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The Oster Versa is yet another in the sub-$200 best blender market that attempts to use ingenuity and a few shortcuts to produce the same level of consistency and product that the $500+ Vitamix blender puts out on a daily basis. But does that effort pay off without making you pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of a cold breakfast shake every morning?
Read on in my Oster Versa 1400 series blender review to find out!
Price: $174.98 on Amazon
Summary: The Oster Versa is a budet-priced powerhouse which may look a little awkward on some counters, but should fit right in with the techy crowd no problem.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Priced right for its power and size.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t
When I first pulled the Versa out of the box, I have to admit I was a little taken aback by just how…well…shamelessly Oster ripped off Tesla with all its design accents. Everything from the base of the unit to the lettering on the side of the pitcher just scream “Elon Musk-approved”, and while I certainly can’t blame them for trying to emulate one of the best technology companies on the scene today, just a bit more subtlety here would have been appreciated. Overall I don’t mind the look, and think everything is a bit more refined than what we’ve seen on competitors like the Ninja. Less clutter, more focus on getting the job done; everything you could want in a kitchen appliance.
At 9.3 x 10 x 17.5 inches around and just under 12lbs standing weight, the Oster Versa was just small enough to fit underneath our cabinets, and slid easily enough from where it was being stored to a place where we could actually use it on the counter.
Between the similarly priced NutriNinja Duo and the Oster Versa, the Oster was definitely the more “sturdy” feeling of the two, with a rubberized grip on the 64oz pitcher and more of an industrial approach to how the controls are handled on the front of the unit. A lot of what’s happening here is reminiscent of the the Vitamix approach – simplicity over all else.
The Oster Versa 1400 series blender system uses – if you hadn’t already guessed from the name – a 1400-Watt motor to buzz and blend through any ingredients you send its way. A single, hefty dial handles all the manual controls, and works just as you would expect it to with a quick clockwise turn dictating the level of blending power between 1-10.
Other than that, there are just four circular buttons at the base of the dial, one for each preset: Smoothie, Soups, Dip/Spread, and Pulse. To get the blender running we only had to plop the container on top of the gear driver, which fit well enough but didn’t have any sort of locking mechanism to keep the pitcher locked to the base.
Personally I don’t mind this as it makes it easier to get the blender on and off quickly, but anyone with kids should steer clear of this blender if they don’t like cleaning up 64oz of spilled boiling hot soup. Seriously, even the slightest push is enough to send the entire top-half of the blender tumbling onto the floor. Again, this is fine for people like me who basically spent the first year of their cooking career living in front of a blender (15 gallons of carrot soup per night – just as fun as it sounds), but as a general rule you don’t want to buy a blender that might tip over completely if a breeze blows the wrong way.
As always when we test a new blender, we first ran it through the ice test to see what kind of consistency it could put out on a dry run. The result was about 90% fine-ground snow, however there was still about 10% left that was filled with larger chunks about the size of a pea.
When we turned on the smoothie setting, we got mixed results (pun fully intended). On the one hand when we ran the smoothie with ingredients only (kale, frozen fruit, banana and almond milk), we got a buttery smooth consistency that was reminiscent (though not quite as smooth) as what we got with the Vitamix. However once we added some ice to the mix to cool things down, we got the result you see above. Somehow many of the ingredients separated, and we were left with a chunky film of bubbles on top, and nearly empty almond milk settled at the bottom.
Of all the sub-$200 blenders we’ve tested thus far, the Oster Versa was definitely one of the quietest. Now that’s not to say it’s quiet, per se, just quieter.
We ran the Oster Versa through three separate tests to determine its loudness profile: once dry with the 64oz pitcher, one with ice, and once in the smoothie cup filled with various smoothie ingredients. Of those runs the smoothie tests was the quietest, thanks to the muffling effect of the ingredients weighing down on the blade assembly. At the peak RPM we read a dB rating of 74.6, a number which climbed to around 98.7dB during the dry run.
Unsurprisingly the ice test was the worst offender of the bunch, registering an ear-splitting 102.1dB from over 5ft away. If you make smoothies early in the morning before your family is up you might be able to get away with it without waking anyone, but it’ll probably be a good idea to hold off on that 6AM margarita until daylight hours at the very least.
Overall the Oster Versa performed just as you expect a sub-$200 blender might, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Personally I was a fan of the brave design choices that the Versa goes with (no matter how much they resemble a Tesla logo), and although its smoothie performance could have a been a bit better, it was still well and above beyond what we’d expect out of a blender at this price.
If you’re stuck between the Nutri Ninja iQ and the Oster Versa, as long as you don’t need an additional food processor or smoothie cups added on top, this is definitely the model to get.