Oster Versa: This Blender Roars

If you’ve been to a smoothie shop, you’ve probably noticed their blenders: hefty, solid square bases with large pitchers and plenty of power. Compared to your normal home blender, it’s not even a contest. The two big names on the market- Blendtec and Vitamix- have long cornered the market on “professional” category blenders, leaving a large gap in pricing between the household models normally priced around $100 or $200 and the more powerful ones that often cost $500.

Enter the Oster Versa. While Oster has made blenders forever- your parents probably had one- this marks their entrance to the higher-end of the market. And it’s definitely not your mother’s blender.

For starters, it’s huge- two feet tall, in fact, and too big to fit under most cabinets. On your countertop, it’s also likely to be too high for shorter folks to reach- we used a table, and found a space for it to hide when not in use. But size does matter, and the trade-offs are worth it if you have been disappointed in other blenders. The Versa will handle anything- from soup to nuts as they say- and do so with gusto. And the 64 ounce BPA-free jar offers 1/3 more room than many others, plus the extra space is definitely handy if you’ve ever had a smoothie spill over the side.

Plus, the unit’s size here is definitely an indication of power- these motors run on 1400 watts, about the most of any competitor. On the other hand, it’s impressively loud.  Our only major criticism of the Versa is the noise factor, as you will definitely wake up the house and possibly the neighbors as well. That’s perhaps a bit much, but it is the loudest appliance that we’ve tested.

Six blades make short work of frozen fruits, and we tried a variety of smoothie combinations with great results- smooth consistency, no chunks, thanks to one of the three pre-programmed settings. A recipe booklet is included, and though we didn’t try everything, we did test out a few items that are more traditional made in a food processor. One of the advantages of a more expensive unit like this is that it can serve double duty, handling preparation of things like salsa and dips, as well as making homemade peanut or other nut butters. The dial works nicely for controlling speed, and the base itself is heavy enough to avoid tips or and prevent too much shaking.

Cleanup isn’t perfect, but pretty good- the easiest way to clean the blades is to add a bit of hot water and soap to the jar and run it for a moment. After a month or so of testing, the Oster Versa has held up well, and we definitely appreciate the seven year warranty, a commitment that means it should be a workhorse for quite some time. Available now, online and in stores for around $300, it will change your blending life.

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