When it comes to blenders, we’ve tried just about all of them. Our very first blender was an Oster, then we graduated to a KitchenAid, then a Vitamix. And after having issues with our refurbished Vitamix, we tried a Blendtec.
It seems every blender has its pros and cons, a special marketing claim, and a loyal fan base that touts it as the best. So when our 5-year-old Blendtec recently started having some motor issues, we figured it was time for a formal, side-by-side review of some of the most popular and high-quality blenders on the market.
THE GROUND RULES
- We chose 3 professional-quality blenders and purchased them on Amazon.
- This review is not sponsored in any way. We were not given free product or compensated for any of our reviews, and we had no contact with any of these brands.
- We tried to be as unbiased and objective as possible when reviewing.
- All 3 blenders are made with BPA-free plastic.
- For consumer awareness, we analyzed the following factors:
- Cost (US $) — subject to variability
- Motor speed
- Container size
- Maximum capacity
- We also compared the blenders, grading on a scale of 1-5 (1 being poor, 5 being excellent), in regard to:
- Ease of use
- Security of lid
- Spout pour-ability
- Ease of cleaning
- We also tested their ability to make the following items, grading on a scale of 1-5 (1 being poor, 5 being excellent):
- NOTE: We also attempted to make coconut butter in these blenders, but ultimately decided that blenders really aren’t the best appliance to use for making coconut butter. We would strongly recommend sticking to a food processor (none of them got the coconut butter smooth; some made very fine coconut flake that never got close to butter).
First place: Vitamix 5200 Blender Professional-Grade, 64 oz. Container*
Second place: KitchenAid KSB8270FP Pro Line Series Blender
Third place: Blendtec Professional 750 Blender with Wildside+ Jar (90 oz)
Note: we like this specific model of Vitamix with a narrow-base container. We have used other models and not been as impressed with the design. Additionally, we had a poor experience with a refurbished Vitamix and would recommend purchasing new, if possible.
Weight: 10 pounds, 9 ounces
Warranty: 7 years
Motor speed: 2 Peak HP
Container size: 64 ounces
Maximum capacity: 64 ounces
Noise: 5/5 – not unreasonably loud even on the highest setting.
Ease of use: 4/5 – variable and high switch is not very intuitive. Have to read the manual to know that they don’t recommend starting it on high mode. But we like that the on/off switch is in plain sight and the crank dial is easy to use. It doesn’t have any settings, but because of how easily it tends to blend things, we don’t find that to be frustrating.
Security of lid: 5/5 – very secure lid that’s sturdy and domed, so it decreases likelihood of spillover while blending.
Sturdiness: 4.25/5 – base is heavy and sturdy, but not quite as sturdy as the KitchenAid. The container fits well onto the base, but it doesn’t necessarily feel super secure (easily tipped off base).
Spout pour-ability: 4/5 – while we appreciate that there is a spout, it tends to allow things to overflow out of the sides too easily and it is also too wide to pour precisely into a small container, which is sometimes frustrating.
Ease of cleaning: 4/5 – lid is tall without a lot of ridges, so it is easy to clean. However, the container is tall and skinny so it can be difficult to clean without a long-handled brush. And because there are 4 prongs on the blade, food can get stuck under them. Otherwise, it is relatively easy to clean.
Esthetics: 3.5/5 – the shape of the blender and base are clunky, tall, and kind of ugly on the counter.
Other: Has an unsettling smell with initial use — smells like it is overheating. But that went away after a bit and only came back when overworked.
*Although we chose the Vitamix as the winner, we must admit it’s unsettling how easily it overheats when difficult-to-blend ingredients are added. During this review it overheated twice: Once while attempting to blend coconut butter for 5 minutes, and again while trying to make a modest batch of banana nice cream. That being said, if you use the Vitamix as a blender and not a food processor, and are careful not to tax it with difficult ingredients (e.g. dates, large chunks of frozen banana with no liquid to help blend, etc.), it clearly performs better than the other blenders we reviewed. Ultimately, we decided to keep the Vitamix as our everyday blender and give it the top prize, but we did so cautiously and include tips at the bottom of the review to help prevent overheating.
Test #1: Almond Butter: 5/5
At 1 minute 45 seconds, it was a visible nut butter. Blended an additional 1 minute 30 seconds to get it creamier. Has a nice drippy consistency and is very smooth. It made nut butter with the most ease and generated the least mess of the three blenders. Used the tamper a little but didn’t require much scraping down.
Test #2: Cashew Milk: 5/5
Blended really nicely and there was very minimal residual cashew pulp when pouring through a fine mesh strainer.
Test# 3: Nice Cream: 3.5/5
Despite taking precautions to prevent overheating, it overheated within less than 1 minute. It smelled like burning plastic and as if it was going to catch fire. After letting the machine cool, we were able to try again and eventually got it to a smooth consistency. But overall it was a frustrating experience and it works best as a 2 person job! (See tips at bottom of review on how to avoid overheating.)
Test #4: Oat Flour: 5/5
Only took 10 pulses until a clear flour was achieved. Also, the oat flour didn’t fly around and stick to the lid, which saved time on cleaning.
Test #5: Romesco Sauce: 5/5
Only took 20 seconds and it got completely smooth and creamy. It handles small batches really well due to the narrow shape of the container.
Test #6: Smoothie Bowl: 4.5/5
Took about 2 minutes 15 seconds to blend. Blended it a little longer out of preference to get it smoother. Definitely got it the creamiest out of the three blenders. The tamper is well designed for making smoothie bowls.
Vitamix Overall Score: 57.75/65
- Blends small and large amounts thanks to the narrow but tall container
- Relatively user-friendly and easy to clean
- Lower price point
- Performed best on most tasks
- Tendency to overheat with tougher ingredients (see notes at bottom of review to avoid overheating).
Weight: 21 pounds
Warranty: 10 years
Motor speed: 3.5 Peak HP
Container size: 87 ounces
Maximum capacity: 56 ounces
Noise: 3.75/5 – overall louder than the other two blenders due to the more powerful motor. Relatively quiet when blending water (for comparison), but when blending the cashew milk it seemed to be quite a bit louder than the other two.
Ease of use: 4.5/5 – pretty intuitive and we like that it has a crank dial for higher speeds. The stop/start is easy. There is no on/off switch, which simplifies use. Can pulse on high or low. We like that it has settings within the crank dial for easy access.
Security of lid: 4.5/5 – sturdy, but not quite as secure fitting as Vitamix.
Sturdiness: 5/5 – feels the most sturdy because the base and lid are heavy and the container feels well secured to the base. Feels like you could walk away from it easily. Even if blending something difficult, we don’t think it would move or shake.
Spout pour-ability: 3.75/5 – there is no spout, only four corners, which are so rounded/wide that it is difficult to pour into small containers without spilling.
Ease of cleaning: 3.75/5 – the lid has pretty deep ridges and it is annoying to clean because food can get stuck in them easily. Because of the four prongs, it is also difficult to clean the bottom edges. It would be difficult to clean with a sponge without getting cut by the blades. A long-handled brush is necessary for cleaning safely.
Esthetics: 5/5 – definitely the prettiest. Love the white base and it would look pretty on a counter. (Though it is bulkier than the others and would take up more space.)
Other: Cord doesn’t wrap out of site easily.
Test #1: Almond Butter: 3.5/5
At 1 minute 30 seconds, it was a visible nut butter consistency. We kept blending an additional 45 seconds to get it creamier. Toward the end, it was splattering on the sides and lid due to the way the blades are designed, requiring more scraping and cleaning. Ended up not quite as drippy as Vitamix, but very smooth. Was the fastest to make nut butter, but it won’t ever get quite as liquidy as the other two because of the design of the container and blades (and the very broad base).
Test #2: Cashew Milk: 4.5/5
Had a few specks of pulp remaining when pouring through a fine mesh strainer, but it did produce a smooth cashew milk.
Test# 3: Nice Cream: 4.5/5
It definitely did the best job in terms of texture — and with no apparent risk of overheating. The texture was whipped. The only downside is that the tamper is too short/stubby to reach the corners, which requires you to stop and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula a few times to get it fully whipped.
Test #4: Oat Flour: 3/5
Pulse is not as powerful. At 10 pulses, it resembled a meal, but not a flour texture. With further blending, it did make oat flour, but it was slightly more coarse and less powdery than the other two blenders. In our experience, would not be the best option if you are going to be making lots of flours.
Test #5: Romesco Sauce: 4/5
Took about 45 seconds to blend, but it needed about 15 seconds more to get it creamier. The final result was a sauce consistency that is creamier than the Blendtec, but it was not completely smooth and had visible chunks of nuts.
Test #6: Smoothie Bowl: 3.5/5
Took 4 minutes total to blend. Making a single smoothie bowl is difficult due to the small volume (ingredients don’t occupy enough space in the large container to blend easily). Due to the wide base and blunted edge on the tamper, you still have to take the lid off and agitate to get it mixing. Had to add a little more milk to get it going. Even when it did mix, it left some visible chunky bits.
KitchenAid Overall Score: 53.25/65
- Longest warranty
- Visually appealing
- Very sturdy
- Heavy to lift (21 pounds)
- Wide base
- Underwhelmed by the tamper design; has a tamper, but the blunted edge makes it difficult to stir with
- Pretty loud when blending on the highest setting
Weight: 11 pounds
Warranty: 8 years
Motor speed: 2 Peak HP
Container size: 90 ounces
Maximum capacity: 36 ounces
Noise: 4/5 – when tested with soapy water, it was louder than the Vitamix, but not as loud as the KitchenAid. However, when blending the romesco sauce on high (smaller volume), it was extremely loud and hurt our ears.
Ease of use: 3.75/5 – there is no crank dial so increasing/decreasing the speed while blending is more of a challenge (it’s a + and – button, which is not very intuitive). We also didn’t like how the machine automatically turns off at the 55 second-mark of blending (we had to keep turning it on again), and the pulse only operates at a high power. We did like, however, that it has settings, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to hit a button and walk away.
Security of lid: 3.5/5 – the lid does seal, but not very well. Almost feels like you need to hold it down during blending to prevent spilling.
Sturdiness: 3.75/5 – least sturdy of the three considering how the container fits on the base. The container seems easy to knock off the base.
Spout pour-ability: 5/5 – most precise to pour due to the wide container and sharp corners (easy to pour from any angle into just about any container).
Ease of cleaning: 4.5/5 – because the lid is shallow, it is easy to clean. There aren’t a lot of cracks that stuff can hide in. Also, because there are only two prongs on the blade, it is easy to get things out from underneath. One downside is that stuff can get stuck in the handle, which can be difficult to get fully clean.
Esthetics: 4/5 – looks more industrial, but it is the most compact in size if you have a small space.
Other: Annoying that it doesn’t have a tamper. Says it doesn’t need one, but we found it really does unless you are only making soups and smoothies.
Test #1: Almond Butter: 4/5
Had to scrape down at about 30 seconds because it stopped blending. Blender kept kicking the mixture on the sides, and since there is no tamper, you can’t easily get it moving again. On a lower setting, it did work better. Took 5 minutes 15 seconds total. Very drippy and quite smooth. Produced a nice nut butter, but took a lot of babysitting the machine, scraping down the sides, and adjusting the speed.
Test #2: Cashew Milk: 4/5
When you put it on a speed instead of a pre-set, it stops after about 55 seconds. Had the most pulp of the three blenders but still only a small amount (about 1/8 tsp total). Would recommend straining as you will have bits of cashew in your milk otherwise.
Test# 3: Nice Cream: 2.5/5
Because there is no tamper, it is extremely frustrating to try to make nice cream. You have to continuously take off the lid and stir with a rubber spatula. Or you would have to add so much liquid that it would no longer be the consistency of nice cream.
Test #4: Oat Flour: 5/5
Worked well and only took 10 pulses.
Test #5: Romesco Sauce: 3.5/5
Took 1 minute to get it to a sauce. While we were able to get it to a sauce consistency, there were visible chunks of almond and garlic. Because of the wide base, additional blending won’t get it completely creamy at the quantity specified in the recipe (too wide of container).
Test #6: Smoothie Bowl: 3.25/5
Had to stop 5 times to mix and a total of 3 ½ minutes to blend. Even after getting the consistency right, there were still a few visible chunks of fruit. You have to add more liquid than you would if you had a blender with a tamper.
Blendtec Overall Score: 50.75/65
- Settings are nice
- Easy to clean
- Pretty powerful
- Needs a tamper to be more versatile
- Lid doesn’t feel secure
We hope you found this review helpful!
Do you have a favorite blender? Want to see us review other products? Let us know in the comments!
In our experience, the following tips work best to help prevent a Vitamix from overheating. Admittedly, we wish this wasn’t an issue at all (our ideal blender would be the design of a Vitamix with the powerful, reliable motor of the KitchenAid). But because it is the best overall performing blender, we find it’s best when used with this set of tips / tricks in mind:
- If you smell the Vitamix overheating (for us, it was a burnt plastic smell), turn it off, let it rest for a few minutes, then try again. Frustrating, we know — but it seems to happen very infrequently when it’s used properly.
- Avoid leaving the motor running for too long (in our experience about 5 minutes) which can cause it to overheat. We found this to be true when trying to blend coconut butter on a medium speed setting for 4-5 minutes (it just turned off and started smoking).
- Avoid adding large chunks of frozen ingredients, like bananas and whole pieces of fruit, especially when blending into smoothie bowls and nice cream. The Vitamix benefits from a little liquid and/or the fruit being chopped up into smaller pieces before blending.
- Avoid adding large quantities of difficult-to-blend ingredients like dates and thick batters (e.g. date brownies, date caramel, etc.). If you are blending tough ingredients, blend in short bursts and avoid running the motor for long periods of time (4-5+ minutes). Alternatively, we recommend using a food processor for difficult tasks such as these.
- Don’t overwhelm the motor by pushing down too frequently or forcefully on ingredients with the tamper, especially with thick / difficult ingredients like dates and large chunks of frozen bananas.
- When making nice cream, it’s best to use small pieces of bananas (or other fruit) vs. large chunks to avoid overheating. When blending, start on the lowest speed for a few seconds, then switch to a high speed and using the tamper to swiftly press down and make nice cream. The key in our experience is: Small pieces of fruit (that are slightly thawed), try and make it as quickly as possible using the tamper and high speed, and turn off the blender if it smells like it’s overheating.
- If the Vitamix overheats (shuts off, emits smoke, smells like burnt plastic), shut it off, unplug it, and let it cool down for at least 10 minutes, if not 45 minutes. Then try again.
Curious what other products we’ve reviewed? Check out our:
NUT & SEED BUTTER REVIEWS
- Store-Bought Almond Butter Review
- Store-Bought Cashew Butter Review
- Store-Bought Tahini Review
- Store-Bought Peanut Butter Review