Pros: industrial grade, high power, versatile
Cons: Had to wait over a month to get it, loud
In the world of juicers, blenders and nutrient extractors, I was faced with the ultimate decision... Which machine was best for my wife and I? I was leaning toward the NutriBullet for some time. I saw their infomercial and I was sold. I learned the difference between a juicer, a blender and a super food extractor.
A juicer leaves you with just the juice and copious amounts of SUGAR which (even in its natural form) is not good for anyone on a lower-sugar diet. Not only that, but juicers leave behind all the nutrients in the form of pulp - which is then discarded.
A blender makes smoothies, mixed drinks and pancake batter. The smaller blades (usually located at the bottom of the pitcher) do a less-than-adequate job of liquefying everything.
A machine capable of extracting all of the nutrients while pulverizing everything into liquid form becomes a much better way to absorb the important nutrients that our bodies need.
After seeing the infomercial for the newest Ninja Mega Kitchen system, I quickly changed my mind. Trouble is, so did many other people and the result was that they couldn't meet the demand and I had to wait over four weeks to get it.
I realized that this machine (like the NutriBullet) is a single-serving nutrient extractor, but the Ninja is actually four machines in one. It's a complete nutrient juicer, a dough mixer, a food processor and frozen drink maker. This machine makes sauces, ice cream, soups, sorbet and many other foods and desserts. For about $60 more than the NutriBullet, this Ninja is much more cost effective in the long run.
With the NutriBullet, you'd pay six "easy" payments of $19.99 (or $119.94). If you ask for the "better price to match Wal-Mart and Target" They'll lower the monthly payment to $16.66 ($99.96) with FREE shipping and it comes with an additional hard cover recipe book "Naturally Healing Foods" and 1-year warranty. Yes, you can buy an extended warranty and extra cups, lids and handles.
With the Ninja Mega Kitchen System you'd pay four payments of $39.95 (or $159.80) and it comes with a 5-year warranty with an optional lifetime warranty for an additional $29.99. It doesn't come with a thick hardback book, but it does come with enough recipes to get me started AND I have found tons of recipes on the internet. I'm probably going to purchase the NutriBullet hardback book for an additional $34.99 (with shipping). DO NOT buy this book on the net because the asking price is almost double on Ebay and Amazon.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX:
The 24,000 RPM, 1500 watt - 2HP machine base, the 72 ounce pitcher, the 40 ounce pitcher/mixing bowl, two single serving blending cups with blades and "on the go" lids, the Healthy Living Guide, a dough blade and instructions.
WHAT WE LOVE:
Unlike other machines, the Euro-Pro Ninja incorporates six blades in three tiers mounted on a centered spindle. This does a much better job of blending, pulverising and extracting. This is especially important because of its larger 72 ounce pitcher. I believe that if the Ninja used the typical four-blades at the bottom, it wouldn't have nearly the efficiency that it does.
The Ninja has a 2 horsepower motor that generates a whopping 1500 watts of power! It's so powerful that it will turn solid ice cubes into powdered snow while crushed ice should be used in the 600 watt NutriBullet.
I love that both the 40 ounce bowl and the large pitcher's lids have an integrated snap lock top and the large pitcher has a small pass-through opening to put items into the mix without any mess.
Both of the cups have three indentations that serve a dual purpose; helps mix what's inside the cup once it's inverted onto the base and it really helps wet hands grip the cup when removing the twist-off mixing blade base from the cup.
WHAT WE'RE ON THE FENCE ABOUT:
Both pitchers and both cups are heavy duty plastic that looks like glass. It's even slightly green tinted plastic. Looks great though.
It has only three speeds - 1- dough, 2 - blend and 3 - crush (ice) and then it has a pulse cycle.
With more power comes more noise - This thing is LOUD! So best to make large batches of your specific drink recipe the night before because you will wake everyone up in your house.
The machine has a larger footprint and requires additional storage for its accessories. But considering this machine takes the place of four machines and we get to get rid of our older USELESS blender, I call that an almost even trade.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
Having to wait weeks to get it! But if you want it right now and don't mind paying $199.99 for it... Target usually has them in stock.
It's all dishwasher safe but I usually just rinse it all out and make another batch right away. After the last drink batch, I rinse thoroughly and let dry on the dishwasher racks. It's pretty straight forward, but sometimes tiny bits of residual "stuff" remains, so I wash in a dishwasher cycle every other four or five days. I find that rinsing everything with my sink's retractable sprayer really helps a bunch.
I'm learning about using and storing these superfoods - even some things I've never eaten. I'm buying things like cacao nibs, goji berries, flax seeds, chia seeds, maca root powder, spirulina and a long list of fruits and veggies. I just started my 60-day detox so I'll report back here when I have updates.
I didn't like using chia seeds or flax seeds because it left a chalky - gritty taste in my smoothies. I fixed that problem by purchasing a coffee grinder and made mash of the seeds first. I mashed up an entire bag (of each) in one session so adding them to my smoothies no longer leaves a nasty after-taste or gritty texture to my elixirs.
For larger families, you can purchase more single serving 16 ounce cups for about $20 per pair. If you want blades for the cups, they run about $9 each.
You can also purchase an add-on food processor unit called the Professional Prep System that connects directly to the blender base and shoots pieces into a bowl via a clear chute. It comes with four circular disc blades to make crinkle-cut fries, Julienne fries, a slicer/shredder disc and a grating disc for about $60.00. They'll even allow you to split up the cost of any add-ons with four payments added to your monthly payments for the machine.
There are also two other recipe books available at their website. Or you can surf Amazon and Ebay for a book you might like better - READ the reviews first.
I have to say the overall look of the system is sleek and well-designed. You can see the European influences in their design elements.
The NutriBullet does ONE thing well... pulverizing and extracting food and other healthy elements into liquid superfoods. The Ninja does that better and so much more with a motor that's more than twice as powerful and a myriad of accessories.
A friend of mine told me that Costco sells the Ninja for $99.99. That bothered me until I found out that Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, etc sell the Ninja 1100 - an older 1100 watt system with different accessories that WILL NOT work with the single-serve cups. And while I realize that there are a number of similar machines offered by Ninja (Euro-Pro), this Mega Kitchen System is 1500 watts and has much more versatility with optional equipment.
When ordering, use the code "register4" and they knock about $24 off your bill. I called customer service and one of my questions was, "Since you charge tax for California residents, does that mean you ship from a California warehouse?" "Yes." So I asked, "Why on Earth would it cost $30 to ship to me if I live in California?" The CS rep told me that they'd give me back 25% on my shipping. I'm so glad I asked because the NutriBullet folks ship for free.
The Euro-Pro website does NOT offer monthly payments nor do they accept Paypal, but if you use the "As Seen on TV" link (from the TV commercial), that's where the monthly payments and PayPal are accepted. You'll know which site you're on by virtue of whether they offer those options or not.
My recommendation? Simple, spend the extra money for the Mega Kitchen System and their most powerful motor. Don't waste your time with the 1100 or the 1200.
Another recommendation is to join the "Ninja Kitchen" group on FaceBook. They provide new recipes and advice - a great resource.
The unit is manufactured by Euro-Pro Operating, LLC (877) 646-5288
UPDATE: I was surfing the net and spotted a very similar Ninja System on QVC. It's only rated at 1200 watts (vs. the 1500 of mine) and it has the same exact accessories, but it comes in two other colors - red or white and it only has a 1 year warranty vs. the 5 year warranty of mine. After speaking with a CS rep, she told me that the 1200 doesn't come with the smaller processing bowl and it will NOT work with the "professional prep system." Oddly enough the price is about the same but the QVC shipping is about half. If I was faced with waiting a month for the back-ordered 1500, I might consider the QVC model as an option if I didn't think the professional prep system attachment was something I'd ever want.
I've recently purchased two books: "Green Smoothie Magic" written by Gabrielle Raiz and "Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future" written by David Wolfe. Please my reviews of those books by clicking the hyperlinks.
I found out that they ship from the next town over from me. So I was expecting a reduction in the shipping - they wound up giving me the shipping for free because I waited so long. Very nice of them.
I see that they now charge $179.80 so it went up $20 AND they now DOUBLED the shipping charge to $59.90! YIKES! But they now include the $60 food prep for "free." And I checked - they no longer allow the use of the coupon code "register4."
After consuming these nutrient-rich smoothies for a few months, I had a check-up. My A1C plummeted... my bad cholesterol plummeted and I dropped a bunch of weight. My primary doctor was delighted and told me to keep doing what I was doing.
I've created a recipe that I drink most often and that I don't get sick of...
In a single-serve cup I start with a base of Silk's vanilla almond milk.
I add the following:
a chunk of frozen pineapple
(2) frozen Brussels sprouts (you do NOT taste them in the smoothie)
some baby spinach
(2) pitted dates
tsp of raw honey
1/3 frozen banana
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp maca root powder
1/2 tsp spirulina powder
frozen pomegranate arils*
frozen dark cherries*
* the last five ingredients are found in the "Anti-Oxidant Blend" at Costco.
1 tbsp of vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt or 1/4 avocado for thickness
crushed ice if necessary
you can use a base of flavored water instead of Silk but it doesn't taste as good