Reversing motor can make for easy blending. An auto-reversing motor is the star feature of the Oster 7-Speed Reversing Motor Blender BVCB07-Z. It automatically kicks into reverse at intervals to shake up the ingredients, sucking them toward the blades.
There is no Reverse button, so you can't manually set it to reverse the motor. Still, lots of owners say it works great, especially for fruit smoothies. "The reverse action ... is excellent for getting fruit down to the blades," a Target.com customer writes. "I purchased a second one in case Oster decides to stop making this model," says an owner at Amazon.com who blends frozen-fruit smoothies with the Oster daily.
"Once in awhile I have to stop the blender and stir the contents because a piece of frozen fruit gets stuck. But that is a rare occurrence (the reversing blades are great at keeping things moving and blending)," writes another Amazon.com owner.
The Wall Street Journal declares it a bargain. "The Oster produced top-notch smoothies and frozen drinks alike," reviewer Laura Moser writes. "It couldn't pulverize almonds or flaxseeds like the fancier options. Still, considering its price tag, we felt petty finding fault with its otherwise top-notch performance."
Cook's Illustrated testers agree -- the Oster BVCB07-Z makes excellent frozen-fruit smoothies and margaritas. But crushed ice and green kale smoothies are mediocre, and the blender struggles with milkshakes and hummus. Despite its six blades and strong 600-watt motor, "the jar tapered so dramatically that large chunks and thick food couldn't reach the blades," editors conclude. They slap it with a Not Recommended tag.
Some owners have the same problem; the Oster creates air pockets above its blades that food can't penetrate, even with the reverse-motor feature. One Target.com customer complains that the blender struggled with fresh blueberries, "I had to use the 'frozen drink setting three times and then run it on high and it still left massive chunks."
One frustrated Amazon.com user writes, "I have yet to have a single instance where I don't have to use a spoon to push the food down to get it to blend or chop the food."
Traditional design proves simplest, for most owners. Aside from the reversing motor, the Oster BVCB07-Z uses a pretty traditional design. The pitcher is made of glass -- not clear plastic, like many newer blenders -- and it has blades that attach the old-fashioned way, with a rubber gasket and plastic screw-on ring (many new blenders have built-in blades).
Owners like it. In fact, several bought the Oster for these features. The rubber gasket stops liquids from leaking out the bottom (some blenders with built-in blades can leak), and users appreciate being able to remove the blades to clean them thoroughly. Oster cautions that only the glass jar is dishwasher-safe, but several owners say they've run all washable parts in the dishwasher with no damage.
The pitcher holds 48 ounces -- about average for a blender. The Oster has three manual speeds (low, medium and high), two pulse speeds (low and high) and two pre-programmed buttons. The Food Chop button gets mixed reviews; with some owners complaining it purées everything. Plenty of owners love the convenience of the Frozen Drinks button for their morning smoothies: "This lovely machine shuts itself off," says one owner at Amazon.
Overall, reviewers find the Oster BVCB07-Z simple and stress-free to use -- except for those experts and owners who get the dreaded air pockets, requiring frequent scraping to push food toward the blades.
Nice looking, good weight. Owners say the black-and-brushed-silver base looks nice in their stainless-steel kitchens. At just under 14 inches high, it fits nicely under upper cabinets. Despite the glass pitcher, it's no heavier than the average blender -- about 9 pounds.
Looks solid, but durability is questionable. With its tempered glass pitcher, owners say the Oster BVCB07-Z looks and feels solid. The glass jar really is tough, owners say -- one "survived a fall from the counter without a scratch," reports an Amazon.com customer. Oster says the pitcher has been "thermal shock tested so you can pull it out of a steamy dishwasher and safely make a frosty cold beverage right away," and it passes a wide range of temperature tests by The Wall Street Journal.
Cook's Illustrated testers say it doesn't seem durable. "Its performance declined during testing," they write, giving it 1 out of 3 stars for durability.
Owner reviews are mixed. For the price, some find the Oster BVCB07-Z pretty sturdy. "This blender lasted me for about three years until recently when the motor finally went out," says one Target.com customer. "I'm an avid smoothie maker (approx. four per week) using frozen fruit and this blender served me well ... I probably will purchase this exact same one again."
An Amazon.com customer says she's satisfied with the Oster, after a year of hard use. "I tend to destroy blenders. ... I have four kids and make LOTS of smoothies and shakes. …All in my Oster. Daily." She concludes, "if it died tomorrow ... I would definitely replace it with the same model."
Still, we found a few complaints that the plastic blade-ring cracking within months. One Amazon.com customer reports that after a week of use, the motor base began emitting a burning smell. Another says the Oster "worked fine until it broke after about five months of biweekly use. From reading other reviews it seems that blender durability in general is a matter of luck, even within a particular model." The Oster carries a standard one-year limited warranty.
'Screams like the banshees.' This blender is loud. After measuring decibels, Cook's Illustrated testers give the Oster BVCB07-Z their lowest 1-star noise rating. The Wall Street Journal says that "this machine wasn't the quietest on the block," but some owners have stronger words for it.
One Amazon.com customer had this to say: "I cringe when I use it, and feel I have to warn any nearby innocent before putting the pedal to the metal. I even go so far as to plug my ears. The lower speeds are OK however, your hearing is safe with these." The customer still awards it 5 stars for great blending.
Others also forgive the shrieking. "In my opinion it is very noisy. I can and do live with the noise because it performs so well," says one 4-star review at Amazon.com. Another gives it 5 stars: "The noise is really loud but after so many uses I've tuned it out."
Still, others find it no louder than any other blender. "It is a blender and it sounds like a blender," says one Amazon.com 5-star review. "So yes, it is 'loud' but I do not find it excessive." As another owner puts it: "Is it loud? Yes; it's a blender. I'm not sure what people were expecting."
Some experts and owners get smooth results from the Oster BVCB07-Z's self-reversing motor -- but others get air pockets and frustration. Among budget blenders, the Ninja Master Prep Pro QB1004 (*Est. $65) consistently earns more positive feedback, with its nontraditional motor-on-top design. If you prefer a traditional blender, the Breville Hemisphere Control BBL605XL (*Est. $200) costs more, but it's an excellent blender with a very sturdy build.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Very Good Though their reviews are usually only available to subscribers, Cook's Illustrated has made their latest blender test results public. After eking out the lowest scores in every category -- durability, speed and noise -- the Oster 7-Speed Reversing Motor Blender BVCB07-Z earns a Not Recommended rating. Testers say its jar tapers so much that food can't reach the blades, and "its performance declined during testing."
Review: Oster 7-Speed Reversing Motor Blender, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Sept. 1, 2012
Good With more than 200 owner reviews posted, the Oster 7-Speed Reversing Motor Blender BVCB07-Z maintains an overall rating of 4.2 stars (out of 5). Most say it's terrific -- even powerful enough to blend smoothies with tough ingredients like kale and whole fruits and veggies -- but one out of 10 downgrades it, usually because the food never reaches the blades (as Cook's Illustrated discovered).
Review: Oster BVCB07-Z Counterforms 6-Cup Glass Jar 7-Speed Blender, Brushed Stainless/Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Oct. 2012
3. The Wall Street Journal
Good After testing blenders for "many months," The Wall Street Journal recommends five without disclosing its testing methods. The Oster 7-Speed Reversing Motor Blender BVCB07-Z is dubbed The Bargain of the group. It churns out great smoothies and frozen drinks, and its glass pitcher can handle "a range of temperatures," Laura Moser says. She notes only a couple of minor drawbacks: It's loud and can't crush nuts and seeds.
Review: Blenders, Laura Moser, June 22, 2012
Fair The Oster 7-Speed Reversing Motor Blender BVCB07-Z gets rave reviews from most owners here. Out of more than 20 posted reviews, only three give it fewer than 4 stars (out of 5).
Review: Oster Reversing Motor Blender, Contributors to Target.com, As of Oct. 2012