3/06/2013

Meet Jillian




This is Jillian. She is our long-awaited Vitamix.

I researched for months...actually, almost a year since I first discovered how a high powered blender will change your life. Throw in tomatoes, onions, salt, hit a button, and get out hot soup 5 minutes later? Are you kidding me? But I digress :)

I struggled a LOT back and forth, back and forth between a Vitamix and a BlendTec. Vitamix vs BlendTec. BlendTec vs Vitamix. Which is better? Which is the better value for the money, especially when you're dropping $400-$500 for a small appliance? BlendTec has the super cool Will It Blend? videos, and was my first intro to super-blenders. But then Vitamix is the brand I saw over and over on Top Chef, Iron Chef, saw in Starbucks and Jamba Juice. Who to choose?

Here's what I found in my research and why we landed on the Vitamix; I'm basing this on the two models we had to choose from at Costco, because we knew we would buy from there using our American Express rebate. As a sidenote, the model available on the Costco website for the Vitamix is the 5200 but the model in our local warehouse was the 6300. I'll explain at the end why I likely would have gone with the BlendTec over the Vitamix 5200 if that was my only choice (as denoted by asterisks*). Also, some of the user experience pieces (such as sound) comes from the personal experience of a home chef friend of mine.

BlendTec

The Pros

  • More powerful motor (1560 watts, 3 peak horsepower)
  • Fits under cabinets on counters
  • Pre-programmed settings...
  • ...with automatic shut-off
  • Comes with two jars--the Wildside and the FourSide jars
  • WildSide jar has huge blade
  • Doesn't require separate jar for dry grains 
  • Claims to not need a tamper, thus doesn't include one
  • Priced lower--was $329.99 in our Costco warehouse at time of purchase
  • Includes cook book(s), quick start DVD
The Cons
  • Significantly louder than the Vitamix
  • No manual control, only presets
  • Jars are only 32 ounces
  • Food tends to get to get stuck under the blade, particularly in the WildSide jar
  • In tandem with above point, the lack of a tamper becomes a con plus...
  • ...you have to run the motor longer, increasing wear, to unstick food
  • Less smooth consistency than Vitamix
  • 8 year warranty is limited
  • Corporations like Starbucks and Jamba Juice have switched from BlendTec to Vitamix in recent years due to better performance
  • Users online complained of consistent problems with a seal breaking on the jar every 18 months or so. I found consistent complaints that BlendTec's attitude was, "Suck it up and deal with it and spend $60 every 18 months to buy a new jar." Jason and I are big on rewarding good customer service with our loyalty and that attitude just stinks to us :(

Vitamix

The Pros
  • Significantly quieter (still loud, but noticeably quieter)
  • Includes a tamper
  • Smoother consistency of foods despite less powerful motor
  • Includes both presets AND manual speed control*
  • Presets include automatic shutoff*
  • Special flaps keep lid on TIGHT
  • 64 ounce wet jar included
  • 7 year full warranty
  • Includes cook book(s), quick start DVD
  • In addition to corporations switching to Vitamix, it's the brand I've seen consistently on pro chef shows like Iron Chef, Top Chef, etc.
  • In all my research, I only found great things people had to say about customer service
The Cons
  • Less powerful motor (1380 watts, 2 peak horsepower)
  • Taller profile; doesn't fit under standard cabinets with jar on base when on counters
  • More expensive--was $499.99 at our local Costco 
  • This model only includes the wet jar*
  • A separate $135 dry jar is recommended for grinding grains to prevent discoloration of wet jar
As you can see, it's really the lack of cons that made the Vitamix win out. Hower, per my asterisks:

*The Vitamix would have another significant con if it were the 5200: no presets which means no automatic shut-off. Boo! It would have included the dry jar, which I REALLY wish we'd been able to get, but such is life. The motor and all else is the same, but the presets are akin to the professional series and simply is necessary to us with two small children runnin' 'round.

I definitely cared about the food getting stuck, since the extra running of the motor to unstick the food would wear the motor down faster. Quieter also helps when you have very young littles. The smoother consistency of food was crucial to us since our primary uses will be for making smoothies, baby food, and stuff to turn into healthy popsicles for our kiddos as they grow, which had us leaning toward the Vitamix. The better customer service and warranty pushed us over the edge. 


How we clean Jillian (though once a week or so she'll get a dishwasher shower):
Fill halfway with hot tap water, add a drop of Dawn dishsoap, and hit the smoothie preset.
A minute or so later rinse with cold water and tada! Clean lady ;)

So, that was why we chose the Vitamix. At first I grabbed the platinum, which looks like stainless steel, and then I remembered that I ALWAYS get boring colors. So I chose red and that helped inspire her name: Jillian. She's saucy (the red color), super strong, and will help us be healthier...kind of like Jillian Michaels, ergo Jillian. And we LOVE her. Zero regrets thus far. She cost an entire month's grocery budget but she's been worth every single penny. I don't mind that she doesn't fit under the cabinet because I just have her slightly to the side, plus the jar is often on a drying rack, anyway.

And now a little picture fest:


Love how great the lid fits--this baby's not flying off!


A whole lotta goodness: flax, kale, mandarins, avocados, frozen strawberries & blueberries,
 frozen fruit blend (pineapple, strawberries, mangos, papaya), Greek yogurt, and soaked chia seeds.


Jillian hard at work, with a patient toddler in the wings.


Admittedly not pretty, but SO. GOOD.

One bonus GREAT thing about Jillian: at night, when the "I need something sweet" cravings hit, we just throw a little Greek yogurt, 2 bananas, some peanut butter, a sprinkling of Stevia, and lots of ice in her and voila! Super healthy dessert :)

What are your thoughts? Do you have one or the other and love yours? Have a bad experience with either? I'd love to hear from you.

Oh, and bee-tee-dubs, I got zero promotional consideration from either company :) These are completely my own opinions!

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I bought a reconditioned Vitamix 7500 a few weeks ago, and I love it! Mine is red, too, and goes beautifully with my new candy apple red KitchenAid. I have yet to make an actual smoothie with mine, although I realize that many people bought their Vitamixes for that purpose. I've made dough, salsa, chopped veggies, and made soup (my favorite thing to do with my Vitamix). I've also chopped Parmesan cheese and ground wheat berries, both of which processed beautifully.

    Have fun with Jillian! I'll look forward to seeing what you've made with her.

    Cindy Wallace

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Cindy! We got red because I always get stainless steel everything and that gets super boring! I want to chop frozen chicken breasts to make either chicken burgers soon! I should do more veggie chopping and the like and get over the learning curve already :)

    ReplyDelete