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A high-powered test kitchen test drive

Blended ice

Perk of the job

Smoothie in 3... 2... 1...

Ta-da!

Batter up

Minimal globbage

Cleaning cycle

Whipped cream from scratch

The results

Popeye'd be proud

The chunky stuff

Spinning into butter

Flour power

Stay on target...

Cavitation alert

A quick scrape

Aha!

Not a good sign

The culprit

It gets worse

It gets even worse

Twister Jar

The verdict

Want to see what this $650, 1,725-watt Blendtec blender is capable of? Want to see what it isn't capable of? Click on through.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Our first test is the crushed ice test. The Designer 725 had no problem here, grinding our cubes into snow within seconds.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Incidentally, well-blended ice makes for a mean mochaccino.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Next up was our smoothie test -- frozen strawberries and orange juice. Here's the before...

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

...and here's the after. This smoothie was one of the smoothest ever blended in our test lab.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Smoothies, mochaccinos, and now pancake batter? I'm suddenly craving breakfast.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Another solid result, with only a few powdery globs left behind.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Time for a quick rinse. The Blendtec Designer 725 features a dedicated cleaning preset. Just add water and a bit of soap, then let 'er rip.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Time for the whipped cream test, with cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. A quick blend should produce a light, fluffy dessert topping that sticks to a spoon.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Just what we're looking for.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Now we start getting into some of the more difficult tests. First up is pesto, with leafy spinach substituting for the basil.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Within just a few pulses, it's clear that the Designer 725 is up to the task.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Next up: nuts. Almonds, to be exact. In one of our most demanding blender tests, we see if our test subjects are capable of grinding almonds down into flour, and then on into almond butter. It's no easy task.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

The Blendtec Designer 725 had no trouble getting to almond flour...

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

...but we kept pushing on, hoping to release the almonds' natural oils and arrive at the spreadable promised land.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

The Designer 725 is designed to tell you if something's wrong. In this case, we encountered some "cavitation," which simply means that the almond flour/butter was stuck to the sides, away from the blades, creating a cavity around the bottom. Basically, the blender is telling us we need to stop and stir.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

With almost every blender, you'll need to stop periodically in order to scrape the sides.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Keeping this pattern up, we started seeing almond butter within 7 or 8 minutes.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

However, after lifting the jar, we also noticed little bits of shredded rubber.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

That black rubber gasket surrounding the spindle was the problem. The Blendtec rattles around a bit when you use it, bringing the rubber into contact with some fairly ferocious friction. That caused it to burn up and shred. Yuck.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Unfortunately, the shredding compromised the jar's watertight seal.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Gebhart/CNET

Also unfortunate: some of the rubber bits actually ended up mixed in with our almond butter.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

In fairness, for nut butter recipes, Blendtec recommends using its Twister Jar, with built-in side scrapers. We tested it out, and it does indeed work brilliantly. However, if you want one, you'll need to pay an extra $120.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Gebhart/CNET

In the end, the Blendtec Designer 725 is monstrously powerful -- but shredded rubber is a pretty significant deal breaker. Read our full review for the whole story.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET
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