Blender Recs: Vitamix Models & Pricing

Blending a green smoothie in a red Vitamix 5300

last updated 14 October 2020

If you’re thinking of purchasing a high-powered blender, I really can’t recommend my Vitamix enough. Although it’s definitely an investment, I think it’s worth it. A Vitamix makes perfectly smooth soy milk, nut butters, 豆沙 (dòu shā) bean pastes, smoothies, and soups. I put on my finance hat and narrowed it down to the three choices for you. Read on for my analysis and how to maximize value.

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Vitamix Recipes

Vitamix green smoothie: soy milk, spinach, and pineapple garnished with a cherry
Vitamix green smoothie: homemade soy milk, DIY frozen spinach, frozen pineapple cores

What can you make in a Vitamix? The possibilities are endless! Here are some of my favorite recipes that are only possible with a high-powered blender:

Nutritious Vitamix Soy Milk 健康营养 维他密斯豆浆
This soy milk recipe is backed by science for an extra creamy, tasty, nutritious, and refreshing result. Cheaper and better than store-bought soy milk in every way.
Check out this recipe
Healthy Mung Bean Cakes 低糖少油 绿豆糕
Mung bean cakes 绿豆糕 are a beautiful dessert that originated in the imperial kitchens of Qing dynasty China. My version is creamy and decadent but guilt-free, healthy, and surprisingly easy.
Check out this recipe
healthy mung bean cakes, recipe by The Rice Lover

Buy Certified Reconditioned

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I really can’t think of any reason to buy a Vitamix at full price. We are the happy owners of a bright red Certified Reconditioned model 5300. Vitamix calls them “Reconditioned“, and Amazon calls them “Renewed“. Either way, you get a blender that is essentially same as new and save up to $200.

Vitamix carries out a rigorous inspection and replacement process (details here), plus your warranty covers the same standard as full-price new. The container and tamper stick inside are brand new. In addition, the company has a very strong reputation for doing right by customers with warranty replacements; they even cover normal wear and tear.

Although the reconditioned warranty is 2 years shorter, for $75 Vitamix will sell you a 3-year warranty extension. That still works out cheaper than buying new.

Where to buy a Certified Reconditioned Vitamix?

I know of two retailers that carry Vitamix blenders with the factory Certified Reconditioned process: Vitamix and Amazon. Below are direct links to the three models I recommend on each site. Keep reading for how to choose the best model blender for your household. If you choose to buy from my links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you — thank you for your support!

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Vitamix

Vitamix Explorian
Certified Reconditioned
Vitamix Standard
(Brushed Stainless On Sale)

Vitamix 5300
Certified Reconditioned

Which model of Vitamix?

There are a dizzying array of Vitamix models with overlapping features and price points. If I were to purchase right now, I would pick from three reconditioned options: Explorian, Standard, 5300. They are the lowest-priced models with full-size 64 oz containers. I think 64 oz is the best blender jar size no matter how many people are in your household. In fact, I used the same blender jar even when I lived alone!

A flow chart to help you decide which Vitamix certified reconditioned model to buy

None of my blender model picks have fancy electronic presets that automatically change speed and turn off the machine. I think these raise the price of the blender a lot, increase the risk of failure, and don’t offer much real benefit in the kitchen.

1. Decide: jar height

Vitamix blender with soy milk ingredients (steamed soy beans, water, ginger, medjool date, salt)
Even the short “low-profile” container doesn’t fit under our very short cabinets. Renter life!

The tall 64 oz “classic container” can blend smaller quantities of very thick pastes like almond butter. Because it has a narrower base, it more easily draws liquids into the vortex. However, the tall model will take up more height under your cabinets.

  • For a tall jar, total height = 20.5 inches: pick the Reconditioned Standard (i.e. Vitamix 5200)
  • For a short jar, total height = 17.25 inches: read on for Explorian vs 5300

Our rental apartment has unusually short cabinets, so neither version fits for us anyway.

If you can’t decide, keep in mind you can always just scale up the recipe for equivalent performance.

2. For a short jar, decide: warranty length

If you prefer a short jar, there are 2 options. Both have a 2.2HP motor and 64 oz short “low-profile” container.

  • 3 year warranty: pick the Reconditioned Explorian. These are mostly Costco returns (Costco-exclusive model E320) and on average cost ~$50 less
  • 5 year warranty: pick the Reconditioned 5300. This one carries a longer warranty. If the Explorian is more than $75 cheaper, you could buy the Explorian + 3 year extended warranty and come out ahead. This is the one we have!

A word on glass containers

High-speed blenders are incompatible with glass containers. Since glass can’t handle the potential micro-fractures from solid items whizzing around at this speed, all blenders in this tier use high-density plastic. However, all Vitamix jars are BPA-free Eastman Tritan (the same material as modern Nalgene water bottles). Especially since food is only in the container for a short time, I wouldn’t worry.

Still Can’t Decide on a Vitamix?

Certified reconditioned Vitamix 5300 blending matcha green tea soy milk
Blending matcha green tea soy milk in my reconditioned Vitamix 5300

These are the exact choices I’d pick for my parents — the current cheapest of my 3 picks.

After too much research, I concluded these models are basically equivalent. Vitamix themselves say that any of their full-size blenders can make the same recipes and survive the same conditions in a home kitchen.

Finally, a word on the warranty. As a long-time financial professional, I feel well-qualified to talk about pricing risk. And the reality is that companies are never selling insurance at a loss. Since risk of failure is way below 28% (=$75/$270) in year 4-6 — the level necessary to break-even — I would skip the extended warranty.

These are extremely reliable blenders, designed for years of use in a home setting. In fact, Consumer Reports rates Vitamix as the only company with the highest rating in both “blender reliability” and “owner satisfaction”. So enjoy your new blender, and happy cooking!