Cons: flour lumpy, blades loosen eventually, gaskets-replaced-often, some parts obselete in time, warranty-work-at company-only, terrible juicer
The Bottom Line: Although this machine is very useful, it doesn't do all of the jobs advertised as well as I expected. However, there are many good uses for this machine.
(this review is 10 years old and things have changed. For an updated look at one of the best Vitamix products right now, go to my other review for the VITA PREP 3 which is one of the best machines I have used yet from Vitamix to date.
SHOULD I OR SHOULDN'T I?
I have debated on whether or not to give my opinion on the Vita Mix. You see, I have been involved with the Vita Mix Company for about 13 or 14 years now.
WHY DID WE GET A VITA MIX?
When we first got a Vita Mix, we were looking for something that would make EXCELLENT soy milk. There was not a blender that we could find that would make excellent soy milk. They were messy, and leaked out of the top.
The Vita Mix had a action dome on it that would NOT ooze out the boiling liquid when trying to make soy milk. It was effective and made the best soy milk I have ever had.
At the time that we purchased the Vita Mix, however, we could only afford ONE appliance. We needed a juicer, food processor, mixer, grain grinder and blender for heavy jobs.
At that time, you could still get stainless steel containers for the Vita Mix- excellent as they did not etch up after long uses of hard items and did not break like glass.
You could easily see in the top of the dome, so it was fine.
THEN I BECAME A DEALER
I became a dealer and spouted the wonders of the Vita Mix for many years. I used the Vita Mix to teach gourmet natural foods classes. I made bread in it, soup, tomato sauce, bread crumbs and the best alternative grain cakes I have ever had.
DRAWBACKS TO THE VITA MIX
However, there are some very serious drawbacks to the Vita Mix that I would like to talk about. These drawbacks are even more true of the newer model that this review is about.
First of all, the blade unit has to be replaced IF YOU USE THE VITA MIX WITH THE VERSATILITY THAT THEY SAY YOU CAN. The strain of the high level processing of bread dough and peanut butter as well as grain grinding will work the blades apart so that they are no longer stationary, but wiggle a lot. This will affect the performance.
I had many arguments with the company about this over the years. They no longer make the machine with the reverse capability of the blades, so the problem takes longer to manifest. To this day, it is hard to find anyone that will admit this is a problem. But I was a dealer and I saw this happen a lot. It happened to my machines - I owned several models.
IS THIS A GOOD JUICER?
The second thing is that this is not a good juicer. I know that they say it is, and I tried every model, but it just does not make good carrot juice or orange juice. It also does not pulverize the little seeds very well.
Now if you want smoothies- this machine is fabulous. PLEASE do not buy it for juice, however. It is NOT good for that at all. You would be much better off buying a high quality juicer (see my opinion on the Juice Lady for one example) if you really want juice.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GASKETS
The third thing that I would like to point out about this machine is gaskets. They make them from an inferior foamy plastic compound that wears down quickly. They have to be replaced often. This was not covered in the warranty when I last contacted the company. Anywhere there is a gasket or seal, they will have to be replaced and they do cost more than I think is fair. THEY ARE NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY.
Another thing I did not like about this company is that you have a hard time getting parts to fix it yourself. You have to send the machine back to the company to get it repaired. Therefore you are without this marvelous machine you have come to depend upon for several weeks. As a dealer, I would be able to get the parts, but they no longer have dealers, so that is no longer possible. This is something to consider if you plan to use this machine for many different processes.
Here is an example. I have had several Vita Mix models over the years. On one of the newer models here is what has had to be replaced in a 10 year period:
On/Off Switch - 2 times Brushes- internal in the motor- 1 time Blades in one container(used for bread making & heavy mixingwork)-3 times
One of each of these repairs happened after the warranty expired. So I had to get the parts on my own for each of the above repairs once.
WE TESTED THESE MACHINES THOROUGHLY
We have used our machines very heavily to do everything that they are promised to do - I was not interested in promoting a product if it did not live up to its promises, so we worked them as we expected our customers to.
Another thing I would like to point out, is that they no longer make parts for the older machines. They used to keep parts from machines around for years. The main claim about Vita Mixes was that people kept them for years and even handed them down through generations.
Suddenly they have discontinued parts for machines that are as new as 10 years old. This is a disturbing trend considering that these machines' claim to fame has been their longevity.
WHAT IS THE VITA MIX GOOD FOR?
Now, what the Vita Mix IS GOOD for is a list that follows:
~SOY MILK and NUT MILKS
~Mixing cake batter with rice flour or other denser flours
~OK at grinding grains- does stick to sides more now than ever and leaves some grains unground at times. We used ours for grinding all of our flour for years.
IT IS BETTER TO BUY GRAIN GRINDING CONTAINER IF THAT IS ONE THING YOU REALLY WANT TO DO WITH THIS MACHINE. IT IS WELL WORTH THE MONEY.
~Making cream sauces and soups.
~grinding tomatoes with skins to can sauce for winter or to freeze.
~making sesame butter and nut butters
~grinding herbs and spices into powders
~making bean dip mixes and soup mixes powdered
MY FINAL COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
For many years, we survived a completely natural lifestyle with only a Vita Mix, Food Dryer, and Mixer. The Vita Mix is a wonderful tool and I really like it. I do not like the current model as well in some ways- grains stick to the container sometimes and still not great juicer, but if you have the money, it is an excellent investment- just not as good of one as they tell you it will be.
If you want a great blender, this is it.
If you want an all around tool, just know it has limitations.
As long as you are prepared for replacement of parts and your machine becoming obsolete possibly after the warranty is up, you will have no surprises. Hopefully the company will not continue to compromise on quality in the future.
PLEASE RATE THIS OPINION SO I CAN KNOW HOW IT HELPS YOU AND IMPROVE IT IF NECESSARY! THANKS!
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2009!
This review was done quite some time ago, but if you are interested on learning about a newer VITAMIX machine that I feel performs much better check out this review of the VITAMIX VITAPREP 3 which I feel is ever nicer than the VITAMIX 5200 which is the current model being promoted heavily by the company.
Click on this link to read my newest Vitamix review.
Feel energized live longer look more youthful defy disease and lose weight when you start using the Vita-Mix Lifestyle.The workhorse Vita-Mix 5000 processes everything perfectly from deliciously cool smoothies to fresh warm peanut butter hot soups and even cold ice cream in just minutes At last eating healthy is also easy thanks to the Vita-Mix