Comparing the Ninja vs Vitamix is like comparing apples to oranges. In this article we’re going to attempt to make a fair comparison of Vitamix with the low-priced and heavily promoted Ninja Professional blender. This isn’t as easy as it looks!
The Ninja line of blenders are manufactured in China and are very competitively priced. The Professional Series retails for around $100, or less than 25% of the cost of our Vitamix 5200.
How did we justify the huge cost differential? Well, in our opinion, it’s a little like comparing the cost of a bicycle with an automobile: both are machines that can get you places, but it’s unreasonable to expect a car to be cost competitive with a bicycle, or for a bicycle to perform the same as a car.
The Ninja Pro is a stripped-down, one speed blender made with inexpensive materials. For some limited uses, it’s quite effective. As we’ve discussed before, the Vitamix is a versatile, multi-purpose appliance built to provide flawless performance for years. So of course the Vitamix is more expensive – it’s a totally different appliance!
But should you consider the Ninja Pro as a low-cost alternative to the Vitamix?
Let’s have a detailed look.
Consumer Reports Muddies the Waters
In January 2013, Consumer Reports rated the Vitamix 5200 and the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004 equally as top performers in its blender ratings tests. The Ninja model selected is an unusual design, with a top-mounted single speed motor, and it retails for a whopping $60. We have real reservations about any test that results in these two very different appliances achieving equal ranking.
The Consumer Reports summary admits that the Vitamix model has many additional features, but evidently discounts the value of all of them! Likewise, there’s no mention of the durability of the two products.
Look up reviews on virtually any other website and you’ll find a lot of complaints about Ninja products – not surprisingly, the cheap materials used to keep costs down tend to fail, sometimes in spectacular fashion. We read one review of a customer who broke a Ninja blender while testing it in the store!
Nevertheless, for customers with budget constraints and modest blending requirements, the Ninja models may be a suitable choice. For straightforward, light-duty recipes – making simple fresh fruit smoothies, salsa, and so forth – the Ninja does a pretty good job of quickly blending ingredients. We don’t dispute its appeal as an entry level appliance – but that’s not the space where Vitamix is competing.
We think the Consumer Reports test is misleading because it may lead prospective customers to believe that the two top models are really viable alternatives to each other. In fact, they’re very different appliances with different capabilities, and aimed at very different audiences. Shame on you, CR!
A Closer Look at the Ninja Professional
Without attempting to compare it to the Vitamix or any other blender, let’s examine the Ninja Professional in a little more detail.
Unlike the model in the Consumer Reports tests, the Model NJ600 is a standard blender design, with a motorized base and removable blending container. It retails for around $140 on Amazon. The blender weighs about 7 pounds with a 1000 W motor featuring three speeds plus Pulse controls, and a 72 ounce BPA-free plastic container.
Ninja blenders use a unique “Six Blade” technology that receives mixed reviews. The removable blade assembly is mounted on a spindle with three sets of dual blades set at different heights. Some reviewers praise the machine’s blending capabilities; others complain of incomplete, uneven results (see user-posted photos on the Amazon site).
The removable nature of the assembly cuts both ways (pun intended!) too: along with the blending container and the lid, it’s dishwasher safe, which is convenient, but many users complain of getting frequent cuts when handling the assembly. A number of reviewers questioned the overall safety of the blade design.
Finally, there’s the whole issue of build quality. To maintain their low price, Ninja products are necessarily constructed of inexpensive materials – lots of plastic, nylon gears, that sort of thing. You’ll find a substantial number of complaints online regarding the durability of Ninja products – parts bending or breaking, scratches, or just breaking down entirely. The Ninja Pro Series blenders have a two year limited warranty with a $19.95 shipping and handling charge.
Ninja vs Vitamix may not be a total apples to oranges comparison, but there’s no doubt that Ninja blenders are considerably more limited and aimed at a different customer base than the Vitamix. There are some basic blending tasks where the two brands overlap, but little comparison between the versatility and build quality of the Vitamix when compared to the much cheaper Ninja.
For a kitchen appliance, there’s no arguing it: the Vitamix blender represents a significant investment. We believe that investment is justified, based on the versatility of our Vitamix, as well as its durability, reliability, and anticipated longevity.
If our $450 blender lasts ten times as long as a $100 blender, it’s a good deal – and that’s our expectation. Have a read at our cost analysis of buying a cheap blender vs the Vitamix here.
We didn’t want a single-purpose appliance that we would throw away in a year or two – instead, we wanted a blender we could use in multiple ways, and in which we had confidence that it would continue to operate for years to come.
We’re not dissing the Ninja – for what it is, it’s a good product. Look at the comments and high rankings on Amazon or other sites, and it’s clear that for some customers, the Ninja is a great fit.
At the same time, note the comments of those who rated the Ninja poorly – those comments are instructive too. Finally, consider your own personal expectations, requirements, and budget.
We are confident that if you make the decision to invest in a Vitamix product, you won’t be disappointed.
Have you owned a Ninja blender? What was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below!