Serious Eats / Joy Kim
A high-speed blender is one of the priciest small appliances you can buy for your kitchen (costing upwards of $500). It’s also one of the most useful. This intersection of price point and function makes research before investing crucial. So which blender should you buy? We’ve compared bestselling blender brands’ versatility, power, and key specs, putting them through rigorous tests that consider every part of a blender—including motor size, blade construction, jar capacity, and shape. There’s, of course, also price and warranty to consider. Overwhelmingly, our tests revealed Vitamix and Blendtec as the top performers.
If you’re waffling between the two, here’s how they compare to one another.
Blender Comparison: Key Specs
Both Vitamix and Blendtec sell different series of blenders. In the Vitamix lineup, you can choose between the Ascent series, which offers smart technology and interchangeable attachments; the Propel series, which features easy-to-use blending programs; and the no-frills Explorian series. There’s also a Legacy series, which is made up of Vitamix’s best-known, classic models—like the Professional Grade 5200, our favorite overall blender.
Blendtec offers an entry-level Classic series; the more aesthetically-minded Design series that features smart tech; and the tricked-out Professional series, which is as close to restaurant quality as you can get at home, with features like a sound guard and intuitive preprogrammed settings. Both brands make blenders for commercial kitchens, but for the purpose of this article, we’re considering the top performers in their residential categories: the Vitamix 5200, which is part of their Legacy series, and Blendtec’s flagship Designer series model.
Serious Eats / Tamara Staples
Motor capacity is what sets high-speed models apart from budget blenders, although it’s not the only factor in determining a blender’s overall performance. Vitamix’s 5200 edges out the Blendtec Designer with 120 volts versus 100. More voltage means a greater performance potential, as well as runtime and durability. Vitamix’s higher voltage allows it to handle harder, tougher ingredients with less potential for damaging the unit; as proof, the product team at Vitamix grinds pine blocks into sawdust to test the motors on their blenders.
Blade Shape and Quality
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
Although blade sharpness seems like a key element for a high-speed blender, it’s actually a sign of a poorly designed machine. Sharp blades are quickly dulled by heavy or tough ingredients, and unlike your chef’s knives, blender blades can’t be sharpened. Both brands design their blades to be heavy and blunt: They crush and pulverize food, rather than slicing through it.
The Vitamix 5200’s blade is four-pronged, versus the two-pronged Blendtec Designer. We found the Blendtec to be better at crushing ice, whereas the Vitamix excelled at emulsifying and creating smooth-textured mixtures. It’s worth noting that although most residential Vitamix models come with a standard multi-use blade, the brand offers a wider range of blades, with jars made specifically for dry versus wet ingredients; they even have an attachment for creating cold foam.
Jar Shape and Size
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
The Vitamix 5200 comes with a 64-ounce jar that’s tall and narrow. The Blendtec Designer is shorter and smaller, at 36 ounces. This makes the Blendtec a nice choice for small kitchens and folks with limited storage space. That said, the size and shape of the jar does affect performance. Vitamix’s jar is tall and narrow, and has four raised ridges on each side: These qualities create the “Vitamix vortex,” which pulls ingredients downwards into the blade. In contrast, the Blendtec Designer jar is shorter and wider, with smooth sides and it’s less efficient at cycling ingredients through the blades. The ingredients bounce, rather than move through a cyclone, which causes lots of splashing and sloshing while blending. But the streamlined jar does make cleaning easier.
Spout design seems like an unimportant factor until you try to pour from the jar into a bowl or cup. Vitamix’s spout is long and narrow, which makes the task easier. Blendtec’s jar has virtually no pour spout and, unsurprisingly, causes drips and messes when pouring.
Blender Comparison: Price and Warranty
No matter which brand you buy, a high-speed blender is going to be an investment. You’re paying, largely, for the powerful motor that can handle a lot more than basic blenders—and deliver smoother, creamier results.
At the time of writing, the Vitamix 5200 retails for $430. The Blendtec Designer costs $450. (Both models do go on sale frequently.) Longevity matters for pricey appliances, and both brands offer warranties. Vitamix comes with a 7-year limited warranty, although for $75, you can upgrade to a 10-year extended warranty. Blendtec’s standard warranty is an 8-year limited.
Both brands offer used blenders that have been inspected and, when required, fully repaired (aka refurbished). These blenders are often returned before being used (some were never even unboxed), and they retail for less than new models. If you want to buy a used blender, be sure to buy directly from the brand, through their Certified Reconditioned Program (Vitamix) and Certified Refurbished Blender Program (Blendtec).
Blender Comparison: Uses and Functions
Serious Eats / Tamara Staples
We ran both blenders through a series of tests, covering just about every task you could ask a blender to do: Making kale smoothies and thick milkshakes, blending hot soup, crushing ice, milling grain into flour, puréeing nuts into butter, and more. (You can read our full review here.) The Vitamix 5200 and Blendtec Designer received the same perfect score on our smoothie test, although the Vitamix performed better on nut butter and mayonnaise, thanks to the jar shape and size and the above-mentioned vortex.
The Vitamix comes with a smartly designed flat-edged tamper that won’t roll on the counter and, when in use, helps guide food away from the sides of the jar and toward the blade. (The flat-edge design is a newer feature; if you have an older Vitamix, the tamper may have round edges that roll.) The Blendtec doesn’t have a tamper. Although this isn’t a dealbreaker, it means you’ll have to stop the motor, remove the lid, and scrape down the sides with a spatula.
If you want a blender with presets, you may prefer the Blendtec or another model of Vitamix; however, we enjoyed the true analog display of the 5200, which allowed us to start slowly and progressively ramp up the speed during blending sessions.
Blender Comparison: Aesthetics
Serious Eats / Will Dickey
You don’t have to leave your blender on the kitchen counter, but owing to the hefty weight, many cooks choose to park theirs somewhere convenient, rather than shuttling them in and out of cabinets. If aesthetics matter in your kitchen, this is where the Vitamix vs. Blendtec debate gets really interesting. Considering our top models in each brand, the Blendtec wins out: It has a sleek digital interface with presets that function at the touch of a screen. The Vitamix 5200 won’t win any style awards. Its lever and knob interface is simple to use but looks a bit dated compared to recent trends in appliance design. That said, when considering both brands’ full scope of offerings, Vitamix has the edge. Their Ascent series is modern and sleek, and—depending on which retailer you choose—comes in a variety of colors with gold finishes.
Which Is Better: Vitamix or Blendtec?
Serious Eats / Tamara Staples
Overall, we think the Vitamix 5200 is a better buy. It’s a true workhorse that can handle the greatest variety of tasks. While it doesn’t offer too many flashy features, like presets or a digital screen, we like the auto-off feature that kicks in before the motor gets overworked and the wide variety of speeds. The Blendtec performed neck-and-neck with the Vitamix on smoothies and soups and was better at crushing ice, but the nonexistent pour spout and less efficient vortex put this model in (a very respectable) second place.
Are high-speed blenders worth the cost?
We think so. When we compared our winning high-speed and budget models side-by-side, the high-speed blenders came out on top. We found that high-speed blenders were better at milling grain into flour, and could sufficiently heat soup. The higher voltage that high-speed blenders offer makes them a better choice for longevity, too. That said: If you rarely cook, or only plan on using a blender for the occasional smoothie, you may be better off with an affordable blender. The Cuisinart Hurricane Blender outperformed the competition in our review of lower-cost blenders.
Do you need a high-speed blender if you already have an immersion blender?
Immersion blenders reign supreme when it comes to storage space and convenience. But they’re not a substitute for a traditional blender. Hand-held blenders are handy for puréeing soups in the pot, but if you want to blend smoothies, salad dressings, or sauces, a standalone jar blender is a must. High-speed blenders are also more powerful than immersion blenders, giving them another edge.
What’s the best high-speed blender?
We think the Vitamix 5200 Professional Series Blender is the best you can buy across most metrics. It has 10 variable speeds and a simple analog interface. If you want interchangeable bases, presets, and smart technology, the Ascent series will better suit your needs.
Why We’re the Experts
At Serious Eats, we’ve tested dozens of blenders, evaluating them across a variety of metrics according to rigorous review standards.Rochelle Bilow has reviewed the entire product lineup of both Vitamix and Blendtec, so we can accurately compare both brands.She has been testing kitchen equipment and writing for Serious Eats since 2021 and has been writing about food professionally for almost two decades.