Cheaper Alternatives to Vitamix and Blendtec

If you’re excited about getting a powerful blender, but the price is out of your range, there are some other options that I’ll go over today.

Before I get into it, I want to point out that if you use one of these machines regularly and think about its long lifetime, the cost is less daunting. For example, if you get a new Vitamix 5200 for $449, and use it 5 times per week for the 7 year warranty, that’s 25 cents per use. Add to that the machine will probably last at least 15 years, and you may use it more than 5 times per week, and the cost per use goes much lower. If you get one, and find that you hardly ever use it, it’s easy to recoup your cash. If it’s within 30 days you can get all your money back from Vitamix, and they even pay for return shipping. After that period you’ll have to resell it yourself, but the machines are so highly regarded that they maintain good resale value (for example, I just looked on eBay at completed listings of used 5200’s and it looks like the average is about $350!–more on this later). Another way of looking at the value is if you currently buy smoothies or blended coffee drinks, and switch to making them yourself, the blender will quickly pay for itself.

But lets say $450 is just out of your price range. Here are some cheaper options, in order of decreasing cost.

Factory Reconditioned/Refurbished
Vitamix 5200Blendtec ClassicUpdate: Vitamix and Blendtec are further discounting reconditioned units, while supplies last. These added discounts make buying refurbished an even easier choice for anyone looking for the most affordable top-quality blender.

This is the first place to look for the best price for Vitamix and Blendtec machines. For details on the refurbishing process and why you should consider it, see this page about refurbished Vitamix machines. $329 $299 gets you a factory-reconditioned Vitamix 5200 with a solid 5-year warranty, and $384.95 $279.95 $249.95 gets you a factory-refurbished Blendtec Total Blender with a solid 7-year warranty. (These machines come with brand-new, unused, containers.) Note that this price for the Vitamix is less than a lot of the used ones that sold on eBay that I mentioned earlier!

Used
Unless you get considerably lucky, I don’t think used is the way to go. As I just showed, you can get a factory reconditioned unit for about the same price as used machines usually go for on eBay or Craigslist. The exception is the occasional story of finding a Vita-mixer maxi-4000machine at a yard sale for $5-$20, sold by someone who did not know what it was, so it’s possible to get lucky, but don’t count on it. Alternatively, you might consider an older model such as the 4000 or 3600, which are from the 1970s and 80s and can be had for under $200. They have stainless steel pitchers, which has a certain appeal, but it makes it harder to see what’s going on inside the pitcher. They’re also not as powerful as the newer models (the 4000 is 7 amps, compared to 11.5 amps for current Vitamixes). Another caveat is they have a spigot at the bottom that can be a pain to keep clean (it was bad enough that you could actually request a plug from Vitamix to stop it up; I’m not sure if you can still get one from Vitamix.) I’ve also heard that the seals and blades are more likely to wear out than on current models, and finding replacements these days may be a pain.

3rd Party Refurbished Blendtec [expired]
Blendtec ICB3This deal is interesting, though it’s not for everyone. If you want the most power for the least amount of money this is the way to go. For $204* you can get a commercial Blendtec machine that was used commercially and then refurbished by a 3rd party (use coupon code NEWCUSTOMER for $5 off). These machines come with a 1-year warranty. They also come with a sound enclosure to muffle the sound. Very important to note though is that they have been used heavily, and both the sound enclosure and the pitcher will likely show heavy signs of wear (i.e. scratches, and even cracks in the sound enclosure). Make sure you check the reviews there and on Amazon to see what you might be in for. The thing that jumped out at me is that most of the negative reviews are from people who were expecting a like-new product, which this is not. Also note that VMInnovations has updated their return policy on these since some of the reviews; they will cover return shipping on functionally defective items. Some people end up buying the $99 Wildside container to go with it, which works slightly better than the classic Blendtec container, and then you don’t have to use the old beat up container. Also, its 6 buttons can be reprogrammed to give you more control over blending.
*Update: VMInnovations increased the price; check link for latest pricing.

Other brands
The other main brands to look into are Ninja and Breville, for the $100-$200 range. I don’t know much about them, but their performance will likely be a bit lower than Vitamix or Blendtec, and their warranties are considerably shorter (2 years for Ninja, 1 year for Breville). Another one to consider is the Oster Versa, which looks like a decent contender.

Final recommendation
I recommend the $329$299 factory-reconditioned Vitamix as the best budget option. With that machine you really aren’t making any compromises, and you’re covered by a strong warranty/customer service. For a bit more money the $439 refurbished Vitamix 7500 is also a solid deal. If you’re curious about the differences between the different Vitamix models, check out my Vitamix roundup.

Or if you prefer to have preset modes and a push-button interface, go for the Reconditioned Blendtec at $279.95 $249.95 while supplies last. (Free shipping is applied if you click any of these links.)


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Comments

Cheaper Alternatives to Vitamix and Blendtec — 20 Comments

  1. Americans are so fortunate with your lower prices. I just purchased the new Vitamix 750 which is the latest that William Somona sells and I believe the same as the American 7500 but up here i paid just over $900 for mine, before paying taxes (still well worth it though but definitely out of reach for many)
    With that I got one container and a hard cover cookbook but I like the US prices far better ;-)

  2. Back in October I bought a Ninja blender from Bed, Bath & Beyond & used their 20% off coupon. It also included the 2 single serve containers. I had wanted a Vitamix, but never thought I could afford one. I am enjoying my Ninja & use it a minimum 2 times per day, often 3 times a day. The Ninja just doesn’t make things AS SMOOTH as a Vitamix. I went to Costco the other day & almost bought one, but came home & “Googled” & found this blog. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am now saving my pennies to get the Next Gen Reconditioned Vitamix model. It will take a few months, but that’s ok. I’m just so glad I was able to read about it in this blog. What great information I have gleaned here. I will then sell my Ninja on Craigslist! Thanks again, you’ve done a great job with this blog!

  3. I just purchased a reconditioned next generation last week. It would not have been possible for me to purchase this for a couple more months if it had not been for their 3 payment plan. I live on a limited and fixed income and was both relieved and excited that I was able to purchase one on their payment plan. It costs an extra $15 but is worth it imo not to have to wait months to get one of these awesome blenders.

    • Quick note to anyone else who is interested in the payment plan: to get it you have to place a phone order (there’s no way of selecting it online). You can still get free shipping by telling the Vitamix phone representative my free shipping code. The Vitamix phone number is 800-848-2649 and the free shipping promotion code is 06-007021.

    • I have been looking for reconditioned next generation or even 5200 and they are not presently on the web site. Any tips on how to access these from vitamix?

      • Vitamix does not sell reconditioned units outside the US, and they block non-US IP addresses from viewing the reconditioned units on their website.

  4. I have the opportunity to purchase a Vitamix Commercial Maxi-4000 for $50. I have never had one before, and am worried about the blades. How can I tell if they are good or worn out?

    • I don’t think you have to worry too much about the blades. The thing that wears out most frequently on those older models is the rubber gaskets. $50 is a great price: I would just make sure that it runs well and does not leak.

      • Thanks~I was able to pick it up for $40, and the gal had already replaced the blades and rubber gasket (seal), and had a package of new seals for future use. I am excited to try it out!

  5. I am thinking of buying a Vitamix 3600 in good working order for $125. It looks like a really old model. Any feedback would be appreciated.

    • It is quite old—likely from the 80s. I personally wouldn’t buy it at that price, since you never know when one of the seals is going to fail. The main reason to get one of those would be if you really want to have the stainless steel pitcher. That said, if it does fail, you can always use the Vitamix trade-in program that would give you $100 off of a new model.

  6. I read most of your site (including comments) about Vitamix and I’m interested in buying the best possible available as on today. I am new to blending and juicing, would use for home purpose only. I guess you said, the Best is Pro 750. As on 11/11/2013, Vitamix website offers $689 (NEW pro750) and $519 (Certified Reconditioned, $50 extra for Brushed stainless color).

    I can afford to buy a new one but still need your help in deciding to buy a new one or certified one? I would like to spend my money in a smart manner.

    Thanks in Advance.

    • I would recommend the certified reconditioned one as being a better buy. (Especially now that the red has been staying in stock lately—saving that extra $50 makes it an even sweeter deal.) In the highly unlikely event that it has any issues, Vitamix will take care of it for you.

  7. Hi!

    Does anyone know whether the stainless steel pitcher from a 3600/4000 will fit on to the base of a new 300?

    Thanks!

  8. How ’bout the other way around: Will a new pitcher (wet or dry) fit on an old model, say a Maxi 4000, a 3600, or a 5000? If not, is there an adapter I can get to make the new pitchers work with the older models? Thanks!

    • The 5000 is almost identical to the 5200, so you could use the new containers on a 5000. The models before the 5000 are significantly different and would require an adapter kit. I believe Vitamix used to sell an adapter kit for the Maxi 4000, but I don’t think they do any more.

  9. I have an old 4000, complete and I also have the Vitamix Total nutrition center. There is no better machine. Neither one has had to be serviced. I am going to sell the 4000. Don’t waste your money on another brand, if you notice. Most of the cooking shows use VitaMix, Jugo Juice and Booster Juice both use Vitamix. Spend the extra 100 or 200 and buy the best.

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