Let me start this off by saying that I don’t like buying expensive appliances. Yes, copper cookware is great, and a juicer can do magical things, but I like my $20 food processor far more than a $200 one that can make ice cream and sauces and everything in between.
Let me also add in that the man I live with feels the opposite. He believes that we should invest in good cookware. Get a good thing, and be done with it. There are good reasons (even financial ones) to pursue that method, but I’ve always drawn the line when it comes to really expensive stuff.
For example, our blender. When I moved in with Ian last year, we had an old but perfectly usable blender (Cuisinart) that we regularly used to make our breakfast smoothies. After a few months, we noticed a crack in the plastic shield of the blade, so we bought a replacement online. Not two weeks after switching out the old blade for the new, it began to crack again. It was such an old blender that there were no longer replacement parts being made for the specific model we had, and similar replacements clearly weren’t doing the job.
Ian swears by the Vitamix. His parents have one, and he’s watched a ton of the brand’s “Will It Blend?” videos so he’s a brand convert*. Me? Less so, since the idea of paying $700 for a blender is unfathomable to me. Our temporary solution was to get an unused Magic Bullet from his parents. We only used it twice and didn’t love the results. The containers provided are more intended for single servings, and we didn’t like the consistency of the smoothies. After a few failed attempts, we stopped having morning smoothies.
Since our old blender broke, Ian’s been talking about getting a Vitamix. We set a maximum combined budget of $200 – the most we were willing to pay for a blender (cheap ones really can’t handle ice). Remember the list price of a Vitamix? The 5300 goes for $700 new, although you can find discounted ones online closer to $500. Clearly, that was outside our budget, so he floated the idea of buying a Vitamix from our friends who didn’t seem to use it. I wasn’t a fan.
Okay, now fast-forward to a couple weeks ago. I was browsing Sur La Table’s site because my brother gifted me a $200 gift card which he intended to be used for their cooking classes. Those classes are expensive AF. Personally, I prefer to spend an hour watching Tasty Buzzfeed videos on Facebook and then throw something together. But, I had a gift card, and I wanted to use it up. The site happened to have a one-day sale on Vitamix blenders, which piqued my interest. That’s when I found the refurbished 5300. I’m linking to the blender on Amazon because it’s the same price everywhere. Although that specific model wasn’t on sale (and I haven’t seen it go any lower), at $360, it’s way more reasonable in price than a brand new blender.
Why I love it: A Vitamix refurbished product isn’t like any other refurbished product. It goes back to the factory for inspection and comes with a five-year warranty, so there’s really nothing to fear. On top of that, my $200 gift card brought the total within our budget! Done and done. After taxes and fees and whatnot, the total cost of our blender was $184.70.
I PAID $92.35 FOR A VITAMIX.
The “savings” alone has me jumping off the walls, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. This blender is AMAZING. I consider myself skeptical of marketing tactics by nature, so I never really believed what people had to say about this blender.
The first test, obviously, was for the much-missed breakfast smoothie.
Okay, that’s the smoothest smoothie texture we’ve ever been able to create at home. The tamper seems like a weird, bulky, excess piece of plastic, but it was actually super useful. This thing handles ice like a CHAMP. The smoothie actually ended up a little thicker than we like, but we’ll be able to adjust in the future. BUT WAIT! CAN IT DO MORE? It damn well better, for how expensive it is.
We made acorn squash soup. After a few minutes in the blender, the soup came out HOT. I’m certain other blenders can make hot soups, but our old one had a horrible death rattle at top speed and we didn’t like keeping it there.
Ian made black bean burgers. It’s a straight-forward process, but I was still impressed nonetheless.
And of course, hummus! This turned out really well; I don’t think it lasted more than two days.
Ian ended up making a second batch but added too many sesame seeds, so I’ve dubbed that batch “humm-ish”. It’s still good though (although he refuses to eat it).
What’s the point?
My takeaway is that this blender is really, really good. I’m glad I went with the 5300 model because it’s short enough to fit underneath the counters. The (cheaper) brand new Vitamix models I was considering would not have fit. Like my slow cooker, this is a valuable tool to have in the kitchen. When there comes a day that I have to replace the blender (which I expect to be 10+ years from now; fingers crossed), I won’t have a problem paying full price for another refurbished Vitamix (the refurbished are just as good and way cheaper; why pay full-price for something new).
This blender is going to be used more heavily with meal prep, and it makes fast work of anything I put in there. Huzzah for speedy cooking!
*I have been told that Ian’s parents actually own a Blendtec, which is the brand that does the “Will it blend?” videos. With that knowledge, I now have no clue how Ian became enamored with the idea of owning a Vitamix blender.