Vegan Kitchen Tools
Which to BUY?
The Blendtec Total Blender?
I bought my first Vitamix in 1992 and it was a cherished appliance for many years. But it was heavy, bulky, overheated easily and was hard to keep it looking clean with all the chrome. In 2001 our offices moved to a smaller location and the kitchen was SMALL. The Vitamix was too tall to sit on the countertop. So, I rarely took it out -- “out of sight, out of mind” -- so I decided to sell it on eBay and free up some cabinet space.
The Blendtec Total Blender
Several months later, while surfing the ‘net for vegan information, I entered a chat of some Raw Foodies and learned about a new blender that they were all raving about. Several chatters owned the new Vitamix and had also purchased a Blendtec Total Blender. They were so excited about how the Total Blender outperformed the Vitamix that I decided to give one a try for my own evaluation. But the most inspiring information was that the unit could fit under low cabinetry!
If you’ve ever had a professional frappe coffee or blended juice drink, look closely at the jars and you’ll recognize a Blendtec product. If professionals rely on this company for blenders, then I think it is built with power and longevity in mind.
High-Tech, Modern and Compact
With the Total Blender, I feel like I’ve stepped into the high-tech kitchen appliance world. Right out of the box, the Blendtec Total Blender was a hit with me! The design is modern and smooth surfaced so that drips or smudges are easily cleaned with a quick wipe. The size and height of the entire unit fits on the countertop with a compact profile to fit under our low cabinetry.
Green Smoothie Test
The real test for the Blendtec Total Blender was blending a GREEN SMOOTHIE. I filled the jar with the ingredients in my recipe, pressed the Whole Juice Button, and in 60 seconds I had a jar filled with an emerald colored drink. The Green Smoothie was creamy smooth, flavorful, and packed full of raw whole nutrition! I presented a cupful to my 5 year old grandson and he sucked down the entire portion as though it was a milk shake. Imagine, I got him to eat KALE! This drink has become the 3 PM office snack everyday since the Total Blender arrived!
At first, I have to tell you that I overfilled the jar, but once I determined the capacity restraints of the jar, I have perfect smoothies EVERY TIME! And no tamping or fussing with the machine. I have one warning, if you fill the jar above the measuring lines, lay a kitchen towel over the top of the lid to prevent an spatters from exiting the tiny hole. I often am blending smoothies for three or four drinks at a time, so I’m lazy and try to get all in one recipe!
The Bamix Immersion Blender
Some of you bought the Bamix Immersion Blender I recommended and have asked if it can blend Green Smoothies. NO! Kale and chard have leaves that are very tough and only the Blendtec Total Blender can blend the greens and pineapple into micro pieces to give that smoothness your tongue wants to feel when drinking a Green Smoothie.
When I blended my garbanzo beans for hummus, it created a smoothness that my Cuisinart Food Processor never produced. And the wide jar opening allowed me to scrape every last bit out without loosing any of the precious dip. Clean up was a simple rinse and I was ready for the next recipe.
Canned Bean Sauces
In my Croquette recipes, I use a whole can of beans and pureed them in the Cuisinart Food Processor or use the Bamix Immersion Blender. But when I used the Blendtec Total Blender, the beans were totally smooth on the tongue like a fine sauce. I only had to add water to make it the consistency I desired.
I even adapted Blendtec’s Ice Cream Recipe and substituted almond butter and almond milk to create a fabulous frozen dessert.
Instant Hot Soups
With whatever raw vegetables you've got on hand, some boiling water, a dash of soymilk and your favorite seasons can be combined by the Total Blender to create a creamy vegetable soup in less than one minute. The soup combinations are endless, and the savings are monumental!
The One Thing I Won’t Blend...
... is my iPhone 3G. But if you are into that sort of thing, check out these demonstrations to see the “power of the force.”
An Overview of the Blendtec Total Blender
Amps and Horsepower
Blendtec’s Total Blender has been tested and certified at slightly over 3 PHP which stands for Peak Horsepower. A peak horsepower test is done on an electrical bench without any load applied to the motor shaft as it rotates. Blendtec has tried to get away from using horsepower in their literature because it is not a reliable number when comparing one product to another, because each manufacturer may arrive at the number by different means. But the competition does still use it, so my readers will still want to know what the Total Blender’s Amps and Horsepower are as a basis for comparison.
Here is an excerpt from an article which talks about the ambiguity in the numbers which are used to compare electrical products:
"Amps and horsepower are misleading," agrees Chris Webber, vice president of merchandising for Lowe's. "Unfortunately, the industry has trained both pros and DIYers to think that amps and horsepower are meaningful ratings."
When asked about the numbers they report, representatives for nearly every manufacturer of professional-grade power tools agreed there is seldom a relation between one manufacturer's numbers and another's, rendering the specifications virtually useless as a basis for comparison. The one exception may be a corded power tool's amp rating, which is tested to Underwriters Laboratories standards. This UL listing is an electrical safety standard required for all products powered by electric motors, but it has nothing to do with power output. View Entire Article
One of the best things Blendtec has done to show how their numbers are reliable and really do add up and make their Total Blender the best one available is the Will It Blend videos. By demonstrating how the Total Blender grinds up marbles, an iPhone, rake handles, golf balls, and lots of other things, it visually demonstrates how powerful it really is. Notice that the competition has not followed suit and done something similar. That’s because any other machine on the market couldn’t stand up under the extreme tests that Blendtec put theirs through. The Total Blender is really a “system” which combines some key elements to produce the best blending possible.
Direct Drive Motor
The Blendtec Total Blender’s motor shaft has a drive socket on the end which mates directly with the shaft for the blade in the jar. There is no loss of power due to the use of a clutch or belt, or some other way that is used in other blenders to couple the motor to the blade in the jar. The result is a blade that will spin at a maximum of 28,000 rpm (270 MPH) and be able to power through tough blending challenges. There is also something built into the microprocessor which will detect an obstruction and for a fraction of a second the motor produces something called a hammer effect in order to power through the obstruction and clear it from the path of the blade.
Patented Square Jar
The Total Blender’s jar design helps create a powerful blending vortex inside the jar which helps to move food around and force it down to the level of the blade where it can make contact and be efficiently pulverized.
Patented Two-Prong Wingtip Blade
This blade is designed to catch food all along the length of the blade and help draw it down around the blade as it rotates. This means it works in harmony with the square jar to force food down around the blade.
By having the Total Blender start out slow then speed up, and vary the speed as the cycle continues, helps pull ingredients down around the blade where it can contact the blades almost 1,000 times per second. Not to mention it will stop automatically. This is the Smart Touch Tec-nology™ feature.
Digital Contemporary Design
With a weight of 6.8 pounds and dimensions: 15.5”H x 7”W x 8”D, the Blendtec Total Blender will fit any standard countertop with overhead kitchen cabinets. This means the Total Blender can sit on the countertop for everyday use. The weight and size also means that packing for travel is compact and light weight.
Programmed Settings or Manual Settings
With 7 per-programed buttons that alternate from high and low pulls ingredients down into the "blending vortex" centrifugally so that everything is pulverized evenly without using a tamper. The timed program settings allows me to walk away while my smoothie or nut butter is being created. If I have a small item to blend, I can use the manual button to slow down or speed up the machine for whatever texture I’m trying to achieve for a recipe.
Smart Touch Tec-nology™ Touchpad Controls
The entire surface surface of the Blendtec Motor Base is smooth. All the power buttons are smooth and use the Smart-Touch Tec-nology Touchpad for the buttons. This means clean-ups are fast and easy. There is one toggle switch on the back side of the motor base for the power.
Smart Touch Tec-nology™ Buttons include:
1 - Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt
2 - Ice Crush/Milkshake
3 - Soups/Syrups/Fondues
4 - Sauces/Dips/Dressings/Batters
5 - Whole Juice
6 - Smoothie
Lifetime Blade Warranty
The BlendTec Total Blender carries a lifetime warranty on the jar blade.
Wet or Dry Blending
Both wet and dry blending is done in ONE jar when using the BlendTec Total Blender... the Vitamix requires a second jar just for dry grinding of flours or seeds.
The Blendtec Total Blender carries a warranty of 3 years on the Motor and Base. This is shorter than the 7 years offered by Vitamix, but all the other advantages does not deter me from recommending the Total Blender.
The total cost for the Blendtec Total Blender is $454.95 if you purchase it from Blendtec and $119 for the Twister Jar.
Total Cost: $573.95.
If you purchase a Vita-Mix, you will pay $529 and you’ll need another $144 dry blade container if you grind dry ingredients. (See my comparison chart below.)
Total Cost: $673.00.
The Bottom Line
Purchasing a high speed blender is really a subjective personal choice, height, cost, power, design, and what you plan to do with it. Tamper pusher or no pusher... try to see them in action at stores or fairs. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the the Total Blender Designer Series WildSide (Champagne Metallic) or the VitaMix CIA Professional Series or 5200.
Blendtec Total Blender Designer Series, NEW
Vitamix CIA Professional Series Review
Chez Bettay's Green Smoothie
Glass Drinking Straws