I'm going to just start out and say that I have a biased opinion. I sell the Vita-mix 5200. But at least I am being honest about it. I have read a couple of posts on this thread that are most likely posted by Blendtec reps- be careful.
So lets talk warranty. I view a warranty as a very good gauge of a company's confidence in the longevity of their product. When you buy a Vita-mix directly from the company you get a 7 year warranty. When you buy a Blendtec directly from their company the machine only comes with a 3 year warranty. Now at costco the blendtec comes with a 7 year warranty but only because there are both vita-mix and blendtec roadshows at costco and blendtec must try to stay competitive. But the question is this which machine will be most likely to give you trouble the one that has a 7 year warranty or the one that usually has a 3 year warranty?
Consumer Reports- Vita-mix is rated #1 in the blender category year after year. For 2010 blendtec is rated #4. Of course blendtec is a fine machine after all most people who are going to buy a high performance blender will generally only be deciding between one or the other. And anybody could probably love them equally. But there are some important differences between the two.
Blendtec has buttons and pre-programed settings. Vita-mix has SIMPLE manual switches and a very precise variable speed control. I don't like when machines think they are smarter than me and besides creating with food is an art and with the vitamix you have more control. For example when making a smoothie there can be tremendous variation solely based on how long its blended for. The longer is goes not only will it be smoother but also sweeter and more flavorful. The change in taste must be due to the total pulverization of everything; the texture will hide some of the sweetness and flavor. So really nice deciding when to turn off the machine. Sure the blendtec has a option of being able to control the speed but again your limited due to the buttons only giving you limited options. The variable speed is so nice, simple, and smooth. Instant results no working through a series of buttons. All the vita-mix asks of you is for you to turn it on and off. The idea that you need to be tending to a smoothie or soup with a vita-mix is just silly. Besides it hardly take a minute to make a smoothie. No pulse on the Vita-mix? Not needed. The slowest speed (11 mph) is perfect for making CHUNKY salsa or chopping other vegetables. If YOU DECIDE that you would like to make it finer you simply adjust the variable speed control.
The Vita-mix has a tamper! What a great tool. For those who don't know what it is its a basically just a rod with a collar on it. Allows you to push ingredients down into the blades and WONT hit the blades. So simple and so effective. Do you know why blendtec doesn't have one? Because its a patent and unfortunately for them they aren't allowed to. Now their container is wider and you are less likely to need one - but for nut butters, ice creams, and other really thick spreads and pates you will really be glad to have one. Besides when i make smoothies i put in the whole apple the whole orange (other fruits too) and one quick push with the tamper and away it goes. I don't have to chop up anything before i put it in knowing that the tamper will effectively push everything into the blades. There's no other way for it to happen. Cleaning to tamper? Come on - a 2 second rinse in the sink is all it needs. The vita-mix blades (like the blendtec) also are fan shaped pulling all the ingredients down into the blades. The vita-mix blades (also the blend-tec) are dull and really never need sharpening they are hammer mill blades and they smash.
Horse power- Blendtec has 3 vita-mix 2. Don't be fooled by the "bigger is always better" idea. The blades spin at the same rpm. There is nothing that the blendtec will do that the vita-mix wont. After all if the horse power is all that blendtec cracks it up to be why is vita-mix always the #1 rated blender. Besides the base of the blendtec (containing the motor) weighs about four lbs. The vita-mix base weighs about 9lbs. There is more to the vita-mix motor this not only allows amazing performance but also incredible durability.
Vita-mix is also quieter than blendtec.
Durability - I am young and have only had my vita-mix for just over a year (no problems with it ever, works amazing) but as I mentioned i sell the vita-mix 5200. This is usually done at a Costco. I see allot of people and hear allot of things. EVERY SINGLE DAY MULTIPLE people will come up to my booth and give amazing testimony. In a years time hundreds of people have told me that they have (and still use) a vita-mix that's over 30 years old. They say things like "The only problem with Vita-mix is that they last too long. I'm waiting for mine to die before I buy a new one!" and "We bought one 25 years ago and its the best purchase we've ever made." Vita-mix has been around for 90 years and they started making blenders in 1937. They are a great company (made in the USA) and make a great machine.
Vita-mix has a separate container for grinding grain. This container has a different blade to allow for a finer flour. Before 1991 the vita-mix only had one container for both wet and dry and you can use the "wet" container for grinding grain into flour as well (makes fine flour) . However grain is hard and moves really fast and will scuff the container. Its nice that a dry container is available this keeps the grain grinding out of your main container leaving it nice and pretty looking longer.
Size- Vita-mix is taller when the container is on it. If it doesn't fit on your counter due to a cabinet its so easy for most just to store the base on your counter and to keep the container nearby. A shorter container is also available.
I hope this is able to help out those who are deciding between these two machines. Just remember also about the 7 year warranty of the Vita-mix VS the standard 3 year warranty of the Blentec. I think that tells allot. Continue to do your research.
Good luck and happy blending!
My husband bought me a VitaMix and I couldn't imagine anything being better. I never had a Blendtec so I can't compare but as far as getting the job done...uhhhh....how can it possibly get any better. My VitaMix tears through everything. I had a regular ol blender before so when I made soups or smoothies there would be little chunks of veggies that the blender simply could not tear through so when I used the VM for the first time I was like WOW, now I see what people are talking about. Can't get better than that!