Posts Tagged ‘ VitaMix 5200 ’

Holiday Promotional Pricing on Vitamix (Awesome Pricing!)

I received an e-mail from Vitamix this afternoon that I thought would be worth sharing.  Vitamix has never been one to have sales or coupons, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they’ve got some very attractive prices on their Certified Reconditioned series.

In previous years, the biggest promotion I’ve ever seen Vitamix offer in November is a Black Friday $50 off their 5200 Healthy Lifestyle package, and these deals look much more attractive than anything I’ve seen on the reconditioned series in the past.  These days, people that people start looking for Black Friday specials in October, so I it makes sense that Vitamix is starting their promotional holiday pricing now.  I’m still surprised, since I think it’s a more attractive promotion than anything I’ve seen Vitamix offers in past years.

I’ve written about whether or not the 7500 is worth the extra money, but with the promotional price on the Vitamix Certified Reconditioned Standard (the Vitamix 5200 and its sister models), I’d probably recommend that as the most attractive model to someone who’s been on the fence.  (Maybe it’s the psychological impact of them crossing the $300 threshold) It’s the lowest I’ve ever seen it priced, and significantly cheaper than when I purchased my first Vitamix, which also happened to be a Certified Reconditioned Standard.  I loved that blender, it’s still under warranty, and my parents are still using it very regularly today.

For those interested in the actual e-mail, here it is, in it’s entirety:

I received this e-mail from Vitamix in my inbox this afternoon, they have some very attractive prices on their reconditioned vitamix blenders right now

I received this e-mail from Vitamix in my inbox this afternoon

In my post explaining why I think Vitamixes are worth the price, I list several reasons.  All of those reasons apply to the refurbished models as well, which all come with a 5-year warranty.  Both new and refurbished models can be ordered directly from Vitamix.com, and the free shipping combined with the saving on the refurbished models make ordering a refurb directly from Vitamix.com the most reasonable way to pick up a Vitamix blender that I have found.

Update (11/27/2012):  As seen on this page, now through Cyber Monday, Vitamix is offering $50 off any container purchase.  That page also has confirmation that the promotional pricing mentioned here is only good through Saturday, November 30th.

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Collection of Vitamix 5 star recipes

At the request of a family member who called me asking about my hiyashi-chuuka sauce recipe, saying they couldn’t find it on this blog, I’ve put together a collection of all the 5-star recipes I’ve posted to date:

Dips and Sauces
Hummus
(video)
Hiyashi-chuuka (冷やし中華) sauce
Yogurt Herb Sauce

Drinks
The Best Tasting Banana Milk (half soy milk, half milk, I also really like adding roasted soybeans to banana milks made with just milk (video))
Hot Chocolate

Frozen Piña Coladas
Homemade Frozen Mocha Frappuccino

Sorbets and Italian Ices
Fresh Peaches Sorbet
Homemade Grown-up Polar Cup

Other
Homemade Peanut Butter (video)
Kinako Powder
Acorn Squash Soup

There’s plenty of stuff I rated four stars that I still make pretty regularly, but this is a pretty good representation of most of my favorite uses for my Vitamix blender.

What is the difference between a Vitamix 7500 and a Vitamix Professional Series 300?

I am now the owner of a new Vitamix Professional Series 300!  My company has a rewards program that allowed me to get a Vitamix Professional Series 300, and it was far more interesting to me than any of my other options.  Now, I had just recently purchased a Vitamix 7500, but I called Vitamix and confirmed that they would allow me to return my Vitamix 7500, which means I could get essentially the same blender I bought in October, without spending money on it!

Vitamix 7500 (left) and Professional Series 300 (right)

My Vitamix 7500 (on the left) and Professional Series 300 (on the right)

Now, before talk about the similarities of the 7500 and Professional Series 300 in any detail, I want to say again how impressed with Vitamix I am.  They have seriously impressed me in the past, and returning my Vitamix 7500 was another example of service where I could not have been more impressed.

In addition to allowing me to keep the cutting boards and spatula they sent as gifts with the Vitamix 7500, they even sent me a return label, which means I paid nothing, not even shipping when buying or returning the 7500.  (I used coupon code 06-006651 when I bought the blender, which gave me free shipping.)  And my return experience is not nearly as impressive as my earlier experience that I linked to above, but it’s yet another case where I could not have asked for better service at any point in dealing with Vitamix.  (More specifically, it was Brenda Kilbane at Vitamix who made buying this and returning this a breeze.  Here’s her information, if anyone is interested in speaking to her:  1-800-848-2649, extension 2305, and use the 06-006651 coupon code for free shipping.)

Now, on to talking about the similarities of the Vitamix 7500 and the Professional Series 300. They are, for all practical purposes, the same blender base, container, tamper and lid.  The faceplate itself comes in different colors, and the name written on the faceplate is different, but that really is it as far as I can tell.

The only meaningful differences between the two are what you get with the blender, and even that’s very similar:

The cookbook, getting started guide and owner's manual for the Professional Series 300 and Vitamix 7500

The cookbook, getting started guide and owner’s manual for the Professional Series 300 (left) and Vitamix 7500 (right).

Honestly, I never opened the cookbook for the 7500 because I already had the 5200’s excellent Whole Food Recipes cookbook, and I didn’t want to open the shrink wrap once I knew I was returning it.  That said, a simple visual comparison shows that the Professional Series is a larger book:

The cookbooks you get with various Vitamix blenders

The “create” book that comes with the Professional Series 300 book on the left, the “simply fresh” book that comes with the Vitamix 7500 on the right, with the Whole Food Recipes book the Vitamix 5200 comes with behind them.

Yes, the Professional Series 300’s cookbook is larger (354 pages), and it is a nice hardcover book, complete with both a jacket, and nice silver embossed text under the hardcover jacket, but I don’t know that I would recommend spending the extra money on the 300 unless someone really wanted the nicer cookbook.*

As for the existence of two extremely similar blenders sets under two different names?  That doesn’t seem to be anything new for Vitamix.  The precursor to the Professional Series 300 was a Professional Series 200, which looks identical to the Vitamix 5200, and when I first bought my first Vitamix blender (which I later gave to my parents), it was then sold as a reconditioned 5200, but was actually had the “Creations II” name on the blender body faceplate.  (Today that reconditioned option is still available, but it’s now called the Certified Reconditioned , and I still think it’s the best bang for your buck if you’re looking at getting a Vitamix blender, especially if you’re only looking at the 5200 anyway.)

I hope that’s helpful for anyone who, like me, was wondering what the differences were. My 7500 is in a UPS truck on it’s way back to Vitamix, and aside from the difference in faceplate color, I don’t anticipate noticing any differences with my new Vitamix Professional Series 300.

*The price difference is based on the difference in price at Vitamix.com, with the assumption that you’d be ordering from Vitamix.com directly. Vitamix.com is the most affordable way to order a new 7500 that I’ve found, and includes free shipping.

Update (3/23/2013): In addition to the refurbished 5200 I mentioned, there is now a refurbished 7500/Pro 300/Creations Elite available. I wrote a post about it, and I think it’s a fantastic option to consider for anyone thinking about picking up a Vitamix.

Is the Vitamix 7500 worth the extra money?

I received the following comments on one of my YouTube videos:

nice video. I’m very happy with my 5200 which I purchased at costco for a good price. I don’t plan on getting the 7500 but do you think it’s worth the extra money? great video and looking forward to more.

The answer to that question is a qualified “yes”.  (Obviously, the biggest qualification is how much “extra money” someone’s paying for the 7500.)

To give better context to my answer, I thought I’d share my updated feedback on the Vitamix claims for the 7500 that I originally shared in a post back in September:

  • Greater than 2 horsepower motor to process dense ingredients with ease

Yes, the Vitamix 7500 does process dense ingredients with ease. I still don’t care about the horsepower number, as I’m just interested in how the blender actually performs.  That said, it definitely performs.  The original hummus recipe that came in the 5200 cookbook instructs you to “Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades while processing.”  The Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe that comes in the recipe book for the 7500 uses the exact same instructions, but when I made hummus with the 5200, I found the tamper to be necessary.  When I make the same hummus with the 7500, not only is the tamper not necessary, but the way the hummus blends, it’s clear that it’s all being processed evenly.  The sesame seeds I use are completely blended and the texture is excellent.  Even in my first attempt, the tamper was not necessary to make a Banana Milk in the 7500, and carrots and similar vegetables blend in the 7500 smoothly where the tamper and water were needed for the 5200.

Simply put, the tamper stayed in the 5200 lid when not in use because I needed it more often than not, but the tamper isn’t needed for the vast majority of the same recipes when I use the 7500.

  • Vibration dampening technology for noticeably quieter performance

Yes, it is noticeably quieter.  As I answered in the comments section of an earlier post, the 7500 is definitely quieter than the 5200, even at full speed.  At lower speeds, the difference is significant, but at it’s highest speed the difference is definitely not huge, and would be very low on the list of improvements the 7500 has that I’m appreciative of.

  • Ultra-responsive Variable Speed Dial and pulse feature for precise recipe creation

The speed dial now offers speeds 1-10, and that’s it.  It used to be that you needed to dial from one to 10, and then flip the switch to high to blend at high speed.  That “High” switch has been replaced with a pulse switch.  This does make normal use slightly easier, as you need only deal with the dial.  While the instructions state to always start the blender at 1 (as with the 5200), in both normal use and when using the pulse switch, the powering on of the blender seems to automatically throttle itself on the 7500, and accidentally starting it on 10 or high doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on the 7500 as it did on the 5200.  (Full disclosure:  It’s so easy to use the blender without resetting to one every time that I left the lid off of some frozen pina coladas I was making when adding some stevia, and turned the blender back on [thinking it was set at one] while it was still at 10.  Only my face and dignity suffered, the blender had no problems spinning up to high speed.)

  • 64-ounce container designed to fit under most kitchen cabinets.

As I mentioned in my first post, I don’t really care about this.  I’m sure it’s nice for others, but it’s not why I upgraded.  There is an unexpected beneficial side effect that I’ll mention below.

Now, there are a few things not on the list above that I really like.  The biggest difference is the power switch on the side of the blender.  I don’t know whether the 5200 uses any more power than the 7500 while plugged in but not in use, but with two young kids, I appreciate the fact that the blender has an on/off switch that makes it substantially less likely that someone will accidentally turn it on.  The LED lights when the blender is on are a nice touch as well.

I’m also pleasantly surprised by the benefits of the wider blender container.  Part of the need for the tamper with the 5200 was the tendency of food like celery, carrots and frozen bananas to stay upright longer, requiring a longer blending time, and a large handful of leaves, such as spinach, could easily become stuck above the blades due to the narrow container.  The blender container on the 7500 means leaves fall into the blades and vegetables that would stay horizontal in the 5200 longer fall into the blades quicker on the 7500.

Now, I recognize that most people aren’t going to want to spend +$500 on a blender, but the Vitamix 5200 is not that much cheaper, so if you’re willing to pay for a new 5200, I would recommend buying the 7500 if you can afford it.  If someone is weighing their option between a refurbished 5200 and a full price 7500, I would say it comes down to how much you’re willing to spend and how much that extra bit of performance is important to you.  As I mentioned in my last post, if you’re somehow able to find someplace that has sells Vitamixs that has a 20% coupon that doesn’t exclude Vitamixs, that could be a better deal than buying from Vitamix.com.  But in my experience, and current prices at Vitamix.com, I’d say the answer to whether the Vitamix 7500 is worth the extra money depends on whether you view the refurbished 5200 (or a great 5200 Costco deal, as the commenter above found) as the best bang-for-your-buck.  If you’re willing to spend the extra money on the 7500, I definitely believe it is the best home consumer blender you can buy, and a noticeable improvement over the 5200.

Update (3/23/2013):  In addition to the refurbished 5200 I mentioned, there is now a refurbished 7500/Pro 300/Creations Elite available.  I wrote a post about it, and I think it’s a fantastic option to consider for anyone thinking about picking up a Vitamix.

Ridiculously Good Pina Coladas (★★★★★) Strawberry Milk and (★★★☆☆) and a broken and fixed blender

First, two recipes, because I have to share one that’s amazing, and I may as well share the other while I’m at it:

Ridiculously Good Pina Coladas (★★★★★)
This is a dangerously good piña colada.  Consider yourself warned.

This is one of those times where simple ingredients and an awesome blender can’t be beat.  My recipe is going to use stevia packets, instead of sugar packets, as that cuts down on unnecessary sugar calories, but you could use sugar as well.  What I did really like about the stevia in this recipe is that it’s rare that stevia really works in something as a sweetener without tasting just a bit off, but it works very well in this recipe and if you have stevia, I recommend it.

1 can (20 oz.) of crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice

½ can (200ml) of coconut milk (Half a Goya 13.5 oz. Coconut Milk can is what I used)

Ice (Nice ice helps, I used a bag from the local grocery store)

Stevia to taste (I used 3 packets for the above)

Rum (optional)

Blend the first three on high; ice being the only one I don’t have a ratio for, and that’s pretty much commonsense.  Add stevia (or sugar) and/or rum as desired.  (I found three stevia packets for the whole thing to be a good amount.)

Very, very good.  Another recent attempt, which didn’t quite live up to expectations, was the result of an abundance of cheap and delicious strawberries at the peak of the season:

Strawberry Milk (★★★☆☆)
Does not line up with “Strawberry Milk”, which, in retrospect, isn’t that surprising.

several very fresh, very sweet strawberries

milk

Blend the strawberries on high, add a pinch of milk, blend again, then add milk to taste.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t nearly as sweet, nor did it taste as much like strawberries, as I expected it to.  It was definitely drinkable, but for strawberries that good, I’d rather have strawberries and a glass of milk.

As for my blender, it actually did “break” a month ago.  I don’t know how to describe any better than to say that the top part of the blender that spins, that the toothed blender jar post connects to, became disconnected from the blender.

Usually when I’m writing on the Internet about some issue with a product, it’s because the company involved doesn’t live up my expectations, but in this case, I’m writing because Vitamix exceeded mine.  I contacted the company, waited a few minutes before speaking with a real person, and they sent me out a pre-paid shipping label to ship it back to VitaMix.

Less than two weeks later, I had my repair blender back, along with a brand new blender jar.  Apparently, something had compromised the jar, and that was responsible for the blender piece breaking, which is supposedly a design feature, as that part breaks so the blender doesn’t suffer any damage when excessive torque is required to spin the blender blades.

I have an earlier post where I tell the story of how I ended up with a VitaMix, but basically say that I imagine anyone will be happy with a VitaMix or a Blendtec.  Since I’m very pleasantly surprised by how painless and personal the repair process was (and free!), I’m that much more likely to highly recommend anyone in the market for a new blender order from VitaMix.  (And if you are ordering from VitaMix.com, use the coupon code 06-006651 for free shipping!)

World’s Best Hot Chocolate (★★★★★), Jalapeno V6 (★★★☆☆)

Didn’t post yesterday, but definitely used the blender for a few different things today and yesterday, so I’ll just post the first half of the recipes here:

World’s Best Hot Chocolate (★★★★★)
This is unbelievably good and highly recommended

2 cups of whole milk
6 tablespoons of cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of sugar
a small splash of vanilla extra
salt (just the tiniest amount)

Blend everything on high until the Vitamix 5200 heats the milk enough to turn it into hot cocoa.  Steam will rise from the top.  Drink immediately.  You can tweak the cocoa and sugar, but this is the mix I like, and it’s easier to make with larger portions, harder with smaller portions.

(Feb 2013 EditHere are some things I learned the hardway in experimenting with the above recipe:

  • Don’t use stevia as a substitute for part of the sugar
  • Don’t throw a Hershey’s Kiss in thinking it will improve the taste of the cocoa
  • Don’t add too much vanilla (granted, that was on accident.)

The other thing I’ve learned is that rather than heat it in the blender, mixing it thoroughly, then heating it in a sauce pan, taking care to not boil it, seems to be the best way to make this.)

Jalapeno V6(★★★☆☆)
This is better than I expected, but probably not for most people.

¾ cup of tomato puree
¼ celery stalk
1 romaine lettuce heart
several sprigs of cilantro
½ green pepper, with seeds and white insides spooned out
1 jalapeño pepper, halved length-wise, with seeds and white insides spooned out
1 fresh Ginger Gold apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
salt (to taste)
2 dozen ice cubes

Blend everything but the ice cubes, then add ice cubes through the top of the lid while the blender is on high.

Hopefully I can post about the Banana Milk variant and other green smoothie later today.

How to get a Vita-Mix 5200 (for a great price!)

I’ve been posting about me using my Vitamix 5200, and I figure it’d be a good idea to share some information about how I ended up getting one.

There was a ridiculous sale on a refurbished Blendtec blender on Fat Wallet.  The original post originally said that the coupon was good until September 2nd without mentioning an expiration date for the blender price, and since it was still a good chunk of money, my wife suggested that we sleep on it, since we believed we had until the 2nd to purchase the blender at that price.

As sad as it might sound, while I was asleep that night, I had a dream about a using an awesomely powerful blender, and when I woke up in the morning, I was sure I wanted to order it.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, the reduced price of the blender had only been good for the previous day.

The good news was that in my hunt to find a similar great deal on a blender in the days that followed, I found plenty of negative posts about that specific refurbished Blendtec item and the company that’d been selling them for that price.  While I’m sure Blendtec blenders are good, buying a “refurbished” blender that’s not actually refurbished by the manufacturer from a company that is shipping broken and heavily used units wasn’t a route I wanted to consider going down.

I decided that if I was going to spend upwards of $100 on a blender, I may as well do it right, so I researched both Blendtec and Vita-Mix some more, as well as other blender makers.  Rather than trying to find the cheapest deal, I was now trying to find a great deal on a great product that came with a great warranty.

At the end of the day, my own personal conclusion was that both the Vita-Mix and BlendTec blenders looked like fantastic devices, and that I wanted either the Vitamix 5200 or the BlendTec Total Blender, and that I wanted to make sure it came with a good warranty and in good condition.  I tried to find deals at places like Bed Bath & Beyond or online, but when I’d find what looked like a good deal, such as a 20% off coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond, the fine print would exclude Vitamix and Blendtec products.

Now, I wasn’t worried about cosmetic scratches, and both companies offered refurbished models directly from their website with multi-year warranties, so I decided the best price and best course of action would probably be to contact both companies directly through their “contact us” forms on their webpages.

BlendTec never got back to me, but Vita-Mix did.  I received an e-mail answering all my questions and giving me the contact information for Brenda, the sales woman who would later sell me my blender.  My main concern was that there would be a better deal or coupon that would be worth waiting for, and she assured me that free shipping was the best coupon I’d find for Vita-Mix, and that even their refurbished model came with a full five year warranty.  (The coupon code for free shipping is 06-006651)  That made me comfortable in knowing that I really wasn’t going to get a better deal, so I bought the refurbished 5200, which came with some other goodies along with the free shipping, and that was the start of this blog here!  It’s worth mentioning that the 5200 looked brand new when I received it, and I have no complaints so far.

Again, if anyone is interested in getting a Vita-Mix 5200 for the best possible price, assuming that they still have it, I highly recommend the refurbished 5200.  While you can see their products here, you can also call them directly, and I highly recommend speaking with Brenda Kilbane.  Since I think she’d be happy to speak with anyone who’s interested in buying a Vita-Mix, I assume she’d be OK with me sharing her contact details here:  1-800-848-2649, extension 2305, and use the 06-006651 coupon code for free shipping.

So there we go, that’s how I got my blender, and how you can get your own.  Now I can get back to talking about what I can make with my blender. 🙂

Edit: I actually used my warranty.  You can read about my experience here.  The short version is that VitaMix’s support team is very good.

Update (3/23/2013):  In addition to the refurbished 5200 I mentioned, there is now a refurbished 7500/Pro 300/Creations Elite available.  I wrote a post about it, and I think it’s a fantastic option to consider for anyone thinking about picking up a Vitamix.

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