Thursday Things: Blender Trials

1. My cheap blender isn’t working out as well as I had hoped.

chunky blender

I tried making a basic green smoothie with it this week, and it unfortunately didn’t handle the leafy greens or the frozen fruit very well… see those chunks? As a result, I had to literally chew my smoothie. (Until I gave up and threw it in the Vitamix– much better!)

In this case, you definitely get what you pay for.

2. Determined not to give up on the affordable blender front, my friend let me borrow her Ninja blender to experiment with.


It worked better than the cheaper blender above, but it still didn’t produce a silky-smooth drink. I’ve really come to enjoy my greens blending seamlessly into my smoothies, so after blending this smoothie in the Ninja, I threw it in the Vitamix to get it even smoother.


I think the Ninja would work well for simple fruit-based smoothies, if you don’t mind a drink with some texture, but for blending greens into a smoothie that can be easily sipped through a straw, the Vitamix is significantly better.

3. For other blending needs, the Ninja works great!


I used it to make a batch of Cauliflower Alfredo last night, and the sauce was perfectly smooth and creamy. I have a feeling it would work well for making pesto or hummus, too.

The next blender on my “to try” list is Ninja’s Professional model, which is supposed to be more comparable to the Vitamix. It’s price tag is still significantly cheaper, so here’s hoping it’s a real competitor!

Reader Feedback: Any other good blender recommendations? I’d love to hear what you guys have tried and liked.

62 comments to Thursday Things: Blender Trials

  • Marisa

    I haven’t used it, but I’ve heard great things about the nutribullet. It’s not crazy cheap, but less than a vitamix. See if you can find one to borrow!

  • samantha

    I use a blender by the Food Network which I bought at Kohl’s. I’ve made all kinds of smoothies and sauces (from your website!) and they all come out great and perfectly silky smooth. It’s not the cheapest of options ($70?) but it’s a steal for quality when compared to the vitamix!

  • Hila

    We have the Ninja professional – got it at Bed, Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon. It works well and simply and its parts are easy to clean. I blended frozen fruit and greens and didn’t get chunks and it was fully blended and smooth. I never had a Vitamix, so I can’t compare to that, though, but I don’t see how I would need one when the Ninja works so well!

  • Lea Holz

    I just bought a Nutribullet and I love it! Very seamless, smooth blending.

  • SuperMario

    I have the same style Ninja in black. It came after the blue original and they added a third set of blades to the large container blade rod. The blue one only has 2 sets so the 3 blade one works better. However, I use the small container for smoothies (and for the Healthy Shamrock Shake:) and there are no chunks with frozen fruit or greens. The small one is intended for dips and works great for salsa, hummus, guac. If you just want one fairly good size smoothie the small Ninja container does the job. I think there is just less space for the ingredients to swirl around and escape to vs the big container. I’ve used a Vitamix and it is superior to the Ninja as it will even liquify seeds for an even smoother consistency. I’m just not ready to drop the coin for a Vitamix…yet.

  • Maja

    I have a NutriBullet and I really like it. It cost $98. I use it every day for smoothies and shakes, making almond flour, a lot of stuff from this site actually…*L*. I don’t think it’s going to last for a super long time but for that price, that’s OK with me. I can’t afford a VitaMix right now but this will do until I get one. It’s definitely worth the money.

  • Tay

    Hello! For the past few years I have been having super success with an Oster blender I purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond. I am able to make almond, oat and coconut flours, sweet potato purees and avocado puddings…and it breaks the bits up in green smoothies like a dream. Frozen chunks of banana and sturdy dates are also pulverized in this thing. The only downside is that occasionally, if I put too much in the blender and the consistency is VERY thick, I might have to pop the top while running and use the edge of a spatula to scootch the edges towards the middle (not the safest technique, but It gets the job done). The best part in my opinion is the glass carafe. I often wonder why so many throw needless dollars at a vitamix when there are blenders like this out there. This baby has power! You should try it:)


  • Terry

    The Nutribullet is the best kitchen investement I have ever made! It makes smooth green smoothies and the clean-up is so easy (which is a major plus in a tiny kitchen with no dishwasher) and it takes up very little counter space.

  • Diane

    Have you compared nutribullet with ninja and vitamix? I have a nutribullet and know friends love their ninja. I would think the vitamix is better given the price is significantly higher. Your experience, please?

    I will be buying one as a gift for my daughter and she does a lot of blending and is vegan.


    • Megan

      No, I haven’t tried the Nutribullet or the more expensive Ninja model yet. I have a feeling the Vitamix will still perform better, but I’m going to see if I can test them out myself in the near future!

      • Elektra Sipars

        I have a Vitamix. It rocks. I make Almond milk in and it will pulverize any greens, makes soup and icecream too. Yes its pricey but reviews say it lasts forever.

  • Stacy

    I recently bought a Nutribullet 900 Series, and it makes absolutely smooth smoothies! I had a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond, so it brought the price within $15.00 of the standard Nutribullet. Well worth the extra money. A friend has the standard Nutribullet, and her greens do not blend smooth. Just my experience :)

  • Emily

    KitchenAid has a newer line of blenders that I’ve been really curious about: http://www.kitchenaid.com/shop/countertop-appliances-1/blenders-3/102020121/.

  • Jenny

    Nothing is going to come close to the vitamix. Once you invest in one you can never use a cheap blender again!

    • Megan

      It’s true, I’ll never go back! But, hopefully I can find something that will work for those who can’t afford the Vitamix quite yet. ;)

  • Abby

    I got a Blendtec from Costco. It cost a lot upfront, but Costco has a great return policy if it breaks or has problems. Also another great place to get a blender is Bed, Bath and Beyond because of their lifetime return policy. Also their coupons are great. I just got a 20% entire order one the other day.

  • Irene

    Don’t waste your money on the ninja. I got it when I lost my vitamix and it’s in the garage collecting dust and I ended up getting a vitamix instead. If don’t like chunky badly blended smoothies, then you’re going to hate the ninja. A 30 dollar blender I got at target worked better than that! It’s all hype and marketing but don’t be addicted by the price tag. I was and that thing is useless.

  • Kirsty

    The KitchenAid Diamond Blender is the one I have and it works really well! I can blend greens in it just fine and it comes out smooth every time. Super affordable too at about $150.

  • I have the Omniblend blender. It works very well. I just blend 35 more seconds and all is well blended. It is much cheaper than the Vitamix (but have not tried it). For me The Omniblend is ok. I make a smoothie everyday.

  • Siobbahn

    I swear by my Blendtec Total Beldner. I believe it is comparable in sound, speed, and key features as Vitamix, however, I like not having to stop mid mixing and stir (tamper), and prefer its size over vitamix (which is a bit taller).

  • Siobbahn

    yikes, I guess I can blend, but just can’t spell ‘blender.’ Sorry for typo

  • Darla

    I have the Ninja Professional and love it! I make green smoothies in it and they are very smooth. I’ve used a friend’s vitamix, and haven’t really noticed any difference. The lid took some getting used to, though. It came with an attachment and individual cups for making drinks, and they also work well for smoothies and shakes. I think it’s well worth the cost!!

  • Tanya

    I have been using the Hamilton Beach Smoothie Smart Blender (received it as a Christmas gift) and it works quite well. It has blended greens, avocado, apples, etc. very nicely. Definitely worth a shot!

    This is the model I have:

  • Brianna

    I used to have the Ninja Mega Kitchen that has the single serve option. I noticed making smoothies in the big container that it would still be really clumpy but w/ the single serve cup it would be smooth and seamless! I got the vitamix since then and it’s pretty comparable (only the single serve part).

  • Kristine

    My studio kitchen is quite small so I dont have room for a vitamix (someday I’ll get my big gourmet kitchen!) but I do have the Nutribullet ($100) and it works great for my green smoothies and breaks down everything.

  • Josey

    Don’t mean to be mean but the quality of your blog has gone down dramatically since your book deal.

    • Megan

      Sorry, I’m pretty overwhelmed with working full-time, being a new mom, writing a book, and maintaining this blog. The book is nearly done, so things should pick up again soon. I appreciate your patience.

  • Nicole

    I LOVE your blog! Your recipes have made transitioning to clean eating and detoxing so much easier, and tastier! I’m constantly trying out your recipes and sharing them with my friends. Thank you for the valuable info about blenders. I have the Ninja and wondered if I’m missing out on the Vitamix.

  • monique

    I use a Nutribullet and am very pleased with it’s performance. I use it to make almond milk, all kinds of smoothies (green included), nut/seed butter, and various grain flours. It’s certainly not cheap, but it’s within my price range. I still dream of the day I get a Vitamix because they really can’t be beat.

  • Kate

    I think your blog is just fine…you have a lot on your plate and that adorable lil boy is far more important, especially at this age! I think you’re amazing…keep up the good work!

    I bought a Ninja recently with the blender jar and a smaller food processing jar. It has three blades on it and works well for some things, but I can’t make nut flours or butters with it…it all slams up the side of the container (tried both) and its a constant battle. I dumped it all in my 20 yr old Hamilton Beach food processor and it worked perfectly! Ahhh, the good ole days :)

    Rage on, sistah…you rock!

  • Love your blog and am inspired by how you are juggling so much and pursing your dreams all at once! I am still saving for my vitamix – i am aiming for one by end of 2014! I am sure they say patience is a virtue…..:)

  • Terri

    I finally (I am 54) bought a Vitamix at Costco on sale to replace a cheap Oster blender. We initiated it with whole fruit margaritas for guests. I make hummus and muhummara on a regular basis, as well as cauliflower/celeriac purée, coconut and almond flour and peanut butter. Last night we made limequat sorbet. LOVE my Vitamix; totally worth the money. The only downside is that I cannot scrape it as clean as my food processor, and I hate waste! But moving from a blender to Vitamix is totally worth it. I say go for it!

  • Dawn

    I am a total VITAMIX convert! There is no better blender for the money. I took mine to a hockey tournament with me this past weekend and made carrot soup, guacamole and green smoothies, all while the team ate pizza and unhealthy hotel breakfasts. I loved that I can throw together a quick, healthy, whole food meal in less than 15 minutes start to finish. It took me about 3 years to finally pull the trigger and purchase one (oh and about 4, $100 blenders in the process). But I’ve owned it for two years now and the quality, speed, power, and ease of clean up is incomparable. I use my vitamix on average 3 times a day sometimes up to 7! Save your pennies, get a coupon, buy one refurbished…Get yourself a Vitamix, you won’t be sorry!

  • Stacy

    Options for those without high speed blenders:

    1. Blend your greens with the water first until smooth, then blend the other ingredients in, that works out best for a smoother smoothie.

    2. After blending, you can always pour your smoothie thru a colander, or squeeze thru a nut milk bag to catch any lumps and pulp. (nut milk bag, cheese cloth, paint bags, nylon stockings…all work…make sure they are clean ;))…even Victoria Boutenko spoke of doing this if you want juice but in a rush and want easy clean-up.

  • Karen J

    Simply put…stick with the Vitamix.

  • Interested in seeing your thoughts and reviews on the Ninja Professional as I just bought this one on sale at Macy’s with additional shopping bucks and ended up getting it at the low price of $150. That is still high for a blender, but not this one!

  • Denise

    For those of u on a budget u should check out qvc they sell the vitamix with easy monthly payments.

  • Colleen

    I have had my Blentec for 5 years and consider it the best investment I have ever made. I use it daily for green and frutit smoothies. I have used kale, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, microgreens, and many more.–totally smooth! I also make soups with swwet poptatoes, mushrooms, onions. Also add raw almonds, cashews and walnuts to my Blentec–totally smooth! I think the price is similar to the Vitamix. I personlly like the ‘square’ shape of the Blentec as opposed to the tall, narrow Vitamix.

  • Leah

    I had the Ninga Mega Kitchen System and just returned it and got a Vitamix. No comparison, the Vitamix is amazing and worth every penny!

  • For smoothies, my Kitchen Aid Blender is AWESOME! For other big duty activities, I’ll normally throw it in the Kitchen Aid Food Processor which is also awesome… I might be Kitchen Aid biased.

  • Hi Megan!

    I bought a Ninja for $89 thinking it was the professional one, but it wasn’t – stupid me! Anyways, I hated it!!! I couldn’t get anything smooth. It seemed like the only thing it could mix well was ice and made it a nice slushy consistency. Then, I bought a Nutribullet and absolutely love it! It’s not 100% completely smooth like I’m sure a Vitamix is but for the money it’s great!

  • I use my Ninja Master Prep Pro, and I use it for everything! It’s absolutely amazing!! For smoothies, I actually use the Magic Bullet and I use that every single day for green smoothies. It works perfectly as well.

  • Sandy

    I can’t believe someone complained about “the quality of your blog”! Reminder: this is a FREE recipe resource; a personal blog, NOT a paying job for Megan; and a labor of love! Anyone who can complain about what you do with the blog while juggling a new baby, a full-time job, and working on the cookbook is totally egocentric! Never apologize for what you do with your life, Megan! You are awesome & sharing yourself with us makes our world a better place!

  • Erin

    My husband got me a Vitamix for Valentine’s Day (Very unexpected and very generous!) and I am in LOVE! I’ve wanted one for years but couldn’t justify the price tag. I have to say it’s been worth every penny seeing as I cook/bake/make protein shakes practically every day. I had the Ninja Pulse which does not compare at all to the power of the Vitamix. It’s ok and I don’t mind a little texture but I was never fully happy with it.

  • Hi there:) I have a Blendtec and a Vitamix, and had the Vitamix for three years before getting the Blendtec- WOW! What a difference it has made. Oh my gosh- so much easier to clean, and you can do SO much more with it. It’s a little louder, but with the ease of cleaning, the fact it fits under my counter, and blends faster than the Vitamix, I hardly ever pull my Vitamix out anymore. You even need less liquid because it blends everything so much easier too.

    I had a household blender for eight years (well- I actually went through about 8 household blenders in 8 year:), before I got a good blender. Both the Vitamix and Blendtec are so much better, A Nutribullet is also fantastic for small to-go smoothies, and that’s a nice feature it has, that the others don’t.

    Good luck! I can’t wait to get your book:)

  • Zoe Ann

    Can’t believe no one has mentioned the Brevelle blender. It is half the price of a Vitamix and works great. I have made almond/cashew butter, your delicious vegan mac & cheese, which by the way, my husband
    ate four servings of, banana ice cream and much more. I also have the Brevelle juicer and love the brand. Watch the video “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. That will get you on board. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wonderful recipes with us.

  • I have a Blendtec and love it! But if you’re looking for an affordable option, my brother and his wife love their NutriBullet. They say it pulverizes chia seeds in smoothies, so I’m sure it would break down the greens too. I haven’t personally tried it though!

  • JennCutt

    I would be very interested in your review of the Ninja Professional Blender. I had the Nutribullet and loved it but I wore it out. I then went to the same Ninja blender you tried here. It works okay but not completely smooth like you said. I was all set to buy a Vitamix when I saw a report that Consumer Reports rated the Ninja Professional the same as the Vitamix so now I’m undecided. Would definitely love to see some real results. Thanks!!

  • elaine

    i love the nutribullet! i make green “smoothies” with it every day, it comes out just like juice, very smooth. i had the ninja which wasnt able to get the same consistency. the nutribullet was also slightly cheaper than then ninja, so i definitely recommend it!

  • Tara

    Like someone mentioned above, I had heard somewhere that blending the greens in the water or other liquid first, then adding the rest of the ingredients is a good substitute for having a top-of-the-line, super-blender and gets the smoothies pretty darn smooth. Worth a try at least, hey?

  • Sherry

    Thank you to all purchasing the Vitamix and Kitchenaid blenders which are made in the USA!

  • Katie

    Nutri Bullet works great!

  • I have used a Blendtec for the last 4 years- I definitely love it- even over the vitamix. I can’t exactly say why, I just do… maybe because the blendtec is square and the vitamix is round, so if you’re using a spatula to scoop things out of the blender it’s easier with flat sides? I dont know, but i’ve had both and blendtec (with the wildside jar) is the best!

  • Whoa! Interesting to see the difference :) I have a Vitamix that I use at the very least once a day, sometimes up to four! Being vegan will do that! :)

  • I’m definitely interested in hearing how the Ninja Professional model turns out. I have been wanting a nice blender for so long, and that would be a more affordable option.

  • hotdish

    Thank you for the comparison and especially the above views of how they blend. I think visuals help a lot in this case. So far my Oster is doing just fine as I am new to vegan/restricted diets but I can certainly see that once you get a more industrial blender you wouldn’t want to go back to little unblended bits! This certainly helped my decision to save up for a better blender. Looking forward to the next review!

  • Amy K

    Before I purchased my vitamin, I used a kitchen aide 5 speed blender and it did really good on the greens. I too like my greens totally blended into my smoothie. I would put the liquid in first and then greens would be the first “solid” food I put in. It’s around $99-150. You should test that out if you can. I LOVE my vitamix now but glad you are trying more reasonably priced blenders for people who do not have it in their budget to purchase a vitamin. :-)

  • Erica

    I’ve used my Cuisinart smart power blender for 4 years and I think it’s a great bang for the buck, about $70. I use it for green smoothes with frozen fruit and there are def no chunks, it comes out smooth. Obviously not as smooth as a vitamix, but it’s affordable! It does need enough liquid to work properly though.

    This is what I have:

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