When it comes to buying blenders, there are two big names: Blendtec and Vitamix. We’ve test-driven a few of the Vitamix versions (Read reviews of the Vitamix 5200 and the Vitamix Professional 750), and now we’ve been able to give the Blendtec Designer 625 a try. Read on to learn what we concluded.
About the Blendtec Designer 625 Blender
With a 3.0 peak horsepower motor, the Blendtec Designer 625 blender is one of the most powerful on the market.
It’s one of the few blenders on the market that claims to be powerful enough to heat food merely by the friction of the centrifugal force.
The blending jar is made from impact-resistant, BPA-free copolyster, and has a design intended to make the blending process more effective: the squared jar has a fifth side to increase the width of the jar for more capacity and give more space for ingredients to move around. It also has two ridges inside that help break up the circular movement of ingredients, helping them to blender faster. The blade is blunt for safety, and with two prongs that turn up at the ends, helping to cover more surface area of the food it’s processing. The flexible lid has a removable plastic insert that can be removed for adding ingredients.
The control panel, however, is what makes this blender seem truly state-of-the-art. Unplugged, the base of the blender is just a sheet of glossy black plastic.
Plugged in, a power button (bearing an uncanny reference to the Apple power buttons) appears. Press it, and the touchscreen illuminates, with four buttons for the preprogrammed functions (smoothie, ice cream, whole juice, or hot soup), a pulse button, and a sliding bar control for the six speeds.
The Blendtec Designer 625 to the Test
The first time I tried the Blendtec, I piled my green smoothie ingredients in the jar (liquid on the bottom, solids next, frozen chunks on the top, just like the instruction manual recommends), and pressed the “smoothie” button.
It roared to life, starting slow then speeding up, and the flecks of spinach on the sides were sucked into the vortex to turn the mixture a vivid green in about a minute. The test of a good blender is always how well it does with leafy greens, and this one passed the test with flying colors: the finished smoothie had the luxurious texture of a milkshake, and was still icy cold from the frozen bananas.
It also excelled at pulverizing rolled oats into flour, heating some canned tomatoes and other ingredients into a creamy, piping hot soup, and turning ice cubes into icy powder. I wasn’t sure if I believed the “whole juice” cycle, which claimed to turn entire fruits and vegetables into juice, but I threw a carrot and an apple in, pressed the button, and sure enough, it turned the produce into a nutrient-packed juice. I liked how the digital display counted down the seconds remaining in a cycle or, when using the manual speed controls, it counted up the duration.
The design of the blender made it a pleasure to use: the square shape made it easier to position the blender onto the base (it just sits on top without the need for twisting or locking in place.
Rubbery feet on the bottom elevate the blender (the company says this helps with air flow to keep the motor cool) and also keep it gripping the counter rather than “walking”. And the sliding bar on the touchscreen, which adjusts the motor speed, was fun and easy to use. I also liked that the blade has been designed to be multipurpose: you can use the same blending jar to grind dry ingredients like grains, or even to knead bread dough.
The Blendtec jar is all one piece; the base and the blade do not come off as in some other blender models. But cleaning it is super-easy: just fill the blender halfway with warm water, add a drop of dish detergent, and blend for 10 seconds or so. (It’s best to do it right after use, before the food has the chance to dry)
There were a few small things I didn’t like about the Designer 625. First, although the jar capacity is technically 90 ounces, measurement markers on the jar only go up to 36 ounces. I asked a company spokesperson how much the jar could be filled and he said that the preferred capacity is no more than 60 to 75 ounces… so why not extend the measurements to that volume?
Second the manual that comes with the blender is disappointingly vague. It doesn’t identify which of the various icons on the control panel correspond to the different preprogrammed settings, or explain how to make ice cream with the preprogrammed “ice cream” setting, or tell you which setting is best for crushing ice. And it doesn’t tell you what the mysterious number is that appears every time you turn on the blender …. I learned from the product description on an online retailer that the number is a tally of how many times you’ve used the blender in its lifetime, an interesting but not particularly useful fact.
But it’s easy to see why Blendtec has a cult following, it’s a good-looking machine that won't disappoint on performance.
- Easy to Clean
- Instruction booklet not detailed enough
- 4 preprogrammed cycles plus a variable 6-speed control and pulse
- Illuminated, digital touchscreen controls
- Jar made of BPA-free copolyester
- Jar size: 90 ounces (Preferred capacity 60 to 75 ounces)
- Available in 7 different colors
- Dimensions: 7" wide x 15.5" tall x 9.25" deep
- Weighs 9.25 pounds
- 8-year warranty