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Help Me Find the Perfect Blender

n
niki rothman Jul 3, 2007 01:32 PM

I finally found something that a blender will do better than a Cuisinart food processor: crushed ice based milkshakes. There's a reason. It involves the question, IS my great cooking the reason my husband, Richard, had to start going to Weight Watchers (where, consequently, he discovered he loves their low-cal thickshakes)? Actually, assignment of possible guilt for his weight gain doesn't matter because I actually like fruity or chocolatey thick shakes myself...

I did try making a Weight Watchers thickshake with my beloved Cuisinart full-sized food processor, only to discover, after bragging about its invincibilty many times here, that it's just WRONG, very wrong, for the thickshake job. So, I dug around in my "closet of shame" which, contrary to what you might assume, has nothing to do with concealing my boring and unremarkable sexual orientation. Nay, what my closet of shame actually conceals from view are all those small appliances that I discovered JUST DID NOT WORK OUT tragically too late to return them to the store for a refund.

So, rather than leave the deep fryer, the wildly expensive Zojirushi bread machine, the quark maker (don't ask), and the pasta machine out in the open to collect dust and otherwise mock me, they are consigned to the dark recesses of the "closet of shame". The blender had been in there, sadly among their sorry ranks for 25 long years! It was a wedding present - horribly ready waiting to remind me of the bad-taste of the early 80's in all its harvest gold maize colored glory...

So chowhounds, please help me choose a new blender. I have a recent Wall Street Journal article comparing the margarita making capabilities of 5 widely available blenders. They chose the Kitchenaid 5-Speed Custom Blender with Polycarbonate Jar as "best overall" for $129.99, but available at some retailers for $89.99. Their "best value" choice was the Cuisinart Brushed Stainless and Black Bar Blender for $99.95. Lesser, but acceptable grades were given to the Waring and the Oster blenders.

But, I'd really like to hear your own opinions, personal experiences, advice and recommendations for the perfect thickshake-making blender before making my final selection.

Thanks!

  1. b
    bear Jul 3, 2007 03:27 PM

    I don't know about "perfect", but I am quite happy with my Oster Beehive with a glass jar. It makes short work of the frozen berries in my smoothies, and crushes ice quite well. It also blends moles and other sauces smoothly. I got the 500 watt model, and I think I paid $60 on Amazon.

    Good luck!

    7 Replies
    1. re: bear
      themis Jul 3, 2007 04:35 PM

      I will second the Oster beehive. Minimalist and perfect, I've never found another that measures up.

      1. re: themis
        n
        niki rothman Jul 3, 2007 07:33 PM

        To the Oster Bee Hive lovers out there: the WSJ article stated that the top and the base are not as easy as the other brands to fit together properly, that it took "a little jiggling". That was the precise problem that convinced me to ditch the otherwise operational harvest gold number I dug out of my "closet of shame" - I fit the thing together, turned it on and it proceeded to leak all over the table. Apparently, I did not attach the various parts properly. The WSJ article praised the Cuisinart entry for fitting together so very easily, thus sort of dissing the beehive which it had singled out for complaints in that area.

        Now, obviously I'm not advocating for any particular brand, but since I've recently demonstrated some serious lack of talent with assembling any blender properly, would you please comment on your own experience in this regard with the Oster Bee Hive? Have you ever turned it on only to have IT leak all over the table (thus demonstrating improper or tricky assemblage)?

        1. re: niki rothman
          themis Jul 4, 2007 08:25 AM

          Never. I have had that happen with other blenders, though, and it's aggravating. Maybe they fixed the issue.

          1. re: themis
            b
            bear Jul 4, 2007 05:12 PM

            I had also read that, but decided to take a chance since it had 500 watts as opposed to 350 and there were more positive reviews than negative. I must say that I haven't had a problem at all, but I've only used the blender a couple of dozen times. If I do have any issues in the future, I'll post. So far, I'm very happy.

      2. re: bear
        a
        alternapop May 27, 2011 09:57 AM

        unfortunately it seems that all blenders have their share of problems and a lot of reviews you find don't put the blender to test for a long enough period to test for durability. many consumer reviews either love them (but the review is posted within a month) or hate them (the review is posted after 6 months of use when the motor burns out, etc). it's really difficult to find one that has everything for the average consumer while maintaining a relatively low to medium price point. a friend, who is a chef, told me to just get a good quality basic blender like this Oster: http://amzn.to/lATZJM She said if you really know how to use it, along with being aware that the order of how you put ingredients into it (larger things first), will go a long way for many uses.

        1. re: alternapop
          MikeB3542 Feb 8, 2012 06:29 PM

          Your friend is right on the money...take CARE of your stuff, know and respect its limitations and you are more likely to experience blender bliss without breaking the bank.

          1. re: MikeB3542
            b
            bear Feb 9, 2012 04:52 AM

            Five years later, my Oster is still going strong.

      3. j
        Jimmy Buffet Jul 3, 2007 07:38 PM

        A Vita Mixer maybe? I've had one for about 15 years.

        1. s
          Sharuf Jul 4, 2007 01:08 AM

          What is a "Weight Watchers thickshake"? Recipe please. Thx.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sharuf
            n
            niki rothman Jul 4, 2007 07:22 AM

            Weight Watchers sells a lot of different products to all those desperate souls who will buy anything that offers them hope. The irony is in the delicious sounding names they give these unappetizing "treats" in order to maximize sales. The "granola" bars have names like "ultra lemon dream" or ""very berry cheesecake" which tastes nothing at all like cheesecake.

            The Weight Watchers thickshakes are packets of powder that come in a box. They are very expensive. "thick" shake? The thickness comes from the crushed ice courtesy of the blender. I tasted one of these "thickshakes" and it WAS thick but it was also bland and insipid, putting the lie to the name the WW marketers invented to sell it to the desperate fat customers: "double chocolate fudge" Doubtless there was some chocolate in there but it certainly was not "double" anything. And to call it "fudge" goes beyond hyperbole into the realm of lying.

            If you are tempted to try any of the commercially ubiquitous weightloss shakes out there, do what I did: add more artificial sweetener, some unsweetened good quality cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and perhaps a pinch of salt. But then if you just add some skim milk powder or nonfat milk to those ingredients and just add ice you can make a pretty good low cal thick shake on your own - without giving the Weight Watchers company any of your no doubt hard earned cash at all.

            1. re: niki rothman
              s
              Sharuf Jul 4, 2007 09:05 AM

              I have looked at the stuff you can buy at WW meetings. Anything that's supposed to be sweet has artificial chemical sweeteners in it -- AACK! -- and that fact is usually buried rather than posted as a warning. I did get some instant oatmeal once and discovered yes, it is possible to ruin this basic healthy food by putting in various artificial flavorings and sweetening junk.

          2. amy_rc Jul 4, 2007 08:06 AM

            I can offer you advice on what blenders to avoid. Let me start by saying that for my wedding seven years ago I received an Oster. In between then and now I have owned a couple of different blenders because I thought that I needed more power and I have come back to the Oster both times.

            We looked up on consumer reports a couple of years ago and they recommended a Braun. We searched all over the city and found one of two stores that carried that model. After the purchase we were quite happy with the power of the Braun. It crushed ice like nobody's business, however, there was a serious design flaw. The little attachment on the bottom of the blade whose teeth fit into the gear on the machine was made of hard plastic. Over the course of six months the teeth broke off. We took it in and after a month received a new blade with new teeth...which again proceeded to break off rendering our machine useless.

            Before that my M-I-L gave me a Back to Basics Smoothie Maker from Bed Bath and Beyond. It has a cute little spout at the bottom of the base and a little stirer to push whatever your blending towards the blade. It never had enough power for me and after several months of use the spout broke.

            I guess I would say, look for a blender that has a soft plastic/rubber-type teeth piece at the bottom of the blade as hard plastic becomes brittle. Also, the little spout and stir stick are nice features, but if you don't have enough power you don't have a smoothie. At any rate, I have twice come back to my Oster and been completely happy with it. I shall never stray again.

            2 Replies
            1. re: amy_rc
              n
              niki rothman Jul 10, 2007 06:49 PM

              Just for the record - when you mention the "little spout" at the bottom of some blenders - I think the feature to which you refer is a sort of tap with a pull down handle that siphons the liquid down through a little faucet at the bottom of the blender. Sometimes you see these little faucet type taps on the bottom of those large sun tea glass jars, or most often in office and home delivered water coolers.
              WARNING: dampness accumulates and stands around getting moldy and breeding bacteria in the tight spaces inside these taps that you can never open up to air or dry out - there is no way to keep them clean. So, I'd avoid anything with this feature in droves.

              1. re: niki rothman
                k
                kindofabigdeal Jul 23, 2007 06:01 AM

                I can't imagine any self respecting milk shake or smoothie whose viscosity would allow it through one of those little spouts.

            2. r
              renov8r Jul 4, 2007 05:50 PM

              B lendTec.

              No more need be said...

              11 Replies
              1. re: renov8r
                n
                niki rothman Jul 4, 2007 07:20 PM

                sorry renov8r, but something more DOES need to be said...so as it's my original post, I'll be the one to say it.

                I'm going out on a limb and assuming B lendTec is some revolutionary fabulous blender that will make me immediately shell out whatever the people who sell the B lendTec are asking for it, and name all my future cats renov8r (no kids in my future - what with the global warming and the menopause and all) to thank you for the big blender tip, BUT...just WHAT's SO DAMN GREAT about this particular blender???
                er...excuse me...

                1. re: niki rothman
                  r
                  renov8r Jul 5, 2007 08:33 AM

                  I've had mine for about 4 years. It is the exact same blender that many of the "frozen coffee drink" companies rely on. It pulverizes ice into a super fine snow incredibly fast.

                  They have gotten even more expensive lately, but they have a web site with lots of YouTube video where the "blend" everthing from golfballs to iPods. http://www.blendtec.com/

                  They also market a slightly less automagic model under the k-tec designation. I have one of those at my weekend place and it works very well too.

                  On by the way, these things are loud -- like "is that jet landing or are using the blender" loud. Which is why the ones at Starbucks have those sound shields over 'em...

                2. re: renov8r
                  MSK Jul 5, 2007 08:40 AM

                  Love my BlendTec!!!!
                  You'll never use another!

                  It is quite loud however, and the kids think a plane is landing in the kitchern (OK, that's a bit extreme but it is loud). If I could of purchase the "cone of silence" they use at with it Jamba Juice, I might consider it.

                  1. re: renov8r
                    s
                    Sharuf Jul 8, 2007 07:50 AM

                    BlendTec -- is that the several-hundred-dollars expensive blender they demonstrate and sell at home shows and county fairs? Where they pour in some skim milk and blast it into a whipped cream look-alike?

                    1. re: Sharuf
                      MSK Jul 8, 2007 10:30 AM

                      My BlendTec Total Blender cost about $270 3 years ago and is still going very strong after almost daily use.

                      Prior to this, I spent $90 each on 3 separate units, none of which lasted more than a year. You do the math.

                      1. re: MSK
                        amy_rc Jul 8, 2007 07:08 PM

                        Ahhh...I totally forgot about seeing a demonstration of this magic machine at Costco a year ago. My husband got me outta there before I could sign the check. I totally would have bought that, it had LOTS of power!

                        1. re: amy_rc
                          n
                          niki rothman Jul 10, 2007 04:18 PM

                          How much does Costco charge for the Blendtec?

                        2. re: MSK
                          MSK Jun 26, 2011 05:47 PM

                          This popped up on my profile list so I thought I would add an update.

                          It has now 4 years after I wrote this post and my Total blender is still going as strong as ever!! And............ it gets almost daily use as my kids have become hooked on Acai bowls.

                          I noticed last week that it was getting louder and examined the jar to see something black on the bottom. I called Blendtec who told me that the seals and bearings may have become worn over time and it may be time to replace the jar. It has been 8 years after all. I picked one up yesterday and the unit is working as good as new.

                          Still cannot say enough good things about my Blendtec!!!

                          1. re: MSK
                            scubadoo97 Jun 26, 2011 09:28 PM

                            nothing wrong with the blentec. The one thing the similarly priced vitamix has over the blendtec is that you can blend a lot of frozen ingredients better in the vitamix due to the extra high setting and the use of the proprietary tamper without overheating the motor and the level of pulling those ingredients together in a thick semi frozen state is much better. I like the shape of the blendtec jar better.

                            1. re: scubadoo97
                              m
                              MacGuffin May 10, 2012 09:43 AM

                              I have news for you--the Vitamix upgrade has a shorter jar with a wider base.

                        3. re: Sharuf
                          JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jul 22, 2007 05:14 AM

                          And where they have streaming videos with a guy putting things that don't belong in a blender into said blender?

                          www.willitblend.com

                          It looks really really nice, but I'll stick with the Beehive design Oster I picked up recently, thanks.

                      2. w
                        WHills Jul 4, 2007 07:28 PM

                        How about the Magic Bullet? It's small, and my mom loves it!

                        1. yayadave Jul 5, 2007 08:57 AM

                          There is no perfect blender. A quiet Blendtec or Vita-Mixer for $99.95 would be it. Unfortunately, these are neither inexpensive or quiet. But they will do everything well and do it for a long time with out repairs. The Vita Mixer features variable speed and instant (really!) reverse. I don't know the features of the Blendtec. I can't see a need for ever buying one of each. (Unless you only have one blender for the whole cruise ship.) You just buy one or the other and never need to buy another one.

                          Here's a place to shop around. I don't know how competitive their prices are, but you'll get some idea.
                          http://www.everythingkitchens.com/ble...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: yayadave
                            m
                            MacGuffin May 10, 2012 09:45 AM

                            Vitamixes haven't had the "reverse" mode in YEARS! It really was fun, though--I miss it, even though the newer models are MUCH more powerful and versatile.

                          2. h
                            howboy Jul 8, 2007 08:14 AM

                            Tough topic.....I've been trying to buy a good blender for a while, and each one I buy is junky. I'm about to return to Oster (in my youth, we called the blender the Osterizer). From recent experience, I can tell you that plastic anywhere near the spinning mechanism is problematic.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: howboy
                              n
                              niki rothman Jul 10, 2007 04:20 PM

                              Oh my God! What went so wrong with the Oster that you need to return it? I was thinking, overall so far, Oster seemed to be getting the most votes here!

                              1. re: niki rothman
                                h
                                howboy Jul 10, 2007 06:23 PM

                                Return TO it, not return it. Anyway, I'm convinced Oster's make a malted milkshake taste better.

                                1. re: howboy
                                  n
                                  niki rothman Jul 10, 2007 06:52 PM

                                  The Oster is definitely the cutest. And overall I'd say it's getting the most votes here.

                            2. r
                              rayna Jul 8, 2007 05:42 PM

                              i LOVE my vitamixer, yes it was expensive but you can buy refurbished ones from Vitamix for less and they are warrantied for 7 years! And they have a motor that pulverizes everything including ice! I just made applesauce with raw apples, cut them in fourths, added a 1/2 cup water and VROOOOOM,...applesauce. This motor is so strong that you can make soup and run the motor until the soup is steaming!!!! AND you don't have to take the whole thing apart for cleaning...in fact it doesn't come apart. You just add water, 2 drops of dishwashing liquid and VROOOOOOOM....clean. I was worried that i wouldn't use it enough to warrant the price but i'm using it everyday to make smoothies, the baby's food, soups, vegetable purees, iced blended drinks. Only drawback is that it is loud but small price to pay in my humble opinion......

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: rayna
                                n
                                niki rothman Jul 9, 2007 01:09 PM

                                I'm getting interested in doing some price comparisons for the Blendtec and the Vitamix - could folks give me where and how much they've seen them that you feel were the best bargain sorces?
                                Thanks!

                                1. re: rayna
                                  n
                                  niki rothman Jul 10, 2007 04:22 PM

                                  So, if it - the Vitamixer - doesn't come apart how do you thoroughly rinse it out without the danger of getting the electrical parts wet and therefore damaged? What's the best price and where is the cheapest place to buy it?

                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                    yayadave Jul 10, 2007 07:08 PM

                                    I just checked this place. http://www.vitamix.com/household/prod...
                                    When I compared the various models, the only difference seemed to be the number of containers with each package. I didn't notice a stronger motor or more features. They come with a standard wet container and add a dry, grain grinding container, etc. The 5000 model is listed at $399. On the same site, they offer reconditioned model 5000's for $369.

                                    When you're done using it and want to clean it, empty the container, take it off the base, rinse it in the sink. Add a little water and a LITTLE dish soap. Put it back on the base with the lid on, and run it. It's gonna get clean. Take it back off and rinse it out and put the container and two piece lid on a tee towel on the counter. In a little while it will be dry.

                                2. n
                                  niki rothman Jul 9, 2007 01:11 PM

                                  Seems like the Oster is getting the most overall votes here. What about the fact that it just has ONE (on,off) speed?

                                  What's the best price/location - website/retailer any of you have clocked the Bee Hive Osterizer?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                    JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jul 22, 2007 05:19 AM

                                    If you look around, you can find the Oster with two or three different speeds. I think Target has the single speed for $60, while Wal-Mart has the two-speed for $50. At least, this was how it was when I picked up a new blender a while back.

                                  2. e
                                    embee Jul 10, 2007 01:28 PM

                                    I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned this one, but I have a Braun PowerMax blender. It is relatively quiet, has a heavy, dishwasher-safe, glass container, and is easy to assemble. It cost well under $50 (C) in Toronto, and it performs superbly. It is the best blender, by far, that I have ever owned. Waring, Oster, Kitchen Aid, and Cuisinart don't come close, and many of these models cost much more.

                                    The Vita Max and Blend Tec machines are great if you will be using a blender constantly. There is no other rational reason to buy one (though the Vita Mix can produce hot soup and possibly the Blend Tec can also). For occasional use making shakes, they would be a waste of money. The Blend Tec is also unbelievably noisy.

                                    The Magic Bullet is a piece of junk.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: embee
                                      c
                                      Cheffrank Jul 10, 2007 02:03 PM

                                      I bought a Kitchenaid 5 speed blender 3 years ago for around $60 refurbished and the thing has been a workhorse, making shakes and smoothies for the kids, margaritas for the adults, pureeing soups etc. I like it much better than my old Oster.

                                      1. re: Cheffrank
                                        s
                                        SharaMcG May 10, 2012 01:59 PM

                                        I have the same blender, also purchased as a refurb about five years ago. I believe I paid around 60 bucks, too. It works great and crushes ice perfectly for smoothies. I make those almost daily and overall use the blender quite a bit. I've never had a problem with it and I love the polycarbonite jar, which is a breeze to clean and is dishwasher safe. It's kinda loud but that never bothers me.

                                      2. re: embee
                                        n
                                        niki rothman Jul 10, 2007 04:30 PM

                                        I just checked chefscatalog.com and this is what I found. How do these prices sound to you blender loving chowhounds?

                                        Vitamix - $500
                                        Krups - super power/low noise model - $150
                                        Cuisinart stainless blender (Wall Street Journal "Best Value" - $100

                                        1. re: niki rothman
                                          THenderson Jul 10, 2007 06:40 PM

                                          niki,
                                          I've been sitting on the fence about the vitamix for a year or so, now. Honestly, just kind of asking myself, "do you seriously want to spend $500 on a BLENDER?" It dawned on me, though, that if I'd just bought a darned Vitamix a couple of blender-purchases ago...I wouldn't have wasted the money on the other pieces of junk that have found their way to blender-heaven, and the Vitamix would probably still be going strong now. Having said all of that, I'm definitely going to check out the BlendTec (after reading this thread), before I buy the VMix....
                                          Happy Blending....

                                          1. re: THenderson
                                            n
                                            niki rothman Jul 10, 2007 06:55 PM

                                            WOW - you are right. There is no way I want to spend $500 on a blender! It is just going to get used for thick shakes. Period. And I don't like the fact that it sounds like you can't even dismantle it, which means it is definitely cumbersome to wash well and dry. I'm curious about what they sell at Costco. Think I'll check out their website.

                                            1. re: niki rothman
                                              THenderson Jul 10, 2007 07:11 PM

                                              We use a blender everyday for our morning concoction shake....so it's worth it for us to spend more and get good results (no huge ice chunks left in the bottom of the jar etc.) and to have a machine that will stand the test of time. You have to evaluate what is a good fit for your particular usage/needs. I need a heavier duty machine than what I've previously had, and I feel more confident now hearing people who own the vitamix and blendtecs say that they do in fact perform well. I have had 2 Oster's in the past - glass jars etc. and I found them to be difficult to clean every single day - taking it apart everytime with the rubber ring not getting positioned quite right each time...leaking issues, dropped and broken glass jars while cleaning....many problems. But, as I said, we use ours A LOT.....we are more demanding on the machine and I got tired of smelling the burning smell of the Oster motor when I was trying to make a protein/fruit smoothie.

                                              1. re: THenderson
                                                yayadave Jul 10, 2007 09:20 PM

                                                I'm not familiar with the Oster and the problematic rubber ring. The Vita Mix has a heavy rubber pad that fits on top of the motor housing. The work bowl goes on top of the gasket. The gasket does not usually move. If it does, it is not a problem to put it back in place. The work bowl just sits on top of this gasket. It is not even clamped down, so when you want to remove it, you just lift it off.

                                                The Vita Mix web site has some video demonstrations that might gibe you an idea of how it looks and how it works.

                                                1. re: yayadave
                                                  THenderson Jul 11, 2007 12:05 AM

                                                  yayadave...
                                                  I just checked out the blendtec website, and the vitamix website. I think I'm leaning towards the vitamix. Honestly, there is probably not a whole lot of difference between the two from what I can tell....in terms of power and function. I am just more familiar with the vitamix...I've seen them in person. I just think I'd be thrilled to have a blender that works really consistently, that I don't have to spend so much time cleaning everyday. The rubber ring I'm talking about (on the Oster) is at the bottom of the blender jars...where you have to unscrew the bottom piece to take out the blade etc. to get it really clean....ANYWAY, enough of my rambling - I'm just happy I found this thread and see that people actually do love their vitamixes...I feel a little more confident now with the idea of buying one. thanks....

                                                2. re: THenderson
                                                  n
                                                  niki rothman Jul 11, 2007 08:48 AM

                                                  So, your rec. is definitely the Vita despite the high cost? If not that one, what would be your second - less expensive choice?

                                        2. widehomehi Jul 10, 2007 07:13 PM

                                          Usually G.E.makes great stuff but there blenders suck(well mine did).Mine burned up and rubber and plastic smoke was all over my house.Got minimal use too(only used it for a week) I wasn't even chopping anything just blending green grass and algae powders with juice.Might of been a fluke.But G.E. seems to be skimping on most of there products now.
                                          Believe it or not the best one i've used was one I got at Wal-Mart for $13 don't know the brand I threw out the box it's got a big D on the blender itself though.Probably not your first choice for anything besides basic home use.I don't know if this blenders any good but it sure is cool watching him put all different kinds of stuff in it to prove how powerful it is.

                                          http://www.willitblend.com/videos.asp...

                                          1. b
                                            blackpointyboots Jul 10, 2007 07:16 PM

                                            I can tell you do NOT buy a Black & Decker blender. I purchased one because I really wasn't sure if we would use it or not so I didn't want to drop a large amount of money. I initially got it to make smoothies for our kids. I discovered there were lots of cool things I could do with a blender but this one was not up to the task. It has lots of speeds and a high wattage (500) but it can't crush ice to save its life.

                                            Worry about plastic parts too. The base of this one is plastic and the bottom ring cracked all the way through. Luckily super glue held it together. It was either over tightened or cracked from being set on the counter too hard.

                                            I am going to probably go for either an Oster beehive or go to the restaurant supply place and spend the money on one of the coffee shop commercial models.

                                            1. e
                                              embee Jul 10, 2007 10:19 PM

                                              I seem to be alone on that Braun machine, but you should really check it out. It has been mentioned in several test writeups, including in Consumer Reports. But you did say you were looking for the "perfect" blender. I recalled seeing a writeup in Cooks Illustrated and just followed this up. It's called the Vorwerk Thermomix TM 21. I've never seen one and don't know anyone who has one, but it sure does sound like the perfect blender. Suddenly the Vitamix and Blendtec look cheap.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: embee
                                                yayadave Jul 11, 2007 04:56 AM

                                                Hee Hee Calling the super, do everything, programmable, blender/mixer/cooker $1K Vorwerk Thermomix a blender is a bit of a stretch. And they don't have much presence in the US.

                                                1. re: yayadave
                                                  n
                                                  niki rothman Jul 11, 2007 08:51 AM

                                                  A thousand dollars for a blender? Oh man...that must be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

                                                2. re: embee
                                                  n
                                                  niki rothman Jul 11, 2007 08:50 AM

                                                  Well, er...let's say I'm looking for the best blender I can get for under $200. I dunno $500 for a blender is just not me...

                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                    yayadave Jul 11, 2007 09:20 AM

                                                    Well, maybe embee has a point. There's this. http://www.amazon.com/Braun-MX2050WH-...
                                                    For $50, if it does what you need and only lasts 5 years, you can buy 8 of them for the price of a $399 Vita Mix. Shucks, thats 40 years worth of blenders.

                                                    1. re: yayadave
                                                      THenderson Jul 11, 2007 10:07 AM

                                                      I agree, as i stated earlier...you have to evaluate what your needs are and determine where you want to be in terms of cost/quality etc. to meet those specific needs. If you use a blender once in a while, a vitamix purchase would be silly overkill, unless you just have your heart set on it or something! There are always folks out there that have more money than sense. Also, I am a firm believer that quality and cost do not always go hand in hand. You can sometimes lay out a boat-load of money for something, only to realize this the hard way -- we've all been there. The marketing geniuses of the world try hard to convince consumers that a premium product should require you to shell out a premium price.
                                                      Anyway, I think the buying choices you make have to be smart ones for you...if spending $500 on a blender is absurd for your needs...go for the ones that are reasonably priced and don't give you heartburn if you end up not using it much and it sits on the shelf looking at you. At least then you feel like you can smile back at it.

                                                      1. re: yayadave
                                                        n
                                                        niki rothman Jul 11, 2007 10:09 AM

                                                        Hi yayadave,
                                                        Do you own the Braun? I'm assuming embee does and likes it. Thanks for the link to amazon.com. There is only one review of the Braun there but that reviewer states Consumer Reports gave it a top rating. That is significant because you can't even read those CR ratings without subscribing upfront, so let's just assume that reviewer did some serious research before deciding to buy the Braun. AND it's only 50 bux. But the Braun is not mentioned in the Wall Street Journal survey that prompted me to post.

                                                        The winners of the Wall Street Journal experiment were the Kitchenaid 5 speed with unbreakable jar for $130 as best overall, and the Cuisinart Stainless and Black Bar Blender for $100 was the best buy. Anyone own one of these? Or have comments about them?

                                                        Here's a question that is occuring to me - the only real trouble I have personally ever encountered with any blender is the leaking. I hate that. Does anyone know whether that issue with the iffy fit of the juncture between the open bottom of the jar, the rubber gasket, and the metal plate under the blade is more or less of a problem with the Braun? Or with other models that have been mentioned here (under $200) I do know it IS an issue with the Oster and with the Waring - which is the one I discarded. I'm wondering is there a better, alternative design for the bottom part of the jar where it connects with the base that eliminates the leakage problem? Anyone have any thoughts on this issue?

                                                        1. re: niki rothman
                                                          e
                                                          embee Jul 11, 2007 10:54 AM

                                                          I have the Braun. I was going to buy the much more expensive Kitchen Aid, but I saw the review in Consumer Reports and I found the Braun at an incredibly cheap local store, Cayne's, that also has an unrestricted refund policy. I was very impressed with it. It is the best blender I have owned, and I have owned many over the years.

                                                          It will overflow if you run it with too much liquid in the jar. This is, I believe, true of ANY blender. But it has never leaked from the bottom or when used within its capacity. The jar is heavy glass. Its shape makes it very easy to attach/remove and is also, I assume, the reason why it works so well. It can go in the dishwasher. It doesn't scratch. The blades attach easily. There is a removable gasket that goes between the blade assembly and the jar, but it has never caused any trouble.

                                                          It is reasonably quiet. The single control is basic, simple, and effective. It does everything well, including crushing ice. I am very happy with the purchase. It seems to be very well made.

                                                          (OTOH, I replaced my Braun stick blender with a Kitchen Aid, which is vastly better.)

                                                          I have had various Waring and Oster models over the years. This Braun is much better. But I do not have a current production Waring or Oster for comparison.

                                                          I have seen many demonstrations of the VitaMix and I have actually used one. It is a great machine. There are some annoyances. The plastic containers get messed up. With the metal containers, you (obviously) can't see what is happening inside. It can turn a whole mess of fruits and veggies into a lovely puree (assuming you want to drink the skins, pits, eggshells, etc) and if you run it longer you get hot soup. Freeze the stuff and you get instant sorbet (though my Braun can do this within narrower limits). Also, remember that the Vitamix doesn't use sharp blades like most regular blenders. It hammers everything into submission. I have no idea whether it would make something like a decent tuna salad mixture that retained some texture.

                                                          I have briefly tried a BlendTec. I found its noise overwhelming.

                                                          Lot's of expensive things represent triumphs of marketing and/or style over performance and common sense. I used to covet things like Sub Zero fridges and Viking ranges, but the reality is that these things don't work nearly as well as much cheaper appliances and aren't as easy to use. They also seem to break. A lot. The expensive blenders do actually seem to be superior machines and would be worth buying if you needed what they can do. But they don't make much sense for smoothies and weight watcher shakes unless you plan on throwing whole fruits and veggies into the mix. (The Braun does these perfectly.)

                                                          And that Thermomix sounds SO interesting...

                                                          1. re: embee
                                                            n
                                                            niki rothman Jul 11, 2007 11:13 AM

                                                            The Braun blender is sounding more attractive all the time. And it is only $50. I've had excellent experiences with Braun toaster ovens and coffee grinders over the years and they are very inexpensive too.

                                                            About the Thermomix, within the last year, I'd say, maybe around a year ago it seems, there was a long interesting almost literary article about the Thermomix in the NY Times magazine section. For anyone who is seriously interested in this miraculous machine reading this article is a must. I even think there were recipes for cooking complicated gourmet dishes with it. You could find the article for free by looking up what issue it appeared in in your local public library's Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature then calling up that issue maybe on microfiche. If you want to go online and pay a small fee you can get it on the NY Times website. Articles up to a week old are free.

                                                            1. re: niki rothman
                                                              widehomehi Jul 13, 2007 07:09 PM

                                                              you don't like the Blentec?

                                                            2. re: embee
                                                              yayadave Jul 11, 2007 01:46 PM

                                                              "And that Thermomix sounds SO interesting..."

                                                              I've been looking at that for a while, too. But...
                                                              They brought the model 21 to the US with-out proper support. Even the book was badly written. And they've never brought the improved model 31 to the US. There are people in Europe who swear by them. But a simple blender it ain't.

                                                              I think I have the facts straight. You'd think there would be an opportunity for a marketer/importer.

                                                              1. re: embee
                                                                e
                                                                embee Jul 13, 2007 07:27 PM

                                                                Not sure whether your post is addressed to me, but I didn't like it. It seemed to work well enough, but it was too loud and didn't seem worth the price relative to my needs.

                                                                (I never have been tempted to make a golf ball smoothie)

                                                      2. j
                                                        JIRodriguez Jul 11, 2007 02:46 PM

                                                        If you are like me and don't have unlimited counter space you might consider a multi-purpose blender. I picked up a Cuisinart Smart Power 2-in-1 (used for $25).

                                                        It has a nice wide body glass blender jar which helps stuff to mix evenly - you don't end up with puree on the bottom and untouched stuff on top. Then there is a small 3 cup food processor top that comes with it. I do have a large 9 cup Cuisinart food processor, but it is realy impractical to use for small quantity items. But this little 3 cup one is great! I use it almost every day, and it fits into the cubord easily. Oh, for the food processor there is a pulse option as well.

                                                        The down side is that this is a realy noisy blender, and I mean noisy! But that is the only drawback I have with it so far.

                                                        Cheers!
                                                        JIRodriguez

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: JIRodriguez
                                                          m
                                                          mbh65 Apr 27, 2008 10:24 AM

                                                          I bought this about two years ago, and with light use, the handle is already cracking, the motor is smelling and making weird noises--which is why I am on these forums looking for a new blender. I agree the small food processor option is nice.

                                                        2. THenderson Jul 13, 2007 04:56 PM

                                                          I ended up with the BlendTec Total Blender in black. My husband was out last night and saw it and picked it up. He paid $369. It has a 3 year + additional 4 year warranty on everything except the coupling and blade - they have a lifetime warranty. We have used it only once so far, but I'm really impressed with it -(and the noise doesn't bother me so much - I guess because I expected it.) We'll see how it goes - we will use it and if it doesn't continue to be what we expect, we have 60 days to take it back. Thank you for your opinions on products here. Even though I'm not the OP, I was able to benefit from your comments.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: THenderson
                                                            widehomehi Jul 13, 2007 07:19 PM

                                                            Just try not to make a http://www.willitblend.com/videos.asp... makeup smoothie or something weird like they do on there site.

                                                            1. re: widehomehi
                                                              THenderson Jul 14, 2007 07:18 AM

                                                              I think i'll stick to frozen fruit, ice, yogurt, soups, salsa etc.....but thanks for the darling video.

                                                            2. re: THenderson
                                                              r
                                                              riverwalk Jun 11, 2009 02:14 PM

                                                              I went through the same decision 4 years ago and ended up with the BlendTec champ, and I adore it still. I tried the Vitamix, and returned it when I found out about the advantages of the Blendtec. I had 2 jars replaced for free on warranty and the service was amazing. Their customer service and stuff is in Utah, real homey people. The Blendtec also fits under the counter, where the Vitamix is very tall. I don't have to use a plunger either like you do with the Vitamix. Be sure to turn the blade manually every few days if you don't use it, that's how I ended up with jar problems, I didn't do that. The new jar is paba-free, too. There isn't anything this Blendtec can't do, it has amazing horsepower! They have videos on their home web site that are fun to watch too, with recipes and stuff to get you going.

                                                            3. p
                                                              pgokey Jul 13, 2007 05:53 PM

                                                              When you've decided on a model, I highly urge you to go to Overstock.com to maybe buy it. The $100 Cuisinart blender is currently priced at about $48. They have a $300 blender for about $70 right now, too.

                                                              You could end up getting a lot more blender for your dollar there.

                                                              1. h
                                                                HillJ Jul 14, 2007 07:34 AM

                                                                Frustrated my bil gave me his "magic bullet" nearly new.
                                                                The small buckets were a waste of time for most chopping jobs and when I see the word "infomercial" the skeptic in me just giggles but the blender sized bucket that comes with the set turned out to be ideal for making a 2 glass milkshake. Works great.

                                                                1. Caroline1 Jul 16, 2007 02:51 PM

                                                                  I can't believe no one has mentioned the classic original (all else is a wannabe) Waring blender with the glass clover-leaf jar. I love mine! Good looking, great performance, and along with my Kitchen Aid K5A mixer, Cuisinart 10 cup food processor, these are road warriors that will still be working great for decades to come. Now, if one of my kids would just learn to cook!

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                    alanbarnes Jul 16, 2007 03:34 PM

                                                                    Ditto on the Waring. But get the stainless jar. Or just be smart enough to stop the blender while you scrape the sides with a metal spoon. (Don't ask.)

                                                                    KitchenAid makes great blenders, but doesn't support them with parts once they're discontinued. I had a very nice KitchenAid for years, and eventually wore out the clutch. Called KA, and they cheerfully informed me that the model was out of production and parts were unavailable. But they'd be happy to give me a discount on a new blender. So I pitched an otherwise fine blender because a $2 part failed.

                                                                    Needless to say, I didn't replace it with a KitchenAid. Waring told me that their classic blenders are largely unchanged for many years, and that even obsolete parts are still stocked by the company. And over the last 5 years, that has proven to be the case, although I've only had to replace a clutch. Oh, yeah, and that glass jar...

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1
                                                                      widehomehi Jul 16, 2007 08:03 PM

                                                                      I got a Waring juicer and its a workhorse.Well they make good juicers don't know if that helps lol

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1
                                                                        David A. Goldfarb Oct 11, 2008 07:32 AM

                                                                        Indeed, the Waring is the thing. The commercial version is the BB900 and you can get it with the classic glass pitcher, polycarbonate, or stainless, or get multiple pitchers, and it's designed to be easy to repair if needed. The pitcher is sealed, so there is no disassembly required for cleaning--just use a long handled round brush, and there's no jiggling involved when you put it on the base. We just got one with the glass pitcher for around $140 from one of the online restaurant supply sources.

                                                                        Those other ones with all the buttons and different speeds? Unnecessary, and more stuff to break. Two speeds is plenty.

                                                                      2. b
                                                                        bear Jul 21, 2007 01:06 PM

                                                                        I still vote for my Oster Beehive. It has a 500 watt motor, and I checked and it is under $50 on Amazon today! I haven't had a problem smelling the motor when I make our rather thick smoothies with frozen berries, OJ and vanilla yoghurt, and believe me, they are thick.

                                                                        22 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bear
                                                                          n
                                                                          niki rothman Jul 22, 2007 11:42 AM

                                                                          HELP!!!
                                                                          I STILL have not bought the dang blender yet (OP here) and yesterday my dear husband asked for a smoothie! Had to remind him how I tossed the old harvest gold one I pulled out of the back of the closet of shame when it leaked all over the table and...you know, and then like 2 weeks ago I posted looking for the perfect blender. Well...I'm still kind of confused, on the fence, undecided. The Oster one-speed looks good - 500 volts or watts or something, but the WSJ accused it of having rubber gasket assemblage wonkiness issues - they, for all I know capitalist tool that they are, are shilling for their first choices - the Kitchenaid and Cuisinart. Man...I really need to stop the madness and just buy a blender. How simple is that? WHAT IS MY PROBLEM???

                                                                          1. re: niki rothman
                                                                            f
                                                                            foodstorm Jul 22, 2007 12:46 PM

                                                                            Hah, Niki your problem is you asked everyone what they thought. Now your brain is flooded-- just tmi! Set a spending limit, then go out there and buy one. It'll all work out.

                                                                            1. re: foodstorm
                                                                              n
                                                                              niki rothman Jul 22, 2007 01:50 PM

                                                                              Hi foodstorm,
                                                                              Thanks for the gentle and kind support. But what does tmi mean?

                                                                              1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                f
                                                                                foodstorm Jul 22, 2007 02:37 PM

                                                                                too much information.
                                                                                Sometimes that can absolutely paralyze a person. Trust yourself and you will make a good choice.

                                                                                1. re: foodstorm
                                                                                  n
                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 22, 2007 02:45 PM

                                                                                  Thank you oh great zen master foodstorm!

                                                                            2. re: niki rothman
                                                                              JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jul 22, 2007 03:19 PM

                                                                              Go for the Oster. Somehow, I have a feeling that replacing a 50 cent rubber gasket with an identical one from the hardware store is just too blue-collar for WSJ editors.

                                                                              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                                                                                r
                                                                                renov8r Jul 22, 2007 04:49 PM

                                                                                The WSJ features on "shopping" tend to be spot-on -- from everything to mail order flowers to toys for kids I have been impressed with their detailed testing and ratings. Often their top rated selections are far from the most expensive option. The Journal is also very scrupulous about ensuring they are not subject o influence.

                                                                                My experience with the Oster is that it has been eclipsed by many other blenders.
                                                                                I've previously stated my preference for the BlendTec, it is a costly option, but I firmly believe it is money well spent.

                                                                                1. re: renov8r
                                                                                  n
                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 22, 2007 06:58 PM

                                                                                  OK, now, will you, renov8r, and the Cosmic jester - JK Grence PLEASE kindly decide between you which darn blender I should purchase. Maybe you could meet in a neutral city, perhaps in Switzerland, and when you are fininshed negotiating let me know. I'm not a happy chowhound unless I get a strong consensus the way I did with the copper kettle, the sausages, the expensive Kitchenaid stand mixer and a lot of other things you guys always have been so great helping little ole indecisive me choose. Sigh...

                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                    JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jul 23, 2007 02:17 AM

                                                                                    If I had the 400 bucks to blow on a blender, I would almost certainly do the BlendTec. I'm sure you'll be happy with either one; if you have the cash, go for the BlendTec, and if you don't, get the Oster.

                                                                                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                                                                                      n
                                                                                      niki rothman Jul 23, 2007 05:55 AM

                                                                                      WEll, JK, as a matter of fact I DO have the cash. Once more please, do tell the reasons the Blendtec puts it over the Oster. Yes, I've got $500, but I always like to put things in perspective: that is, $500 could buy me a small Louis Vuitton purse (I did say "small") or a basic Rothman type getaway weekend in Monterey. Let's do this -The Blendec does what besides smoothies that a good home cook with a full size Cuisinart really needs?

                                                                                      1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                        alanbarnes Jul 23, 2007 09:01 AM

                                                                                        Niki,

                                                                                        Walk into your favorite watering hole. Order a blended drink. Watch what the bartender uses.

                                                                                        Is it a BlendTec? Probably not. Some Cuisinart thing with 247 speeds and a foot massager? Nope. The industry standard now and for the last 85 years is the Waring. Why? Because they do the job right, and do it pretty much forever. The Oster beehive does the same thing.

                                                                                        They're both timeless classics for a reason. They won't impress the neighbors, but you can come to terms with the resultant emotional damage while you're having dinner at Passionfish in Pacific Grove. The price of which will be more than covered by the amount you just saved.

                                                                                        If the rubber gasket issue worries you, consider the Waring PBB25. Commercial motor, stainless pitcher, no gaskets, less than $150. It's what my bartender uses.

                                                                                        Now tip the barkeep generously, pour the blended thing into a potted plant, order a real drink, and congratulate yourself on having overcome analysis paralysis.

                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                          MMRuth Jul 23, 2007 09:26 AM

                                                                                          I've had my Waring - the "regular" one - for about 12 years now and love it - have had no problems with it.

                                                                                        2. re: niki rothman
                                                                                          r
                                                                                          renov8r Jul 23, 2007 09:18 AM

                                                                                          For me, it is mostly about the consistently easy experience. I can (and do) take a 32 oz cup of ice, dump it into the blender's pitcher, and the fruit (whole frozen strawberries, right from the produce store into the freezer) and/or liquid(s) of choice and whir into a frozen drink in about a minute, maybe 90 seconds. The frozen slurry is then dumped back into the cup.
                                                                                          No sticking, no leaking, no plunging a scraper into the pitcher, the thing just works.

                                                                                          Clean up is damned easy -- no parts to unscrew. Some hot water, a drop of soap. Whir. Rinse. Dry. (And I can shove my hand and a dish towel in the pitcher with ease.

                                                                                          There is a reason all the smoothies and coffee drinks are made in these things. Every other blender that I have used bogs down and/or takes so long to liquefy the stuff that the ice is no longer frozen, things are stuck to the sides, the blade 'cavitates' and you need to scrape stuff back into the action zone.

                                                                                          It will also turn ice into "snow" with amazing speed.

                                                                                          There is a seller on ebay that sells the "ktec" home version for $299 shipping including. It appears that the "demo" portion of the description is merely a way to not under cut the factory price...

                                                                                          1. re: renov8r
                                                                                            n
                                                                                            niki rothman Jul 23, 2007 11:25 AM

                                                                                            Hi renov8r,
                                                                                            Thanks so much for your kindness and patience in sticking with me on this. I have a question. The problem with the gasket and the leakage on most blenders is because the jar is open at the botton where you disconnect the metal blade plate and gasket in order to clean it. I'm getting the picture that the Blendtec does not come apart - do you pour in water to clean in and soap I guess, and then have to hump the thing over to the sink to dump out the washing water while holding the whole machine in your arms? Or does it indeed come apart via the open bottom jar?

                                                                                            1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                              r
                                                                                              renov8r Jul 23, 2007 11:55 AM

                                                                                              The pitcher has the blade built in. The pitcher is polycarbonate and the external metal fittings to mate with power base. The base stays put. You lift off the pitcher. This IS the machine that they have at Starbucks. They have stacks of extra pitchers. Each pitcher (with built-in blade) is about $60. The big difference is not just that the blade assembly does not unscrew, it is that the thing is designed so that it is unnecessary. They engineered a seal that withstands tens of thousands or RPMs, meets NSF standards, renders the pitcher easy to clean, and results in a blending that needs no scrape-down/stirring.

                                                                                              1. re: renov8r
                                                                                                n
                                                                                                niki rothman Jul 23, 2007 01:02 PM

                                                                                                Hi R8R,

                                                                                                OK, I'm getting the picture. The pitcher comes off the base, but the pitcher is not open on the bottom, so no gasket. The blade and pitcher are all one piece. So it sounds like it would be best to take the pitcher to the sink and add some soapy warm water and reach down inside with a "Lola" type wood handled brush to clean anything sticking to the blade. One would not want to reach around the sharp blade with the bare hand, no? You mention running it with soapy water right in it and then taking it to the sink for a final rinse. Is that your preferred cleaning method? How far up the jar can you add liquid without risking overflow?

                                                                                                Now, for that price - some mentioned $500 - that is kinda crazy. I'm not paying that much, period. But you mention ebay.com for $299 which I think is close enough to the $200 limit I was estimating that the increased quality would justify splurging. BUT, I've had terrible stress around trying to bid on ebay and losing in the last few seconds and have no desire to repeat the experience. My cousin who owns the very successful pawn shop in SF swears by snipe.com which is a service that bids for you and you pay a percent. But then we are looking at a higher price already.
                                                                                                Is there any straightforward retail source that approaches the $299 price you mentioned?

                                                                                                The Starbuck's endorsement is convincing. Another kind poster mentioned most bars, such as Passionfish in Pacific Grove (love their duck confit!!!) use the Waring - but I'm an old restaurant hand and i know that the vast majority of restaurants tend to buy the cheapest possible small appliances and just frequently replace them. I don't know if this is true of Passionfish - but Waring is not known for the stamina of their small appliances - in my experience anyway - the one I tossed was a Waring.

                                                                                                1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                  renov8r Jul 23, 2007 03:39 PM

                                                                                                  Waring does make some true commercial blenders, I seen them at the restaurant supply stores, but I prefer the BlendTec.
                                                                                                  I think the seller on ebay has many "buy it now" auctions -- no worry about losing out at the end.
                                                                                                  I literally cannot recall needing to reach in to scrub the inside of the pitcher/blade -- hot water does the trick every time. I suppose you could fill it to the marked capacity with water and keep your hand on the lid, though I generally get by with far less for cleaning.
                                                                                                  The blade has an edge, but it is not razor sharp and when I dry the inside I do not feel the least bit threatened.

                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                    bear Jul 23, 2007 05:46 PM

                                                                                                    With the Oster under $50, you could get both, do some testing, and tell us all what the real scoop is! That would be chow public service.

                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                      e
                                                                                                      embee Jul 23, 2007 07:22 PM

                                                                                                      Yes, you probably are suffering from information overload, so here's a bit more:

                                                                                                      - You will likely find that all of those Starbuck's blenders are installed inside of noise reducing cases.

                                                                                                      - There is a "classic" commercial Waring blender. I don't know the price, but they aren't hard to find. The one I'm visualizing has a heavy glass container and a single on/off metal flip switch. Most busy bars do, indeed, have them, and they do last a very long time. They aren't cheap, but they are MUCH cheaper than a BlendTec.

                                                                                                      - My most recent Waring, a "high end" - though NOT commercial - model, was unbelievably complicated to operate, screamingly loud, had a "reverse thread" for the blade attachment, leaked at the gasket -- and it didn't work very well. (The commercial Waring is a very different, and much simpler, machine.)

                                                                                                      - Yesterday I answered your question "The Blendec does what besides smoothies that a good home cook with a full size Cuisinart really needs?" with a serious answer that was deemed to be frivolous and was nuked. I suggested, I believe, golf balls and an iPod. You may have already seen their hilarious website, "will it blend". For normal tasks, you will never need the capabilities of this admittedly good, and very loud, machine.

                                                                                                      I still recommend the Braun.

                                                                                              2. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jul 24, 2007 03:25 AM

                                                                                                I think you've narrowed it down for yourself on this one, Niki. Go on vacation in Monterey, and then on your way back stop at the Wal-Mart in Marina or Salinas and get yourself the Oster Classic Beehive. This one here:

                                                                                                http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produc...

                                                                                                It's what I use in my kitchen.

                                                                                                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 07:10 AM

                                                                                                  You are right. I know. But here's something I have been too embarrassed to admit before now - I think I mentioned I ordered an Oster Bee Hive and then the next day saw the WSJ blender road test article. Well...when the Oster arrived I refused it. That means I threw away the shipping charges and now I'm going to go out and buy the bee hive anyway. Please tell me, guilt ridden Jew that I am, how is is I will be able to avoid mentally calling myself a chump every time I look at that Oster bee hive on my kitchen counter silently mocking me for my stupidity for not knowing how great it was the first time around and then wasting all that money for the shipping back the first rejected one?

                                                                                                  Also, to get back to reality (and isn't it about time?) is the bee-hive undulating, beautiful in an art deco kinda way, chrome bottom part of the Oster really metal or is it plastic with a chrome paint job on top? Believe it or not this is an important question (as we swerve back OUT of reality and back INTO the twilight Niki-zone) because I hate phony vintage and love real vintage. Silly me.

                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                    themis Jul 24, 2007 09:19 AM

                                                                                                    It's metal. It's heavy; it's the real deal.

                                                                                                    And the perfect margaritas you will make in it will cause your guilt to melt away into a fog of bliss. It's not for nothing that JK and I both recommend it; we are in the margarita capital of the US. The beehive has never let me down, you won't regret it.

                                                                                  2. j
                                                                                    Jimmy Buffet Jul 22, 2007 10:15 AM

                                                                                    My Vitamixer has a dispensing spigot attached to the side of the mixing chamber which makes it nice for dispensing.

                                                                                    I have found nothing stronger or better for pulverizing/blending/liquefying ingredients.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                      higgika Jul 23, 2007 10:04 AM

                                                                                      I agree - love the vitamix. I have had mine for about 10 years now and we still use it pretty regularly. Ours is the old style metal container. Fruit/protein shakes in the morning are easy and so it the cleanup. Clean right away though because fruit/protein shakes tend to set up rock hard if you leave it til later. I have used it to puree cooked lentils to make lentil cookies (yes cookies - see Good Eats website for recipe). Also great for carrot soup. I have also made icing sugar from regular sugar in a pinch. Ground nuts. So many things. I never worry about it breaking and it is powerful enough to grind anything.

                                                                                      1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                        n
                                                                                        niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 07:19 AM

                                                                                        Jimmy - did your love of Vitamix Margaritas prompt you to compose that famous song? Oh - not to rain on your parade but how do you clean out the teeny-tiny constantly moist inner spaces of that spigot assemby? I have always stayed clear of spigot containing items because they never be cleaned and then dry out and thus can harbor bacteria and mold.

                                                                                      2. emily Jul 24, 2007 08:11 AM

                                                                                        I love my KitchenAid Pro Line blender. I had a generic Oster, but got rid of it eventually since it wouldn't completely blend ice. Then I bought the Braun Power Max last year and immediately returned it -- sprayed hot liquids out the top while blending. Some other people had noted this problem, but it might have been redesigned by now.

                                                                                        KA is powerful and blends everything. No tiny ice chips in the bottom. Totally worth the $175 I paid (Amazon was still running the $25 coupons then).

                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: emily
                                                                                          n
                                                                                          niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 08:45 AM

                                                                                          Big news!
                                                                                          I just checked the target.com site for blender prices and here's what I found:

                                                                                          Kitchenaid polycarbonate 5 speed - $100
                                                                                          Oster Bee Hive - $60
                                                                                          Oster Classic (looks just like the bee hive and I can't find out the dif. on the website) $70 (anybody know why it is $10 more?)
                                                                                          Blendtec - $400 (is this worth the $100 more than the $300 ebay instant auction price considering the price for shipping and the trouble as I've never bought on ebay before and had a traumatic experience the only time I did bid)

                                                                                          Emily - do you know why your Kitchenaid Pro Line is worth being $75 more expensive than the Kitchenaid polycarbonate model?

                                                                                          Thanks!

                                                                                          1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                            emily Jul 24, 2007 08:53 AM

                                                                                            I would guess that the Pro Line is a lot more powerful than the regular 5 speed, but I didn't look into both. The Pro Line had rave reviews with supporting info about thorough ice crushing capabilities so I went with it.

                                                                                            1. re: emily
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                                                                                              niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 09:06 AM

                                                                                              Thanks, Emily! The WSJ had the Kitchenaid Custom blender with polycarbonate jar is listed as $90 - $129 in the WSJ. It does not mention the Pro Line. So, with the range in prices I'm now confused as to whether their choice is the same one you have or a different model. In any case, we know they both must be excellent. I am kind of leaning toward buying at Target in Monterey county when we go down for a little vacation on Saturday.

                                                                                              1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                emily Jul 24, 2007 04:10 PM

                                                                                                Definitely a different model. See KA's list of blenders here:
                                                                                                http://www.kitchenaid.com/catalog/cat...

                                                                                        2. j
                                                                                          Jimmy Buffet Jul 24, 2007 10:38 AM

                                                                                          >> Jimmy - did your love of Vitamix Margaritas prompt you to compose that famous song?

                                                                                          Naw, not THAT kind of Buffet. I am Jimmy Buffet, as in Buff-fay; the all-u-can-eat kind. Plus, when I lived in the deep South, it added that cosmopolitan air to my name.

                                                                                          Now listen... I have used that Vitamixer for about 20 years and NEVER gotten any kind of bug from the spigot of the Vitamixer nor had any trouble cleaning it. But wait... I'm a buffet kind of guy. I probably have built in resistance to microorganisms.

                                                                                          I think you can get the Vitamixer containers w/o spigots but I promise you, if you go for one, it will do the trick. Sure they're expensive but they are great conversation starters. Besides, I have seen them on Craigs List for pretty cheap.

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                            yayadave Jul 24, 2007 01:16 PM

                                                                                            Idonno, but I just looked at the Vita Mix site and did not see any containers with spigots. Besides, if yopu're making something thick, why would you want a spigot?

                                                                                            1. re: yayadave
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                                                                                              niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 01:40 PM

                                                                                              I definitely do not want a spigot for reasons of mold and bacteria - despite my respect and gratitude for Jimmy Buffet who's really stuck with me here. Can you believe my quest for a blender of all things has generated 100 posts in a few days - I AM really grateful and will print up the whole thread to take with me for my weekend in Monterey in a couple of days, so I can meditate on the choice, when hopefully I'll take the plunge into one of these blenders and bring one back to SF with me.

                                                                                              I remember as a kid, Vita Mix had some fascinating TV commercials where some fasrt talking pitchman liquified every possible fruit and vegetable. That was before the hippie era popularized high powered juicers. And I bet it is a fabulous machine without the spigot - which, if one, like mean has "spigot fear" you just don't need to ever use the spigot - as you noted, Dave.

                                                                                              1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                yayadave Jul 24, 2007 04:44 PM

                                                                                                Here's another thought, a propo to absolutely nothing. When it gets too cold for milkshakes, you cook up some chopped butternut squash, apple, and sweet potato with chicken broth/stock and fall seasonings. When they start to soften, dump everything into your Vita Mix and whoop up some Butternut Squash Soup.

                                                                                                Hey!!! According to the scorekeepers, this is post number 100!!

                                                                                                1. re: yayadave
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                                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 04:55 PM

                                                                                                  Yes, sounds delish, ya ya dave. But, I do have the Cuisinart. I never put anything hot into it though, which I cannot think of a reason to prevent me. That soup of yours sounds delicious AND healthy! Perhaps I'd jusyt let it cool down in the pot and then buzz it. Some creamy something like maybe full fat plain yogurt would also help.

                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                    yayadave Jul 24, 2007 06:07 PM

                                                                                                    When I tried the bean soup in the Cuisinart, I made a mess all over. I think you can't get as much liquid in the food processor as you can in the blender. And the imersion blender doesn't get it as smooth.

                                                                                                    1. re: yayadave
                                                                                                      n
                                                                                                      niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 07:29 PM

                                                                                                      Last weekend late afternoon, walking down my street, I passed the remains of a sidewalk sale including a perfectly fine looking immersion blender. I picked it up, thought for a couple of minutes about how I once had one and gave it away out of frustration. Then I bent down and left that free immersion blander right where I found it.

                                                                                                    2. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                      yayadave Jul 25, 2007 01:15 PM

                                                                                                      Think coconut milk. Which thought just led me to wonder how a dab of peanutbutter would do.

                                                                                            2. bubblet4me Jul 24, 2007 06:21 PM

                                                                                              I burned (literally) through 2 blenders before breaking down and buying the Waring 2 speed my mother told me to register for when I got married. It is available at Williams Sonoma and many other shops.

                                                                                              I thought all the extra buttons were needed to frappe, froth etc. Turns out the two speed with pulse button works better than the others and has lasted now 7 years with frequent use for smoothies, margaritas and other ice based concoctions. My mothers is 30+ years old and still going.

                                                                                              24 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: bubblet4me
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                                                                                                niki rothman Jul 24, 2007 07:36 PM

                                                                                                You make some good points - the pulse function is very useful. The Oster Bee Hive does not have that. The fact that Williams Sonoma sells the Waring is quite an excellent endorsement. But personally, what I must hold against it is that it was the brand of the harvest gold one I mentioned in my OP - it leaked all over my kitchen table, necessitating my removing everything on the table - including the Kitchenaid stand mixer, in order to dry off the wooden tabletop. The blender I eventually purchase (this coming weekend in the Monterey Target I hope!) must not have a leaking issue, because I intend to put it on that wood table right next to the stand mixer - and i don't want to be cleaning up a lot of big wet spills - so I'm going to thank you very sincerely, and admit I'll have to pass on the Waring.

                                                                                                1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                  alanbarnes Jul 25, 2007 07:57 AM

                                                                                                  Niki,

                                                                                                  If leaking is your major concern, you may want to look for a blender with a one-piece pitcher--that is, one that does not have a detachable bottom. If there's no seal to fail, leaks are a non-issue.

                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                    niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 09:45 AM

                                                                                                    Alan, thank you for pointing out the obvious - that I frequently and habitually miss, probably in the wider realm of my life in general, as I tend to over-think things. But, so far, I "think" the Vitamix and the Blendtec - the most expensive of the lot - are the only blenders without the open bottom/rubber gasket leak magnet issues - they are both completely closed units. Does anyone here know if any other blender is one piece with the balde & jar attached and a closed bottom?

                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                      alanbarnes Jul 25, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                                                                      I know you're skeptical about Waring, but my PBB25 has a 32oz stainless one-piece pitcher and a pretty serious motor. I think it was about $150.

                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                        n
                                                                                                        niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 03:09 PM

                                                                                                        Hi Alan - so you are saying this Waring PBB25 does not open up at the bottom of the jar - so it can't leak? My skepticism was not aimed at the Waring motor which seemed very strong indeed, but at my desire never again to have to clean up a lake of wasted thick shake after removing all the heavy items sharing the oak table with the blender - an oak table which will need to be polished after being soaked with 32 ounces of water based, sticky, sugary liquid.

                                                                                                        Questions for you:
                                                                                                        1) what is the wattage on the motor?
                                                                                                        2) has it ever over-heated on you?
                                                                                                        3) Have you crushed a lot of ice in it?
                                                                                                        4) I have never seen a Waring that did not have an open-bottom jar. So, where do you purchase this wondeful machine? (I should just try searching Waring blender on amazon.com) I will do that.
                                                                                                        Thanks, Alan!

                                                                                                        1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                          MMRuth Jul 25, 2007 03:12 PM

                                                                                                          Niki - I keep reading the posts about the leaking, but I've had my Waring for over 10 years now, with no leaking. To me, it seems like a great choice - both in terms of price and performance. The only issue I've had with leaking is with my Cuisine Art food processor, when I've tried to make soup, and I always end up resorting to my blender. But good luck to you with choosing something that works for you.

                                                                                                          Oh - and it does open up at the bottom of the jar - for cleaning - you can remove the bottom part with the gasket and the rotor - but, again, I've never had a problem.

                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth
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                                                                                                            niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 03:23 PM

                                                                                                            Hi MM,
                                                                                                            I think I have some goofy tendency to connect up the blender jar, base, and gasket in some weird misbegotten manner that probably no one else on the face of the earth would ever attempt. Maybe I, like an idiot, might have placed the gasket UNDER the blade, I don't know.

                                                                                                            One minute Richard was asking for a smoothy - then lucky me - I remembered the old, old, mustard colored Waring from the early 80's in the back of the closet. The next thing I remember is waking up with my antique wood table covered with sugary thick shake which was rapidly forming a large sticky puddle on the kitchen floor. In between is all a blank.

                                                                                                            Let's just blame me - it's probably not the fault of the innocent Waring blender which probably would have done the job God created it to do if I had not screwed it up somehow. Although how anyone but me could screw up the ultra-simple operation of a machine with nothing but a jar and an "on" & "off" switch is totally beyond me.

                                                                                                            I blame myself. Sigh...

                                                                                                            1. re: niki rothman
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                                                                                                              embee Jul 25, 2007 04:22 PM

                                                                                                              It's not you...even if you think it is. My last Waring leaked badly at the gasket and its reverse thread wasn't secure either. I suspect that the pro/bar model isn't anything like that. But get the Braun :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: embee
                                                                                                                n
                                                                                                                niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 04:44 PM

                                                                                                                Hi embee,
                                                                                                                You are so comforting and reassuring! You ought to be a shrink or a spiritual guru or something like that!
                                                                                                                If I was going to get the Braun where do you think the best place to buy it would be? is there a particular model? Just tell me if you told me already so you don't have to look. Because before i go to Monterey on Saturday i'm going to print this all out, meditate on it and then take the plunge so if you told me the model already I'll have it.

                                                                                                              2. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                yayadave Jul 25, 2007 05:42 PM

                                                                                                                I think you're being entirely too easy on yourself with your Dreaded Blender Guilt. Why don't you write to Al Gore and accept the compleate responsibility for global warming. You will never have to feel guilty about anything else for the rest of your life. And go buy the least expensive Vita Mix you can find. It will make smoothies (whatever that is), soup, knead your dough, make ice cream and last and last. See TorontoJo's post.

                                                                                                                1. re: yayadave
                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 06:10 PM

                                                                                                                  Too easy on myself? I hope you're joking. Did you catch my post about how I sent back the Oster Bee Hive they're all shilling for? Or how I am convinced I don't know how to assemble a simple blender correctly - causing major malfunction and kitchen flooding, or heavens to Al Gore! I Am totally proud of owning a 20 year old car with only 50,000 miles on it But all this is besides the point. The point is NOT guilt ya ya dave, the point, I think you will agree, is indeciciveness.

                                                                                                                  Here's my estimate of quality from what I've read:

                                                                                                                  1) Blendtec vs. Vita mix - tie for first place. Very important feature in these 2 is the lack of leakiness - they are all one piece - NO gasket.
                                                                                                                  Is one louder?
                                                                                                                  Does one have higher wattage?
                                                                                                                  Does one make a better smoothie/thickshake - i.e. CRUSH ICE for thick, smooth drinks a la margaritsas?
                                                                                                                  Which one is less expensive when easily obtainable (ebay is out)

                                                                                                                  2) Second tier - Oster Bee Hive, Braun, Kitcheaide.
                                                                                                                  The partisans for these feel they are just as good when it comes to crushing ice for smooth, thick luscious sweet chocolatey or fruity drinks - my intended purpose.
                                                                                                                  These are all much cheaper than the top tier blenders - not a meaningless variable.
                                                                                                                  Are any of them leak proof - i.e. all of a piece/no open bottom end? Can anyone answer this? I just do not remember. But I will be rereading all the posts as I mentioned.

                                                                                                                  OK - those are the facts as I see them and if anyone is still with me you deserve to go to heaven, if there is one - well, we can hope, why not - just on the basis of your divine patience and compassion.

                                                                                                                  THANKS!

                                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                    TorontoJo Jul 25, 2007 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                    Hey niki, why is ebay out? There are legitimate authorized dealers selling vita-mixes there. I bought mine there and checked with vita-mix directly to make sure it was on the up and up. No problem. When I stupidly stuck the tamper in without the lid on (doh) and choked the thing (yes, tamper went right into the supersonic blades), vita-mix sent me the replacement part right away, free of charge. It was a simple fix, as there was a fail safe "breakaway" part to account for stupid moves like mine.

                                                                                                                    I have the turboblend 4500. The only difference between that and the 5000 is the lack of adjustable speed. I only have low and high. Bought it for $270. If you want the 5000, I saw it on ebay for $399.

                                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                      yayadave Jul 25, 2007 06:45 PM

                                                                                                                      Of course I'm joking! When you get all of these posts together, you may want to make a comparison chart of all the factors that will help you decide. Even if you decide that you want the Oster Beehive after all, you can congratulate yourself on sending the first one back on the basis that you're just trying to make sure. Very sensible.

                                                                                                              3. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                alanbarnes Jul 25, 2007 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                The only way the blender could ever leak would be if you punched a hole through the stainless steel pitcher. The blades and drive shaft are not removable. It's all one piece.

                                                                                                                The motor is 390 watts. I've never had it overheat, and occasionally run it for several minutes at a time making curry pastes and other thick stuff.

                                                                                                                I haven't ever used it to crush ice (my fridge dispenses ice that's crushed enough for my needs), but in the course of making smoothies it has digested many pounds of frozen strawberries.

                                                                                                                Lots of places sell this blender. Just make sure you are ordering one with a stainless steel pitcher. Bizrate.com indicates that Abe's of Maine has 'em on sale for $129 at the moment.

                                                                                                                BTW, if you're looking for pink, green, or any other current or past designer color, you're out of luck. The "Professional Bar Blender" is like the Model T--you can have it in any color you want, as long as it's black. On the other hand, it won't look dated when your kids pull it out of the back of the pantry 30 years from now.

                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 04:21 PM

                                                                                                                  The Oster and Kitchenaide are 500 watts. I mentioned the mustard color of the blender from the back of my closet only because it was so horrible. I definitely prefer plain metal or black for color - those are the colors, plus copper and wood, in my kitchen. I'm definitely wanting the all one piece model though. Now that I know the Waring is thart way the only concern is that I WIll want to crush ice finely as a main activity for the blender. And I hate to be the neurotic worrier - but hey, I am what I yam. Referigerator ice makers are worse harborers of mold and bacteria than those tiny blender spigots are as there a lot more area to harbor stagnant moisture. I got a fine big black fridge some years ago (the same one Tony Soprano has on the show) - I immediately tossed out the hook-up for the ice and cold water dispenser for just this reason I mentioned to you. I must have used the word, "I" about a hundred times in the preceding very short paragraph - I should sing a chorus of "Me and My Shadow" only make it. "Me and my Blen - der strollin' down the avenue!" as we head towards 120 posts about me and my egotistical blender worries. Well, at least I can still laugh at myself!
                                                                                                                  Thanks, Alan! You just enjoy your ice maker and don't listen to me.

                                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                    alanbarnes Jul 25, 2007 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                    Me and my icemaker, strollin' down the avenue... The parts that are warm are clean. The parts that I can't see, well, they're cold, so I'm not too worried about bacteria. And there are no funky smells, in dramatic contrast to the unfiltered tap water around here. But I eat carpaccio and medium-rare (homeground) burgers, too, so it may be that the denizens of my GI tract just intimidate the little critters from the fridge.

                                                                                                                    As far as ice crushing goes, I did a little kitchen experimentation to find out if it will do what you want. If there's a blender that will crush ice in the absence of added water, this ain't it.

                                                                                                                    But feeding ice cubes into the top of the pitcher with enough water to keep a vortex going produced a uniform fine slush that, strained out, made a nice snowball. Don't know if that's what you want, so let me know if you're thinking of anything different.

                                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                                      niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 06:49 PM

                                                                                                                      Thanks, Alan.
                                                                                                                      Have you ever had a margarita or one of those other girlie slushy fruity bar drinks? Well, that is what we want to make, minus the alcohol. Or, have you ever ordered a Macdonald's thick shake? They use ice cream or something like it - soft serve, but we will be using water, ice cubes, cocoa powder or fresh fruit such as strawberries, artificial sweetener like splenda, and nonfat milk powder to make a thick milkshake or "malt" as they used to call these thick drinks in the old vintage sodie-fountain days... I'm going for a very thick milkshake made with ice cubes, yes, but also with water, and milk powder, and a flavoring agent fresh fruit or cocoa, and a low cal sweetening agent. Hubbie trying to lose weight and Weight Watchers and the supermarket actually sell powdered mixes for these shakes. But, since with a proper ice-crushing blender, and - yes water or milk - they are so easy and much cheaper to make fresh at home I don't see the need to buy a chemical laden mix, although my compromise is the splenda no-cal sugar substitute, but hey, the guy is making a sincere effort to lose much needed weight and a nice sweet thick icecreamlike drink will supply him (and I'd actually enjoy them myself) with a lot of dessert satisfaction of a treat with not many calories.

                                                                                                                      1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                        alanbarnes Jul 25, 2007 07:31 PM

                                                                                                                        Niki,

                                                                                                                        I was just trying to figure out whether crushed ice was an abstract thing you needed. While I'm not a fan of blended drinks at the bar, the non-alcoholic "girlie" drink you describe is actually my typical breakfast. I use frozen strawberries instead of ice cubes and blend them with fruit juice and something creamy (bananas or yogurt). If that's what you're trying to do with your blender, you won't have a problem.

                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                                          niki rothman Jul 25, 2007 07:49 PM

                                                                                                                          Hi Alan,
                                                                                                                          Well, ice cubes and water will often be used rather than frozen fruit - which I will sometimes use, as you say - Trader Joe's sells some fine frozen mango, but for the chocolate shake, to which I am partial, you definitely have to be able to grind probably about six ice cubes in maybe a cup or so of water and the assorted powders - down to a homogenous slurry with a smooth thick consistency in which a straw would stand up straight.

                                                                                                                          1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                            TorontoJo Jul 26, 2007 04:49 AM

                                                                                                                            Chocolate soy milk makes a great base for the type of shakes you are describing. Try freezing some in ice cube trays and use those in place of some or most of the ice cubes. If you throw in some frozen coffee cubes as well, you'll get a really nice mocha frappucino thing going on.

                                                                                                                            1. re: TorontoJo
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                                                                                                                              niki rothman Jul 26, 2007 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                              What a great idea, Toronto Jo! I had not thought about flavored ice cubes but it makes a lot of sense - then I could pop them out of the trays and bag them to save space.

                                                                                                                              1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                TorontoJo Jul 26, 2007 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                Yep, that's exactly what I do! :) Got a bag of coffee cubes and a bag of chocolate soy milk cubes in my freezer right now. Also have a bag of passionfruit juice cubes to make frozen passionfruit mango margaritas... mmmmm....

                                                                                                            2. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                              emily Jul 27, 2007 11:47 AM

                                                                                                              The KA Pro Line's jar is one closed unit.

                                                                                                              1. re: emily
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                                                                                                                niki rothman Jul 27, 2007 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                Thanks, Emily! Do you have any ideas where would be a good store or website to buy it?

                                                                                                      2. TorontoJo Jul 25, 2007 05:14 PM

                                                                                                        Well, heck, why not be post #109? I have to chime in with my love of my Vita-Mix. I killed 2 blenders making smoothies and finally gave in and bought a Vita-Mix. It simply makes the most perfect smoothie. Yes, it's what Jamba Juice uses. It doesn't just crush ice and frozen fruit, it absolutely pulverizes it into a lovely smooth frozen treat. Nothing stops the darn thing. It's big, it's ugly and it sounds like a jet is taking off in your kitchen. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. The pitcher is one piece and a cinch to clean. The rubber lid seals tight (can be tough to get on properly at first) and nothing ever leaks.

                                                                                                        And if you look on ebay, you'll find several authorized resellers that carry various models for significantly cheaper than you can buy from vitamix directly. Not used... they are brand new, and much cheaper.

                                                                                                        Good luck, Niki!

                                                                                                        1. r
                                                                                                          rexsreine Jul 26, 2007 08:46 AM

                                                                                                          Had thought about replying to this the first I saw it, but didn't for various reasons. Anyway, here are a few comments:

                                                                                                          1) I've gone through any number of cheaper and mid-line blenders over the years. At the moment, there is a two-year old Braun in the closet. It does a decent enough job, but leaking is a problem when doing frozen fruit drinks, shakes, and slushies - which is mainly what I want a blender for.

                                                                                                          2) I used the blender from a Bosch universal kitchen machine for over 20 years and loved it. It did thick yogurt shakes with frozen berries in a flash with no trouble. The plastic container finally broke after years of dishwasher heat.

                                                                                                          3) My Vita-MIx is an awesome machine, but I don't use it often because the stainless steel container doesn't allow you to see what's going on. I like to see what's going on in there.

                                                                                                          4) I decided I needed - after 25 years - a new mixer with a dough hook. I just bought a Blend-Tec Mix N Blend. It's 1000 watts (I believe the Blend-Tec blender for home use is 1400) and combines a mixer with attachments and blender on a single base. I LOVE it. It makes bread easily, whips, creams, and beats better than any Kitchen Aid I've ever used at my mother's or a friend's house. The blender is terrific. It handles frozen fruit with no problem and doesn't leak because of the one-piece construction. You CAN make plain ol' crushed ice with no water added.

                                                                                                          Bottom line, if you can use a heavy-duty mixer and great blender with a relatively small footprint, take a look at Blend-Tec Mix n Blend. Not cheap, but there are internet deals if you look.

                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: rexsreine
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                                                                                                            niki rothman Jul 26, 2007 09:46 AM

                                                                                                            Hi rexsreine,

                                                                                                            I learned some things from your post - the Braun also has a tendency to leak. That rules it out. And I was considering it seriously.
                                                                                                            The Vitamix has a jar you cannot see through - this is not good.
                                                                                                            The Bosch was not on my list for serious consideration - it has not gotten a top WSJ rating, it's not sold at Taget, and it does not seem widely available.
                                                                                                            The Blendtec at 1400 watts puts every other blender that I know the wattage of to shame many are 350 and the Oster Bee Hive brags its 500 watts. So, that 1400 watts is very sexy. BUT isn't it horribly noisy? Does it have a see-through jar?
                                                                                                            The Blend N' Mix is out because I already have a beautiful, expensive, high powered professional line Kitchenaid stand mixer.
                                                                                                            Bottom line - unless you can deter me - of your listed choices the Blendtec 1400 would be my choice. Do you have anything bad to say about it? It is $400 at Target.

                                                                                                            1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                              rexsreine Jul 26, 2007 11:05 AM

                                                                                                              I was pleasantly surprised that the BlendTec was NOT as noisy as I had thought it would be. It's not quiet, but you can't expect frozen fruit knocking around at high speed to exactly be a lullaby. Yes, the jar is see-through plastic. I am going to be "good" this time around and refrain from putting it in the dishwasher. It's pretty easy to add a little warm water and dish detergent and turn the machine on to clean itself. ONLY thing I have to say is, before buying at Target (and I love Target) is to do an internet search to be sure you're getting the best deal you can.

                                                                                                              1. re: niki rothman
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                                                                                                                CrazyOne Jul 26, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                                                                                This site does a good job IMO of rounding up and summarizing reviews that are done by various sources including Consumer Reports and for relevant items Cook's Illustrated. For anything they cover, it's worth a look. Blenders are one of the items:

                                                                                                                http://www.consumersearch.com/www/kit...

                                                                                                                I'm not going to recommend a specific model because we aren't heavy blender users. We have an Oster Beehive of some sort with a 350 watt motor, which is like the top item in that link although I believe ours only has a single speed. It does fine for the things we do in it, but these haven't involved anything frozen that I can recall. We like it because it's red, and I think it was about 40 bucks at that home of all red items, Target.

                                                                                                                But, I will say do not get caught up in the watt rating alone. There are a number of 500 watt machines that just do not blend all that well from what I've read because of jar designs and/or blade designs, etc. For example, a taller skinnier jar, while inconvenient to clean and such, is probably going to direct the stuff down to the blade better than a wider shorter jar like is on some Cuisinarts and KitchenAids. Not only that, as you'll see throughout that writeup if you take a look there are several models with a lower wattage rating that perform very well.

                                                                                                                I'd love to get a Blendtec just because the silly Will It Blend? videos have entertained me so much. But our use just wouldn't ever justify a $400 blender, not unless we had a lot more spare cash than we do now. ;-) But clearly the thing is solid. The jar is clear polycarbonate, really solid stuff. It is, by all accounts, very noisy. But I haven't run across a really quiet blender anyway. Lots of Blendtec machines are showing up in places like Starbucks, etc. The piece I linked does not touch on Blendtec but it is similar to the Vitamix in capability, right down to the idea that it will heat the ingredients if you run it long enough.

                                                                                                                And I thought I agonized over these kinds of decisions. Sheesh. You make me look impulsive. ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: CrazyOne
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                                                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 26, 2007 01:12 PM

                                                                                                                  Could it be that they heat the ingredients if you run it long enough because it is overheating?
                                                                                                                  The Oster Bee Hive comes in the 350 watt for $40 and the 500 watt is around $70 I think.
                                                                                                                  Right now It's between the Kitchenaid, the Bee Hive, and the Blendtec. With the Bee Hive having one strike against it that I am going to periodically guiltily remind myself how I already returned one via expensive UPS. And the Blend Tec cost is annoying. I don't remember what I've got against the Kitchenaide...

                                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
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                                                                                                                    renov8r Jul 26, 2007 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                    The motor on the BlendTec is ABSOLUTELY not "overheating" in the least, I don't think the VitaMix is either. The "cooking" that these do is DEFINITELY the result of the friction of the food whirring around at tens of thousands of RPM -- dozens of times faster than the Oster or KA could even hope to move stuff. Faster spinning = better blending, no melting/diluting.

                                                                                                                    Found some interesting links with charts with HP ratings:

                                                                                                                    http://www.blenderworld.com/hamiltonbeach-blendercomparison.html

                                                                                                                    http://www.blenderworld.com/blendteccomparisonchart.html

                                                                                                                    http://www.blenderworld.com/war-hpb30...

                                                                                                                    There is no direct "inter brand" comparison, but it is pretty clear that the BlendTec has the option to upgrade motors on its larger commercial units beyond its standard 3 hp model. That "standard" motor is light years ahead of any of the "home use only" blenders or even the most aggressive Waring bar blenders. (all the manufacturers represented on that site do offer the sealed commercial style pitchers and some have high HP motors too).

                                                                                                                    The amp & watt ratings are sort of meaningless, as they could be an indication of simply an inefficient motor design, while the HP ratings give a much better measure of what the motor is truly capable of. Oster & KitchenAid do not make anything that is even in the same league as these in terms of power, nor will their screw & gasket systems hold up the way the one piece units from BlendTec, VitaMix, Waring Commercial, and Hamilton Beach Commercial will. Remember the "Challenger disaster"? O-rings are just fancy gaskets... Bad.

                                                                                                                    1. re: renov8r
                                                                                                                      n
                                                                                                                      niki rothman Jul 26, 2007 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                      The only one available of the high end ones you mention at Target is the Blendtec at $400. It would be easiest to just buy it there telling myself that, for example every time we have Chinese food delivered it costs $50, so what am I making such a big deal about? And then I'll save the shipping charges. What do you say renov8r?

                                                                                                                      1. re: niki rothman
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                                                                                                                        CrazyOne Jul 26, 2007 06:52 PM

                                                                                                                        They don't carry them in the store; you'd have to order anyway.

                                                                                                                        The idea that you're debating the $40-70 Oster vs a $400 Blendtec is a little odd to me. If the $400 Blendtec doesn't sound like way too much cash for you, and you're going to use it every day, it's probably worth it. That said, according to the piece, that KitchenAid Pro Line (I assume that's the one you mean, I don't think you should be considering any other KitchenAid) is quieter. It's not as powerful as the other two, and has a smaller jar than at least the Blendtec (which has a full half a gallon capacity at 64 ounces vs the 48 ounce which is more common), but it is less expensive (maybe as low as $200) and does have a one-piece jar.

                                                                                                                        Raw power and capacity (Blendtec) vs quieter and cheaper (KitchenAid Pro Line) vs real value if you can overlook the jar that comes apart (Oster). I mean, the Oster at 1/3 the price of the next cheapest and about 1/6 the price of the top end one becomes almost disposable. Will the Blendtec outlast 6 Osters? It may. It also may work so much better that it's worth 6x the cost. Or maybe the small possibility that you'll have a problem with the Oster's seal is worth the price of admission to either of the other two.

                                                                                                                        I think you have the info. It's just time to decide what is your highest priority? Do yourself a favor and leave the fact that you returned one out of your decision making process. If you're worried about the jar, fine, but don't worry that you sent it back.

                                                                                                                        BTW, you can buy the Oster in a shop, and probably the KA Pro Line somewhere. Dunno if you can buy the Blendtec at a store; there's no where to buy info on the site.

                                                                                                                        1. re: CrazyOne
                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                          niki rothman Jul 26, 2007 08:49 PM

                                                                                                                          The blendtec is at Target for $400. The Kitchenaid that won best in the WSJ tests is not the pro line it is aclled the 5 speed custom with poly carbonate jar. Goes for about $100. Know where I can find the Pro line offhand? I'll check amazon. I do like the closed end jar idea VERY much.

                                                                                                                          1. re: niki rothman
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                                                                                                                            cheetobrain Jul 27, 2007 08:11 AM

                                                                                                                            I don't want to confuse you more about buying a blender, but I wanted to throw my opinion in about the Blendtec. I bought one a couple weeks ago after seeing it demonstrated at Costco. After working with it every day, I am going to return it. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine blender...it's just that I don't think it's THAT much better than the $20 Back to Basics smoothie blender I had been using.

                                                                                                                            Last night I made hummus in the Blendtec. I used 1 frozen cube of lime juice, canned chickpeas and other usual ingredients. I had to run it through the "dip" sequence 3 times, plus pulse it several times and stir, and I was still left with a few swirls of chickpea and unprocessed cilantro. No big deal, except for the money I paid I expect the "cyclone" action to do the work a bit more effieciently than that. This morning i made a thick smoothie with frozen banana, frozen strawberries and milk. I ran it through the smoothie sequence 3 times, and still have a chunk of frozen banana in it. My BTB smoothie maker would have ripped through the frozen fruit no problem.

                                                                                                                            Of course, the reason I'm in the market for a new blender is my smoothie maker slowly fell apart. The motor was still fine, but the spout broke off, and the plastic pitcher started cracking. But I had it for 2 years, and $400 can buy me a lot of cheap smoothie makers! Other minuses for me is that it IS very loud, and it tends to walk across my counter, so I really have to hold it down when blending harder stuff.

                                                                                                                            My new tactic is to try to meet in the middle. Invest in a better blender that gets good reviews, but not spend so much that I feel like the thing should spoonfeed me the food after it processes it. I am looking at the Kitchen Aid Pro Line right now. I will avoid Waring as I received an anniversary Waring for my wedding 10 years ago, and the thing can't blend ice for anything and leaks out the bottom. I hate it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cheetobrain
                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                              renov8r Jul 27, 2007 08:49 AM

                                                                                                                              I'm curious about the chunks of frozen banana. I have found that as long as the finished smoothie is at least minimally capable of being sucked through a straw the blending is complete and uniform -- if I dump in so much frozen stuff that the end product is only spoonable to the consistency is more like ice cream and there are bits left ...

                                                                                                                              1. re: renov8r
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                                                                                                                                cheetobrain Jul 27, 2007 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                                oh, it was thick alright, I ate it with a spoon, but not any thicker than I made in my cheap blender, which is pretty much the baseline for a quality smoothie at this point. And it still doesn't explain why it would struggle so much with chickpeas and cilantro!!

                                                                                                                                Don't get me wrong, I think the blendtec is a really nice blender, and I'm sure it would last forever...but for the money I paid I get a twinge of disappointment every time it seems to not live up to the sales pitch. I think for me I'm more comfortable if I spend less than $200, and lower my expectations a bit.

                                                                                                                                1. re: cheetobrain
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                                                                                                                                  niki rothman Jul 27, 2007 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                  $200 was my original top price estimate for the blender I was out to find. Any ideas on where to buy the Kitchenaid pro line and does it have an open or a closed bottom?
                                                                                                                                  Thanks!

                                                                                                                              2. re: cheetobrain
                                                                                                                                n
                                                                                                                                niki rothman Jul 27, 2007 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                Ok - your experience would drive me right over the edge if I spent the $400 on the Blendtec, which I was really seriously considering. OK, Kitchenaid got the top rating from WSJ. Where can I buy the Kitchenaid pro line? I want to get this settled by early tomorrow morning when we leave for Monterey, where there is a Target. I will go online to search for the kitchenaid pro line today - I guess i would trust amazon the most. The WSJ lists some other online resources -
                                                                                                                                shopkitchenaid.com
                                                                                                                                jr.com
                                                                                                                                cooking.com
                                                                                                                                >>>>Very important - Does the Pro Line Kitchenaid blender have a closed botton with blades permanently attached, or is the bottom open with a rubber gasket?
                                                                                                                                Any more ideas as to where I could get a great blender with a closed bottom will bre most welcome.
                                                                                                                                THANKS for everything!

                                                                                                                                1. re: niki rothman
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                                                                                                                                  cheetobrain Jul 27, 2007 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                                  I am trying to decide between the KitchenAid KSB560MC 5-Speed Blender for $99.00 and the KitchenAid KPCB348PNP Pro Line Chef's Blender for 199.00. the cheaper blender seems to have issues with the pitcher cracking after a while. Both seem to have sealed bases from the description, but I am running to Williams Sonoma to look at them in person (I know they have the less expensive one, not sure about the pro).

                                                                                                                                  I looked are reviews for both of these at Amazon.com. both have pretty positive feedback.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheetobrain
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                                                                                                                                    niki rothman Jul 27, 2007 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                    I cannot find the kitchenaid pro line for sale at costco ot target. Getting frustrated. Target has a kitchenaid for $119 but the don't say it's the pro line and they don't give any description on any of the blenders that would indicate they are closed units. Where can I find a kitchenaid with a closed bottom for sale?

                                                                                                                2. re: rexsreine
                                                                                                                  TorontoJo Jul 26, 2007 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                  You must have an older vita-mix model (they last forever!). The new ones have clear polycarbonate pitchers. I bet you could have called vita-mix and just bought a new, clear pitcher. But I'm glad you love your blend-tec!

                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                                    rexsreine Jul 26, 2007 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                    Yes, I do have an older model Vita-Mix. I did not know there was a clear, polycarbonate pitcher to fit my model, but I will check it out. One of the reasons I love this site is because I'm always learning something new - and I've been cooking for 40 years! Well, I did need (flexible word, isn't ?) a new mixer...

                                                                                                                3. e
                                                                                                                  embee Jul 27, 2007 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                  Bless your heart niki, I hope you somehow find the blender of your dreams. I think this is the 149th recorded post and it's about my 10th or so (several were vapourized). It's weird how some simple topics just take off. Allowing for moderation, this thread must have gotten 200 responses. And based on what's been posted here, I think I'd just freeze and not buy any blender at all.

                                                                                                                  Looking all of this over in morbid fascination, I conclude there is a critical flaw in absolutely every one that, based on someone's experience, would rule it out.

                                                                                                                  I have no complaints at all about my Braun, the one rated by Consumer Reports. But someone just reported a leaky gasket, one of your deal breakers.

                                                                                                                  My complaints about BlendTec were only about noise and cost, but we have a new post about poor performance.

                                                                                                                  VitaMix really isn't a blender, it's a pulverizer, and I'll leave it at that.

                                                                                                                  I've never seen anything to justify the cost of the KA ProLine and they have had some serious safety recalls. (I don't know whether any of them included the blender.) Before I found the Braun, I was going to buy the regular KA at more than double the price, but I didn't, so I can't comment.

                                                                                                                  The commercial and consumer Warings are not similar machines. The commercial ones have a great rep. The last consumer one I had was crap. Others disagree.

                                                                                                                  I could go on, but it isn't really necessary. At least one person seems to have a valid complaint about virtually every one.

                                                                                                                  So good luck and please tell us what you ended up getting. Then let us know how it works over time.

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: embee
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                                                                                                                    niki rothman Jul 27, 2007 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                    Hi Embee!
                                                                                                                    Thanks so very much for the blessing. I really do believe in them.

                                                                                                                    Listen, I think I've got some great news. First there was the tip that not just the Kitchenaid pro line might have the closed bottom. So I went to the one place I had not checked, Williams Sonoma - and I think we would agree they have a limited inventory but what they do have tends to be the real goods. So, I got somebody in one of the SF stores to actually look at their $99 (white) - $149 (metal) Kitchenaids - turns out it IS all one piece - no opening, no gasket, no chance of leaks. But I didn't want the white color, and I didn't like that unfair price hike. So, armed with the info. that this particular blender was all one piece, I went back to the Target website and found it in black which I like, for $99! AND they state it is all one piece.

                                                                                                                    Now, I'm just hoping the Monterey store has one this weekend. If they do I'm using Asilomar's ice maker machine and we'll be enjoying thick shakes in our room!

                                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
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                                                                                                                      cheetobrain Jul 27, 2007 03:49 PM

                                                                                                                      hey Niki! I was just coming on to post that I decided to buy the same model :) seems like a good blender for the money, and kitchen aid offers a 1 year replacement guarantee, so I figure if it fails in the first year at least I'm covered. good luck!!

                                                                                                                    2. re: embee
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                                                                                                                      CrazyOne Jul 27, 2007 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                      This is getting pretty crazy. Now we actually have someone who is going to return their Blendtec! I never would have thought, but hey, that's only from the outside, not having used it.

                                                                                                                      Niki, you're going to have to take the plunge on something. Suggest perhaps something you can find in the Costco store, even if it's none of these (they did at one time have Oster Beehives there, but I don't think they do at our local store at the moment). At least if you end up not liking it Costco has a solid return policy and they will take it back even if you've used it a bit.

                                                                                                                      I was pretty clear about the $200 KitchenAid Pro LIne blender having a one-piece jar. That means it doesn't come apart and has no gasket to leak. It was rated highly in some tests and rated highly on Amazon customer reviews. (Many others have been rated highly in tests but not in customer reviews.) It's on Amazon here http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KPCB... The $100 KitchenAid may have been too new for the writeup on Consumer Search. It does appear to also have a one-piece jar, but the customer reviews are not as good.

                                                                                                                      Buy something you can return. That's the end of it. And yes Target.com shows the Blendtec online but I've never seen one in the store. The Target site usually indicates when items are also available in the store. There are very few if any items outside of electronics that sell for $400 in a Target store!

                                                                                                                      I do hope as embee suggested you'll spend as much time telling us how whatever you chose works as you have trying to make the decision. :-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: CrazyOne
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                                                                                                                        niki rothman Jul 27, 2007 07:35 PM

                                                                                                                        Hi CrazyOne,
                                                                                                                        One last question - what were any problems noted by reviewers about the less expensive Kitchenaid with the one-piece jar? I had decided to buy it at Target in black for $99. But if there IS $100 worth of difference I'll order the amazon $200 model. Seriously, this is it. Just let me know what's questionable/wrong with the less expensive non-pro line Kitchenaid. Target does not sell the pro line.
                                                                                                                        THANKS!
                                                                                                                        Now who's the crazy one? (me - but I'm hoping to share some great thick-shake recipes with you very soon!))

                                                                                                                        1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                                          cheetobrain Jul 28, 2007 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                          Niki, this information has been given in various posts above. I suggest you head over to amazon.com and read the reviews of each of the blenders. Each has many reviews so it should give you a good idea of the pros and cons of each.

                                                                                                                    3. Romanmk Jul 27, 2007 07:56 PM

                                                                                                                      I've got a Vitamix. It is a little too loud. But when I make a puree of rehydrated dried chiles for Mexican dishes I don't have to strain any seeds, ribs, or skin. Saves me a step and a strainer to wash. I'm very happy with it. I also like that you don't have to disassemble the blades to clean it. It makes fruit smoothies sweetened with sorbet that are awesome. Love to make them with nectarines. I can't imagine owning a Blendtec because it's supposed to be even louder.

                                                                                                                      1. e
                                                                                                                        embee Jul 27, 2007 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                        Okay niki, after long and anguished debate, I decided that you have earned a bit more than I should post here. So please check the email address posted on your Chowhound page.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: embee
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                                                                                                                          EAH Jul 27, 2007 09:21 PM

                                                                                                                          Well, after years of thorough research, feedback from others, and much internal anguish, I finally bit the bullet and ordered the Vita Mix 5000 yesterday. I haven't received it yet but I must say I am excited as hell to get it!!!!
                                                                                                                          The final straw was a craving for a Jamba Juice yesterday. I ordered my usual and as I was waiting I asked the manager what blender they use...Sure enuf: Vita Mix

                                                                                                                        2. j
                                                                                                                          Jimmy Buffet Jul 28, 2007 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                          Niki, it is high time that you got a blender. This post could go on forever and several of us could die from natural causes while you try to decide. So I, in my infinite kindness, will make the decision for you...

                                                                                                                          Buy a Vitamixer.
                                                                                                                          http://www.vitamix.com/

                                                                                                                          Do it now.

                                                                                                                          That is an order.

                                                                                                                          No need to thank me.

                                                                                                                          Enjoy your kale and pear smoothies. http://www.vitamix.com/household/heal...

                                                                                                                          If I die of natural causes before you decide on a blender, you can have my Vitamixer...

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Jimmy Buffet
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                                                                                                                            niki rothman Aug 1, 2007 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                            Jimmy - While I love your macho "take-charge" coolness of an ultimatum, my husband thinks spending $400 on a blender is insane. (we had a long, and for him annoying, conversation about which blender to buy at Target Monterey while on our little vacation). Turned out that although they list most of our finalists on the website, they had none on the shelves. Boy, was I steamed - just on general principles I never enter those megalomarts because they have a tendency to bring on panic attacks.

                                                                                                                            BUT,,, I came home, did MORE research (THANKS EMBEE! YOU ROCK!) and looking at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Bestbuy websites, they both appear to have many high powered Kitchenaids with the solid, un-detachable jar/motor assembly.

                                                                                                                            In fact, it's an embarassment of riches - they both have lots of models and I don't have model numbers of which ones are best. Someone did say the Kitchenaid "Pro" line was tops (with the non-detachable jar) but none of them say they are this "Pro" line.

                                                                                                                            Now, I'm going to ask any of you who don't hate me yet to go me one last favor. Check out the Kitchenaid blenders at bestbuy.com and bedbathandbeyond.com and let me know which you think are the best choices and why.

                                                                                                                            God bless you all for your so very kind and compassionate help, dare I call it love?
                                                                                                                            I trust you - that's such an important spiritual treasure - chowhounds are the BEST!

                                                                                                                          2. j
                                                                                                                            Jimmy Buffet Jul 30, 2007 02:15 PM

                                                                                                                            >> my husband, Richard, had to start going to Weight Watchers (where, consequently, he discovered he loves their low-cal thickshakes)?

                                                                                                                            And btw Niki, could you please post some of the milkshake recipes he likes? My butt needs to lose some weight also -- seems like a losing battle. And I'll bet you're as skinny as a rail like my wife is....

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Jimmy Buffet
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                                                                                                                              cheetobrain Jul 31, 2007 01:51 PM

                                                                                                                              well, I'm not Niki, but I can tell you when I was dieting I LOVED slim fast powder blended up in the blender with a banana, milk and ice. It made a thick creamy shake that was more palatable than simply mixing slimfast with milk. Sometimes I added a bit of peanut butter as well. Adds calories, but honestly those things are so light in calories that you can add extra goodies adn still have a yummy low cal treat.

                                                                                                                              1. re: cheetobrain
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                Jimmy Buffet Jul 31, 2007 06:52 PM

                                                                                                                                Did you use vanilla SlimFast as your base?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Jimmy Buffet
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                                                                                                                                  cheetobrain Jul 31, 2007 07:55 PM

                                                                                                                                  I had both vanilla and chocolate. I prefer the vanilla for "add ins" and the chocolate I would just blend up with milk and ice for a chocolate shake-like treat.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Jimmy Buffet
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                                                                                                                                niki rothman Aug 1, 2007 10:19 AM

                                                                                                                                Jimmy, I love you! Skinny as a rail, my wide ass! Nope, I'm a 200 pounder, but on me it looks fine, what can I say - I'm happy with my weight. But Richard has a giant gut that he needs to lose about 50 pounds of. Well, 'nuff said. I love him dearly and support his weight loss efforts unconditionally. I try to make delicious food and expand the veg. & Fruit components, while decreasing the fat and starch components.

                                                                                                                                About shakes...YUM! I don't go in for a lot of chemicla - dyes and preservatives. But some chemicals, like carageenan and agar, gums - are thickeners which are naturally derived from vegetable sources and are OK - so go to the supermarket and read labels. Stock up on some tasty sounding ones - just buy one of each to decide which you like and return and that are awful for a crdit (bring in packaging and receipt).

                                                                                                                                OK, so about making the shake once you are at home. You can use those packets of commercial shake mix as a jumping off point and add fresh and more delicious ingredients of your own.

                                                                                                                                I like chocolate and some fruit shakes. Chocolate is ice cubes, nonfat milk powder, vanilla extract, chocolate extract is available - optional, a very good unsweetened cocoa powder - I use Ghirardelli, splenda artificial sweetner. Malt powder would be a yummy ingredient. Just experiment until you get the taste just right and write down the winning recipe so you won't forget.

                                                                                                                                You could use low cal ice cream and sorbets too.

                                                                                                                                For fruity shakes, Trader Joes sells wonderful frozen fruits (love the mango!), add a little fresh squeezed oj perhaps, ice cubes, artificial sweetner (splenda).
                                                                                                                                For richer taste use more frozen fruit and less ice cubes. Or make ice cubes out of fruit juices. All supermarkets sell unsweetened frozen fruits - so just be sure they contain no added sugar.

                                                                                                                                Play around and don't be afraid to experiment. You could also go to the the home cooking board here and ask for some delicious low-cal thick shake drinks. As soon as I get that horribly elusive blender I'll be checking out thickshake recipes there myself!

                                                                                                                                Good luck and thanks again for all your help!

                                                                                                                              3. cookiejesus Aug 1, 2007 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                Unless you can shell out for a Vita-mix or a Blendtec, go for the Oster Beehive (there's a professional series one).

                                                                                                                                1. b
                                                                                                                                  bear Aug 1, 2007 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                                  Niki,

                                                                                                                                  We're all waiting with bated breath for you to choose and report back. The July/August 2006 Cooks Illustrated rated souped-up blenders. Both the Vitamix 5000 and the Kitchenaid Pro Line Chef's Blender made the recommended list. No model numbers listed. You have to join the website or find the back issue to read the whole article. Not to push you over the edge with another suggestion, but they also really liked L'Equip R. P.M. for $134, with 900 watts. The article lists watts and rpm for the tested models, so you may want to check it out.

                                                                                                                                  1. n
                                                                                                                                    niki rothman Aug 1, 2007 02:19 PM

                                                                                                                                    The salesman at Bed Bath & Beyond wants me to buy the Waring Pro stainless with the one piece, attached to the jar blade. He says it's the one all the bars use, that it is the only one that has crucial inner parts made of metal, and that it is very easy to use, has 1100 W motor, and is chrome with a very sturdy tempered glass jar.
                                                                                                                                    UPC # 40072105180

                                                                                                                                    On the "con" side - the WSJ says the blade seems flimsy. The wide spout caused drinks to spill when pouring. But the WSJ studied a $79 model and noted better quality components were available at higher price points. The one I am considering is $149, which would seem to place it in a better neighborhood. I do have a 20 % off coupon plus a $ 5 coupon I can use at BB&B.

                                                                                                                                    Comments???

                                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                      yayadave Aug 1, 2007 04:44 PM

                                                                                                                                      What does it mean "the WSJ says the blade seems flimsy"? If the blade wasn't up to the job or broke under hard use, maybe it is flimsey. If it does the job, it ain't. What's with "seems flimsey"?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                        e
                                                                                                                                        embee Aug 1, 2007 08:46 PM

                                                                                                                                        The commercial Waring has a great rep. It's some of the consumer models that suck. If the controls are any more complex than one toggle switch, it's likely not the one you want.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: embee
                                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                                          niki rothman Aug 2, 2007 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                                          Hi Embee,
                                                                                                                                          I cannot thank you enough for your "extra" help! It made great reading while I rode shotgun down to Montereyy.
                                                                                                                                          The blender the BB&B guy touts is the Waring Pro stainless 1100 watts, sealed glass jar, 149.99.
                                                                                                                                          UPC - 40072105180. Stated easy to use. Used in all the bars...
                                                                                                                                          If BB&B doesn't have the commercial model you recommend, where could I buy one?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: embee
                                                                                                                                            n
                                                                                                                                            niki rothman Aug 2, 2007 07:25 AM

                                                                                                                                            Hi again embee,
                                                                                                                                            I called Kitchenaid. I'm pretty much settled on the Kitchenaid $99 black 5 speed that got best overall from WSJ and a 69 from that other one you emailed. I have a $5 coupon and a %20 off coupon I can use on it. So that will bring it down to $75. I love a bargain. We're all set for a 10:30 etd. If anyone has any last minute brainwaves.
                                                                                                                                            P.S.
                                                                                                                                            I gave up on the Waring because it seems impossible to be sure after all I've read here (especially in the last few minutes, trying to compare the retailer websites and the consumer surveys and our posts) and online resources that seem equally ambiguous, which is or is not the rec. one and which is the problematic one and with my luck you know which one I'd wind up with!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                                                            bear Aug 2, 2007 05:04 AM

                                                                                                                                            For what it's worth, Cooks Illustrated liked the higher-end Waring 2-Speed MegaMic for everything but ice crushing and put it in the Recommended list. /(/4249, 746 watts,)

                                                                                                                                            They didn't like the lower-end Waring Pro PBB as much, and put it in the Not Recommended list. ($129, 390 watts.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bear
                                                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                                                              niki rothman Aug 2, 2007 06:37 AM

                                                                                                                                              Hi bear,
                                                                                                                                              Please see/reply to my recent post to embee, direcly above. i.e. Where does one find the model you suggest?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                bear Aug 2, 2007 08:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                After reading customer reviews on Amazon and Cooking.com, I'd say go for the KitchenAid. The reviews were decent, but not glowing, so I'd go for the terrific bargain.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: bear
                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                  niki rothman Aug 2, 2007 08:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, the glowing reviews seem reserved for the Vitamix and the Blendtec, (and my husband made a nasty noise when i mentioned those prices) or were you still thinking of a different lower priced model? And you know what, since I'm getting this Kitchenaide only about a half mile from my cramped San Francisco apartment, if it does not crush ice perfectly, it will go right on back to the store and I'll buy the Waring instead.
                                                                                                                                                  I did just look at your candidates - those 2 Waring models - the store clerks were clueless when I tried to get info on model numbers and proper names - so frustrating - so I feel I never would be sure if I was getting the good or not so good Waring - unless maybe I find a better resource than I have now. Your kind help just shows me how little both I and the store clerks, actually know.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                                                                    niki rothman Aug 2, 2007 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                    WOW!!!
                                                                                                                                                    Almost 200 posts all about MY little ole blender!
                                                                                                                                                    Well, my dear chowhounds, we're off to BB&B armed with coupons to purchase the top rated WSJ pick - the Kitchenaid 5 speed polycarbon jar blender $75.

                                                                                                                                                    Then to TJ's for cocoa, milk, frozen fruit - I do believe I've got some ice cubes all set to rock n' roll!
                                                                                                                                                    Super-ultra thanks, everybody!
                                                                                                                                                    I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                                      e
                                                                                                                                                      embee Aug 2, 2007 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Niki, if it doesn't crush the ice perfectly, buy the $#@^ Braun as I did. Half the price, no problems, and the gasket hasn't leaked yet.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: embee
                                                                                                                                                        n
                                                                                                                                                        niki rothman Aug 2, 2007 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Hi embee,
                                                                                                                                                        Just got home with the $#@^ Kitchenaid - paid $80 - the clerks at BB&B said they have a bunch of blenders but this is their fave. But just in case, WHERE did you buy your Braun?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                                          e
                                                                                                                                                          embee Aug 2, 2007 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                          It's from Cayne's in Markham Ontario (Canada).
                                                                                                                                                          www.cayneshousewares.com

                                                                                                                                                          Not very convenient for you, I suspect :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: embee
                                                                                                                                                            n
                                                                                                                                                            niki rothman Aug 2, 2007 07:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Hi embee,
                                                                                                                                                            Again - Thanks so much. I went to Cayne's website and bookmarked it. I'm sure I'll be exploring it soon. Their price of the Braun is $57 U.S. It's shocking to see how much money the dollar has lost in value over the last 10 years. It is wonderful you are so pleased with your Braun blender. If you have some recipes to share I imagine my next stop now that my proud new Kitchenaid has pride of place on the Kitchen table - will be requesting thick sweet drinks on the home cooking board!
                                                                                                                                                            See you there soon.
                                                                                                                                                            Love,
                                                                                                                                                            Niki

                                                                                                                                            2. a
                                                                                                                                              AppleSpam Aug 4, 2007 03:10 PM

                                                                                                                                              Okay, it's time for an old fashioned throw down. I'm going to clear up some issues here that seem to arise frequently and hopefully put an end to the confusion once and for all. (First I must mention I am in no way affiliated with any company that sells blenders I simply have done a LOT of research)

                                                                                                                                              Before we can really debate the question of lower-end (~$100) blenders versus the aforementioned BlendTec and VitaMix blenders we must examine two things: The consumer market, and the commercial market.

                                                                                                                                              For anyone who would buy a blender at WalMart, Target, etc. one must understand that not any of these products are aimed at the commercial buyer. These are all consumer products marketed for a consumer buyer. Consumer products must meet a few requirements: They must be easy to use, have a low-cost price tag, and out-perform the competition through marketing gimmicks or "new features". To attain these requirements all consumer products must therefore be constructed with extremely cheap components designed to break down quickly or in a very specific time frame, have features which are often invented simply as a selling point, and be simplified enough for a home user to use without reading the manual. The most important thing I will stress here is that consumer products are NOT MADE TO LAST - if they were, then you would have no reason to ever go to WalMart and buy the brand new 2007 model over the 2006. Consumer products need to start breaking down from the day you buy it, and they need to always be lacking in features which can be then implemented in later models. This is why we are called 'consumers', because we literally consume and digest the products - throwing them away for a new one shortly thereafter.

                                                                                                                                              If any of you have had experience with commercial products, on the other hand, then you would understand what it's like to deal with a quality product. Commercial products are aimed at the commercial buyer - and selling points are durability, reliability, and the ability to be repaired when needed. As a commercial buyer you're putting out a much larger sum of money because you're expecting your product to be able to handle demanding stresses of a commercial environment, and when you have a problem and it breaks you need it fixed fast and reliably. Therefore any company selling commercial products needs to have excellent customer service to meet the demands of commercial buyers. These types of products are not designed to be outshadowed by the next years model - they are designed to last, be repaired, and when the time finally comes to be purchased again (not necessarily the new model either!)

                                                                                                                                              With that understanding we can now examine consumer blenders versus commercial blenders.

                                                                                                                                              Companies like Oster, KitchenAid, and Waring all dominate the consumer blender market. These blenders often boast 'attractive' options like Pouring Spouts, Variable 'Presets', Glass containers, and 'disassembleable components for easy cleaning'. From the initial point of vew these sound like great features, but once put into everyday use one sees the downside to this. We have a great example in some of the above points where people were assuming that a non-disassemblable container would make cleanup HARDER instead of easier. The issue of spouts? As some have mentioned, they are hives of bacteria and mold and to use them often requires turning the blender on, which means further processing past the needed point - sometimes destroying the delicate consistency of a blended product. These spouted containers also sometimes don't have a spout-like divet on the top rim leaving you with an extremely messy way to get the product out conventionally. And as far as presets go, if you need 6 buttons to do what you could do with 2 then you're paying for extra features you don't need (sometimes even to up the price on an item worth half as less!).

                                                                                                                                              Before we examine the commercial blenders, most of you will say, "I'd love to have something better but I just can't validate spending so much money on a blender!" This is where one must step outside the 'consumer' box and examine things at a down-to-earth realist level. If you're spending money on plastic parts, with a limited lifetime warranty, on a model that will be obsolete in 2 years you're already throwing your money away. Without even getting into a discussion on mechanical engineering one must be able to understand that regardless you still only get what you pay for. That universal law has existed since the beginning of the industrial revolution. If you spend this amount of money on a product, nothing is going to increase the value of the product (save collectors value) throughouth the course of your ownership. If you bought an extremely high end product in the 1950's chances are you still have it and it works just as well as the day you bought it today. This means the original expensive product has only deprecated in value slightly. However, if you spend $25 on a kitchen gadget, chances are it will end up in a 50-Cent broken gadget box at a rummage sale 5 years later. We must step outside the common idea that everything we buy will break down eventually so don't spend much money on it in the first place. This is what is fueling these companies making time-limited products and WalMart pushing them on to us at a discount. We make more trash then we know what to do with, but I digress.

                                                                                                                                              Commercial blenders such as the BlendTec Titan and the VitaMix Vita Prep 3 are built to last. If you examine the mechanical engineering behind these you will find a few key features: LEXAN (BlendTec) or POLYCARBONATE (VitaMix) CONTAINERS which withstand extreme punishment and don't crack when dropped (try that with a cheap plastic container or even a thick glass one). HEAVIER MOTORS (did anyone ever teach you that when you have a motor, the heavier it is the better?) with thicker gauged wire - this means less heat builds up in the motor and you need LESS cooling even with higher horse power! DULLER BLADES - true, professional blenders BLEND they don't CHOP, a razor sharp blade is only needed when you don't have the power to break things apart easily. This means that the blades won't dull quickly and lose performance since they don't rely on the sharpness of the blade in the first place. HIGH HORSEPOWER which is the most crucial aspect in a blender. With less power the motor becomes stressed when used frequently or on difficult products, this leads to increased heat buildup and therefore increased degredation of the motor. This means that in a cheap blender every time you crush ice you're burning up money you spent on your blender. With a high horsepower blender (2.5-3.5) you're not reaching the blender's plateau of stress on the majority of things you'll blend, which leads to longer life overall. RELIABLE WARRANTYS are the heart of any good commercial blender. These blenders are being sold to companies like StarBucks, Jamba Juice, etc and must be able to be deployed to numerous locations and withstand the stress of constant use throughout the day. When a blender breaks down it MUST be fixed, and therefore unlike cheap blenders which contain sealed plastic housing which cannot be fixed in a factory, commercial blenders have profesional servicable parts which means instead of throwing away the entire blender you can actually have it fixed at a fraction of the cost of a new blender. This is why commercial establishments use these types of machines - if you've ever worked in one of these industries you would know that having a breakdown is a relatively common occurance with commercial machinery and getting it fixed is a part of MAINTAINENCE (something that the home user often never does once).

                                                                                                                                              Now that you know the benefits of a commercial blender over a consumer blender, let's examine some specifics between the VitaMix line and the BlendTec line.

                                                                                                                                              Both offer Consumer versions and Commercial versions of their blenders. VitaMix has the VitaMix 4500, 5000, etc aimed at the consumer market and BlendTec has the BlendTec Home. These blenders are made from the same materials as their commercial line only with a slightly less powerful motor. Since these companies specialize in commercial products you will see the highest level of quality when it comes to their consumer line. The warranties are often aimed specifically towards a consumer and will generally be longer than their commercial counterpart (example: the VitaMix 7 year warranty).

                                                                                                                                              So if the consumer version is almost just as good as the commercial version, why even consider the commercial version? Because it's the little numbers that count. If you examine a VitaMix 5000 you will notice that it has a 2+ HP motor and a radial cooling fan. 2+HP sounds like a lot when you compare it to a cheap Oster but when you step into the Raw Foods market or you look at making smoothies with things like Raspberries and Blueberries you will find something rarely discussed among blender sellers: the ability to pulverize seeds and make nut butter. To be able to break apart the tiny seeds in raspberries and blueberries you need more than 2 peak horse power, you have to break the 3 HP barrier. The VitaMix Vita Prep 3 (1005) is a 3+ HP motor (37,000 RPM) and is capable of blending nuts into a smooth butter with no chunks without overheating and breaking up tiny particles like raspberry seeds. This extra horsepower and RPMs also means less time spent blending, which means less heat added (something that raw food vegans pay attention to) and less over-processing. As far as the BlendTec it's once again more of a power issue, the Home version is a smaller motor than the commercial ABC and Titan series. However, the BlendTec Home is superior to the VitaMix 5000 in power regardless.

                                                                                                                                              Now that you have a reason to consider the commercial line of these commercial blenders, let's finish up by examining the difference between a BlendTec and a VitaMix. There are a few CRUCIAL things to note here, and this is what is causing me debate over which product to buy (I'm in the market for one myself!)

                                                                                                                                              IF YOU HAVE BEEN SKIMMING THIS POST, THIS IS THE PART YOU SHOULD READ!

                                                                                                                                              I currently work at a Stone Creek Coffee (www.stonecreekcoffee.com) coffee house, and we use VitaMix blenders. I have prior worked at a Caribou Coffee and at that location we used BlendTec ABC blenders. Therefore the following information is through my own research AND firsthand experience.

                                                                                                                                              BOTH blenders feature a solid container, there are no screws to unscrew, o-rings to take out and clean, or leakages to be had. They can both be immersed completely in water or put into a dishwasher again and again without any ill effect (At Stone Creek we hand-wash our blender containers and then place them in an automated sanitizer machine which works like a dishwasher). I have never experienced a single leak with either machine's container.

                                                                                                                                              BOTH blenders feature dulled blades, reducing the chance of cutting yourself and making cleanup entirely unintimidating.

                                                                                                                                              BOTH blenders are capable of creating the 'Whirlpool' effect, which is crucial in drawing product from the top to the bottom to be thoroughly blended.

                                                                                                                                              BOTH blenders have a SQUARE container, which also assists in creating the whirlpool effect and makes it much easier to get product out with a spatula.

                                                                                                                                              BOTH blenders have sound\splatter enclosures which can be purchased from the manufacturer.

                                                                                                                                              The VITAMIX blender has FOUR BLADES which serves to more effectively chop up large chunks of product (like frozen strawberries or whole pieces of pineapple). YES, the four blades can be a little more difficult to get product out of than the two blades, however cleaning the four blades is just as easy as the two blades.

                                                                                                                                              The BLENDTEC blender has TWO BLADES which serves to more effectively create a whirlpool to draw the product to the bottom. This is the primary reason that the blendtec blender does NOT come with a tamper. Blendtec feels that (and even advertises) the fact that they do not include any tamper of any kind because the blades are able to draw the product efficiently towards the bottom. This is FALSE, as a few people have stated above, a two blade system is NOT ENTIRELY EFFECTIVE at drawing the product down and when making things like nut butter or blending large frozen vegetables and fruits you WILL have leftover chunks.

                                                                                                                                              The VITAMIX blender's 64oz container has measurement markings all the way up to the 64oz mark, allowing you to mix large quantities of product precisely. The BLENDTEC's 64oz container only has measurements up to 32oz which means you'll need to measure outside of the container first.

                                                                                                                                              The VITAMIX blender's lid can be pressed and 'locked' into place on the top of the container.
                                                                                                                                              The BLENDTEC blender's lid is held in by friction alone and without a sound enclosing container must be pressed down upon to keep it from coming loose in large or chunky blends.

                                                                                                                                              The VITAMIX comes with a 'Wet' blade container. This set of blades is best suited for smoothies, ice, soups, sauces, etc. VitaMix also sells a DRY blade container, designed to throw product up instead of draw it down to better mix dry ingredients. This has been proven to be minimally beneficial over the wet blade container, and most people find that you get just as good results with the wet blade. This effectively makes the wet blade a 'universal' blade.

                                                                                                                                              The BLENDTEC comes with a 'Wet\Dry' blade container. This means you really gain no advantage either way, and if you wanted to have an advantage you're out of luck.

                                                                                                                                              The VITAMIX blender comes with a variety of speed \ timing options depending on the model purchased. Their best commercial model (The VitaPrep 3) has a variable speed control knob, which can be changed in real time while blending. It doesn't have an auto-shutoff timer.

                                                                                                                                              The BLENDTEC blender has a programmable set of speed buttons that serve to allow you to create a custom plan for a specific blend. This is beneficial if you wish to create the same drink multiple times a day with the push of a button, however the VitaMix allows for the same amount of customization using the speed dial.

                                                                                                                                              The BLENDTEC blender's preset buttons are all timed (50 seconds) which means if you wish to heat soup or anyting else taking longer than 50 seconds you must be present to press the button again.

                                                                                                                                              WITH ALL THESE FEATURES IN MIND, I therefore conclude with a final and VERY IMPORTANT note regarding my comparison of the two blenders.

                                                                                                                                              CAPTIVATION is the amount of air drawn into the product while blending. High levels of captivation leads to further oxidization reducing shelf life and eliminating nutrients faster. This also leads to a foamy smoothie. The BLENDTEC blender actually RELIES on captivation to accomplish its blending capability. The two blade system creates a powerful vortex drawing product and AIR from the top into the bottom and blending it furiously into the product. The VitaMix blender, however, has a four blade system which still creates a vortex but reduces the amount of air drawn into the bottom. Because of this reduction of captivation the VitaMix comes with a tamper. From the BlendTec crowd the tamper is viewed as a nuisance and unneeded, but if you try and blend something like nut butter or whole strawberries in the BlendTec you'll find yourself having to stop the blender and shoving pieces back to the bottom - something accomplished much easier with a tamper. Therefore I believe that the TAMPER, the FOUR BLADES, and the REAL-TIME VARIABLE SPEED CONTROL all put the VitaMix above the BlendTec. You have less captivation, less blending time, and less heat.

                                                                                                                                              My Choice - the VitaMix Vita Prep 3 (Model 1005) weighing in at 3+ HP and 37,000 RPM.

                                                                                                                                              For anyone who chose to read all of this, thank you! I hope it has been informative in some accord.

                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: AppleSpam
                                                                                                                                                a
                                                                                                                                                AppleSpam Aug 4, 2007 09:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                *Cavitation

                                                                                                                                                1. re: AppleSpam
                                                                                                                                                  yayadave Aug 5, 2007 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I ain't so sure. Cavitation, creating a partial vacuum in a liquid, may cause captivation, "the amount of air drawn into the product while blending," as you define it. In your paragraph, I think "captivation" was what you were talking about.

                                                                                                                                                  At any rate, you sure did cover the ground thoroughly!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: AppleSpam
                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                  niki rothman Aug 7, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Baruch Hashem!
                                                                                                                                                  As we Jews yell to thank God.
                                                                                                                                                  AppleSpam you surely had the angels helping you write that.
                                                                                                                                                  And since I'm the O.P., I'll take the privelege to thank you (for your kindness) for all 38 people who have posted to help me get the best possible blender.
                                                                                                                                                  AppleSpam,
                                                                                                                                                  You are fabulous!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AppleSpam
                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                    MacGuffin May 10, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                    I STRONGLY recommend not buying a Vita-Prep 3 for home use only because the warranty is for a much shorter time (I believe it's limited three years). It has the extra horsepower for cooling purposes: because it's a commercial machine, it's assumed that it will be running longer and more frequently than a household machine and it would be a nuisance if the protective feature that shuts off the machine rather than let it overheat were to be tripped. The 5200 functions exactly the same, i.e., same RPM, same variable speeds, same controls, but comes with a seven--year warranty and toll-free phone support. I had someone in the commercial division explain to me that even though Vitamix employees are entitled to the same discount on commercial and household machines, no one ever opts for a Vita-Prep for home use.

                                                                                                                                                  2. j
                                                                                                                                                    Jimmy Buffet Aug 5, 2007 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                    OK Niki... here we go...

                                                                                                                                                    Gimme a V
                                                                                                                                                    Gimme an I
                                                                                                                                                    Gimme a T
                                                                                                                                                    ...

                                                                                                                                                    1. Bramble Aug 5, 2007 04:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                      So, Niki, thanks for prompting a $400.00 blow-out on a Vitamix on my part ;-)! Had the exact same question myself, and this thread prompted me to do other research also (many thanks to all you most helpful posters), and I chose the Vitamix over the Blend Tec in good part because of the available smaller (1 qt) container. I can return it within 30 days if it doesn't work out.

                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bramble
                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                        Jimmy Buffet Aug 6, 2007 12:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Niki, Niki, Niki, I ask you...just HOW MUCH MORE INFORMATION do you need? Do you not realize that resistance is futile? Give in, get a Vitamix, and then you can sleep....sleep.......

                                                                                                                                                        Sorry. Its zuchinni harvest time and I keep thinking of science fiction movies and pods.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                                                                                          Bramble Aug 6, 2007 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Now, now, Jimmy B, hush yourself. You and I know we're right, but she's gone and gotten herself a Kitchenaid. Maybe A Vitamix will bless her future.

                                                                                                                                                          Besides, your posts are part of what convinced me- thanks!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bramble
                                                                                                                                                            n
                                                                                                                                                            niki rothman Aug 7, 2007 10:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Now is NOT the time to hush your selves! Because I want you all to sashay over to the home cooking board and respond to my post asking for great thick shake recipes!

                                                                                                                                                            I bought the black Kitchenaid ($80) and it looks good and works great.
                                                                                                                                                            (note to AppleSpam - 4 blades)
                                                                                                                                                            It will probably make about 4 thick chocolate or fruity shakes a week. Period.
                                                                                                                                                            Nothing to get obsessive or cultlike about. The BB&B cashier assured me I could return it at ANY time in the far, far future even without a receipt or box and get a full refund.

                                                                                                                                                            Now it's time to change gears:

                                                                                                                                                            MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.......

                                                                                                                                                            LET'S ALL MAKE THICK, DELICIOUS, THICK SHAKES!!!

                                                                                                                                                            I'M GOING OVER TO THE HOME COOKING BOARD NOW AND I'M GOING TO POST A REQUEST FOR THICK SHAKE RECIPES!
                                                                                                                                                            SO PLEASE DO POST YOUR FAVORITES.

                                                                                                                                                            AND A GREAT BIG IMAGINARY HUG TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU BLENDER OWNING CHOWHOUNDS FOR HELPING ME SO VERY, VERY MUCH. IT REALLY WAS A LOT OF WORK. BUT I GOT A BLENDER AND I'M HAPPY. WHO NEEDS MORE THAN THAT?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                                              Bramble Aug 7, 2007 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Yay!!! Let's keep focused on the purpose of these darn things! Thank, Niki ;-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bramble
                                                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                                                Jimmy Buffet Aug 7, 2007 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                >> she's gone and gotten herself a Kitchenaid. Maybe A Vitamix will bless her future.

                                                                                                                                                                It was to be a gift for Niki Rothman. With this, she could have studied smoothies on the other planets.

                                                                                                                                                                Hmmm... her CAPS LOCK IS ON. She must be making Mucho Moka Smoothies.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                                                Nikki NYC Sep 16, 2009 03:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Even though two years have passed since Niki bought her blender, this thread is still extremely helpful to me in my quest for the perfect machine. I only have one question - Niki: are you still confident with your purchase?

                                                                                                                                                        2. Bramble Aug 11, 2007 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Oh my goodness, I am impressed with our new Vita mix! We have spent the first day with it putting it through its paces, and, oh my oh my! Just not the same as my blender.So thank you, Jimmy B and all you other Vita mix fans- I am happy and looking forward to a long and useful relationship with our new friend!

                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bramble
                                                                                                                                                            omotosando Sep 2, 2007 03:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Bramble, where did you get your Vitamix? Even though Niki wasn't converted, I have been and am about to buy one to replace my horrible KitchenAid blender. (The KitchenAid's motor is almost shot, it doesn't chop ice well, it leaks and is almost impossible to clean - I can't wait to say good riddance to it).

                                                                                                                                                            Since I am more likely to turn on the blender than the stove, a high-end blender is so worth it to me.

                                                                                                                                                            On the weight watchers' front, I can guarantee everyone that you can make a tasty lo-cal shake without need of buying any of those nasty, artificial packets from Weight Watchers. I take 6 ounces of milk, a little cold water, lots of ice and 1/2 tablespoon of Scharffenberger natural unsweetened cocoa powder (only 20 calories) and some sweetener (I use Somersweet, but Spenda also works fine - I haven't tried it with stevia or agave nector or other sugar substitutes). When the Scharfeenberger runs outs, I am going to try Callebaut Cocoa Powder
                                                                                                                                                            http://www.chocolatesource.com/produc...
                                                                                                                                                            just to experiment. When I am not in the mood for cocoa, I do the exact same thing except I use Japanese matcha powder in lieu of the cocoa.

                                                                                                                                                            I can't wait to get my VitaMix!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: omotosando
                                                                                                                                                              yayadave Sep 2, 2007 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                              You'll probably get more responses if you just start a new thread. You can get them directly from Vita Mix, but there may be better deals out there.

                                                                                                                                                              I just sat down with a banana, 1/2 C milk, a heaping T of peanut butter, a heaping T of Nutella, and a handful of ice whooped up in the Vita Mix. I think someone posted this on a board. I don't know if it is WW approved, but it's good, refreshing, filling, and cheap. I'm hoping it'll make up for the fried lunch. TeeHee

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: omotosando
                                                                                                                                                                Bramble Sep 2, 2007 10:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I bought mine online- https://secure.vitamix.com/acb/stores...
                                                                                                                                                                We are using ours at least twice daily, mostly for smoothies. It's so easy not having to peel or sieve, especially considering we like lots of frozen berries.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bramble
                                                                                                                                                                  omotosando Sep 3, 2007 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks. Your link is great - in addition to selling VitaMix's, the site has a lot of recipes that you can sort by various categories.

                                                                                                                                                                  Pursuant to the suggestion, of yayadave, I have posted a new topic on the VitaMix
                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/437703

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: omotosando
                                                                                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                                                                                    niki rothman Sep 4, 2007 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Hi omotosando,

                                                                                                                                                                    Can you help me, please? i tried to do a search for smoothy blender type drinks on the Vita Mix website and came up with nothing. What i did was to check "beverages" in the search area of the recipes - how was it that you found the blender drinks on the Vita Mix website?
                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                                                                      omotosando Sep 4, 2007 04:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      If you use Bramble's link, and then hit the link for "VitaMix Recipes" at the top of the page (third link in after "shop" and "products") you can do a search for recipes sorted by characteristic.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: omotosando
                                                                                                                                                                      Bramble Sep 4, 2007 09:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Here's another link for recipes- it's on the commercial side of the Vitamix site- http://www.vitamix.com/foodservice/recipes/beverage.asp . There's also a Yahoo group- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vitamix... that I find helpful. I do like how it bangs seeds and skins so smooth- I need the fiber.

                                                                                                                                                              2. r
                                                                                                                                                                rswpub Mar 6, 2008 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                This was a great thread with a lot of helpful input! I'm having a nasty problem with my current blender and am wondering if there is a different blender out there that avoids this.

                                                                                                                                                                The problem is with a bluish-black liquid that is seeping into my food from around the blade area at the base of the blender jar. I've never noticed it before until yesterday but I suspect it's been happening all along. The only reason I noticed it yesterday is because I was blending a small quantity of fresh apples instead of making smoothies as I normally do. I think I noticed the dark liquid because there wasn't enough other liquid in the jar to dilute it away. It kinda freaked me out...realizing that this stuff has probably been getting into my food all along! I'm thinking it's either some type of lubricating oil that is used to keep the blade shaft lubricated, or else it's the result of liquid seeping into the shaft each time the blender is used, corroding the shaft, and then seeping back out as "rusty" water or something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                Has anyone else ever had this problem? I can see from the design of my blender that the liquid in the blender comes into direct contact with the shaft that holds the blade. Are there any blenders out there that are designed differently so that this problem can not happen? For the record I currently have one of the cheap $20 blenders from Wal-Mart (not sure which kind...I'm at work right now).

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks,
                                                                                                                                                                Scott

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rswpub
                                                                                                                                                                  mimilulu Mar 7, 2008 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, I've had that problem many times with my old Oster blenders. That was my clue to purchase a replacement blade.

                                                                                                                                                                  After this happened a few years ago, I purchased a Kitchenaid blender and it was not as powerful as the Oster cheapie. You can get the replacement blades at Walmart.

                                                                                                                                                                  I've since graduated to a Breville IKON blender and love it (despite the bashing it's been getting here on Chowhound). Took a little getting used to but it's the only one that really pulverizes the ice (without the expense of a Vitamix).

                                                                                                                                                                2. i
                                                                                                                                                                  ikfsohk Jun 18, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I think you need some extra information about this.
                                                                                                                                                                  So you can made a thinking.

                                                                                                                                                                  http://astore.amazon.com/cuisinart.ch...

                                                                                                                                                                  Hope its help you a lot

                                                                                                                                                                  1. r
                                                                                                                                                                    RGC1982 Jun 18, 2008 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I have a Kitchenaid, the pretty red model you see on cooking shows. It works well and seems to do a good job for most things, but I am not so sure about those flat, touchpad buttons. I am always struggling to start and stop the thing. While they are easier to clean (lots easier, think about tomato sauce leaking on them), I kind of wish it had regular push buttons. Maybe it's just me...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. t
                                                                                                                                                                      tom45424 Aug 27, 2008 09:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Buy a commercial hamilton beach bar blender (ebay). If it has new blades, buy commercial blades, they sit taller in the jar so clog less. The commercial blades will also fit most Hb and proctor silex blenders and blade assembly cost about $12.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. r
                                                                                                                                                                        riverwalk Jun 11, 2009 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Blendtec is the best, imo, better than the Vitamix for many practical reasons. There is no other competition. People who are loyal to old brands because they lasted so long fail to realize that those companies and their products have all de-volved over the years. They are almost all owned by other people now and most are made in China. Product loyalty is not a good reason to buy ANY appliance in this generation. You want a good deal, you do your research, you read reviews that are pretty current, not stuff like, "My mother had one for 30 years." The one somebody's mother had doesn't exist any more. You compare nuts and bolts, horsepower, warranty service, practical considerations (will it fit on my countertop?" and read good and bad comments from people who actually have one that was manufactured in the last 3 years or so. Then you can get a true picture. I did all this and more and ended up with the Blendtec and I just absolutely love it. I have had great customer service from really nice health nuts in Utah any time I needed it. Watch their videos on their homesite and get an idea of what it offers. The extra cost (mine was 390 4 years ago, and it still is today) is so worth it, because it still works like the day I bought it.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: riverwalk
                                                                                                                                                                          Politeness Jun 11, 2009 05:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          riverwalk: "Product loyalty is not a good reason to buy ANY appliance in this generation. You want a good deal, you do your research, you read reviews that are pretty current, not stuff like, "My mother had one for 30 years." The one somebody's mother had doesn't exist any more."

                                                                                                                                                                          No disagreement with that. But is the Blendtec worth six (6!) of these:

                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.ikitchen.com/bo600wa56blm....

                                                                                                                                                                          The Bosch MMB2000UC is a solid tank of a blender. Noisy as a jet on take-off, but it does everything you can ask of it.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: riverwalk
                                                                                                                                                                            a
                                                                                                                                                                            alternapop May 27, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            yes, this is more or less what i was saying further above... unfortunately it seems that all blenders have their share of problems and a lot of reviews you find don't put the blender to test for a long enough period to test for durability. many consumer reviews either love them (but the review is posted within a month) or hate them (the review is posted after 6 months of use when the motor burns out, etc). it's really difficult to find one that has everything for the average consumer while maintaining a relatively low to medium price point. a friend, who is a chef, told me to just get a good quality basic blender like this Oster: http://amzn.to/lATZJM She said if you really know how to use it, along with being aware that the order of how you put ingredients into it (larger things first), will go a long way for many uses.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alternapop
                                                                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                                                                              bear May 27, 2011 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Funny, I just made another batch of smoothies tonight with both fresh and frozen fruit in my Oster Beehive, and they were great. It's a solid blender at a good price and has held up these past few years to a moderate amount of home use. Of course, results vary depending on what you are blending, but it works well for most things and has decent power.

                                                                                                                                                                              I have no doubt that a Vitamix would be more useful, but I didn't need something that powerful.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                                                                                            mdpilam Feb 8, 2012 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Resurrecting an old thread (let's hope Niki is happy with her blender now), but I am in the same boat (gf wants a new blender - currently have an older 5 speed KitchenAid). Current blender works fine IMO, but she complains that it doesn't get the stuff at the bottom or the sides, and the blades just spin (we make hummus alot using chile arboles, and they often don't get chopped enough. also make salsas and sauces alot.)

                                                                                                                                                                            After all my research, I'm thinking (without spending $400) that a Ninja is the way to go. The Master Prep sounds like the best, as it is practical, multipurpose and affordable. Next would be the Kitchen System Pulse as this seems to be even more multipurpose. Then there's the N600. Next in line was the Oster Beehive, but it seems like this isn't as great as it once was and there could be problems with the plastic fittings. Next was the Kitchen Aid 5 speed polycarbonate and lastly was the Waring Professional.

                                                                                                                                                                            Can you guys give me some reinforcement here and tell me that the Ninja Master Prep is the way to go?

                                                                                                                                                                            TIA

                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                                                                                              Seeker19104 Feb 8, 2012 07:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Not sure what you need...

                                                                                                                                                                              Recently did extensive research for a smoothie maker. OP would have been happy with my choice (and price) of Cuisinart:
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CPB-3...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                                mdpilam Feb 9, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Anyone have experience making salsas (or other stuff like hummus) with chile de arbols? Or other dried peppers? I boil them first, and have had trouble with our current blender with them just sitting at the bottom and on the sides and not getting completely blended (chopped). Also happens with chipotles and some tomato pieces. It's just two of us, so we tend to make smaller batches... I'm thinking about the Ninjas (I like the Master Prep, but gf doesn't like plastic, so probably the Kitchen System Pulse), because they seem to be the best of the mid level blenders, but with all my research I keep coming across some people saying that they didn't like it and am starting to go in a circle again (and the Oster seems very similar to our current KitchenAid 5 sp blender). I would especially like to hear from anyone who has the Kitchen System Pulse, as that doesn't have as many reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                                We have a spice grinder for dried peppers/spices, btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                  sueatmo Feb 9, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  If you aren't making smoothies, then consider a small food processor. Cuisinart makes several sizes, some with a small footprint. I use a food processor to make hummus and salsa. I don't think most blenders do salsas and hummus that well, because of the problem your gf is unhappy about.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Do read reviews before buying--I'd stick with Cuisinart unless there was something that tipped the scales the other way. IMO, KA's quality has deteriorated in the last decade. But I want to stress, this is my opinion. Others may well differ.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                                                    MacGuffin May 10, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    "I don't think most blenders do salsas and hummus that well, because of the problem your gf is unhappy about."

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to agree with you. I HATE blender hummus and I hate it most of all made in my beloved Vita-Mix. Much too fluffy and foofy, too much air.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MacGuffin
                                                                                                                                                                                      scubadoo97 May 10, 2012 01:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've done some salsas in my VitaMix and BlendTec and if you pulse and don't over blend then you can get a good textured salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I happen to like my hummus from the Vitamix compared to using a food prep which I had done for years. Yes different but so far I like it

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                                                                        MacGuffin May 11, 2012 07:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        The Vitamix upgrades both have a pulse feature. I think it's probably overkill.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. westsidegal May 11, 2012 07:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                i make at least 2 ice blendeds every day.
                                                                                                                                                                                my blender of choice:
                                                                                                                                                                                Oster
                                                                                                                                                                                MUST be 500 watts or greater
                                                                                                                                                                                MUST have an ice-crushing blade (i regularly purchase replacement blades online)
                                                                                                                                                                                i much prefer the square-shaped glass container to the other shapes and materials available.
                                                                                                                                                                                a)the glass container easily goes in the dishwasher, won't leach chemicals into the drink, and looks far more attractive because it stays clear.
                                                                                                                                                                                b)the square-shaped blender jar works better than the other shapes when it comes to pouring the blended drink into a glass or a mug that has a smaller diameter than that of the blender container.

                                                                                                                                                                                also, fwiw, my girlfriend's much more expensive kitchen aid is an expensive flop. tried to make an ice blended at her house and no aspect of the machine was adequate.

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