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in search of the perfect blender

goodhealthgourmet Sep 21, 2007 12:38 PM

i confess. i'm a blender freak. i make protein shakes/smoothies at least once a day in addition to soups, purees, etc, so i tend to beat the crap out of my blenders.

i've tried braun. i've tried oster. i've tried black & decker. i've tried villaware. i've tried waring. i've even tried that crazy l'equip with the tachometer.

hated them all.

thus far, kitchen aid & cuisinart are the only ones i've found that create the proper vortex during blending to achieve true emulsification, resulting in the feather-light whipped consistency i prefer in my shakes. however, i've exchanged/returned/burned out/replaced more of each of these two brands than i care to count, and my current kitchen aid stainless professional model is now exhibiting symptoms warning me of its impending demise.

i KNOW people love, love, love the vita-mix, but that thing is enormous [and from what i've heard, horrifically noisy], and i just don't have the counter space for something huge.

having said all that, the endless promos during 'top chef' have gotten me curious about breville blenders. does anyone have experience with this 'hemisphere' technology? i'm considering trying the breville ikon, but i'd love to hear opinions or experiences if any fellow hounds have tried it out.

i'm also open to suggestions for any other brands/models i might have missed.

thanks!

  1. c
    calliope_nh May 28, 2011 07:35 PM

    You could keep your eyes out for an old one. My blender from 1986 died last year and I replaced it with a yard sale find. Sunbeam blender. Stainless with aqua decorations in that funky atomic starburst style. Whip, chop, grind. Heavy metal bast big glass jug. Power enough to power my lawnmower or a small car. It is noisy but i LOVE it and paid about $ 5. I actually have told my daughter to keep the avacado sunbeam hand mixer from my mom's wedding. That has so much more power and tourque than even expensive brands do now.

    1. iL Divo Jan 27, 2011 01:47 PM

      you're in search of the perfect blender? so am I.
      can't wait to see what pops up.
      oh but as you probably read, I gave away my vitamix.

      1. goodhealthgourmet Aug 28, 2010 07:41 PM

        i'm *amazed* at the timing of the resurrection of my 3-year-old thread. i've been making do with the KitchenAid 5-speed for the past couple of years. burned out a couple of them, but the beauty of Bed, Bath & Beyond is that they'll exchange/replace it. anyway, now that i *finally* live in a place with a kitchen that can accommodate a behemoth of a blender, i've been considering taking the plunge and spending the money on the Vitamix. well, i recently started a new job, and it involves a lot of recipe creation, testing and demos, including blender-friendly things like soups, purees and smoothies. lo and behold, when i walked into the office just *this morning* i discovered a brand new Vitamix on my desk waiting for me :) they got me one! of course it's for work so i can't bring it home with me, but at least now i can play with it there and decide if i want to get one of my own.

        for the record, some Bed, Bath & Beyond stores now stock them, and Whole Foods is starting to offer them in select locations next month. it's Vitamix fever!

        10 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          m
          MacGuffin Aug 28, 2010 08:53 PM

          If what they're offering is a Creations, don't go for it. I wouldn't bother with either of the CIA models either. Just get yourself a 5200 if you decide you need one at home.
          One thing you won't be able to appreciate as a new user is its extreme longevity. I know people who've who never bothered to upgrade machines they bought 30 years ago.

          1. re: MacGuffin
            goodhealthgourmet Aug 28, 2010 09:46 PM

            thanks for the tip! fortunately, the one they got me at work is a 5200.

            the 3 models they offer at BB&B are 2 CIAs and the 4500. now thanks to you i know not to cave into the impulse to buy one from them the next time i'm there ;) Whole Foods is actually selling the 5200.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              m
              MacGuffin Aug 29, 2010 05:23 AM

              I'm not sure why they came up with the 4500 but it's the one you really don't want--no variable speed and the lowest and higher speeds are, respectively, faster and slower than the 5200's. The CIA models are foodie-targeted; the 500 has some presets (something I personally can't see the point of) and the other is basically a gussied-up 5200. I haven't seen the cookbooks but I'm certain they're different than the one included with the 5200.
              I'd also suggest buying the "dry" container if you plan to grind spices and grains. Not only is it supposed to do a better job than the everyday "wet" container, but it'll save its appearance as well because grinding dry commodities by themselves cause clouding. Personally, if I thought I'd be grinding grain, I'd go for a KoMo Fidibus Classic stone mill but the people I know who have the dry container really like it and it grinds dry legumes, too, which the stone mills don't.

              1. re: MacGuffin
                goodhealthgourmet Aug 29, 2010 02:40 PM

                yes when i do take the plunge i'll get all the bells & whistles. i grind a lot of nuts, grains, spices & seeds at home so i'll definitely want a dry container.

                thanks again for all the feedback!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  m
                  MacGuffin Aug 29, 2010 02:52 PM

                  Glad to help. :)
                  Nuts and nut butter, however, are for the wet container. Just use the dry for very hard commodities and for kneading bread. There's a lack of symmetry in that the wet container can do everything, including flour and such (albeit not as well as the dry) whereas the dry can only make flour and knead dough.

            2. re: MacGuffin
              JoanN Aug 29, 2010 03:23 PM

              Been researching Vita-Mix and BlendTec machines and just read somewhere (Amazon?) that the only difference between the 5200 and the CIA models is that they come in different colors and with different how-to literature. Is that not true? You say the CIA models are "foodie-targeted." I wouldn't much care who the target audience was if the machine was the same. Do you know specifically how they differ?

              1. re: JoanN
                m
                MacGuffin Aug 29, 2010 03:54 PM

                You're absolutely right--performance is identical. Colors are somewhat different, cookbooks are different (and in fact, an extra one is included with the CIA Pro), there's no such thing as a reconditioned Pro (many people save a nice chunk of change by going that route with the 5200), and the Pro line isn't available direct from Vitamix or through demonstrators; it's carried by high-end vendors (I think Williams-Sonoma might be one) and Amazon. Although they're called "Professional" and one carries the CIA imprimatur, they're still household machines (see what I mean about "foodie-targeted?") and aren't intended for commercial use. There's also a (non-CIA) Pro that has electronic presets, something that doesn't appeal to me but to each his own.
                You can have a look here to compare the Pro models to each other and then research the 5200 if you're so inclined: http://www.vitamix.com/professionalse... .

                1. re: MacGuffin
                  goodhealthgourmet Aug 30, 2010 02:17 PM

                  OK, now i'm curious and confused. if the CIA and 5200 models are basically the same, why did you tell m to steer clear of the CIA?

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    t
                    Tinker Aug 31, 2010 12:33 PM

                    I am interested also. I looked underVitamix.com and am trying to understand the difference if any of these two, CIA and 5200. Please help us, Macguffin.

                    1. re: Tinker
                      m
                      MacGuffin Aug 31, 2010 05:59 PM

                      The only differences are the cosmetics and the cookbooks. Not only is the Professional Series cookbook different than the one included with the 5200 but the CIA model includes a second cookbook as well. Other than that, the Pro CIA, Pro 200, and the 5200 are all the same under the hood, have the same controls, the same warranty, and accommodate the same containers. It's all a matter of what you think you might like. I know that the Pro 500 (with the electronic presets) lists for $100 more than the 5200 and I believe the other two Pro models are somewhat more expensive as well, which is why I suggested just going for the 5200, especially if you're looking to save money (refurbished machines). You also get the advantage of really talking things over, either with a Vitamix sales rep in Cleveland or a local demonstrator. They're VERY nice, as well as honest and upfront about what the machine can do and will give you all the time you need (and it's nice that they earn a commission for their efforts); the customer service crew is just as nice.

                      For the record, I'd like to get my hands on the Pro Series and CIA cookbooks but Vitamix doesn't sell them separately (damn!).

          2. Antilope Aug 28, 2010 05:03 PM

            Cook's Illustrated review of Blenders
            Published March 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated:

            Highly Recommended

            KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender, Model Number KSB580

            Recommended

            Kalorik BL Blender, Model Number 16909

            Recommended with Reservations

            L'Equip RPM Blender, Model Number 228
            Hamilton Beach Dual Wave Blender, Model Number 52147H
            Waring Professional Bar Blender, Model Number MBB518
            Cuisinart SmartPower Premiere 600-Watt Blender, Model Number CBT-500
            Viking Professional Blender, Model Number VBLG01

            Not Recommended

            Hamilton Beach Liquid Blu 5-Speed Blender, Model Number 59207
            Oster Counterforms 2-in-1 Appliance, Model Number BVLB07-L
            Black & Decker Cyclone 12-Speed Blender, Model Number BLC12650HB

            3 Replies
            1. re: Antilope
              Antilope Aug 28, 2010 08:57 PM

              Cook's Illustrated Sep 1, 2009 review
              of Upscale Blenders recommended the following:

              Highly Recommended

              Vita-Mix 5200, Model Number VM1371

              Not Recommended

              Blendtec Total Blender, Model Number TB-621-01

              ***** Paraphrased review *****
              Has too many buttons, too much noise and not able to crush ice.
              Too powerful to make smoothies, turns them to juice, but can't crush ice.
              Only has 2 blades, jar has minimal tapering, this design created air pockets
              between blades and ice, causing the ice to remain out of reach from the
              blades not matter what the speed.

              1. re: Antilope
                t
                Tinker Aug 30, 2010 12:49 PM

                Antilope, thanks so much for the CI blender review. I have the books saved up for about 5 years. I will go back and read the March 2009 CI magazine. I do not have the online CI membership however at this time to see if they have added any additional info.

                1. re: Tinker
                  Antilope Aug 30, 2010 03:07 PM

                  It doesn't appear that they have added anything since the March '09 review.

              2. t
                thomor30 Feb 16, 2008 05:32 PM

                Consumer Reports' Top 10 blenders (score in parenthesis - scored out of 100 possible points)

                1. Vita Mix 5000 (85)
                2. Blendtec Total Blender TB-611-BHM (79)
                3. Breville Ikon BBL600XL (75)
                4. L'Equip 228 (75)
                5. Oster Counterforms BVLBO7-L (72)
                6. Braun PowerMax MX2050 (72) - CONSUMER REPORTS "BEST BUY"
                7. George Foreman Brainstorm GFSB1 (70)
                8. Oster Fusion BRLY07-Z (70)
                9. Waring MBB5[18] (70)
                10. Viking Professional VBLG01 (69)

                For those interested in making smoothies, note that Consumer Reports ranked all of these "excellent" for smoothies, EXCEPT numbers 3 and 4 on the list.

                Consumer Reports ranked the blenders in six catagories: icy drinks, convenience, smoothies, puree, ice crush and noise. Those ranked first and second -- Vita Mix and BlendTec, respectively -- scored "excellent" in many more of the test areas than other blenders. For example, Vita Mix is all "excellent" in 4 of 6 test catagories. In convience it was ranked "good" and in noise it was ranked "fair". BlendTec is "excellent" in 3 of 6 catagories. In icy drinks it ranked "good", "very good" in convenience and poor in the noise catagory.

                If money's no object, go for the Vita Mix or BlendTec. If you're looking for something more moderately priced, Braun's PowerMax seems to be the best bet.

                I haven't used any, but am going to flip a coin to see if I should go all out on the Vita Mix or pay $50 for the PowerMax.

                6 Replies
                1. re: thomor30
                  b
                  blondelle Feb 17, 2008 02:02 PM

                  Thanks for posting that. That IS disappointing on the IKON for smoothies as that's the one I wanted. Be aware that Braun has just pulled out of the US small appliance market so that blender wouldn't be a good choice if you later wanted service and parts.

                  1. re: blondelle
                    j
                    Jack_ Feb 18, 2008 04:43 AM

                    Where did you hear that Braun was pulling out?

                    1. re: Jack_
                      b
                      blondelle Feb 18, 2008 05:13 AM

                      There was a thread on the cooksillustrated.com equipment board entitled "Braun Sheds US Market". It referenced an article at:

                      http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/mout...

                  2. re: thomor30
                    jazspin Feb 18, 2008 04:28 PM

                    Interestingly enough, 3Luxe's top three list has two of the same blenders as Consumer Reports - the Vita Mix and the L'Equip 228 (the other is the KitchenAid Pro Line Series Chef's Blender) - http://www.3luxe.com/category/Small_A...

                    In regard to the noise, it seems that it is tough to get a good blender that isn't noisy - has anyone found a blender that can deal with ice cubes and still be fairly quiet?

                    1. re: jazspin
                      e
                      embee Feb 19, 2008 06:32 AM

                      "Quiet" is an awfully relative concept. The (apparently soon to disappear from the US) Braun quickly reduces ice cubes to a smooth slush without requiring ear protection. It's much quieter than a Blendtec or than my previous blender, a Waring model that screamed (and didn't work very well). But quiet? I think not...

                      My 1977 vintage Cuisinart IS quiet - almost silent, actually. But it can't really crush ice cubes effectively or make smooth frozen drinks.

                      1. re: embee
                        jazspin Feb 19, 2008 10:14 AM

                        That's true - but there is a difference between kind of noisy but not offensive, and a blender that "screams" (that is the perfect word choice - I've heard blenders that made really piercing noises!).

                  3. w
                    wildfire Feb 14, 2008 07:27 AM

                    I found a glass Waring blender for $138 and am very happy with it. I love playing hostess so having what i think is actually a commercial grade blender (I could be mistaken) is incredibly useful when I throw parties. This is where I found it, but I'm sure you can find one in a few places.
                    http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/p...

                    1. j
                      Jack_ Feb 12, 2008 06:25 AM

                      Another happy Braun user here. Tried several different ones, Kitchenaid Cuisineart Oster before finding the Braun

                      1. r
                        raleighgourmet Jan 25, 2008 06:09 AM

                        Today, about six months after DW purchased the Breville Ikon Blender, it totally bit the dust - and this is with rather gentle use and following the directions to the letter! To extend the life of the blender you're not supposed to run the motor for more than 1 minute at a time. Well we did that. It was rather good at making smoothies - but then, Waring & Cuisinart did well too and they managed to last longer with much more intensive use. I think this piece of die-cast steel is still under warranty & hopefully we got the one bad apple out of the bunch... here's to keeping your fingers crossed.,

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: raleighgourmet
                          g
                          gabby29 Jan 28, 2008 04:43 AM

                          I just saw a VitaMix demo at Costco. The unit is not loud and was able to make a tasty chicken tortilla soup, mocha frapp, and an applesauce including the seeds. I previously wanted this unit but after seeing the demo I am definitely sold. Costco was offering a roadshow special price of $394

                          1. re: gabby29
                            agapemom Jan 27, 2011 01:03 PM

                            Did you get one gabby29?

                          2. re: raleighgourmet
                            b
                            blondelle Jan 28, 2008 05:20 AM

                            If you purchased using a credit card they usually double the warranty up to a year, so you should be fine in either case!

                          3. m
                            Mother of four Jan 8, 2008 04:54 PM

                            Oster Beehive! Recommended in Cooks Illustrated as the best for the money. I bought mine at target for $50, and love it!

                            1. t
                              Tinker Jan 8, 2008 12:35 PM

                              Jumping in on this, I think the thermomix is hard to find/ expensive too? I looked at it last year when I was on the blender run- can't recall exactly but I was in foreign countries searching. Anyhow, you have not lived until you use a vitamix. Get the 32 ounce container for your daily smoothies. Rip out the larger container for your ice cream or muffin mixes at midnight.. Now it is not perfect ice cream, but it beats a ride to the store at close to $4 a gallon of fuel coming up. And the chocolate cookie, cream filled base oreo ice cream is great at a last minute decision you have to have and none in freezer. I am telling you the receipe book is hugh. If you like to create and are a blender freak, you could go on for weeks before you get through that book creating goodies. I have a KA and the vitamix, and the vitamix stays on the counter. You know I think you can return them if you don't care for it. Might as well give it a twirl or whirl.. Also they have refurbished at vitamix, less warranty. Ebay is loaded but you never know what you will get.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: Tinker
                                m
                                MacGuffin Aug 7, 2010 09:47 AM

                                The warranty for refurbished Vitamixes is the same as for new machines--7 years. Last I heard, if your machine dies after the warranty expires you can pay $75 to extend the warranty which will cover the repair as well. Not only are their machines second to none but they have unbelievable customer service.

                                1. re: MacGuffin
                                  t
                                  Tinker Aug 7, 2010 01:09 PM

                                  Whew I hope you are right. This is great. You can not find anything elsewhere like that, MacGuffin. $75 to extend warranty and repair too. I never knew Vitamix had a 7 years warranty on them!!!

                                  1. re: Tinker
                                    m
                                    MacGuffin Aug 7, 2010 01:20 PM

                                    Oh, yes--in fact, I left a spoon in the container last year and had to pay $25 for a new drive socket because it was my fault. However, it might have been responsible for stripping the blade assembly. I called customer service, they diagnosed the problem, and because that condition was covered, they sent me a new one with a wrench to remove the old one from the container and install the new one. The parts together are $95 and my six-year-old machine was completely covered--I didn't even have to pay shipping. A GREAT company; if I get into food service, theirs will be my blenders of choice. However, the last I heard, they'd "extend and repair"; I'll verify one way to 'tother next week.
                                    I have a friend who's a demonstrator if you're interested in buying one (and no, she doesn't give me a commission, nor would I accept one).

                                    1. re: MacGuffin
                                      t
                                      Tinker Aug 30, 2010 12:45 PM

                                      MacGuffin I just caught this Aug 07 note from you, 2010 of course. I have a Vitamix but I certainly appreciate your mentioning the demonstrator one. Had I not already had it, I would have been definitely interested. Someone may get a great buy here. I bought the shorter container plus the dry grinder one at different times for the Vitamix. I only use the large one that came with it when I use larger amounts of ingredients. I keep the short container on the blender on the counter most of the time. Quicker for peach milk shakes right now while GA. peaches are in season. My KA is stored. One of my two special sons will probably get it. The KA is the only one that I would ever buy again IF I did not want to spend as much for the Vitamix. Anyhow, I am going to read my Vitamix booklet again. I never knew I had a 7 yr warranty on the blender/or forgot. I think they may have gone up another $100 in the last year or so also. That is a little steep for a new one when I think about it. I would have to really think about it if I bought another years down the road. Note: Just researched the prices. Seems you can get one for $499 for a 5200 I think I read. That is not a bad price. I had noticed $599 elsewhere some time back and that shocked me. If I am incorrect in any of these quotes, please feel free to correct me.

                                      1. re: Tinker
                                        m
                                        MacGuffin Aug 30, 2010 03:04 PM

                                        Hey. Tinker! I think the only machine in the $600 range on its own, i.e., without extra containers, etc., is the Professional Series 500 which has several electronic presets. There's also a limited 5200 color--platinum--available, as well as a new brushed steel finish. I know there's a premium for these colors but I'm not sure of how much it is (I know red's an extra $20 because that's the color of my 5000).
                                        Don't forget the refurbished 5200s (black and white are the only color options)--you can save a nice chunk of change and some of the demonstrators can get you free shipping as well. :)

                                        1. re: MacGuffin
                                          m
                                          mercurygirl Jan 27, 2011 10:40 AM

                                          In case anyone reading this is in the market for one of those refurbished 5200s, I just ordered one, and it came in red! It's the Super Reconditioned Package on the Vitamix website. The blender is available in either white or red, and it comes with a 32 oz. dry blade container as well as the standard 64 oz. wet blade container, all for $449. I was really close to ordering the 5200 with the new 48-oz. wet container, because it would fit nicely under my cabinets, but I couldn't resist the package deal.

                                          P.S. Thank you, MacGuffin, for all the good info you've given in the various Vitamix threads; it helped with my decision-making process!

                                          1. re: mercurygirl
                                            m
                                            MacGuffin Jan 27, 2011 12:24 PM

                                            Oh, I'm SO happy I could help! Please feel free to join our group (http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/...) and don't forget to read the manual and watch the DVD before you start playing--trust me, your life will be MUCH easier!
                                            BTW, I've recently learned that the larger cookbook included with the CIA model is essentially the same as that which comes with the 5200, Creations, et al. However, I'd still like to get my hands on the SECOND book that comes with the CIA--it's small and has 20-something recipes. I wouldn't mind seeing the DVD either, as it's different.
                                            You're going to have fun with the dry container, too, if you're at all inclined to grind your own grains and make bread (it also kneads the dough after you grind the flour). I never bought one because I knew I'd never use it but I always recommend it to people who will. It's supposed to do its job really well.

                                            1. re: MacGuffin
                                              m
                                              mercurygirl Jan 27, 2011 12:52 PM

                                              Yes, the inclusion of the dry container was a big plus for me, and a deciding factor in which package I chose. I am severely gluten-intolerant and I've been grinding gluten-free grains, mostly brown rice and buckwheat, in a little Braun coffee grinder; now I'll be able to grind larger batches of grains and can go back to using the Braun just for grinding flaxseed, as I used to before the gluten intolerance surfaced.

                                              1. re: mercurygirl
                                                m
                                                MacGuffin Jan 27, 2011 01:37 PM

                                                That's wonderful! We have a group member who's also severely GT and allergic to just about everything on the planet to boot. I recently harangued her into upgrading from a 4000 to a 5200 with the dry container and she finds that it works even better than her old 4000 for grinding all kinds of flours. Jump in and join us--we have a number of GT members as well as those who are just gluten-sensitive. I promise you'll pick up lots of useful tips.
                                                BTW, bear in mind that you can't do enormous amounts at a time in the dry container. However, I'm told that the process goes SO fast that it's no hindrance at all. I think you're going to be very happy with your package.

                              2. m
                                mar52 Jan 6, 2008 09:51 PM

                                I believe the blendtec might be the same as the ktec:

                                http://www.totalblender.com/blendersh...

                                The price might still be a problem.

                                I love my Vitamix

                                1. e
                                  embee Jan 5, 2008 10:06 PM

                                  I have the Braun PowerMax model and have been very happy to date. Dirt cheap and problem free, I am a happy camper.

                                  Given the list of of blenders you've tried, and failed, to love, there aren't many choices left.

                                  The Blendtec is brilliant, and their internet ads are a hoot, but the noise is unreal. Consumer Reports recommends ear protection.

                                  You can't really go wrong with a Vita Mix and it's not quite as noisy.

                                  Or go all the way and investigate the Vorwerk Thermomix. If you can't live with that one, give up.

                                  1. goodhealthgourmet Jan 3, 2008 11:25 AM

                                    i had to resurrect this thread because someone asked about my experience on another unrelated post...and i'm sorry to report that i still haven't found what i'm looking for [thanks, bono].

                                    after months of research and debate, i finally decided to take a chance on the breville. as much as i wanted the blend-tec, i couldn't find a demo scheduled at any local costcos, and i didn't want to risk ordering one online only to have to pay for return shipping if anything went wrong. so i went to bed, bath & beyond armed with my trusty 20% off coupon, and purchased the breville ikon blender for $160. i was so excited when i first got it home - i couldn't wait to get that sleek, sturdy-looking machine out of the box and place it in its dedicated spot on my counter. first order of business...assembly. easy enough, right? the pitcher comes in several pieces - the jar, the blade housing, and a ring-shaped silicone seal intended to prevent leaks. first issue with assembly - in order to lock the blade housing in place, you have to lay the seal onto its dedicated border, and insert the entire piece between plastic guides on the bottom of the pitcher, twisting the bottom piece until pre-marked arrows line up just so. let me tell you, this thing is TIGHT. definitely not for anyone who has issues with wrist or hand strength. issue #2 for me, who unfortunately has ceramic tile countertops [not my choice - landlord's an idiot]. the assembly process really demands that you set the pitcher down, upside-down on the counter to get the pieces lined up properly before twisting. so i now have to remember to put a towel down for padding each time i do this.

                                    once i assembled the pitcher base, i put the lid on. or rather, i summoned a burst of super-human strength from somewhere within me to force the lid onto the pitcher, creating what seemed to be a hermetic seal. hey, at least there's no chance the thing will fly off while the blender is running, as i've experienced many times with other blenders!

                                    i nestled the pitcher onto the base, and it was heavy, but i already knew it would be with that large-capacity thick glass pitcher. plus, a heavy base is a good thing, because it keeps the blender from "dancing" across the counter when it's running.

                                    then i examined the plug. handy, unique o-ring design, which makes it easier and safer to grip and unplug. plus, the cord tucks underneath the base for storage. nice.

                                    ok, let's get blending.

                                    or not.

                                    as it turns out, the hemisphere technology is a blessing AND a curse. sure, it crushes the heck out of ice, but it occurs so quickly [even on the lowest setting] that the ice clumps up and everything gets trapped at the bottom around the blade, which then spins uselessly until you stop the blender, remove the ridiculously tight-fitting lid, and mix/break up the compacted mass at the bottom. oy. this does not bode well. i tried to remain hopeful and continued blending my shake. with the machine running, i pulled the removable cup out of the lid so i could pour my spices in - i flavor my shakes according to mood & season. this one was vanilla protein powder, and i was adding some pumpkin pie spice and stevia to it. unfortunately, thanks to the air vortex generated by the "hemisphere technology,"most of the spice & sweetener blew back at me and wound up stuck to the lid around the opening...much of what did manage to get into the pitcher immediately stuck to the sides. here we go again. stop the blender, pry off the vacuum-sealed lid, scrape down the sides, and add some more spice & stevia before repositioning the lid and turning it back on. i eventually did get the thing blended, but there was one more major annoyance. despite all my diligent research, what i didn't learn was that this technological wonder was designed not to run continuously for more than a minute at a time. that handy digital timer? just a warning mechanism to let you know how much time has elapsed so you can anticipate when the blender will shut itself off, mid-blend. then you have to wait a few seconds for it to reset itself, before pressing the button to continue blending.

                                    when the entire process was [finally] complete, the resulting protein shake was the perfect texture - light & fluffy, no icy chunks...but it didn't taste right. i discovered the problem when i got to the bottom of the pitcher...where i discovered a clump of pumpkin pie spice & stevia clinging to the bolt that holds the blade in place.

                                    still determined to make a go of this relationship, i decided to chalk the experience up to novice error, and vowed to try again tomorrow with an open mind.

                                    for now, let's move on to the cleaning process. first realization - considering the way things clump up around the blade, this is not one of those pitchers you can sometimes just rinse with hot water and a healthy dose of dish soap. you really need to disassemble the entire piece and wash each element separately every time. a serious PITA. second discovery - something about the surface properties of this particular glass makes it very difficult to clean. everything sticks to it, even with scalding hot water and soap, so it requires scrubbing. and finally....this is NOT a smart purchase for someone who has a small sink, particularly a ceramic/porcelain one [again, landlord's choice, not mine]...one slight bump against the sink, and there goes the pouring lip of the pitcher - cracked right off.

                                    crap.

                                    never one to give up without a fight, i tried to love this blender. i really did. i WANTED to love it, so i toughed it out for a couple of months. alas, the relationship was doomed, and less than 90 days after i purchased it, off i went to bed bath & beyond to return it. the final straw was when the stupid thing started leaking from the bottom of the pitcher. not because i had misaligned the seal or the blade, but because, after only the fourth run through the dishwasher, a visible chunk of the internal seal that lines the bottom of the pitcher had magically disappeared.

                                    and the search continues...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                      d
                                      double_Windsor Jan 4, 2008 08:29 AM

                                      Which Braun model did you have, and what was the problem?

                                      We recently acquired the Braun MX2050 "PowerMax" jug blender (525-Watt 58-oz). So far so good...

                                    2. m
                                      missfunkysoul Sep 28, 2007 08:35 AM

                                      i just bought an oster professional series blender (the one with the black base) and i have to say, the thing is awesome. very powerful - it rips through ice with ease. and the clincher for me was that the part that locks the top into the base is all metal (my cuisinart had a plastic piece, which broke). definitely look into it...

                                      1. Bramble Sep 21, 2007 07:19 PM

                                        The VitaMix has a smaller 32oz container container, which makes the whole unit short enough to fit under kitchen cabinets, so ours is permanently out on the counter. Talk about light smooth smoothies, and it's the first unit we've had that stands up to the use we give a blender. Yup, it does sound like a plane taking off, but oh well. Results are worth it.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Bramble
                                          c
                                          Chefdavis Sep 26, 2007 06:38 PM

                                          I would second Blendtec. Amazing Blenders which can come with a sound enclosure which reduces the noise by 50%.

                                          These are the same blenders that Starbucks uses (so I assume they can take a beating).

                                          1. re: Chefdavis
                                            agapemom Jan 27, 2011 12:59 PM

                                            That used to be true, but they've just recently switched over to "The Quiet One" by Vitamix...

                                        2. j
                                          JohnnyCab Sep 21, 2007 01:36 PM

                                          Have you tried the Blendtec blender? i've never tried it but it looks like it will blend the hell out of anything.

                                          http://www.willitblend.com/

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: JohnnyCab
                                            goodhealthgourmet Sep 21, 2007 05:21 PM

                                            appreciate the feedback.

                                            i did read that other post, but there's nothing about the breville, and i had already heard about or experienced pretty much everything else.

                                            as i said, i've already tried the waring and the villaware...didn't like either one.

                                            i considered the blendtec, but could never bring myself to purchase it for several reasons - the noise factor, the size, and the exorbitant price tag.

                                            hopefully i'll be able to catch a breville demo at costco.

                                            thanks again!

                                            1. re: JohnnyCab
                                              t
                                              Tinker Jan 4, 2008 03:17 PM

                                              I read up on the blendtec and still ended up with a vitamix. Just bought the smaller top and put the giant one in the closet. Blenders are a mess to decide on.

                                            2. yayadave Sep 21, 2007 01:24 PM

                                              I don't know about "horrifically noisy." Most every bar you go into has one. Have you noticed noisy?

                                              If you're a member, give your local Costco a call. I was in one today and they were all set up for a demonstration.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: yayadave
                                                iL Divo May 27, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                I appreciate reading the idea about calling Costco. We have a card with them but use it maybe once or twice a year.

                                                1. re: iL Divo
                                                  m
                                                  MacGuffin May 27, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                  Why? Didn't you post that you gave one away?

                                                  1. re: MacGuffin
                                                    iL Divo May 27, 2011 03:26 PM

                                                    What'd I give away > my Costco card?

                                                    1. re: iL Divo
                                                      m
                                                      MacGuffin May 28, 2011 06:19 AM

                                                      Your Vitamix. I believe yayadave posted that goodhealthgourmet should give Costco a call specifically to see if a Vitamix demo was upcoming.

                                                      1. re: MacGuffin
                                                        yayadave May 28, 2011 12:13 PM

                                                        Right. And if you want to know locations for upcoming demonstrations, look at this site. http://www.vitamix.com/household/show...

                                                        I'm assuming that they have special offers at the shows/demonstrations. I have previously said that at a demo I got a pretty good price on the short work pitcher compared to what other CHers reported.

                                                        1. re: yayadave
                                                          m
                                                          MacGuffin May 28, 2011 06:42 PM

                                                          I recently saw a demo at a Whole Foods in NYC; they were offering an 8-year warranty and an extra $50 off. The total came to $399 + tax for any color but stainless. An excellent deal, even better than a refurb. Only the second demo I've seen in the in the 23 years I've had a Vita-Mix.

                                              2. p
                                                pslopian Sep 21, 2007 01:14 PM

                                                One of the food mags - maybe Gourmet? - did a review of blenders in the oct issue (i think, it's the one focusing on latin american foods). If I remember correctly, Villaware came out on top

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: pslopian
                                                  a
                                                  alternapop May 27, 2011 09:58 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.

                                                2. MMRuth Sep 21, 2007 12:40 PM

                                                  I have, and am happy with, a Waring blender. However, I can not imagine a more extensive discussion on this subject (204 posts) than this one:

                                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/417580 - entitled - Help Me Find the Perfect Blender

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