise shroud (and they did a good job – made it quieter than blendtec, a plus for retail environment)

    -Electronic cycles and panel controls (The exact same type you criticize as being “cheap” on Blendtec are the type that Vitamix uses on their high reliability machines for commercial environments)

    -Different container design (again with cues from Blendtec)

    -Higher horsepower (3hp, ironically the same as what you get on the cheapest Blendtec)

    Essentially, to sell a Vitamix that was reliable enough and strong enough and convenient enough to be suitable for high volume use, Vitamix had to make a completely different blender. one that is more Blendtec than traditional Vitamix. With Blendtec style controls and design considerations. One that is pretty much nothing like a consumer model Vitamix.

    You guys praise the controls on these consumer level Vitamixes when not even Vitamix trusts them to hold up to a lot of use, based on what the company produces for commercial customers. In their most expensive and reliable hardware Vitamix trusts the same type of control pad tech that Blendtec uses, which you call “flimsy” or “cheap”. Selective delusion and laughable brand bias.

    You guys need some balanced perspective for sure. I am not saying Blendtec is generally better for foodies. In fact I think only the Designer series ones are suitable due to the manual control capability. But I am saying much of your “criteria” or rationale for comparing these two specific brands is either flawed, personally biased, or misleading in whether or not it has credible/logical substantiation behind it.

    The context then is skewed creating misleading assumptions by your readers as a result – For example leading them to believe that the controls on a Blendtec would thus be less durable or reliable when implicitly neither corporate chains nor Vitamix’s own R&D department would say the same.

  • Windchime

    Hi you mentioned:
    If you’re really concerned about chemicals leaching, you may want to go with a blender with a glass jar.
    Do you have any recs for GOOD blenders with glass jars? I saw you also mentioned that new studies show that estrogenic chemicals can also leach from BPA free plastic. It’s just as I suspected; plastic is plastic.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Windchime, the only blender we tested that we liked with a glass jar is the Oster Beehive. But this is not high performance blender. It will do okay at blending ice in a smoothie, as long as you add liquid to the ice, and blend soups (but not to a really silky consistency). In terms of high-performance blenders, like the Vitamix, all of them have plastic jars. We looked really hard for one that didn’t, but it’s currently just not out there. From our research and speaking with experts, the biggest issue with chemicals leaching from plastic is when you heat the plastic. That’s why it’s not a good idea to wash a plastic blending jar in the dishwasher. I would also avoid using something like the soup setting on the Vitamix, which heats the soup as it blends (for about 5 minutes). Scratches in plastic can also be problematic, so you’d want to replace jars with scratches. Not a fully satisfying answer, I realize. I suspect there are just too many potential breakage issues with glass jars on a high performance blender. I know that in the old days, Vitamix actually had metal jars with their blenders. Hope this helps a little.

  • Jon-Mark Wiltshire

    I feel like the New Age Living BL 1500 should be included in these comparisons. The company itself claims it is comparable to the Vitamix, and Amazon reviews corroborate that. It can be purchased directly from the manufacturer on eBay for about $160 here:

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/111167457128?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

    Or on Amazon for about $240 here: http://www.amazon.com/New-Age-Living-BL1500-Commercial/dp/B00FEN7PQK

    I’ve just purchased one and will update here once I have received it

  • Linda

    While I agree that the Vitamix is the best blender I came across the black speck issue just last week (I live in Australia)!! I have two Vitamixes and three jugs and I did the plain water test on all three of them and I had black specks show up in all three samples!! I have been in touch with Vitamix USA and the Vitamix distributors in Australia but have had no satisfactory answer on these black specks from either of them!! I will follow this post and hopefully you will update it when you hear something!! I did read on another review page that Vitamix were going to release a statement about this issue shortly so hopefully the matter will be resolved soon because I haven’t used my Vitamixes since I found out about this!!

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Hi Linda, we’re monitoring the black fleck issue closely and will make sure to update our guide as soon as we know. I do have a question about your jars. What generation of Vitamix do you have (the tall jars, or the shorter/squatter jars), and when did you buy them?

      • Linda

        Hi Christine!! I have two Vitamixes both with the tall jars!! I have the 5200 TNC purchased in January 2013 and the Professional Series 500 purchased in January 2014!! Both of the tall jars that came with these machines produce a lot of black specks on the plain water test!! I also have the smaller 32 oz wet jug and the dry jug and although these show a few black specks I think I would still use them!! However the two tall jars with a lot of black specks I wouldn’t feel comfortable using!! It has been three weeks now since I contacted Vitamix and I have had no answer as to what these black specks could be!! I look forward to your update when you find out something about them!!

  • Richard@DigitalP.

    It’s a huge failure to not even consider Blendtec blenders because they are not exactly the same as Vitamix. This is like refusing to review the iPhone because it doesn’t have a stylus/physical keyboards and Android phones do.

    Most reviews confirm that Blendtec and Vitamix can produce similar results. Both have very long warranties (around 7 years) and are solidly built.

    So it cames down to personal choice. Do you want the iPhone of blenders that ‘just works’ due to its blend cycles and special jar shapes, or do you want the Android, more controllability, but requiring more skill and the use of a tamper?

    One would expect more of the wire cutter.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      The Vitamix is the best blender for most people. Period.

      Also, I don’t think they make flagship Android phones with a QWERTY anymore. Just the Droid 4 IIRC.

      • Richard@DigitalP.

        The Vitamix is NOT the best blender for most people. Most people do not understand how to adapt blender speeds to get the best result for the food they are trying to prepare.

        Period.

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          Duly noted.

  • Rach_L

    For anyone wanting to purchase a Vitamix 5200, Costco in the US is selling them for $375. I just bought one last week but was told that they were currently selling their last palette. This is a great price as a refurbished model will run you $329 anyway. Just wanted to pass along the info :)

  • http://fixdenver.com/ Fix Denver

    refurb down to $284 on amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KM03KKA/

  • jj

    Regarding the black spec issue, Blender Dude has said “as of today, December 2, Vitamix is permitting me to acknowledge that the source of the black speck issue is a seal on the blade assembly just underneath the blade. This seal is composed of Polytetrafluoroethylene, otherwise known as PTFE. At this time I remain unaware of additional plans to address the issue and have been instructed to recommend customer service be consulted for further clarification.”

    • KB

      Thanks for that, jj. Disappointing to me; it doesn’t help me in deciding what to do. PTFE is the stuff teflon is made of, I believe. I don’t think I’d accept having to ingest flakes of the stuff in my smoothies, but I suppose I could just keep returning the jar until I got one that doesn’t have the issue. I hope.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thank you for passing this along!

  • spigzone

    The new 48 oz under counter container destroys the tall 64oz 5200 container when making smoothies. I make a super challenging apple/date/almond smoothie that the 5200 tall container just could not get really smooth, it was always ‘grainy’. I tried the new 48oz container on my machine and voila! an utterly smooth silky non grainy apple/date/almond smoothie AND it now fits under my cupboard!

    So if you make smoothies and have a 5200 machine, buy a new style 48 oz container for a silky smooth drink FAST no matter how challenging the ingredients you put in it.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Thanks for this! We may consider including one of these jars in our next round of testing, which we’re putting together right now.

      • spigzone

        Excellent. I see Vitamix is finally selling the low profile 64oz container on their website for $160, yikes, though it’s not yet on Amazon. The 48oz container is currently on Amazon for $108, a relatively good buy.

        A full (to the top of the flutes) 48oz container exactly fills two 1-1/2 pint wide mouth freezer jars, which I pair with a Cuppow lid. Smoothie perfection.

        • spigzone

          An additional bit – Vitamix didn’t make the low profile 64oz container available for several years after it was selling the new style Vitamix machines. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this was a cynical ploy to move it’s customer base to the new, and much more expensive, machines if they wanted to get the new low profile 64oz container.

          For that reason, and because the Vitamix mantra for the last several decades was it’s longevity, I hope you make a point of including one of the new low profile 64oz containers in your test and MAKING A POINT to let people know that container is now available and it operates with their existing, and still fully functional, Vitamix machine giving them not only the under cupboard capability but also a far more efficient smoothie maker.

          Pricey at $170, but that’s still several hundred dollars cheaper than buying a new machine.

          • KB

            According to http://joyofblending.com/which-vitamix-to-buy/ the new 64oz containers probably shouldn’t be used with the older gen Vitamix units. They do physically work, but the increased torque of the longer blades will likely cause the motor to burn out more quickly as the older units don’t have the increased airflow to help keep the motor cool.

          • spigzone

            Thanks. I read the article and point to this paragraph under the 5300 section:

            “The strange thing about this model is that previously Vitamix stated that Next Gen containers should not be used on Classic bases because they do not have the updated airflow design that cools the motor more effectively.”

            Being an electronic technician this makes sense from a physics standpoint. A variable speed motor with the torque capability of starting at low speed with the typical loads in a kitchen and doing so for a decade or more of daily use has more than enough torque capacity and airflow to handle the additional load the longer blades of the low profile containers require. The .2 additional horse power is negligible as is the extra airflow in normal daily use. After all the 5200 has been extensively used in commercial settings for decades.

            The DIFFERENCE of that added blade length is inconsequential in relation to the existing torque requirements of the narrow jar. In addition the low profile container is much wider at the bottom which will alleviate the material binding phenomenon often seen in the loaded narrow container – a stalled electric motor burns them out faster than anything else.

            There is no physics based reasoning to support the Vitamix claim the older base cannot handle the new style container.

            There is however a MARKETING based reasoning to make such a claim.

            The same reasoning that led to the low profile 64oz container not being available for so long … $$$. Getting people to put their existing. still fully operational machines, on a shelf and buy the new machine to get that .2 added horsepower and low profile, better operating, container.

            That same reasoning is why I would keep my existing machine. I KNOW that motor was engineered to operate for decades with proper use, I do not know what requirements the new motor was engineered to meet. It is certainly within the realm of possibility a motor built to last 20 or more years is no longer considered in the companies best interests.

            Just saying.

  • Georgina Riley

    Any plans to review the Froothie optimum blender? On paper it looks better than the vitamix and is cheaper.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      We hadn’t considered this one, but we will look into it for our update!

  • Sarah Curk

    I got the Kitchenaid 5 speed, it sucks. Anything thicker than water forms air pockets within a few seconds of starting the blender. It leaks, and is too hard to get off the base, especially if you forget to turn it off before hand. I learned this lesson the hard way when I puréed a hot beet soup, accidentally turning it on high when trying to remove the jar. There was HOT beet soupd all over me and my kitchen walls. My fault I suppose, but DEFINITELY something I consider to be a design flaw. I have learned my lesson with kitchen appliances. But nice, or buy twice. Thanks for the good research though, sweethome!
    P.s. Is there a way for me to use the Amazon app and get you guys your kickback? I prefer to use that for my purchases.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks for the kind words! I’ll try to find out more, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s possible with the app(s).

      • Sarah Curk

        No problem. Btw, if you need a super anal consumer to give you feedback on home products, let me know! 😀

      • RudimentaryDiode

        The kitchenaid 5 speed our friend had performed equally with our manual $50 ninja blender that we owned which made it not worth paying twice the price in my eyes.

  • Stew Gorry

    I’m curious about your subjective dismissal of the Blendtec. To me it’s a far more attractive product then the Vitamix which, again to me, has the clumsy look of the consumer products which used to come out of the old Soviet Union. I seriously doubt Blendtec will have to pay Vitamix a huge settlement for trying to steal one of their patents. The cold hard facts are innovation and vision in the industry no longer come from Vitamix………….Stew Gorry

  • Stew Gorry

    I’m surprised at the way you so subjectively dismiss the Blendtec. To me the Vitamix looks like the consumer products that used to come out of the old Soviet Union — esthetically they have an overly large ugly appearance. I cannot imagine Blendtec is ever going to have to pay a huge settlement to Vitamix for trying to steal one of their patents as Vitamix has been forced to do with Blendtec. Vitamix is a dinosaur, they are no longer the innovators in their field as they once were.

  • Stew Gorry

    I’m very surprised at the way you seem to dismiss the Blendtec. To me the Vitamix the same overly large ugly appearance we used to see on consumer products from the old Soviet Union. I can’t imagine we’ll ever see Blendtec being forced to pay Vitamix a huge settlement for trying to steal one of their patents as Vitamix was required to do with Blendtec. Lets face it — Vitamix is no longer the innovator in their industry they once were

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      You posted your comment 4 times. Please don’t do that. For your own sake – you’ll end up in the spam filter.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Hi Stew, we actually did test a Blendtec Total in our original review, and didn’t like it as much as the Vitamix we tried. We are currently updating this guide again, and will likely be including another Blendtec in this round of testing. Stay tuned.

  • Ida Carl

    Last month I bought one of these blenders and it works so well! I use it every single day and it makes the best smoothies in the world! Regards! Bentford Carpet Cleaners Ltd.


    Ida Carl

  • Sean F.

    Thought I’d post this in here – http://slickdeals.net/f/7479874-vitamix-refurbished-blenders-6300-series-262-5200-series-247-free-shipping
    Vitamix refurb units for folks wishing to hit this up.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks!

  • Tim

    Any chance of reviewing the new Breville Boss (BBL910XL) it is getting some good reviews on Amazon….

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Yes! We’re including it in our next round of testing. Should have an update sometime next month!

      • Tim

        Awesome! Any change in overall recommendation? I’m close to buying one….

        • Christine Cyr Clisset

          Tim, we are literally testing blenders tomorrow! We should have an update in our update box hopefully by next week!

          • Tim

            Can’t wait! I think I’ve narrowed my options down to the Vitamix and the Breville Boss…thanks!

          • Tim

            How did it go? Any hints?

          • Christine Cyr Clisset

            Hey Tim, if you are vacillating between the Vitamix and Breville, the Vitamix is hands down a better machine. If you want presets, though, I’d recommend our current step down/runner up, the Versa. It performed as good or even better than the Breville. That said, it does have a cheaper build than the Breville (which is very nicely built). We will have a full update very soon.

      • Chris

        Do you have an estimate when that updated review will be available? Also in the market. Is 5200 still the best option? Or is 5300 something to consider now?

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          I think it’s imminent. Like days or within a week?

        • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

          It’s up!

  • Josh Stone

    So just to be clear – vitamix’s “fix” for the faulty jars that produce black flecks is to offer replacement faulty jars that also produce black flecks? They can’t be bothered to actually FIX the problem with an engineering/design change? This seems pretty crazy to me.

  • KB
    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks!

  • Brian Schack

    This guide is great and an improvement on the original guide. A minor note, I think that the Vitamix Pro 300 is listed twice in the competition section.

    When you were talking about why an expensive blender is worth it, I had an crazy idea. In other guides, what if you tested the very cheapest option at Walmart? Not because anyone expects it to be the best, but just to show readers how we are missing out. (And in some categories, perhaps bleach, we may find that there is no significant difference.)

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      HI Brian,
      Thanks for your note. Where are you seeing the Pro 300 listed twice? We list the Pro 300 and the 5300, which are very similar.

      Your high-low idea is something we actually do try to implement in a lot of guides. We often try to include really high-end and low-end products, just to see how they compare and if we’re surprised by anything. We didn’t do that in this guide because we had tested a range of lower-end blenders last year and clearly saw that they could not compete with high-performance blenders.

      • Brian Schack

        By the way, the high-low idea was not at all a criticism of this guide because you do discuss the differences. Here are the two mentions of the Vitamix Pro 300 in the Competition section:

        “Vitamix Pro 300 ($530): This was our top pick in 2012, and we still think it’s a great blender. It has a shorter jar and is quieter than the Vitamix 5200. But in subsequent updates we found that the Vitamix 5200 is more highly recommended by a variety of pros cooks and editorial reviews. From a performance standpoint, the Pro 300 doesn’t outperform the less expensive 5200.”

        “Vitamix Pro 300 : We tested this in our last review and like it, but the Vitamix 5200 is almost $70 less and gets higher editorial and user reviews.”

  • spigzone

    Why did you not try the Vitamix low profile 48oz jar on the 5200 as I suggested (and you noted) in my comment in the earlier face-off? The almond/date/apple smoothie I make is extremely challenging and the smoothie made with the 48oz low profile jar is VERY noticeably smoother than what the old style 64oz jar can turn out. The newer low profile 64oz jar is also, finally, available on the Vitamix site. The 48oz low profile container has been widely available since the new machines came out.

    If you have a 5200 machine and make a lot of smoothies, getting the 48oz low profile container is well worth the price as it provides a noticeably silkier and more drinkable smoothie and it will fit under your cupboards. It also has a much lesser tendency to bind at the start when the container is loaded up.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Hi Spigzone,
      We usually opt to test products the way they come, rather than buying extra components (in this case the 48 ounce jar) because we think this is the most helpful way to test for most people. It sounds like the 48 ounce jar is a great option if it’s really important to you to have the shorter jar, and it’s interesting that you’ve found it blends smoother textures. But given that the jar is and extra $100, give or take, I’d consider it more of a step up, or addition, for someone who blends a lot.

      We did make an exception to the rule in this guide by trying the Waring’s metal jar. But we did this because we’ve gotten a lot of requests about what blenders to buy that don’t have plastic jars.

  • Shasta

    Having done a ton of research already, I’m trying to decide between a reconditioned Vitamix 5200 (or 7500), the Waring MX1200xtx, and the Omega BL480. I just learned about the Froothie from comments here, and it’s intriguing as well.

    I would love to see the Waring, Omega and Froothie reviewed, if you update at all. :)

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Hi Shasta,
      The Waring we tested in this guide is actually the MX1200tx. We haven’t tried the Omega because we didn’t get super strong recommendations for it from our experts or from user reviews. If we end up seeing an uptick in user reviews for the Frothie, we may consider testing it. I would go for the reconditioned Vitamix 5200. It’s a great machine, and the reconditioned ones still come with a 5-year warranty.

      • Shasta

        Thanks Christine! :)

        • Christine Cyr Clisset

          Shasta, so happy you like the review! The Cleanblend is definitely not built as nicely as the Vitamix. The range of speeds is far less nuanced, the controls and jar definitely feel cheaper, and it’s not as universally graceful as the Vitamix. But for the money I think the Cleanblend is a great machine. But the Vitamix is in another class, as far as user experience and nuance. But it’s also a lot more expensive!:)

    • Camiller_CA

      Do NOT get a Vitamix. Mine broke after 2 years of very light use. It was a pain to clean as well which is why I never used it.

      • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

        Just because you had issues doesn’t mean everyone will. We appreciate your feedback, but you only need to slam it once in the comments for it to be seen :)

        • Camiller_CA

          Yep, I understand that I got a lemon. It’s a chance people take when they buy stuff. I don’t trust the Vitamix brand, never will again due to my personal experience with their product. Sorry for the double slam, I thought I was replying to this person’s comment. Cheers and thanks for the info.

  • Adi Lev-Er

    I’m having a hard time deciding between the Breville Hemisphere and your Oster Versa pick. At one point you mention that the Hemisphere is more expensive, but they are actually right around the same price. Was that just a typo?
    Thanks in advance! I love all your reviews!

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      The Hemisphere is about $15-$35 more than the Oster Versa at any given time depending on sales, stock, popularity, etc.

  • Yvon Lebras

    I like that you took the time to do a really in depth analysis of these different blenders. As a blentec owner, I was a little dissapointed that it did not win. I have to say it is expensive, but I do love that blender. It is the only appliance that I have had repaired because it is so pricy and so essential in my life.

    Yvon Lebras | http://www.appliancetechrepair.com/services.html

  • Christian

    FYI – The Versa is on sale again on Costco’s site. Link published above works. Thanks again for another awesome review!

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks!

  • Ken Kelso

    Hi, another blender i would recommend you trying is the New Age Living blender for 150$. They sell it on Ebay. Here’s a video on Youtube.

  • Maya

    After borrowing my mom’s Vitamix Pro Series (the one with the presets) and making all sorts of hot soups and smoothies with frozen berries, I was convinced that shelling out for the Vitamix was the only option – until I read this review. I bought the Versa from Costco figuring I could return it if it couldn’t make the recipes that I had made on the Vitamix. After testing hot soup and frozen foods on the Versa, I was astounded and ecstatic to find that my $160 Versa was just as good as the $600+ Vitamix. Amazing!!

  • solarfuse

    It would be great if the maintenance section went into more detail about cleaning these blenders. I threw out a perfectly fine cheapo blender because I got frustrated cleaning some hard to reach parts with a toothbrush! Running the blender with water and dish soap (a trick I found on several sites) never actually cleaned my blender good enough even after one use. It appeared clean until you actually take a close look and you see guck everywhere like under the blades and in the gaskets. So I wound up disassembling the blender to clean it every time which meant I rarely wanted to use it.

    • solarfuse

      On second thought, perhaps my cheapo blender wasn’t powerful enough to clean thoroughly by just blending on high with water and dish soap. I went ahead and bought the Oster Versa 1400 based on the recommendation here and cleanup was dead simple on my first smoothie test! I’ll try again tonight to see how it goes.

      Thanks for this great article! I only plan on blending occasionally, but I still wanted a quality unit and not another throwaway one. So for me, the Oster is a much better value than the Vitamix. I’m really impressed with it so far.

  • Emily G.

    I am looking for a durable blender that can efficiently make tahini and that will blend very smooth whole juices and smoothies. Is there a bottle blender or a small blender (that has a maximum capacity of about 24 fl oz or less) that you would recommend for me?

  • Camiller_CA

    Don’t get a Vitamix. I bought one at Costco. It broke within 2 years of light, and I do mean light use. I hardly used it, maybe one a month and that was for frozen berries. I never blended ice or anything that solid and dense. And, when I needed it most, it failed. These are not worth it for the price. I’ve been using my immersion blender and magic bullet. If I need a silky texture, I just pass it through a chinoise. I might try the Oster, looks good for the price.

    • Camiller_CA

      Oh, and the Vitamix was a pain to clean which is why I hardly ever used it.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We disagree, but sincerely hope you find something you prefer!

      • Camiller_CA

        8)
        You disagree because your lightly used Super expensive Vitamix blender didn’t break after a couple a years of light use. Mine did, which makes me not trust the brand. Your blog sure helps with picking a different brand though, thanks for the info.

        • Erica Z.

          Don’t Vitamix blenders have a 7 year warranty? Did they not cover your repairs?

  • me

    I noticed you mentioned all the plastic jars here. One thing you might want to consider as a plus (and I’ve seen a lot of posts elsewhere on the internet which say the same) is a blender with a glass jar. Everyone seems to be going to plastic but I just don’t trust plastic. I don’t trust it to not leech chemicals into my food and I don’t trust it not to break apart into the blender. I don’t understand why so many are going to plastic other than it’s cheaper.

  • Evan Adams

    Our vitamix broke also. Was good while it lasted. But our current blender has been going strong for 3x longer now.

  • http://weedywet.com wwittman

    Any feelings on the taller jar for the Oster?, if under cabinet space isn’t a problem? It LOOKS like that taller shape would funnel food to the blades more efficiently…

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      We did test that model two years ago, but we didn’t love that taller jar. It did make mayo better, but did’t do better at any of the other tests. And the jar felt cheap. Here’s what we said:

      This comes with the same motor as our main pick, but with a taller jar. It performed about on par with the Versa with the shorter jar. We preferred the feel of the shorter jar to this model’s tall jar. We also don’t like the hard plastic lid on this version, which is more difficult to remove than the softer lid on the short Versa. This Versa did make mayo, although we had to pour the oil very slowly, and we found that the emulsification broke easily. This Versa has 4.5 stars across 227 Amazon user reviews.