The most frequent reason people compare Vitamix models is to decide which Vitamix to buy.
You most likely want to find a good deal. Perhaps you want the best Vitamix available. Or maybe you are looking for just an entry-level model.
Whatever it is, buying a Vitamix blender is an investment and you want to make the right choice. So, in this review, I compare all Vitamix blenders (yes, ALL!) and discuss which blenders are worth considering and why. I am also working on an interactive tool to help you see all currently available Vitamix models and how they stack against each other based on power, features, warranty, and price (coming soon!)
In case you’re not interested in reading the entire Vitamix comparison review and just want to know which Vitamix blender is best for whom, here is a brief summary:
- Best on a budget: E310 or Certified Reconditioned
- Best value: A2300
- Best features without new technology: Pro 750
- Best you can get (the best features with the newest technology): A3500
When buying a Vitamix blender, the most important thing to consider is what model will give you the most power, the best features, and the longest warranty for the money you invest.
In the case of Vitamix, it pretty much comes down to the features. Let me explain.
- Power: Vitamix blenders come equipped with either 2 HP or 2.2 HP motor. However, when you calculate the actual wattage and ignore the listed horsepower rating (which is typically peak horsepower), you realize that you are getting nearly the same blending power, around 1,500 watts.
- Features: Vitamix offers 15 different feature combinations, aka 15 different Vitamix models. Understanding all the features and knowing which ones are a “must-have” versus just a “nice-to-have” will allow you to pick the best Vitamix blender for your needs.
- Warranty: all Vitamix blenders come with a long warranty. The entry-level models come with a 5-year old warranty while the high-end models come with a 10-year warranty. Obviously, the longer the warranty, the better. However, I currently own five Vitamix blenders (mostly for testing purposes) and never had any issue with any of them. Sure, I don’t use all of them on a regular basis, but the one I do, which is over 25 years old, is still running strong.
Ok, so now that you know that features should be the primary focus when comparing Vitamix models, let’s look at all the different variables.
There are essentially three key decisions to make when deciding which Vitamix to buy. I know I listed five, but trust me, there are really only three to consider (you will understand why in just a little bit).
- Smart System (new technology) vs Legacy and Explorian (classic technology)
- Manual settings vs preset programs
- Switch controls vs touchscreen
- Container size
- New vs reconditioned
Smart System vs Legacy and Explorian
In 2016 Vitamix released their newest line of Vitamix blenders called the Smart System. These blenders feature self-detect technology and wireless connectivity, promising to make Smart System blenders the most advanced for many years ahead. It will be interesting to see how blender manufacturers, such as Blendtec, keep up.
All new (Smart System) Vitamix blenders have embedded near-field communication (NFC) certificates. When any of the Smart System containers is placed onto the Smart System blender base, data is transmitted to the blender via NFC. The blender recognizes what container is being used and automatically adjusts the program settings and times accordingly, changing up to 140 parameters. The blender won’t power on until it senses that a container is in place, and it will also disable certain programs if the wrong container is in place (for example, you can only select the hot soup preprogrammed setting with a 64-ounce container). Older (Legacy and Explorian) Vitamix containers don’t have NFC tags and are incompatible with the new (Smart System) blenders.
Smart System blenders also come with Bluetooth to make use of the free Perfect Blend App with 17 blending programs and over 500 recipes. With the Bluetooth enabled, the blender will automatically send information about the size of the container to the Perfect Blend app. The app will then adjust recipes and ingredient amounts for that container and walk you through a recipe.
There are several reasons why I think that the Smart System blenders are the way to go:
- Future-proofing: When you buy a Smart System blender, you’re buying into the future of Vitamix. Some of the newest Vitamix containers and attachments, including the 8-oz. blending bowl or the food processor attachment, are only compatible with the Smart System blenders and can’t be used on Legacy blenders. This is not surprising considering that Vitamix is building its future on self-detect technology.
- Time display: all Smart System blenders come with a timer. None of the Legacy blenders do.
- Longer warranty: all Smart System blenders come with a 10-year warranty. Legacy blenders come with a 7-year and Explorian blenders come with a 5-year warranty.
You would think that with all this technology, Smart System blenders would be significantly pricier then the Legacy blenders, but that’s not the case. So, there really isn’t a good reason not to buy into the newest technology, unless you prefer to stick with the classics.
Here is a Vitamix comparison chart with all the currently available models:
Manual Settings vs Preset Programs
Vitamix blenders come with zero to five preset programs, including settings for smoothies, hot soups, dips & spreads, frozen desserts, and self-cleaning. They are nice but unnecessary. I personally own two Vitamix blenders with pre-programmed settings – the A3500 and the Pro 750 – and only use the self-cleaning preset. Here’s why.
- Presets are just timers: yup, that’s it. There are no sensors making customized adjustments while the blender is running. Vitamix can’t tell if you’re using 2 cups of water or 4 cups of water. It can detect the size of the container (if you have a Smart System blender), but not the amount of food in the container. The pre-set doesn’t know if the ingredients are raw (and need more blend time) or cooked (and need just a quick blend). It also doesn’t know if you want the texture silky smooth, or a bit on the “chunky” side. Sure, you probably want a smooth smoothie, but what about soup or dips? In a smoothie shop, where they make the same recipes over and over again, presets are extremely useful. But if you’re trying different combinations and experimenting with new ingredients all the time, not so much.
- Presets don’t equal multi-tasking: I never walk away from the Vitamix when I’m making a smoothie. First of all, 99% of the time I use the tamper. Second, I typically use frozen ingredients, so as soon as the smoothie is, well, smooth, I stop the blender so the ingredients don’t begin to melt. The same goes for ice cream. There is so much difference in the density of different frozen ingredients for a timer to work for all recipes. Frozen blackberries are quite a bit denser than frozen bananas, for example. Also, you can walk away from the blender whether you have a preset or not, particularly if you’re making hot pureed soup that you know will take 2 minutes to blend and heat up.
The bottom line is – preset programs are not chefs. They are just timers. There’s no way for a timer to know the volume, temperature, or density of the food that was put into the container. I would take the saved money by not buying a model with preset programs and invest it in an extra Vitamix container, such as the food processor attachment or the 8-oz bowl. However, if money is not a consideration, then go all out and get the A3500, which is the best of the best.
Note: Vitamix blenders with pre-programmed settings have a secondary On/Off switch as an added safety. This is great if you have small children.
Switch Controls vs Touchscreen
Switches vs touchscreen is simply a matter of preference. The functionality is exactly the same. The main differences are:
- Use: I find touchscreens extremely easy to use – I have an iPhone, an iPad, a touchscreen printer, a touchscreen GPS in the car… I love it. However, if you’re used to traditional knobs and switches, you might miss the classic interface and experience a longer learning curve with the touchscreen. Really, you can’t go wrong with either.
- Cleaning: raised switches are harder to wipe down than a flat touchscreen. That being said, there is only one Vitamix blender – the 780 – that has an entirely flat touchscreen. All Smart System blenders that come with a touchscreen that has a raised digital knob.
- Aesthetics: personally, I prefer the sleek, more high-tech look of a touchscreen but again, that’s just a matter of preference.
Switch controls or touchscreen – both are excellent choices.
Navigating through the extensive and ever-expanding line of Vitamix containers can be quite challenging. Should you get a blender with a full-size 64-oz container or is the 48-oz container big enough? Do you need an additional Vitamix container and if so, which one? What about the dry container?
The truth is that the container that comes with your machine (all Vitamix blenders come with a container), can do all essential blender tasks. If you don’t own a Vitamix blender yet, don’t pick a blender for your container. It’s more important to find a blender that fits your needs rather than pick the perfect container. You can always get an additional container later.
This is why in the beginning I said that there are three key decisions to make. A container size is not one of them. Pick the right blender first.
New vs Reconditioned
Now that you know which features are important to you, the next question is whether you should get a new Vitamix blender or a reconditioned one. If you’re looking to save some money, I highly recommend checking certified refurbished Vitamix blenders (sometimes also referred to as certified reconditioned). Vitamix guarantees them to work as well as new machines, the price is discounted by up to 40%, and aside from the print on the box, the machines are practically indistinguishable from new.
The only downside of reconditioned blenders is that you might need to wait to get the model you want. Vitamix doesn’t build new models to sell as reconditioned. They sell models as they become available. As such, they are limited in quantities and color selections. So, if you see a reconditioned Vitamix model you like, buy it ASAP! Supplies are limited and go out of stock pretty quick.
Whether you go with new or reconditioned, you should still pick the model you want. Even the newest Vitamix models are available reconditioned. So again, not really a key decision when comparing Vitamix blenders.
Vitamix Comparison Tool
Vitamix Models Comparison
Still confused about which Vitamix model is best for you? Let’s look at the categorization of Vitamix blenders to help you see the bigger picture.
So, two product lines, five series, and 15 non-commercial models. If you have ever seen other names for Vitamix blenders that aren’t listed on the chart above, those models were either discontinued or renamed for a specific reason.
For instance, all the following are 5200 blenders:
- Total Nutrition Center: 5200 re-branded for the Canadian market.
- 5200 Deluxe: 5200 re-branded and endorsed by Costco. This package comes with additional accessories, including the 32-oz container wet container, 32-oz dry container, 4 flexible cutting boards, and 3 customized spatulas.
- Aspire: 5200 re-branded for the Culinary institute of America (CIA) and endorsed by QVC. It comes with a 48-oz container instead of the full-size 64-oz container.
- Creations Gallery, Creations GC, Creations II: 5200 re-branded for the CIA and endorsed by QVC. These packages come with various recipe books (specifically developed for the Creations series).
- CIA Professional: 5200 re-branded for the CIA and endorsed by QVC. This package includes two specialized recipe books (developed in the 41 teaching kitchens across the CIA) and a Getting Started DVD featuring chef, Miachel Symon.
- TurboBlend VS: 5200 that comes with a specialized recipe book (with raw and vegan recipes), an exclusive Let’s Get Started DVD hosted by raw food author, Ani Phyo, and a nut milk bag.
- 1363, 1364, 1365, 1709, 1723, 1732: 5200 named according to their color schemes: platinum stainless steel, onyx stainless steel, red stainless steel, brushes stainless steel, onyx plastic, and black plastic, respectively.
The moral of the story – don’t get confused by all the different Vitamix names. There are only 15 variations.
The following Vitamix comparison tables show all the differences between the 15 individual models.
LEGACY – CLASSIC
|Motor||2 HP||2 HP||2 HP||2.2 HP||2.2 HP|
|Variable Speed Dial||10||10||3||10||10|
*The pulse and high-low speed controls perform essentially the same function.
**The 5300 and 6500 were originally made exclusively for Costco but are now available reconditioned directly from Vitamix.
LEGACY – NEXT GENERATION & EXPLORIAN
|Motor||2.2 HP||2.2 HP||2.2 HP||2 HP||2 HP|
|Variable Speed Dial||10||10||10||10||10|
SMART SYSTEM – ASCENT & VENTURIST
|Motor||2.2 HP||2.2 HP||2.2 HP||2.2 HP||2.2 HP|
|Variable Speed Dial||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Timer (Count Up)||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Programmable Count Down||–||–||✓||✓||–|
*The V1200 was originally made exclusively for Costco but is now available reconditioned directly from Vitamix.
Best Vitamix Blender
So, which Vitamix blender is best?
- Best on a budget – if you‘re looking for bargain Vitamix, your obvious choice the is the E310 (for singles) or the E320 (for families). Explorian blenders have a powerful motor, simple design, no electronics to break down, and a performance comparable to any other Vitamix blender. It is a great machine with Vitamix quality at entry-level pricing.
- Best value: the A2500 is one of the Smart System blenders. It has the newest technology, comes with a lot of features, yet is far from being the most expensive. Definitely the most value for the money you invest.
- Best features without new technology (aka the best Legacy): the Pro 750 is the best choice for those without interest in the Smart System blenders. It‘s the most feature-rich classic (analog) model and the most popular out of the Legacy line.
- Best you can get (aka the best Ascent): the A3500 is a clear upgrade from the Legacy line. It has the latest and greatest features and the longest warranty. The A3500 is clearly the best of the best Vitamix has to offer.
You might about wondering about the iconic 5200. I recommended that blender for many years as my top choice. It’s super versatile and does any task perfectly. It comes with a 64-oz narrow (tall) container, which can process both large and very small amounts of food without any problem. However, now that Vitamix came up with a new line of blenders with superior technology and better design, I can’t see a good argument for why the 5200 would be a better value than the A2500.
If you still can’t decide which Vitamix to buy, feel free to ask me here in the comment section below. I respond to all comments within 24 hours.