(updated September 22, 2013)
Introduced to the United States in 2009, The OmniBlend V is JTC Electronic Corporation’s flagship entry into the North American high-performance blender market. Manufactured in the Guangdong province in China and having been distributed world-wide for over 25 years, the OmniBlend V (also commonly known in North America as both the Omni V and Omni) advertises comparable quality and blending results as its more well-known American-made competitors at a markedly lower price point. The following is a comprehensive review of the JTC OmniBlend V and is intended for anyone in the market for a high-performance blender.
Package and Specifications
Though made in China, American and Canadian purchasers of the blender will receive a unit inventoried and serviced by the JTC’s exclusive North American distributor out of Eagle Mountain, Utah. The entire OmniBlend V package consists of a motor-base in a glossy black finish, a container with pre-installed blade assembly and corresponding lid, a mixing rod, recipe book, owner’s manual, and warranty card covering the distributor’s 7-year limited warranty. Edit: White and Red finish also vailable as of September 2013.
The square-shaped motor base has dimensions of 8” wide by 8 7/8” deep. The height of the unit with container and lid in place is 16 1/4” and its weight with an empty container is just under 9 lbs. The units distributed in the U.S. and Canada are equipped with a 120-volt, 3-pronged power cord that extends just under 5 feet from the motor base, the entire length of which can be wrapped and stored on the underside of the blender so that only as much cord as is necessary to reach an outlet is revealed. The base rests on 4 round, rubber “feet” which are 7/8” in diameter. On the underside of the base is an overload reset button.
The user interface is entirely on the front of the blender. From the user’s left is a power switch encased in a transparent rubber sheath which prevents liquid from entering the switch’s opening. While on, this switch is illuminated. Two rows of three soft-touch buttons, each, form the center of the interface. Buttons on the top row are marked Low, Medium, and High. Buttons on the lower row are marked in seconds: 35, 60, and 90, respectively. To the user’s right is a soft-touch button labeled Pulse.
Inside a glossy, wear-resistant black plastic base housing is a 3-peak horsepower carbon-brush motor. This motor has been engineered to operate continuously, self-regulate power, and sustainably cool itself at a maximum efficiency output of 950 watts. JTC Electronic Corp.’s factory engineers have concluded this to be the optimum wattage for yielding optimal blender performance, motor cooling ability and life expectancy, and noise reduction. In this article on high-performance blenders I’ve given a layman’s explanation of the role horsepower plays with high-performance blenders.
In February 2013, polycarbonate containers began being phased out of the Omni V packages in favor of those made from Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. The greatest perceived benefits of the newer jars are increased durability and construction from material free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical thought to produce adverse effects on humans when exposed to it in various levels. The BPA-free containers have been rated food-safe by both the FDA and UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories).
The container is square in shape with rounded corners, allowing for convenient pouring from any of three sides. From top to bottom, the container maintains this shape with minor tapering. With a maximum capacity of 70 ounces, it is stamped on one side with measurements in both ounces up to 50 and cups to 6, and on another in both milliliters to 1500 and liters to 1.5. A hollow handle contributes toward lowering the total weight of the container while allowing for easy drainage during cleaning. An approximately 1” lip extends from the underside of the container on all four sides, inside of which four rubber posts extend upward from a pad made of the same material atop the motor base. Together these features hold the container securely in place during blending.
A slotted drive shaft on the underside of the Omni’s blade assembly rests inside a socket approximately ½” deep. Both shaft and socket are composed of a durable polymer designed to withstand the high forces created by blade and motor against heavy load during use, yet at the same time giving or even breaking as necessary in order to preserve the motor, itself, when unusually excessive resistance is encountered. A damaged Omni drive socket can be inexpensively replaced and easily reassembled.
The blade assembly consists of 6 blades constructed out of a Japanese custom stainless steel alloy. Four 1” blades, 2 extending outward and parallel to the bottom of the container, and 2 turned upward at 45 degree angles, comprise the upper part of the assembly. Just underneath these 4 blades, 2 others point sharply downward, the tips of which hover less than ¼” from the bottom of the container. All 6 blades are extremely sharp and are suitable for both wet and dry ingredient blending and grinding. A ball-bearing chamber through which the drive shaft extends separates the blades from the container, itself. The blade assembly is not permanently affixed to the container, and can be easily disassembled for repair or replacement as necessary.
The Omni V’s lid is molded rubber and forms a seal from the inside of the container when fitted snugly. From each corner extends a flap wide enough for a thumb and forefinger to easily lift and remove it. In the center a removable plug fits into an opening 1” in diameter. Additional ingredients can be added through this opening during blending, but because of its relatively small diameter these will most likely be limited to oils, liquids and powders. Its primary purpose, however, is to allow for the implementation of a mixing rod which assists the user with the blending of larger and/or denser ingredients. The plastic rod is 9 ½” long and features a lip which prevents the rod’s end from reaching the blades when inserted through the lid’s opening. It is not intended to be an every-use component of the blender, but is advertised as an “insurance policy” of sorts against air pockets that could potentially develop during the blending of cold or dense ingredients, or large ingredients that because of their size do not reach the cutting bath of the blades on their own. The total height of the blender with tamper inserted is 19 ½”.
An 82-page, color photo recipe book entitled Deliciously Raw by Carmella Soleil is included in all packages distributed in North America. In it the author advocates for a raw food diet and has designed smoothie, shake, soup, salad dressing, spread, sauce, nut cheese, and desert recipes specifically for the Omni blender.
An owner’s manual and warranty card complete the OmniBlend V package. With the exception of the drive socket, the blender’s North American distributor covers the entire motor base, including the motor itself and user-interface controls, when operated exclusively for household use for a period of 7 years from the date of purchase. The drive socket, container, and pre-installed blade assembly are covered for household use for 1 year from the date of purchase.
When pressed a single time, each button on the interface panel will initiate blending if the power button is illuminated and in the “On” position. In the upper-left corner of each button is a small light that illuminates in red for as long as the function associated with it operates. After having been selected and the corresponding button pressed, the Low, Medium and High speed functions will run continuously unless and until any of the 7 user-interface buttons is pressed. This will stop the machine. The buttons associated with the timed cycles of 35, 60, and 90 seconds need only be pressed once. This starts the cycle during which the blender will run on high speed for the associated duration. At the cycle’s conclusion, the blender will stop automatically and emit an audible signal consisting of two tones indicating as much to the user.
Programmed into each of the timed cycles is a gradual climbing of the speeds from low to high. This allows the blender to break up ingredients on the bottom gradually so as not to induce an immediate, cavitation-like occurrence. During this climb, the low speed will run for approximately 1 second, followed by the medium speed for approximately 3 seconds, followed by a final ascension to high speed. This feature is also present on the High non-programmed function. After pressing the High button initially, the blender will start out on medium speed for approximately 2 seconds before transitioning to high.
The Pulse button does not contain a light, and the blender will run on High speed only for as long as the user holds it depressed. Long blending durations as well as short bursts are possible with this function.
Best blending results are achieved when the softest and highest-liquid content ingredients are loaded first into the jar, closest to the blades. Characteristic of other high-performance blenders, the Omni V’s blades are designed to use the liquid ingredients lower in the container to draw ingredients loaded higher down to them. These ingredients are then directed outward and upward, and the recirculating process (vortex) continues throughout the duration of the blend. The steady practice of “liquids low, solids high” loading of the container will not only yield optimum blending results, but should extend the life of the machine. This practice will also diminish the frequency with which the user will be required to implement the mixing rod.
On occasions where it is used, the rod must operate in conjunction with the lid properly fitted on the container, or the user runs the risk of placing it within the cutting path of the blades. Doing so will instantly destroy both the tool itself as well as the contents of whatever is being blended. One of the most common uses for the rod will be to combat cavitation. This is a common occurrence amongst all high-performance blenders in which an air pocket develops around blades spinning at extraordinarily high speeds. The mixing rod is designed to penetrate and, hence, eliminate these air pockets, enabling the blender to perform effectively. Cavitation occurrences are most frequent when blending large quantities of frozen ingredients or when making very thick recipes such as peanut butter. If ingredients loaded into the jar happen to be too large to be drawn down into the blades as designed, the rod may also be used to press them downward and into their cutting path.
Cleaning the container is as simple as filling 1/3 of the container with warm water and adding a small amount of liquid detergent. Depressing and holding the Pulse button for 10 to 15 seconds then rinsing the container should thoroughly clean it from all but the thickest dips and sauces. For any residue that remains on the blades after completing the procedure, a soft brush should be used. Cleaning by hand is strongly discouraged due to all 6 blades being extremely sharp. After rinsing the container should be inverted while drying. When necessary, the motor base should be wiped clean with a damp cloth only.
Though, at the time of this review, I lack the years of personal experience with the OmniBlend V that I have with blenders of other manufacturers, the machine’s ability to replicate several recipes to near or equal quality to those of its competitors has been noted. Regarding smoothies, for instance, the Omni easily handles large quantities of frozen fruit and yields an exceptionally smooth result, generally in under a minute for most recipes. As mentioned earlier, though comparable in motor strength to even the highest-priced blenders in its class, the Omni has been designed operate at peak wattage well below its total output capability. This is a somewhat unique design feature that, although might necessitate blending durations on certain recipes be slightly longer than those of some of its competitors, in theory should maximize the life of the motor. Depending on the recipe, count on 10 to 45 seconds of additional blending time in order to achieve similar textural results to smoothies made of identical ingredients in the highest-priced blenders currently available.
The Omni is also marketed as having the ability to micronize, or extract maximum nutritional yield from fruits and vegetables, by rupturing individual cell walls within them, thus releasing otherwise trapped phytonutrients into the bloodstream of whomever ingests the corresponding smoothie or whole juice. This ability has long been a selling point for other high-performance blender manufacturers and, indeed, if results in terms of texture of smoothies and whole food juices made from the Omni are compared with those made from its top competitors, it is easy to understand why they, too, are making similar health-benefit claims. This blender breaks down dense and fibrous ingredients to exceptionally smooth consistencies.
Even with wattage output governed, the Omni is capable of generating blade speeds that, along with ingredients, create sufficient friction to heat recipes to soup-like temperatures. The beginning temperature of the ingredients, especially that of any liquids used, will play a key role in determining the blending duration for any given recipe. However, the longer the machine is left to blend on the High speed, the more friction will be created, and the higher the temperature will climb. If starting with room-temperature ingredients, the user should expect normal blending durations of 3 to 5 minutes and possibly longer to achieve “hot” temperatures.
Likewise, frozen desserts in the texture of sorbets can be made in the Omni using the same high speeds, but with, in part, frozen ingredients and much shorter blending durations. The user might find the mixing rod especially helpful for this function.
The unique 6-blade design of the container includes two downward-pointing blades, the tips of which extend to just over the bottom of the container. This allows the user to make small quantities – well under a cup – of certain recipes which could come in useful when making single-serving sauces, dressings, and even baby food. These blades are also designed to be multi-purpose in that grinding of dry ingredients – to make flours, for instance – is done in the same container used for all other forms of blending.
In testing the OmniBlend V I have used both an assorted variety and unusually large quantities of dense and frozen ingredients thus far in various recipes but, as of this writing I have yet to subject it to either a particular set of ingredients or a specific quantity of such that present sufficient resistance to the blade assembly to engage the motor’s overload fault protection – a positive sign in and of itself. This built-in feature is designed to keep the motor safe from excess strain and potential overheating damage. Because the protection is engaged just over optimum wattage outputs, there is no requisite “cool down” period once the blender has shut itself off. Instead, the user must simply press the Overload Reset Button located on the underside of the motor base and blending can resume immediately.
A final benefit of the Omni’s self-regulating motor that must be mentioned is that even on the highest speed settings its noise output is considerably lower than that produced by blenders of competing manufacturers on similar settings. JTC has also designed a sound enclosure for the blender, sold separately or together with the blender in a package, should the user wish to mitigate decibel levels even further.
Perhaps the most noticeable drawback to relatively simple and easy-to-learn user interface panel on the blender is its inability to manually adjust blending speeds while running. Most high-performance blenders in the Omni’s class feature the ability, either via push-button controls or a manual dial, to gradually increase and decrease blade speed during a given cycle. To achieve a similar effect with the Omni V, the user must first stop the blender from operating at one speed, then choose another from one of two remaining speed options. Although the three speed options are more than likely sufficient for accomplishing just about any blending task, the option to select intermediate speeds by which to fine-tune individual recipes does not exist.
As noted above, the benefits of the OmniBlend V’s self-regulating motor and corresponding optimum wattage output are numerous. Also resulting from this feature, however, is that its governed power prevents the blender’s motor from turning the blade assembly at similar high-side RPMs as some of its more popular competitors. Assuming this was otherwise possible, the downside of such is that blending tasks, in general, will take longer to perform with the Omni than from some of its high-performance blender counterparts. These additional durations might range anywhere from 15 seconds to over a minute with smoothies, and could be up to several minutes with certain soup recipes.
Though high-performance blender manufacturers have for years touted their machines’ ability to extract maximum nutritional yield from fruits and vegetables via superior horsepower and blade speed, a study of exactly what power and speed combination is necessary in order to achieve this level of benefit from their blenders has not been conducted to the best of my knowledge. Therefore, there is no way to know if the Omni’s regulated power output has any potential effect in this regard.
The return policy and 7-year limited warranty covering the motor and control functions of the blender are comparable to those of other high-performance blender manufacturers. However, the coverage on the container, blade assembly, and drive socket is significantly shorter than that offered by some of the Omni’s more popular competitors on these components. Replacement of these particular parts, should it be necessary, is inexpensive relative to the overall cost of the blender and associated repairs can usually be completed by the user, though caution in relation to a potential voiding of the blender’s longer warranty should be exercised before doing so.
The OmniBlend V delivers quality results across the board in terms of meeting the functional expectations generally placed on machines in its class – those generally considered several levels above standard, department store-style blenders. When cost is factored into the buying decision, it would be fair to suggest it represents an exceptional value as most of its more well-known competition retails at considerably higher price-points. For those unwilling or unable to spend the kind of money the more popular machines at this performance level command yet wish to capture most if not all of the same benefits they provide, the Omni is worthy of serious consideration. At this point in my experience with the blender, I would not hesitate to recommend it.
Please use the comments section of this page to provide your own input on or experiences with the Vitamix 5200, to ask questions about it, or for clarification on anything you read in this review. It is my goal to assist you in any way I can in selecting the best high-performance blender for your personal needs.