Vitamix: The Curious Allure of the $400 Blender

Categories: Schaefer

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Eric Schaefer
Welcome to "Schaefer," in which Eric Schaefer -- a local guy with a big (but discerning) appetite and a sense of humor to match -- takes on the Phoenix food scene.

The Vitamix is a $400 blender.

Read those words again: The Vitamix is a $400 blender.

It sounds insane to me and, thus far, I've been able to resist the nearly constant peer pressure to buy one. But, if you believe the hype, a $400 blender will change your life. You can make soup! It'll pulverize anything! And you can make smoothies! It's made in America...Cleveland! Truthfully, I'm not even a huge fan of smoothies, but I do like soup.

See also: Schaefer Demands Equal Dining Rights for Cats


But, still, it's a $400 blender.

I am pretty sure that we got a blender as wedding gift ten years ago, but I think it broke several years back...and it didn't break from making smoothies or soup. And we have a Cuisinart which, last time I checked, had enough horsepower to destroy anything in the path of its scalpel-sharp blades.

But I still find myself needing a $400 blender.

One trip to Costco, my favorite place to shop, and you can't miss the Vitamix Roadshow. Perched on a podium with a headset and a PA system you'll find a Vitamix representative espousing the many virtues of the Vitamix blender. "It'll change your life. Think of all the smoothies you can make. And it heats up soup!"

Isn't my stove good for heating soup?

For nearly every major life event in the last couple of years my wife has asked for a Vitamix. Does she really want a kitchen appliance for her birthday? An anniversary? "Happy Valentines Day, my dear, I got you a blender!"

Somehow I think it would backfire on me.

But I've lost count of the number of friends who actually take the time to photograph themselves with their new Vitamix and post it to Facebook or Twitter. Their excitement borders on orgasmic. This thing must be good. And I've been made to feel like a bad person for not buying one. I mean, it's not as bad as the $19 million toilet developed by NASA.

I'm well aware that the Vitamix is found in many restaurant kitchens, and commercial derivatives are used at Starbucks and Jamba Juice. Admittedly, it does have professional culinary credibility. The website even says, "Designed to Inspire Your Inner Chef." Truthfully, my inner chef has done quite fine without one. I'm a better-than-average home cook and have yet to come across a recipe that couldn't be accomplished with the hardware that's already in my house.

Still, I think I might need a $400 blender.

In his series "Good Eats" Alton Brown frequently laments kitchen gadgets that are "one hit wonders," which only accomplish one task and end up taking up too much drawer or counter space. Even a microplaner does more than just zest....it makes a great pedicure tool, too.

My kitchen counter and cabinet space is at a premium and I can't imagine buying a $400 blender, throwing my hands into the air and crying out "where have you been all my life?" Will my diet suddenly change? Will it rock my world the way my George Foreman Grill did when I lived in a college dorm room? Am I going to live longer?

Or is the Vitamix another example of consumerism and excess, the notion that bigger and more powerful is inherently better and somehow better for you?

Meantime, I'm headed to Costco this weekend and it's going to take a lot of willpower to resist. After all, it's a $400 blender and I think I need one.

I'm curious: do you have a Vitamix? Has your life changed?

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17 comments
Scott
Scott

I've owned and used both a Vitamix and a Blendtech, and the Vitamix is a thousand times better. One of the more impressive (and durable) products out there.

bigjohn
bigjohn

Good grief man, get your wife a Vitamix, Who cares if it works or not (it does)- it's such a simple and easy to do request for the love of your life.

SteveL094
SteveL094

The Vitamix is definitely worth the price in my opinion. I've owned one for about 2 years now and haven't had any issues with it. I'm still amazed at how smooth it blends the ingredients. I like to make a lot of green smoothies and no other blender ever worked for me.

For anyone that's possibly on the fence about purchasing a Vitamix, I'd recommend checking out this review: http://www.charlottesvineyard.com/vitamix-5200-review/

It's really detailed and will show you why it's so much better than other blenders on the market.

Scott
Scott

Vitamix has been around since 1921, so I'm guessing they're a bit more than a "one-hit wonder"... ;)

katecrowley
katecrowley

It's also worth noting that they are apparently a great company to work for. My mother reached food science at the college level and some of her students have worked for the company right after under grad or grad school and they love it. Makes you want to support them a little more right?

Dimitrea Robey
Dimitrea Robey

I have a Blendtec and it has definitely changed my life for the better. I use it every day. I've made great smoothies and other items with it and gained an appreciation for my kitchen. Blendtec rocks and is better than Vitamix imho.

Lisa Krysiak-Rast
Lisa Krysiak-Rast

Eric Schaefer worth every penny if you will use it! We have the blendtec which I think is even better then the vitamix and it has been used just about every day for the past 6+ years. :)

Justin Stewart-Maynard
Justin Stewart-Maynard

After having used Vitamix blenders for years working at Starbucks, I can say they do extremely well under commercial use. I see no reason why their consumer end version would be any different. They have great customer service/technical support (when one rarely went down) IF there are any issues. If you do a lot of blending, or plan on doing a lot of blending, I could totally see this as a worthwhile $400 investment. It's like buying a good juicer. It'll do a great job and last.

Michelle Campbell
Michelle Campbell

I have other curious and alluring items that DID change my life for less than $40, but let's not get into that.

katiecoolady
katiecoolady

If you ever take a Qi Gong class with Jeff Primack, you will know that you need what that 3Hp blender offers to micronize the nutrients...or something.  I bought in to it and got the blender and I do make my smoothies in it.  So, guess I'm drinking the Vitamix Koolaid Smoothie. :D

JKGrence
JKGrence

I got one for Christmas. It's astonishing. It makes hummus that's as smooth as Skippy peanut butter without having to skin the chickpeas. Frozen drinks come out like cold, liquid silk.

If you've been on the fence, go ahead and get it. You will be extremely glad you did. The one down side of it is that the whole thing doesn't fit together under a standard kitchen cabinet. Big freaking deal. Well, also that the thing sounds like a jet engine taking off, but it's a blender, that's what it's supposed to sound like.

barb166
barb166

love my vitamix we bought about 8 months ago. works better than a blender, easier to clean, does more stuff. finding we're eating healthier because of it....

KristinHeggli
KristinHeggli

I have a VitaMix and use it for smoothies. I wouldn't mind buying a cheaper blender, but really wanted something with a good warranty (which VitaMix has for sure). I would hate to spend $75-$150+ on something that could break after a bit of use, with no warranty. I use a lot of frozen fruit in my smoothies and that's extra tough on blenders. No problems with my VitaMix yet and I've been using it for two years!

sir_eccles
sir_eccles

In my experience it really does get things much smoother.


Also, lifetime warranty. It's built like a tank but in the unlikely event that it breaks you can send it back to Ohio and they fix it for you.


Finally, you can get it for a lot less than $400 if you look around and use special offers.

opinionatedbutright
opinionatedbutright

Phone call from daughter his weekend-husband bought her a Vitamix. Now I'm feeling out of sorts. I use a Magic Bullet. Makes great smoothies. But it can't heat soup. Or make ice cream. It's kind of like PC vs Mac people.

Froon
Froon

@Scott 

Sounds like you are paid Vitamix rep.  In fairness, Vitamix is a nice product, but has at least two shortcomings vs the Blendtec.  Vitamix has a plastic drive socket that will strip and break about every 3-6 months under daily use.  Vitamix also has thin blades that crack and break.  Vitamix recently issued another safety recall because their blades are breaking and pose a laceration hazard.  Blendtec?  Never had a recall.  Blendtec blades are thicker and don't break.  Blendtec drive sockets are made out of stainless steel and don't break.  If you plan on making smoothies with frozen fruit, get a Blendtec.  

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