Oster blender vs Vitamix vs Blendtec vs Preethi Mixer Grinder - the agonizing battle to choose the right blender

Whew! thats a long title. However, I really want someone going through the same dilemma to be able to easily find this post. I recently did a lot of research about getting a blender which does a variety of tasks, but mainly for indian cooking.

Having recently moved back to the US and finding myself without a blender, the quest for a new blender/mixer began immediately. Since we are an Indian household, it is no surprise that our need for an appliance that fits all our blending/grinding needs is crucial. Indian cooking without some form of mixing/blending/grinding is a bit too basic!

My requirements for the right blending appliance:

1) Grind masalas and spice pastes for Indian dishes. This includes onion-garlic-ginger pastes, bisibelebath pastes, tomato puree. These pastes contain liquid, so the average coffee grinder will not do.

2) Dried spice mixes. Comes in two categories - first is for times when I need just enough spice mix for one dish, like arachivitta sambar, or for making a small batch of flax seed powder or chia seed powder. Another category is grinding large spice mixes like paruppu podi (indian lentil mix), sambar podi (Indian sambar spice mix) or rasam podi. I still bought the proctor silex coffee grinder from amazon  - at $12, this works great for the former but not for the latter.

3) Coconut chutney and other chutneys. Deserves a bullet point by itself as we mostly make less than 2 cups of this chutney. Big blenders can make it, but you’ll need to make a larger quantity to get the right consistency.

4) Idli/dosa batter in a pinch. I will soon be getting an Ultra wet grinder for idli/dosai batter, so the primary purpose of my blender is not to make batter. But, some batter in a pinch will be useful.

5) Smoothies! I love smoothies - both fruit based and green based. While I wont have one everyday, we have smoothies at least 4 times a week. Its my favorite way to consume my fruit for the day. Our smoothies are mostly fruit based and will include some spinach, but less likely to include kale or carrots. Sure it will be nice to drink it, but its an edge case requirement.

6) Cool vegan stuff - cashew meal/butter, almond meal/butter, gluten free flours, vegan mayonnaise and other vegan dairy alternatives that are either expensive to buy in the store or needed infrequently enough to not warrant a purchase.

Costco/amazon/walmart/target has a great  $30 oster blender which has 10 speed settings and is a really good blender. This blender can surely manage smoothies, idli/dosa batter, and purees for indian curries. What it cannot manage to do well is tough green smoothie (like kale), spice pastes and mixes of about 1 cup, oat/rice flours, or purees of small quantities. Its a fantastic blender if you know its limitations and are aware that those limitations will not inconvenience you on a daily basis. I have personally used this blender in the past for a couple of years and only have good feedback about its performance. However, its only 450W and not nearly powerful enough or versatile enough for my needs. I would need to supplement with other appliances.

Vitamix and Blendtec and others in this category - Both blenders are 1000W and above and. Great power for the smoothie addict, or for idli/dosa batter or for making flours, nut butters etc. But both come with heavy price tags. A vitamix needs a dry grinding jar sold separately and brings the bill to over $500, while blendtec needs only one jar and can be found at costco for $300. Both blenders will not perform well for any blending/grinding of small quantities, though vitamix has a tamper which might solve the problem. So even if you paid hundreds of dollars to buy this, I’d still need to buy something else for smaller jobs. The place where a vitamix/blendtec really shines for smoothies is for blending hard veggies and greens like carrots, beets, greens. If your diet lifestyle will involve such smoothies, then I would buy it. But for a banana/mango/melon - pear - spinach - nut butter smoothie, I would go with a lower power blender with a much lower price tag.

Preethi twin jar mixer/grinder from Amazon. This now ships and sells from amazon for a tempting price tag of $99.99 and comes with two jars - big and small. The big jar is good for blending liquids and the small jar is good for chutneys, powders, flours etc. Great value now that it comes backed by amazon’s return policy and customer service with prime shipping. This is 550W - more than the oster blender, but far less than vitamix/blendtec. This is the bomb for Indian cooking, but for things like nut butters, tough green smoothies, it will be an average performer.

I finally decided to buy the preethi mixer/grinder from amazon. For a much smaller price tag, I will be able to do a variety of tasks. This with my mini spice blender should be suitable for most needs.