As a smoothie-obsessed girl and author of the book 365 Vegan Smoothies I pay a lot of attention to blenders. Because in order to create the perfect frosty bliss blends and shakes, soups and purees, you first need the right tools. And while that $20 blender from Target will get the job done for some blends, I can pretty much guarantee you that investing in a high-speed blender will change your culinary life.
Blendtec Test-Run! My first high speed blender was a Vitamix. My Vitamix has been in my kitchen all my blogging life. But I had been simply dying to try a Blendtec blender to once and for all figure out which high speed blender (out of the two top leading brands in my opinion, Vitamix of Blendtec) is my favorite. Well today's post is a fun one because I get to test out my new Blendtec AND give one away! Actually the model for the giveaway is even a step up from the one I am testing out - it is the Designer 725 Series Wildside model - brand new, stainless steel base .. even cooler than the one I have! Value: $650! Dive in guys, it is blender time!
Oh and I also share a bonus recipe for my Pretty in Pitaya Maui Shake...
UPDATE: I recently went back to my Vitamix, after a few months of playing with the Blendtec. I really missed the tamper use, low speed blending capabilities and overall performance. The Blendtec really wasn't providing the culinary diversity that I craved. So my Vitamix came back out on my counter top one night when I was making a batch of hummus and has stayed there ever since. I still love both machines, but I am a Vitamix user now again. As a chef, the diversity and control of the speeds is very important.
Love the Twister Jar - separate purchase container:
Check out the Blendtec in action in my cooking videos:
Blendtec Blender Review: Design Series Wildside
* Designer Series motor base
* WildSide jar
* Vented Gripper™ lid
* Fresh Blends Recipe book, Owner's manual, Registration card
* 1725 watt, 3.4 peak horsepower motor
* Illuminated, capacitive touch interface
* Preprogrammed cycles: Smoothie, Salsa, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, Hot Soup, Clean
* 100-speed capacitive touch slider
* Illuminated counter displays remaining time on blends
* Beautiful. Wow the sleek black and the TOUCHSCREEN really wowed me at first glance. Looks pretty on my counter. And the stainless steel finish is even more designer-friendly.
* Touchscreen! About that touchscreen... I remember the first time I tried an iPhone. The touchscreen freaked me out. What, no buttons? How to I click, click, click as I type, type, type?? Well luckily, I think I have been so trained with touchscreen use via my iPhone, iPad and more that I totally found this new blender interface quite glorious. I love the little icons for different settings like ice cream, smoothie and more.
* Time counter: The coolest part about the digital screen is that it can interact with you in a way. I love that it keeps a count of how long I have been blending and auto shuts off at 50 seconds so that I stay alert to blend time and safety if I step away from my blender. The digital counter is so great because if a recipe says "blend for two minutes" you can actually, precisely blend for two minutes. And when you are using a preset button it lets you know how many blending seconds remain by counting backwards.
* Twister. The twister jar is great! It is a mini jar that is perfect for doing smaller recipes like sauces, toppings, nut butters, hummus, dips, one serving soups, salad dressings, pesto, mini smoothies and more. It has a cool twister lid that actually has built in scrapers so you can scrape the sides of the container as you blend just by twisting the lid. I made some coconut milk coconut whip this morning in my twister jar by adding coconut cream! It was fluffy and whipped in a few seconds. (I could've added some organic powdered sugar for even more thickness.) The Twister container is a must-buy. See it in action in my almond butter video above.
* Power. This is my NUMBER ONE PRO for this blender. Wow does this thing have power!! My favorite Trinity smoothie blended in a flash and poured out smooth, frosty and perfect. I tried a few whole food green smoothies and it pulverized all the ingredients! It was amazing. This thing has lot of power guys. High speed all the way. And isn't that the whole point of buying a high-speed blender??? To pulverize the crap out of the whole food ingredients you add to the container? Well because this thing is so powerful, I also noticed that, unlike my Vitamix, it has never once overheated and shut down. I will admit that at first this blender felt like a bucking bronco, a wild horse trying to be tamed. I wondered if this was too much power! But after a few weeks of use I realized that I just needed to learn how to manipulate the speed.
* Containers. I love the different containers. They are so easy to clean and look great sitting on my counter .. and my blender actually fits under my counter now! Some observations: I find that for large amounts of liquid, wetter-style blends and green smoothies the wide-capacity wildside jar works best. But for thicker shakes and smoothies with plenty of very hard and frozen ingredients like frozen bananas and rock-hard frozen watermelon, and as minimal liquid as possible, I would probably prefer the skinnier fourside jar. I find that thick smoothies whip more easily in a skinny jar. I found this to be true in my Vitamix too. I will update my review when I try out the skinnier four-side container very soon..
* Easy to clean! The surface is very smooth, with no weird grooves in top so the Blendtec base is easier to clean than my Vitamix. The wide container fits easily in my dishwasher too.
* Customer Service. I love the people on the Blendtec team. They are great! Very accessible and eager to help. Good companies are born from good people.
UPDATE: I finally tried out the FOURSIDE container and love it for a few reasons: 1) It is easier to blend on low and add powder ingredients to liquid without too much splatter. 2) It blends up a very thick shake. The container is smaller, but for thick shakes and smoothies I adore it. A must-have item for your Blendtec kitchen if you love thick shakes and smoothies.
* High Power! Ha. I never thought I would say power was a "CON," but I found that the lowest speed on the Blendtec was more powerful than the lowest speed on the Vitamix. So for the Blendtec I really have to close the lid at all times. While with the Vitamix at the lowest speed I would usually add ingredients like protein powders and add-ins without the lid on. I think this is the one thing about Blendtec that you may find frustrating. At first that is. For the first few times using the Blendtec I could not get used to basically adding all the ingredients at once and shutting the lid and blending. But after a few times doing this I did get used to this blending style, and I embraced the power. The power becomes quite freeing after you just embrace it. And once you get the hang of things, you can add in ingredients via the opening in the lid, while blending, if needed. So while I do miss that super-low setting, the "pros" for the Blendtec make up for it.
* Issues. There is no such thing as a perfect appliance, you are bound to discover your own "issues." Now I have used my Vitamix for about four years now and loved it. Vitamixes are wonderful machines and I cannot say much that is "bad" about them. But my issues did arise over time. The one thing that greatly frustrated me was when it overheated and shut off mid-blend and I had to wait for it to reset itself and turn the power back on. I emailed customer service a few times and was told to add more liquid to my blends. Well yes, this usually fixes the problem, but that also waters down my shakes, which I try so hard not to do when blending. And the waiting time for the blender to come back to life was torture. Ingredients, half-blended, sitting in my container. I mean when a girl wants her smoothie, a girl wants her smoothie. And I also became frustrated by keeping the top part of the Vitamix clean with the removable rubber top on the base that always seemed to get dirty. So with those hesitations, I was curious about trying the "other" high sped blender brand. If you have these same issues, a Blendtec may be your ideal machine. No fear of blender death mid-blend. (So far anyways!)
* Tampers and Side Scrapers. In regards to "scraping the sides" and moving contents around mid-blend well here is this. The vitamix tamper is genius and I have always loved it. It helps me control everything and get "inside" the container as I blend. The Blendtec does not have a "tamper" but I found that there is so much power, I rarely need to stop mid-blend and move stuff around. Only when I do not add enough liquid. And for things like hummus and nut butters that NEED to be scraped down mid-blend, Blendtec has the Twister container with those super amazing side scrapers. And I actually like have a few container options for ease and versatility. So no tamper with Blendtec, but maybe you do not need it for most blends. And when you are making something that you know will need scraping, use the Twister container. (Order separately.)
So which brand do YOU buy? Well if you buy a Vitamix I am sure you will be happy. But if you buy a Blendtec you will feel happy as well. I feel like the Vitamix with its low speed is like a ballerina, strong and elegant with a good amount of power. Blendtec is like a football player. Much more power and a bit more dependable when it comes to pure, raw strength, but a bit lacking in elegance since it doesn't have that ultra-low speed.
Does it Make Ice Cream?? I read many reviews on both the Vitamix and Blendtec blenders. And one thing I noticed on a few reviews is that it says you cannot make thick shakes and blender ice cream in a Blendtec. I have to say that this is completely false. It does take a bit of skill to blend fluffy, creamy, thick and frosty blender ice cream in a machine with such power, but it can be done. And I am excited to try the fourside (skinnier) jar to see if that makes it even easier. I have enjoyed plenty of thick and frosty Trinity smoothies via my Blendtec. It is interesting how the texture does differ a bit between Vitamix and Blendtec. While Blendtec makes a slightly less thick shake, the texture is frostier and almost fluffier as well. Both delicious though!
Bottom Line: Blendtec ... wow I love this thing. The power is exactly what my blending life had been craving, the design, the container options, the touchscreen. Very fun to play with and it delivers every time I have used it so far. This Blendtec blender is Kathy approved and sitting on my counter right now.
update: I have been using the Blendtec for a few weeks now and still love it. It still has not overheated even once (yay!) even though I pile in rock hard frozen bananas and watermelon. I love the Twister jar and love how easily this machine cleans up and pours out the contents. With just two blades, the smoothies and purees are easier to scrape out when needed. And I am really getting the hang of this machine. True story: every kitchen appliance will have a learning curve. With time you can figure out how to make things work to your culinary heart's desire. Status: I haven't switched back to my Vitamix yet guys. And that says a lot.
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And for all your summer smoothie needs, check out my book 365 Vegan Smoothies! In stores and online now.
And here is that recipe I promised!
Pretty in Pitaya Maui Shake
Pink and tropical, this pitaya shake is amazingly delicious!
- 1 pitaya freezer pack
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup orange juice or more non-dairy milk
- 1 frozen banana
- pinch of coconut flakes (optional)
- Add all ingredients to blender and blend from low to high until smooth.
Yield: 1 shakePrep Time: 00 hrs. 01 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 03 mins.
Total time: 4 mins.Tags: smoothie,pink,pitaya,beverage,shake,vegan
Disclosure: Blendtec generously supplied me with my own Blendtec for this review as well as a Blendtec to giveaway to my readers!