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Alternative to Vitamix blender

Well....let me tell you. Went to Sur La Table and had a smoothie made in this. The power of that blender....I was very impressed.
Mine is fried, but I can't afford one of those. I know "you get what you pay for", but is there another blender that puts out a good amount of power?

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  1. Take it for what it's worth but the current issue of Consumer Reports lists the $60 As-Seen-On-TV Ninja Master Prep Pro QB1004 as its second-favorite after the top-rated $450 Vitamix (73 points vs. 76), primarily for "consistently made great icy drinks." But they rated the Ninja NJ600 dead-last.

    74 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      You're kidding. That is a pretty close second for the money difference. I wonder if anyone on this board has one that they could comment about. I have never seen them. Going to youtube search!

      I must say, though, that I primarily used mine to crush, puree my canned tomatoes and soups (if that makes a difference in ratings).

      1. re: itryalot

        I have done some research on this, and the best alternative I can see if the KitchenAid 5-speed blender. I have seen it on sale for $150. It has a slightly less powerful motor, and it does not have the 7 year guarantee of the Vitamix, but it is heat resistant (important for mixing soups). The Vitamix is #1 in the food industry because of its durability, but for occasional home use, I would go with the KitchenAid.

        1. re: mramage

          Don't do it! I hated my KA. I finally bought a Vita Mix (using the lovely three month payment plan on the website) and I have never looked back! I have no regrets.

          1. re: Becca Porter

            I have my broken KitchenAid in the garage waiting for a trip to the e-cycler, which "forced" me to get the Vitamix.

            1. re: Becca Porter

              +1

              Mine goes through couplers somewhat frequently. Only happens when we go on smoothie kicks. VitaMix next time, based on what my friends tell me.

              1. re: Becca Porter

                gotta say that when staying as a houseguest with friends who had a KA, i found it to be far INFERIOR to my ordinary,500 watt Oster with the ice crusher blade and with the "square-topped" glass jar for making all ice-blended drinks and smoothies.

                on paper, the KA looked better, but, in use, it was FAR FAR worse.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Westsidegal, (unsolicited advice alert) I have the same Oster and recommend you get your hands on the Oster Fusion blade ($7 on Amazon) which has 6 blades instead of 4 like the ice crusher blade. I did so following another reviewer's advice and it's like a whole new blender. It was fine before but if you use it for fibrous food items or iced drinks (i.e. green smoothies or blended cocktails) you'll notice a major improvement in texture. Just sayin'.

                  1. re: RenieBop

                    just now saw your advice.
                    i am now using and entirely new oster fusion with the 6 prong blade.
                    also, i am happily using their accessory BLEND-N-GO cup to make smoothies right in the cup. the Blend-n-Go comes with an additional 6 prong blade and an additional gasket.

                    basically every part that touches food goes in my dishwasher.
                    i have a rotating set of jars/assemblies/and blend-n-goes.

                    i'm a happy camper.
                    use my fusion at least twice a day

              2. re: mramage

                Seem to be sold out on ebay
                http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=...

                However, sur la table online sells the Vitamix for a little less http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

                1. re: mramage

                  I have the KA blender, and I'm almost sorry I bought it.

                  Oh, it does what I bought it to do - make dosa batter, it's the first blender I've ever owned that I haven't burned out trying to grind dal and rice for dosa batter.

                  But the thing is the next thing to impossible to clean. It's a 1 piece plastic pitcher that you can't put in the dishwasher, and since the blade is permanently affixed in the bottom, trying to get the bottom cleaned out is an adventure. You also cannot attach a smaller mason jar to the blade to grind up smaller amounts, as you can for every other blender I've ever owned.

                  It is not very flexible. There's no question of doing small amounts in it. Despite promises to the contrary, it does cavitate. My son made a smoothie in it - ONCE. Then he didn't know how to clean it. He set it on the divider between the hall and the kitchen and it sat there for months - I didn't realize it needed to be cleaned (he had rinsed it out). It's such a pain to clean that even after I figured out that it needed to be cleaned, *I* have been avoiding doing the deed as well. Consequently it is still there.

                  It also sounds like an airplane getting ready to take off.

                  I understand that the newer KA mixers have a glass carafe, and that you can get a (slightly) smaller second carafe. I don't know; but I've been unhappy with mine.

                  Still, I did not and do not have the $500 for a Vitamix, so ... a KA mixer may be your only other option if, like me, you find that is just too much money for a mixer.

                  BTW - I wouldn't even CONSIDER a Ninja. They have TERRIBLE failure rates. I was shocked to see CR recommend them. If you want a throw away blender, then, I guess ... otherwise save yourself the hassle and just buy the Vitamix. It'll be cheaper in the long run than replacing your Ninja every year or less.

                  1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                    You don't need $500. The refurbished 5200's (and believe me, these are blender enough for anyone) are $329 plus (unfortunately) tax and shipping and you might be able to get free shipping as well. You can also upgrade the warranty from five to eight years, although that'll be quite a bit more. Figure around $400 in total.

                    1. re: MacGuffin

                      Where can you find some of the Vitamix demo recipes that really show what it can do? Show demonstrators seem to have unique demo recipes that are not in the standard recipe books.

                      1. re: MacGuffin

                        Yeah ... $329 for a REPAIRED blender is just as far out of reach. Thanks anyway.

                        1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                          Not all refurbs are a result of a failed product that was repaired. Many are clean ups from a return when people change their mind before really getting to know what the machine can do.

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            Doesn't matter, there isn't $400 (with shipping and all) for another blender in the budget for this household.

                            I'm not saying the Vitamix isn't worth the money; just that we don't HAVE that kind of money. And my KA mixer DOES do what I mainly bought it to do. I would have been happier if it was a normal setup where I could remove the blade and clean the thing properly, and attach a smaller carafe for smaller tasks.

                            I got this thing instead for making pastes and chutneys and whatnot:

                            http://www.amazon.com/Chef-Pro-Wet-Fo...

                            1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                              KitchenBarbarian,

                              Bouncing between blender and mixer is a little confusing.

                              If you google blender brushes, you should be able to find one. It curls at the bottom to get under the blade assembly. We have one but for the life of me I cannot remember where we got it.

                              We still have our old Osterizer Bee Hive and it made a good vortex. Not super powerful but worked real well. The base came apart for easy cleaning. They are still available although I do not know what the power is as measured by watts.

                              The Ninja gets good reviews and may be in your budget, and many stores, including eBay sell certain models at around $100 to $150. Supposedly they will handle thicker concoctions than a typical blender. I have never used one; we retired our Osterizer and now use the VitaMix. By the way, they have a payment plan.

                              A friend at work recently bought the Montel Williams blender and swears that it is the best appliance he has every bought due to power and versatility. I think it runs about the same as a Ninja.

                              I hope you find what you are looking for.

                              1. re: dcrb

                                Your friend is an extremely fortunate exception. Check out the Amazon reviews.

                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                  MacGuffin

                                  I am well aware of the problems. I tried to talk him out of it but he was so impressed with what he saw art a show in Las Vegas there was no stopping him. So far no failure and it is going on 4 months of daily use. There may have been some improvements made for this year, I don't know. But he raves about what it does.

                                  1. re: dcrb

                                    Hey, this could be an exception. I hope it lasts forever for him. I'd like to see someone not get burned on it.

                          2. re: KitchenBarbarian

                            No need to get testy, they're refurbished and thoroughly bench checked and are most often returns from people who changed their minds. They come with a fabulous warranty and there are probably a gazillion testimonies online from former skeptics who now own them and love them. My friend the demonstrator usually pushes people to buy refurbs because they're a better deal. Now, if you can't afford it, that's a different story (I can't afford an upgrade on my perfectly satisfactory 5000). But there's nothing whatsoever wrong with the refurbs. They're a terrific deal. In fact, if the warranty's right, I look for refurbs whenever I can. My (then) top-of-the-line MacBook Pro is a refurb. It was cheaper than using my academic discount, even with AppleCare.

                        2. re: KitchenBarbarian

                          I know KA has improved over the lousy blender we got 20 yrs ago when the first came out with that big round design. The vortex was pretty bad. Never pulled everything down to the blades. Always had chunks.

                          On most blenders you can blend water with a drop or two of soap to clean them after you get the big stuff rinsed off.

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            Yeah, I just don't feel like it's really clean if I can't scrub around the shaft.

                            Someone said somewhere up there that the KA mixers could be had refurbed for $100 - actually the refurbed 5 speed with the new glass carafe is $50:

                            http://www.shopkitchenaid.com/-%5BRKS...

                            There are other refurbs and some "on sale" for under $100 if you hunt around on there.

                            http://www.shopkitchenaid.com/more-wa...

                            1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                              I have a Vitamix. While the blade is removable, you have to use a special wrench or other tool to do it. There is a large threaded nut holding the blades in place. The bladed also has a small rubber "O" ring to prevent leaking. You can remove the blade for cleaning, but it's not really recommended to do this after every use.

                              1. re: Antilope

                                It's not recommended to do it ever unless you have to swap out the blade assembly. I had to do it once; it was somewhat nerve-wracking because you have to balance getting it tight enough with the possibility of cracking the container due to over-tightening. It's much best left alone unless absolutely necessary. The container and its blade assembly get plenty clean if you if you follow the cleaning instructions.

                              2. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                1) with the oster fusion, you can easily disassemble the entire jar/collar/blade and put them all in your dishwasher.
                                no need for special brushes or scrubbing.

                                2) with the oster fustion, there is a setting that will automatically change the direction of the blending back and forth between "forward" and "reverse" so that getting a vortex is assured.

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  Vita-Mixes used to have the "reverse" feature. The last model that had it was the 4000. They retired it years ago when they improved the the technology and even though it was fun, I very quickly came to realize that there was no longer a need for it.

                            2. re: KitchenBarbarian

                              The 5 speed KA blender was very highly rated by Cooks Illustrated and beat the Vitamix and Blendtec in several tests by Popular Mechanics. You can find the video on youtube. It doesn't do that well in crushing ice though as another video there proved. Consumer Reports also rated the Ninja Master Prep just a few points lower than Vitamix on their test. The only difference was that it rated a "very good" on the grate and puree test as opposed to the next rating up of "excellent" on the Vitamix. All the other ratings were exactly the same for both. It beat Vitamix on the noise though.

                              To clean it fill it with some hot water and a dab of dishwashing detergent and let it run so it cleans itself.

                              1. re: blondelle

                                I wouldn't take seriously any pronouncement from CI, even if it included a stack of bibles. I was recently gratified to learn, from others whose opinions I respect, that I'm not unique. I bought and returned some measuring spoons some months back that, coincidentally, were highly rated by CI. That didn't affect my decision except to send up a red flag, which I ignored (I think they're a bad joke but try to allow for the possibility that maybe they're not always wrong--even a broken clock is accurate twice per day). The spoons weren't even close to accurate and back they went.

                                I have no opinion of CR but would point out that Vitamix produces a blender that lasts forever if you treat it right; no one knows what the longevity of the Ninja is (but I'm going to guess it's not built to last). Such data, even if they're based on reputation, need to be taken into account when rating an appliance.

                              2. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                I have to agree regarding the Ninja. I had it about 2 weeks and blended hard til it broke down. I replaced it with a Refurb Vitamix and could not be happier!

                                This comparison does great at telling the difference between the 2:
                                http://gotgreensrevolution.com/Vitami...

                                The greatest thing is that now what I blend is smooth!

                                1. re: brickbreaker

                                  I had a Kitchenaid blender. My daughter visited and made smoothies in it. After about a week, the rubber gear connecting the blades to the base shredded itself.

                                  I now own a Vitamix and it excels at making smoothies and iced coffee drinks.

                                  Regular processing of ice cubes will soon show most blenders weak points.

                                  1. re: Antilope

                                    Yes, even the Popular Mechanics test noted that they feared for the longevity of the KA blender as they noted black marks from the gear after using it in their tests. For that reason I feel it should NOT have been rated their #1 choice, because at $150 it would only take ONE replacement to put it up into the expense of a refurb Vitamix with a 5 year warranty ($329, where 2x150 = $300). New ones have 7 year warranties. And you can find dozens of coupons all over the internet so you don't have to pay for the shipping.

                                    Putting it the way they did only encouraged people to misinterpret the results, as has been done in this thread. They see KA BLENDER at the #1 spot and don't read any further to see the caveat about concerns about durability.

                                    Since first posting to this thread, I have decided that cheaping out on a blender when you have a specific task that requires the strength and durability of a better designed product was a poor choice on my part. By this time next year, I hope to have a Vitamix. I've reached that point in my life where babying an appliance along to get the job done takes more effort and concentration than I have to spare. Yes, I CAN manage to make dosa batter in my KA blender; but the truth is that I almost never do, simply because it's too much trouble.

                                    So ... here's to a Vitamix refurb in my hopefully not TOO distant future.

                                    Now, if I were younger or healthier/stronger than I am - the KA would probably do fine, with watching and caution, for most things I'm likely to use it for. Also, you can get refurbs from KitchenAid for around $50, which makes the bite less painful. But . . . I'm NOT youngery/healthier/stronger, and as it is the KA blender is sitting unused on the counter.

                                    And there's one thing the Vitamix does that the KA blender could never do - turn spinach into something that has the taste and texture of chocolate ice cream!

                                    http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                                    1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                      If you're going to make batter, which is something that involves processing at a lower speed unless it's extremely runny and you don't care if there's more air than liquid, I really suggest looking into the new Pro 300 rather than a 5200. The fan is always on which means you don't run the risk of tripping the overload protector while processing the batter, a very real possibility with the 5200 which either involves processing at lower variable speeds for very short periods of time or walking the machine up to HIGH (sorry, no small caps) where it can run till the cows come home because the fan's engaged. It's not a good choice for thick batters.

                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                        Hey MacGuffin, just wanted to say thanks for all the detailed info -- I found a pile of 'points' on Amazon (presumably some kind of credits for past purchases or transfers of credit card points) that I'd forgotten about and I have enough for a new Vitamix -- I am a little bewildered by the various options, though. What do you think? I would not be using it for batter -- I primarily want to use it for very fine purees of soups, smoothies, etc. and for grinding flour and nut butter. I may want to do more once I learn what it can do, but those are my current needs that are not well met by my existing equipment. Do you think I should swap it out for another model? Thanks a lot!

                                        1. re: togijiru

                                          My pleasure! I like the new Pro 300 and hope to upgrade someday but I've been using my 5000 (pretty much the same as the 5200) for years now and it still does a fantastic job. I noticed that Amazon seems to have the 300, with free shipping, through a seller: http://www.amazon.com/Vitamix-1829-On... ; would that be in your price range and would Amazon allow you to purchase that one? It also looks like there are 5200 options (including the Pro 200 and CIA Pro) as well. Just stay away from the 4500/TurboBlend--old, not-so-hot technology.

                                          1. re: MacGuffin

                                            I think that once I add a dry grains jar and blade assembly (I'm currently seeing it for $143.95 on Amazon) that puts the 300 out of my range, alas. I'll have another look on the Vitamix website and see if I can determine a clear reason for choosing one of the other models you mentioned over another. Thanks!

                                            1. re: togijiru

                                              Check eBay--they turn up cheaper on a fairly regular basis. Also, you don't need to buy it immediately if your need isn't imminent, i.e., you can shoot for it in the future, keeping an eye on eBay listings. And remember, you only really need it for grinding flour and hard spices and such; everything else, including nut butter, is done in the regular container.

                                              1. re: togijiru

                                                If you buy the dry grains container within 30 days of buying your machine, Vitamix will sell it to you for $100 and ship it free. Someone had posted that on another board. I'm not sure if you have to buy it from them for the deal or you can get it anywhere.

                                                  1. re: MacGuffin

                                                    according to Vitamix - they do not honor warranties for machines sold on ebay

                                                    1. re: greendiva

                                                      Yes, but we're discussing a container, not a machine. And for that matter, it may or may not be a used container.

                                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                                        Except the carafes are warranted too, because of the integral blade assembly.

                                                        A friend just picked up the 32 oz wet container at a demo at her local Costco for $89

                                                        1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                          I realize they're also under warranty but I don't think Vitamix is going to kick about it. For one thing, unless they're abused, it's not usual for containers to develop problems so regardless of how you acquire it, if it craps out when it's out of warranty, you're stuck. You're also stuck if the container's under warranty but fails due to owner negligence or error (e.g. I had to pay for a new gear sprocket when I left a spoon in the container). And, if the container's used (which is the more likely eBay scenario) and still under warranty, Vitamix will honor it, or at least they did last I heard.

                                                          1. re: MacGuffin

                                                            Update (I just opened the e-mail containing this): "I bought a used Vitamix from a person on ebay and Vitamix honoured the warranty without any difficulties.

                                                            Vitamix will honor blenders bought on Ebay but they advised me to get the
                                                            serial # and check it with them. There are some units that don't have valid
                                                            serial #'s and thus won't be eligible for their warranty coverage. When
                                                            there's no receipt they can see by a serial # when the unit was manufactured and
                                                            I believe they use that to see the years left on the warranty."

                                                      2. re: greendiva

                                                        Yes, that was my post you quoted. I'm concerned though that someone else was told differently. It's best to check. I just ordered the 750 from Sur La Table with that 13% cashback I posted about. It's been already confirmed. It was a nice discount!

                                                        1. re: blondelle

                                                          VERY nice discount. I wish I could've fit it into the budget (although I'd have gone for the 300) because in addition to free shipping, I'd have only needed to pay half the sales tax since it would have been shipped from NYC (this holds regardless). Good for you! I'd also like to buy a Bamix Superbox from them (even though the Bamix is white rather than red) because it's not only a great price but the SliceSy comes with all five blades rather than the usual three. I really like Sur la Table--I picked up one of the few remaining US-made Le Creuset silicone basting brushes there over the weekend.

                                                          1. re: blondelle

                                                            Blondelle, I don't seem to be able to find the Sur La Table cashback offer you mention, would it be too much trouble to re-post? I'd have to do the math to see if it would work out better for me but it sounds like a nice offer. Thank you!

                                                            1. re: togijiru

                                                              I'm so sorry but that it was a one day only double cashback offer. Ebates has a different one every day where they double the cashback for that day.

                                                              1. re: blondelle

                                                                Ah, ok -- well thank you, I'll keep an eye out for other deals anyhow.

                                                      3. re: togijiru

                                                        I grind all kinds of dry things in my basic 5200, no problems. I read somewhere that the dry container is used so that you don't etch the regular. Surely there are other reasons though. I couldn't care less if my blender gets etched.

                                                        1. re: Becca Porter

                                                          The dry container's blades are designed to toss the flour (or whatever) upwards; the wet container pulls whatever's in the container into the vortex. It really is supposed to do a better job than the regular container although you're right--the regular container will certainly handle dry stuff.

                                                  2. re: MacGuffin

                                                    MacGuffin, this isn't a "batter" like pancake batter. It's made from whole uncooked rice and urad goti (whole urad bean) which you have to grind.

                                                    It's a refurb 5200 or nothing, given the refurb is already stretching me to the limits of what I can afford (beyond actually). The extra $220 for the 300 puts it right out of the realm of possibility, and frankly for very little payback given my needs. Most of that extra expense is in the "preprogrammed" settings.

                                                    The 300 also can't be used with any of the alternate carafes - they fit only the 5200.

                                                    I KNOW the 5200 will make excellent dosa batter, and in only minutes instead of the hour or so I spend babying my KA blender along, because I have a friend who does exactly that. Works fine. It is an EXCELLENT choice for this particular "thick batter".

                                                    1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                      Hey, as long as it works, go for it. But I believe you're mistaken about the containers--I think all of the previous containers fit the new base but the new containers don't fit the old base. I'd recommend a dry container for you, too (I know, more expense). It'll not only do a better job on your grains, etc., but it'll keep your everyday "wet" container from clouding.

                                                      Has it occurred to you that by the time you're ready to purchase that there might be Pro 300 refurbs?

                                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                                        Again you misunderstand my application. The rice and dal are WET ground. After they have been ground - and you grind them separately because the rice needs to be one consistency and the dal another - then you add water to make the batter, then set it aside to ferment, which happens overnight in India where it's 100 degrees more days than not (in most parts at least), but here where it's colder I've found it takes 24 to 36 hours for the ferment, if you don't have an incubator that can keep the temp up around 105F (which I don't).

                                                        According to Vitamix, the 32oz dry carafe and the 48 oz carafe only fit the 5200. That's what I was told. That's also the way it is presented on the website.

                                                        Someday I might get a smaller carafe, but I don't HAVE to. The 5200 vanilla as-is out of the box suits this application just fine. Thus, $329 for me plus tax (if they charge that) gets me out the door with a refurb Vitamix that does what I need and then some.

                                                        It's taken me MONTHS to come to this conclusion. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish I'd put the $100 odd I spent on the KA blender 3 years ago towards a refurb Vitamix. Of course, I'd no idea how severely impaired I was about to become - like I said, 20/20 hindsight.

                                                        I CAN (and have) make the KA blender work, but it's gotten beyond my capabilities these days. If I ever want to see a dosa in my house again, I need this tool. I've discovered many kitchen time savers that previously I had a pretty cavalier take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards have become vital.

                                                        It's one of the things you just learn to deal with as you age.

                                                        1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                          To tell you the truth, I still don't understand. Does "wet ground" mean dry matter ground in water or matter soaked, then ground? Or soaked and then ground in more water? Regardless, it doesn't matter as long as it works for you.

                                                          "All of the containers (64 oz wet - tall, 32 oz. wet, 32 oz. dry, 48 oz. wet) that fit the 5200 series will fit the new base/motor. The new, squat 64 oz. container will fit the 5200 series motors, but will cause additional drag on it, therefore speeding up the day when your 5200 series motor "meets its maker" ;-)"
                                                          ~post on another board by my friend agapemom, a Vitamix demonstrator

                                                          I had a look on the Web site prior to posting my previous response and not only didn't see anything to indicate that the containers aren't compatible but noticed that three of the Creations offerings (with the Pro 300 base) actually include the 48 oz. container.

                                                          1. re: MacGuffin

                                                            https://secure.vitamix.com/Compare-Pr...

                                                            On this chart, only the Model 5200 is listed as accepting all 3 sizes of carafe.

                                                            The "Creations" series, on the end there is listed as accepting the 48 oz carafe in addition to the 64 oz carafe that comes with it.

                                                            On models 300 and 750 the 64 oz carafe is totally different than the one that comes on the rest of the models. It's broader at the base and squatter. I don't think that carafe is interchangeable with the others. I had called them a few weeks ago and was told only the 5200 model would take all 3 carafes, but maybe they meant that's the only model you can get that COMES with all 3 carafes.

                                                            I'd wonder about those other 2 though. They sure don't LOOK interchangeable.

                                                            Given I couldn't afford anything but a 5200 refurb I guess I'm not going to worry too much about it.

                                                            As for the wet grinding, normally this is done in India with a special appliance you can't get here, which has rotating stones that do the wet grinding. It looks like the attached photo.

                                                            These things are REAL expensive, generally made for 220v, and not necessarily all that reliable (for those that have been rewired/reworked for 110v).

                                                            The other way to get this stuff ground up is in what is called a "mixie" which is basically a blender, only one optimized for this particular task, and for making chutneys, etc.

                                                            So, you take your rice, and you soak it overnight. Ditto the urad goti. Separately. You retain the water the urad was soaked in - I usually save the rice water as well, separately. There's stuff in the urad goti that helps in the fermentation. Add some whole fenugreek seed to soak with the urad goti. It's supposed to aid fermentation as well.

                                                            Next morning, drain the rice and urad goti (reserving the water separately).

                                                            I grind the urad goti first, with as little water as possible, until it feels silky. I use the water the urad was soaked in. Then I add the rice and blend until it the mixture is fairly smooth adding dal water only as necessary.

                                                            You should have a VERY thick batter at this point. I add more dal water (if I run out I use rice water) until it's the right consistency (thicker than pancake batter by just a little bit) and set it aside to ferment. I've found that takes 24 to 36 hours.

                                                            This is REALLY hard on your typical American style blender. Trust me, I know - I've burned 2 out over the years on this task, even trying to let them cool off between bursts of activity. The rest never even got CLOSE to grinding the stuff up.

                                                            The only one that handles it easily is the Vitamix. I CAN, and have, done it in my KA blender, but it means spending significant amounts of time waiting for the motor to cool down. It's never taken less than about 40 minutes, more like to take about an hour to really do it right. It takes all of about 5 minutes in the Vitamix.

                                                             
                                                            1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                              Fortunately, I live two blocks from any number of purveyors of cheap dosas if the urge should overtake me. :)

                                                              1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                                                Chocolate Alchemy sells those wet grinders. They're also useful for refining chocolate!

                                                                http://shop.chocolatealchemy.com/coll...

                                                                1. re: vanillagirlca

                                                                  Yowps! $500! That's twice what I ALREADY considered "pricey", LOL!

                                          2. re: itryalot

                                            Anyone has or tried the Ninja? I have been following up to these threads and been looking even for a second hand one and the price is still up there.

                                            1. re: itryalot

                                              itryalot, I haven't used a Ninja Master Prep yet, but will be getting one in the future. I keep missing on them on Woot.com (they've had several offerings over the past few months, for example, from the ebay listing above, the handmixer/Master Prep combo was listed on Woot in April for $34.99 + $5.00 shipping). You can do a search on Woot if you're interested in reading feedback about the product or what it sold for when it was offered. I figure I'll hold out for another month to see if they're offered again. If not, I'll get the Master Prep at Sams Club for $49.99.

                                              For those not familiar with Woot, its' parent company is Amazon.

                                              I did, however, pick up the Ninja Warrior handblender that Woot offered yesterday. It's a relatively new product, so reviews are limited, but all reports are pointing to it being very good. Can't wait to get it and try it out.

                                              1. re: itryalot

                                                Just an update to my post. I was walking through Sam's Club last week and there was a lone Ninja Master Prep for $25.01. I bought it and have used it everyday and I'm loving it! It came with two 16oz containers, one 40 oz work bowl and one 48 oz pitcher. The regular price at Sam's is $49.99, but as this was the last in stock at the store I went to, it was marked down.

                                                It turned out consistent chop on potatoes, carrots and celery without any strain on the motor. It totally liquifies apples and bananas in a few seconds. It makes amazing smoothies and 'quick' ice cream made only with frozen fruit and milk. It really does turn ice into snow! Whatever I used it for, it accomplishes it's task very quickly and effortlessly, without staining the motor.

                                                From all the reviews I read, everyone recommended using pulse mode as opposed to keeping the motor consistently running (the manual recommends no more than 15 second bursts), I followed that advice and couldn't be more pleased with the Ninja's performance.

                                                I've never used a Vita Mix, so I can't directly compare the two. All I can saw is this thing out performs any blender I've ever had.

                                                1. re: Molly James

                                                  But will it liquify an avocado seed?

                                                2. re: itryalot

                                                  I know this thread is a bit old, but I have the Ninja. I forget the model but it is the one with the large 56oz pitcher. The large pitcher is why I bought it. The blades are very sharp. I have sliced my finger more than once cleaning it.
                                                  With that said, I am not crazy about it for my use. I make green smoothies and I like them very creamy. The ninja just doesn't do well for that. The texture is not smooth or creamy. No matter how long I keep blending, the veggies and fruits are gritty and just small bits.
                                                  I think the ninja would be great for margaritas, daqaris, and things that small bits and pieces are ok. I also don't care for the 3 tiers of blades. Makes it hard to put stuff in the blender because the blades are always in the way.

                                                  My kitchenaid that I had before worked better for creamy smoothies than the Ninja. When the motor began smelling like it was burning, I replaced it. But I got a lot of use out of it for the money. I went the Ninja because the pitcher would hold more.

                                                  I am now considering a blend tech Wildside over the vitamix, becaue it will fit under my cabinets and the two blade design lookes to be mush easier to clean. Wished Vitamix blenders were not so tall. But nearly 500.00 is an awful lot for a blender.
                                                  I might be better off just going back to the 100.00 kitchen aid and chucking it when the motor goes out. But I really like the Blend Tech's large and wide carafe. I can make more green smoothies to put in the fridge/freezer and don't have to make them everyday. Of course I could always make 2 batches in the kitchenaide and save myself about 400.00.

                                                  1. re: dixiegal

                                                    correction to my post. My Ninja blender has a 72oz pitcher not 56. I don't know where I got that.

                                                    1. re: dixiegal

                                                      VitaMix will sell you the machine with a squat 48 oz pitcher in lieu of the taller 64 oz. I also remember seeing o QVC a Vita Mix that fits under the cabinets.

                                                      1. re: dcrb

                                                        I know Vitamix has a smaller pitcher option, but I want a big pitcher. The Blendtec has the 96oz (I know you can't really blend that much in it) pitcher and it is still short enough to fit under my cabinet. I am pretty sure I will be needing ear protection to run the thing though. Yikes, both Vitamix and Blendtec blenders are very loud.

                                                        1. re: dixiegal

                                                          Blendtec blades are fixed in the pitcher. When they fail you have to replace the entire pitcher. The blade bearings tend to go out more often than the Vitamix. The Vitamix has a 5 to 7 year warranty (depending on the model) and if the blade bearings wear out they send a new blade set for free under warranty.

                                                          I just bought a 64 oz and 32 oz container each with a new-style two-piece lid, but no blades, for about $ 35.00 each at Amazon. My Vitamix came with a 48 oz container and a wet blade. I will probably get a dry blade and an ice blade for the new containers. The new containers (like the 48 oz ) are made of the new Tritan Copolyester - BPA free material. I've seen the blades priced at about $50 to $75 each.

                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                            I had to replace the blade assembly while my Vita-Mix was under warranty (a long story but it was due to something else that had been my fault) and yes, it was free. A very easy fix and they include the special wrench.

                                                            You can confirm this with Vitamix but you don't need the ice blade assembly. It's for the commercial drink machines and the reason it was developed, if I understood the rep in the commercial division correctly (I was researching a smoothie business and wanted to use Vita-Preps), is that under the near-constant stress of blending only frozen drinks in a commercial environment, the tips of the wet blades can eventually break off. This is why the drink machines have ice blade assemblies but the Vita-Prep 3 (the commercial equivalent of the 5200) doesn't. Unless you're running a smoothie/frozen daiquiri business from your kitchen, there's no need for the ice blade but please confirm this with Vitamix. The dry blade is, of course, another story.

                                                            I also pulled this up: http://community.vitamix.com/service/... .

                                                            1. re: MacGuffin

                                                              This is just for home use. I was only planning to make smoothie and frappe drinks with the ice blade.

                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                I realize that. It's just that it's not going to perform any better for you than the wet blade and it's inherently limited in function. It really is a one-trick pony (as are all the commercial drink machines). Again, don't take my word for it--Vitamix customer service is a toll-free call away. You might want to ask them what the warranty is on the ice blade assembly as well.

                                                      2. re: dixiegal

                                                        The Vitamix Professional 300 model has a squat 64 oz. container and is only 17.4" high. It is also 40% quieter than the 5200, and has a pulse button and 2.2 horsepower which is more powerful than the 5200 too. It's exclusive to Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table. It's $529, and comes in black or red.

                                                        1. re: blondelle

                                                          "The Vitamix Professional 300 model has a squat 64 oz. container and is only 17.4" high."

                                                          Right you are. And like the original "wet" container, it's actually a full 2 l, so it's a bit more capacious than 64 oz. I don't know when Vitamix and the demonstrators will be selling them but my friend the demonstrator thinks October-ish. And I was told by a Sur la Table manager that if I were to buy from them and have it shipped (I live in NYC), the shipping's on the house and the tax would only be half. So I think that's how I'd go.

                                                  2. re: ferret

                                                    QVC has the latest version of the Ninja Pulse that has 2 size jars, 2 travel cups, and a slicer/shredder food processor top. Also has a dough blade and cookie paddle. It's also very compact and perfect for a smaller kitchen. In some ways it goes it one better than the Vitamix in that you don't need a tamper. It uses multiple blades that go almost to the top of the jar. Can do everthing the Vitamix can do except heat soup, but it also have some other features the Vitamix doesn't. It's $110 now. There's a video on their site and one also on youtube. Search for Ninja QVC.

                                                    This replaces a blender, food processor, hand and maybe stand mixer, and an ice crushing and ice cream machine. No, it's not as sturdy as the Vitamix but it's a quarter of the price and slices and shreds!

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                      Where does one look for these refurbs? Manufacturer's website?

                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                          That price for a reconditioned Vitamix is the same price I paid for a brand new Vitamix at the Costco roadshow.

                                                          1. re: NotJuliaChild

                                                            That's a great idea. I am going to look at the Costco website.

                                                            1. re: itryalot

                                                              If you have a local restaurant supply shop that sells used equipment you might check there. I just bought a used Vitamix at a local shop for $100. That included my pick of all the jars he had in stock, a new gear on the motor base, and a new power cord. Buying new the jar alone is over $100. It's worth a shot.

                                                            2. re: NotJuliaChild

                                                              You can sometimes find really good deals at the demos. I saw Vitamixes offered at the Whole Foods in Union Square earlier this year for about the same price as the refurbs (WF gave a $50 rebate at checkout) with an 8- rather than 7-year warranty. I think the stainless-finish model might have been a bit more expensive; regardless, it was a great deal. However, if you don't want to wait, you can usually get a refurb direct from Vitamix.

                                                      1. I saw the demo at Costco and thought I'd like to be able to toss frozen fruit and milk in and get soft-serve ice cream. Nice trick! Anyone know if there are others able to do that? I won't spend the Vita-mix price but love the idea of making ice cream so easily.

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                          Does it have a tamper to push the food down like the vitamix does? I make ice cream with frozen fruit almost every day in my vitamix besides the power the tamper is what makes it possible. I love my vitamix and wish I'd bought it sooner, I'd been wanting one for years before purchasing.

                                                          ok they have it on Amazon, look at the reviews.

                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                            This is one thing that the Blendtec doesn't have and suffers in performance because of it. You can turn frozen fruit into a thick sorbet in the Vitamix. A task which will choke most every other blender including the Blendtec.

                                                              1. re: rasputina

                                                                Just to clarify, I mean they have the ninja on Amazon and you can read reviews on it.

                                                                1. re: rasputina

                                                                  Thanks, I hadn't heard of the Ninja. The thing that attracts me to the Vita-mix is the ability to make sorbets and ice creams without using a separate appliance.

                                                                  I do check craigslist once in a while but when they do appear they're still pretty expensive.
                                                                  The search for my deal continues! :)

                                                              2. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                i do one of those every morning for my daughter using my ordinary 500 watt Oster with the ice crusher blade. Trader Joe's frozen organic strawberries, and Trader Joe's frozen organic raspberries, regular milk or soy milk, and you're good to go.
                                                                for myself, i make at least one or two ice-blended mochas a day using valrhonna cocoa powder, coffee, sweetner, soy milk and ice. start with the room-temp ingredients so that the sweetner melts before you add the cold ingredients.
                                                                for a change i'll also make smoothies with a banana, a little sweetner, valrhonna cocoa powder, soy milk and ice .

                                                                i like the glass blender jar as opposed to plastic, and i like the square-shaped top ones better than the other shapes because pouring from them is more precise.
                                                                ALL the dirty parts go in my dishwasher every day: i disassemble the jar, the blade, the gasket, and the jar collar and put the small parts on the top shelf in the dishwasher with the lid and put the glass jar part in the bottom section and run the dishwasher on high-temp wash.

                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                  We aren't talking about shakes and smoothies, we are talking about thick ice cream that isn't even pourable out of the container. It's so thick that it would be impossible to blend without the tamper moving things around.

                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                    This is what puts the Vitamix at the top of the heap IMO. The BlendTec just can't do what the Vitamix can with the tamper. When the Vitamix is in high speed it just blows any other blender away in shear power. It's not always about HP but how the power is used and watts misleading to say the least.

                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                      Did you ever see the hilarious Blendtec vs. Vitamix comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksKziI... ? Somewhere in that series, there's mention of an optional "twister jar" available for the Blendtec that's supposed to solve the problem--it's $119 (yes, you read right). Mind you, it doesn't need it because the Blendtec works perfectly well without the tamper...except when it doesn't. Also, there's a lady named Chef AJ who's a raw foods chef who has some slammin' recipes; one of her videos has her making a chocolate cherry smoothie in a Blendtec. As she pours it, a rather large chunk of unblended (I assume) fruit plops into the glass. Ah, well.

                                                                    2. re: rasputina

                                                                      See the Ninja Pulse video on QVC. It's blends a thick ice cream that doesn't pour out of the container and no tamper needed. It uses a multi blade design that comes in contact with most of the ingredients so it doesn't need to be fed into the blade.

                                                                      I ordered one of these and want to see if it will meet my needs before getting a Vitamix. There are lots of reviews I've read where people had a Vitamix but wound up using this instead as it did as well and it was easier to use and clean.

                                                                      1. re: blondelle

                                                                        I can't imagine what is easier to clean than just putting water a drop of detergent in it and blending. If you like the Ninja, great. I already have the Vitamix so I don't need to watch the QVC videos on the Ninja. I don't need another blender.

                                                                    3. re: westsidegal

                                                                      You really can't have a glass with a machine as powerful as the Vitamix--it's a safety hazard. And the container's lip is very precise unless you get overzealous and try to dump your contents too quickly. I'm told, though, that putting it through the dishwasher will cloud it over time.

                                                                  2. almost anything else. VM is over rated and over priced.

                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                      Wow; you seem pretty convinced about that. My biggest worry is that it will ruin my home canned tomatoes - I crush/puree them. I don't want them whipped or frothy. Is that an issue?

                                                                      1. re: itryalot

                                                                        You might be better with a stick blender then a Vita-Mix if that is your most common application.

                                                                        1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                          I find the immersion/stick blender "whips" it too much.

                                                                        2. re: itryalot

                                                                          You can purée something as soft as tomatoes on one of the lower speeds without putting stress on the motor. I'm almost certain you'd find that you can get satisfactory results. And having owned Vita-Mixes (two in total) since 1988 I can assure you that they're NOT "over rated." "Over priced" is a matter of opinion. They're made by human beings in a factory in Cleveland--that costs more than mass-production in China. A seven-year warranty and polite, responsive, ENGLISH-SPEAKING AMERICAN toll-free customer support that you can actually reach is bundled into the cost. I know people who've used the same machine for 30+ years before upgrading.

                                                                          1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                            Thanks Mac. I am becoming increasingly aware and conscious about product production and trying to keep the business in the US and Can. Thanks for reminding me!

                                                                            1. re: itryalot

                                                                              You're quite welcome! Yes, it's nice to support our own although I don't turn up my nose at well-made European appliances and such. I have a fabulous kitchen slicing/grating/cutting gadget that now has to be assembled in Mexico of US-made parts because the manufacturer (Health Craft) lost their factory here. Very sad. It's made by the same company that produces Vitamix's Neova cookware (which is still made here).

                                                                            2. re: MacGuffin

                                                                              I agree with MacGuffin that if you mix on a lower speed, it shouldn't whip or aerate your tomatoes. But, it sounds like a food mill is going to be the best option for your home canned tomatoes, or a food processor. Neither will incorporate any air into your tomatoes. I also want to echo the longevity of the machine. I'm a professional caterer, and the Vitamix that is in my kitchen has been going strong after almost 20 years of commercial use. The gear that connects the carafe to the base finally stripped after god knows how many batches of tomatillo salsa and velvety smooth soups. The gear replacement was about $30, I think.

                                                                          2. re: Candy

                                                                            Just wondering why you would say that, do you own one? I very recently did my part to stimulate the economy (yes, it is expensive) but I absolutely love it--in the short time I have had it I use it everyday to make fresh juice, green smoothies, sorbet, lowfat ice cream...can't wait to try some sauces and soups. It is my favorite appliance ever, and I have many kitchen toys...why in your opinion is it overated??

                                                                            1. re: Marge

                                                                              I agree Marge. I haven't enjoyed an appliance this much in years. Just tried out one of my favorite Ming Tsai soup recipes and it was a dream.
                                                                              Three months and still in love:)

                                                                              1. re: Marge

                                                                                Marge, you're going to find that it's terrific for sauces because it simultaneously blends and cooks them. Start with hot liquids to save some time. They're like liquid velvet--completely smooth and no possibility of scorching.

                                                                                  1. re: Marge

                                                                                    My pleasure. Over time you'll eventually develop the "how to I adapt my mainstream recipe to the Vitamix?" mentality and that's when you'll start to fully appreciate the machine's power and versatility. I tend to be a tweaker anyway and I adapted this CHOW recipe for my Vita-Mix: http://mail.aol.com/34188-111/aol-6/e... . I baked, rather than simmered, the sweets (richer flavor), prepared the onion as directed including simmering (I cover the pot) sans the sweets, removed and tossed the star anise, then dumped everything into my Vita-Mix and let 'er rip for 4 minutes or so after walking it up to HIGH, adding the cream at the end through the lid (don't get steam burned when you remove the vented cap!) at a much lower variable speed. It's HEAVENLY. If you're using bouillon cubes (I use Knorr veggier or Better Than veggie) or some such you can either simmer them with the onion or throw them into the container.

                                                                            2. Do you have a good immersion blender? I can't think of anything it doesn't do as well or better and with less cleanup, smoothies included. I have the Kitchen Aid version for ~$50. In the two years I've owned it it's been used probably 10x more than any other appliance I've ever had.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                No, I have had a few different ones and never been happy with any of them. For my canned tomatoes when I want them pureed, they come more frothy and that's not what I need.

                                                                                1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                  You simply cannot get UNIFORM consistency from an immersion blender. I used to use an IB if I felt lazy, but I found the splatter on my clothes and counters took longer to clean than a fast rinse with screaming hot water if I just used a blender.

                                                                                  KA's have horrible reviews. Waring brand gets some good ones, but I would say that the Consumer Reports recommended Ninja would be your best bet.

                                                                                  1. re: MelissaMachete

                                                                                    I have a 40 year-old Bamix I'm making do with until I can afford an upgrade. It's an amazing little gadget, far superior to the Braun I used until it burned out. I don't think you can do better if you want an immersion blender. Check out the video demos on YouTube.