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Blender for Smoothies

I currently have a Kitchenaid blender and I end up with chunks of frozen fruit when I make a smoothie.
I am considering Blendtec, Vitamix and Waring Pro. Some of the Waring blenders (MX1050) are more in my price range. Was also considering Breville but read a lot of negative reviews on leaking and poor customer service.
Most of the videos I see of blenders show fresh fruit, juice and ice to make a smoothie.
I usually use frozen fruit which tends to get rounded off and then bounce off the blades instead of getting blended. Will any of these blenders handle frozen fruit?

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  1. I have made smoothies in two different blenders, one by Kitchen Aid and the other by Waring. The Waring takes longer than the KA when you put frozen anything in it. I don't much like the KA because of this peculiar thing it does that makes me have to stop and scrape everything on the sides back into the center. This only happens when I make a single smoothie. But I'm the only person living here, so all I make are single smoothies.

    In truth, I haven't made a smooothie in years, but I wouldn't recommend either of these blenders.

    1. Problem I see with the KA is the shape of the jar -- too wide and straight-sided. There is sort of a corner where chunks can orbit around the blade without being drawn through.The old Osters and Warings have narrow, tapering jars -- chunks of food and ice really can't bypass the cutting blades at the bottom.

      Unless you have a commercial blender that can crush iPads for breakfast (the ads for one of these actually has a video of an iPad being pulverized), technique and time will make up for power.

      Personally, I have an old beehive that seems to work fine, despite it being fairly low powered (the bottom says 375W -- current Osters are rated at 500W.) My basic smoothie is banana, frozen strawberries and OJ. Best results are when I start with the fresh fruit and juice, then add the frozen fruit. (Similar strategy with blended drinks: most of ice goes in last).

      1. I like my Oster - I will not buy any blender without a metal to metal clutch between the base and the blades. I have had to many rubber bases crap out on me while bartending.

        But... Thomas Keller endorsed the Vitamix in the Ad Hoc cookbook, and I have a pretty hard time arguing against him. I have not rushed out to drop the bucks on it, but when it does come time to upgrade, or when I next wander into Costso with a few extra hundred ready to spend, I will get the Vitamix.

        1. I think that there is a reason why most smoothie shops us the Vitamix -- it is unparalleled.

          1 Reply
          1. re: roxlet

            They use VitaMix's because they are PAID to use it (by their customers). They probably get more use out of those blenders in a week than you or I will in a lifetime, so it behooves them to get the very best. I'm not advocating buying junk -- nothing is more expensive than buying cheap crap. Just match the machine to your needs.

          2. I've had a KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach and a Breville. Now I have a VitaMix. The VitaMix is head and shoulders above te others. If you can afford the investment I'd go with that. Aside from the power, I love the ease of cleaning. I use this much more than any other blender I've had because I don't have to take it apart to clean it.

            My next favorite was the Breville. It runs about $300 but I picked one up (new) on Woot for $119 a few years ago. They show up there periodically so you may be able to snag one if you keep watch.

            1. I got a Vitamix for exactly the purpose you mention - making smoothies from frozen fruit. I use a banana and strawberries, cherries, or mixed berries, all frozen (even the banana). Pour in a splash of milk, sometimes a spoonful of ground chocolate, sometimes a handful of pecans, and blend. It comes out very thick, like soft serve ice cream. I killed several blenders doing this, so finally went for the Vitamix. That was over 10 years ago, and no regrets. The Vitamix is still going strong.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MelMM

                I made a smoothie today very similar to what you described. I used a frozen banana, frozen strawberries, milk and splenda. I then added ground flaxmeal. I make them 3 to 5 times a week in the wamer months. All in a 35 year-old Oster that was my mother's. So far I haven't had any problems with chunks if fruit.

              2. I have a Waring MX1050 and it is extremely powerful and excellent at making smoothies. Fresh or frozen fruit, it doesn't matter. I have not used a Vitamix so I can't compare the two. I am very happy with it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: smarcus

                  I ended up getting another Kitchen Aid at Macy's for $80 after discounts. The one with the one piece plastic jar and integrated blades. So far I made gazpacho and a frozen fruit smoothie. I was surprised how well it worked for the smoothie, fast and no chunks or lumps. Very easy to clean and no worry about leaking gaskets. The previous Kitchen Aid I had was junk.

                  1. re: pantani

                    I have a Krups, it is quiet and works amazingly on frozen fruit (I have a smoothie every day), had it now for 3 years with no problems, glass jar too.

                2. We have a Vitamix. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have spent the money, but hubby had his heart set on it, and he ordered it and THEN told me. :)

                  We had had two Braun blenders with glass jars but over the course of seven years we had broken both jars (well, one broke in the dishwasher while it was running, so that one wasn't our fault exactly...). I would have been happy with a third Braun, but it isn't made anymore.

                  The Vitamix has worked wonderfully for smoothies, though I did have a problem once with frozen grapes--the darn thing got stuck and wouldn't blend no matter how much I tamped it/scraped down the sides. I wound up adding extra liquid--and I was following a recipe from the Vitamix cookbook! :p So, I'd say there's a learning curve, and I've had better luck following my standard smoothie formula than the Vitamix recipes.

                  1. I have no problems with frozen fruit in my Oster. It's this one:

                    http://www.amazon.com/Oster-4093-Clas...

                    except mine says 600W on the bottom.

                    1. Vitamix is the way to go. It's awesome for smoothies, purees, soups, etc. The other blenders simply don't compare, IMHO. There costumer service is great - I accidentally damaged the plunger the other day, called up costumer service and they sent a new one out for FREE. It showed up in 2 days and I was back in business.

                      I love the variable speed control - gives the user a lot of control to make sure you aren't splashing the contents all over or out of the container. It also lets you control the consistency of the blend.

                      Of course the downside is the price tag. But I would rather pay more for one piece of equipment that will last 10, 20 30 years than end up throwing lesser models in the landfill every couple years. That being said, I shouldn't complain - I found a 5000 in thrift store for $8! All it needed was a good wash and a new drivehead for $15.

                      1. I have been making smoothies for the last couple of years with my Vitamix and it is the best investment I've made next to my Kitchen Aid processor and mixer. I have made soup as well with the Vita Mix. It is loud but it sure makes a smooooooth liquid. I think it has paid off with the amount I have use it. It has helped tremendously with motivating me to make vegetable smoothies as it pulverizes the kale, carrots, beets and anything else to a silky smooth drink.

                        I got mine at a Costco demo (which apparently comes only once a year.) I've seen it demoed at WholeFoods for a similar low price.

                        It was a steep price for me to pay but after seeing my sister drink her choppy smoothie with a lower priced blender, I'm so glad I spent the dollars. As long as you use it quite a lot, you won't regret it.

                        1. I bought a Hamilton Beach bar blender in 1982 and it served me well for 25+ years. I saw one in every bar I went to and figured it must be good, and it turned out to be just that. About five years ago I came across the Vitamix demos in Costco and started thinking it would be nice to have one. The Hamilton Beach just wouldn't die, though. Three years ago, I decided to pack up the Hamilton Beach for the kids and buy the Vitamix anyway, It's definitely a top shelf device and while I certainly don't regret the purchase; I wouldn't say it''s the best thing I ever bought.

                          The Vitamix will blend just about anything and will do it effortlessly. The With the HB, I had to be a little more careful what I put into it and sometimes had to stop the blending and manually mix things a little with a big spoon. In some ways though, I got a better final product with the HB than I do with the Vitamix. With the Vitamix, the longer you blend the warmer the contents get. The HB was the opposite - the longer you blend, the colder the stainless steel container got and the contents would come close to freezing. It did a great job producing drinks with ice crystals.

                          So, while the HB and Vitamix have their advantages and disadvantages; I'd give the nod to Vitamix in overall performace. When you factor in price, though, it's a tougher decision. The Viamix is $400, while the HB is only $143. (http://www.webstaurantstore.com/hamil...) I don't know if the current HBs are as durable as the one I have, but they look like they do have some improvements over the one I have. For that price, it seems like an awfully good buy. They also have more powerful models and I wonder how they compare to a Vitamix.

                          I'm not an expert on blenders, but I don't see the sub $100 models being the way to go. I don't kniow if you need to spend $400+ though.

                          1. If you don't mind replacing it every few years a Ninja Pulse does an awesome job on fruit smoothies using frozen fruit. Makes it into a very smooth liquid with just a few berry seeds here and there. Also makes very quick individual ones in the small jars.

                            Now if you want to add veggies to it, that's another matter. It won't blend up tough kale (it will on more tender smaller leaves), carrots of celery very well and you will chew your smoothie. For just fruit ones though, or with a little spinach or small kale leaves it really works well. Also chops much better than a Vitamix. It chews up ice and makes it into snow in seconds and better than the Vitamix.

                            If you don't mind the cost then a Vitamix is the way to go though as you don't have to worry what you add. If cost is a factor the Ninja Pulse is the best low priced option. Only $64 with the 20% coupon at BB & B.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: blondelle

                              Can Ninja Pulse do green smoothies? carrots? thnx

                              1. re: chow_rk

                                pls ignore.. guess I need some new glasses ;)

                            2. For your money, go with the Waring MX1200XTX. It is a variable speed unit so you can use it for many other things as well.. It beats the Vita-Mix unit in everyone of my tests. It just doesn't have the exposure of the VM unit but, if you want the best blender out there, this is it.

                              1. It's been a while since there was activity on this thread, but I thought I'd put in my 2 cents.
                                For smoothies (especially with frozen fruit), I'd recommend the blendtec hands down.
                                I've finally had the chance to use most of the ones mentioned in this thread and can offer the following thoughts -
                                The Vitamix and Blendtec are on par competitors and either of then will do an excellent job. The difference comes down to preference and intended use.
                                The Vitamix has 4 sharp blades in the bottom of the pitcher and manual controls on the base (meaning that you can ramp up the speed and have to use the on/off switch). When the pitcher is stored on the base, it's quite tall and it's not likely that it will fit underneath your upper cabinets. You'll probably have to store the pitcher next to the base, taking up valuable counter space. It also has a plunger that sits in the lid that is used to move and push the pitcher contents into the blade.
                                The Blendtec has two larger blades that seem to be blunt. They kind of pulverize the material as opposed to cutting it up (the end result is the same though). If you're planning on making smoothies on a regular basis and plan on storing the unit on your counter, the pitcher is much shorter than the Vitamix and will probably fit on the base underneath the upper cabinets. The pitcher on the Blendtec is square and together with the blade design, pretty much eliminates the need for tamping or scraping down the pitcher. Most importantly for smoothies, the Blendtec is programmable, meaning you push one button and the blender goes through various speed/time settings and shuts off automatically.
                                I have a Blendtec, a friend of mine has a Vitamix, and I have used the Waring Pro in a bar that I worked at. I do not consider the Waring Pro to be in the same class as the Vitamix or Blendtec. It's not a bad blender and is better than most comsumer blenders, but just not in the same class as the other two. I got my Blendtec on sale and my friend got his Vitamix as a gift. Since I don't really like smoothies and do quite a bit of cooking, I'd rather have the Vitamix for the ability to be able to ramp up speed with manual controls (for hot soups, sauces, etc) and because I don't store the unit on my counter so height isn't a concern. My friend actually likes my Blendtec a little better than his Vitamix because his household is a a daily smoothie place and prefers the programmed routines and also because their Vitamix lives on the counter (with pitcher next to it because it's so tall).

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: fledflew

                                  The new Vitamix 750 addresses the issues that led you to give the Blendtec the edge - it has several presets, and the new container is wider & shorter so it fits under most cabinets now...but I still wasn't impressed and ended up returning mine.

                                  1. re: fledflew

                                    I should add that I have not had any exposure to the Waring MX1200XTX mentioned above. I was thinking of the Waring Pro when I read that post which is significantly cheaper and has different specifications.

                                    1. re: fledflew

                                      love our blendtec. we've had it since 2009 with no problems. easy to clean and smoothies are flawless. i have a friend with a vitamix. she has similar things to say about her blender. i think the difference between the two is like the difference between a honda and a toyota. both offer similar results within similar price points.

                                    2. i bought my Vitamix from Costco 3 years ago and it's still going strong and I'm still using it and I'm still loving it. My sister bought one too when she got tired of her cheaper blender leaving noticeable chunks in her smoothies. Her Vitamix model has a smaller pitcher which is shorter and can certainly fit under a cabinet. She bought hers from an annual fair. WholeFoods sells them only twice a year in my area.

                                      The best part is that you can disguise vegetables in the smoothies and my sister's son is convinced that he is drinking fruit smoothies!

                                      This thing is bulit well and I can see myself using it for many more years.

                                      1. if i had money to burn... i'd get the blendtec. check for video reviews between the vitamix and the blendtec: the blendtec seems to come out a bit better, though a vitamix is always going to be a top model.

                                        personally, i still have my older bosch, which runs at very high rpm, so i'm probably never going to have to trade it in (i've got several bosch products and they seem to go forever..) If you don't want to spend for the vitamix or blendtec, I'd look for the highest rpm/largest motor to get those smoothies really smooth. My bosch (and i'm sure the vitamix and blentec) handles frozen fruit no problem AS LONG AS i start with liquid in the bottom of the container first.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rmarisco

                                          they were doing a blendtec demo today ay costco. didn't look to see how much they were going for but it's worth the bucks.

                                        2. Vitamix!

                                          I make smoothies using frozen mango chunks, spears of pineapple, a tablespoon of vanilla protein powder, banana, almond milk, and a bit of fat-free plain Greek yogurt. So good!

                                          It's no louder than my old KA blender, and performs above and beyond my son's Ninja and other blenders I've used.

                                          Perfect for fresh veggie soups and hummus too. I'm only just getting started!

                                          1. I forgot to mention that cleaning it is a breeze! My old KA I had to take apart, gaskets, blades, what a pain.

                                            A couple drops of dish detergent, a bit of warm water and power up. Rinse and done!

                                            1. I've been waiting to post the results of my blender test. I got a Breville 600 XL, remanufactured (http://www.amazon.com/Breville-RM-BBL...). I could not be happier with this blender for any application, including smoothies.

                                              I did have to replace the glass jar. Turns out they won't blend a stainless steel spoon. Oops.

                                              But everything else it blends like a champ. Ice, frozen fruit, leafy greens, seeds, whatever I've thrown at it it's handled as well as I can imagine.

                                              I got the remanufactured one on the theory that a lot of these things, of whatever brand, ship with some sort of error. That impression was based on websites like this one, where seemingly someone had a tale of woe about every blender, even the most expensive ones, not working for them. My thought is that whatever that fault was would be fixed and inspected during the remanufacture process and that I'd actually get a blender less prone to defect than a factory-fresh one. So far it's worked out.

                                              This is a lot of blender for not a lot of money.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: nokitchen

                                                I would be interested in seeing a comparison of this Breville blender vs a Blendtec vs a Vitamix. My guess is that they are all quality blenders with the latter two having a superior performance over the Breville. I also believe the Breville would do everything I would ever need it to do. Of course I'm coming from the perspective of using only a run-of-the-mill Oster blender for many years.

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  You know, that's an outstanding point. I suspect you're exactly right. My brother got a Blendtec so I'll be able to observe it next time I get down to his place. But your larger point is the important one. If I could port any of these blenders back to 1975 and put it in my mom's kitchen she'd plotz at how amazing it is. Of course she'd also slap me silly for spending $100 on a blender, inflation and improved performance be damned, but that's a separate thread.

                                              2. I'm looking into getting a Blendtec. Is there a specific model that people recommend?

                                                I'm seeing the Blendtec 1560 Watt Total Blender Four Side for $408

                                                The HPA631Home HP3A Blender WildSide for $445

                                                Blendtec Designer Series Blender with Wildside Jar Package for $460

                                                Wondering if the more expensive models are worth it. It seems like the wildside jar is an upgrade and then the next upgrade is because of the design.

                                                Any advice is appreciated!

                                                1. I've had my Blendtec shut down while making smoothies with all frozen fruits and when I tried to make hummus

                                                  Never had that happen with the 52 series Vitamix. Yes you need to employ the tamper but it gets the job done

                                                  1. Not a popular item but a co worker gave me her barely used "NutriBullet" when my ancient blender finally bit the dust. Who knew an infomercial blender would be this great. I had used my old blender pretty much only for smoothies and blender drinks but I have been using this to make a myriad of cold soups along with my smoothies and margaritas. Don't think I would have ever been persuaded to buy one but now that I own it I love it!