There are a lot of questions swirling around why you should spend so much money on a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. You might wonder why you can't get something like the Ninja, which claims it'll blend anything? Although savvy Ninja marketing campaigns make it look like Ninja blenders can do anything, a one-off product demo doesn't mean that's going to be the case six months after you brought one home. The Everything Kitchens team pitted Ninja head-to-head against the new Vitamix Ascent series to determine if it's worth it to invest your money in a Vitamix, or should you grab a Ninja and save your dollar bills?
64-oz. Low-profile Jar included; 20-oz. jar & 8-oz. mini jar available
72-oz. jar, 8-cup food-processing bowl, & two 16-oz. jars included
1500W 2.2 HP Motor
1500W 2 HP Motor
10-Speed Manual Control
3-Speed Manual Control
Metal-to-metal blender jar to motor base
Plastic-to-plastic blender jar to motor base
Thick, blunt blades won’t dull over time
Thin, sharp tower of blades will become dull over time
Digital LCD, Speed Dial and Physical Switches
No LCD Display, Flush-Mounted Push Buttons
The Ninja Mega Kitchen System comes with 4 Jars: a 72-oz. blender pitcher,an 8-cup food processing bowl, and two 16-oz. Nutri Ninja Smoothie cups. All are constructed from BPA-free plastic. The plastic is not the best quality. Check out the Jar Drop Test and you'll see the Ninja blender jars break, chip, and crack from average falls.
The Vitamix Ascent Series blending jars have an updated design that makes them easier and more efficient to use. The most notable feature is the new Self-Detect wireless technology integrated into each Ascent jar. This allows the blender base to 'talk' to the jar, recognize the size of the jar, and adjust the power level and maximum blend time to avoid damaging the jars. The 64oz low-profile jar is extremely durable and will stand up to the inevitable drops and falls it'll take over the years.
Ninja's blender jars are very brittle and not very strong. This one broke after falling from the top of the refrigerator.
Vitamix features blunt blades with a slight taper on the edges. The blade is 4-pronged and has pointed tips. Vitamix blenders use a tamper tool to push thicker blends back down into the blades while blending.
The Ninja is famous for its tower of sharp blades that are designed to break down whatever you're trying to blend. Like your kitchen knives, the blades on the Ninja wear down over time and become less and less effective.
Vitamix uses thick blunt blades attached to an all metal assembly, Ninja uses sharp blades that will dull over time and are attached to plastic.
The Ascent A2300 features Vitamix’s classic manual speed-dial so you can control your blends the way you want them. The A2300 also includes 3 presets for hot soup, frozen desserts, and smoothies. When a preset is selected, the new LCD timer counts down to show you how long until your blend will be done. The toggle switches for the play/pause blending and pulse function feel sturdy and satisfying to press.
The Ninja has an outdated, flush-button interface that feels mushy to press. The buttons are not very responsive and can be a little confusing. There are no preprogramed timed functions on the Ninja, contrary to the somewhat misleading wording underneath the 1-Dough, 2-Blend, 3-Crush and Single Serve buttons. These are just 3 suggested speeds to choose from, not timed functions, and the Single Serve button can only be used with the smaller 16-oz. Nutri Ninja Smoothie cups. With a jar of a different size on the Ninja base, the Single Serve button doesn't even turn on.
Vitamix gives complete control with 10 speed settings and easy-to-press toggle switches. Ninja has flush-mount buttons that take a press or two to get going.
Vitamix uses metal for the gear coupling on their blender jars and the drive socket on the blender bases. This is one of the reasons these blenders last so long in your kitchen - the metal isn't going to wear down as quickly as the plastic components in cheaper blenders, like the Ninja. The Ninja uses plastic for both their gear couplings and the drive sockets, which can easily wear down and break over time.
Metal gears and couplings can handle more torque and will last longer than plastic. Vitamix is metal-on-metal and Ninja is plastic-on-plastic.
As far as raw power goes, both sport a 1500W motor underneath. Vitamix advertises that its motor can run at 2.2 HP, while the Ninja is not far behind at 2.0 HP. The motor power is what sets blenders apart; let's see how well Ninja can take on Vitamix.
We wanted to test the major functions of each blender, using real-world recipes that you can really make. We looked at how well each blender did at each task. For each round, we used identical recipes, blending for identical times unless otherwise noted. For a fair comparison, we chose Vitamix and Ninja blenders with similar specs, the Vitamix A2500 from the new Ascent Series, versus the Ninja Mega Kitchen System. The A2500 is Vitamix's middle-of-the-road model in terms of functionality and power; the Mega Kitchen System is one of Ninja's highest-spec'd blenders. Both are powered by 1500-watt motors and have similar jar sizes.
Hummus, everybody's favorite Mediterranean dip, is made from chickpeas, olive oil and flavored with just about anything. We had an abundance of onions, so we decided to do some caramelized onion-infused hummus. A good hummus should be thick and spreadable with no chunks or bits of food in it.
We were looking for how well each bender incorporated the ingredients to test the effectiveness of the blades and the engineering of the jar.
Recipe: Caramelized Onion Hummus
Blend time: 1 Minute
Vitamix We loaded the Vitamix with two cans of chickpeas, some water, lemon juice and our caramelized onions. It took about 1 minute for the Vitamix to completely puree our hummus from start to finish. The olive oil was completely emulsified with the liquid, with no signs of pooling oil on top.
The hummus had a great airy, creamy texture with no signs of unblended ingredients. The final product was as spreadable as mayonnaise, and tasted every bit as good as hummus you'd get at a fancy restaurant.
Ninja Exact same test for the Ninja, undeniably different results. What came out of the Ninja was more like a hummus smoothie. The hummus was very liquidy and very viscous - it poured out of the blender jar like a thickish soup, compared to the Vitamix hummus we had to scrape out with a spatula.
The Ninja simply didn't incorporate the ingredients very well. The oil didn't emulsify with the rest of the ingredients and instead started to pool on top of the hummus. We could taste the specific flavor of each individual ingredient, which was off-putting. The hummus was much too runny - it ran right off of the cucumber we dipped in it.
Ninja makes more of a hummus smoothie compared to Vitamix's fluffy and creamy hummus.
The jar design won this one for Vitamix. The jar is engineered to create a vortex that moves ingredients around the jar walls then brings them back down into the blades for superior blending.
Oil and water do not mix - but you can emulsify them. In order for oil and water to combine into one, oil particles have to be small enough to surround water particles in order to not separate. The vortex effect created by the Vitamix jar achieves full emulsification of the oil and water in the hummus that the Ninja’s jar simply could not manage.
Powdered Sugar Test
This one was simple: We put sugar into our blender, with the expectation of getting powdered sugar out of it. This tests the effectiveness of the blades. We're looking for a consistently fine, fluffy powder with no sugar crystals left unblended.
Recipe: Powdered Sugar
Blend time: 30 seconds
Vitamix We added 1-1/2 cups of sugar to the Vitamix and cranked it up to the highest speed for 30 seconds. That's all it took to create perfect powdered sugar. We sifted through it did not find any full sugar crystals left over, it was a nice, white, sugary dust, as powdered sugar should be.
Ninja Unfortunately the Ninja completely failed to make powdered sugar. After 30 seconds, we saw some of the sugar crystals trying to turn into powder but it was a grainy, sugary mess on the inside. Full sugar crystals were left over. We couldn’t tell that the Ninja had even tried.
Vitamix's milling ability is far superior to Ninja even though both have a 1500W motor.
Ninja has its signature tower of sharp blades running up the entire middle of the blender jar, whereas vitamix has thick, blunt blades at the bottom of the jar. Now, keep in mind, the Ninja Mega Kitchen System and the Vitamix A2500 both have a 1500W motor. Sounds like they would have an equal chance of making powdered sugar, right?
This is where the the Vitamix blades and jar excel. Instead of relying, like the Ninja does, on sharp-edged blades to slice and dice food, Vitamix’s blunt blades spin so fast they actually crush ingredients because there is more surface area for those tiny sugar particles to hit. This, along with the Vitamix jar creating that food-grabbing vortex, ensures all of the food you put into your blender gets pulverized. This also makes Vitamix great for milling whole grains for flours.
Ninja relies on the many sharp blades to chop food. The tower of blades actually prevent a vortex effect, which can lead to uneven and inefficient blending. If you like smooth food textures, or are wanting to mill your own grains, go with the Vitamix.
Hot Soup Test
Vitamix is famous for making hot soups without you ever turning on your stove. They’ve been known for this feature for so long, my vintage Vitamix from 1992 still churns out hot soup! How this occurs is brilliant in its simplicity: Those super-fast blades create so much friction, food heats up while its blending. We wanted to see if a Ninja with the same-size motor could do the same.
Recipe: Cheddar Broccoli Soup
Blend time: 5 minutes 45 seconds
Vitamix We filled our blender jar full of cheddar-broccoli soup ingredients then pressed the Hot Soup preset and stepped back. In a mere 5 minutes and 45 seconds, we had perfectly pureed cheddar-broccoli soup clocking in at 162 degrees - it was literally steaming. Vitamix delivers on its claim of making HOT soup.
Ninja We put the exact same recipe into the Ninja jar and lo! and behold, after 6 minutes of blending, that soup was still tepid at best. The Ninja couldn't do it. The Ninja's soup was a chilly 70 degrees, colder than room temperature. Even after blending for so long, the soup was still not nearly as creamy and velvety as the Vitamix’s. It still felt and tasted granular, with little broccoli bits floating around.
Vitamix can make hot soup from cold ingredients, no stove required.
You can add cold ingredients straight into the Vitamix blender jar and and end up with a hot soup. Again, it's the friction, caused by the blades in a small area, that heats the ingredients during blending. You'd think that with a comparable 1500W motor, the Ninja could also generate some heat. Alas, it could not.
Ice Cream Test
Yes, we were looking forward to this test especially. We love ice cream. We were looking for how well the blenders crush ice and how well the liquid ingredients freeze around the crushed ice, because that’s what creates a blended ice cream. The smaller the ice crystals and the faster they're moved around, the more frozen and creamy the ice cream.
Recipe: Chocolate Ice Cream
Blending Time: 1 Minute
Vitamix Vitamix has a dedicated Frozen Dessert preset function for ice cream. We added 4 cups of ice along with milk, cream, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder to the Vitamix and started blending. The ice quickly crushed and started to freeze up on the jar sides, so we used the tamper to push everything back down into the blades. After only one minute, we had thick soft-serve chocolate ice cream. The ice cream had very small ice crystals so it was smooth instead of "crunchy," and held its shape nicely.
Ninja We added those same ice cream ingredients to the Ninja blender jar and, sadly, got back very different results - an icy chocolate milkshake instead of ice cream. There were large chunks of ice and the mixture was completely runny. If you want milkshakes, I guess the Ninja can do it, but it's definitely not fast enough to create ice cream like the Vitamix.
Vitamix pulverizes ice with blunt blades. Ninja struggles to get ice crystals small enough with its sharp blades that dull over time.
Ice cream in a blender is tricky, Vitamix has the trifecta of design elements in-order to do so: blunt blades, efficient jar vortex, and a tamper. The Blunt blades provide a larger surface for the ice to hit when blending. When ice crystals hit the blunt side of the blade, it crushes into tiny pieces. The Ninja's sharp blades slice the ice instead, this can only break down the ice so far before it just can't get the ice crystals any smaller. The vortex created by the Vitamix also brings all the ingredients back down into the blade to pulverize all ingredients, the tower of blades in the Ninja prevent the vortex effect from happening. The tiny ice crystals freeze the liquid around it and freeze on the side of the jar, the Vitamix tamper pushes the frozen stuck ice cream back down into the blades to make a consistent creamy ice cream.
Bread Dough Test
Both Vitamix and Ninja advertise their blenders can make bread dough. We tested this claim with a dough recipe that is mixed and kneaded right in the jar, not by hand.
Recipe: White Yeast Bread
Vitamix As expected by this point in the test, Vitamix did a great job at mixing dough. All flour was thoroughly incorporated and there was a good amount of gluten development, as shown in the photos.
Ninja The Ninja actually has its own dedicated blender jar with special kneading hooks for kneading dough, so to give it the best chance, we used that jar. Although it looked like it was doing a swell job mixing everything and incorporating all the ingredients, it did not develop gluten very well. The dough was not very stretchy and broke apart when stretched.
Vitamix makes perfectly stretchy bread dough. Ninja's dough tears apart.
As you can see in the above photo, the "crumb" of the Vitamix bread is nice and evenly spaced, but the Ninja bread has an uneven crumb and did not rise as well. Even with Ninja having a dediacated bread dough hook with special blender jar, the Vitamix did a better job of kneading the bread dough creating an over all finished baked bread.
Smoothies are what most folks make most often in their blenders. If this is the same with you, you'll want your blender to do the best job making those nutrient- dense, sippable meals. That means no chunks, no strings, and no grainy, gloppy messes to try to choke down. For this test we wanted to see how small Ninja and Vitamix got all of our green smoothie ingredients.
Recipe: Green Smoothie
(1 Apple, 1 carrot, 3 brussel sprouts, 1 oz of kale, 8 oz water, one frozen banana)
Blending Time: 1 Minute
Vitamix Our Vitamix Ascent A2500 had a dedicated smoothie button that ran for 60 seconds. No tamper was needed for the smoothie, the Vitamix did a great job with his vortex effect blending all the ingredients. As you can see in the above below, there are no distinguishable bits of carrot, apple or kale - it's all one nice, consistent green color. This made for a smooth mouth feel, the pulp was very fine and didn’t feel grainy when we drank the smoothie.
Close-up of each green smoothie. Same blend time, same ingredients, same power motor. The engineering from Vitamix far surpasses the Ninja.
Ninja Ninja failed the hardest on the one test any blender should ace. This test revealed the most dramatic differences between the two blenders.
Just look at all the distinguishable chunks in the Ninja's blend. You can see actual hunks of kale and apple skin throughout the entire smoothie. Unblended hearty produce like kale and apple skin makes for an incredibly grainy and gritty smoothie, which is unappetizing, and honestly, almost undrinkable. I could see why some people might put smoothies down altogether if the only smoothie they ever had was from a Ninja.
Ninja Redemption Ninja did have include an individual serving-size smoothie jar in the set, so we went ahead and tested it as well. We could not fit the full recipe we used in the previous test, so we halved it.
Close-up of each green smoothie. The smaller Ninja jar did much better than it's full size jar, but still was no match for Vitamix.
The results were considerably better, with fewer distinguishable bits of fruits and vegetables compared to the standard Ninja jar, but you can definitely still see chunks of apple skin and there were still some full-on carrot chunks in the smoothie we made. This smoothie was drinkable, but the Vitamix definitely out-did the Ninja in the smoothie test, like it did in all of the other tests we put the blenders through.
Vitamix is the clear winner. Ninja can't pulverize hearty greens and tougher veggies like the Vitamix can. Especially with less palatable, nutrient-dense smoothies you need to have your ingredients blended as fine as possible. Sandy chunks of apple and kale are going to make a less-than-desirable smoothie like Ninja makes. If you are wanting to make smoothies a part of your daily life, I have to recommend avoiding the Ninja and going for the Vitamix.
Vitamix came out on top in every single test. I could never recommend the Ninja to anyone after seeing it fail over and over again. Ninja spit out gritty smoothies, crunchy 'ice cream,' and flat bread. None of that is acceptable to me when a product is being advertised as a "high-power" blender. Vitamix, on the other hand, has won my heart - it's incredibly easy to use and understand; it feels like a commercial quality machine; and it excelled at every single real-world test we threw at it. The unheard-of 10-year warranty shows how much Vitamix stands behind their products, so you can rest assured that you can rely on this powerhouse of a blender for at least a decade. The Ninja, with its plastic parts, just feels flimsy, and the blender jar can't survive even a short fall. When comparing the results, the hours of engineering and fine-tuning that obviously went into the Vitamix Ascent Series really shine through. The Vitamix is worth every single penny; when you invest in a Vitamix, you're getting a full decade of silky smoothies, steaming-hot pureed soups, and homemade flours from whole grains.
Want to know more about Vitamix blenders? Check out our full review on the Vitamix Ascent series here.
Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.