Top positive review
December 28, 2012
I got this blender for my wife for Christmas. She always hated how our cheap, $50 blender couldn't handle ice when making smoothies. I didn't know anything about the Ninja, but it seemed to be gaining a lot of popularity so I decided to look into it. The thing that really sold me on this blender was simply the fact that it could handle ice like it's nothing at all (it can quite literally turn ice into snow in a matter of seconds) and even though I wanted a Vitamix, I just couldn't justify spending $400+ if this blender could do what we wanted it to do.
I also liked that it came with the single serve option, because not only can we get rid of our Magic Bullet, but sometimes blending is a hassle because we don't feel like cleaning the pitcher. But with the single serve, it is a lot less hassle to clean, plus there isn't anything wasted because we can make just the right amount. Basically it has all the same benefits that the Magic Bullet does. And yes, even the single serve pitcher has no problem with blending ice.
This blender is by far the best blender I have ever used. You can *easily* tell the difference between this blender and regular, non-high end blenders. But I also noticed that a lot of people seem to be comparing this to a Vitamix or Blendtec, and I'll say it's just not going to stack up compared to those blenders (there is a reason those blenders cost more than 3x the amount this blender does). So if you've got your heart set on a Vitamix or Blendtec, and for you having the absolute smoothest drinks are worth that kind of money, then you might as well take the plunge and get what you want. But if you're like me and simply wanted to have great smoothies, but you're not expecting Jamba Juice level quality, then this is a really great blender.
A few things need to be said though:
-The six blade technology seems great on paper, and has its advantages. But one downside is it makes it so you cannot fit as much into the pitcher as it takes up some room. That is probably why Europro gave this thing an extra large pitcher. But on the plus side, I've noticed a lot of cheaper blenders have problems with the contents getting stuck at the bottom near the blades while everything else above it doesn't get blended. That's usually because the cheaper blenders simply don't have the power to make a powerful enough vortex like the Vitamix does. Also, because of the Ninja's blades being shaped more like a food processor's blades, it makes it easier to make things like salsa using the pulse option. A regular blender tends to blend too much, even when using the pulse option.
-The description is wrong, this unit is 1100W, not 1000W.
-It makes AWESOME fruit smoothies. But I tried a green drink that was nothing but spinach, carrots, apples, and a cucumber. Aside from the fact that it was the nastiest drink ever, it was too pulpy to drink. I'm not sure how a Vitamix would have handled this disgusting concoction, but I've heard a lot of complaints that the Ninja doesn't handle green drinks very well. But I have found that if I essentially make a fruit smoothie, made of things like banana, strawberries, or blueberries, and then throw in a handful of leafy greens, it handles it very well.
I'd recommend this blender to anyone who wants to have a good, heavy duty blender, but cannot afford to spend $400+ on a Vitamix. It's stylish, it makes the best smoothies I've had from a home blender around this price, and it's got a lot of power for a reasonable price.
UPDATE 2/8/2013: My wife and I have been using this blender just about every single day, two to three times a day since getting it. So far it is still doing very well and working as good as new. But with more experience with it, I just wanted to give a little more details.
If you're reading this review and wondering whether or not you should get this model of the Ninja or the regular $99 Ninja Pro without the single serve, I would say you should really get this Ninja. Because one problem I have found with the big pitcher is that it cannot grind flax seeds because the blade sits about an inch from the bottom of the pitcher. This means that if you put flax seeds (or some other grains) into the pitcher the blades will spin above the seeds and they won't get get ground. The only way around this is to put in enough flax seeds so that they can reach the blades. Or a better way is to use the single serve cups. The single serve cups have a more traditional blender blade set up that sits at the bottom of the cups and this makes grinding flax seeds a breeze.
Also, there has been concerns with the Ninja making green smoothies. In general, fruit smoothies turn out very smooth in the Ninja blender. Green smoothies can also be done. However, it partly depends on what you consider a good smoothie. The Ninja can blend green smoothies to a drinkable consistency, and you'll never have a "chunk" to chew if you let it blend long enough (at least for a minute or two on speed 3) but it will often be gritty. However, the single serve cups are the key to make the green smoothies into a "Vitamix-like" consistency. In general the single serve cups make better smoothies than the big pitcher does. Also please see the comments on this review where I give a link to the basics of making a green smoothie. I think it can help people out a lot, as it really helped me.
So what is the big pitcher good for aside from the obvious (more volume)? It can make great fruit smoothies, it can make drinkable green smoothies (but not as good as the single serve cups) and I use it to make homemade peanut butter! I just go to Winco and buy some dirt-cheap bulk peanuts and put them into the blender. Then I blend it on 3 for a few minutes and before I know it, I have a real, home-made peanut butter. Also, as I said before, because of the big pitcher's food processor-like blades, it does a really good job of chopping food without blending them. I use it all the time to "shred" cabbage for coleslaw, or chop onions. And of course, if I want a large volume of smoothies (even green ones) I'll use the big pitcher.
Overall, if not for the single serve cups, I would probably give this blender a 4 out of 5 stars. But the single serve cups make up for the deficiencies of the pitcher. The main point is that the single serve cups can make fantastic smoothies while the big pitcher can only make great smoothies. But the big pitcher is good when used as a food processor, which the small cups cannot do. And the small cups are better for grinding grains like flax seeds.
Final Update (10/9/2015): Since writing this review, there have been other blenders that are better choices and are much more affordable than a Vitamix. I would suggest looking into: Omniblend V, Oster Versa or even the Ninja Ultima. Each of those blenders will do a much better job than this blender, and any one of them are significantly cheaper than Vitamix (although you can get a refurb Vitamix for a pretty good price).
This blender was good for the time, but as with most technology, time brought us better, more affordable (than Vitamix) options.