Item: Vitamix 5200 Standard Blender
Overall Impression: This is one powerful blender that can pretty much tackle any task you throw at it. If you want restaurant-quality results, you can't go wrong with this Vitamix.
If you watch professional kitchens in action or even cooking competition shows, food often gets tossed into big, loud blenders, and the chefs are furiously pounding away at them with a tamper. The blender is probably a Vitamix, and in fact, Vitamix has almost become a verb, much like Xerox and photocopying: "Just Vitamix it."
This expensive, investment-level blender has now made its way into home kitchens, but is it really worth shelling out hundreds of dollars for? I put the Vitamix blender to the test to find out.
The Quick Facts
Characteristics and specs:
- Height: 20.5 x 8.75 x 7.25 inches, about 22 inches high with the tamper in place
- Weight: 10 pounds, 9 ounces
- Blending container: 64 ounces
- Cord length: 6 feet, wraps underneath
- Power: 2 peak horsepower motor
- Blade construction: 3-inch diameter laser-cut, stainless steel hammermill and cutting blades
- Base design: On/Off switch, variable speed control knob, High/Variable switch
- Production and construction: Built by hand in Cleveland, Ohio, with at least 70% American components
- Accessories: Tamper, binder with owner's manual, step-by-step guide, and recipes
- Warranty: 7 years standard, 10 years extended for $75
Favorite details: It handled pretty much every task I threw at it beautifully and was fairly easy to use once I got the hang of it. The tamper was invaluable for pushing food down into the blades and ensuring smoothness. The 6-foot-long power cord that stowed underneath the blender made it easier to plug in anywhere on the counter and still reach a power outlet.
Potential problems: It takes some arm muscle and strength to use the tamper. The sizable height may make it difficult to store or use under cabinets and can make the blender more awkward to use for shorter people. The Vitamix was not great at crushing ice and didn't have any pre-programmed settings.
Who would love this? Those who like the reputation and cachet of the Vitamix name, want a powerful blender, and don't mind a more industrial, bare-bones look.
I put the Vitamix through five different tests, and here's how it did:
- The test: Kale, soaked raw cashews, banana, dried figs, fresh ginger, and ice
- Result: This smoothie took about 45 seconds to blend and didn't require the use of the tamper. The Vitamix really pulverized the kale leaves, as evidenced by the brownish color the smoothie took on as the green chlorophyll mixed with the other ingredients in the smoothie. The texture was really smooth and there really weren't any annoying bits of fruit, nuts, seeds, or plant fibers.
- The test: Chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt
- Result: Took about 1 1/2 minutes of ramping up the speed slowly and then blending on high speed. Required the use of the tamper to push the garbanzo beans into the blade. The texture was very good and fairly smooth. However, the thickness of the hummus made it hard to scrape out of the container, which has many ridges to work around.
3. Pureed Cooked Carrots
- The test: Cooked baby carrots, plus cooking liquid
- Result: Used speed 5 in the beginning (anything past that and it seemed to stop blending) and had to use the tamper after 1 minute to push the carrots further down into the blades. After 2 1/2 minutes of blending, the carrots were silky-smooth, steaming, and had reached a temperature of 112°F.
4. Almond Butter
- The test: 1 1/2 cups dry roasted almonds
- Result: Used the lowest setting for about 1 minute and 30 seconds until the almonds started to turn into a paste, then used the tamper for another 30 seconds until the almond butter was smooth. It did a great job of making smooth almond butter with no added oil.
5. Ice Crushing
- The test: 2 cups ice cubes
- Result: The speed needed to be kept very low to keep the ice moving and not get stuck, but no tamping was required. The resulting crushed ice was irregular in size but would definitely be usable in cocktails.
Design and Functions
This Vitamix 5200 Standard Blender is their basic model that has a very industrial, restaurant-appliance look. There are no preset buttons (although other Vitamix models do have them), so you flick the On/Off switch and then turn the variable speed control knob to your desired speed. This gives you total control of the blending speed, but you do have to remember to turn the dial back down when you turn the blender off. Otherwise, you're in for a rude, loud surprise when you use the blender next!
Blending Container and Tamper
The BPA-free blending container is tall and narrow, which helps the food to funnel and fall back down into the spinning blades easily. It also helps to minimize splashing and keeps food from sticking too far up the container.
There is a downside to this height, though — with the tamper in place, it sits about 22 inches high, which may make it difficult to store, let alone use, under overhead kitchen cabinets. I'm of an average height (5'4"), but I found that the top of the tamper was at my eye level, and it was a bit difficult to use the tamper because my arm was reaching up most of the time.
The container has a spout which makes pouring easy, but thicker mixtures like dips or nut butters were harder to scrape out due to the ridges in the sides of the container and trying to work around the four sharp blades at the bottom.
Once I got to actually blending, I was amazed by the power of the motor and how efficiently the sharp blades worked, to the point that it can heat up vegetables or soups as it blends to a nice serving temperature! Vegetables and fruit pureed into silky-smooth mixtures, and if there was enough liquid in a mixture, the tamper wasn't even needed.
For things like hummus, almond butter, and cooked carrots, I did have to use some arm strength to push the food back into the blades with the tamper, but I never had to stop the motor to scrape down the sides of the container like I would with other blenders. I think it's quite a fair trade-off.
Where it didn't do a great job was crushing ice. The ice was cut into irregular pieces, but unless you plan on making snow cones or are very particular about crushed ice in cocktails, I don't think it's a deal-breaker.
Blenders are rarely quiet, and the Vitamix 5200 is no exception. It's loud and gets even louder when you push harder-to-blend foods like nuts into the blades with the tamper, but I didn't find it noticeably louder than other high-end blenders that I tested.
The Vitamix 5200 is not recommended for dishwasher cleaning, but I didn't find it that hard to clean by hand (I just used the soapy water blending method). There are some sharp blades, however, you have to be careful of if scrubbing the interior of sticky things like almond butter.
So did the Vitamix 5200 win me over? In terms of sheer power, definitely, especially if you want it to tackle tough tasks without any fuss. As long as you don't mind the more industrial look, I wouldn't hesitate to make the investment.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.