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More powerful than a speeding (older) Nutribullet; worth it?
on November 23, 2013
UPDATE 2: It finally happened. I had a blade fail. And since I mainly use my blade for coffee grinding or I don't use it every day for long runs, it is simply a matter of constant use vibrating a part inside the blade that eventually fails. The blade became loose, and powdered coffee or smoothie leaks out of the unit into the motor portion down through the blade assembly. I looked at the blade assembly and before, it was not easy to turn the blade by hand and now it spins loosely and freely on the spindle. This is not how it's suppose to be--it's supposed to be sealed around the spindle. I assume it is a bushing or seal around the shaft that eventually vibrates itself into fragments, or simply rots over time. If you use your Bullet every day, this could happen sooner. So, yes, the blade is the weakest link in this unit, and needs replacing sooner or later, sooner if you use it frequently.
UPDATE: Many people are reporting problems with the blades, even after a redesign of the seals. Heavy use may result in the blade getting liquid into the seal area causing rust, or blades can break. I have not had this happen, but read ALL the reviews. Some people have had a bad experience. I have had good luck but there seem to be many who have not.
The Nutribullet is a mini-blender that blends right into a mug or small vessel. It's a less expensive than blenders that liquify (like Vitamix.) It makes one or two servings at a time. When making smoothies, I want one cup, not a quart. I'm not alone in this--just about all of use want that, so the Nutribullet was invented and it was a huge hit. BUT...it had issues. The motor, being relatively lightweight at 600watts, would burn out if you used it too heavily. This type of blender is best used in pulses and if you read the fine print, the manufacturer tells you that five second bursts are about as long as you should leave it on. I've never had issues, but some people report that they've had problems with the 600 version. I don't use mine for smoothies every day, and I'm single, so I am not a heavy user. However, if you are big on smoothies, have a family or spouse that also drinks them, and if you plan to use it a lot, you'd be better off with the 900 version for better blending and for the heavier motor.
Some new additions, based on suggestions from owners: a flip lid and a "colossal cup" for those of you who are drinking 32 oz of smoothies and hitting the road. Also, if you are making smoothies for breakfast for more than one person, the 32 oz vessel is great--one for you, one for your mate and you do not need to do two batches. Blend, pour out into the other two cups.
The blades are updated to have better seals, as in some newer 600 watt models. The cups are BPA-free. One thing people wanted was 2 extractor blades, because if you are making smoothies, that's the blade you use. The milling blade (single blade) is used for chopping or grinding. So the Nutribullet now comes with two extractor blades so you can set up two smoothies at the same time. The cutting up and preparation is probably the slowest part of the operation. So having two cups ready to go can be helpful.
*UPDATE* I have never had "blade issues" but many people across the Web and in the comment section below report blades that only last a few months. If it isn't "user error" (because you need to use water with each batch you blend) then there are possibly defective blades OR extended use leads to metal fatigue or failure of some other part. In the light of this data, which is out there but not what I've experienced personally, my warning is that if you are going to be a heavy user of a liquifying blender, you might consider a stronger machine such as a Vitamix. You can buy replacement blades for about ten bucks (not including shipping) but if you have to replace blades frequently, this is not a budget choice after all. And it is why I knocked off one star. Cost and function it gets FIVE stars, but durability reports take it down to FOUR.
I also use my Nutribullet to grind coffee. I was absolutely bowled over that the single blade works better than coffee grinders I've owned in the past and is faster. I thought it would be too rough on the beans but it isn't. While a "burr grinder" is the gourmet way to grind your own beans, I've never found one I liked. So now you'd have to buy an accessory milling blade. It's clearly being geared to the smoothie users (nothing wrong with that) but I also loved it for the single blade. I hope Nutribullet makes this available again or more easily attainable (I suppose if you email them, you'd get a part number and blades seem to cost around ten bucks before shipping.) I don't find their website very detailed; it's geared to quick ordering and simple information, which is good for ninety-nine percent of people and I get that--a good, uncluttered design, but it could have more detail for more experienced owners.
If you don't want to own a bazillion appliances, the Nutribullet substitutes for:
1. Coffee Grinder
3. Drink maker
4. Smoothie maker
5. Juicer (kinda sorta, you get the pulp in a liquified puree, though that is good for fiber)
6. Chopper for bread crumbs, seeds, nuts
7. Mixer (for eggs or crepe batter.)
Most people buy this for making vegetable-fruit smoothies to incorporate more raw fresh food into their diet, in a digestible form and that's good, but I was pleasantly impressed that the Nutribullet replaces other appliances as well.
Downsides: the five-second rule. While the motor is heavier, I would still observe the five-second rule and run this in pulses, not leave it on for minutes on end. It just isn't designed for lengthy running. Also, there are plastic parts (where the blade connects to the motor.) If you do NOT wait until the motor has stopped before removing the cup, you may run a risk of damaging parts some day. A few simple safety precautions will insure a long, happy life. I believe a lot of the unhappiness (units that fail) could be due to "operator error" but it's understandable, as we all have used blenders, and those are typically run continuously.
Heavier motor (50pct more wattage)
Colossal cup 32oz
Flip lid for travel
Two cups for serving out smoothies
Lids for storage
Can replace some other kitchen small appliances (ie coffee grinder)
2 extractor blades for making more smoothies quickly (can set up two cups at the same time)
More expensive than the 600 model
Comes with 2 extractor blades (the cross shape) but not the milling blade
Can't find milling blade on website accessory order page
If you don't own a Vitamix or the older Nutribullet, this is a terrific way to make liquified vegetable-fruit foods. It also makes baby food and can substitute for some other kitchen appliances (if you obtain a single blade.) If you already own a VItamix or a previous Nutribullet, you are only missing out on a more powerful motor that may handle very tough stuff like celery much better, and a larger capacity vessel (which you might be able to order as an accessory.) Since it costs more, you can save money by buying the previous version if you are not going to be a heavy user.