Edit August, 2019:The blender has run into issues twice since purchasing it. Two times, Oster has replaced it with a brand new one. Contacting customer service has been a breeze and obtaining a replacement has been hassle-free. They truly do stand by their 7 year warranty.
So many blenders on the market, so why choose this one?
I was looking for a well built, powerful blender and considered the usual suspects (Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja). Then I saw the Oster Versa 1400, and that quickly became my first choice. After a bit more research, I realized that part of the appeal of a powerful blender was flexibility- mainly, the flexibility to have a variety of jar sizes at my disposal- I don’t want to grind a few tablespoons of coffee in a huge, 8 cup container, or buy an outrageously expensive 4 cup jar to make but butters. That narrowed it down to the Oster Versa 1100 or one of the many Ninja models available. With those 2 choices at hand, I realized I was going to have to compromise either quality (Ninja) or power (1100 watts vs the Ninja’s 1500 watt model with a wide variety of accessories). Given the fact that I don’t plan on blending my phone or an avocado seed, I figured that 1100 watts would probably be enough for my needs, and planned on ordering the Versa 1100 from Amazon. Nevertheless, I found myself in Bed Bath and Beyond, and the saleslady talked me into buying a Ninja Professional 1100 watt system, which was slightly cheaper than the Versa with the 20% off coupon. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to test out the power behind a 1100 watt system before ordering the Versa from Amazon. I even figured that if the machine seemed sturdy enough, I’d keep it instead of the Versa.
Comparison between Ninja Professional and Oster Versa 1100
I’ll try to keep this short and explain what the Oster has going for it over the Ninja:
-Single blend cups come with lids that close. The Ninja’s single serve cups have a large hole that can not be covered.
-The Ninja’s jar blade system is attached to the the jar lid with a rubbery looking plastic material. The Oster’s blade system is large, metal piece which is nested into a jar bottom. (As an anecdote, I had a Ninja Prep a few years ago that totally burned out while I was trying to make confectioners sugar. The heat turned the sugar into caramel and completely melted the blade system).
-The versa comes with pre-set buttons, which means you can walk away from the system and let it do the work. With the Ninja, I had to be constantly touching the buttons. I never quite knew when smoothies were ready.
-The Versa has a 7 year warranty, and the Oster brand has been around for a long time
-The Versa’s replacements are cheap and easy to find (and if, for example, I ruin a blade, I would just have to replace the blade; not the whole blade and jar bottom system).
-The Versa’s reverse blade technology is brilliant- it dislodges food stuck to the sides without having to open the container. This is particularly useful when using the single blend cups (with the Ninja, I had to remove the cup from the base, unscrew the lid, stick a spoon into it to move the food around, screw the lid back on and set it back on the base).
-The Versa’s large jar lid has an opening that allows you to add food as you blend. The Ninja’s lid had to be completely removed, and there was one and only one way to remove it and put it back on- it was not necessarily intuitive or quick.
-And finally- and this was the clincher for me- standard mason jars can be used with the Versa using the Blend and Go cup’s blade and jar attachments. The possibilities are endless- I can grind coffee in a small, glass jar, pop on the lid, and store it. I can blend nut butters in the jars I plan on storing them in without having to mess with transferring the sticky butter to another jar and washing the container. I can have a dedicated garlic paste jar, and another dedicated spice grinding jar. I love the fact that you are not locked into exclusively buying brand-name jars for an outrageous sum, as you have to do with virtually every other brand. Perhaps Oster would prefer if I did- but the Mason jars work beautifully and often a ton of flexibility not offered with any other system. (This, by the way, was the main reason I chose the 1100 model over the 1400 model.)
As far as performance is concerned, both the Oster Versa 1100 and the Ninja 1100 watt model work pretty well. Thus far, I have made creamy cashew butter, ground coffee down to an espresso grind, and made a variety of smoothies. Iced coffee and slushy iced tea are a breeze. I made mock ice cream using a frozen banana and frozen berries (super creamy and had real ice cream texture- no sugar necessary and the kids devoured it). I made tabouleh in under five minutes using the food processor attachment (this is usually pretty time consuming as you need to finely chop onions, tomatoes and parsley). I love the fact that neither the onions or the tomatoes turned into mush.
I have not had it long enough to testify as to its durability or to try more recipes, but so far, I’m very pleased with this purchase.