Blendtec vs Vitamix – what’s love got to do with it?

Okay, really and truly, I love my Vitamix. I’ve been a devoted fan for several years now, starting with an old (circa 1991) hand-me-down and later upgrading to my current 5200 series model. The old Vitamix was given to me from a neighbour, around 7 or 8 years ago, who never used it – that was the gateway, and my life was transformed.  I’m not one for coffee, and I rarely do tea, but I love my smoothies.

Eventually the really retro looking (stainless steel jar) old timer gave out and I traded it in for my current Vitamix.  They gave me and impressive incentive – $150 CDN trade in value toward the purchase of a new one. I went for a reconditioned model, which comes with the same guarantee as the new. I love it. We’ve enjoyed many happy smoothies together.

Enter Blendtec, Designer Series Wildside.

I was approached via email in January to write some articles for the Blendtec blog in exchange for some merchandise. One was a recipe for Starbucks-Like Oatbars, and the other, custom illustrations and a post about common super foods to add to your smoothie (most of which you already have at home).

The Blendtec blender arrives – they included a Twister Jar, how lovely. I’ll go into that more later in the post. Given my devotion to Vitamix, I was prepared to not be impressed, though I immediately noted that the spatula that comes with the Twister is pretty great. Never underestimate the power of a good spatula.

~The Jar
But it didn’t stop at the spatula. I was dazzled by the Wildside jar.  It’s shorter and wider than the Vitamix jar, and it fits on my counter beneath my upper cabinets without having to take it off the base. I have to dismount the Vitamix jar and store it along side its base due to its height.

The width of the Blendtec Wildside jar also gives greater ease when reaching in to pull out whatever it is that you just blended. I tend to just use a big tablespoon, so it was a noticeable improvement – all of that wideness. I suppose if I switched over to a spatula (which I now have a great one, thanks to Blendtec) reaching into the depths of the Vitamix would be better. Though, in any case, it’s not a deal breaker.  I still love my Vitamix.

So, since I’ve been a Vitamix devotee for so long, I decided to give Blendtec exclusive usage since its arrival in mid-January to see if I could happily live with it, putting it through all of my regular routines. I’m happy to say it’s a lovely machine. Read on for my thoughts on each blender.

~Touch Screen
The digital interface is touchscreen responsive and it has pre-programmed settings for many conventional uses. It’s very sleek and modern looking compared to my Vitamix 5200, which features knobs and switches. I have to say, beauty aside, I’m leery of the whole digital thing when it comes to appliances. It may have something to do with semi-recent experiences with one of those new-fangled front load washing machines that quit working on me within three years of purchasing. I prefer the trusty old knob and switch. It just feels more trustworthy. I digress, these are hardly washing machines, but they do take quite a beating. In fact, I would call my blender(s) my most frequently used appliances.

~Stomper
The Vitamix comes with a stomper that you can use to keep your mix mixing. This is especially useful for really thick mixes, like when you are making ice cream, or sorbet. Or, if you are an indecisive blenderer (it’s a word, now) like me, the stomper comes in handy when you decide last minute that you want to throw a handful of something like spinach on the top of your mix, you can stomp it down with no trouble at all.  The Blendtec comes with no such thing. It tripped me up at first (because I tend to just jump in without first reading instructions) but then I got the hang of it and it’s no big deal. We are finding our sweet spot together. Just read the instructions – particularly about the order of ingredients.

~The Blade
I took photos for your comparison.

Vitamix

Blendtec

~Capacity
The Wildside jar has a 36oz capacity (if you want it to blend well without cussing at it), while the Vitamix can be filled to 68oz, which I have done many times over – family of five here.  Of course, the fuller it gets the more you rely on that stomper. Very handy.  The Blendtec jar, though, has lots of extra room above the recommended 36oz line, and you can play with it and actually fill it quite full once you find your groove with the machine.

~Speed

Both of these blenders CRUSH department store brands in terms of speed and power.
Vitamix – 11.5 amp, 1380 watt motor = 2 horsepower.  Top-end blade speed on this baby has been measured at 37,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) according to this site.
Blendtec – 13 amp, 1560 watt motor = 2.09 horsepower, and  a blade speed of 29,000 RPM.

The Blendtec is more sophisticated in sensing density, and seems to adjust speed as necessary within reason based on whatever speed you first chose manually.  It also has fancy lighted digital icons (ie, ice cream cone, margarita glass, smoothie cup, soup bowl, etc) that have a pre-programed run of around 40 seconds, starting slow and revving up to high speed as the mixture starts to liquefy.

 

The Vitamix, in this regard, is a set-the-dial and flip-a-switch kind of machine.

~Do you like to Dance?
The Blendtec does. But so far I’ve only noticed it with really dense foods like dried pitted dates. When you turn that machine on, make sure you have a hold on it because sometimes it acts like it’s dancing with the stars, or like it’s in the rodeo. The Vitamix has served as a workhorse for grinding up all manner of foods to the smoothest consistency in no time at all and the base is noticeably heavier than the Blendtec base, making it less likely to jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up and get down.  However, that also means that the Blendtec is lighter and easier to transport around, should you need to bring it with you somewhere.

~Texture of Blend
The Vitamix seems to be able to mulch anything into a smooth paste. The Blendtec is a close second. I’ve only noticed with the aforementioned dried pitted dates, that it sometimes has a hard time completely shredding those to a fine consistency – this being in the context of a smoothie. But I like the little sweet date chunks. It’s like a little surprise party in your mouth every time one of those flows up through the straw.

~Auto-Shut Off
Sometimes the mix is so thick that it heats your machine up too much. Both companies have equipped their blenders with auto-shut off sensors. They shut your blender down until it’s cooled enough again to run safely. Have I done this with both blenders? Yes, yes I have. What can I say? Thick and creamy is gooood.

~Sound Levels
My husband happens to be a Sound Designer, so he made sure we measured the decibels screaming from each machine.  Just by ear alone, I was sure the Vitamix was louder. Turns out it’s not. But it is at a higher pitch, which apparently means you can hear it from farther away. According to the app, it’s akin to the levels of busy traffic or a ringing phone.  The Blendtec is compared to an alarm clock …..
To measure the decibel levels we used this Sound Meter app on my husband’s phone.

Vitamix 5200
Blendtec Designer Series Wildside

~Conclusion
So, I still love my Vitamix. Is it because it was my first true love? Possibly. I admit, though, I’m still using the Blendtec almost daily. I do like it a lot. However, I did just switch back to the Vitamix again this afternoon (smoothie time, late is better than never) as I was composing this post, and I’m reminded of  how excellent it is. The texture is amazing. I certainly do not need two blenders, but now I feel like they both have so much to offer, I don’t know which I would give up. I don’t think I can ever wholeheartedly recommend one over the other. They’re different. They’re good. They have a place in my life.  I’m a poly-amorous blender girl.  My only hesitation with the Blendtec would be the digital interface. It hasn’t given me a stitch of trouble in the two months I’ve had it, so we’ll see. I have yet to see how well their warranty holds out (both companies offer a 7yr warranty) or how nice their customer service is.
I had an incident last year with the spinning mechanism in the base of my Vitamix. They payed postage for me to ship it, they fixed it free, no questions asked, and shipped it to me to the other side of the country where I could enjoy it while visiting family out there for a month. It was great.

~Side Note
The Twister jar, sold separately,  is the best thing about the Blendtec by far. If you are into making single serve smoothies, dips, nut butters, hummus, grinding oats in small amounts for recipes (like the Sbux oat bar recipe I mentioned above), this little jar can do it in mere seconds. The insert/lid with the side swiping arms is genius. That’s all I have to say about that.

Do you have one of these machines? What has been your experience with them?

More about Julie Prescesky

Julie spends much of her time paying attention to what's happening around her. At Design Inkarnation, she's head designer, illustrator, writer and creative problem solver.

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