Those of you with eagle eyes have seen a Vitamix show up in some of my kitchen pictures over the last year.
I haven’t posted about it, but it is true: I finally forked over the cash for one.
I bought it about a year and a half ago (I used some Christmas money toward the purchase!) and have waited until now to review it because I wanted to be able to give an experienced opinion, rather than a just-out-of-the-box opinion.
As many of you know, I hemmed and hawed over a blender purchase for several years. The blender I had before the Vitamix was a $40 blender which had a pretty major design flaw…the teeth on the bottom gears were made of plastic.
I replaced the bottom part of the blender eventually, but the new teeth started to break off too.
Plus, that blender had some struggles when I loaded it up with frozen fruit, so I was starting to get kind of annoyed.
My main goal in buying a blender was to purchase one that would last.
I really, really hate buying things that will need to be replaced in short order, and I try to apply the, “Could this be an heirloom?” mindset whenever I’m faced with a purchase.
I use a blender to make smoothies multiple times a week (sometimes daily in the summer!) so I needed something that could stand up to more than just occasional usage.
So, I pretty much wrote off the whole lineup of cheap blenders, which meant I was left looking at Blendtec and Vitamix blenders.
Vitamix vs. Blendtec
Honestly, I think the two blenders are both pretty great pieces of machinery and I’d probably have been totally happy with either option. A couple of things tipped me slightly toward the Vitamix, though, despite its higher cost.
-Cook’s Illustrated liked the Vitamix better.
They tested the two side by side and said the Vitamix did a better job of crushing ice and complained that the Blendtec design created air pockets (which kept things from being blended evenly).
-The Vitamix comes with a tamper.
If you put tons of frozen stuff into a blender, it’s easy for it to get sort of stuck (especially if you make the mistake of leaving liquid and frozen fruit in the blender for a few minutes before turning it on!), and the Vitamix has a great tamper which allows you to push on the blender contents without removing the lid.
The tamper is designed so that it’s impossible to jam it into the blades, as long as you use it through the opening in the lid.
-The Vitamix design is less complicated.
Mine just has a dial and an on/off lever, whereas the Blendtec has fancier pre-programmed settings. I’m not saying those would be awful to have (!), but I feel fairly sure that a basic design will last longer. There are just fewer things that can go wrong when you have a simple design.
-The Vitamix warranty is a little bit better.
The Blendtec warranty is a limited warranty, whereas the Vitamix warranty covers full use of the machine. This gives me a little bit more confidence in the build quality of the Vitamix.
How is the performance?
- The Vitamix powers through frozen fruit and ice with no problems at all and it blends up greens for green smoothies far better than my old blender. The old blender always left small flecks of spinach in my smoothies, but with the Vitamix, my smoothies are, well, smooth.So, thumbs up for that!
- I love love love love love the tamper tool. It sits on the lid of the Vitamix and has a lip that prevents you from inserting it too far, which means you can tamp away with no fear of reaching the blade.
- The Vitamix is really noisy, but it’s not like I generally make smoothies while someone in the house is sleeping, so this is not a big deal to me.
- The jar I have is very tall, which means I have to store the base and the jar separately. Again, not a huge deal to me personally, but if you were wanting to keep this out on the counter underneath your cabinets, this might be a problem for you. Vitamix does make a newer model with a shorter jar, but it’s $528 on Amazon. And I’ve read that it doesn’t work as well as the model with the taller jar.
Note: The Vitamix is marketed as a grain grinder, a hot soup maker, and several other things, but I bought it to use as a blender and that’s pretty much it. In my experience, when appliances try to multitask beyond their main purpose, they don’t actually do an awesome job. I have a grain grinder, and it’s super easy to heat up soup on the stove, so I don’t really need to use my Vitamix for these non-blending tasks.
Is it worth the price?
I paid a little over $300 for my Vitamix at Costco, and if it lasts me even 15 years, it will cost me $23 a year, which seems completely reasonable to me.
A $40 blender replaced every three years would cost me $13 a year. ‘
Or a $100 blender replaced every five years would put my annual rate at $20, which is almost the same as the Vitamix!
I’d really rather buy one awesome blender that will last a long time so that I don’t have to keep throwing away cheap blenders.
Also, I will not be at all surprised if my Vitamix lasts longer than 15 years, and in that case, the annual cost will be even more reasonable.
Could buy a cheaper blender that would last a long time? It’s theoretically possible, but I wanted to be SURE that what I bought would last, and the fact that I see these in smoothie shops made me feel pretty confident about their performance and staying power.
Where to Buy
Amazon has a page of refurbished 5200s, so check that out to see if you can snag a good deal there. They currently have a 5200 for $329 with free prime shipping, and that’s the best deal I can find anywhere!
Vitamix also has a whole page of refurbished machines, and you can get a refurbed 5200 for $329, but you have to pay shipping. So Amazon’s refurbished machines are going to be a better deal.
You can find Vitamix 5200s on eBay, although the price of them obviously varies, depending on what listings are up at the moment. Check prices there and compare to Amazon and Vitamix to make sure you’re not overpaying.
The Vitamix 5200 Series Blender sells new for $435 on Amazon. So, the refurbished shop is usually going to be cheaper, but if you want a brand new one, $435 is a pretty good price.
If you have a Costco membership, you can order a Vitamix online. However, the 5200 comes with a grain-grinding package online, so it’s $499.99.
Here’s a schedule of Vitamix demos at Costco, but I don’t think Costco carries the 5200 at demos anymore.
Phew! I think that’s quite enough talk from me about my blender for one day.
Are any of you Vitamix owners? Or do you have a Blendtec or another blender that you love?
P.S. I bought the blender with my own money and this post is not sponsored. Amazon and eBay links are affiliate links.