My First Vitamix Experience
I first encountered a Vitamix blender in the kitchen of one of my private chef clients. She'd recently gotten one and I could see she was really excited about it, although, at the time, I didn't understand what the fuss was about. It's a blender, right? Specifically, a blender whose blade assembly doesn't separate from the pitcher, which struck me as a major drawback when it came to cleaning — and the last thing I wanted to do was make more work for myself.
So I stuck with the regular blender.
What Makes the Vitamix So Good?
Fast forward several years, and I'm staring at the smoking hulk of what remained of my Cuisinart blender, and hating the idea of buying a new $100 blender every year or two. While researching a replacement, the name Vitamix kept coming up from people who said theirs was still working after five years, seven years, even 20 years or more.
That was my main concern: that it should last a long time. And, obviously, it should be able to crush ice and do all the other normal blender stuff without overheating and flaming out.
Now, here's the thing about Vitamix, if you didn't already know: They're expensive. I mean, they're like $450 and up, depending on which model you get, and believe me, the idea of spending that much on a blender was ridiculous.
Or so I thought. Because I kept coming back to the idea of buying a $100 blender and having to replace it every couple of years.
That seemed ridiculous, too. So I took a chance and ordered a Vitamix 5200. Because I use my blender every day — sometimes twice a day. If the Vitamix really did everything it claimed, I'd actually be saving money. I've had my Vitamix for a little while now and I've used it for a bunch of things, and I can truthfully say that I'm extremely enthused about it.
Using the Vitamix Blender
I ended up choosing the Vitamix 5200, which is part of the Classic series. I wanted a full-sized pitcher, and I liked the idea of having a variable speed control. Furthermore, I didn't need the preprogrammed settings, so I figured the Professional Series would be overkill.
Also, the Professional Series starts at $529 and goes all the way up to $689, and I definitely wasn't ready to spend that much on a blender, no matter how good it was. I concluded that the 5200, which starts at $449 (but see below) was the one for me.
The Vitamix does all the things that a normal blender ought to do with ease. Things like blending dips and salad dressings, puréeing soups and vegetables, blending sauces and salsas, crushing ice, and making smoothies and milkshakes.
Even if that's all you need your blender to do, that's still enough reason to own a Vitamix. It will do all of those things effortlessly, year after year.
But the Vitamix will also do things that no ordinary blender will do. These tasks are sort of an extra bonus:
Whole food juicing: Ordinary juicers extract the pulp to produce a smooth juice, and that's fine, but the pulp contains a lot of fiber and nutrients. Instead of extracting the pulp, the Vitamix simply blends it until it's smooth.
Thus the term " whole food." It's using the whole fruit or vegetable, rather than just the juice.
Heating up soup: One of the cool things about the Vitamix is that it will actually heat up soup through the friction of the blade spinning around at high speed. Add your ingredients, let it run for about five minutes and you have steaming hot soup.
Making frozen desserts: The same machine can also be used to make frozen desserts like ice cream, sorbet or sherbet. Simply combine a liquid like milk, juice, yogurt or cream, along with some kind of frozen fruit, and a sweetener like sugar or honey. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds and you'll have a delicious, smooth, creamy, frozen dessert.
Homemade nut butter: Making your own peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter in the Vitamix involves nothing more than grinding the nuts for about a minute on high speed.
Kneading bread dough: The Vitamix 5200 can also make bread dough, although you need a separate dry-blade container to do it, and I didn't purchase that. But I've had no trouble at all grinding whole steel-cut oats into very fine oat flour using the regular container.
Vitamix: The Best Blender in the World?
I can't say whether the Vitamix is the best blender in the world because I haven't done a side-by-side comparison with other top blenders. But that didn't matter to me. All I needed was a blender that would do everything I needed it to do, and last a long time, with a top-notch warranty. And it does all that, so I'm sensationally happy with it. Even the pitcher is covered by the warranty. If it ever breaks, Vitamix will replace it.
Does it have any drawbacks? I'm still not crazy about cleaning it, although having the blade built into the pitcher means it won't ever leak, which is one of the major complaints about cheaper blenders. A neat trick for cleaning the Vitamix is to pour in some warm water, add a drop of soap and run it for a few seconds on high. I do have to wipe it out a little, but for this to be the only drawback is pretty impressive.
For a Great Deal, Consider a Reconditioned Vitamix
Finally, because $449 might still seem like a lot to spend on a blender, here's a tip: Consider a factory reconditioned Vitamix. You'll get a Vitamix unit which has been inspected and refurbished into like-new condition, along with a brand new pitcher, blade attachment, lid and tamper, all for $329. That's a savings of 80 bucks. The only difference with a reconditioned Vitamix is that you'll only get a 5-year warranty instead of the 7-year warranty that comes with a new Vitamix. Other than that, a reconditioned Vitamix seems like an amazing deal. Check out the Reconditioned Vitamix.
Disclaimer: In case you were wondering, I should mention that I bought the Vitamix with my own money and received no compensation or consideration in any form whatsoever. I bought it like a regular customer.