The Nutribullet: A Review

I moved to Phoenix in August of last year, and since then (due to the incompetence of the company who shipped my stuff over) I’ve been without my previously-rave-reviewed Tribest Z-Star Manual Juicer (tm and all’a that). So, I was in the market for either another Tribest or something somewhat different that some obnoxious raw foods guy on an infomercial somehow sold me on. Who’s a sucker?

David Wolfe, raw foods advocate

I got reined in by this guy? Aw, man…

Anyway, what I said above might lead you to believe I’m unhappy with the purchase of this “Nutribullet” (from the makers of the Magic Bullet!); however, that’s not really the case! While I’m leery about “As Seen on TV” type items and don’t often watch infomercials anymore, this one appealed to me because of its health claims (i.e. VEGETABLES ARE GOOD FOR YOU) and the aforementioned want for a replacement juicer. So, I’ll take you through what you get, the machine’s usefulness, and (most importantly) my opinions on such trinkets!:

Nutribullet

WHOA

If you’d be so kind to click the picture above (since all the features of this wonder-juicer can’t fit on my miniscule site, apparently), you’ll see the claims that it “Busts open seeds, cracks through stems, and shreds tough skin.” along with the perhaps-spurious claims that it “transforms ordinary food into superfood” (will be further discussed) and “will add years to your life!”

First, I want you to have a look at what you get:

Nutristuff

Right quickly, that’s the Nutribullet with its 600 WATT motor, 1 large cup, 2 smaller cups, removable tops/handles, the blade for making juices, and a single-bladed deal for milling nuts or seeds. Plus, there’s some guide for making juices by their recipes, but I “do not need any instructions to know how to juice.” Thanks, Carl.

When I initially got my Nutribullet and gave it a whirl, things all seemed hunky-dory; the juices that came out were amazingly liquefied, and prep-time and clean-up were a breeze. Well, prepping vegetables is still way easier than with the Tribest (or most other juicers) and clean-up still involves little more than a quick rinsing off of the blade attachment and juicing cup, but I’ve run into a bit of a problem with the liquefying part. Here are some examples:

Exhibit A: Before juicing. We have raw garlic, kale, zucchini, banana, broccoli stem, and two baby carrots.

Exhibit A: Before juicing. We have raw garlic, kale, zucchini, banana, broccoli stem, and two baby carrots.

Okay, seemingly okay so far; let’s blend and take a look at what happens!

Uh oh!

Uh oh!

Oh no!

Oh no!

A zoom-in on the top picture will show you: The fiber from the vegetables (most likely the thick-skinned stuff like broccoli or kale) isn’t quite getting liquefied. This is where I’ll throw another wrench into this haphazard review: consistency. When I say that, I have to admit something that might not seem too flattering to the ol’ Nutribullet; that is, that I have returned the machine for a replacement 3 times.

Does this mean the machine has been a failure, I’m a glutton for punishment, or a third option? (I just like the number 3, so I had to say that). Before I answer, I want to say that each machine seemed to be a bit different on the issue at hand, liquefying. In one case (the third machine I had), the Nutribullet seemed to randomly produce sometimes fully-liquefied and sometimes more fibrous mixes. I found that adding more water remedied this somewhat, but in instances where it didn’t I just ended up having to drink more liquid while avoiding chunks- which made for a not-so-appetizing experience.

JUST ADD WATUR

And here, a look after adding a bit of water. A little better, but still kinda chunky.

As for why I would continue to punish myself by having to take back the machine multiple times and continue to use it: Besides the pursuit of SCIENCE in learning and testing these guys to a good extent for you, my loyal readers, I found a couple of things to be the case with these guys. For one, they’re very good blenders. In fact, the price point, at about $100, is what you’d pay for a KitchenAid, and I’ve never been too impressed with KitchenAid blenders (though their stand mixers are phenomenal *limp wrist*). I really like that I can make iced mixed drinks with fruit that are more-than-passable, cocoa/milk drinks and powder supplement (like BCAAs) in colder-temp liquids without any emulsifier and/or having the powder not mix, and the nut-miller blade is really great for making flours from things like oats and guacamole. Add to this the fact that most items juiced, with the exception of super-fibrous things (again, like full kale leaves and asparagus), liquefy pretty well; and it may well be worth more than my denial and justification-seeking for buying this thing!

Food transformers: Less than meets the eye

So, one of the mentioned selling points of this machine is that it can break down tough plant cell walls and the like to make the “hidden minerals” more absorb-able. While it does stand to reason that a liquid absorbs much more quickly than solid food, this may not be the greatest thing.

This is well outside the scope of this review and challenges juicing itself as a productive habit, but I figured I’d talk about it anyway; that is, What About Juicing?, an article written by a doctor named John Glenn Clark. The article has a good number of citations, though I have to say I don’t feel from reading them that they exactly prove his points. For now, I’m just offering this as an aside that I’ll hope you’ll look into as I’m going to look well into the claims presented for a future article on this site. “Wait for it,” as the British and hipstery Americans who try to seem cultured would say.

Back on topic, I suppose I’ll conclude in saying I neither recommend nor caution against buying a Nutribullet; you could go well in some instance, either way. I’ll again iterate that the Nutribullet has a multitude of uses and is quite easily cleaned, so it isn’t something that might take up pantry space like a Juiceman or even the late, great Tribest Juicer (for those who would get too lazy for it). I know that result seems a bit half-assed, but there’s not honestly more I can say; I don’t regret purchasing it, but don’t feel like it was a life-enriching experience as do the people whose lives were changed on the infomercial. (NOT paid actors…whoa!)

And now, a timeline of my history with the Nutribullet:

Early March, 2013: Purchased Nutribullet
Also early March, 2013: Returned Nutribullet for lack of usually-included instructions and warranty kit; got new Nutribullet.
Mid-March, 2013: Returned 2nd Nutribullet due to iffiness in motor starting; sometimes it would turn on when cup was snapped into place, most times it wouldn’t. Got replacement.
Mid-April, 2013: Returned third Nutribullet due to more pronounced crappiness in liquefying; now on fourth Nutribullet and said problem is still occurring to some extent (see review!)
Currently: Living with it.