Choosing a powerful blender: Blendtec vs. Vitamix and more

Picking a powerful blender can be a tricky decision because there are a lot of choices to make, and the significant cost increases the stakes. Here are my thoughts on deciding which one to buy.

Why buy a powerful blender?
Lets first step back briefly and consider why you’d want a powerful blender in the first place. Here are some of the more common uses:
1) Whole food smoothies: include the healthy fiber from fruits and vegetables, instead of just juicing, which removes the fiber. A powerful blender will be able to incorporate fibrous foods like carrots and kale into smoothies with a smooth consistency. You can also include nuts in smoothies to make them creamier.
2) Grinding grains into flour: make fresh whole grain flour with any grains you like.
3) Fresh nut butters
4) Soups, spreads, and sauces
5) Frozen desserts (typically sorbet-like)

A powerful blender can allow you to make new things in the kitchen, and it makes healthy food prep very easy. Cleanup is super easy.

Also, a well-built powerful blender will last much longer than a low-powered one if you’re using it a lot.

Which brand? Blendtec vs. Vitamix
The main brands to choose from are Vitamix and Blendtec, so those are the focus here. Later I will briefly touch on some more inexpensive choices. It’s been interesting to see in recent years that Vitamix and Blendtec have been picking up features from each other as they compete for customers. I should note that I’ve only ever used a Vitamix, but I’ve read a lot online about Blendtec machines. Ultimately, most people are happy with either one. A lot of these comparisons are rather minor points, but I thought I would try to compile everything I could find in one place. If you don’t want to go through all of the details and just want a simple recommendation, I’d say go with Vitamix–I’m happy with mine, and it looks like most recent blender shoot-outs are putting Vitamix on top (e.g. from Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, America’s Test Kitchen, The Wirecutter). But for people like me who like to consider all the angles, here are all of the factors that I’ve found that may weigh into your decision.

Blending performance (how smooth is the smoothie, etc.)
From what I’ve read, results are very similar, though from the side-by-side comparisons I’ve read more people state that smoothies from a Vitamix were smoother than from a Blendtec than vice versa. However, I think that at least some of the people who preferred the Vitamix consistency were comparing it to a Blendtec container with a 3-inch blade; some people report better results with the Blendtec 4-inch blade container. -slight advantage Vitamix

Warranty
This is a case where Blendtec has taken a cue from Vitamix. Blendtec used to have a 3-year warranty, but their machines now come with a 7-year warranty. Vitamix has been doing a 7-year warranty for as long as I know. One difference is that the 7-year Blendtec warranty only covers the motor/base–the pitchers are covered for 3 years, whereas Vitamix has a full 7-year warranty. I’ve seen enough reports of broken Blendtec containers that it seems if you use your container regularly, you shouldn’t be surprised if you have to replace it before 7 years are up. -advantage Vitamix Update: Blendtec’s warranty now includes containers bought with a base for the full 7 years (for home use). Containers purchased separately have a 3 year warranty, which is the same as Vitamix. Also, both Vitamix and Blendtec will cover shipping both ways for any warranty repairs. -tie

User interface
Vitamix uses a physical knob and switches, whereas Blendtec uses a digital screen and electronic controls. This is really a question of personal preference whether this makes a difference to you. For some people there’s no question that they prefer the analog controls. The screen on the Blendtec machines has an interesting feature that tells you how many cycles you’ve run. -personal preference

Preset programs
Speaking of user interface, here’s another instance where one of the companies took a cue from the other. In this case Blendtec has been offering preset programs for years, but recently Vitamix released some models that include preset programs (for smoothies, soups, or frozen desserts or hot soups). Blendtec still has more different preset options though. -slight advantage Blendtec

Weight
Vitamix machines are significantly heavier (11 lbs versus 7 lbs). Depending on how you use your machine, this could be good or bad. If you are traveling with it a lot, or if you cannot store the machine on your kitchen counter, the lighter weight would be nice. But if it generally just lives on your counter, the extra weight will make it a bit more stable. Also, I have the impression that Vitamix machines are a bit sturdier, and the weight difference is a sign of a more substantial machine: it might last longer. It would be interesting to see some data on average number of cycles before failure, but I’ve never seen that. -personal preference

Dimensions
Blendtec is more compact, and all Blendtec containers should fit underneath standard kitchen cabinets, whereas not all Vitamix containers will. But again, Vitamix responded to this criticism, and they now have a range of shorter containers that should fit underneath cabinets (however, they’re still taller than the Blendtec machines, so if you are planning on keeping your blender underneath cabinets you should double check the heights). -slight advantage Blendtec

Ease of getting thick mixtures out of container
Blendtec containers are shorter and wider than Vitamix containers, with the exception of one of the new Vitamix pitchers (found on the 7500/Pro 300 and 750). Also the Blendtec blade is 2-pronged instead of the 4 blades in the Vitamix, which means that there’s less in the way when you are trying to get thick mixtures out. The place where this makes the biggest difference is nut butters. I solve this slight shortcoming of the Vitamix by not worrying about getting every last bit of nut butter out and using the remains to blend into a smoothie. -advantage Blendtec

Cord length
Vitamix uses a 6-foot power cord that has a handy hidden reel in the base for storing the excess, whereas Blendtec uses a 3-foot cord. -slight advantage Vitamix

Noise
Blendtec machines are slightly louder, but really they’re all pretty noisy, and I like to use ear protection. The newer Vitamix models have better noise muffling than the machine I have, but the thing is that no matter how well the base is muffled, there’s still the noise of the ingredients being bashed up at high speed (ice and grains are particularly loud). -advantage Vitamix

Separate dry blade
Vitamix makes an optional dry blade that you can get in a second container. The dry blade has a different shape that makes it grind things like flour more effectively. However, the normal Vitamix blade can grind dry ingredients, just not quite as efficiently (it will take longer, the flour will heat up more, and the flour might not be quite as fine). Some people say that the fact that Vitamix makes the dry container is an advantage for Blendtec, because the single container “does it all,” but given that you can grind flour in the normal Vitamix container, I do not think this is an edge for Blendtec. Blendtec actually makes a whole separate machine for milling flour. The last thing to note here is that grinding grains or other hard items will scratch up the inside of the container and make it look cloudy. I think it’s a non-issue, but it’s enough of a concern for some people that they like to have a dedicated container for hard items, so that their other container stays more clear. -personal preference

Tamper
Vitamix machines come with a tamper that allows you to push food into the blades without the tamper hitting the blades; Blendtec machines do not come with a tamper. Blendtec touts their machines as superior because they do not need a tamper, but I have read about plenty of Blendtec owners who wish they had one because certain combinations can get stuck above the blades. If you get a Blendtec and run into this problem you can look for a third party tamper on eBay, or make your own out of wood dowels. While it’s nice to not need to use the tamper, using one is really not a big deal. I generally keep mine next to the machine, so it’s handy if I need it, and using it does not really make cleanup take longer because I generally just quickly rinse it in the sink while the Vitamix is finishing blending. One other development here, Blendtec recently released a new “Twister Jar” with a special lid that has two scraper tines that push thick mixtures into the blades. It performs a similar job as the tamper for things like nut butter or frozen sorbet. -advantage Blendtec: less likely to need the tamper. -advantage Vitamix: when items get stuck and are not blending, the included tamper is handy.

Volume of containers
Blendtec has containers that are 64 and 90 oz, whereas Vitamix has containers that are 32, 48, and 64 oz. However, this is a little misleading because the Blendtec containers don’t work if they are filled all the way to the top, while the Vitamix containers can be filled about an extra 8 oz past their rated capacity. -advantage vitamix (if you will be pushing the limits in terms of volume)

Price
Pricing is similar, but Vitamix currently has a slight edge. A few years back Blendtec made in-roads by being the cheaper option, but that’s no longer the case. For consumer models the Blendtec price range is $434.95-$1034.95 with a refurbished unit for $384.95, while the Vitamix price range is $399-$689, with refurbished units starting at $329. Also, if you use my Vitamix affiliate link/code, you can get free shipping, so that’s an added edge for Vitamix. -advantage Vitamix Blendtec now also offers shipping if you click through my Blendtec affiliate link.

If you’re looking for the lowest possible price, check out this post.

Other brands
Some midrange blenders that may be worth a look are the Breville Hemisphere and the Ninja blenders.

Which Vitamix?
There’s a significant range of Vitamix options to choose from, which I give a rundown of in my next post.


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Comments

Choosing a powerful blender: Blendtec vs. Vitamix and more — 35 Comments

  1. Pingback: Which Vitamix to buy? | Joy of Blending

  2. I have both. I love my Vitamix more. I hate the preset controls on the Blendtec and prefer the manual controls on the Vitamix. The larger container on the Blendtec, however, is more handy and easier to remove thicker items like butters and hummus dips.

    • The new shorter Vitamix containers are easier to get thick mixtures out of than the tall 64-oz pitchers, although Blendtec still has a slight edge because it has the 2-pronged blade (instead of Vitamix’s 4-pronged blade), and Blendtec container walls are flat (instead of having ridges in the middle like Vitamix). That said, as long as you have a nice long spatula, I don’t think it’s a problem.

  3. I am from Taiwan. I checked at my country’s best shopping site. Which is yahoo bid. I think it’s similar to ebay in your country. Since we don’t have ebay, so everyone are in yahoo bid. Interesting thing is Omni can not be found in Taiwan. It dose not sell in Taiwan. Good luck with that OEM stuff from China.

    • That surprises me that you can’t find them in Taiwan since the company is Taiwanese. Their company page is here, though it looks like they don’t directly do retail sales.

  4. Don’t get a Vitamix! Just bought an Optimum blender, or a Froothie blender…not sure what it’s called, model is 9400… Love it! And currently half the price!

    Shop around before buying! I looked at all brands and found these to be the best, highly recommended :0)

    • I hadn’t heard of Froothie, so I looked them up, and I see they are an Australian company. It looks like they are a great option for Australians, since Vitamix charges so much more for their machines there.

    • I’ve not been able to find any US sites/stores that sell the Optimum blender (for use in the US). Total bummer as it looks like a great blender for an equally great price!

  5. Thanks for doing the work to compare these two blenders! I decided to go with Blendtec’s Designer Series Wildside Red. Ultimate deciding factor? Blendtec’s user interface. I have a thing for digital :). I also purchased the Twister Jar. I followed your link to make the purchase so you should be receiving your commission. :)

  6. I have tested the Classic Blendtec Total Blender and the Designer Series next to each other. The Classic has up and down arrow buttons to guide you through 10 manual speeds. The Designer has an 8 step touch screen slider. However, I have found that speed 8,9, and 10 on the Classic seem to be the same speed, while 7 and 8 seem the same on the Designer. HAs anyone else noticed this?

  7. Has anyone else tried the Customer Service of both Vitamix and Blendtec? I have tried to reach Vitamix for two weeks with zero luck. In fact, each time I call Customer Service, the recorded message says the expected wait time is over 20 minutes! Then they ask you to leave your number and they will call back – which they never have. However, if you call the Sales line, they say the expected wait time is one minute…after 5 minutes or so, they also ask you to leave your number and they will call back. Emails to them have also gone unanswered – even when citing this very complaint. I guess business for Vitamix is going very well,but you better hope you never need help from a real person. Blendtec, on the other hand, always answers Customer Service inquiries within a minute or so. Perhaps if you know someone within Vitamix ( know their extension) you will have better luck. I own both Vitamix and Blendtec blenders, but I have learned not to expect answers to my questions from their Customer Service.

    • I meant that I have learned not to expect help from a real person at Vitamix.

    • This is a valid issue that I think Vitamix needs to work on. Their staff is totally overloaded now. I have a practical suggestion for the best way to reach them. Your best bet is to just wait on hold. In my experience the estimated wait time is fairly accurate, so you can start doing something else; just keep your phone handy for when someone comes on the line. Every time I’ve tried this method it’s worked. When I’ve tried leaving voicemail for them to call me back or emailing them, I’ve often never gotten a response. So it is possible to get in touch with them, you just have to wait out the hold time.

      • Thanks for your input. I am on the west coast, and EDT Vitamix Ohio rolls up its sidewalks by 5PM PDT. I can’t find time at work to sit on the phone for 20 minutes or so. I have the impression that Vitamix doesn’t take consumer Customer Service very seriously; they may focus on their commercial side more. The only companies with worse customer service are those who outsource to other countries. I can understand having busy phone lines, but not returning calls or answering email is inexcusable for a high end business. Their margins can support additional staff. so it must be a matter of apathy. Advantage Blendtec.

        • I’m not trying to defend their unreturned calls and emails, although I do think Vitamix takes consumer service seriously. I know of numerous cases where they went to great lengths to keep people happy. But again, I agree that they are currently mismanaging voicemail and email.

          Practically, if you can’t get them on weekdays I’d recommend calling on a Saturday and waiting out the hold time.

    • I’ve called Vitamix twice and must have been lucky. Both times I was speaking with a rep in under a minute. The calls were in Sept and Oct 2013.

  8. Highly recommend the Optimum range, sold in the UK by Froothie, definitely one of the blender blenders out there, a great catch and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great high speed blender

  9. Any impressions of the Ninja master prep professional or professional nj600? Consumer reports puts both of these up there with the vita mix 5200 as their top 3 recommended blenders, but at a much lower price.

    • The upper-end Ninja models are a good choice for someone who can’t afford a reconditioned Vitamix. However, I wouldn’t put too much weight into the Consumer Reports ratings, unless you’re just looking for a standard blender (to make easy-to-blend things like milkshakes). The Consumer Reports tests didn’t fully put the power blenders through their paces. Specifically, I suspect that a) their durability test wasn’t enough to really tax the machines, and b) they were not blending the more challenging things that Vitamix blenders excel at. Their smoothie test was a pina colada that didn’t have seriously fibrous things like carrot, apple, or kale, they didn’t make frozen desserts or nut butter, and they didn’t include ability to heat in their rankings (they in fact mention that they found only Vitamix and Blendtec models were capable of heating).

      • NO! I know I’m late here. Please read my post comparing the Blendtec & Vitamix dated below on 8/9/14. My FIRST purchase was the Ninja Professional with the additional single serve. HORRIBLE MACHINE! I gave it to my friend who dog sits when I go on vacation! Usually I pay her about $100 per week, so she agreed on the trade. But she’s now had it over a year & hasn’t even used it!

  10. Thanks for the side by side comparison, I went searching for information about my VM CIA and the fact the jar does not sit firmly on the base. I have found it hard to hold the container down when starting and then using the tamper to push the foods into the blades. I was making strawberry ice cream with frozen strawberries and I believe the container rose up above the base and lost connection causing the gears to roll around the edge of the container blade assembly. I like the VM much better than the Ninja Mega 1500 that I had originally, that one sent a frozen strawberry right through the side of the container and left a huge hole about the size of a nickel.

    What suggestions do you have to keep my mishap from happening again when I am making an ice cream?

    • I believe that is why Vita-mix recommends a slow starting procedure: Hi switch off ( down) Variable start on 1, increase to 10, and then switch to Hi. Starting the machine on Hi ( where it was probably last positioned when you turned it off) will often rock the container off the spindle.

      • Thanks, I started the VM in the direction you are supposed to. the problem I have is being able to hold the jar down and do the tamper at the same time. It just seemed to really jump way to quickly when I put it on high after raising it up from 1 to 10 then to high.

        • It does seem that this is a Vita-mix leaning website based upon the admission that it doesn’t have much experience with Blendtec. In my experience with both VM and Blendtec, the need for a tamper is minimized by adding liquid. If I add the same amount of liquid ( 1/2 cup) for the same smoothie in both VM and Blendtec, no tamper is needed in either. I like my smoothies easily drinkable, but I actually prefer some fiber texture ( a little gritty with seeds and fibers). I like to chew a little on my smoothie – I add a lot of green fiber so it shouldn’t drink like a milkshake. But if you want a smoothie to be absolutely smooth, add a few scoops of avocado.

          • Thanks Brad, but when making an ice cream mixture it is necessary to use a tamper. I don’t have any problem otherwise.

          • Blendtec has a new jar called the Twister. It has its own tech that avoids the need for a tamper. But if you think you ever need a tamper for a Blendtec, eBay has Blendtec tampers for $15.

    • When you use the tamper you want to hold the container steady with your other hand. I would say that it’s not so much that the container my rise up, but that if you don’t hold it steady while tamping it can tilt or rock to the side. If it tilts more than just a little bit, then the gear teeth will grind, and it will make a loud noise. If you do this a lot the gear teeth will wear down, and eventually you will need to replace the drive socket and the blade assembly.

      To avoid the container tilting I would recommend holding it firmly with your other hand. Also, try not to push the tamper sideways too much.

      Your Ninja mishap sounds dramatic! Do you have any pictures of that?

      • Thanks for the fast reply, I will try to do as you have instructed with my VM. As far as pictures go, I did not think to take a photo of the jar, I just quickly took it back and got my VM instead.

  11. I don’t understand how you can do a comparison without actually using both products? This really names no sense.

    • On this post I was mainly comparing the specs. However, for the past month I’ve been doing hands-on tests, so I’ll have some first-hand experience reviews coming soon.

  12. 20 min. Is not really that long to wait compared to other companies and cust. Serv. In general. Verizon customer service for ex. Is AWFUL (just a tip if you’re ready to sign onto Fios)

    I’m still debating if I should get a blendtec or vitamix. I have a Breville juicer that I LOVE but I know I am missing out on the fiber and can easily have way too much sugar and it’s not too good with leafy greens.

    Any experience with juicers vs powerful blenders?

    • I had a Breville juicer that I loved. I bought it new on ebay & then sold it on Craigslist for the same price I paid for it 6 years later! If I had the space in my house, I would have kept it, but my Vitamix (I took back my Blendtec) does everything I need, so I don’t really miss my juicer. For your reason, “I know I am missing out on the fiber and can easily have way too much sugar and it’s not too good with leafy greens.” that’s why I got a blender! Hope this helps.

  13. I bought a Blendtec in April 2013. I used it more than once a day. It has a counter on it, so I used it 1485 times from April 2013 – July 2014! Things I noticed that I thought were with either blender: LOUD, the unit “walked” across the counter while blending, I had to hold it down. Also I had to have my hand on top of the lid. You can only use half of the pitcher volume for liquids. I was happy there was no tamper, but then I had to buy a twister jar to really make things that a tamper would have worked with. Many times my piece of ginger would get stuck under the blades & not get blended, same with my dates. All this to say, 2 weeks ago I was on vacation & borrowed someone’s Vitamix because I can’t live without my healthy food! I LOVED IT! Yes, bigger & heavier. That means it doesn’t “walk” across the counter. I also did not have to hold the lid down. It was slighter quieter (I still wear ear plugs). It is a smoother blend. The tamper eliminates the need for an extra jar. I had told all my friends to get a Blendtec for so long, & a few of them did. I feel a bit bad about that now. So I’m telling all of you, buy a VITAMIX! I really had no idea it would be this much better. I thought there was a chance that it would be slightly better, but it is hands down the better machine!