Need to know
- There are four Vitamix blender models available in Australia, ranging in price from $699 to $1699
- CHOICE experts have tested all four Vitamix blenders, alongside 36 other currently available models, to help you find which one is best for you
- Vitamix models perform well in our testing, but there are cheaper models that perform comparatively well
That blender costs HOW much? That could well be your first reaction when looking at the price tag of the Vitamix range of high performance blenders. Their standard blenders range from the Vitamix Explorian Series E310 which retails at $699 up to the Vitamix Smart Series of blenders, which range in price from $1099 to $1699.
But, with some blenders from rival brands costing as little as $80, do you really need to spend the big bucks to get a blender that'll blitz through all your favourite fruits and vegetables? And what does spending hundreds of dollars really get you?
CHOICE experts have tested over 40 blenders in our kitchen labs and they give each product a score based on how well they perform general blending tasks such as blending soft fruits, blending a tough leafy veg such as kale, making a green smoothie and crushing ice. Depending on the promised functions of the blender, they also assess how well a blender can chop carrots and blend a sorbet or nut butter.
Find out which brands CHOICE experts rate as the best blenders.
"We test all different types of blenders from various brands and we do find that price is not always an indicator of performance," says CHOICE kitchen expert, Fiona Mair. "We test several expensive high performance blenders that perform very well in our tests, however we also find that you can get a blender that performs well in our tests that costs almost half the price of some of the pricier products. These cheaper models may come with fewer features or accessories, but it depends on what's important to you."
What is a high-performance or 'super' blender?
All Vitamix blenders are classified as 'high-performance' or super blenders. This means they are more versatile and powerful than standard blenders, useful for so much more than just whizzing up a banana smoothie each morning.
High-performance blenders make light work of tough vegetables, turning fibrous vegetables such as kale into silky smooth concoctions, and can be used for everything from blending and heating soup and making dough to milling nuts, chopping and crushing wet or dry ingredients or crushing large amount of ice.
You can get a blender that performs well in our tests that costs almost half the priceCHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair
"A high-performance blender can perform similar functions to a food processor – it generally will not shred or grate food like a food processor can, but will chop, grind, can emulsify mayonnaise, and make things such as dips and pesto. So if you don't make many things beyond these, you could replace a basic blender and a food processor with one super blender," says Fiona.
Cheap vs expensive: are Vitamix blenders worth it?
When considering whether a super blender is worth spending money on, you'll of course be considering factors such as how well it performs, special features and accessories it comes with, the quality of the parts and components (and therefore how long the appliance may last) and perhaps its warranty period.
Vitamix high-performance blender can perform multiple kitchen tasks and, depending on the model, have variable speeds and auto programs that mean you can blend, heat, puree, crush ice, chop, grind and whip.
Can a Vitamix heat soup?
One of the much-spruiked features of a Vitamix blender is its ability to make and heat soup. They don't have a cooking or heating mechanism inside the blender, but rather the heat is created by the friction energy of the blades spinned hundreds of times per second. This means you can put your ingredients for your soup – vegetables, stock, garlic and herbs for example – then blend on high speed for about 4–5 minutes and, voila! Hot soup.
Sounds like a great feature, but what does CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair have to say about it?
"The Vitamix blenders we have tested all blend soup from raw ingredients with ease, so this feature definitely works well and is a shortcut that might be valuable to some," says Fiona.
"You do have to blend raw ingredients for a good five to seven minutes to get them to a palatable temperature for soup, however, which creates a lot of noise. When we tested this feature using the Vitamix, we had noise readings above 80 dBA which is comparable to the level of sound in a noisy factory," she says.
"Flavour wise, I prefer cooking soup in a pot, allowing the flavours to develop by sauteeing onions and garlic in olive oil for example, which you cannot do if you make soup completely using this appliance," says Fiona.
The Vitamix A2500i Ascent Series Smart Blender and the Vitamix A3500i Ascent Series Smart Blender both have built-in auto programs for 'Hot Soup' which means you can press a button and it will operate for the exact time required and turn the machine off automatically.
Can a Vitamix make juice?
A Vitamix blender can not extract juice from whole fruit or vegetables in the way that a juicer can. However, its high-performance blending capabilities mean it is excellent at blending a whole fruit or vegetable with a liquid to make a smoothie. All Vitamix blenders scored 90% or 100% in our green smoothie test.
Are Vitamix blenders easy to clean and dishwasher safe?
The plastic containers for the Vitamix Ascent Series are dishwasher-safe and the manufacturer says that all of its blenders are 'self-cleaning'. This means that you can put some warm water, some dishwashing detergent into the blender jug and process on high so the jug 'cleans itself'.
All Vitamix blenders scored 90% or 100% in our green smoothie test
"You can effectively do this 'self-cleaning' method in any blender – it's helpful after making nut butters and doughs as it helps to release the ingredients from around the blade. But you would still need to rinse it out in the sink," says Fiona."Although some parts are recommended for dishwasher cleaning, I would advise not to as harsh detergents can discolour and cause weakness in the materials. The instruction manual that comes with the Vitamix blender we most recently tested states that the lids, lid plug and tamper are dishwasher safe."
Other blender features to consider
When choosing a blender, you should buy one that has a jug that suits the amount of ingredients you'll be blending and what you're using it for. Each of the Vitamix Ascent Smart Series blenders comes with a two-litre capacity jug and a tamper.
"The two-litre jug capacity is a good size for a large family but it may not be suitable if you're wanting to blend smaller quantities, such as for a one-egg mayonnaise or a small amount of nuts. You may need to purchase additional accessories for those. Keep in mind also that some larger jugs can be heavy to lift and move, especially when full," says Fiona.
"A tamper is a really useful accessory to have, as it helps you manipulate ingredients while you are blending to get the best results – and the Vitamix blenders have a hole in the top of the lid that allows you to do this easily, which most high-performance blenders have," says Fiona. "Most high performance blenders also come with a tamper which allows the user to perform other functions such as making sorbets and nut butters."
How many variable speeds do you need?
In our kitchen labs we test blenders that have a range of different speed settings – some may only have one or a few speed settings while others have up to 13 (such as the Ninja Intellisense Kitchen System).
Variable speed settings give you more options and more control over the texture you're after when blending. How important that is to you depends on exactly what you're using your blender for and how particular you are on texture. Each of the currently available Vitamix blenders has 10 variable speed settings. Having a blender with a pulse function is also helpful when grinding foods such as nuts as it helps to control the degree of grind you need, such as course or fine – all the currently available Vitamix models have a pulse feature as well as variable speed control.
Wireless connectivity: The Vitamix Ascent Smart Series
Each of the Vitamix Ascent Smart Series blenders has built-in wireless connectivity, which is presumably one of the factors contributing to the high price tag. The manufacturer says that this feature will 'allow your blender to evolve with the latest innovations for years to come'. But what does that mean in terms of immediate value when you get your new blender home?
I would never advise you to leave your blender operating while unattended (which theoretically you can do with this app)CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair
One of the things the wireless connectivity allows your blender to do is what the brand calls 'Self Detect technology'. This means the blender recognises the container size and automatically adjusts the blending time of automatic programs to suit (while each Vitamix Ascent Smart Series blender comes with a jug and tamper, there are other different-sized containers and accessories you can buy for different blending tasks, such as a single-serve travel cup).
The Vitamix Perfect Blend app
There is also a free Vitamix app for smartphones called Perfect Blend. It is not promoted or able to be used to its full functionality in Australia (likely due in part to the fact that it links to the Vitamix Perfect Blend scales, which are not available in Australia), however, if you have an Ascent Series blender, you can still link your blender to the app. The app will recognise which blender you have, which container you're using and allow you to control your blender via the pre-programmed settings in the app. It also has a range of different recipes to access (this requires you to create an account)."Although I would never advise you to leave your blender operating while unattended (which theoretically you can do with this app), a free app that allows the user to access recipes with step by step instructions is a great feature," says Fiona.
While some of the cheaper blenders we look at in our review perform well, such as the Nutribullet Smart Touch Blender Combo NBF07520, some may only come with a 12-month warranty. Depending on the model, Vitamix blenders come with a five- to 10-year warranty.
Is a Vitamix blender worth buying? The CHOICE verdict
Vitamix are undoubtedly one of the leaders in the blender world, with high-quality performance and features. But whether you want to spend money on one depends a lot on how you're going to use it and the kinds of things that are important to you.
"If wireless connectivity and pre-programmed automatic features are not important to you, you can save money on your blender by buying either the simpler Vitamix Explorian model – which has the same quality of build and similar performance but a shorter warranty, manual controls and a slightly smaller container – or check our CHOICE expert reviews to find our list of the best blenders, plus some of the cheaper blenders that may have different features but perform comparatively well," says Fiona.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.