Blendtec vs. Vitamix, Part 5 of 5: Dry Grinding

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This video is the fifth of five in a series comparing the Blendtec Total Blender and the Vitamix 5200.  The goal of the video series is to help you, the consumer, select a high-performance blender that best suits your and/or your family’s needs.  While the Blendtec and Vitamix are both excellent machines, there may be differences in appearance, operation, and/or performance that draw you toward one over the other.  Hopefully, this series will shed some light on these differences and assist you in making the best possible decision.

In this video we run a test on a popular practical application of high-performance blenders: grinding whole grains into flour. The goal of the test is to determine if there is any significant difference in the textures of the flours made with brown rice.

This test incorporates the same amount of whole brown rice, 1 cup, in both blenders and is performed using the recommended jars for dry grinding by both manufacturers.  With the Blendtec, the same jar that is used for every other function of the machine is used in this test as well.  Vitamix, however, recommends a different jar – sold separately – for the specific function of dry grinding.  It retails for $144.  In this test both machines are run on their highest speed settings for exactly 50 seconds.

This video has not been edited.

We can conclude from this test that both blenders do an outstanding job of grinding the brown rice into a flour fine enough to bake with in under a minute.  The texture difference in the two results is negligible, with only the slightest edge going to the flour made in the Vitamix.  This stands to reason as the jar used in this test is designed specifically for this function by Vitamix.

Textures of flours made in either machine can be specifically determined by the user and are contingent only upon how long the user allows the blender to run.  Obviously, the longer the flours grinds, the finer it will become.

 

42 comments so far. Have questions? Fire away! We can discuss it right here.
  1. Hi, I am wondering if I am going to be doing a fair amount of dry grinding (beans, rice, grains etc..) will it be best to just get a grinder made for grinding grains in to flour? I want one of these blenders anyway, so I thought cost wise I wouldn’t have to buy a grinder too? thank you for these videos :)

    • Blenderdude

      Deborah, if you are going to purchase a blender anyway, there is no reason you can’t make the blender your primary grinder, too. The exception would be if you are planning on grinding very large quantities at a time. I would recommend you purchase the Dry Grains container as well if you select a Vitamix. If you select a Blendtec, the primary container will grind as well as make everything else, but you should expect the grinding to take a toll on the container as far as aesthetics go.

  2. With either the Blendtec or the Vitamix, would I be able to both grind a grain into flour, AND at the same time blend in the other ingredients that would be needed to make a mix for pancakes, quickbreads, etc? Such as the sugar, salt, baking powder, powdered eggs, powdered milk, etc. Thanks.

    • Blenderdude

      Mark, that’s a good question, as this is something I’ve never actually tried before. I would imagine this is perfectly fine to do as long as 1) all your additional ingredients are completely dry, and 2) you are confident in your ratio of ingredients prior to adding them to your grains. Remember, sometimes whole grains take up more volume that they do once ground. Good luck!

  3. I know that the Blendtec jar will eventually “cloud” from a lot of grinding of hard grains/seeds due to abrasion. Is that the same with the Vitamix dry container? Or is it a harder plastic to resist clouding since it’s specifically for that purpose?

    • Blenderdude

      Ned, no, the Vitamix containers are made of identical material – only the blade assemblies are different. Yes, over time it will cloud, as will those containers with standard blade assemblies. It’s just a by-product of heavy use of your blender. I knowm any people don’t like it, but I view my cloudy containers almost as badges of honor. :-)

  4. Just watched all 5 vids. thank you for taking the time to educate us.

    have you any experience with the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender that Cook’s Illustrated rated second to the VitaMix? Cook’s did not test the Blendtec. Cook’s was going to continue monitoring the Breville for durability. I have been coveting a VitaMix for some time, especially the shorter next gen for my tiny galley kitchen, although common sense tells me the 5200 will do the trick and my pocketbook leans that way too.

    • Blenderdude

      Cynthia, I have never used this Breville model. At only 750 watts, though, it will be unable to perform to the level of most of the blenders discussed on this site. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a fine blender in its own right, however. If you end up with a Vitamix 5200, don’t for a second feel like you are “settling” for anything. As long as you can find room for it in your kitchen, you will be getting a machine capable of doing anything of which a high-performance blender is capable, performance-wise.

  5. have you any experience with the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender that Cook’s Illustrated rated second to the VitaMix? they did not test the Blendtec. Cook’s was going to continue monitoring the Breville for durability.

    • Blenderdude

      Cynthia, I do not. It may very well be a fine blender for most household applications, but at only 750 watts cannot be put in the high-performance blender category, as it simply does not have the power to perform to the expectations of those we discuss on this site.

  6. I live in Mexico so less access to buy extra jars and really don’t want to. So I ask for tips on nut butters and dry grinding chickpeas in my Wildside jar. And its mango season here…yay!

    • Blenderdude

      PJ, you do not need to purchase an extra jar to grind chick peas. The WildSide jar will do a great job with them. Depending on how much you want, I would grind about 2 cups at a time on the high speed. Stop and check it every 20 seconds or so until you get the texture you are after.

  7. Hi, I was amazed at the grinding capability and also with the warranty period – 8 years. But after research I see that people who have used Blendtec have an issue surfacing after almost 2 years of daily use: The seals will go on the blender top in 2 years if you use it daily, leading to fluid leaking from the jar. Am more inclined towards Blendtec but with this issue clouding my decision. Also it seems that Vitamix has a very good after sales customer support service compared to Blendtec. I see that on Blendtec you have mentioned of 19000+ use, so I guess you are the best person to comment on this issue. Could you confirm ?

    I really appreciate the way you have explained with video, the capabilities of both blenders.

    Thank you in advance for your time and response.
    Tirthankar De

    • Blenderdude

      Tirthankar, I have never had a container failure on any that I have used for personal blending. I am approaching 3000 cycles on my personal Blendtec and have rotated the FourSide and WildSide containers with it, with occasional use of the Twister Jar, too. I have read several claims about container failures, too, and I have no reason to disbelieve them. Just know they are not indicative of everyone’s experience with the Blendtec.

      I have had 2 container failures demonstrating the blenders for Blendtec, however. The machine you see in the video with 19000+ cycles is my “work” machine and I rotate several different containers with it for these demonstrations. Sometimes I’ll use the blender/containers 80 to 100 times a day. The gasket failures for each container I would estimate came after 4000 to 5000 uses for each. I used each for less than the 2 year period you mentioned but, considering the number of uses on them, this would translate to well over 2 years of “normal” use.

      The quality of the Blendtec containers has improved substantially since I began working for them in 2009, to the point where they now cover them under warranty for the same duration as the blender, itself. If bought separately, they are covered for 3 years instead of 1 as they were previously. I think this is a testament to Blendtec’s confidence in the product they are producing. However, if you are to believe what you read around the web, it does appear that some customers are still experiencing issues with the containers.

  8. When I saw the Blendtec with both the Wildside and the 4-side jar at Costco, I just had to get it. And the thing that made it the clear winner for me was that it was here now and it could do what I wanted it to do (grind hard grains daily) while the problem I had with the Vitamix was that I had to purchase the dry container for as much as I wanted to do it. And I looked it up before I left and it was something like $140 online. So I couldn’t stomach the idea of spending that much on top of the already more expensive Vitamix.

    I hear you about the tamper issue, it’s just that for me of the two things I really need, it’s the ability to do smoothies and grind hard grains. And as a bonus, the Blendtec fits under my lower-than-average cabinets (they are only 17 inches off the counter) and my wife is already in love with it :)

    Thanks BD, you were a big help. Oh and the reason I didn’t go with the Omni, is because of the same reason. It seems that out of the box, if someone wants to regularly grind hard grains, then Blendtec might be the better choice, at least in my opinion.

    • Blenderdude

      Congratulaions, Matt. You have a great machine. My recommendation is to use the FourSide for your daily grinding. You can still use it for other reasons, too, but it limits the “dirty work” you’ll be doing in the WildSide and you’ll keep it looking nicer longer.

      • Thanks BD, that’s exactly what I started to do.

        Btw, one thing I wanted to share that might help others decide. I didn’t realize how I would fully appreciate the timed cycles on the Blendtec until the other day. While I was making a smoothie (using the whole juice feature), my daughter got hurt and I had to immediately run to her aid which was nearly on the other side of the house and I forgot all about the Blendtec. Well, after all was said and done, I returned to the Blendtec and my smoothie was perfectly blended just waiting there for me. I realized now how much I appreciate that feature, as I’m sure as long as I was gone not only would that have been really annoying to hear it blending the entire time, but I’m sure it would have over blended had it not shut itself off.

        So that is something to consider and something I hadn’t thought of until it happened. My only real complain is that the nut butters are time consuming (but not necessarily difficult) to do… but I knew that before I got it and accepted that the Vitamix was better in that area.

        • Blenderdude

          Thanks for sharing this, Matt. I hope you’re daughter was alright.

  9. Years ago I had a friend who own a blender that was driven by a magnetic drive. He could reverse the blade direction while it was moving in one direction to another without slowing the blades down. The blades were flat not sharp and it could pulverize anything, I saw it eat a tin can lid like nothing. He did a lot of dry blending with it. Made his morning cereal from raw grains. Do you know what type of blender this could have been. They have since moved and I was trying to find one for my wife.

    • Blenderdude

      Jon, I once had a customer at one of my roadshows tell me his old Vitamix from the ’50s or ’60s could do this but I can’t confirm this for you. I recall the discussion was about how much torque and stress would be thrust upon a blender if this was done without the blades stopping in one direction, first. There are some common household blenders on the market today that will spin in two directions, but I don’t think any of them are what you are referencing. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help right now. If I can figure out which blender he was speaking about, I’ll update the site here in the comments section.

      • BD,

        I can confirm with near certainty that the old Vitamixes had this function.

        I am 52 and I remember those early informercials from Vitamix. I believe they actually are credited with being the first infomercial. Anyway, I remember the big point of those infomercials was the reversible direction. The selling point was being able to grind more powerfully.

        Anyway, i was always fascinated by the Vitamix, but could not persuade mom to buy one! Finally purchased my own from Costco five years ago. I have never regretted it.

        Side question: On an earlier comment, someone mentioned the 6 foot cord of the Vitamix. My 5200 has a 2-3 foot cord. Was this a defect, or did they change it recently?

        The short cord has always been a problem for me. I get up at 5 am and I have a small condo. In order to not wake my wife when I make my smoothie, I take it to the bathroom. However, with the short cord, I have to hold it in my hand to blend. It wont reach the bathroom counter. Not a big deal if I load the ingredients properly and don’t need the tamper…

        Anyway, thanks to Costco’s fantastic return policy, I know I can take my trusty machine back and exchange for a new 5200. I hate to do that, the longer cord would make things a lot easier. Do they all have those longer cords today?

        Thanks again! Great, really great videos. As a former Journalist, I appreciate your impartiality. Not an easy thing, I know.

        Ty

        • Blenderdude

          Ty, thanks for sharing and for the kind words about the videos. Regarding your cord, the standard length is 6 feet. I’ve had the Vitamix seen in my videos for four years, so your cord should be of similar length. I can see how they might vary a few inches here and there during assembly, but two feet is too short.

          • Thank you kindly for your prompt response.

            However, I was hoping to re-post before you did…

            You see, after doing more research on the 5200, and seeing that wherever the cord was mentioned, it was always listed as 6-foot long. Something in the back of my mind told me to look under the machine, dreading what I would see.

            Well when I did, I saw the cord was neatly tucked and coiled under the machine.

            I realized that the only defect was my brain! I’ve had it for five years and never looked under it. I am an idjit!LOL!

            Thanks again,

            Ty

            • Blenderdude

              Ty, that’s hilarious. Thank you for letting us know! :-)

              • Ty,
                Sorry mate but that was so funny, you made my day! Lol

      • Hi BD…I do have this model of Vita-Mix. It is the Maxi-4000. It’s 25 to 30 years old. The container is completely made with stainless steel. It still works wonderfully. I bought a 5200 model only because I wanted to see the ingredients being make either into a smoothie or juice. I did buy the Blendtec before the 5200. Purchased the Blendtec on 2-11-10.The model was HPA ES3. The counter shows 639 uses. I guess that show which blender I use the most. Thank you for your video’s
        Linda

        • bd

          Thanks for sharing your experience, Linda. I wish you many years of continued good results with your Blendtec!

  10. Can I grind coffee beans with the blendtec

    • Blenderdude

      Paula, the Blendtec will absolutely grind coffee beans. The only thing to keep in mind is that most coffee beans contain oils that will gradually discolor the container over time.

  11. Hi At present I am using a coffee grinder to grind flax seeds into meal as it does it finer than my current blender. Just takes while to do a large amount. I was wondering how well a job either of these machine will do in grinding flax seeds.

    With my current blender when whizzing flax seeds I get cavitation so have to stop it and push the seeds back down. Obviously with the Vitamix you can push the seeds back down. With the Blentec would the machine have to be stopped and push the seeds down like you did with the peanut butter. Of course I only want meal not butter

    Thanks
    Kate

    • Blenderdude

      Kate, if your flax seeds are dry, there will be no problems grinding in the Blendtec. I recommend blending no more than 2 cups at a time. Depending on how fine you want the meal, you may need to stop the machine and “scrape” the sides if the oils start to release before you reach the consistency you desire, but most likely it will be a perfectly fine meal before you have to do any adjusting. The Vitamix will also do a fantastic job grinding flax – even the “wet” container.

  12. Hi! I’m wondering if there is any noticeable difference if you use the Wildside in place of the Fourside jar on the Blendtec as far as grain grinding. Blendtec obviously encourages users to purchase both jars; however, I only have a Wildside and would prefer to hold on to the extra money if there isn’t a hugely appreciable difference using the Wildside exclusively.

    Thanks!

    • Blenderdude

      Melissa, in terms of performance there is no difference in the two containers. The only caveat is the size of the WildSide will require that you use a slightly larger amount of grains to grind. There’s no exact minimum amount to tell you to use, but I wouldn’t use anything less than one cup starting out. Two cups at a time is probably ideal for the WildSide, whereas it is probably the upper limits of what I would recommend you grind at a time with a FourSide.

  13. Hello, I was just wondering with all the information about green coffee extract I’ve been looking for a way to grind green coffee beans and was wondering if the vitamix would stand up to something as tough as unroasted green coffee beans. Seems like it would with corn being pretty hard itself. If you ever try it let me know how it works.

    Thanks

    • Blenderdude

      John, I have no personal experience with green, unroasted coffee beans but I have spoken to someone who has used the Blendtec for this purpose and it performed excellently. I have no reason to suspect that the Vitamix wouldn’t do just as well.

  14. Blendtec has a grinding attachment just for grains, right? You did not mention that and I was wondering about the functionality of that.

    • Blenderdude

      Betsy, there is no attachment for grains. With the Blendtec, the same jar and blade that does your blending will also do your grinding.

      • Perhaps Betsy is thinking of the Blendtec Kitchen Mill which is specifically for grinding flours from grains, dried beans, etc.

  15. hello
    did you try grinding grain in the wet container of the vitamix? (or blending wet ingredients in the dry container?) just wondering if it would make a great deal of difference…
    thanks

    • Blenderdude

      Good questions, Diane. Yes, I have used the “Wet” container to grind. It does a decent job, especially on the “softer” ingredients such as oats, sugar, and even rice. For the harder grains like corn, wheat, etc. you would definitely want to use the “Dry” blade. One reason why is because it simply does a better job. Also, continued dry grinding with the “Wet” container over time will prematurely dull the blades. But if one didn’t want to invest in the “Dry” container and wanted to only occasionally grind, it would be fine to use the “Wet” jar.

      And, yes, I have used the “Dry” container to make wet-ingredient recipes before. It does an okay job but, again, nowhere near as well as does the “Wet” container. I can’t see any real advantage to doing this, whatsoever.

  16. I watched your five videos…very interesting. You mentioned doing warehouse demonstrations. I saw a live demonstration at a Sams Club here in Tallahassee FL., maybe 1 – 3 years ago, and can’t remember the brand. So, I’m wondering if your demonstrations include Sam’s and if so, or even if not, do you know whether Sam’s club roadshows include one of these two machines, or maybe the Healthmaster?

    Also, speaking of Healthmaster, would you put this in the same category as the two you’ve demonstrated?

    I was impressed by the Sam’s live demonstration and wanted one but was put off by the price. Now that I make a veggie/fruit smoothie nearly everymorning to drink on throughout the day, I am seriously considering the investment in a high performance machine (my good quality blender is very slow and cumbersome).

    Thank you in advance of your response!
    Carol B.

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