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I've just got back from a department store where they happened to be doing a demonstration of the Vitamix TNC Blender. Obviously, now I want one. Is anyone able to recommend a good alternative, thats not quite as pricey (this thing was £430 / €500). Basically, the features I'm interested would be:

  • Ability to heat for soups, etc.
  • Ability to blend ice.
  • Really, really fast.
  • Durable

Is there anything out there that can compete? Or are the vitamix blenders pretty unique in that respect?

Cheers guys, Alex

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I sure hope you get a good answer. I was about to bite the bullet and buy a vitamix. If anyone out there could save me a couple hundred dollars, I'd appreciate it too. –  yossarian Aug 30 '10 at 16:40
    
Please see this meta discussion: meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/678/… –  hobodave Aug 30 '10 at 17:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I don't think it's possible. You are talking about restaurant / bar quality blender (like Vitamix, Waring, or Blend-tec). Cheaper units will not have the horsepower or quality of construction to do things like smooth blends of ice in a drink, generate enough friction to heat a soup from scratch, or grind flour from nuts and grains.

Even if your blender will handle some of these things initially (like blend ice, I'm skeptical any cheap mixer will provide enough heat for a soup), I think your blade / motor will quickly take enough abuse that it won't be able to continue to perform.

Update: Since initially posting this answer, I've actually bought a Vita-Mix (I'd been lusting for quite some time). I now feel more strongly that my answer is right. I've used it three times in the first 12 hours of ownership:

  • Nut Butter - I made a pistachio nut butter that required nothing more than 2 cups of pistachios and a tablespoon of oil. It came together really quickly and has a lovely velvety texture.
  • Pureed halved peaches - these ended up complete liquid with no texture / fiber left from the fruit. Exactly like Looza Nectar, but fresh.
  • A smoothie. The smoothie had zero ice chunks in it and was professional quality.

I have never seen a cheaper blender capable of the quality of any of the first three things I've tried. I'm afraid you're out of luck.

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Thanks mate, was holding out for a definitive answer. Personally, I went and bought a £30 blender. Smoothies have little specks of skins left, particularly tougher skins like kiwi, and soups still have a little texture (not a bad thing). Doubt any attempt at making nut butter would work, but don't think I can justify a blender 15 times as expensive right now. Maybe (hopefully) when this one breaks, I'll consider it again. Will be interesting to see how the blades hold up. –  AlexC Sep 10 '10 at 16:14

Well, you can always try Ebay, or Craigslist. I have a friend that got a barely used Green Star Juicer (a super expensive juicer) for about 1/3rd the cost of new. I just peeked on Ebay, and there are a lot of results, of varying quality/usefulness.

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Jtc has an alternative with its omniblend blenders at a very attractive price. Speed is up to 38000 rpm with 3ph. you can even use the vitamix jar on it

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