Hiya Wise Pal,
I’m so happy many of you loved my recent blog on the difference between juicing and blending. Lots of folks let me know they finally understood the benefits of both after reading the post, and had new ideas for when, where and how to fit juices and smoothies into their lives. Yay! That’s absolutely fantastic.
That blog also sparked some great questions, too—all that info on juicing and blending created a desire for more info. And hey, I’m happy to deliver (especially when it’s one of my favorite topics!). One particularly popular question was about how to choose a blender and juicer. Today, I’ll walk you through the blender world, and explain how to choose the best machine for you. (Next week: How to pick a juicer.)
The Fancy Pants Blenders
Blenders have come a long way from their piña colada beginnings. One great thing about all blenders is that they are easy to clean and there aren’t as many parts or components to maintain as compared to juicers. In general, blenders range from expensive high-speed machines to moderately priced units that will more than likely get the job done. But the best ones are worth the added cost. Trust me. Save your pennies and make it a priority to get one when you can. A top-shelf blender lasts a lifetime.
These days I’m cruisin’ with the Rolls Royce of blenders: the mighty Vitamix. This big dog can blend up just about anything, including raw soups, sauces, ice cream, nut butters and the occasional margarita. Heck, it could grind a cowboy boot, though I don’t recommend it.
The Vitamix is super-easy to use. It has one switch and one dial that both allow for variable speeds. Plus, it comes with a handy plastic tamper that helps loosen ingredients that get stuck in corners. The sole drawback is the cost. These machines range from around $350 to over $600, depending on the model. Rest assured that you are investing in a quality appliance that will stick with you through years of blending adventures. If you run into some snags along the way, Vitamix provides a seven-year warranty on new models and a five-year warranty on reconditioned ones. (Yup, you can score a gently used machine.)
The Blendtec is another quality Bad Mama Jama. Blendtec prices are comparable to those of the Vitamix and they, too, offer reconditioned models, so it really boils down to personal preference. In our house, my hubby is the Blendtec guy, while I’m the Vitamix gal. Blendtec is slightly shorter and lighter than the Vitamix (easier to store in cabinets) and it comes with pre-programmed settings that basically do the thinking for you. But because it’s lighter it can skitter across the counter a bit. Some folks suggest that smoothies made with a Blendtec are frothier than the creamy versions created by a Vitamix. I haven’t really noticed this, but you might. Blendtec seems to handle a full pitcher of thick liquids better than the Vitamix. One Blendtec bummer is that it doesn’t handle dates very well; the little suckers end up in chunks at the bottom of the pitcher. Get in my belly, you darling date!
Another high-speed blender to choose from, that’s certainly more affordable, is the Oster Versa. I sampled one recently and was really impressed with its performance. Though it was lighter weight and didn’t seem as rugged, it still worked like a champ. At just under $300, it’s a bargain for a high-speed machine.
The Still-Darn-Good Blenders
If these premium blenders are out of your price range, you can still make tasty smoothies with one of the many moderately priced machines out there. These babies aren’t as powerful, but as I mentioned earlier, they can get the job done—especially if you’re mainly using them for smoothies. Breville, Cuisinart, Omega, Waring and KitchenAid all make solid machines with prices ranging from $100 to $400.