This should help:
Cooks Illustrated (think Consumer Reports for cooking, recipes, and kitchenware)
Is it really the king of blenders?
If you’ve ever ordered a smoothie at a juice bar or coffeehouse, it was probably made in a Vita-Mix. With a powerful motor and a price tag of about $400, the Vita-Mix is both the ultimate blender and a trophy appliance for any well-equipped kitchen. But how does this souped-up blender compare with the $40 Osterizer, which came out on top in the magazine’s testing of blenders? We set up a strenuous course of blending exercises to see just what these machines could do.
The results showed the clear advantage of the 2-horsepower motor that drives the Vita-Mix. The Vita-Mix quickly ground 4 cups of roasted peanuts into 2 cups of smooth peanut butter, while the Osterizer choked, its 0.6-horsepower motor spewing out fumes as it produced only finely chopped peanuts. With the Vita-Mix, we were able to blend 1 pound of whole frozen strawberries along with 2 cups ice, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 cup half-and-half into soft-serve ice cream. The blades of the Osterzier simply got stuck and refused to cut anything. Both machines were able to produce fine crumbs from several slices of bread, but only the 249-mile-per-hour blade tips of the Vita-Mix could produce hot fondue from cold ingredients in a mere four minutes.
To put the Vita-Mix’s superior capabilities into perspective, consider that the average food processor runs at 1 horsepower, a chainsaw at 3 to 4 horsepower, and a push lawn mower at 4 to 6 horsepower. The Osterizer simply didn’t have enough power to compete in the tough tests we had designed. But, then again, the Osterizer costs a tenth of what the Vita-Mix costs, and it works just fine when making smoothies and handling other tasks you expect of a (mere mortal) blender.
The Oster blender they refer to is the Oster Designer 12-Speed Osterizer Blender, Model 6663
The regular blenders they compared were Oster, Hamilton Beach, Farberware, Krups, Waring, Cuisinart, Sunbeam, and KitchenAid blenders, usually the top of the line models.
Here’s what they looked for that’d be useful for us (I don’t think we care how well they do pesto, do we?):
SMOOTHIES: We combined 1 1/2 cups semifrozen mango chunks (thawed at
room temperature for 1 hour), 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup strained berry puree, and 1/2 cup plain yogurt and set the blender on high speed, usually called liquefy for 30 seconds. Blenders that produced a fine, smooth puree that left little or no pulp in a strainer when passed through it were rated good; somewhat coarser purees that left noticeable pulp in a strainer were rated fair; and those which produced a very coarse, bulky puree that left noticeable chunks of fruit in
the strainer were rated poor.
CRUSHED ICE: We tried crushing 14 cubes of ice, with no liquid added, using the
ice-crushing mode if the blender had one and otherwise using the pulse mode. If the blender pulverized all the cubes into reasonably small, even shards, it was rated good; if the size of the ice pieces was very uneven and some of the cubes remained in pieces about one-third to one-half their original size, the blender was rated fair; and if whole cubes were left, the blender was rated poor.
FROZEN DRINKS: We combined one semifrozen 10-ounce can of frozen drink
mix (thawed at room temperature for 90 minutes) and 10 ounces of water, added three cups of ice cubes, and then set the blender on high speed for 40 sec-
onds. Blenders that produced a smooth, even slush that passed through a strainer completely were rated good; if the drink was acceptably smooth but left small granules of ice in a strainer, the blender was rated fair; and if the drink l eft any large
chunks of ice or whole cubes in the strainer, the blender was rated poor.
The only thing the Oster didn’t do best was crush ice - the Krups and Cusinart were best for that. They also said it’s noisy.