Want to be taken seriously as a chef when it comes to blenders? The answer was always Vitamix. Whenever we visited a professional kitchen – there it was, a Vitamix blender, ready for smoothing, sousing, chopping, juicing or turning into soup anything with vitamins, minerals or proteins in it. But that blending onslaught came at a price, which was always a factor: $450 to $800 price tag for a blender would scare off any amateur. The pros, however, have always been extremely appreciative of the unprecedented power of the Vitamix, which gives a run for its money to virtually any other blender in the marketplace. Watch out, Hamilton beach!
Ninja, on the other hand, was presented in 2013 specifically to counter the steep price of the Vitamix with a more lenient ‘bang for the buck’ approach without sacrificing of what’s important: power, design and general appeal. The Ninja’s claim to fame was and still is very in-yo-face: at $199 and relatively comparable specs Ninja aims to destroy Vitamix. So, putting the Ninja Ultima and Vitamix 5200 to the test was not only a matter of time, it is a duty, a calling if you will for those dedicating their lives to a search for the Perfect Blender.
Since juicing is all the rage these days, the first task we thought we’d throw at the contestants was going to be blending a mixture of greens. Not an easy mixture by any standard: non-grated ginger, the impossible to juice kale, whole apples, cucumber, and celery. The results were spectacular with both appliances, although the trigger-happy Vitamix appeared to be just a tad livelier where Ninja’s ‘on’ button had to be really pushed.
Ninja’s Dual Stage Blending really shined in this test, which is understandable, given that ‘dual stage’ means (duh) a detachable second blade. It’s balanced perfectly against the main blade and is ready to help with anything that the main blade for some reason can’t deal on its own. The downer, however, was the difficulty, which quickly occurred when we tried to push the vege all the way down to the bottom of the pitcher in order to accommodate more of raw materials. Also, as soon as things begin to fly inside the blender, some pieces of half chopped produce tend to get stuck to the lid and upper crannies.
Anyway, in less than a minute we got juiced.
Both blenders did exceptionally well, the mix was excellent. Naturally, there was pulp but nothing beyond some light strain. And if store-bought pulped juice is your thing, not only you’re not going to complain about the results of the Vitamix/Ninja blend-off, the juice-to-pulp ratio in both end mixtures was absolutely perfect. Ninja’s juice turned out to be a bit thicker, though, but that’s why we have water.
While we were royally impressed with the way Vitamix and Ninja handle produce, everybody knows that the true worth of a blender is measured by its ability to do away with milkshakes. We’ve deliberately picked out the roughest of all ice cream bars – the chewy, peanutty Snickers, and poured some Kahlua and chocolate milk over it.
It took both blenders literally three seconds each to produce a rich, even mixture of flavorful shakes. Seriously, the experience was almost miraculous, we’ve never seen anything like it before.
Still, there was a difference in the texture of both milkshakes. While Vitamix gave up a rather mealy mixture, which is not at all a bad thing in a milkshake, Ninja’s drink turned out to be a thick, very intense, yet very flowie brew. Both equally delicious, though. We’ve decided that such results were due to the dual blade system (in Ninja), which pulverizes the ingredients, and the suction effect (in Vitamix) that cycles the ingredients to the point of a complete aeration, hence almost porous texture in the Vitamix’s shake.
So, with the testing over, we thought we’d share some final thoughts as for the differences between the two marvelous kitchen gizmos created for two different categories of consumers.
If noise is a factor for you, know that the Vitamix is significantly quieter. Which is not to say that either of the blenders is uncomfortably loud, but still…
Ninja is much tougher to disassemble. Child-proofing in blenders is great but in our case, even a brawny fifty-year-old man had trouble taking the lid off…
Ninja’s dual blade system is kind of in a way when it comes to pouring.
All in all, Vitamix is just a little bit faster. A hair faster.
In conclusion. For a ‘Mr. Moneybags’ who leads a quiet life, hates noise, and cumbersome kitchen machines we wholeheartedly recommend the Vitamix 5200. Otherwise, Ninja Ultima is going to make you perfectly happy.