Do I need an expensive blender?

nycbluedevilDecember 21, 2012

The thread on the Vitamix blender got me thinking--do I really need an expensive blender? I have my Cuisinart and my immersion blender and my KitchenAid stand mixer. We are not big juice drinkers and our alcohol is pretty much limited to wine (ok, maybe some straight vodka too). I have a perfectly ordinary Oster blender. I can't remember the last time I used it.

For those of you with the Vitamix or another expensive blender, what things do you use it for (other than juicing and frozen drinks) that could not be done with one of the other appliances I have mentioned?

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I feel like you! I too have all those things, food processor, immersion blender (rarely used) and a kitchenaid mixer. also a hand mixer. I rarely use the blender. The boys used to make shakes when they lived here, and I have made an occasional frosty coctail, but its pretty much ignored. I even bought a Margaritaville machine - what a waste. sold it for less than half what I paid. I get brain freezes easy, prefer my margaritas on the rocks. and with a crushed ice option on the fridge, that pretty much renders the blender useless. IMHO

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:45PM
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I don't think you need an expensive blender. I have a modest Krups blender for smoothies. Period. As much as I love the look of KitchenAid stand mixers, I don't need one. My hand mixer works fine. If I'm grating/shredding a LOT of things, I'll use my Cuisinart, but I find it such a pain to clean that I usually shred by hand. I kinda like old-school mixing with a wooden spoon.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 7:02PM
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The only thing I have, that you listed, is a blender/food processor that's a combo. I'm glad I have that but I don't need any of those other gizmos. I use a hand mixer for baking and when the dough is stiff, I mix by hand.

I honestly don't miss them. In fact, the gadgets I do have are going into a garage sale, when I get around to organizing one, Goodbye Foreman Grill!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:26PM
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If you want to make green and regular smoothies with no small pieces of anything and completely smooth and liquified, then yes, you do need a blender like the Vitamix. I've tried to do it with cheaper blenders but they just didn't have the power to make a smoothie I don't have to chew. If the Krups is working for you and you're happy with the results then no, you don't need it!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Fori is not pleased

As long as your blender does ice cubes for the rare slushy/margarita emergency, you're fine.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:12PM
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If you haven't run into something that you couldn't make that you wanted, I do t think you need it.

I love mine and make great smoothies (that I couldn't in the past).. Byw, I love my immersion blender too! Oh and kitchen aid mixer - food But when I need it, I need it. I use the vitamix and kitchen aid more.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:30PM
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I adore my Vitamix.

However ... I visited a friend who was blender-less and I was craving a green smoothie badly enough that we got a blender at Walmart (a Ninja). It worked as well as my vitamix at making green shakes. I don't know if it will last as long as a Vitamix, but it was only $40 so in theory you could buy 12 of them and still save a couple bucks ;)

I don't know if it can grind grains into flour or do the other vitamix things .. But it was darn good at smoothies. And that's all I do with my vitamix.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Like blondelle mentioned, the vitamix will puree everything very fine. I don't know if a typical blender can puree strawberry seeds.
We go in spurts as to how much we use our vitamix. I have used it to grind wheat, make powdered sugar, and hot soups. My kids like it for smoothies and making ice cream (you can make wonderful low fat ice cream by blending frozen milk cubes).
The first blender we owned burned out within a few years. We have had our vitamix for over 15 years. For us it has been worth the extra cost.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:13PM
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Green smoothies?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 1:46AM
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From Wiki

Green Smoothies are a type of health shake or smoothie, made by blending green raw leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, celery, parsley, broccoli, with fruit(s), such as oranges, kiwis, apples, mangoes, pears, and bananas, some of which may be frozen (mango), and water[2] or ice. Green raw leafy vegetables and fruits are preferably organic, to make the green smoothie more nutritious and avoid pesticides. To balance flavor and nutrition the typical ratio in a green smoothie is about 60% fruit to 40% leafy greens.


People "need" an "expensive" blender the same way people "need" a pro-style or custom French range.

In other works nobody needs one.

A cheap range or blender can do 90% as good a job. Some people can't tell the difference. But for those that can tell the difference and care then those ranges and blenders come in really handy.

e.g. pulverizing strawberry seeds. Cheap blenders can't do it.Some real cheap blenders give you chunky style smoothies. That may be your thing.

e.g. grinding prime chuck for premium burgers.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 3:55AM
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*Need*?? Probably not, but they are great machines!

I've always had Kitchenaid blenders which do well with just about anything. It isn't that the Kitchenaid couldn't crush anything thrown at it, just maybe not 100% smooth and a normal blender just won't stand up to lots of use. In my 16 years of marriage, I've gone through 3 Kitchenaids, the last two fairly quickly as my kids use them and the motors end up burning out.

I spent the extra on a 500 Pro Model through Costco labeled as a 6300 model, 100.00 cheaper than anywhere locally. My main reasoning is the kids can throw anything in the darn thing, set the smoothie or frozen dessert button and walk away - the blender turns off when it is done. It also has a great warranty - 7 years - and that cannot be touched by Kitchenaid or Cuisinart.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 8:30AM
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I only use my blender for smoothies. I have a good blender and I bought it because I used to make DH a smoothie every morning before work. I had two cheaper ones before and I could smell the motor burning when I made them. They weren't powerful enough to chop up the frozen strawberries.

Lately, I only make the smoothies occasionally and the blender gets very little use. My food processor was a wedding gift, almost 15 years ago, and I barely use that too. I used it for many years making baby food but now it mostly collects dust. I do have a Kitchenaid stand mixer and I love it. I'd say that gets used at least every other day.

It all depends on your needs, I guess. I like having the blender because I can control what my kids drink in their smoothies but it's definitely not a need.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 8:57AM
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If it helps you use it more, to stay healthier, then I would say yes. Full caveat - I've always had various blenders on my countertop and used them for normal mixing tasks, but not for blended drinks/smoothies/etc. This summer, we invested in the 750 VitaMix. Fast forward 6 months and we continue to use it regularly. (Initially, I had a chart tracking the cost per use, eventually I'll get down to under a $1/per). The variable settings allow you to choose a function and then walk away. The self-clean setting is terrific - cleaning this puppy is as simple as filling halfway with hot water, adding a drop of detergent and pressing start. A minute or so later, one dumps out the water and turns up side down to drain and dry.

I'm on the right side of 50 (but not by much). I stay fairly active but am always watching my weight. I heard recently on NPR about a study where people who lost weight and kept it off, did so by ADDING to their diets. Add the fruits and veggies and healthy choices and you will naturally eat less of the unhealthy choices. This concept makes sense to me. So if I can regularly add a yummy, healthy, easily prepared and cleaned up drink to our normal day, I know I'm doing something good for my family. If you can do this with other blenders, terrific; I only have experience with this one. The point about the kids using it is a good one - it's easy for them to use as well and they DO. Good luck!

This morning's treat:

1 cup nonfat strawberry yoghurt, 1 banana, 1 apple cored, 6 large frozen strawberries and 4 icecubes. YUM!

Those are bubbles etched in the glasses, not ice floating around, just wanted to make that distinction.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:13AM
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OT question: oldbat2be, where did you get your canisters?

I don't use adult leaves in smoothies and my cuisinart stick blender does fine with baby leaves of most greens. It won't blend seeds completely, but that doesn't bother me. It will break flax up enough and I don't at all mind strawberry or blueberry seeds floating around in a smoothie. It will also crush ice in limited amounts, enough for the amount you'd want in the blending container when making smoothies. Not enough for margaritas or snow cones.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Green Smoothies are a type of health shake or smoothie, made by blending green raw leafy vegetables...

I thought green smoothies might have been code for margaritas. :)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 12:17PM
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We too are thinking of investing in a Vitamix. America's Test Kitchen just tested it against something else, and ranked something of equal value, but cheaper...forget the model. But, we've been using the Nutribullet for our green drinks - one last try at a cheaper, easy to clean machine. It works great as long as I don't overpack it, and screw the top on tight - or else it leaks. And it needs just the right balance of liquid with solids to totally puree those seeds.

So, too many caveats, and I too might be looking for a last-time investment. I enjoy reading everyone's opinions on this...thank you!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 1:43PM
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oldbat-who cares about smoothies--look at that beautiful backsplash.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 1:48PM
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writersblock - these were a wedding present 20 years ago from a fabulous kitchen store in Blowing Rock NC. I still love them.

eatrealfood - thanks!! I forgot to mention the other benefit of a good blender: the drinks (usually pink or green) go well with the countertop and backsplash :)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 7:44AM
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What thread on the Vita Mix blender ? I can't find it.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 9:51AM
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It is on the appliances forum.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Thanks, oldbat2be.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 10:46AM
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My DH LOVES his blendtec but he drinks smoothies daily. Their customer service is great as well. He got a refurb version at a good price but it went oos so they gave him a brand new one at the same price. That's awesome in my book.

my sis has the ninja blender and she likes it as well.

Expensive isn't expensive if you rely on it multiple times per week for many years.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I didn't ask the right question. What I really wanted to find out whether a blender is really necessary if I have a food processor, stand mixer and immersion blender. We are not smoothies people. But if there is a use for a blender which I am somehow missing I would consider getting a new one, which led to the question of whether it ought to be a Vitamix or something similar. I haven't used my blender in a long time. I think I will save the money and skip the bender, at least for now.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:00PM
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