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The Best (Affordable) Blenders and Juicers

I have to admit, since purchasing my first Vitamix nearly 3 years ago, I’ve been convinced that NO other blender could possibly compare.

The Vitamix is truly in a class of its own when it comes to power and efficiency.

Despite the hefty price tag, this blender has more than made up for it by helping me prepare homemade almond milk, grinding my own cheaper flours, and preparing silky-smooth shakes and soups, without having to rely on take-out or store-bought alternatives. It’s no wonder why the Vitamix is found in most professional kitchens!

While I don’t expect to need to replace it anytime soon, I would buy this blender again in a heartbeat.

However, according to the latest Cook’s Illustrated, another blender does compare. In fact, it was selected as the co-winner, alongside the Vitamix, as “Best Blender.”

[Click on the image above to enlarge | Image courtesy of my mom's copy of Cook's Illustrated]

As you can see from the comparison above, Cook’s Illustrated testers found the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender to be nearly as good as the Vitamix–> and at less than half the price, it might be worth a shot!

Both the Breville Hemisphere and Vitamix received high marks across the board, with the Breville scoring only slightly lower in terms of noise, and when blending a kale smoothie or milkshake. (See criteria above for more details.) In terms of durability and speed, they scored the same! If the Breville model can truly crush ice as well as the Vitamix, I don’t see why it couldn’t perform all the other functions just as well.

Note: I do think it’s worth noting that the Breville Hemisphere only comes with a 1-year warranty, so the value may vary with long term use. The Vitamix model that I own comes with a 5-year warranty, and the higher-end model comes with a 7-year warranty, providing peace of mind with your investment.

While we’re on the subject of small kitchen appliances, Cook’s Illustrated also reviewed electric juicers in the same issue.

Guess which juicer came out the winner?

My personal favorite, the Breville Juice Fountain Plus!

This was the first juicer I ever owned and, after trying two other models, it’s still the juicer I use most often. My first one lasted over 5 years! It’s quick and efficient, yet gentle enough to handle leafy greens. And for the price, it can’t be beat!

Note: It seems that all the juicers reviewed by Cook’s Illustrated were all centrifugal juicers, which happen to be the most affordable and easiest to use. Masticating juicers produce an even higher-quality juice, but often come with a hefty price tag and are more labor intensive… so, I don’t recommend those for beginners!

I know many of you have been in the market for a good blender, but can’t afford the Vitamix, so I hope this comparison proves to be helpful!

Reader Feedback: Are you in the market for a blender or juicer? Have you tried any of the models above, or do you have any other recommendations to share? I’m not sure why the Blendtec was omitted from this review, but as far as I can tell, it’s just as powerful (and pricey) as the Vitamix, as well.

39 comments to The Best (Affordable) Blenders and Juicers

  • Ha! I JUST bought a Ninja 2 days ago! I see it’s at the top of the 2nd category. I guess I can live with that. ;) So far I like it, but we’ll see how I feel about it in a year.

    • Kim

      Just don’t put it in the dishwasher. I have had to purchase 2 sets, and even though they are labeled as dishwasher safe – they MELTED and deformed JUST enough to where the lids no longer will fit. I also find the plastic gets kind of grimy rather quickly. I am in the market for a blender that is not plastic now.

      • Sorry to hear about the melted parts! I warped the tamper of my first juicer by putting it in the dishwasher, too. :(

        I’ve learned my lesson that plastic parts are top-shelf only now!

  • i love my vita- use it at least 2x a day and it was worth every penny!

  • Julie

    I have a Blendtec and it is my addiction. We have switched to home made almond milk as well. I swear I dream about things to whip up in there! :)

  • i’ve had my vitamix for 4 yrs now and i use it every day! i bought a breville juicer–one step below the one you mentioned in january of this year and i love it! i juice about 4-5x weekly and it has been a champion for my use. i don’t mind investing in equipment that helps me maintain my healthy lifestyle! it’s much cheaper than buying juices or smoothies out in the long run!

  • I love my Vitamix and my Blendtec. In my experience one is just as good as the other. I’m also surprised to see that the blendtec didn’t make it on the list.

  • jeanne

    I so wish I was a juicer girl…I’ve bought that same breville juice fountain 3 times and have gotten rid of all three because I just can’t stand the clean up! Plus I get this weird guilt complex about using the pulp. Even when I tell myself it will be different, I just can’t get into it. I saw a comedian once who said he bought a juicer because it would add years to his life, but these years would be spent cleaning the juicer…that about sums it up for me :)

    I love my vitamix though, it is awesome!!!

  • Jo

    I would not buy anything Breville makes right now. So many bad experiences of them working fine for a little while and then breaking down within a month or so… I would still fork out the dough for the much more reliable Vitamix.

  • Penny

    If you are going to primarily juice greens, I would not waste money on a centrifugal juicer. I have owned the Omega 8006 masticating juicer for several years, and recommend it HIGHLY. It’s quiet, gets every last bit of juice out of whatever you run through it, is VERY easy to clean, and because it runs at a lower rpm, thus creating less heat, reduces juice oxidation. I have tried the Breville that you mention, and it doesn’t compare in terms of juicing greens, or ease of clean-up. Many people who quit juicing do so because clean-up is a pain. Ooh – and the Omega comes with a 15 year warranty. You can find one for about $250 (note – the 8004 and 8006 are the same thing – just different colors and the 8004 is usually a little less expensive). PS I do not work for them :-) I just LOVE their juicers.

    • I have the 8004 model, and it is easy to clean! The juicing aspect is a little more time consuming, which is why I still rely on my Breville more often, but I agree that the Omega model definitely handles leafy greens better!

  • Ahhh…thank you thank you thank you! This was a really helpful post because I’ve been looking into both of these things. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a huge juicer, but I definitely want a Vitamix now.

  • Michele

    I have no real complaints about the Vitamix, other than if the mixture is a bit thick, the motor just revs while the blade is stuck, plus the “dry” container does not grind as good as I expect. I use the VM nearly everyday as well.

    A friend of mine in Australia swears by Thermomix. http://www.thermomix.com.au/

    I have an Omega 8003 and it is a breeze to use and clean. Not that I juice that often anymore, but it has nothing to do with the juicer itself.

  • So glad to read this- I’ve been wanting a Vitamix for so long and had also considered the Breville (after hearing about it in Cooks Illustrated). Still haven’t officially decided which I’d like (and still haven’t convinced my husband either is necessary- the price tag immediately shuts him down.) :( Not giving up though!

    • Sommer

      Chelsey, I understand about the husband shutting it down :) my husband finally bought into a vitamix after a presentation at costco when he learned the motor is more powerful than his lawn mower! I still laugh about that one! And he loves it now!

  • Carrie

    I have the omega 8006 and LOVE it! It’s so easy to clean and does anything you think of. It even grinds meat and makes pasta. It’s the only juicer I’ve owned so I can’t compare. The only thing I’d change if I could is to make the chute bigger. It’s only about 2″ in diameter so I have to cut my veggies small.

    P.S. I signed up for IIN today. I’m SO excited! Class starts Monday :-)

  • Carrie

    Also, the 8006 can juice wheatgrass too! Big bonus points

  • I use my Vitamix daily, often 2-3 times a day. For me it is worth it. It doesn’t do everything – which is OK. I still use my food processer, stand mixer and mini food chopper – but for what VM does, it excels.
    Before that we did have a Ninja. After having the blades cut me multiple times (nothing holds them in, you go to wash and bam…sharp razors) it went back to Costco for a refund.
    I use the dry container for grinding daily as well. The secret is don’t overload, start with frozen wheat berries or beans and stop halfway and break it up inside.
    We also bought our VM from Costco….figured it was “insurance” just in case it didn’t live up. It did.

  • I have a Blendtec and use it 2-3 times a day and have no idea how I ever survived without it!!! I use it as a blender, food processor, mixer, etc. and wouldn’t trade it for anything! :) I make my own flours, nut butters, soups smoothies, etc.

  • Another thought I had as I made my morning frappe…where is the Breville made? The VM is made in the US. For methat was another readon I was willing to spend more.

  • carmen

    I have the Breville blender and I use it almost daily. After 3 years I did have some problems and decided to order the replacement part (blade) because I think its a great blender. when I called Breville, they said they had changed the design since I bought mine and would send me a whole new pitcher at no charge!! I have read negative reviews, but I am very happy with mine!

  • Susan

    i just got my first vitamix a couple of weeks ago and omg i love it..ive used it every day so far and sometimes 2 or 3 times…its awesome!

  • Alicia

    Can smooth (not grainy) coconut butter be made with a Vitamix w/o using liquids? If so, what are the steps? Fresh or dehydrated coconut? I am looking into buying a blender that can do this.

    Thank you,
    Alicia

    • I think you’d need a bit of patience, but I assume that the Vitamix can make a smooth coconut butter. I’m usually too impatient to blend the coconut for more than 1 minute, so when I make coconut butter, it usually is still a bit grainy– it is glossy and smooth looking, but it still has a bit of a grainy texture when you taste it. You definitely don’t need to add liquid, either! Just add 2 or more cups of shredded unsweetened coconut to the blender, and use the Vitamix tamper to keep it going towards the blades. In about a minute, you’ll have a glossy coconut butter– and probably in another minute or so, it would be even smoother.

  • bree

    hello!
    Im currently looking for a blender / juicer . I need a blender but i also would like to be able to start juicing and substituting one meal a day. I dont want anything hard to clean. is there a product that is a great juicer but can also sub as a regular old blender? thanks :)

  • kateh

    Great post~ I’m just curious why the Omega Vert 350HD is being overlooked as a great centrifugal juicer?? It does greens SOOOO much better than a Breville, without the oxidation or the time consumption of the masticating models, including the Omega 8000 series. I think it’s important to know how much longer juice will last that is not oxidized like what the Breville does. I know it’s fast but I think that it should be left for just fruits. As far as the blenders go, I’m wondering if the quieter motor and ability to puree kale a little better is worth the trade off of the lower wattage motor of the Breville Hemisphere Control. I think if you aren’t that into kale smoothies (and have a good juicer), then the Ninja may do the trick and save you a $100?! I am not sure how the Ninja would do with making nut milks though, which I am interested in trying regularly. Hmmmm.

  • i wanted to tell you about my juicer- it’s not a brand that gets talked about in these circles, but it’s truly amazing, especially for the price. it’s by T-fal and not only is is solid and extremely well made, the people that designed it really put a lot of thought into every single feature. of course, it juices anything i’ve stuck down its wide feed tube, including pineapple (rind and core!), whole raw sweet potato, entire apples- it’s drip-free, nothing squirts out the back end because it’s pulp receptacle fits snugly to the back of the machine. the pitcher that catches the juice also fits snugly around the spout, and features a foam separator- and all parts come apart easily for quick cleaning. it looks absolutely beautiful sitting out on my counter. there is nothing flimsy about this machine. read the reviews on amazon. if you cannot afford anything over 100. but really want something good, look at this one by T-fal- i paid 63. bucks for it with free shipping. the reviews speak for themselves. :) – oh, i use a ninja for my blending of green smoothies, and although it does the job, the single cups actually blend up my greens more efficiently than the large pitches with scary blades does. when i can afford it, im getting the breville hemisphere! that’ my two cents! ;) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008FX6H4W?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B008FX6H4W&linkCode=xm2&tag=dtx04-20

    • Jerda

      Christine,

      Thanks for the info. I’m just venturing into juicing and am on a budget, so am excited to learn about the Tfal. I would also like to do a lot of green juicing with kales, chard and such. Would the Tfal be good for that? Thanks!!

  • Sunny

    Megan, I love you. First of all, you are a hottie. second of all, faq helped me tremendously and you also saved me much time of scouring the web for which would be the best blender/juicer. thank you for also mentioning the difference.

    keep on writing!!

  • Diane

    can the vita mix be used to ‘rice’ cauliflower?

  • Roxy

    The Blendtec is actually more powerful than the Vitamix. The Blendtec has a 3 horsepower motor and the Vitamix has 2. The Blendtec is also about $100 cheaper.

  • Anna G.

    As a broke-ass college kid, I like the Nutribullet! I’ve had it for several months and it hasn’t given me any trouble with leakage or other malfunctions. But the Vitamix is my grown-up dream; the part of me that wants it is the part of me that asked for socks for Christmas this year.

  • jessica press

    Megan,

    I’m new to cooking and don’t have alot of kitchen tools and feel overwhelmed with how many I need. Right now I have a small cuisinart food processor. I am planning on getting a high quality blender like vitamix soon… will the vitamix suffice for making nut butters, and any other recipes that require a food processors or do I need to purchase a separate larger food processor? Thanks!

    • Megan

      The Vitamix and food processor perform different functions, but I was able to use my mini food processor for practically everything before I got my larger one– you just have to do everything in smaller batches!

  • Dietrich

    “If one has many choices one concomitantly has pains.”

    Have been using a BrAun plastic centrifugal juicer 18 years and counting; trouble-free.
    My 23 year old Waring Blender at last ran out of glass appurtenances.
    It’s replacement is in order. Omega 8000 or Ninja, which ought I choose?
    Cheers
    Dietrich

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