Finding a single kitchen appliance that can replace multiple other appliances has been the thing for foodies over the past few years.
The battle for the most all-encompassing device has been characterized by multicookers like the Instant Pot and Ninja Foodi — but there’s still a lot of ground that “multi” just doesn’t cover. Vitamix or Blendtec are the notorious big dogs of the blending world and can pick up the slack where pressure cookers leave off.
Dough, nut butter, salsa, hummus, hot soup, ice cream, whole juice, vinaigrettes, and of course, smoothies. In short, high-end blenders simplify a ton of recipes that typically require a lot of time and of trial and error. Using a nice blender as just a smoothie or alcoholic slushy maker is just disrespectful at this point. These devices can do so much more.
While cheap blenders max out at chopping fruit and ice, Vitamix and Blendtec offer the speed, blade force, and pre-programmed settings you need to nail the perfect consistency and mouth feel for tricky methods like emulsification, milling, or whipping a creamy butter texture. The single on/off button on a Magic Bullet simply can’t offer that kind of precision.
Which is better: Vitamix or Blendtec?
Both are high-powered blenders that offer preset programs, a self-cleaning feature, and variable speeds. Both brands sell multiple models ranging in price and power. But raw, unhinged power isn’t the only deciding factor.
Here are some questions to guide your quest to the ultimate at-home blender:
Do you want a touchscreen or manual controls like a variable speed knob?
Would you rather rely on pre-programmed settings for certain categories like desserts or soup, or do you prefer to manually adjust time and speed for each recipe?
Will you just be making frozen drinks or smoothies or will you be branching out to more intricate recipes like smoothie bowls, nut butters, or aioli?
As with most head-to-head appliances battles, the Vitamix versus Blendtec debate is more a matter of which is better for the recipes you’ll be making most often. Here’s how to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each:
Where Vitamix wins: Nuanced speed, plus a game-changing tamper
Anyone who has used a crappy blender is familiar with this cycle: Blend for a few minutes, take the lid off to stir and scrape the sides, put the lid back on, blend some more, and so on until all ingredients have finally taken a turn in the blades and the mixture is, well, mixed. The only fool-proof way to avoid this is with a tamper, and the one that comes with Vitamix blenders makes every recipe go much smoother. Dense mixtures tend to form air pockets around a blender’s blades, so a tamper is usually needed push the food down and break those pockets up, keeping mixture engaged with the blades. That extra elbow grease also speeds up the blending process in general.
A hole in the lid allows for the tamper to be used while the blender is running. While the Vitamix is working on creating a vortex itself, you can manually push ingredients from the top down toward the blades and scrape the sides to ensure a balanced purée.
When putting the Vitamix lid on, you know when it’s secure. A satisfying click lets you know that it’s sealed and ready to run without splattering smoothie all over the cabinets.
Liquifying is only a fraction of what a blender should be able to do. (One at this price range, at least.) The trajectory, shape, and sheer force of a Vitamix’s blades work together to emulsify: a particularly tricky whisking method that can make or break foods like bread dough, nut butters, or aioli, depending on how well two stubborn ingredients were mixed together. For instance, attempting to make salad dressing in a cheap blender would probably come out super runny because the blender didn’t have enough power to break apart the oil, dispersing it through the mixture, and keep it from retreating back into itself.
Vitamix offers a longer warranty than Blendtec, though the difference usually isn’t more than 10 years versus eight years.
Where Vitamix loses
Vitamix blenders aren’t really hands-off — at least, not until you hit the $499.95 mark. Beginners or people who aren’t blending as a hobby would probably prefer to hit one button rather than experiment with speed and time controls. Just picture the Instant Pot without dedicated buttons for rice or meat and stew. For some, the automation is the whole appeal.
The idea that Vitamix blenders are better suited for experienced cooks or bakers is solidified in the fact that the cheapest brand new, non-refurbished Vitamix model is the E310, which retails for $349.95. Blendtec has a much more inclusive price range and gives folks a chance to experience professional precision without going out of their budget.
Pro tip: If you opt for Blendtec, make sure to check the prices on Blendtec’s site. Amazon hikes the price of most Blendtec models by $30 to $50. For example, the Blendtec Designer 675 is listed as $529.95 on Amazon and $499.95 on Blendtec’s site.
Where Blendtec wins: Slick touchscreen automation offers a hands-off approach
A shiny touchscreen display doesn’t automatically guarantee that that appliance is better than one with old-fashioned dials and knobs, but some folks will choose the Blendtec simply because it looks better sitting on the counter of a stainless steel kitchen.
To be fair, that automation is good for more than modern kitchen aesthetics. Even the cheapest Blendtec blenders are armed with pre-set programs, which make things a hell of a lot easier for people trying new recipes. Blending veterans know the point in the blending process when the speed ramps up and can tell when a battery is getting too whiny — experienced users probably just enjoy the challenge of manual control, too. Automated programs eliminate a lot of the guesswork, as well as the need to stand there and babysit your blender while it’s running.
Where Blendtec loses
The number of times you’ll have to pause and scape the sides will get old real fast.
Most people’s main gripe is the missing tamper. Blendtec insists that the five-sided Wild Side+ jar design eliminates the need for a tamper, but many people aren’t having much success. Even a pentagonal design can’t create enough suction to push ingredients through the blades — at least, for anything that requires annihilating chunks and smushing bubbles (without totally liquifying) like smoothie bowls, hummus, or butter. Tampers that work in Blendtec blenders do exist, but they’re sold by third party companies.
This blender battle below is proof that Vitamix just handles thicker purées better. Both passed the green smoothie test with flying colors, but the Vitamix 750 absolutely killed the smoothie bowl while the Blendtec produced a chunky concoction that looked way more like pie filling.
Once the ingredients get stuck at the top or around the edges and there’s no tamper for stirring, it’s easy to see how blending becomes static.
The Twister Jar is the closest thing to a tamper tool that Blendtec offers. The issue is in the fact that it’s literally a whole other jar that has to be purchased separately. When you’re paying as much as you are for a high-powered machine like the Blendtec, dropping an extra $129.95 on a separate tamper jar doesn’t really seem cost-effective.
Blendtecs, in general, are slightly louder than Vitamix blenders simply because they have more horsepower. You can’t expect either of these high-wattage machines to be quiet, but if you’re worried about the noise and kids, spastic pets, or picky neighbors, a Vitamix may be a safer bet.
So you’ve decided that you deserve more than a $50 blender can offer, but still want to pay the least amount possible. The Vitamix E310 and the Bledntec Fit Classic are the cheapest offerings from both brands that can best go head to head.
Let’s get one thing straight: “Low end” isn’t quite accurate because Vitamix and Blendtec don’t make a “cheap” blender. Their most affordable blenders still have over 1,000 watt motors and between 2 and 3 horsepower.
Take that sheer power with a grain of salt, because there’s not much in the way of customization here. You’re pretty much choosing between having control over speed or control over time: The E310 has a robust 10-speed dial but no timer, while the Fit Classic has a pre-timed 30 second cycle and a +10 seconds button, which you can keep pushing until you get up to the time you need. The Fit Classic also has a digital screen where you can keep track of the countdown, but no way to keep track of speed.
Both have pulse switches and can technically make foods like salsa, hot soups, and ice cream, but the lack of variable speed in the cheapest Blendtec can cause the blades to skip over chunks or oversimplify recipes that specifically recommend starting slow, then gradually increasing speed. However, if you’re just making smoothies (including tricky green smoothies), the Blendtec is a more affordable, reliable choice.
The Vitamix Explorian 310 comes with a five year warranty while the Blendtec Fit Classic comes with a two-year warranty.
The “A” in A2300 signifies that a Vitamix blender is part of the Ascent Series. The whimsical name represents Vitamix’s Smart System blenders, featuring built-in digital timers and self-detecting containers that allow the machine to read which container you’ve chosen (like 64 ounces for a big batch or a blending cup for a solo smoothie) and automatically adjust blending settings accordingly.
As the bottom-tier Ascent model, the Vitamix A2300 does not have pre-programmed settings like its siblings or like the Blendtec Designer 675 do. (Slapping an extra $50 down for the A2500 gets you built-in time and speed settings for smoothies, hot soups, and frozen desserts.) But, for $449.95 versus $499.95 for the Blendtec Designer 675, the A2300 brings wireless connectivity as well as a screen and digital timer to the table. (Even the most teched-out Vitamix models keep the trusty speed knob.) The Vitamix app gives your blender access to 17 automated blending programs, so the lack of pre-programmed settings essentially becomes a non-issue.
The Vitamix A2300 comes with a 10-year warranty while the Blendtec Designer 675 comes with an eight-year warranty.
If you’re down to splurge, the Vitamix A3500 or the Blendtec Designer 725 are the powerhouses to consider. Both have touchscreen interfaces, metal gear coupling for less wear and tear, and presets for different purées like smoothies and soup.
Compared to the other Ascent models, the $599.95 Ascent 3500 features mostly aesthetic upgrades like a touchscreen, a timer that stops when your set time is up, and dedicated buttons for five blending presets like soup and dips and spreads (instead of having to use the app like on the A2300). It also has more metal base color options. It’s expensive, but damn can it do a lot.
The Blendtec Designer 725 is a beast. Its 3.4-peak horsepower is more power than any non-commercial user would need in a blender, and the sliding scale offering 100 (yes, 100) speeds is more precision than the pickiest hummus eater could ask for. Depending on who you ask, all of this is either really impressive or an accident waiting to happen. Digital Trends’ reviewer was blown away by the power, the intuitive display, and the selection of automated settings, whole juice being a unique one. CNET’s reviewer had a less smooth experience: The 725 was so powerful that it shredded its own rubber gasket at the bottom of the jar. Blendtec insisted that it was a malfunction with the seal and not the blender itself, and many other folks have used theirs for years with no problem.
Blendtec’s Designer Series doesn’t see a single toggle switch or dial. The 675 is operated fully via a backlit touchscreen with a touch sliding bar to shift between speeds and preprogrammed settings icons for recipes and self cleaning.
The difference in displays could be a major deciding factor. A touchscreen in lieu of any physical buttons or dials isn’t inherently better just because it’s more automated. Some people might prefer the spaceship dashboard vibes of the Blendtec and the hands-off approach it affords, while others may feel better when there’s an option to use the classic manual controls that they’re used to.
The Vitamix A3500 comes with a 10-year warranty while the Blendtec Designer 725 comes with an eight-year warranty.
The verdict: Blendtec for beginners, Vitamix for everyone else
For smoothies, it’s a toss up. Both Vitamix and Blendtec can shred stubborn veggies and make a bomb green smoothie. If a high-quality smoothie without chunks or grit is all you care about making, a cheaper Blendtec model can get the job done and lets you do so on a touchscreen. If a more fun, inviting user experience counts for anything, the way that Blendtec buttons spell out every setting is way less intimidating for beginners compared to Vitamix, which require some experience to operate.
If you can spend a little more, Vitamix’s $400 to $500 blenders cover way more ground than Blendtec blenders in the same price range. As you up the ante to textures that require precision, Vitamix’s tamper and variable speeds on every model offer precision that is necessary for making nut butter, ice cream, hummus, or dressing.
But if you’re more interested in grinding a cellphone to dust than making a smoothie bowl with no chunks, go for a Blendtec.