Of all the blenders on the market, there are only two that stand out from the pack and claim to be the best machines for making smoothies. In one corner, we have the ever-popular Vitamix 5200/6300 with a reputation for making excellent green smoothies and a build quality that lasts a lifetime.
In the other corner, we have the Blendtec Designer Series Blender with more horsepower and the demonstrated ability to turn garden rakes, golf balls and iPads into fine powder. So, which blender is the best blender for making green smoothies?
Vitamix vs. Blendtec
Price: Vitamix and Blendtec are expensive blenders. Vitamix starts at $449 (“Getting Started” package) while Blendtec starts at $454.95. At both price points, you get the basic blender setup with a standard, 64-ounce pitcher.
Vitamix offers Certified Reconditioned blenders for as low as $329. Blendtec also offers Factory Recertified blenders, but as of this writing, only for their Total Blender Classic series. At $384.95 (as of 10/15/2013), it’s nowhere near as good of a deal as a $329 Reconditioned Vitamix 5200.
Shipping Cost: If you order a Vitamix through any link on Incredible Smoothies, you’ll receive free shipping within the United States. That’s a discount of up to $25! You also get free shipping on a Blendtec blender when ordered through the Incredible Smoothies website.
Power/Speed: The Vitamix 5200 blender features a 2 peak horsepower motor that spins its blade at variable speeds from 11 mph (miles per hour) to 240 mph. The Blendtec blender boasts more power with a 3 peak horsepower, 1560 watt motor that spins its blade up to 300 mph according to the product video.
While some people might cite Blendtec’s greater horsepower as a sign of a better blender, Vitamix is no less capable of achieving the same results as the Blendtec. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between them in the quality and creaminess of a green smoothie. Basically, there’s no real difference between a 3 horsepower motor or a 2 horsepower motor when you’re blending up food items. Three horsepower for a blender is mostly marketing hype.
Warranty: Vitamix has a solid 7-year warranty. You can purchase an extended warranty for $75 that covers it up to 10 years.
Blendtec now comes with a 7-year warranty. When I purchased my Blendtec at Costco several years ago, I was given a free 4-year extended warranty card which I had to fill out and mail to Blendtec to extend my warranty to 7 years on the base only.
Durability: Both Blendtec and Vitamix are high-end blenders designed to perform a variety of kitchen tasks. They are quite a step up from a $100 name-brand blender that you’d pick up at a department store. Both blenders feature break-resistant, BPA-free copolyester pitchers, stainless steel blades and durably-built base. Both blenders will pulverize hard materials such as ice, frozen fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and coffee beans.
Dimensions: Blendtec has an advantage over Vitamix on size. Blendtec is shorter at 15-and-a-half inches tall with pitcher, which means that it can fit under most kitchen cabinets when placed on your kitchen counter. Blendtec machines are about the same size as a standard blender so you don’t need to make extra room for it, and it fits neatly into a small apartment kitchen, RV or other small space.
Vitamix is taller at 20-and-a-half inches with the standard 64-ounce pitcher, so it will take up a little more space in your kitchen and might not be able to fit neatly under your cupboards. However, I don’t ever “store” my Vitamix under my kitchen cabinets. It’s front-and-center in my kitchen – right where I want (need) it to be for my daily green smoothies.
If you want a compact Vitamix, there is a 32-ounce and a 48-ounce Compact Container option for the Vitamix, but I highly recommend getting the 64-ounce pitcher.
The Blendtec Designer Series blender has similar dimensions to the Vitamix 5200 (width/length/depth), although it is slightly less wide. It is also noticeably lighter than he Vitamix, which weighs in at about 10 pounds.
Pitcher: Both blenders come with a 64-ounce pitcher (depending on which package you choose) made from a durable, break-resistant co-polyester (plastic). Vitamix also offers 32-ounce and 48-ounce pitchers, as well as a specially designed pitcher for grinding grains (sold separately)
Blendtec has three pitcher options including their 64-ounce FourSide and 90-ounce (total volume) WildSide pitchers. A compact Twister Jar is specially designed to quickly grind grains and make nut butters in about a minute.
Unlike the Vitamix, the Blendtec blade is fused to the pitcher, so if the pitcher should need replacing, you’re also replacing the blade assembly too.
The standard 64-ounce Vitamix pitcher is a perfect all around blender pitcher that makes everything, well, perfectly. The Vitamix tamper tool adds to the versatility and speed at which you can blend.
Making green smoothies in the Blendtec FourSide pitcher can be frustrating at times, and you will wish that Blendtec made a tamper for it. Instead, I often found myself picking the pitcher up, giving it a good shake, and blending again. Repeat as necessary if you use a lot of greens in your smoothie. The larger WildSide pitcher is so much better as the wider base makes a tamper completely unnecessary.
On the older Blendtec Total Blender Classic series, the WildSide pitcher was not able to sufficiently blend frozen strawberries. I’d always get gloppy bits of half-thawed strawberry in my green smoothies. The newer Designer Series blender has a slightly modified Smoothie blend cycle that seems to have cleared up this problem in my own tests.
Interface – Buttons vs. Dials: The Vitamix 5200 features a switch and dial interface giving you precise, manual control of your blending. While switches and dials might be harder to clean than buttons, I enjoy the complete control I have over my blends that I get with my Vitamix.
In contrast, the Blendtec Designer Series blender features a “touch user interface”. There are no buttons to press. Simply touch the lighted icons on the interface to activate the pulse and blending cycles, or to turn off and on. A slider bar allows you to speed up or slow down your blend by simply sliding your finger left or right. The control is precise and responsive. Since there are no raised buttons, cleaning is as easy as wiping off a smooth surface!
Blendtec blenders have pre-set blending cycles. Simply tap the icon and let your blender do the work, hands-free. Vitamix blenders are a lot more hands-on requiring that you touch two switches and one speed knob, and then use the tamper to push ingredients into the blades. The newer Vitamix 6300 has three pre-set blend cycles, one of which is for smoothies.
The Tamper: The Vitamix blender includes a tamper tool, which you can use to push the ingredients down into the blades of the blender. It’s a great tool, especially when making green smoothies since large handfuls of leafy greens love to get caught in the pitcher, unreachable by the blades. A tamper is indispensable for making large green smoothies, or nut butters, or ice cream. It also allows you to use less water, or no water, so that you can get just the right amount of thickness for a smoothie, sauce or soup.
Blendtec does not have a tamper attachment but instead boasts a square-pitcher and unique straight-blade design which they say makes a tamper unnecessary. I have found this to be true when using the larger Blendtec WildSide pitcher. I’m amazed at how I can pack the pitcher full of fruit and greens, then hit the smoothie button and in 30 seconds have a rich, creamy smoothie.
I’ve often wished that Blendtec made a tamper for the standard Blendtec FourSide pitcher. I usually need to hit the “pulse” button a couple times before running the smoothie cycle. Depending on how full I fill the pitcher or what my greens to fruit ratio is, I might have to stop the blend and push the greens down with a spoon or give the pitcher a shake after I hit “pulse” a couple times and before I run the smoothie cycle. It can be a little frustrating.
Noise: To my ears, the Vitamix 5200 is noticeably less noisy than the Blendtec. I haven’t put a decibel meter to it, but it is definitely less noisy, even on the highest speed setting.
The Blendtec is louder, but I don’t think it is unreasonably loud. It’s as loud if not maybe slightly quieter than my old Cuisinart blender, and it takes a lot less time to make a smoothie than the Cuisinart.
Thanks to the tamper tool, it takes less time to blend using a Vitamix than with a Blendtec so not only is the Vitamix quieter, you’ll spend less time in the morning listening to a blender motor running! Vitamix wins in the “noise” category!
Clean-Up: Both blenders are easy to clean. Simply add a little hot water and a drop of dish soap and run a blend cycle and you’re done. You can take the Vitamix pitcher apart since it has a removable blade, but you generally don’t have to do this if you clean it right after your blends.
The Blendtec does not have a removable blade, since it is fused with the pitcher. Their straight-blade design makes it much easier to clean the pitcher, but it is difficult to clean underneath the blade.
The Blendtec’s square pitcher design also makes it easy to pour smoothies and scrape out thick, gloppy nut-butters or puddings. The pitcher is easy to wipe clean.
It is easy to scrape out gloppy nut butters and batters from the Vitamix pitcher, though it’s tough to get everything that’s behind the blades at the narrow end of the pitcher. However, the Vitamix pitcher with tamper make it a much more versatile tool for making nut butters. Even though the Vitamix is slightly harder to clean, it’s a LOT easier and quicker to whip up your own almond butter in.
Making nut butters in a Blendtec pitcher is a never ending “start – stop – scrape – start again” process…unless you have the Blendtec Twister Jar, which is a fantastic accessory.
Blade: The Vitamix features a familiar, four-tipped blade. Blendtec has a single prong, wingtip straight blade. The Blendtec straight blade is not sharp and so it won’t cut your fingers. You have to be careful cleaning around the the sharp Vitamix blade.
Color/Design: The Vitamix 5200 is a stylish blender that has an upscale appearance. It looks like serious business! It comes in black, brushed stainless, platinum, white and red.
The newer Blendtec Designer Series blender has a sleek, ultra-modern design. The blender’s most interesting feature is the lighted “touch user interface”. The lighted icons on the interface matches the touch-screen technology we’re using everywhere else in our lives. It comes in black, cream, red and a slightly more expensive “champagne metallic” finish.
Overall Online Support: While Blendtec has a wildly popular and entertaining “Will It Blend” marketing campaign on YouTube, Vitamix has an amazingly information-packed website that contains a forum, recipes, nutrition information and specific content catering to raw foodists, vegetarians and even baby-boomers. The Vitamix website and recipe book features more healthy recipes than the Blendtec. However, I don’t feel that this is a reason to choose one machine over another. I just that Vitamix has more of a community feel than the Blendtec brand.
Performance: When it comes to making silky-rich green smoothies, both blenders do a fantastic job. I can’t say that one outperforms the other when it comes to green smoothies. Both blenders break up cell walls, which unlocks the nutrition in fruit, vegetables and greens better than any other lower-powered blenders can. Both the Vitamix and the Blendtec can make smoothies, nut butters, hot soup, frozen ice cream, crush ice and grind grains, though the Vitamix might be easier and more effective “out of the box” for things like ice cream, nut butters and grinding grains, as well as blending frozen ingredients – something the Blendtec WildSide pitcher doesn’t excel 100% of the time.
Made In The USA: Both Blendtec and Vitamix are “designed and assembled” in the USA. What this means is that for the most part, the blenders are made in the USA, but some components might come from overseas. While Blendtec isn’t the most forthcoming about how much of their blender components are not from the USA, Vitamix clearly states on their blender base that it is “made in the USA with 70% minimum US content”.
So, Which Is The Best Blender?
Well, this is a subject of debate online. You might as well ask if a Mac is better than a PC or a Nikon camera better than a Canon camera. Basically, those who have a Blendtec love their blender, and those who have a Vitamix swear by it as well.
As far as the end product being the green smoothies and foods you blend using these blenders, the results are identical in quality. I recommend that you look at the subtle differences between the two and see which one feels the best to you.
Personally, I have used both blenders. However, I’ve come to prefer (and fall in love with) my Vitamix 5200. I’ve been using it more and more because it is quieter, takes less time to blend, and provides so much more control. And it doesn’t have the quirks that the Blendtec pitchers have.
Whether you choose the Vitamix or the Blendtec, I don’t think you will be disappointed at all. But if you want me to nudge you in one direction or the other, at this point, I’d steer you toward a Vitamix for many of the reasons I’ve already mentioned in this review. And if you order by clicking on the image below, you’ll get free shipping within the United States!
If you don’t like ordering over the Internet, you can call Vitamix Account Mgr. JP Minard and order directly from him at his direct line of 440-782-2303 (800-848-2649 Ext. 2303). The free shipping discount code if you do it that way is: 06-007702.
Have Your Mind Set On A Blendtec?
Then I’d steer you toward the Designer Series blender with automatic (hands-free) blend cycles, a responsive touch-interface and stylish design. Click on the image below to get free shipping within the continental USA:
Okay, You’ve Chosen A Blender – Now What?
It’s time to put that blender to good use! I’d like to show you how I lost up to 40 pounds and lowered my high cholesterol by 50 points with green smoothies and whole foods. I’d like to show you how you can increase your energy, detox and actually look forward to getting your 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables every single day – without having to eat boring salads or chomping on celery sticks.
My Green Smoothie Health & Weight Loss Program features over 400 delicious smoothie recipes, many of which target specific health goals you might have. Whether you want to lose weight, recover from a head cold faster (or not get one to begin with), improve your love life, boost your workout performance, enhance your creativity and more, there is a recipe for you. You’ll also get expert tips and advice as well as answers to over 115 questions about green smoothies, health and nutrition.
The Green Smoothie Health & Weight Loss program helps you kickstart a new, healthier lifestyle. Try it today!.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally written in September 2009. It has been updated regularly to keep the information current. Even so, prices and specifications may change at any time. This article was last updated on October 15, 2013.
Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Health & Weight Loss Program and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.