Nutribullet (600 Watts) Review

The base model NutriBullet blender makes a great green smoothie

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Base model NutriBullet is a powerful blender. Sharon Basaraba

While infomercials may describe the base model NutriBullet as a "nutrient extraction device", essentially this little workhorse is a medium-sized blender designed to create smoothies and sauces.  Since dozens of studies have shown that consuming more fresh produce is associated with lower mortality and fewer age-related diseases, does the NutriBullet deserve a spot in your anti-aging kitchen?

    What it is:  Mimicking the design of the popular MagicBullet blender, the NutriBullet boasts three times the power of that earlier model with its 600-watt motor.  It's designed with a blending canister that does double-duty as a drinking cup.   After you fill the plastic cup with ingredients, you screw on the blade mechanism and turn it upside down to fit into the powered base.  There are no switches to flip: simply pressing down on the clear cup engages the motor for continuous mixing.  As soon as you stop pushing the cup into the base, the motor stops.

    I'm a big fan of this type of design.  Compared with traditional blenders with an open bottom designed to screw into the blade mechanism, this inverted cup simply flips over for easy emptying and cleaning (and drinking!)  The blades are sharp, so as with any conventional blender, you can shred a silicone spatula trying to remove hummus or a nut butter before washing.

      Still, getting every last drop of a smoothie or sauce once the blade mechanism is removed is as easy as scraping the cup.

    What comes in the package:  The standard NutriBullet includes:

    • A charcoal metallic power base (different colors such as red, blue and green are also available)
    • 1 extra-large cup (24 fl oz/750 ml), with additional screw-on rims
    • 1 tall cup (18 fl oz/550 ml)
    • 1 extractor blade for heavy-duty mixing
    • 1 milling blade for flours
    • 2 cup lids
    • 2 short cups (18 fl oz/550 ml)
    • User manual with recipes and meal ideas
    • A "pocket nutritionist" small book designed as an in-store guide with tips on choosing fresh produce, how much to buy, etc.

    How it works: A quick-start guide comes with the device, suggesting the following components of a so-called "nutriblast", essentially a green smoothie.  First, use about 2 cups of leafy greens which comprise half of your smoothie ingredients,  Add a variety of fruits or vegetables as the second half, and fill to the MAX line indicated on the cup with water.  Screw on the extractor blade, turn the cup over and insert it into the powered base.  Blend for no longer than a minute at a time, waiting another minute before blending again, up to a total of 3 times.  Tapping the cup between blending cycles or gently shaking it will ensure that all the ingredients make contact with the blades.

    Ease of cleaning:  As mentioned, this style of blender can be easier to clean than models with an upright jar that screws onto the blades.

      The manufacturer recommends washing the cup and blades by hand immediately after using to prevent food from sticking.  It's quite simple to remove the silicone gasket (which prevents leaking) from the blade mechanism and clean under running water without immersing the blades into the sink.  If some of the ingredients are stuck, you can fill the cup half-full with warm, soapy water and pulse it on the mixer base for 30-45 seconds as directed.

    How well does it make a green smoothie?  For me, this is a real litmus test of a blender because a green smoothie holds little appeal unless the ingredients have been mixed in a true homogenous beverage.  It's tough enough to get past the color, without it looking like sludge as it's poured into another glass or sucked into a wide straw.  The 600-watt NutriBullet model does an effective job of blending even robust greens like red chard and kale - important when you're trying to preserve the longevity-boosting fiber you'd otherwise toss with a juicer.

    How well does it stand up?  The early rush to purchase NutriBullets when they were first launched seemed to cause some customer-service headaches thanks to grinding motors and leaking blender cups.  My own unit had to be returned to the kitchen retailer because of a loud scraping noise when mixing and rusty residue which appeared in the top of the power base.  The exchange model had no such problems and I've been happily using it as a staple in my blender fleet for over a year without problems.

    Warranty:  On its site, the NutriBullet warranty covers the device for a full year against manufacturing defects.  While I didn't have to contact the company directly for my exchange, the links for reporting a problem online are clear and a repair or replacement is promised (excluding shipping and processing fees).  Most reputable retailers will offer a replacement as well, if you're experiencing problems within a year of the purchase.  If ordering from the manufacturer's website, an additional 4 years' warranty coverage can be purchased for about $15.00, nearly rivaling the seven or eight years of coverage offered by Vitamix and Blendtec.

    Accessories:  Another impressive aspect of the NutriBullet marketing and web support is how easily replacement parts can be purchased online.  Extra cups, extractor blades, even custom carrying cases are offered at very reasonable prices on the company's website.

    Is it worth upgrading to the NutriBullet Pro 900 Series?  I own both the 600-watt and the more powerful (900-watt) Pro Series NutriBullet blenders.  The main difference beyond the heftier horsepower is that the Pro Series comes with a nice flip-top lid that will fit any of the cups, and a full hard-cover recipe book.  The Pro Series will achieve a smoother blend in less time, and I've had no mechanical problems with my model (also good reports from the kitchen store where I made my purchase; they initially had far more returns of the 600-watt NutriBullet). 

    Bottom line:  A solid smoothie blender for its $80-110 price tag.  If you have an extra $30-40 to spend, consider the more powerful Pro Series for its quicker blending ability.  If not, you won't be disappointed with the smaller motor and you can still buy more tall cups or additional blades online.  You also have the option of purchasing the extended limited warranty for a total of 5 years' coverage.

    How healthy eating habits help you avoid disease:

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