Vitamix 5200 Review (Real User Experience)
The first time I ever tried to make one of those healthy fruit-and-vegetable smoothies using a regular, cheap blender, I couldn’t even choke it down.
What I had hoped would break down into a green, creamy beverage had big chunks of kale and shards of ice floating in it. As I found myself making healthier choices in the kitchen, I knew it was time to upgrade my blender.
Vitamix is a household name when it comes to blenders, and the standard to which other companies compare themselves.
This review focuses on my personal experience with the Vitamix 5200, one of the most popular models offered by the brand. It’s used in many professional kitchens, popular chains like Starbucks, and homes all over the world.
There’s no getting around it - the Vitamix is an expensive appliance. Even if you view the blender as a worthy investment, at nearly $450, it requires parting with a significant amount of cash to get started. This can be a barrier to entry for those whose budgets are a little leaner.
Ease of Use: ✭✭✭✭✭
The Vitamix 5200 gets five stars for how easy it is to use. Even though you have plenty of room for customization and control, if you can dump a few ingredients into the canister and flip a few switches, you can make smoothies, soups, and frozen desserts - just to name a few.
In addition to the plastic tamper that’s used to press thicker, more stubborn foods down into the blades, the 5200 also comes with an impressive amount of resources to help you learn about your machine and get started using it. With an owner’s manual, recipe book, and instructional DVD, all of which are also available online, the company really arms you with the knowledge to start making the most out of your new appliance.
The customer support for this machine is worth the cost of the appliance alone. The company has an incredible commitment to the satisfaction of its customer base. While I have never had to contact customer support (the blender is extremely durable), a brief Google search reveals the countless good experiences purchasers have had with the company. From prompt responses to minimal hurdles to jump through when returning/exchanging a machine, the company is an A+ organization to work with.
Vitamix provides a 7 year warranty, the longest of most blenders and incredibly long for an electronic device. The long warranty really speaks to the quality of the machine, and the commitment the company has to customer satisfaction.
WHAT WE LIKE
- You can practically blend a golf club in this thing
- This thing looks sharp - and not just the blades!
- My Vitamix works just as well today as it did the day I bought it.
WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE
- The plastic cannister is not dishwasher-safe
- The Vitamix 5200 is not a set-and-forget-style blender.
- When the motor gets overheated, the entire machine shuts off.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Though purchasers have a variety of options when it comes to buying a high-powered blender, Vitamix always comes out a top brand - and with good reason.
Powerful enough to crush ice and heat soup, durable enough to last for 30+ years with proper use, and an amazing multitasker, the Vitamix is an incredible addition to any home kitchen.
However, at around $400 per unit, the Vitamix 5200 isn’t for everyone. If you’re only using your blender every now and then, and for mostly soft foods, this is probably more than you need to spend on a blender.
However, if you’re a home cook that enjoys making many staples at home, a smoothie lover who needs to power through ice and seeds, or want to have the ultimate control over how much sugar, salt, and fat makes its way into your family’s meals, read on for a complete review of the product.
What Comes with the Vitamix 5200?
The standard 5200 model comes with:
- a 64-ounce wet blade container
- The high-powered motor base
- A plastic tamper for pushing thicker foods into the blades, and an impressive collection of resources to help you get started using the product.
The Getting Started Guide is your owner’s manual and provides details about each aspect of Vitamix ownership, from how to use the machine to troubleshooting to how to register your appliance. The guide is specifically geared toward homeowners and is an easy-to-understand entry point to the world of high-powered blending.
Once you have a handle on how to use your blender, the cookbook provides you with recipes that showcase what your blender can do, in addition to being healthy and delicious. It includes recipes like a Tropical Cooler Smoothie, Curried Carrot Soup, and Orange Sorbet using just three ingredients.
For visual learners, the Vitamix 5200 (Amazon) comes with an instructional DVD, so you can watch and follow along with over an hour of scrollable content.
Check out a Vitamix 5200 Unboxing:
Let’s start with the real foundation of this blender - the high-powered motor.
With a 2-peak horsepower, 120V, 60Hz, 11.5A motor, home cooks can power through fibrous vegetables, seeds, and a canister full of ice with relative ease.
The blades move so quickly that if you let it blend long enough, it will heat the contents of the container - meaning you can make piping hot soup right in the blender.
The unit itself is on the tall side - with the container attached to the base, the whole thing is 20.5h x 8.75d x 7.25w inches.
The whole unit is too tall to be stored in my kitchen cabinets, so I leave it on the counter with the container off the base, but you may want to store in a cabinet or on counter space that is not located directly below your cabinets.
The entire unit weighs about 10.5 pounds.
The container itself is made from BPA-free plastic and holds 64 ounces, so you can make big batches of soup, beverages, and ice cream at once.
The 5200 model comes with a whopping 7-year guarantee that covers the product in cases of faulty or broken parts.
Seven years is a long time, especially when compared to competitors.
The length of the warranty goes to show the level of commitment Vitamix has when it comes to the quality of the blender and the satisfaction of the people who purchase them.
How to Get Started Using Your Vitamix
The Vitamix 5200 (Amazon) is extremely easy to use. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the owner’s manual, you can plug in and start blending whatever sounds good to you.
The blender produces the best results when you layer your ingredients, so liquids like water, milk, and broth go in first, soft foods like tomatoes, bananas, and avocado go in closest to the blades, and dry or hard ingredients, like carrots and ice, are added last. As the blades move, they will draw the ingredients downward, and the liquid/blended soft foods will help blend the harder foods into a smooth, creamy puree. Adding your ice or harder foods first can make it more difficult to reach that silky consistency, and may cause them to get jammed up around the blades.
For thicker foods like frozen treats and nut butter, the model comes with a plastic tamper, which is designed to press foods down into the blades. The tamper must always be used with the lid, as a special guard helps it stop before it reaches the blades.
A Personal Note:
I found the tamper to be what sets the Vitamix apart from other blenders. Whereas many cheap blenders I owned before this one would choke up on ice, forcing the blades to spin around uselessly, the tamper allows me to press unprocessed ingredients downward and achieve the silky smooth consistency that I’m looking for.
Sure, it requires you to hang out near the blender and help, but the end product is a thousand times better than anything I’ve ever gotten from another appliance. Even my food processor doesn’t compare to the texture I achieve using my Vitamix.
Cleaning the Blender
While the plastic canister can’t go in the dishwasher, it is extremely easy to clean, as the model is self-cleaning.
To clean your Vitamix 5200:
- Fill the blender halfway with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap
- Place the lid on the container, set the dial to 1, and turn the machine on the variable setting.
- Turn the dial all the way to 10, then flip the switch to high
- Let the blender run on high for about half a minute, then turn it back down to the lowest setting before shutting it off
- Rinse the canister with water and allow it to dry with the lid off so that moisture won’t get trapped inside
If you need to get more stubborn ingredients off the canister, like nut butter or sticky chia seeds, you can use a sponge or scrubber to loosen it before starting the self-cleaning method. Be mindful of your fingers when cleaning near the blades.
There’s no getting around it - yes, the Vitamix is loud!
It’s not ear-piercingly loud - you can stand next to the machine while it’s running - but I’d hesitate to use it while my husband was sleeping.
Considering the blades are moving quickly enough to turn cold ingredients into steaming hot soup, the sound isn’t that bad, but if you’re looking to make early-morning smoothies while the kids are asleep, you may want to reconsider the level of noise that your household can handle.
Vitamix 5200 Blender
Our Rating: 4.5 Stars
What We Like
✓ You can practically blend a golf club in this thing.
Okay, maybe not an actual golf club (seriously, don’t try that at home), but really any tough, hard, or fibrous food you put in here gets obliterated. The Vitamix 5200 really can blend just about anything - by blend, I mean completely liquefy.
Celery? No problem. Ice? Creamy. Peels and seeds? Like it never happened. A smooth texture, and less effort on your part, since you can drop the whole thing in there, skin, seeds, and all.
One of my all-time favorite smoothies uses big juicy blackberries in it, whose flavor I love, but tended to shy away from because I’m not a fan of having to chew the seeds in my beverage. However, when I put blackberries in a Vitamix smoothie, the powerful blades completely obliterate any semblance of seeds or skins, and you don’t get any seeds stuck in your teeth while drinking your smoothie! The Vitamix delivers all the smooth, pleasant aspects of juice, while keeping the nutritious fiber that would get removed by a juicer.
The power on this thing is unparalleled - the motor that powers through skins and seeds is enough to not only blend raw butternut squash down to a creamy soup, but moves the blades quickly enough to heat the soup. And I’m not talking about little warm pockets either - I’m talking piping hot, steam pouring out of the container heat. Perfect for small spaces and quick meals, you can achieve a creamy hot soup without ever having to fire up your stove or dirty a pot. Just blend, finish with salt and pepper, and serve.
✓ It's built like a tank
I love the fact that the 5200 lifespan outlives it's warranty. It's no wonder Vitamix offers such a great warranty on it's products - they really do stand the test of time. I’ve had my Vitamix for a number of years now, and it works just as well as it did the day I took it out of the box. In fact, some reviewers on the internet have noted using their Vitamix for well over thirty years! If you’re going to drop this kind of money on a kitchen appliance, it’s good to know that you’ll basically be able to turn it into a family heirloom.
✓ It looks great!
This thing looks sharp - and not just the blades! The sleek, industrial design looks beautiful on my countertop, and since it’s already out, I’m more likely to use it more often. I know that this is purely superficial and if it works great who care right? But my kitchen is like my sanctuary (cheesy, I know) and I like to keep it not only looking clean but looking good. Thank you Vitamix for spending time on the design!
✓ Full Control
For cooks who are control freaks (and I use that term lovingly), the Vitamix is an ideal machine. High-powered and extremely durable, the machine offers the ability to apply just the right amount of power instead of relying on pre-programmed options. By using the two toggle switches and a dial that adjusts the power level, you can really have a hands-on approach to your smoothies, soups, sauces, and frozen desserts.
✓ Company Commitment
Lastly, I love the commitment the Vitamix company has to its customers. Offering an unparalleled 7-year warranty on the blender, a quick internet search also shows that Vitamix offers five-star customer service (I’ve simply never had an issue that I’ve needed to contact the company). If you’re going to drop this kind of money on an appliance, it feels good to know that the company has your back, and won’t abandon you in the unlikely event you run into a problem.
What I Don't Like
The Vitamix 5200 is the most popular high-tech blender out there for a reason - it has overwhelmingly positive reviews on nearly every site. However, no machine is without its limitations.
Because the motor is so powerful, it does have the chance of becoming overheated, especially during a hard-working task like grinding almonds down into butter. When the motor does overheat, the entire machine stops - usually abruptly, and sometimes right in the middle of your task. While this prevents the unit from breaking, it can be frustrating to be stuck halfway through your job, with half-blended almond butter or quickly melting ice. As there’s no indicator of when the machine can be turned back on, you have to keep trying until the motor can be switched on again.
× Not dishwasher friendly
The plastic cannister is not dishwasher-safe. While it’s easy to clean after thinner things like smoothies and soup, it’s a real pain to have to scrub homemade peanut butter out from behind the blades.
× You can't automate tasks
The Vitamix 5200 is not a set-and-forget-style blender - it needs some help to achieve that amazing consistency. If you like a more hands-on approach to cooking, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re looking for something you can walk away from, this may not be the best model for you.
Lastly, I have to say it - the Vitamix is expensive. At nearly $450, this is a serious investment when it comes to building your kitchen arsenal. The cost may create a barrier to entry for those who might have trouble putting up almost 500 bucks for a blender. However, the cost depends on what you use your blender for. If you only break your blender out now and then for mixed drinks, or you find yourself blending mostly soft foods like bananas for your post-workout smoothie, this machine simply may not be a good value for your needs.
However, if you’re like me and consume lots of raw foods, enjoy getting hands-on in the kitchen, and make lots of things like nut butter and sauces from scratch, you can really consider this purchase to be an investment. It’s going to last a long time, and it’ll help you achieve a texture you simply can’t get from other blenders, but the value of the machine is really going to come down to how often you use it. A $450 machine you’re using several times a day is a very different value from one that collects dust in your kitchen cabinet.
The Verdict & Final Thoughts
If you’re a cook who appreciates making your own sauces, nut butter, and frozen desserts and wants complete control over the ingredients that go into your family’s food, the Vitamix is absolutely worth the price. While the price of entry is high, you’re getting a superior product that is capable of handling a variety of tasks, delivers unparalleled quality in the final product, and is something you’ll be able to use for decades.
I simply can’t imagine my kitchen without my Vitamix blender. Because I can choose the amount of fat, salt, and sugar that goes into each of my homemade dishes, I feel good about what I’m putting in my body and feel that the long-term benefits to my body are worth the upfront cost of the appliance. If you find yourself disappointed by your traditional blender, are ready to take your family’s nutrition into your own hands, and want it all in an easy-to-use appliance, the Vitamix 5200 is definitely worth a spot on your countertop.
Vitamix 5200 Blender
Our Rating: 4.5 Stars