I had over $1,000 worth of blenders sitting on my kitchen counter last week and things got noisy and busy! The three powerful, expensive blenders I tested — the Breville Boss, Vitamix 5200, and Blendtec 625 — each claim to have unique features that can take care of all your blending needs, so were these claims accurate and should you invest in one? If so, which one is right for you?
How well a blender functions is a combination of so many factors: container shape and design, power, blade design, speed, and so on. The best way to see how well they stack up against each other is to place them side by side and run them through the exact same tests. Direct comparisons are the best way to judge which blender performs a task the best and give insights into how good or not-so-good design comes into play. I did the comparison and here are my conclusions.
Similarities and differences in appliances can be listed on a sheet of paper, but the only way to see if these similarities or differences really matter is through hands-on testing. Here's what I made in each blender and my pick for the best performer in each test:
- Best performer: Breville Boss
- All three produced stellar smoothies that were free of fibers and seeds and didn't require the use of any tampers, so it really came down to ease of use. The Vitamix required ramping up blending speed and a bit of babysitting, so I liked how the Breville Boss had two smoothie buttons — depending on your ingredients, a regular smoothie or a green smoothie. It was also easy to pour out with the spout.
- Best performer: Vitamix 5200
- Having a tamper to push the garbanzos into the spinning blades helped the Vitamix produce the smoothest hummus. The Blendtec also had great results, but the Breville Boss produced slightly grainy hummus.
3. Pureed Cooked Carrots
- Best performer: Blendtec 625
- If you're looking to make vegetable and fruit purees for babies, the Blendtec did a great job of turning cooked carrots into a silky-smooth puree and a nice serving temperature in just 90 seconds with the push of a button. The Vitamix was close but needed the use of the tamper.
4. Almond Butter
- Best performer: Vitamix 5200
- The Vitamix produced an almond butter that was closest in texture to smooth commercial almond butters because of the use of the tamper, whereas the other two just succeeded in making chunky pastes instead.
5. Ice Crushing
- Best performer: Blendtec 625
- The Blendtec made perfectly fluffy, snow-like crushed ice without any fuss whatsover, clearly outperforming the other two in this area since they produced small but uneven flecks of ice.
What do these results tell us?
As with most things in life, there usually isn't just one best product out there, and the fact that each blender did some things really well and some things not-so-well proves that. They're all powerful and I would be happy to have any of them in my kitchen, especially in comparison to the $130 KitchenAid blender I currently have — but is this a sizable investment you would want to make?
Is a high-powered blender a good investment for you?
The best question to ask yourself is what you want your blender to do. If you just puree a lot of liquid-based things like soups, you probably don't even need one of these expensive blenders unless you're going for the ultra silky-smooth texture. Stick with something inexpensive and save your money for something else.
But if you want to do heavy-duty blending often — nut butters, ice, thick smoothies — these machines are really great.
Which one is the best for you?
What you need to think about is functionality: Are you the kind of person who just wants to use a preset program every morning for a smoothie? Do you want to grind hard foods, which really require the help of tampers? How important are factors like appearance and ease of storing and cleaning?
Once you decide what you want a blender to do, then you can find the best fit. Here's my summary of each one so you can decide for yourself:
The Vitamix 5200: Blend Like a Restaurant
This blender can blitz pretty much anything in its path, and the variable speed knob really gives you full control over the blending process. The tamper does its job well, and if you've always wanted to cook in a restaurant, the industrial design will definitely offer that feeling of being in a professional kitchen.
The Vitamix does stand very tall and can be hard to store or use under overhead cabinets, so those with storage issues might want to consider a different blender or one of Vitamix's other models which have shorter blending containers.
- Read the in-depth review: Vitamix 5200
The Blendtec Designer 625: Powerful Minimalism
Power and functionality are cleverly designed into the Blendtec 625, and the fact that it uses dull blades but still pulverizes food easily is amazing. It's the easiest to clean and has a few preset programs that work well. The lack of a tamper means that you might have to stop and scrape down the jar during really difficult tasks, but it generally does most jobs easily, including perfectly crushed ice.
This is the lightest and shortest of the three blenders, so if you don't want to store or lug something heavy around, and you like minimalist design, go with the Blendtec.
- Read the in-depth review: Blendtec Designer 625
The Breville Boss Easy-to-Use Blender: Extra Details for More Hands-Off Blending
Heavy-duty construction houses a lot of functionality in this blender that has a slightly industrial but still polished look. There are a lot of preset functions that let you program and walk away during blending, and there are extra thoughtful details that the other two blenders lack. This blender makes amazing smoothies at a touch of a button and would be great for the sleepy-eyed smoothie makers struggling to start the day.
Like the Vitamix, it sits high on the counter and is the heaviest of the three blenders, but all this extra weight means that it sits like a rock and doesn't move.
- Read the in-depth review: Breville Boss Easy-to-Use Blender
So what would I choose?
You're probably wondering which one I liked best. After putting these machines through so much testing, staring at them on my counter for weeks, and mulling over how each one performed, I started off thinking that I liked the Vitamix the best because of how it turned almonds into gorgeous almond butter. But to be honest, after calculating the cost of the whole almonds against just buying a jar of my favorite brand, I realized it was a wash.
Then the more I thought about it, the more the Blendtec appealed to me since it's lightweight, so easy to clean, and would fit well in my cabinets. I lug my share of heavy kitchen appliances in and out of cabinets for work, so even something a few pounds lighter makes a difference. And even though it didn't make almond butter that well, I've realized I'd rather buy it anyway and don't need my blender to make that. Plus, crushed ice cocktails sound mighty delicious. The fact that I'm torn between the two really proves there is no one-size-fits-all, perfect match sometimes.
As for the final decision? The other cook in the house, my husband, has a date this weekend to spend some quality time with the Vitamix and Blendtec to see which one he prefers. I can't wait to see what he thinks!