Welcome back to Once and For All, where we figure out whether the stuff people rave about, cherish, and form their entire identities around is actually worth the investment. We've looked at cast iron pans, linen sheets, and more, and today, we're investigating the cult of Vitamix blenders.
Think of Vitamix as the Harley-Davidson of blenders.
Trying to turn solid food things into luxurious, completely homogenized liquid delights like smoothies, dressings, batters, baby foods, doughs, dips and nondairy milks? The Vitamix is the beast for you. It may very well be a perfect machine; it does all that, and can self-clean! If you’ve worked in the service industry or cooked professionally in any capacity, you already know that Vitamix blenders are highly coveted and elicit strong brand loyalty. If you’ve not worked in a restaurant space, it is still very likely that through cultural osmosis you have come to understand its place in the world as a very expensive cult-fave appliance.
But the blenders are a bit of an investment, with several models costing upwards of $400 or even $500. Why are they so expensive?, you might wonder from afar—although they do also come with a seven-year warranty, which is pretty generous as far as appliance insurance goes. It all begs the question: With a lot of blender options out there, why is the Vitamix considered the best? And above all, is a Vitamix worth it?
Perusing the Vitamix website is like attending a culinary sermon. After spending a few minutes clicking through the site’s tabs and testimonials (one section of the site is called “Undying Passion”), I found myself nearly misty-eyed, both out of humor and genuine adoration. With messaging like “Vitamix stories of gratitude not only showcase the versatility of Vitamix machines in the kitchen, but also serve as a testament to how Vitamix has positively changed the lives of people around the world,” the site was pretty effective in convincing me that my civic duty to empty my wallet for the cause. One user review on the Vitamix site goes so far as to say, “I seriously think if I had to grab only a few things from my house in a hurry to rescue from some disaster, my Vitamix would be one of them.” This is absolutely nuts, and I love it.
There is the simplified Vitamix ONE for the newly indoctrinated, and the Ascent line—with wireless connectivity and a built-in digital timer—for the most devout. Herein lies the crux: Are you really about to drop upwards of 250 dollars on a blender with positive reviews that are near-revelatory? For many, the short answer is, yes, if you want to fulfill your ultimate blender potential. The issue is no longer can you afford one, but rather, can you afford to not have one, henceforth letting all your purees, sauces and other hypothetical emulsified matter suffer from your lack of commitment to the craft?
I’ve used a Vitamix in both professional and personal kitchens, and truthfully, I’d tell you to buy a Vitamix just for the roar it makes; it’s a “gettin-er-done” sound, so you know it’s really doing it’s thing. And I’ve yet to find a blender that produces the same outcome as a Vitamix, extremely smooth and well-emulsified without being overworked or bruising any ingredients, which makes a world of difference. It’s the quick and effective zap that really is the trademark.
I opened this question—of whether the Vitamix deserves the hype—up to some friends at a dinner party, and a passionate conversation ensued, chock full of anecdotes that spoke to the litany of recipes that can be improved upon with such precision-driven technology, but also the resilience of the machine itself. One friend mentioned that she was gifted a Vitamix several years ago, and in her excitement on the first go she had forgotten there was a spoon still in the pitcher, hidden in a viscous medley of ingredients. She flipped the switch with the utensil still inside… a devastating mistake. After several seconds of violent clanking, she turned off the Vitamix to diagnose the problematic grinding noises, and lo and behold, she had a homemade spork. And yet! The machine in question is still fully functional to this day, churning out smooth liquids every time despite the trauma. We appreciate Vitamix’s character development here—in the face of strife, it persistently cranks out bountiful milkshakes and purees, among other treats and this, is strength personified.
I wanted to hear some musings on the Vitamix from the perspective of a chef; culinary professionals often get heady and rightfully emotional in reference to the machine, and that’s persuasive evidence. I spoke with Kevin Cimino of Mayday, an online fresh seafood based retail pop-up in Los Angeles. Cimino has worked in the restaurant industry for over 15 years. He has managed several kitchens and consulted for many others, and, prior to the pandemic, was the Director of Business Development for Cream Co. Meats, the largest sustainable meat wholesaler in California.
In regards to the storied blenders, the surf and turf hero notes: “The tech behind a Vitamix is innovative—there’s not a predecessor or substitute that gives that end result. Once you use [one], you realize how texture and mouthfeel can enhance the intensity of flavors. It has the horsepower to enact cavitation and other force driven phenomena to basically implode everything in the pitcher. Friction creates heat, which can change the taste of a puree or emulsion, so you can ideally achieve your desired texture without overworking or denaturing the product.” Essentially, it’s like a Dyson vacuum, but for deliciousness. From blade speed and sharpness, capacity for volume, and overall power and versatility_you are getting many bangs for those bucks.
Cimino goes on to say that he’s “had to defend buying a Vitamix when building or consulting on projects, and then usually [is] left waiting [his] turn because they’re constantly in use. Cooking in some ‘shmoo’ heavy [restaurants] where there are two or three of them in house, you still have to plan prep around their availability.” Everybody loves a fancy appliance, so you have to get in line for the big kid toy. Cimino believes “we all deserve to realize our own divinity through shepherding physics—we all deserve an Olympian emulsion.” OK, chef!
And with that [slams gavel], we can declare once and for all that the Vitamix is worth the splurge (if you’ve got the dough to make it happen). To be frank, any blender or food processor is going to cost you a pretty penny. If you search for alternatives to the Vitamix, you’ll come to realize most high-quality devices are at least $150-$350, while Vitamix’s ranging from $250-$550 or so. But, then you’re in the Vitamix community, and that’s empowering. Your return on investment knows no bounds; be brave and seek out velvety smooth, perfect emulsions. You can be your own chef bro with industry standard gadgets at home.
What if pop punk band Eve 6 wrote their song "Inside Out" as a full-fledged ode to the machine itself? If you put a tender heart in a blender and watch it spin ‘round to a beautiful oblivion, you bet your bottom dollar that’s the precision of a Vitamix, baby.
If you’re ready to join the passionate cult of Vitamix, you can pick up their blenders at the Vitamix website, Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, and other retailers of fancy kitchen appliances.