Blendtec vs, Vitamix: Who's the Champ?
Blendtec & Vitamix Mix it Up
Everyone tries to compare these two champions head-to-head, as if one is better than the other. But this is like comparing two great fighters to decide which one is better - the one with more power or the one with faster hands. In some matches, the fighter with more power will win. In others, speed is the deciding factor.
Choosing between Blendtec and Vitamix is sort of like that. Blendtec is sort of a power hitter. Vitamix has faster blsdes. In some situations, power is what you need. In others, blade speed works best. So it all depends on who you are and how you work rather than any particulars like blade speed or horsepower. These two championship blenders work on entirely different principles so you need to match how you work with how the blender is designed to work in order to make an intelligent choice. For that you have to understand the overall design concept for each blender. Both Vitamix and Blendtec match the horsepower of the motor to the blade speed (RPMs), carafe design, blade design and intended user experience! Each is a champ in it's own right
Many years ago I had what I thought was a good quality blender. I struggled with it for making raw smoothies. I probably spent twice as long on every smoothie, from having to chop ingredients before adding them to the blender to having to stand there and shake the blender to get things to mix. I could spend 20 minutes to make a smoothie that takes less than half the time with a high-end blender.
I also used to throw out a lot of nutrition, cutting the tops off strawberries, tossing pineapples cores in the trash, or carefully removing many edible seeds. Now I just toss everything in my high-power blender and it all gets blended up into the smoothest most delicious smoothies you’ve ever tasted!
With my old blender I just put up with lumps in my smoothies. I thought it was normal! But those lumps – the un-blended ingredients in my smoothie – were globs of valuable, expensive organic veggies or fruits that never going to get completely broken down and digested. You see, an inefficient blender WASTES NUTRITION, WASTES TIME and WASTES MONEY!
If you are interested in a healthy diet, especially raw food, and are still struggling with a typical consumer blender, you are probably frustrated with like I was. Ordinary consumer models just don’t cut it for raw pates or thick green smoothies! And the idea of spending $400 or more for a blender isn’t palatable at all…until you realize that a high-end, high-power blender quickly pays for itself!
Healthy Competition: High-End Blenders
After reading all the articles about these blenders I could find I learned that nobody is actually giving you the real scoop! That's what happens when articles and web sites are written to sell you something rather than provide useful, factual and relevant content that educated the reader! Instead you get a bunch of personal opinions and product specs that just ends up making you more confused than ever!
Of all the blenders on the market, there are only two brands that stand out as the best by professionals, from raw food authors and teachers to professional chefs. First, there is the popular Vitamix TurboBlend VS (also called the model 5200). A stainless steel Vitamix 3600 was my first high-power blender, purchased over 20 years ago. For decades Vitamix was the only choice. Today it is still preferred by people who insist on total manual control.
Then Blendtec came on the scene with the Total or Home blender (also called the HP3A or Wildside), featuring more horsepower and a reputation for being able to blend anything from golf balls to iPods. This upstart is now the blender of choice for people who prefer the automatic pre-programmed functionality without the need for a tamper.
How does a $400 blender make a better smoothie?
From a raw food perspective, the first thing you need to understand about a blender is that a blender doesn’t just “blend” or mix up a bunch of ingredients. A high-end blender does much, much more. These benders have motors is 5 to 10 times more powerful than a typical kitchen blender, and blades thart reach blade-tip speeds that approach the speed of sound! This is not just for show!
With this much speed and power, the blades in these powerful machines hit your spinach, kale, bananas, almonds and everything else with a powerful force that their cell walls literally explode, instantly releasing all the dense nutrients and flavors trapped inside. That would be hard for your stomach to do even if it wasn't already compromised by a lifetime of cooked, processed foods! However, this only happens with a high-end, powerful blender. If you make a green smoothie in an ordinary kitchen blender it may mix up the ingredients somewhat, but the effect won’t be the same. Instead, you’ll waste a lot of energy chewing the lumps and digesting what should be smooth and effortless to absorb.
Of all the blenders on the market, there are only two brands that stand out as the absolute best among professionals, from raw food authors and teachers to professional chefs. First, there is the popular Vitamix TurboBlend VS (also called the model 5200). A stainless steel Vitamix 3600 was my first high-power blender, purchased over 20 years ago. I treasured that blender for over two decades! For decades Vitamix was the ONLY choice. Today it is still preferred by professional chefs who insist on total control.
Then Blendtec came on the scene with the Total or Home blender, featuring more horsepower and a reputation for being able to blend anything from golf balls to iPods. But to determine which blender is the best for you, especially if you are enjoying a raw food lifestyle, you have to look further than horsepower and golf balls.
The first thing everyone looks at are Product Specifications (see my Blender Comparison Chart). However, the specs don’t tell the whole story. For example, most people assume that a 3 HP motor is better than a 2 HP motor. But that isn’t true at all. The truth is that it you have to understand the overall design, from how the blade design and speed interact with the the design of the carafe and control system. The Vitamix and Blendtec are not competing directly at all. They are actually two entirely different philosophies of blender design – and will appeal to entirely different groups of people. The right question to ask is not which is the best blender but which is the best for you!
Power vs. Speed
Vitamix has a long history. Many people that have been loyal Vitamix fans for decades. Their blenders are often preferred by professional chefs who prepare dozens of thick, dense recipes daily. In a commercial kitchen, chefs prefer more manual control. A chef often wants to be able to manually control the speed and texture of his mix as his uses the famous Vitamix Tamper tool to push ingredients down into the blades carefully. Vitamix has 4 star-shaped blades that are sharper, cutting through the ingredients at 39,000 RPM. The carafe is tall and fluted, concentrating the ingredients in a narrower space and along the fluted curves for easy reach with the tamper tool. . This combination of elements requires about 2 horsepower for the most efficient blending. In fact, too much horsepower could even make it less efficient!
The Blendtec design team took an entirely different approach, opting for less speed, more power and more automation. This is great for people who want to just push a button and let the bender do its thing, without even the need for a tamper. The powerful 3 horsepower motor drives the 2-pronged blades, which are designed with a relatively dull edge, into the ingredients at about 28,000 RPM. With a bigger motor, these blades are slower but have more power behind them, like a car going uphill in 1st gear. A large, wider and shorter square carafe is designed to take advantage of the power of the dull blades to create a vortex inside the carafe that sucks everything down into the blades without the need for a tamper at all. You can just push a pre-programmed button and walk away. If you need it you can us ethe manual Pulse button and speed control for a little more anual control.
In my experience, I haven’t wished I had a tamper tool for my Blendtec. The large blade and square pitcher design does, for the most part, just what the sales literature says. It pulls the ingredients into the blades with a powerful vortex. Occasionally, I will make a green smoothie with four or more large handfuls of greens and I’ll need to hit the “Pulse” button a few times before pressing the “Smoothie” button. On rare occasions, I’ll need to stop the blender and push the greens down into the blades or pick up the pitcher and give it a good shake. However, this is usually due to my laziness and over-cramming the blender.
The larger, 3-quart pitcher that is available through Blendec has a larger, 4-inch blade and handles more capacity.. If you think you’ll be making a lot of smoothies with entire bunches or heads of greens (or you’re making smoothies for more than 2 people), I highly recommend opting for the larger pitcher. The standard pitcher, however, is definitely adequate for most people.
Minimum Authjorized Price: Vitamix and Blendtec are both high-end blenders. The Vitamix TurboBlend VS (Variable Speed) sells for $449 and the Blendtec HP3A is $399. Blendtec has a slight price advantage over Vitamix in that $399 pays for everything you need to blend and grind wet and dry ingredients. Vitamix has a separate dry pitcher for grinding grains into flower and blending other dry ingredients which is sold separately. Both Vitamix and Blendtec offer a 7 year warranty.
Power/Speed: The Vitamix blender features a 2 horsepower motor that spins up to 39,000 rpm. The Blendtec hp3A blender features a 3 peak horsepower, 1500 watt motor that spins it’s blade up to 28,000 rpm. However, because of the smaller motor in the Vitamix, it can slow down significantly during a thicker blend. Blendtec’s greater horsepower means that is "goes uphill in low gear" better than the VitamMix, maintaining blade speed in even very thick mixes.
Warranty: Both Vitamix and Blendtec have a 7-year warranty that covers the entire machine, so this is a tie between the two machines.
Durability: Both Blendtec and Vitamix feature break-resistant, BPA-free copolyester pitchers, stainless steel blades and durably-built base. Both will pulverize hard materials such as ice, frozen fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and coffee beans, though for dry ingredients you need to buy a differnt blender for the Vitamix.
Dimensions: Blendtec is shorter at 15 1/2 inches tall with pitcher, which means that it can fit under most kitchen cabinets.
Vitamix blenders are taller at 20 1/2 inches with pitcher, so it will take up a little more space in your kitchen and might not be able to fit nicely under your kitchen cabinets. The width and depth are pretty similar but the Blendtec, with a bigger motor, weighs 12 pounds vs. Vitamix's 10 pounds.
Pitcher/Carafe: Both blenders feature a 64-ounce pitcher made from a durable, break-resistant copolyester (plastic). Unlike the Vitamix, the Blendtec blade is fused to the pitcher, so if the pitcher should need replacing, you’re also replacing the blade. Of course, the blade assembly is guaranteed for life, so if it needed replacing it wouldn't cost you anything, New Blendtec pitches are is fairly inexpensive, available online for under $60. Blendtec also has a 96-ounce pitcher that you can buy separately, or is included at a good discount if you order it with the Combo option.
The Blendtec pitcher design also makes it easier to pour smoothies and scrape out thick mixes like salad dressings or nut butters. The pitcher is easier to clean, as well. With the Vitamix, on the other hand, it can be more difficult to remove ingredients caught beneath or around the blades in it’s narrow, fluted pitcher design.
Controls – Preprogrammed vs. Manual: The Vitamix features a manual switch and dial interface for more precise, manual control of your mix. One of the problems with dials and switches, however, is that they can be hard to clean. Blendtec features a pre-programmed push-button interface which wipes clean easily. You can set speeds manually when needed by pressing the “up” or “down” buttons, but for most things you just push a button and walk away.
Tamper Tool: Vitamix includes a tamper, which pushes the ingredients down the flutyd sides and into the blades of the blender. This gives you more manual control when pushing the ingredients down. Blendtec, however, is designed to create a vortex in the pitcher that sucks all the ingredients down into the blades without the need for a tamper. In my experience, smoothies blend perfectly in the Blendtec without the need for a tamper. It does pull all the ingredients into the blades. For thicker blends you may need to hit the pulse button a couple times before running the smoothie cycle. I can certaintly live without a tamper but if you nee one you can find a custom, aftermarket tamper for Blendtecs on eBay very inexpensively.
Noise Level: The Vitamix sounds slightly less noisy than the Blendtec, but not by much - and if you push the button and walk away you won't hear a thing anyway, whereas with the Vitamix you have to stay there and listen to it.
Cleaning: Both Vitamix and Blendtec are easy to clean - just put a little hot water and a drop of dish soap in the pitcher and push the pulse button for a second or two. Occassionally you may need to get in there with a brush for a more thorough cleaning. Since the pitcher is wide and has smooth sides, that is easier on the Blendtec than on the tall, narrow and fluted Vitamix pitcher.
Blades: The Vitamix features a four-tipped, sharpened blade designed to work with the higher RPM's of the motor to cut through the tough cellulose wall of cells. Blendtec has a dual-prong usharpened blade designed to crash through cell walls with the greater power of it's 3 HP motor.
Color/Design: The newest Vitamix TurboBlend VS (5200) is a more stylish, modern design that now adds a variable speed (VSD) control to the classic 5200 design. It only comes in blck. The Blendtec HP3A (Home/Total) Blender has a sleek, modern, high-tech design which is available in black, white or red.
Customer Support: While Blendtec has a wildly popular “Will It Blend” video campaign on YouTube, Vitamix has mor information-packed content on its website that contains a forum, recipes, nutrition information and specific content catering to raw foodists or vegetarians. Vitamix generally features more healthy recipes than Blendtec. However, this isn't a reason to choose one machine over anothe - you can find numerous web sites with recipes that work with either machine online.
Performance: Either blender will do amazingly when making silky, delicious smoothie . Neither one outperforms the other. Both blenders break up cell walls, which unlocks the nutrients in fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds better than any typical consumer blender can. Both Vitamix and the Blendtec make smoothies, nut butters, hot soup, frozen ice cream, crush ice and grind grains. So it all comes down to how you want to work - manually, standing over the blender and nursing the mix by hand or automatically, pushig a pre-programmed button and walking away.
Who 's the Winner?
This is one of those age-old questions for which there is no answer. It's like asking if a Apple computer is better than a Windows PC or if a Canon DSLR camera is better than a Nikon. It's a matter of your own personal style and taste. Everyone I know who has a Blendtec loves it, and everyone I know with a Vitamix loves it, too - especially the new Vitamix TurboBlend VS model with its Variable Speed control knob. So study my comparisons carefully, think about how you work in your kitchen and see which one feels right for you. Personally, I used to have a classic stainless steel Vitamix which I loved for many years. For the last couple of years I've used a Blendtec HP3A FourSide Blender and I love it, too - perhaps just a bit more than I loved the Vitamix. I like just pushing a button and walking away. But you won't be disappointed with either so don't get all stressed out over the decision - just get one of these great blenders and start enjoying healthy green smoothies and delicious raw food recipes as soon as you can!
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