666 of 680 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2009
Color Name: PlatinumVerified Purchase
I have had my platinum Vita-Mix 1363 CIA (Culinary Institute of America) model blender for just over a month. So far, I am loving it! I have definitely increased my consumption of fruits and vegetables since getting it. I start most mornings off with a smoothie now. I throw in whatever fruit is in season (I love berries, but I've used peaches, nectarines, plums, grapes, apples, bananas and various frozen fruits), a scoop or two of protein powder, milk or water, a couple handfuls of fresh spinach, a couple handfuls of ice and sweetener if needed. Surprisingly, the spinach doesn't noticeably change the flavor, but it does boost the nutritional content of the smoothie. In less than 10 minutes I can have my smoothie made, poured into a "to go" cup and have the machine all clean (just add warm water and a couple drops of dish soap- turn it on for 30 seconds, then empty and rinse the container). The smoothies always turn out 100% smooth- berry seeds, apple seeds, ice and other hard bits are totally pulverized and drinkable. I've made great low-cal salad dressings using fresh herbs, garlic, low fat cottage cheese, a splash of milk and salt (if you prefer, you could use Ranch dressing mix with cottage cheese and milk). I made a very satisfying tomato soup with home grown tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, onion and salt. I've made great blended piña coladas, too! I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with different recipes. Because the Vita-Mix processes foods quickly, I'm actually finding that I'm making healthier eating choices. It's faster for me to put together a salad with pre-washed greens, veggies and homemade dressing than it is to go to the nearest fast food restaurant... and in the end, it's more satisfying and a LOT healthier. Yes, this is an expensive machine, but I think it will pay for itself within the first two years by reducing my spending on going out to eat.
This is a heavy-duty machine. It is loud when it's in use, but generally you won't need to run the machine for more than a couple minutes at a time. This is definitely a professional quality machine and will yield professional quality results. A regular home blender cannot compare!
The Vita-Mix 1363 CIA model and the Vita-Mix 5200 model are essentially the same machine. The CIA model has some different color choices and comes with a HUGE recipe book called "Create", a smaller "recipes and techniques" booklet and an hour long cooking class DVD. The 5200 model includes a different booklet and DVD. Both have the same 7-year warranty. If the color of the machine and the recipe book don't matter to you, save yourself some $$$ and go for the 5200 model instead.
**Update June 1, 2012: Nearly 3 years after my original purchase I am still loving my Vita-Mix. It still gets used several times a week (sometimes multiple times in a day). It's still a great machine and has given me absolutely no problems. For me, it has definitely been a worthwhile investment!
395 of 409 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Platinum
Why, you say, should I spend this insane amount of money for a blender? My answer: Because it's worth it. There is simply no comparison to other blenders. The Vitamix is the best. It really does crush ice effectively, make ice cream in seconds from frozen fruit and cream, and produces drinks and sauces that are utterly smooth, plus soups to die for. I make my own hummus and used it for baby food regularly, guests love it for silky frozen drinks, and it lasts--with zero problems. It's a quality device. Advertising is geared to health food because you can make drinks or soups from fresh produce and take advantage of the natural fiber that juicers take out, and they're right, but that's not why I bought it. I bought it because I hate the odd chunky bits of fruit in my smoothies, I hate taking blenders apart for cleaning and I wanted something I could depend on to do what I wanted each and every time. I've not been disappointed.
I've had my Vita-Mix for many years and treasure it. My daughter has eyed it longingly so I finally bought her family one for Christmas, most especially so the little kids would get their veggies via tasty smoothies. I mean how else would you ever get a kid to eat raw kale (or me either, for that matter :). I found the current cookbook that came with her unit had so many terrific new recipes, I bought one for myself and am enjoying many new types of smoothies. The Autumn Harvest smoothie has sweet potato in it and is sensational. The Basil Lemonade is really delicious and the green smoothies are so packed with nutrition (plus taste good!) that we all feel energized. I can add flax seeds, sunflower kernels or other nuts to smoothies for an extra boost and know they'll always be completely smooth. I make some of my own whole-wheat flour now (although prefer my food processor to make the dough) so my bread is much healthier too. Yesterday when I had the little kids after school and we made a grocery store run, I was amazed and delighted to see them pick various types of fresh produce for smoothies right along with the expected pizza and cookies. We have a new generation of Vita-Mix fans in the family.
297 of 319 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2010
Color Name: Platinum
I ordered Vitamix 5200, but was upgraded by kitchenuniverse because they were out of it. It's the same machine except for an upgraded book and different color base.
things I can now do (or not do)with my Vitamix:
1. dont have to section oranges or lemons. healthier this way too. (just peel and remove seeds)
2. don't have to peel garlic (healthier? maybe. definitely more whole)
3. don't have to chop carrots (still a good idea to quarter apples)
4. sell my ice cream machine, and juicer
5. make smoothies while baby is asleep in the next room(can go as fast as variable 5 w/out much noise at all, it can still crush ice effortlessly at this speed). Even at the highest speed, it's as noisy as a regular vacuum, and I usually don't need to go full speed for very long anyway. The only time you need to go long (5-7 minutes) is for heating up soup, but why? adding hot water before blending is a greener alternative.
6. make as little as a cup of smoothie at a time (vortex action still works well, and so easy to clean, why not? there are so many good recipes to try in the included book and I only want to make a little bit at a time to test them out)
7. fill it to the top and make smoothies for everyone (the tamper is needed when I make this much strawberry daiqueri, but it comes out perfectly smooth from top to bottom)
8. don't always need to add liquid to a recipe before blending. (tamper comes in handy when not using liquids)
9. grind peppercorns, coffee beans.
10. turn ice into snow in less than 3 seconds (havent' done it personally, but it's on the demo dvd)
for those who wonder why it's so easy to clean: there are no parts to disassemble and reassemble. just add water, a drop of soap and turn on high. Sometimes it'll still leave bits that dried on, but just wipe it manually, no big deal. It's the assembly and disassembly that makes people not use their regular blender as often as they want or should.
some say the blendtec (competitor) doesn't need a tamper because it blends so well. Don't believe it. The only reason it doesn't need it is because the machine automatically raises and lowers the speed at intervals to get things into the spinning vortex. Umm...you can do that w/the Vitamix manually and you can do it better than a pre-programmed machine. The blendtec boasts 3 HP while Vitamix is 2 HP. I cant even imagine needing to go any faster than the Vitamix already does, and trust me I have a big imagination. The blendtec is even preprogrammed so you can walk away from it while it prepares your recipes, but do you really want to walk away from a machine this powerful? I believe in simplicity and that is the major advantage of the Vitamix over the blendtec. Yes the blendtec fits under the cabinets and a Vitamix does not, but that's not a big deal to me because my Vitamix takes centerstage on my kitchen island.
Overall, if all you need to do is make a couple smoothies, this blender will disappoint you because of its price. It can do so much more, but you can only appreciate it if you are committed to changing your lifestyle too. I've been transitioning to raw vegan for about a year and I wanted a Vitamix since the beginning but wasn't ready to take the financial plunge. Let's just say when I finally bought this machine, it brought me to a whole nother level. I can't imagine going raw without it. Try buying the following books along w/your Vitamix "green smoothie revolution" by Boutenko, or any of the multitudes of raw food cookbooks on Amazon. The books will help you appreciate your machine even more, inspiring you to keep up with a healthier, more conscious lifestyle. This is truly a machine that you can fall in love with.
**update** I've had this Vitamix for 2 months now and I've been using it at least twice a day. I noticed some peculiar things which I would like to share.
- took it to my mom's house...it was significantly louder. I'm not sure why, my counter is made of granite, hers is a laminate type material. ceiling height is about the same. *shrug*
- decided to keep my ice cream maker. It makes sorbets just fine, but ice "cream" tasted very watered down (at least the ones in the included book did). I may adjust by freezing the milk or cream cubes instead of using ice cubes.
- I put two cups of flax seeds into the regular bladed container, turned it on and it became flour in a few seconds. (it was beautiful) I'm confused why a dry blade exists or why it's even needed. I can get rid of my coffee/spice grinder now.
- something fun....turn the dial from 1 to 10 and back and forth...it really does sound like a Ferrari engine!
142 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
Color Name: RedVerified Purchase
This blender is supposed to be the best on the market, but dealing with Vitamix customer service has been an absolutely horrible experience. The blender was delivered with a leak at the base of the cup, rendering it completely unusable. Because of the company's warranty, I contacted Vitamix for a replacement cup. The customer service representative guaranteed a replacement cup would be shipped out to me right away. I chose to contact Vitamix again after one week as I had still not received a shipping notification for the new cup. The representative apologized and ensured me a new cup would be sent overnight. Again another week passed and I received nothing. It had now been over two weeks and I was still unable to use this extremely expensive product. I called Vitamix a second time and refused to hang up until I received confirmation the replacement cup was actually being sent out. It was shipped the following day - with ground shipping (so much for overnight). By the time I received the cup it had been over three weeks since the company had agreed to a replacement.
I finally had the opportunity to use the blender and (non-leaking) cup to try to blend some fruit and water. I set the motor speed to a very low setting at instructed and within ten second the blender shut off. Again I repeated the process and again the motor cut out after several seconds. I once again contacted Vitamix about getting a replacement blender. By this point I had no interest in fixing the machine and simply wanted a clean slate. They refused to send a replacement, offering only to repair it. I was instructed to send the machine back in its retail packaging as to protect the blender as best as possible in transit. It took another 2.5 weeks for the blender to be repaired and returned; though they had taken the retail packaging I had sent away, leaving me with a plain repackaged cardboard box.
It had been almost a month and a half since sending the blender first in for repair and I had still never been able to use it. I told the representative that I wanted the blender returned and that I did not trust the product. They refused to take it since I no longer had the retail packaging - the retail packaging they took away from me! After breaking down on the phone they agreed to send me a brand new machine if I sent the old one back again. I was promised the replacement machine would come in retail packaging and be brand new. I again paid to send Vitamix the blender and finally a week later the replacement just arrived.
The replacement is a cheaper reconditioned model in a repackaged box. Vitamix has been a horrible company to deal with at every stage of this process and I wish I never chose to purchase this product. I urge you to reconsider before spending such a large amount for this blender. I do not know if the quality of their service has dropped in recent years, but I would rather buy a cheap magic bullet from Walmart than deal with this company again.
857 of 963 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2010
Color Name: Platinum
I bought my first Vita-mix in the early 1990s. It was expensive (even more than the current price, adjusting for inflation) but I spent the money since my mother swore by hers.
It had a metal container with smooth sides and a spout near the bottom. The base was huge.
It would chop/blend anything, no matter how full you filled it (the ad showed it chopping blocks of wood. After a very happy party we tried that with a box of 2" pencils - the kind with no erasers. We ended up with sawdust.)
This was my vegetable juice period - I would fill the Vita-Mix with carrots, celery, raw beets and turnips up to the top of the unit; in 15 minutes it had ground them up with such velocity that I had hot soup. I could fill it with 3 lbs of cold cream cheese, six eggs, and a cup of sour cream and it would liquefy them for cheesecake.
I go into this detail because:
When I arrived in NYC a couple of years ago, I found to my dismay that my Vita-mix had been lost in transit. Since it was a major part of my kitchen, I immediately ordered a new one. I was quite shocked when it arrived with a plastic container with ridged insides, and a smaller base. However, I immediately used it to make a cheesecake. It tried for a minute - at which time I smelled something burning. Then it shut itself off. I called the company and was informed that this was a safety feature. It seems I had overloaded the blender. I told them that this had never been a problem on my old machine, but since it was probably made before the young lady helping me was born, she could offer no comment on this. I then tried my vegetable juice and had the same result. I sent it in to be serviced; they said nothing was wrong with it.
It has failed me on many subsequent occasions. Jobs that were routine with my old machine would elicit the now-familiar burning smell and 'safety shutoff'. Today I threw it out.
I guess if you've never experienced the old one, the new one might be OK, but I certainly don't think it's worth the exorbitant price. It is, sadly, another example of an established company cutting corners to boost the profit margin
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2013
Color Name: Brushed StainlessVerified Purchase
I don't normally write reviews, but given the cost of this blender and our experience with it, I thought I needed to share.
Background: Had the blender for 38 days. Usage was light (probably used 15 - 20 times). Made primarily green smoothies and hummus. We dilgently followed the instructions, including the recommendation you blend for no more than 1 minute at a time. By comparison, I have a $50 blender that cannot make the green smoothies and hummus like the Vitamix, but I have had it for 10 years and it keeps humming, making fruit smoothies with no problem.
1.) Excellent green smoothies, creamy hummus
2.) Easy to clean
1.) Blender stopped working after 38 days
2.) Surprised by recommendations in the instruction booklet, such as not to blend for more than 1 minute at a time. I would expect a $400+ blender to be heavy duty and capable of heavy use
3.) Frequent use of the tamper required
4.) For the price, very limited in what it could do for us. This is really designed to blend food with significant liquid. Grains require a separate container. Compared to our $50 blender, the $400+Vitamix seemed more limited than we expected.
Amazon, by the way, was great. Even though the 30 day return window had expired, they were very understanding and we were able to return the Vitamix for a full refund. So 5 stars to Amazon!
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2010
Color Name: Brushed Stainless
We bought one of these 4 months ago and it has been one of the best small kitchen appliances we have ever had. We always start the blender on the lowest setting then turn it up to the highest setting, as the company recommends, so it doesn't overheat. (I've been told the fan on the motor doesn't cool as well on lower speeds) Ours has never overheated or failed to do what it was designed to do despite being used at least twice a day. We were surprised at how well it performs on even rock solid frozen fruits and vegetables. We freeze pineapple slices, mangos slices, bananas, spinach, strawberries, medjule dates, grapes, oranges etc. in Ziploc freezer bags. When it's time for a smoothie you can throw them in the blender directly from the freezer. Add a little water so it's not impossible to get your smoothie out of the pitcher when you're done, and turn it on. The blender has enough power to effortlessly turn everything into a kind of sorbet.
The biggest benefit to us has been the weight loss and my wife's drop in cholesterol level. Her physician was insisting that she start a cholesterol lowering drug but she convinced him to let her try to lower it through a change in diet. When she went back to get her blood work done he was flabbergasted. We have tried to cut out as much white sugar and high fructose corn syrup as possible and this machine helps make that possible. The other thing it does is allow the use of frozen ingredients so you don't have to constantly be going to the grocery store to buy produce. We tried using a standard blender but it simply didn't have enough power or the reliability to handle large amounts of frozen food. I highly recommend the Vitamix, especially if you like smoothies.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
Color Name: Brushed Stainless
I bought the unit a week ago. I have used it on multiple occasions every day (maybe a dozen or so recipes), so I admittedly don't have much experience with it. But, it is an expensive purchase, and I'd like to share my initial impressions of the unit. Let me be clear---even after a relatively short period of time, I am not regretting my purchase, but I want others to know my experience and the device's limitations. (I don't own a Blendtec, but I'm assuming a lot of what I mention below is similar to both blenders).
Let me first say that if you run into reviews for the Vitamix through Google, don't take those at face value -- Vitamix has a network of sales reps, and some of them make money off of advertising these machines as referral sources. If there's a free shipping code at the bottom, that's your best indicator that it may not be the most objective review.
I'm pretty good in the kitchen and creative with my foods. I enjoy a lot of international cuisines, so I cook with a lot of spices. I bought it mainly because my son has allergies to dairy, and buying dairy-free food is both hit-or-miss and very, very expensive. The health benefits that Vitamix and its dealers tout are extensive, but there are some problems with their logic (see "cons" below). So, here are my pros and cons, from my limited time using the machine:
1. Very well made unit. Solid, looks great, excellent jar and lid. I got the brushed stainless--the unit looks fantastic!
2. If you combine ingredients right, this thing will blend anything. (If the mix is too dry or not enough water, it doesn't work as well)
3. It creates incredible-tasting smoothies and ice cream without any problems--I was skeptical before I'd receive it, but WOW, what a great job, especially sorbets from frozen fruit (again, my son's dairy allergy plays a large role in the purchase).
4. Having a restaurant-quality blender opens up a world of possibilities I hadn't had before. There are things I couldn't do with my small Magic Bullet and Oster blenders, like crush peanuts into smoothies effortlessly. I probably would've used peanut butter before in the cut-rate blenders, but with the sugar content in peanut butter, this lets me control what I put into my family's foods much easier that previously and I can put whole peanuts into it instead. With my son's allergy, it was easy to whip up something smaller and non-dairy for his food, then create something with dairy in it right afterward (for example, baked egg dishes, or creamy soups--I prepare his first in a small batch, then use the same container for the dairy items for the rest of the family). In all honestly, I can't think of a single questionable ingredient I've used over the past week using this blender, and we've eaten a lot healthier overall.
5. Clean-up is my favorite part, 30 seconds and you're done!
1. The thing is LOUD. Wakes up the entire family, so you can't really use it for breakfast dishes/breakfast smoothies on the weekends until everyone's awake.
2. It's expensive (but I still think it's worth it).
3. It is NOT a juicer; and Vitamix doesn't claim it juices, but it does say that it makes pallettable vegetable smoothies and prevent the need for a separate juicer. I disagree completely, and so do my kids. The part that Vitamix says about raw foods and keeping the fiber inside the foods--that all makes sense to me, and I'm sure they're right. But in order to get the benefits, people have to WANT to drink it; it has to taste good. I found that they are too chalky, bulky, and tough to swallow to make this a practical application for this blender. You MIGHT get away with combining pre-made carrot juice in a bottle with some veggies shredded in the blender, but if you use whole carrots or celery as the main ingredient, chances are some family members won't drink it.
4. Here's my biggest con, related to making soups--you can't taste it while it's heating and make adjustments to the recipe. Yes, you are able to open the top and add things to the mixture. But to taste the mixture and see what needs modified, you have to stop the device, open the lid, and pour some out, revise your creation, restart the process, etc., etc. Not only does that take time, it also stops the heating process and you have to pretty much start all over again. A good immersion blender for soups does a much better job and allows you to test it without disturbing the process (still heats while on the stove). If you're buying this to make soups, think about that first, check a few cooking sites, and see what chefs are using (hint: it's a immersion blender). In all fairness, it heats soups quicker that the stovetop method, but they don't taste as good, and my family agrees with me on this.
5. TALL---with the jar on, it doesn't fit under the cabinets.
So one final question I had before I'd purchased it: Will it make me more efficient in the kitchen? (i.e., will stuff get done faster than before) I've only had it for a week, so it's tough for me to tell at this point. I do believe I've washed slightly fewer dishes, especially considering I've been cooking more at home, so that's a plus. I also use more fresh foods and staples, less processed stuff, and overall have a slightly smaller grocery bill (again, time will tell, but looks promising). And I do believe my family is eating healthier than before, so I think that in itself makes it worth it. But obviously, it's a personal decision when you're spending $400 or so.
I hope this helps you make your own decision on the device. Happy buying!
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
Color Name: Brushed StainlessVerified Purchase
This is my second vitamix... one for the office and one for home. Just simply awsome. I use it to make my Boku superfood smoothies in the morning! A little trick... if you are using protein powders or other powders, put those ingredients in first before other solids and liquids... this avoids any messy powder "gunkying" on the side of the mixer.
222 of 251 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2010
Color Name: Brushed Stainless
After about a week of use, I feel that I am qualified to write intelligently about this blender. I am very sure, and experienced that this very expensive blender will do what most others won't. However, there are some issues I have with the CIA. My first issue is that it has a variable speed control, but yet the manual says not really to use it for too long, or you could overheat the 2 HP motor. You are supposed to start in low, and as rapidly as you can take it all the way to the top speed on the variable control, and then switch it out of variable and into HIGH position.
I believe the variable control is there just to keep us from stripping the teeth off of the drive shaft that goes into the gear for the chopping blades. If you just turn it on in high, you will get a grinding noise. This is one of my main complaints.
The other complaint is how you can't run it too high, or you can't run it at too low, or you risk shutting the device off for up to 8 hours while the protection "resets", or you can burn the motor up.
Perhaps a lower speed, higher torque motor would be better. Or a motor with dual windings, one set for high speed, and one for low speed, high torque grinding.
High speed motors(37000 RPM, 240MPH) need many more of windings, that necessitates thinner wires that won't carry as much current without overheating. Which will cause the device to shut down, and smell hot(sound familiar).
High torque, lower speed motors have less windings, with thicker wires(which carry more current) without over heating.
I would like a tighter mesh on the gears that connect the carafe to the base, and a high torque, low speed setting that can run indefinitely.
All that said, the device can certainly grind up things that others can't, or at least not easily. Nuts, frozen bananas, etc. I have personal experience with this.
I also really like the 7 year warranty, and Vitamix gets good reviews on service. They are also listed by the Better Business Bureau as having a rating of A+, and have been members since 1967. [...]
I will update after some major time, and use and give feedback about reliability.
It gets only 3 stars for the reasons I have explained, which I think are kind of a crappy design in that I don't like the nob/button combo, and that I have read reports of these shutting down on people for WAY longer
than the manual says.
Hint: It has been said that the reason the unit overheats on low, is because the fan doesn't spin fast enough on low. Well, put the fan on a separate motor, and either leave it on high all the time the motor is running, or use a thermocouple with a circuit to control speed of the fan based on temperature.
Of course, I don't really believe the slow fan is the reason the blender over heats. I think it is because at low speeds, you tend to try and use more torque, which tents to stall the blades, making more current flow through the very high gauge windings of the high speed motor.