How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

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Alf 101
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How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Alf 101 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:47 am

Now there have been a number of blender threads on this forum, most now several years old, and perhaps not exactly zeroing in on the heart of the question for me -- how much would you spend on a new blender? This is both a personal and a consumer question, so I thought it would fit in well here.

At the top end for home use is probably the Vitamix 5200 for somewhere around $500. I have no doubt this is an excellent blender. On the low end is an Oster, Hamilton Beach, or Black and Decker model in the $25-30 range. In the middle you can find most of the Ninja models, and the KitchenAid 5-speed Diamond Blender that seems well reviewed, in the neighborhood of $100.

Our current blender use involves making smoothies and sauces. We had a "low end" blender -- the same one -- for many years, which certainly did the trick, and if not for a poorly placed knife while it was running, would still be with us today. The siren song that encourages me to upgrade though, is the idea a more expensive blender can both do these things better, and open up other functionality and options -- in addition to being hard to kill and dishwasher safe.

This begs the question of what else can I do with it. I've read a number of expensive blender testimonials where people talk about the excellent smoothies, soups, almond butter, hummus, and baby food they can create. The thing is, we already have a large food processor, which can also do those things.

My wife would probably have me committed if I spent $500 on a blender. I'm entertaining a budget of about $100, which she also thinks is high -- it's just a blender. I thought it would be interesting to hear others' take on this, and where Bogleheads fall on the blender choice spectrum.

aristotelian
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by aristotelian » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:59 am

Excellent question. I know people with the Vitamix but never understood what the fuss is about. It would never occur to me to consider for even a second spending that much on a blender.

I have had this Oster for about 3 years and it does well with smoothies as long as the frozen fruit and ice are balanced with liquid. Milkshake and food processor attachments are nice plusses without taking up too much extra space in the kitchen.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CJ1HEV6?re ... 0_33920250

I do not like blending hot liquids in a regular blender. Too many bad things can happen. Use an immersion blender instead.

lazydavid
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:13 pm

Depends on how much you use it. I got a Vitamix as a gift from my wife (she didn't pay anywhere near $500 though--Costco is your friend), and though it's fantastic, I probably wouldn't buy it again because I only use it around twice per week. If I used it one or more times a day, it would definitely be worth it.

stoptothink
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:16 pm

We use a blender daily, one I purchased approximately a decade ago for ~$20 at Walmart (it's a Hamilton Beach, I have no idea which model). I've also used Vitamixes and Blendtecs (at my parents and in-laws) hundreds, if not thousands of times. I personally see no added value in spending 20x as much, ours is perfect for our needs. FWIW, my brother-in-law gave us an older ninja about a year ago when he purchased a new one; it was significantly worse (specifically, leaving unblended chunks) than our $20 Hamilton Beach. I ended up giving it to a neighbor for free.

Rupert
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Rupert » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:25 pm

There are some fairly recent threads (within the past year or so) on the pros and cons of buying Vitamixes and/or Blendtecs. They can be had for much less than $500. Costco carries both brands and places them on sale from time to time. Also, you can buy refurbished Vitamixes directly from Vitamix or from Amazon. (IMHO, that's the way to go if you want a Vitamix. Vitamix guarantees the refurbished models for, I think, 5 years, which is only two years less than a brand new model.) All that said, if you question whether you would get your money's worth out of a Vitamix or Blendtec, you probably won't. There's a reason why restaurants, coffee shops, etc., use those models exclusively. They are well-made workhorses. If you only use a blender to make an occasional smoothie, you don't need a Vitamix (although the Vitamix would likely improve even your occasional smoothie experience). If you use your blender daily for a variety of things (or think you will), then start thinking Vitamix or Blendtec.

johnriley
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by johnriley » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:28 pm

Get a refurbished Blendtec. They are the blenders that Starbucks, Smoothie Kings, etc. use, and the refurbs can be purchased for $200 when they would be $500 new.

I got one and love it.

dsmil
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by dsmil » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:28 pm

I recently spent $80 on a Nutribullet Pro 900. It replaced an original Magic Bullet which I had for 10 years. We only use it to make smoothies so there isn't a need to spend more than we have to.

Goal33
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Goal33 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:31 pm

My grandma gave me a blender she got for around $10. Makes great smoothies. Been using it for 8 years. I'd say it has appreciated in value.
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Liberty1100 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:45 pm

As an apartment warming gift, my girlfriend's mother bought us a Ninja Blender. I have used it on occasion to blend ice and mix to make great frozen adult drinks and it works very well and quick. She tends to use it more often to make smoothies in the morning and the occasion baking/cooking recipe that calls for it (hot squash soup, i think).

We both recommend it. Her older one (a cheap one, maybe $40 worth) would get stuck up on the ice and you would have to stop the blender and mix the contents yourself. Which is a huge pain in the ass sometimes.

I believe we got the ninja blender from Costco, but it came with a bunch of stuff we didn't and don't use. I would suggest getting the $99 Amazon version.

kjvmartin
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by kjvmartin » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:47 pm

Bought and returned a Vitamix. It's very good at doing exactly what they demonstrate at Costco, but it's not super great at much else.

Have a Ninja now. Works just as good but cost me about $50 (also at Costco)

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El Greco
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by El Greco » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:49 pm

I have the KitchenAid 5 speed Diamond Blender you mentioned in your original post. It replaced an ancient Oster and the difference is like night and day. I have found the Kitchenmaid more than adequate for blending the things that we blend.

Makes great smoothies and perfect frozen Margaritas. What else do you need? :sharebeer

Slacker
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Slacker » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:55 pm

We have a ninja set that we use frequently. It has served us quite well. The Auto-IQ feature seemed like a marketing gimmic but it does work quite well to more thoroughly mix smoothies that other (cheaper) blenders would not be able to do (a bit annoying to put your protein powder in the blender and have clumps of dry powder stuck to the sides under a thick sludge or having some of the powder just gather down below the blade and never get mixed in).

We used to have a magic bullet. That was just fine if all you do is single serve smoothies but quite limited for all that I want to do with a blender.

Prior to that I had a cheap-o hamilton beach or similar $20 blender. Worked fine to mix protein powder into milk...but that was about it. One too many iced drinks and it died.

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JaneyLH
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by JaneyLH » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:01 pm

aristotelian wrote:Excellent question. I know people with the Vitamix but never understood what the fuss is about. It would never occur to me to consider for even a second spending that much on a blender.
I felt the same way until a girlfriend fixed me delicious hot soup in her Vitamix... took about 5 minutes. Went right to Costco and bought one. Carrot ginger and broccoli cheese are my favorites. The motor is so powerful that you put in cold ingredients (broth, leftover veggies, spices, milk, whatever) and after a few minutes of blending you see steam escaping from the top and it's ready to serve! This alone made it a worthwhile investment, and because the Vitamix is of commercial quality I never expect to buy another blender... knives in the jar notwithstanding! :D

mhalley
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by mhalley » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:22 pm

It is very entertaining to see what people will throw in blenders. Blendtec has some cool videos up at http://www.willitblend.com/
If it will blend an iphone, it should work well for your smoothies.

srt7
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by srt7 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:26 pm

How much would I spend on a blender? Probably around $50 or even lesser if I find one at our local Target. But I would spend good money on getting fresh fruits which IMHV is what makes a good smoothie :)

Same with coffee machine as well. Bought some local branded french press and grinder but will not skimp on the coffee beans. Can't afford to not have that top of the line coffee aroma / taste every morning. :mrgreen:

Nowizard
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Nowizard » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:32 pm

You may recall that Fred Waring, a band leader many years ago, invented/perfected the blender. We have a Waring blender purchased more than 40 years ago that still does the trick for smoothies and drinks that was originally purchased to mix drinks. Being about 21 years old at the time and with little money, it probably cost $15 or so. Basically, unless you are going to expand the uses, you can replace a blender many times before spending $500.

Tim

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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:33 pm

We use our blender 6 or 7 days a week. We've had it for almost 11 years. It is a $40 Oster. We use it for smoothies mostly where it needs to blend frozen berries and bananas.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is get a metal drive shaft. All metal. That is the part that has broken on our other blenders. Since we went metal, zero problems.

lowndes
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by lowndes » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:34 pm

I'd spend whatever a Vitamix costs these days. I bought one about five years ago and my wife and I use it daily. Based on the things we make it is far superior to any "cheap" blender we have had to use while traveling, etc.

Poppinjay
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Poppinjay » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:46 pm

I use a nutribullet for smoothies and love it. For the occasional times I make something that won't fit in the nutribullet cup I just use my kitchenaid food processor. I think the most I've paid was $120, when they first came out.

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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:54 pm

Nowizard wrote:You may recall that Fred Waring, a band leader many years ago, invented/perfected the blender. We have a Waring blender purchased more than 40 years ago that still does the trick for smoothies and drinks that was originally purchased to mix drinks. Being about 21 years old at the time and with little money, it probably cost $15 or so. Basically, unless you are going to expand the uses, you can replace a blender many times before spending $500.

Tim
Of course the Waring blender was immortalized in Linda Rhonstadt's song "Poor Pitiful Me".

I have a cheap Oster blender. What I don't like is that the base of the glass container is not flat, so you are always having to scrape stuff out of the well at the bottom of the glass. Next time I might go for a Vitamix refurb. If you make your own pesto, the flat bottom glass is much easier to empty and clean I think - have seen Jaques Pepin using one on his show.

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marti038
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by marti038 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:08 pm

We got a refurbed vitamix. I think we paid around $350.

My wife uses it to make smoothies several times each week and we've been happy with it.

themesrob
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by themesrob » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:22 pm

if you are a frequent blender, the Vitamix (on a good sale) is worth the upgrade, in my opinion. I was long of the camp that my $30 Oster did a great job, and there was no need to change. Got the Vitamix at the urging of my wife, and I completely changed my mind within the first couple uses. Makes the smoothest smoothies with literally anything we can think of, and cleans up like a dream. (There may be units in middle of the price range that do an equally good job, but I couldn't speak to that.)

arsenalfan
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by arsenalfan » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:25 pm

We have 2 mixers and love both:

11 year old nutribullet that has made all our baby food.

6 year old VitaMix - use every weekday for smoothies. Chops right through whole carrots and softer stuff (kale, pineapple, etc). Also wakes the kids up upstairs. Better than yelling at them.

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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Lafder » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:06 pm

My spouse has burned out every blender we have ever had. He uses them almost every day. We are less than a year into Vitamix and so far so good. I think it was under 400 at Costco.

We were reluctant to pay the high cost, and they are so loud you really need to wear ear protection to avoid hearing loss.

If indeed it lasts, it will be great. All of the others started out great too though......................

The only one he returned before it burned out was the Ninja. He just could not get used to the multiple blades and cleaning them. But I know others who really love their Ninjas.

lafder

tigermilk
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by tigermilk » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:40 pm

You can buy cheap or you can buy good. Your choice. After years of going through blenders (I.e., buying cheap), we stepped up and got a Vitamix. Glad we did. Same thing with trimmers - bought cheap for years, replacing them every couple of years. Bought a gas one that was near industrial quality. Not cheap but it's been indestructible.

Juliajones54
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Juliajones54 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:07 pm

In addition to steaming hot soup, the vitamix also makes frozen ready to eat ice cream! I'm not into juicing, but if you are, you don't need a separate juicer. I make peanut butter with no additional oil, sugar or salt.

Tamales
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Tamales » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:39 pm

Juliajones54 wrote:In addition to steaming hot soup, the vitamix also makes frozen ready to eat ice cream! I'm not into juicing, but if you are, you don't need a separate juicer. I make peanut butter with no additional oil, sugar or salt.
Juicing is a different process. What you get out of a blender when you throw in various vegetables/fruits is a frothy thick mush. What you get out of a juicer is juice, and a separate discard pile for pulp. It just depends what you want, but the consistence does affect taste, even if psychological.

Somehow a frothy mush of fruits goes down easy, but a frothy mush of the vegetable ingredients in V-8 doesn't.

pfranz
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by pfranz » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:45 pm

I had a cuisinart blender. I had it for probably 5-10 years. I bought a few replacement blades because it got dull after a year, but I was never really pleased with it. Even at it's best it would leave chunks of frozen fruit hiding in there. I sprung for a Vitimix a few years ago and don't have any complaints. I was surprised when the manual recommended making hot soups. That would have warped and leaked on other blenders. I've used it for soups and it's great. I've used it for smoothies, soups, grinding coffee (in a pinch), and a few food processory things like grinding oats into oat flour (it's not a replacement for a food processor).
I make peanut butter with no additional oil, sugar or salt.
How do you get the peanut butter out? Do you just use a rubber spatula and sacrifice the rest? How do you clean it?

I've wanted to make creamier things like peanut butter or mayonnaise, but felt like it'd be too much trouble to get out and clean.

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yatesd
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by yatesd » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:11 pm

I was tempted by Vitamix and Blendtec. Ultimately chose the Blendtec due to the low profile design that allows it to easily fit under my cabinet. While the Blendtec is well rated, it may not fit into a home environment. The default configuration is very tall.

chabil
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by chabil » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:44 pm

I use my Osterizer almost everyday. It is indispensable for many kinds of Indian food. So I use it for grinding soaked grains and rice into a smooth batter. This takes some doing but the results are great. I use the mini blender that comes with it to grind coconut (scraped from a fresh coconut) to make chutneys. My son makes his smoothies. I have owned a blender for 50 years and it has always been an Osterizer. It also has a small processor attachment and works great for quicly shredding carrots for salad, cheese, or bread crumbs. Get one with a maximum wattage.

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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by SirRunsabit » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:30 am

This is my first post, and I really enjoy the civility and thought processes of the Boglehead Collective. I'm always looking to learn something new.

To be fair, I nearly spit my coffee through my nose when I misread: "How much would you spend on a Bender?" :)
Hi!

Alf 101
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Alf 101 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:27 am

As the OP I thought I'd circle back and chime in. I appreciate the comments very much, and have a few more questions/thoughts.

1. How much overlap do you see between your blender and food processor? Up to this point we've used our blender as a sauce and smoothie machine, but have a large Kitchenaid food processor that sees versatile use. If you had a nice food processor, would you spend less on a blender? Or do you see these filling different niches? It would make sense that the blades in the narrow blender container would create more turbulence and mix things more completely, though the food processor still does a nice job.

2. What criteria separate cheap, mid-range, and expensive blenders? Stout construction is clearly one of them; that said, one thing steering me away from a Blendtec or Vitamix is the size, and how much space that would occupy on a counter. How much is power a consideration? For example, the Kitchenaid 5-speed Diamond blender is rated by the manufacturer at 0.9 hp, or 671 watts. This seems consistent with most Kitchenaid models. Without taking too deep a dive, it appears most Vitamix models are around 2.0-2.2 hp, or 1490-1640 watts. Ninja blender are quoted around 1.5 hp/1100 watts. More power would always seem like it's better, but at what point are you paying for more than you need? Naturally, since I'm not looking to enter any blender races, the power of the motor shouldn't be everything.

I'm curious in any of your thoughts. Since I seem committed to finding a mid-range blender, what are the main criteria worth paying for? Thanks.

annielouise
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by annielouise » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:55 am

Certainly it depends on usage. I don't own a tranditional blender. I have a hand-held one, which works fine for the few times that I need a blender - and is way easier to clean. Never caught the smoothie fever; I prefer fresh fruit and/or yogurt.

alex_686
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by alex_686 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:00 am

marti038 wrote:We got a refurbed vitamix. I think we paid around $350.

My wife uses it to make smoothies several times each week and we've been happy with it.
I would second this.

For a handheld blender check out Bamix. It is expensive, but the one our in-laws have has lasted decades, while we have burnt out a few of the cheaper models.

sco
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by sco » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:34 pm

We've had the same walmart ($20?) model since we got married. 17'ish years ago...

I wouldn't even buy another one if it broke, but apparently it gets used occasionally. I'd probably replace it with something similiar, for our uses.

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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Juliajones54 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:48 pm

Pfranz:
The longer you blend the peanuts, the less sticky or thick the peanut butter - it will be warm and pours right out into the container. Once it has set up, it will be very thick and not easy to spread - we just let it sit out awhile before using it - it does have to be refrigerated. You can add oil for a better spreading consistency. Cleaning a Vita Mix is the best part of all. A drop of soap and warm water, turn it on and it cleans itself. The instruction manual that comes with it is very good and I also purchased the recipe book. I've never tried mayonnaise.

WL2034
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by WL2034 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:59 pm

Depends on how much you use it and what you use it for. If you want great quality smoothies, I would recommend a refurbished Vitamix or Blendtec for the best value. If you just use it once in a while and don't care that much, buy something less expensive. I have personally owned a Ninja and a Vitamix (plus the $25-30 blenders Oster, etc. in the past), and the consistency of the smoothies is a huge difference. No big chunks or pieces of ice when using the Vitamix. Much smoother. It works great for making baby food as well, but I haven't used any other blenders for that so I can't compare.

Saving$
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Saving$ » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:24 am

Ninja Master Prep - $35 - been running strong for about 6 or 7 years now. Gets used about 2x week, more in summer. It replaced a 30+ year old Hoover blender I got at a garage sale when I was young. The Hoover thing had started to leak, and was just a general pain. The Ninja is terrific.

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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by aquamarine » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:26 am

I have a blender I've use for many different purposes. I can do smoothies but I have also made hummus, pesto, veggie burgers, and even meat balls. Yes, if you cut up meat/chicken/fish and put it in a blender, it can grind meat for burgers or meatballs or spiced salmon patties. I also used it to grind teff into flour to make flat bread just the other day. Worked perfectly.

It's a cheap blender I got at Target and honestly it works just fine. No problems. Doesn't jam. Easy cleanup.

I know someone with a Vitamix and my honest opinion is that it's very loud, bulky and she has to use this stick to constantly push things down. Is it worth it? She loves it but would I?

Honestly, I'm not certain how it would improve things and I'm happy with what I have. Works great and has given me no problems. So my advice is, really think about what you will use it for on day to day basis.

Sometimes upgrades and paying for more expensive things adds values and is totally worth it. But other times, I've found that you can get good things at very reasonable prices.

takeshi
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by takeshi » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:15 am

Alf 101 wrote:How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?
Up to several hundred on a refurbed Vitamix or Blendtec but that doesn't really matter unless your usage and preferences happen to align with ours. We use our blender constantly for smoothies, nut milk, cooking, etc. Base your decision on your usage and budget versus just polling others.

michaeljc70
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:57 am

I've got the Ninja blender/food processor from Costco and find it perfectly good. I think it was $140 on special. I liked that I was able to get rid of my old, rarely used food processor. I also like the individual blender cups for smoothies and making things like salad dressing. If I was making almond butter or frozen drinks all the time, I might consider a higher end blender.

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monkey_business
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by monkey_business » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:30 pm

We have a refurbished Vitamix that we got about 6 years ago for $350 or so. If it broke down, I would get another Vitamix, or a Blendtec. Here's the reason why it is worth it for us:

- We add various vegetables to smoothies, as well as frozen chunks of fruit and juice. Cheap blenders I've used before could not get all this down to a perfectly smooth texture like the Vitamix. My old $30 blender could never blend broccoli 100%, there would always be little florets floating around. I often add things like kale, cucumbers, carrots, zucchinis, etc. Everything comes out smooth and blended.
- We make sauces, soups, and various frozen treats. The Vitamix allows us to do all that to just the right consistency. Try making a creamy potato soup in your $20 blender.

That said, if you just want to throw a banana, a couple strawberries, and protein powder and make a simple smoothie, just get a cheap blender. Vitamixes and the like are for blending anything and everything, and to the perfect texture, these blenders are overkill for basic smoothie tasks.

MittensMoney
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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by MittensMoney » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:59 pm

We also bought a VitaMix, an amazing product and haven't looked back since. Great warranty, best quality, completely versatile device. You'll find yourself using it for more than you thought just because of its capabilities.

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Re: How Much Would You Spend on a Blender?

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:01 pm

aquamarine wrote:I have a blender I've use for many different purposes. I can do smoothies but I have also made hummus, pesto, veggie burgers, and even meat balls. Yes, if you cut up meat/chicken/fish and put it in a blender, it can grind meat for burgers or meatballs or spiced salmon patties. I also used it to grind teff into flour to make flat bread just the other day. Worked perfectly.

It's a cheap blender I got at Target and honestly it works just fine. No problems. Doesn't jam. Easy cleanup.

I know someone with a Vitamix and my honest opinion is that it's very loud, bulky and she has to use this stick to constantly push things down. Is it worth it? She loves it but would I?

Honestly, I'm not certain how it would improve things and I'm happy with what I have. Works great and has given me no problems. So my advice is, really think about what you will use it for on day to day basis.

Sometimes upgrades and paying for more expensive things adds values and is totally worth it. But other times, I've found that you can get good things at very reasonable prices.
^^^this^^^ I don't think I would trade my 11 year old, $40 Oster for a $500 mixer just to get a smoother smoothie.

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