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Best Blender for Smoothies?

My husband and I really like making smoothies using frozen fruit: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and such. We had a magic bullet right now and it often gets stuck especially on the frozen strawberries. We're thinking about upgrading to a better blender. What blender do y'all think would be the best for making smoothies with frozen fruit? Preferably not crazy expensive too...

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  1. I have an circa '70's model Classic Beehive Oster, two speeds, very high and warp, bought it used and it never has let me down.

    Reviews:

    http://www.consumersearch.com/blender...

    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      I bought an Oster beehive (at Bloomingdale's) in the early '80s, years before I got my first Vita-Mix. I didn't like the way it performed, exchanged it, and returned the second one. Loved the way it looked but it just wasn't for me. I wasn't happy with the way it handled frozen stuff.

    2. The classic Osters and Warings are just fine with what you are doing (blending up frozen fruits). A little juice or yogurt keeps the frozen stuff moving through the blades.

      The Vitamix blenders are massive overkill if just using for the occasional smoothie or Margarita. They are better suited for commercial apps, especially for dealing with raw veggies and grains.

      15 Replies
      1. re: MikeB3542

        I've spent about as much as a Vitamix of cheap blenders that burned out after a couple of years. Some after less than a year.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          I've had my Oster Beehive for over 25 years, and it was used when I bought it.

          I haven't read any articles or reviews at any point that would indicate that Oster has downgraded the quality or cheapened the manufacturing of their product, as is, or can be, the case with other brands. Oster does have a variety of models in a fairly wide price range; the #4093 2-speed seems to be the sturdiest model of the mid-range price bunch.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            My mom still has hers from the early 40s.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              Wait, I had no idea blenders were even manufactured back then. The first experience I had with a (Waring 10 speed) blender was in 1970; I know my mom didn't have one.

              This is my second Oster; the first I lost in a move, sadly, and my current model is even older than the first one I had. They may not have high killer wattage but they do have longevity.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                From the Oster website

                "In 1946, John Oster made a decision to diversify from barber equipment to small house electrical appliances and purchased Stevens Electric, the company that invented the liquefier blender in 1923. Soon after, the first Osterizer® Blender was introduced"

            2. re: bushwickgirl

              Bushwickgirl and others - my recent experience with Oster blenders is that they have cheapened the manufacturing of one specific but critical part of their blenders - the little plastic cap that screws on the base of the blender. This piece:
              http://www.oster.com/ProductDetails.a...
              To the best of my knowledge, Oster uses the SAME CAP on ALL their blenders, including new versions of the beehive.

              That cap is utter trash and will break with regular usage in a matter of months. You will then be forced to buy another $4 cap with $10 of shipping costs added on to get a few more months of use. I broke 2 in under 8 months time before giving up.

              Read the amazon reveiws - everyone who has bought one recently and used it for a few months before writing their review says the same thing.

              I recommend anyone looking at blenders avoid Oster.

              Or else buy a used one from 20 years ago, back when the company sold products that weren't defective.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                Well, as I wrote upthread, I have an older model with a metal bottom cap, and it seems that posters who own the older models have done so for many years.

                The amazon reviews for the Beehive model #4093 were quite favorable. Only one review out of 195 mentioned the bakelite bottom cap breaking and the Oster company sent out a free replacement. I did not read reviews for their other models. I'm sorry to hear that the company has decided to change it's product parts to a less durable material. Reminds me of the changes Kitchen Aid has made in recent years to their stand mixers.

                I emailed Oster regarding the bottom cap for this particular model. I'll post what info I get when I hear from them.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Thanks for the response. Please do update with Oster's response.

                  The model I have is the 10-speed - admittedly cheaper. But looking at other Oster models in a Target, I found they all had the same offending cap on the bottoms of their jars. I cannot say for certain whether the beehive features the same piece, but the instruction manual appears to show the offending part, and Oster's website offers only the one product as a replacement cap for all its models. So I would think so.

                  There are several mentions of this part failing in the reviews for the #4093 on Amazon - especially in the 2-star reviews for some reason. I'm not sure how you missed them - are we looking at the same page?
                  http://www.amazon.com/Oster-4093-Clas...

                  I don't know why there aren't more mentions of this problem though - perhaps the switch to a shoddy bottom was made rather recently; perhaps too many amazon reviewers post their reviews the day after they receive the product in question; perhaps the plastic base for some reason fails less often on the beehive jar than it does on the cheaper 10-speed jar; perhaps I just had bad luck or user error (can't imagine what though - it was assembled correctly, I didn't over-tighten, and I didn't even blend ice or other hard items).

                  I had previously posted another thread on the topic - in that thread a couple people noted having the same problem.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/713854
                  I don't know what model they had.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    "Oster's website offers only the one product as a replacement cap for all its models"

                    That seems to be the case, according to their website. I specifically asked customer service whether that was the situation, and was told via email that I would receive a response in 1-2 days.

                    I did see those reviews but, in all fairness, there were a higher percentage of good reviews. That said, obviously, Oster has an parts issue now; I wish manufactureres would actually read and respect their product reviews. From a quick survey of the poor review dates, it appears that the problems started within the last two years. It's distressing to see a company with a great reputation blowing if over a bakelite bottom cup and poor assembly. If I didn't have my Old Reliable, I don't know what brand I'd buy; it seems blenders are piece of kitchen equipment fraught with problems across the board. It may be a sign of the times, unfortunately.

                    Vita-Mix and Breville are not in the cards for me, either, even if I was interested in that kind of blending power. I hope the OP, who bought a Beehive, has a better time with it.

                    EDIT: The company confirmed that the bottom cap is made from plastic. Read it and weep.

                2. re: cowboyardee

                  I know this post is almost two years old, but the statement was not true then and it's not true now.

                  I've had an Oster beehive blender for over three years. I used it about four times a week and the base cap is as good as new. So it is not true that the cap WILL break and it is not true that every Amazon review says that.

                  I believe that people who have experienced broken caps are either applying excess pressure when tightening the cap or trying to tighten it when the threads aren't aligned. Either of these moves will probably damage the cap.

                  1. re: taos

                    It was certainly true in my experience. I'm sure there are people who have managed not to break that flimsy little piece of plastic. I wish them (you) luck. But I still think it's a design flaw.

                    It's possible that over-tightening is a problem - that was my thought when the first cap broke, so I was careful not to apply the second one very tightly. Maybe I'm just unaware of my own strength. But it seemed to me at the time that it was a case of a central part of the blender being cheap and poorly made.

                    I never said that 'every' amazon review mentions the base breaking. A bunch do. Frankly, I suspect that some people aren't experiencing more breakage problems because they aren't regularly removing the cap to wash the blender.

                    AFAIK, all of their current blenders use the same base cap - the replacement cap is universal. IME that base cap is quite flimsy, and seems to be fairly brittle. That said, some of their models have more reviews mentioning the base cap breaking than others, so it's possible that some models come with a base cap that's a little better made. Or that something about the rest of the blender makes the base more likely to fail on some models than others. Or that temperature or humidity changes caused the failure - I often used the blender for hot sauces, for example. Or some other factor I'm not accounting for (yes - the blade and rubber washer were assembled correctly). To be honest, I don't know how anyone could look at the cap I got and be surprised that others would experience breakage - it's obviously very cheaply made.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      You did say, "Read the amazon reveiws - everyone who has bought one recently and used it for a few months before writing their review says the same thing."

                      This is simply not true. The reviews do not say this.

                      I understand you have had a bad experience with this product but you should not generalize your experience to all customers.

                      1. re: taos

                        Admittedly that was not the case. My post directly after the one you quoted (which is also 2 years old) clarifies and mentions that not all amazon reviews point out this flaw. And admits that perhaps others were not experiencing the breakage that I had assumed at first was inevitable.

                        But seriously - it's one instance of sloppy language that had already been cleared up (by me) two years ago. None of us have personal editors-for-hire. Drop the sermonizing.

                        Your experience is different than mine, which is a good thing. My experience is that modern Oster blenders have a major design flaw, and there are a decent number of others who have experienced the same problem and wrote product reviews online. As well as plenty who haven't. Nothing else to debate here, unless you have some insight into the problem I experienced.

                  2. re: cowboyardee

                    Cowboy: I have owned an Oster Fusion [600 watt] for over five years and have used it 300-400 times so far with zero defect. Nothing has broke and it does everything like a champ, including the perfect chop/blend of ice, lime juice, tequila, and Cointreau for frozen margaritas!

                    1. re: hawkeyeui93

                      My two cents on the Oster...the bottom was indeed weak. They lasted years, but they would eventually break. Over-tightening always was the cause...bad enough that the design encouraged the user to whang it against a tab to tighten and loosen. My observation from a recent replacement is that Oster has changed the plastic. (I needed to change the cutter and rubber gasket anyway, so no biggie). We'll see if the durability improves. The guts of the Oster are (well used to be at least) pretty bulletproof if you respect its limitations...like any quality tool, it WILL break with abuse. My opinion is that if you are regularly burning out blenders, you are probably abusing it.

            3. Depends on whether you're using the blender only for this purpose or whether you're going to do other things. I was more interested in purées with the occasional frozen item so went with a Vita-Mix. Others I've seen went with a Breville.

              1. Breville, 750 watts, better ice crushing, mixed reviews, $$$:

                http://www.amazon.com/Breville-BBL600...

                5 Replies
                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  The Beehive has limits. The motor is only 500W and the jar will handle a quart. But it looks great on the countertop, and does a good job with normal blending tasks.

                  Replacement/extra parts and accessories are very easy to get and reasonably priced -- in a pinch I can often pick up at a local hardware store.

                  1. re: MikeB3542

                    Serious inquiry: why is a 500 watt blender much less than half the price of a 750 watt blender? What's the power curve in 250 watts to warrant that kind of price discrepancy, which translates to what, ice crushing ability and a quieter machine?

                    The Beehive has a 40 oz capacity, btw. When you wrote "handle a quart" I assume you mean filled to a reasonably safe level. It does look great on the counter, very retro. For what the OP suggested they'll use it for, it'd be a good fit, imo; it's not crazy expensive, either. There are lots of other blenders on the market, however.

                    Hopefully all this blender banter has been helpful for the OP.

                    1. re: MikeB3542

                      My Oster beehive is 500 watts. I believe Oster sells two models: a 500 watt model and a 600 watt model.

                    2. re: bushwickgirl

                      Co-winner from ATK. But pretty much $200 wherever you shop.

                      1. re: njmarshall55

                        I got mine remanufactured from Amazon and I'm thrilled with it. I see it's $170 now but it's been lower. I got it at a ridiculous price during one of those gold box promotions.

                    3. Yes, it has been helpful. Thanks! I got my Classic Beehive Oster blender today! Now I just need to try it out...