on August 29, 2013
I was very close to buying a Vitamix for $500 from Costco but decided to do more research first and am very glad I found the Versa! I am mainly interested in making green smoothies but also want to make soups and ice cream.
So I got a Versa a few days ago from a local department store whose name starts with "K" (sorry Amazon - had to have it NOW).
I had to be sure this thing is as good as a Vitamix, SO: My neighbors happen to have a nice new Vitamix so I invited them over for a "blend-off". We spent a whole afternoon with the Versa and Vitamix head to head using identical ingredients. We started with green smoothies - kale, spinach, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, and mango juice. Next, my neighbor made some strawberry ice cream. To finish I made some sweet red pepper cream of chicken soup - I wanted to see how you could heat soup in a blender (this is amazing to me - the soup heats from friction of blades spinning at 28,000 rpm)!!
With all three recipes we got identical results with both machines except that the Versa heated the soup a little faster than the Vitamix which took about a minute longer to get up to 140 degrees according to my little meat thermometer.
So I'm very happy with my purchase because I got the Versa for less than half the cost of the Vitamix!!!!!
The only thing in question now is durability and dependability. The build quality seems very comprable plus the Versa also has the 7 year warranty. Time will tell...
Pros: As good as blender more than twice the price! Has three pre-programmed cycles for smoothie, soup, and sauce/dip.
Cons: Since we're comparing to Vitamix - Does not have the super low speed like the Vitamix. This would be nice for coarse dicing like pico de gallo but not a deal killer. The size doesn't bother me because after all we're in super blender class here right? Noise level is no more than my old cheap blender.
UPDATE 9-15-13: I have been using this blender heavily almost every day since I bought it. I drink at least two 32 oz. vegetable smoothies a day plus my wife drinks probably another 32 oz. or so. I now put a whole avocado WITH SEED/PIT per 64 oz. (the size of the blender pitcher) of smoothie and it completely liquifies with NO tastable particles - total creamy goodness. The avocado makes the smoothie nice and smoooooth. I usually make two or three pitchers per session, then put it in the 32 oz. bottles that the Bolthouse carrot juice comes in from Costco and freeze them. I travel a lot so I take them with me in a cooler and drink them as they thaw. I have lost around 14 lbs. since I started juicing/smoothie-ing with no self-discipline required because the smoothies are delicious and satisfy your hunger. Each 32 oz. smoothie has 24 oz. of vegetables in it - 8 oz. juice or almond milk and the rest veggies. I figure that's equivalent to at least THREE large restaurant salads but without the high calorie dressing and meat. My calculation is based on the size of a 9 oz. bag of spinach - it's pretty big - seems to me about the same volume as a large restaurant salad. FURTHERMORE - the restaurant salad is usually lettuce which is nowhere near as nutritious as the kale and spinach that I use in my smoothies. So if I drink two 32 oz. smoothies a day, it's like eating SIX SALADS!!!
UPDATE 7-3-14: Still smoothying and no deterioration in performance of the blender. I still drink 1 to 2 quarts of smoothie per day faithfully and love it. So 7 to 14 quarts per week which I would consider pretty heavy use. I've come up with a way to make in bulk weekly. I was previously measuring ingredients for every blender pitcher so multiple measurings per batch. Finally I got smart and now pre-measure for whole batch, add to blender whatever fits per pitcher and mix in big bucket then put in Bolthouse bottles for freezing. This is much quicker and the results are more consistent. A typical batch is 2.5 lbs fresh spinach, 1.5 lbs kale, 1.5 lbs. power mix greens from Costco, 1.5 lbs cucumber, 2 lbs broccoli, 48 oz carrot juice, plus ingredients for flavor can be either 48 oz fruit juice or (yes, I really do this: 48 oz almond milk, 4 tablespoons vanilla, 3/4 cup instant coffee, 32 packs of Stevia). So either the fruit flavor or coffee flavor has the same vegetables. This batch recipe makes about 8 quarts (2 gallons) of smoothie.
UPDATE 6-14-16: Bought second replacement pitcher from Oster for $74.99 - [...] I decided to get the low and wide one because the tall skinny one is kind of hard to get a big handful of spinach into without losing a few leaves. The original pitcher fell from up high on a hard tile floor and cracked so I bought replacement from a non-Oster website (can't remember who). That one lasted about a year but today the blade bearings burned out. I thought it was the motor but then realized it was the blade bearings. The base/motor still seems to be going strong.
New simple and quick recipe:
6 large apples
1 quart of orange juice
40 ounces of spinach (big bag from Costco $4.50)
Makes a little over a gallon.
Put in 1 quart Bolthouse bottles and (optionally) freeze for later use.
Okay, so here's the deal - all of us that have the "Customer review from the Amazon Vine(tm) Program" received this product for free in exchange for providing a review (we are allowed to say whatever we want however - reviews may be anywhere from one to five stars).
I mention this because I literally just bought a new blender before this one plopped into my life. In fact, I bought this one: Oster BVCB07-Z Counterforms 6-Cup Glass Jar 7-Speed Blender, Brushed Stainless/Black
So, if you're asking yourself whether this blender at 300 dollars is five times better than one that costs 60...hopefully I can help out.
First, opening the box: My boyfriend has a new friend he named "Majestic." He saw it when I first unwrapped it, promptly christened it, announced we could not possibly get rid of it no matter what, and stared at it with an expression of awe. Now he smiles every time he sees it...it's weird. Another reviewer said it's a man's blender...I can't refute that. To me it just looks like a nice, sturdy blender that looks like it belongs in a smoothie shop.
Size: For starters, where are you going to put the blender? If you are like me, you have a place in mind for your blender, but you'd better make sure this will fit. Read the description. It's about 2 feet high. Which is several inches taller than the space between my counter and cabinet. So check that out first. That said, this one has more capacity - 1/3 more in fact.
Accessories: both have lids, separable jars, and bases. There is a little pamphlet blender "cookbook" with the smaller blender and a hardcover one with this one. This one also includes a giagantic stir stick. Other than that, not a lot of difference.
I decided that to really decide if there was a noticeable difference, I'd need to do a side by side comparison, so I made tested them dry, then made soup, then made smoothies, and then chopped up some nuts (because you know...soup to nuts!)
Ease of use on the control panel: Okay, let's compare the two. The BVCB07-Z (the cheaper one) has 7 speeds and 9 bunch of buttons. This has a dial and 4 buttons. The dial controls the speed and the four buttons are: pulse, smoothie, soup, and dips/spreads. The other one has some preprograms also (like "frozen drink" but mostly uses it's buttons for speed control. While the other isn't difficult either, the dial is super easy - turn and it goes, and as far as the preprogrammed buttons on this one...I'm in love!
Ease of assembly: this one, hands down. just sets on in any of the 4 possible orientation (line up the corners) and works. The other you have to set it down in the sweet spot and twist until it clicks into place...not as easy, though possibly a little more secure. (Both are held in place very well when actually blending.)
Need: Well, if you're even considering it, you might be able to afford it. If you blend a whole lot, like a health nut who lives on smoothies, or you own a food truck or something like that, I could DEFINITELY see you considering something like this. I'm sure there are other professional blender options that are just as good or better, but this seems like it would fit right in. If you only use your blender occassionally, then you have to do the value proposition yourself...the other blender would probably do very well for you and save you quite a bit of money.
Power: Well this one wins hands down. You can read the stats yourself. The other is 600 watts, this one is 1400 watts. This has a big thick power cord like it means it and it roars like a bandsaw too. It's not quiet. At all. It's no wonder it chews food. It has so much power in fact that every time my food came out quite a bit hotter/warmer than it went in. Also, the other, cheaper blender started to smell "hot" after a few minutes of blending, this one did just fine with 5 minutes on high speed.
Stability: The other jar is a bit tippy - I feel like full of liquid on the counter it's easy to tip over. This one is solid with a square base.
Quality: Both blenders actually look pretty quality. This one has more of a "pro" look to the base - better mat and lines whereas the other looks a little more "consumer" but both look very nice and like they'll last. Both have very solid seeming blades and attachments, though this one is in general just a little more solid. The other is glass jar and this is plastic, but it's a very sturdy seeming plastic...I highly doubt there's any issues with chipping or cracking. I'd hope for the price that it will also age well. If I were a betting person though the main difference is this one looks like it can simply take on more things without balking and may do so for a longer lifetime. Based on the blending experience, I imagine this to be true.
Soup test: I made butternut squash soup. Chunks of butternut squash roasted and then boiled in chickstock with onions and spices, pretty big chunks, pour into the blender hot. In this blender I just nervously hit the "soup" button and it roared to life. Although it came with a giant tamper, I did not need it at all. It just sucked the food right on down so I left it alone and didn't do a thing. The top by the way is lovely - it released steam! After watching it, I can tell the design is intentional - it's got vents to release steam without letting food spurt out when it bubbles and pulses. A little over five minutes later it shut itself off abruptly and the soup had actually gotten hotter to the point it was boiling inside the container! But it poured out smooth and lovely. This could definitely make me love this blender! I've never made anything so smooth in my kitchen that didn't start that way from the can.
Meanwhile I put the other half of the mix in the cheaper blender. Let it run on high for a few minutes but it started to smell hot. Bottom part was blending well, but chunks were on top so I had to stop and stir it and pulse it a bit. I ended up having to do a lot more button pushing to start it, stop it, pulse it, stir it, and start it again in cycles. Never did get it as smooth. Though to be honest, it tasted exactly the same :)
Smoothie test: to be honest, very much the same experience. Ice and fruit. The other was a lot of pushing down and restarting, this made a much smoother product with almost no hands on.
Nuts: Only bothered in this blender - wanted to see if I could control it enough to get a rough chop. If you pulse it once or twice, perfect salad topper!
Clean up: Both blenders were honestly very easy. This one's top comes apart easier so maybe a slight win there, but yeah, can't complain. As for blade cleaning put a little dishsoap and fill half full with water then run it and rinse it - worked great on both of them.
So far I've only played with the two blenders over the weekend. I imagine my boyfriend will use it quite a bit too as he makes "green goo" (he won't cook himself a vegetable...in typical manstyle when he thinks he needs vegetables he just throws a bunch in a blender and drinks the horrid slop that results) He is already making plans.
Ultimately, would I buy this one or the other one if I were making the decision all over? Well...the other one. I don't use a blender enough to really justify the price. However, if I did, this one is REALLY, REALLY nice. And it makes life so much easier...except for the size. Having paid for the other one, I will be keeping it too...but it's probably going to end up as a back up and I'll try not to become a blender hoarder (okay so my hoard is two blenders, but still, it's probably bigger than most people's).
The boyfriend has a plan to redo all of the kitchen appliance arrangements this coming weekend to make space for this...I'm nervous, but he's done okay with other redesigns, so we'll see how it goes.
If I have any problems, I'll be sure to update. Otherwise assume that "Majestic" is still in our kitchen, making me soup and winning loving smiles from my boyfriend.
Update: Two complaints and a compliment. (1) I don't think I previously mentioned sufficiently just how noisy it is. Seriously, you will want to leave the room while it's making soup...which could be a problem because (2) I have since had the "leek soup incident". There is a max fill line on the blender and even though every other thing I've had at the line (or below) had no issues, for some reason the leek soup I made in this turned into a mini-kitchen volcano. When I came back into the room (I'd left to hold a conversation away from the roar), it was all over the counter, the floor, and the blender. The lid was on, but it had apparently frothed up and leaked out anyway. Turns out the little buttons and feet are not all that easy to clean crusty soup out of...I'm still picking at it with toothpicks.
And the compliment: All in all I love the blender! I'm using it about 3-4 times a week, mostly for smoothies and alcoholic fruit drinks (I joined a group co-op thing where you get a basket of fruits and veggies every week, and I have no idea what else to do with all the fruit) and of course, more soups... It's seriously easy and consistent in quality. Very easy to clean as well, provided there are no soup lava flows.
on January 24, 2013
I was trying to get something that would make my protein shake/fruit smoothies as smooth as my old Vitamix without paying $500, I took a chance on this Oster since the reviews were all good. I hate to give it a not so good review but there are better options for less money. I was ultra-pleased with the Vitamix I used to have, the Oster feels as powerful and feels like it will last a long time but the main problem that I have with it is it leaves some fruit chunks in my smoothie when I use frozen fruit. My smoothie consists of 8 oz of water, 2 scoops of powder, 1 frozen banana and 4 frozen strawberries. There are still chunks of fruit that don't get blended all the way after about a minute. I previously also owned the top rated Kitchen Aid blender which only cost me $100, it blended the same smoothie without lumps but the gasket began leaking on me as other users reported. I also tried a friend's Nutribullet and it didn't do as good of a job as either the Vitamix or Kitchen Aid. I ordered the Oster and tried it all week and actually sent it back because I was expecting at least as smooth of a drink as my $100 Kitchen Aid. So I kept researching and finally ordered and tried the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender for $200. I'm keeping that one and am satisfied with the smoothness, there were no chunks of frozen fruit left and it blended everything automatically and shut itself off after the preprogrammed time. I even filled the Breville with ice cubes with no liquid and it turned it into snow within 35 seconds with no ice chunks. The Breville is definitely a better value than the Oster with it being $100 cheaper, able to blend without leaving chunks, much quieter, smaller, automated smoothie program, and a lid that is easy to get off using the finger ring. I have also owned a Blendtec blender and have used my brother's Ninja blender as well, the Breville makes smoother drinks than both of those. The Breville is the best value with everything considered.
on August 27, 2014
This thing is TERRIFYING. It sounds like the hellspawn of a vacuum cleaner demon and a chipper shredder and could probably mince concrete if you tried. It makes for super creamy soups, though! Is is more than a kilowatt of power spinning whirring blades of decimation +2 at 28,000 RPMs. When you put soups in there it even breathes smoke! (well, steam, but it is still impressive) ...and it always has to take it just past your comfort zone. You hit the soup button and it starts chip and chopping away... then it kicks it up a notch and you are all "whoa, that is insane. I hope that soup doesn't come flying out of there because it is HOT and it would cover everything like 16 bean napalm!" Then just when you get used to it this thing ramps up to ludicrous speed and you find yourself jumping in the bathtub in terror. If you are looking for a raid ready blender that just does what it is told and does it well look no further.
on January 17, 2013
My OSTER VERSA is performing like the Vitamix I tried previously. I expected this to be much louder than it is. My Cuisinart Grind & Brew is **significantly** louder than this blender. This blender just sounds like, well...a blender. This puppy is HUGE (nearly 2' tall) so if you're thinking about showing it off on the counter, make sure it clears the overhead cabinets. (works w/ mine). Alas, parts can't go in the dishwasher, BUT, 2-drops of soap+water+30-sec of blending on "High" (which creates heat), rinse, dry, and done. Easy. If you're looking at uber-blenders (I'm looking at you there, drooling over that spendy VitaMix), I HIGHLY recommend this one. Frankly, I loved the VitaMix, too, but gosh - I think the Versa looks A LOT sexier and it appears to work equally well in my experience so far, for less cash.
Now that I own the Versa. Here's what I've noticed:
- EASY TO CLEAN (Yes, saying that again. It's true.)
- NICE RECIPE BOOK: *But* the VitaMix book is tabbed between sections to find recipes quickly, since the point of 2-hp blending is speed. Oh right. The point of blending is healthy living. (Tabs please.)
- EASY RECIPES: Follow them exactly and you'll be pleased. I loved the Berry Breakfast and the Ginger-Peach-Mango smoothies (I made the latter one into sorbet by freezing it. YUM!) There are soups, dips, dressings, and desserts and all kinds of goodness. Plus, you can find free uber-blender recipes posted online and they'll translate perfectly.
- QUALITY: The base of the blender is heavy (I believe the shipping weight was approx. 14-lbs). It has non-skid feet and they are effective at keeping 30,000 rpms from knocking that thing into the adjacent room.
- EASY TO USE: The dial settings are a teensy-weensy bit less intuitive than "on/off" but, simple.
- TAMPER INCLUDED: so, I screwed-up a recipe and that tamper saved my peachy-mango-ginger smoothie buns! Versa's tamper isn't a solid stick like VitaMix's. It's essentially the same, but has three channels pushing things down. It seems to make grabbing "stuck" stuff easier.
- OOH, LIGHT-UP BUTTONS: Useful, actually. And, very fancy-schmancy looking. Pulse/Smoothie/etc all light when in use (red for pulse, blue all others). You'll know you are operating in the mode you intended as a result.
- TIGHT LID, but it is easy to remove.
- NO CHUNKS IN MY SMOOTHIES!!!! And, isn't that what you wanted to know?! I have blended granola and flax into my frozen concoctions and they're fantastically refreshing, no chewing is required.
- 7-YEAR WARRANTY: That's simply comforting.
- ONLY ONE COLOR: Black. VitaMix offers three colors. (I love the way the Chrome Versa logo and accents shine off the black background, so that's not a deal-breaker for me.)
One last note. Another reviewer mentioned somewhere that the height of the blender makes its use challenging for us petite blending enthusiasts. (I'm 5' tall, and I rounded-up.) I fill the container BEFORE I attach it to the base. Problem solved. :)
on December 11, 2015
I have had to replace the jar 3 times because each one starts leaking grease after 3 months. My third one just started leaking grease this morning so I'm going to have to try a different blender. The motor is powerful but the cup is not reliable. I make daily smoothies with defrosted fruit, Greek yogurt and a few ice cubes. That's it. With an appliance that states you can make nut butters, you'd think it could make a daily smoothy with defrosted fruit without any problems!!
I would give no stars if they would let me!!
on December 11, 2015
I own a VitaMix, so it's easy for me to make a comparison between the two. The VitaMix and the Versa both have a Lexan vessel, but the VitaMix is a little bit heftier. The Versa has a superior lid that's easier to close (seals better). The VitaMix has better insulation around the base so it's more quiet. The Versa's base is more open. The Versa's base is also lighter. With the VitaMix I got a wet and dry vessel. The Versa only gives you a 'wet' one. But to be honest, I've used the dry vessel infrequently. The Versa gives you 80% of the value of the VitaMix for 1/3 the price. That was the selling point for me. It does all the things the VitaMix does. It makes smoothies, it makes great soups, it makes great sauces, it's a great blender. Time will tell how it holds up. The cook book wasn't a huge selling point for me. There are tons of on-line resources for using these blenders.
on December 23, 2013
For perfomance rating; 10. For value; 10. For store-ablilty; 2. This is a very tall appliance all together. It is a superior perfomer, it makes our raw smoothies with ease. I am looking for another one for a second blender at our other place!
I recently had a problem develop with the jar where the grease had started leaking from a worn out bushing it looked like. It made a loud metal on metal sound, then the blades seized up. I contacted Oster right away. I was expecting to go through the usual warranty process of sending it to a blender repair, paying for shipping there and waiting a month, it wasn't going to be the end of the world, I had a backup blender. To my surprise when the customer rep came back on the phone after putting me on hold to verify my info, she said I'm sending you a shipping label... and a new blender is on the way! What?? I said, "You're sending it to me before I even ship the old one back?" She told me that the Versa is for people who take their blenders seriously, and that's what that good warranty gets you. I received the new version of the Versa within a couple of weeks and packed up the old one in the shipping box the new one came in and printed my label, and that was that.
I am even more satisfied with this blender now because of the customer service that comes with it. When they say that it comes with a 7yr. warranty, it's a cover everything, we want to you to be completely satisfied for that full warranty sort of thing! Super satisfied customer!!!
on February 19, 2013
For a little over a year now, we have used this blender on an almost daily basis. We initially considered purchasing a Vitamix, but after doing some research I came upon the Versa and its plethora of positive reviews.
The Versa offers many high-end blender features that are on par with the Vitamix, but for $100+ less. It also comes with a 7-year warranty.
The Versa is incredibly simple to use. It has a pulse button and three auto settings: smoothie, soup, and dips/spreads. We have made soups, sauces and smoothies with our Versa. I have not yet made any nut butters, but I hear it is excellent for that as well. You don't have to stand there pulsing or holding the button either, if you load the blender correctly the programmed setting buttons will blend to the perfect consistency then stop automatically. Soups and sauces come out as smooth as velvet. The soup function will heat up the contents as well.
The jar and blade are all one piece, with no leaky gaskets to mess around with. To clean it you just add water and a drop of liquid dish soap to the jar, put it back on the base and let it run until it's clean. The interior of the jar is ultra-smooth and sprays out easily. I have never had any trouble getting mine clean.
It is important to note that this blender is LOUD and very tall when put together. Things to keep in mind if you have sleeping kids in the house our counter space issues. The only other "issue" so to speak is that the jar has to be set on the base in such a way that the pressure button is fully depressed, otherwise the blade won't engage. Basically if the power button doesn't light up you might have to turn the jar slightly one way or the other in order to get things lined up correctly.
on March 6, 2016
This is a nice blender but the first time I put it through its paces it did not qualify for what I would call "medium duty" work. I had a big box of vegetables purchased at the local organic grocer, which is two hours away, so I wanted to process the entire batch at once and freeze most of it to have on hand (research shows that nutrients remain if frozen). In total I ran 10 loads of veggies through the blender. My unit had the tall jar and I filled it to near the top on each occasion.
The manual noted to not run the blender for more than 10 minutes at a time, so I paused a few minutes between batches to prep each selection of veggies in order to give the motor a rest. I also was careful not to let the blender run for more than a minute for each batch. Here's what happened:
1) After around 6-7 batches the motor turned off mid-process. This was the thermal fuse kicking in to prevent motor damage. OK, I got that. What I didn't like however was upon turning the blender base upside down and taking a whiff, there was a strong odor of something burning. Not an outright "burned up components" smell, but close. I waited a while, tried again, and the blender came on and processed another batch or two before shutting down again. By the time I got to the end the blender was shutting down pretty often.
2) While processing through each batch I noticed that the jar has a tendency to lift off the base if you're not careful. This was more apparent when a light vegetable such as Kale was being processed. When the jar lifted up the blender kept running, and for a few moments there was a horrible grinding sound as the gears on the blade ground against the gears on the base. Why don't these blender come with an inter-lock or at least an indent to secure the base? My neighbor has a Vitamix and it's the same way.
Conclusion: When the blender worked it worked great. It easily chewed through beets and other sturdy vegetables like a knife cuts butter. Really nice. But whether you call processing more than 5-6 loads in a sitting medium duty, or heavy duty, the blender hit its limits. Admittedly if I had waited longer between batches I suspect the blender would not have overheated. But how long when an urn full of veggie juice is sitting there oxidating as you fill it?
What's perhaps more troubling is the issue with gears grinding if you forget to keep steady pressure on the jar as you blend. There is a safety button that is suppose to turn off the motor if the jar is not in place, but for some reason it did not perform its function. The jar lifted up enough to for the meshed gears to unmesh, but not high enough for the safety switch to disengage.
Check out the photos of the base gear of both this Oster as well as a Vitamix. The difference is notable. The left picture is the Oster. The gear depth is about half what the Vitamix offers (1/4" vs 1/2").
In my view I bought a blender, not a juicer, out of the desire to obtain the full nutrition and fiber when juicing fruits and vegetables. Although it is the BLADE that does the work, it seems a good blade is pretty easy and cost effective to pull off. So it's really all about the MOTOR with these blenders. I passed on the Vitamix solution, not because of the price, but rather after hearing one too many stories about how motor performance degrades over time. It's the MOTOR, stupid. I want my blender to pulverize those veggies after two years just as well as it did on day one. Especially since they're not exactly giving these things away.
So now I want to find a blender that, in addition to maintaining full power over the years, can process a large pile of veggies without having to walk the dog between each batch. But all in all, if you're not a freak like me, or live closer to the grocery store, and you remember to hold the jar in place while processing, this blender seems pretty a good value for the cost. :>