Sunday, April 5, 2009

VitaMix vs. Blendtec: Comparing the High-End Blenders (Part 2 of 2 Blender Showdown Articles)

Having tried and been disappointed with the so-called "best" of the moderately-priced blenders, I knew the choice was clear – VitaMix or Blendtec. These were clearly the two best known and heavily marketed high-end blenders available. In fairness to both, the major smoothie chains – Jamba Juice, Planet Smoothie, Smoothie King, and Starbucks to name a few – use one or the other of these machines so I knew there was no going wrong with either.

A good friend of mine who had unfortunately just moved away had gotten a VitaMix as he ventured into the raw food movement – an interesting idea I have read quite a bit about, but have yet to try.

There was no question the VitaMix was a good machine, but Blendtec’s “Will It Blend” videos and “Today Show” demonstrations caught my eye as they directly named and compared their blender to the VitaMix.

Here are the truthful comparisons as stated by Blendtec:

The Blendtec has a 3 horsepower (HP) motor. The VitaMix has a 2 HP motor.

The Blendtec is 5 inches shorter allowing it to fit under most cabinets. The Vitamix does not fit under most cabinets, although a smaller, optional wet-jar does fit under cabinets fine.

The Blendtec fit under the glass shelf easily.

The Blendtec weighs 4 pounds less. The VitaMix at 11 pounds is more difficult to move.

The Blendtec draws 13 amps on a 1500-watt motor. The VitaMix draws 11.5 amps on a 1200-watt motor. (Note: not really an advantage - see below.)

The Blendtec has 30 automatic cycles and shuts itself off at the end of the cycles. The VitaMix must be manually run and shut off.

The Blendtec has two prongs on its blade allowing it the versatility of blending wet and dry ingredients. The less cluttered bottom also makes it easier to wipe clean and dry. The VitaMix has a four-prong blade design that requires the additional purchase of a jar with a slightly different blade design for dry ingredient blending (grinding wheat, coffee beans, etc.).

The VitaMix has four pointed prongs on its standard, round, wet-jar container while the Blendtec has two blunt-end blades in its one, square-jar container.

The Blendtec warranty on the coupling and blade is for a lifetime. The VitaMix warranty on the coupling and blade is for seven years.

The Blendtec was slightly cheaper. The VitaMix is currently $50 more expensive and that’s without the optional dry ingredient jar purchase costing up to an additional $99.

The Blendtec square jar allows pouring in three directions (any corner except on your hand!) while the VitaMix only has its one spout.

I also found the black printed measuring markings on the Blendtec jar easy to read. The VitaMix uses transparent raised markings that aren't as obvious. The optional, smaller VitaMix jar does have easy to read, black, printed measuring markings

When I found the Blendtec on a special sale for $75 off their already lower price I was sold.

For two years I have used and enjoyed the Blendtec. It has blended the toughest frozen smoothies and nothing has ever gone wrong with it. It has performed admirably, but, as you’ll see, I wasn’t convinced it was the perfect blender either.

BLENDTEC RATING – a stellar 9 / 10.

Last week, I went to the New Orleans Home and Garden Show in the Superdome where VitaMix had a demonstration booth. After talking to the people there, checking it out for myself, and getting their “show-only” deal I bought the VitaMix knowing that one of the blenders would be immediately be sold or returned.

After the first smoothie in the VitaMix, I knew I would put the Blendtec on ebay.

Because Blendtec directly compared the two machines to show its advantages, it's only reasonable that I list the VitaMix advantages that swung me to their side.

First and foremost, the VitaMix is fairly loud, but noticeably less so than the Blendtec. Do you remember the ear protection I needed with the Oster blender? I still needed it for the Blendtec, but I’m comfortable without it for the VitaMix. Obviously, this was something I sensed immediately at the demonstration booth.

When I wanted to run the Blendtec and my wife was watching TV nearby, I would warn her and make sure it was OK to blend so it didn’t interfere. She hated the noise! If the dogs were in the room where I blend, I would make them leave because I feared it might hurt their sensitive ears.

The VitaMix isn’t nearly as much of a problem. Blendtec falsely claims in their comparison chart that the VitaMix is louder, but it most assuredly is not.

The “show-only” deal for the VitaMix (brand new models, not refurbished) sold them with a special, longer, eight-year warranty (instead of seven) while the Blendtec’s warranty (except for the blade and coupling) is only three years. I had one year left on the Blendtec warranty.

The “show-only” deal also included a coupon for $40 off any blending jar accessory, bringing the optional dry blade container cost down to $59.

The “show-only” deal also included an extra book not even offered on the Vita-Mix website called, “Beating Cancer With Nutrition” – not a big deal, but a nice lagniappe anyway.

Speaking of books, Blendtec’s recipe guide is rather lackluster while VitaMix’s is more complete.

I had long ago discovered Vita-Mix’s excellent smoothie web page at VitaMix Smoothie Recipes. Blendtec has more recently added a smoothie page at Blendtec Smoothie Recipes, but it’s not as good (an orange juice smoothie without fresh oranges?).

Also, it’s just a marketing decision, but Blendtec appears to have largely ignored the raw food community whereas VitaMix actively encourages its use for those practicing a raw, live-food diet. I'm not often a raw-foodist and I'm sure Blendtec will change this in time, but it is a bit surprising.

Besides the noise factor, the Blendtec also named some “advantages” in their advertising I mentioned above that aren’t really advantages at all. The amp and wattage “advantage” only means that the Blendtec uses more electricity to run than the VitaMix does, and has no performance boost as a result.

The 3 HP versus 2 HP is true regarding the higher top strength of the Blendtec motor, but the higher strength doesn’t mean better blending because of other factors, such as blade speed, blade design, and jar design.

The Blendtec has automatic cycles that shut off by themselves when they’re completed, but how often will you need or even want to walk away for some period of time after turning on a blender? And if you do, how will you know the blending finished without needing to be run some more to complete the job?

The Blendtec advertising claims that its 2-prong blade and square jar construction mean that the ingredients are always drawn into the center and that cavitation (the blade running with cold ingredients not getting mixed) won’t occur. This, they claim, means it doesn’t need a tamper to move ingredients around while it’s running like the VitaMix. This is not true. Their instruction booklet even mentions what to do when it happens. When it occasionally occurred, I had to shift the contents (usually by lifting up and shaking the air bubble out) and run some additional time in the Blendtec after the smoothie cycle ran.

The tamper makes the VitaMix even taller, but it easily pushes ingredients safely into the spinning blades below.

The Blendtec experiences cold ingredients freezing up and staying away from a fast spinning blade just as any blender, including the VitaMix, does, but the designed inclusion of the VitaMix tamper is an essential addition and a huge advantage over the Blendtec. Third party manufacturers of tampers (strongly recommended) for the Blendtec offer them for sale on ebay to even this out, but Blendtec’s claim that they’re unnecessary is decidedly incorrect.

The tall VitaMix blender jar also means that there is a reduced chance of ingredients being thrown against the capped lid than on the shorter, wider Blendtec’s, which keeps things a little cleaner. The Blendtec’s wide, airy, jar bottom maintains a very slight edge in cleanup of the bottom around the blades. Even on the VitaMix, it’s just a slightly tighter rinse and wipe operation, though.

The manual, 10 speed setting on my model of the Blendtec was sometimes awkward if you wanted to stop it on a specific number under 10, say, speed number 8, because the numbers ramp up rather quickly and you pick the speed by releasing the button when it reaches the number you want. More recent models have a speed up and speed down option to make this easier to accomplish. The VitaMix, on the other hand, has a variable-speed knob and a special high setting above the top knob setting which is used to work on tough blending jobs like frozen smoothies. I strongly prefer the easy manual control of the VitaMix.

Blendtec’s smoothie cycle is pre-set (listed as button #3 on some models like mine) on its front, but that cycle only goes up to speed number 8 and for only 6 seconds at the end of the cycle. This isn’t enough for many frozen smoothies even if cavitation hasn’t occurred at the earlier, slower speeds programmed into the smoothie cycle. It sometimes takes a few more seconds holding in the pulse button at the end.

Blendtec’s top speed of “10” spins its two, wide blades at 28,000 RPM. VitaMix’s top speed of “High” spins its four blades at 37,000 RPM. This, more than anything, provides faster and better blending ability by the VitaMix despite Blendtec’s additional horsepower motor. Blendtec’s 3 HP motor may provide additional strength, but I’m not trying to blend hot tar or congealed glue so VitaMix’s still awesome 2 HP motor is perfectly adequate for my tasks.

Again, don’t consider this a put-down of the Blendtec’s ability. It is an awesome blender and has some advantages, but simply not as many as the VitaMix. The excellent reputation of the Blendtec was shown by me nearly getting my original purchase price back in selling the two-year-old machine because of the great sale price I found when I bought it.

Having now bought the VitaMix means I will have no further significant blender investments for the next eight years of my warranty, and have not found any major drawback to the VitaMix’s performance whatsoever. Sure, it’s a significant cash outlay, but I’ve compared it for myself and found the investment worthwhile.


(The first five categories scored are rather minor, the next three can be important for some, and the last four are the most important to me.)

Cleanup – Even (but Blendtec with VitaMix's smaller blender jar.)

Strength of Motor Blendtec slightly, though I couldn't tell

Speed of Blade VitaMix slightly, though I couldn't tell

Measuring Markings - Blendtec (but Even with VitaMix's smaller blending jar)

Accessories/Extras – VitaMix (especially if purchased at a Live Demonstration)

Size – Blendtec

Versatility – Blendtec (but Even with VitaMix’s dry jar added)

Cost – Blendtec

Noise – VitaMix

Control – VitaMix

Warranty – VitaMix

Blending – VitaMix (but Even if the Blendtec is used with an added Third Party Tamper, especially on the Manual settings)

If the cost factor or the size of fitting a blender under a cabinet or shelf were in your most important category section, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Blendtec and get a Third Party Tamper. Otherwise, for me, the VitaMix clearly wins.

VITAMIX RATING – an almost perfect 9.9 / 10 (improve the visibility of the measuring markings on the regular blender jar to make it perfect).


  1. What an amazing review! I want a Vitamix SO SO badly! I know it would help make my raw food prep so much easier, but they are such an investment. Someday......

  2. I agree- great post! I definitely would love a Vita-Mix and hope to invest in one someday :) It's unbelievable how many spatulas and spoons I have blended into oblivion in my Oster cheapo.

  3. your reviews are excellent! i've been wanting a vita-mix for a while now and i think i'm gonna start saving up for one! thanks so much for the awesome review! i really appreciate it - that rocks!

  4. Excellent review! Thank you for alerting me to it! I wrote a review of the two on my blog a while back as well... I will add your link to that page so people can read another point of view.

    Thanks again!
    Kristen's Raw

  5. So glad I found your post! We are planning to purchase one or the other in the next month. I have been eyeing them both for sometime now, but been having a hard time deciding. Your post gave me some needed information to help with our decision. Thanks!

  6. Killer review - I am just about to get our 4th vitamix - 2 stainless steel ones from the 70's - a new one with a new baby 6 years ago - and now I just liked my Dad's brand new one better. I was briefly thinking about the BlendTec - but have reconfirmed - VITAMIX all the way!! Thanks for the review!

  7. Sorry but I just have to chime in on this argument.. . (GREAT post by the way!) Okay, so what's better than a BlendTeck AND a Vitamix? Check out the THERMOMIX. This appliace actually cooks (not just heating from friction) and is extremely popular in Europe. They've just released a 110v model for north america. (I bought one and can not live without it... use it 2-5 times a day.) Check out their videos over at

  8. THERMOMIS looks fabulous but is SO EXPENSIVE!! $1500-$1600 for one, gee.....

  9. Funny - I just read your Showdown and came up with a differnt assessment. I've been comparing the two machines for some time now and think that Blendtec is far better. Blendtecs recipes are weak!!! - admitedly so.

  10. Great review. Does anyone have any good way to analyze which blender actually breaks down the cell wall of berry seeds? What do you all think about the idea of blending avocado pits and eating this source of fiber. Do both blenders do this?

  11. Note that Vitamix does have a 3 HP model. Look under the commercial machines on their website. I've also seen on other reviews that the regular jar will handle seeds just fine so you don't need to buy the other jar...don't know if that's true. Peace

  12. Thanks for this! I was just wondering if I should have purchases a Blendtec instead of Vitamix after seeing some youtube videos. I'm keeping my Vitamix!

  13. Here is some helpful information when comparing the two machines:

    Vita Mix RPMs
    Variable #1 - 1,100
    Variable #10 - 24,000
    High - 37,000

    BlendTec RPMs
    Lowest - 4,080
    Highest - 29,400

    At the slow end you can do a coarse chop. I use the slow speeds to make veggie omelettes (chopping the veggies and cheese at the same time that I am scrambling the eggs in the machine), I use the slow blade speeds to: chop veggies, nuts, apples, dates, etc. make salsa, guacamole, egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, broccoi salad, carrot salad, cole-slaw, chunky vegetable soups, make hash brown potatoes, grind raw meat into hamburger, and shred cooked beef for barbecue beef, etc.

    At the high end those extra 7,600 RPMs allow the VitaMix to make soup hotter and ice cream with less ice crystals. It also opens more cell walls making more of the nutrients available.

    I have a website with recipes and health information that would work in either machine at VitaMixLady dot com

  14. awesome review. very thorough. thanks.

  15. I am in the decision making process right now, and your article sure helped me to choose the Vitamix. Anyone know of any current specials right now? Let me know at

    Thanks so much for your awesome review!

  16. I know I am a little late to this but just wanted to say thank you, big thank you for this great review. I am in the time of my life where I can finally afford to buy one of these monsters, but could not figure out which way to go..Vitamix it is..again Thanks.

  17. One thing needs clarification. Are there test results or scientific proof this "cell wall" thing is true? One the one hand it sounds amazing, on the other it sounds like the biggest marketing lie I have ever heard.

    Its a tough decision. The smaller width and tighter blades would seem to make the Vitamix tougher to scrape out butters etc. It also appears to poll food in the bottom whereas the Blendtec lifts it up and pull it back in more?

    I went from thinking to get a Vitamix over to Blendtec and now maybe back to Vitamix.

  18. This is the best comparison review I have EVER read and I have read MANY in my quest to decide which one of these two blenders I should buy. Now because of this honest and through review I am strongly leaning towards purchasing a Vitamix machine verses a Blendtec. So, thank you very much for taking the time to post this review so that people, like me, can make a more informed decision. I am very appreciative.

  19. Thanks for killer great review. and thank you so much for your time to place this review help me make my decision. since few weeks i was thinking back and forth with this two blender.
    i am very appreciative.

  20. Really excellent review.....I guess Vitamix is used in over 67,000 commercial establishments for a reason. Not to mention the Culinary Institute of America uses VM in their school. And they're always rated #1 in consumer reporting magazines.
    Actually Starbucks is transitioning back to Vitamix machines right now as I'm typing after giving blendtec a run for a couple years. Apparently too many customers were reuesting to have their drinks double blended.

    That tamper stick makes a huge difference for nut butters and ice creams and the noise level like you mentioned...
    Both machines have their uses. Personally I'll always own Vitamix. Love what I get out of it.

    Either way the most important thing in my opinion is that we incorporate more whole foods into our diets whichever machine you go with.

    Thanks for the great review. I can refer friends here who are having a hard time deciding.

  21. At the risk of restating the obvious...thank you so much for your thorough, top-notch review. I,too, have been wondering whether to go with Blendtec or Vita-Mix, and, like most of the commentators here, I am leaning toward the Vita-Mix. I watch a lot of the cooking shows on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel and the blender I see on the counters is the Vita-Mix. I have yet to see a Blendtec. I am also one of those people that would ask Starbucks to double blend my frappucinos (when I was drinking frappucinos and their blender of choice was the Blendtec). I am going to check out some live demos (and maybe even that Thermomix blender another poster mentioned) before plunking down the moolah for the purchase, but right now, Vita-Mix is in the lead...

  22. I have owned vita mix(es) for hmmmmm, 30-35 years or so. It will break down seeds to nothing but it takes quite a while. Your product will be cooking by the time small seeds like blackberry, strawberry are total demolished. I am just sorry that I sold my stainless steel one 25 years ago. I got it used for $100.00 and sold it for $110.00 2 years later. Have never compared others to the Vita Mix....Nice comparison study. Thanks for the blog.

  23. Thanks for extensive review as I am looking at Vitamix. I have a Bosch, which is a breadmaker, with strong motor, got the blender attachment, but not using it other way than blending. Thinking Vitamix is the way to go. Again great blog!

  24. Great blog post. I've used a Blendtec for 3 years now and for a quick, easy blend I've yet to have a problem.

    I guess one of the things I'd question about the Vitamix is the tamper itself. Why offer a blender for such an exorbitant amount when you still have to push the ingredients into the blades? Granted once in a while my Blendtec needs to be "shook" and then have a smoothie re-blended for a few seconds, but 9 out of 10 times I get a perfect consistency.

    Also, the height of the Vitamix in a small kitchen is a bigger problem than you'd think. I love how I can fit my Blendtec into any nook or corner when I'm cooking/blending and not have to worry about clearing a special spot for the Blendtec every time I stow it away.

    That being said, I respect the Vitamix for the product they put out as it's tested and true over many years. I just wish they'd stop charging so much for a blender that requires you to do it's work for it.

  25. Has anyone heard of the OMNI V? Is it relaible, is it as good?

  26. Nice review... it's very much how I compare them.

    One thing to know is that you don't have to push things down into the vita-mix. The tamper is for making things that require pushing, which is nice so you don't have to stop the blender push stuff then start again and repeat.

    Another great comparison can be found here:

    two great blenders but there is a difference in function.

  27. I have a couple of Vitamix 5200 blenders, and picked up a bar-mixing canister for cheap, and a dry mix one, also. Most local restaurant supply places sell replacement blade and drive kits (the part on the bottom of the canister), along with the replacement tool; but so far, I haven't needed to replace anything. As for the tamper, it works fine, but so does a good stick of celery or a longer carrot; and in Ecuador (where I keep one machine), I sometimes use a thin piece of sugar cane: whatever's edible. I use the tamper now and then, but I don't leave it out: somebody's bound to try to use it without the cap, and the plastic bits don't make for good seasoning.

  28. We LOVE our Blendtec but the reviews kind of make me laugh because you will be happy with either machine. Just saying.

  29. I've owned both, and sold the Vita-mix, on Craigslist. In a pinch, when you have a ton of smoothies to make, the Vita-mix will overheat, shut down, and won't be ready to use for nearly an hour. Nice machine, but I like my Blendtec, much, much better.


  30. Costco recently had Vita-Mix doing a demo of this blender. Vita-Mix needs to improve their marketing. Blendtec's demo the month before blew away the Vita-Mix demo. Blendtec really put on a show.

    Blendtec's staff of 2 focused on what the blender would do, while giving out samples. Their presentation was on a raised stage, a foot about the floor.

    The Vita-Mix person (only 1) focused only on how good the smoothies tasted. She was floor level with a much smaller display booth.

    Blendtec was serving hot soup before you could finish the smoothie. Very fast paced, letting you decide how good things tasted, watch how fast the blender could be cleaned, as they talking about the features of the blender. Very polished presentation which held the crowd.

    I left the presentation of the Vita-mix thinking my Oster blender could make this smoothie at a fraction of the price, but the Blendtec the month before makes hot soup.

    Glad I read this review showing that both are a good choice and the decision is not that clear on which one I need.

  31. This was a well written (and very popular) review. I just purchased a Vitamix machine off of QVC and I can't wait for it to arrive this week. I look forward to trying some of the recipes that I've seen on your site.

  32. We've had our Vitamix for over 13 years; it's never let us down. We've replaced the canister one time, when it developed a leak at the blade assembly. We've used it in 'waves' over the years, but never treated it with any particular care. It's a real solid product!