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Do I really need to spend $500 to get a great blender?

cholderby May 19, 2010 03:48 AM

For over a year now, I have been looking at "commercial" blenders (VitaMix, BlendTec, etc.). I have a beehive Oster right now that is really a piece of junk. I know I can get a much better blender and I know I'll use it...I just can't quite bring myself to pay $500 for a blender.

So are they worth it? Anyone know of a less expensive model? I've seen the base model VitaMix for $398, then I get caught up wondering if its worth it to spend a little more to get more power.

I'd appreciate thoughts on the subject...I've been thinking about this for so long I am beyond muddled.

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  1. bushwickgirl RE: cholderby May 19, 2010 04:19 AM

    If you can justify a $400+ blender, and feel you'll use it for more than blending soups, purees, cocktails and smoothies, then go for it. There's another blender thread discussion currently going on at the cookware board, although the OP for that thread is interested in a lower cost, smoothie-making blender rec.

    Have you considered a Breville? The BlendTec certainly has some wattage, and then there's the noise factor, and you can't beat the 2 hp motor of the VitaMix, essentially the same power as the BlendTec, but these blenders can be power overkill, more for commercial applications than home use. You have to ask yourself exactly what you'll do with this blender that you absolutely need to do; could that be accomplished with less wattage and a lower price? A Oster at $80 and 500 watts, a Breville at $200 and 750 watts or a VitaMix at $400 and 1500; you're obviously paying more for something with the VitaMix, the 7 year gaurantee, maybe? Hopefully more than that.

    I have a Oster Beehive that is 30+ years old and is decidedly not a piece of junk. But that was then...I'm not grinding grain in it. I've used commercial high powered blenders professionally and I can't justify having one in my home kitchen, either for wattage, noise factor or price, but that's just me.

    Here's a consumer review link to peruse, scroll down for VitaMix, Breville and BlendTec reviews. I'd take a look at the Breville reviews here and at Amazon, if you haven't already done so:

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl
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      davecrf RE: bushwickgirl May 19, 2010 06:54 AM

      I've never used a commercial blenderThat being said I have an oster behive and I love it.

    2. John E. RE: cholderby May 19, 2010 07:49 AM

      I was visiting my parents in Arizona last winter and they decided they needed a blender to make smoothies and protein shakes. I went to a flea market and bought them a 30 year old Oster for $8. I'm not suggesting you do that, I just thought it was a bit comical since the blender is the same model but older than the one my mother had back home.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John E.
        Passadumkeg RE: John E. May 19, 2010 08:08 AM

        John, I was going to suggest that. We have a new Xmas plastic junque blender and an old glass & steel heavy duty Oster for the 70's. The difference in quality of construction and power are amazing.

      2. Cherylptw RE: cholderby May 19, 2010 07:58 AM

        I've had my Oster for three years and it's a pretty good blender. I'd rather spend my money on a robo coup.

        1. Phurstluv RE: cholderby May 19, 2010 08:24 AM

          I have a Kitchen Aid that has an ice crusher, and it works beautifully. Doubt it cost more than $80.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Phurstluv
            j
            johnlockedema RE: Phurstluv May 20, 2010 10:21 AM

            Ditto on the Kitchen Aid.

          2. corneygirl RE: cholderby May 19, 2010 09:04 AM

            Whatever you do don't buy a Black & Decker Crush Master. I can't break that thing fast enough. I had a great blender that was on opened box special of $20 at Best Buy. I can't remember the brand but it had a glass pitcher and a separate ice crusher switch.

            1 Reply
            1. re: corneygirl
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              kagemusha49 RE: corneygirl Aug 27, 2012 01:28 PM

              The basic rule is this - whatever Black and Decker makes is crap.

            2. cholderby RE: cholderby May 19, 2010 10:13 AM

              My Oster has never worked well. I use it mostly for smoothies and it has trouble with frozen strawberries!
              Thanks for the perspective....maybe I just got a dud model.

              1. grnidkjun RE: cholderby May 19, 2010 11:48 AM

                I have the KitchenAid 5speed with glass pitcher model. Spent under $100 for it.
                Love it, but am not able to compare it to a vitamix or robocoupe.
                For my needs of the occasional milk shake, drinks, and such as that it works great.

                1. k
                  kayakado RE: cholderby May 20, 2010 08:03 AM

                  Ebay
                  I got two vitamix blenders model 4000 commerical units for less than $400. It takes awhile to watch all those sales but it pays off in the end.

                  1. r
                    rachelanna RE: cholderby Jun 5, 2010 11:18 PM

                    Hi.
                    I, too, have been pondering the purchase of a commercial like blender. I have finally decided to buy the Vita-mix 5200 after MUCH research. I usually have one rule for buying kitchen appliances - by applying the $1 per use rule, if I can justify the purchase of that machine in one year, then it is worth the money. (I use a similar rule for clothes, too, only over the lifetime of the garment, not just a year.) With the Vita-mix I plan to replace one meal a day with a fruit and veggie smoothie....so that's $365. And then I know I'll use it at least weekly for salads or meal prep (if not more often), so that's another $52. So, yeah, I think it is worth it.

                    The biggest reason I want this machine is because of its ability to really emulsify fruits and veggies, without necessarily using additional ice or water. But, you had better have good reasons to want more power. If you just want to make some great margaritas, then you probably don't need to spend the money (get a margaritaville drink maker). But, if you currently do make your own soup and want to make it easier and/or healthier, then get the machine. If you want to make your own ice cream (because you eat it often), then get it. If you simply love to cook and can get creative, definitely get this machine (I love "Iron Chef America" which seriously uses the Vita-mix).

                    I'm sold and I haven't even got mine yet! I am waiting until after my wedding on the 27th, just in case I get lucky and am gifted a Vita-mix! (Seriously doubtful, but I am sure I'm going to get some cash from Dad!)

                    Hope this adds a dimension to your decision making process.

                    Rachel

                    1. scubadoo97 RE: cholderby Jun 6, 2010 09:07 AM

                      Here is an interesting review of the top 3 high power blenders
                      http://www.3blenders.com/Choose.html

                      1. MikeB3542 RE: cholderby Jun 6, 2010 06:17 PM

                        Curious -- what are you trying to accomplish with your blender? The beehive works for me (a 20 y/o model, fwiw, only 375W motor), but pretty much use for frozen drinks, smoothies and Mexican hot cocoa, maybe once or twice a week.

                        1. b
                          blondelle RE: cholderby Jun 7, 2010 06:34 AM

                          The Hamilton Beach 50110 blender is all metal construction, glass jar, 500 watts. has a 3 year warranty (4 if you use a credit card that adds a year), and uses parts you can easily buy. It's only $38 something in black on Amazon now with free shipping. And it's great looking too!!! Very nice, modern design and it has impressive reviews!

                          Anyone have one of these? I'm considering getting it.

                           
                          1. p
                            patmcelroycrs RE: cholderby Nov 29, 2010 06:55 AM

                            I bought my Vitamix in 1976. It has ground grains into flour and chicken necks into paste, made salsa, crushed ice, kneaded bread, made smoothies and sauces, chopped nuts, ground meat and created smooth soups. I use it nearly every day!

                            The vitamix won't slice but other than that, it's a fabulous addition to the kitchen.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: patmcelroycrs
                              MikeB3542 RE: patmcelroycrs Nov 29, 2010 12:01 PM

                              Chicken neck paste....mmm, mmm, good! ;-)

                            2. luckyfatima RE: cholderby Nov 30, 2010 05:42 AM

                              My mother bought a Vitamix and I thought she was insane for that until I used it multiple times and saw its worth. I have been cooking dinner at my mom's house a lot for the past few months for some personal reasons and I make use of the Vitamix very often. I have made loads of smoothies and it crushes frozen fruit, ice, and all with no effort. It makes beautiful smoothies like you would get at a smoothie shop. My mother also uses it to chop dried chickpeas to make chickpea flour, and stuff like that. It beats a normal kitchen blender, hands down. Smooth sauces, emulsifications, grain flours, hummus, and smoothies are wonderful. If you will actually make use of it, it is a worthwhile investment.

                              1. JoanN RE: cholderby Nov 30, 2010 01:01 PM

                                I followed this thread, and a couple of others, for more than six months. My second Oster had recently died on me (granted, we're talking decades here; still) and I'd "borrowed" my mother's ancient Waring which was beginning to show signs that it's days were numbered. I'm a cheapskate. I was waiting to read the review that said "Just as good as a Vitamix--and only $129!!!" Didn't happen.

                                So I bought a factory reconditioned (same 7-year warranty) Vitamix 5200 for $379.

                                I thought I just wanted a good, solid blender that would last me a good long time. I'm really not a smoothie kind of gal. Or, at least, I didn't think I was. But I've gotten hooked on green smoothies for lunch. My usual Thanksgiving squash soup was never so silky. And the gravy! Who knew? I've only had it a couple of weeks. I've barely begun to put it through it's paces. But already I'm in love. Beginning to think I was dope for waiting so long.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JoanN
                                  scubadoo97 RE: JoanN Nov 30, 2010 01:07 PM

                                  It's a known fact that those that buy a high end high powered blender go on a liquid diet for the first 6 weeks.

                                  1. re: scubadoo97
                                    JoanN RE: scubadoo97 Nov 30, 2010 01:19 PM

                                    Ha! Walking proof here. Wonder if I can take the cost as a medical deduction?

                                2. KilgoreTrout RE: cholderby Nov 30, 2010 01:13 PM

                                  Until you have used a vita prep (I am a chef, use it all day everyday) you will not understand what you are missing. Find the restaurant supply shop in your area and buy it wholesale.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: KilgoreTrout
                                    m
                                    MacGuffin RE: KilgoreTrout Jan 13, 2011 06:38 AM

                                    I'm a huge Vitamix fan (have had one since 1988) and it's always nice to read chefs' comments about the VIta-Prep 3. However, it's not recommended for home use because most such users don't use it constantly and the extra horsepower is there to support the motor's fan so that it runs cool longer under continuous use without tripping the overload protection feature. Raw food sites always push the VP3 and then disappointed reviews follow from users who never really get a handle on how the machine works because the support material included is for professional food handlers, not civilians. The household machines (with the exception of the 4500) function identicall to the VP3, have the same control panel, a MUCH better warranty and a BPA-free container, and come with support material that's a lot more practical for household use. I once toyed with the idea of a VP3 but after talking to Vitamix's commercial division, I understood the advantages of staying with a household model.

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