Sept 29, 2014 update: I see Groupon is running a deal on a reconditioned Vitamix 6000 for $299. You can read all about the machine below, but my quick recommendation is to pick up a reconditioned Vitamix with variable speed instead, currently also selling for $299 (for a limited time).
Vitamix quietly released a new consumer model last week, the Vitamix 64 oz. 12-in-1 Automatic Blender. It’s a Standard machine, which means it is designed for the classic narrow containers with 3-inch blades and not the Next Generation wide container (to see which models are Standard and which are Next Generation, see my Vitamix comparison page). The front panel shares the same layout as the 6300 and Pro 500, including the handy on-off switch on the bottom left, the pulse toggle-switch on the top left, and the start-stop toggle switch on the top right. The central knob is physically the same, but its settings are different. It has six timed settings: 20 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 4.5 min, and 6.5 min. There is no manual variable speed control.
In short, I don’t think that this is the best machine for most people to choose. I think the Certified Reconditioned models are a significantly better deal. See below for more details.
Vitamix is selling the 6000 for $599, which seems quite steep for a machine without variable speed control and which does not use the Next Generation container. I noticed that the warranty is only 5 years, instead of the 7 years typical for most new Vitamix machines. The shorter warranty strongly suggests that this machine is mainly branded for sale on QVC. Indeed, if you search Google for “Vitamix 6000,” a QVC ad turns up for the 6000, listed as a “Today’s Special Value (TSV).” According to the QVC forum, it looks like QVC has a Vitamix scheduled to be a TSV on October 27th, so somehow the Google ad is displaying early. (If you search the QVC site for “Vitamix,” the 6000 does not currently turn up.)
For those of you who have never seen Vitamix on QVC, you might get a kick out of seeing some of their presentation. They demo a set of recipes, which can be inspiring, and I also find it amusing to see them work themselves up into a frenzy. You can watch QVC streaming online (for Vitamix tune in 10/27 at 7a, 1p, 6p, or 8p-midnight Pacific Time).
What is the Vitamix 6000 designed for?
Vitamix says that it’s “inspired by one of our top-selling commercial machines.” Presumably they are referring to the Barboss, which has the same front panel, except that the locations of the pulse and start-stop switches are swapped, and the preset times are shorter. I understand the appeal of the Barboss much better than this 6000 model. The Barboss is for a bartender or barista to make a variety of pre-set drinks in a busy setting where they may be doing many things at once. They can put a specified amount of ingredients in and then get a consistent result. For home use I think preset times are less useful, because the home chef is more likely to change the types and quantities of ingredients. (That is, unless you’re cranking out tons of margaritas at a party…)
Compared to the Barboss, the preset times on the 6000 include longer runs so that it can be used for heating soup. However, for general use I think it’s a shame that they left out the variable speed control. When you don’t want to completely pulverize everything the variable speed is extremely useful—for example with pesto. The pulse switch gives some control, but not nearly as much as the variable speed.
The cynic in me says that this machine is designed specifically for QVC so that they can advertise it as the “latest and greatest” new model. Compared to the 6300, it is interesting to have the presets labeled with times instead of tasks, but I think the lack of variable speed is a big loss.
How does the 6000 compare to other Vitamix machines?
At Vitamix’s list price of $599 it is not appealing. At QVC’s featured price of $399, it’s not bad, but I’d say there are better choices. I am a strong proponent of the value of Vitamix’s Certified Reconditioned machines. Reconditioned machines have the same length warranty as QVC models (5 years), and they are usually indistinguishable from brand new machines. Compared to the 6000, I would recommend either the Standard for $329, or if you want presets, the Standard Presets for $379. With either, you save money over the 6000, and you get variable speed control. Alternatively, for slightly more you could go for a Next Generation model. See my comparison page for more details. I’d rank the 6000 above the 2-speed, but below all of the other Vitamix models.
If you buy from Vitamix, make sure you get free shipping by applying promotion code 06-007021. For more details see my page about the Vitamix promo code.
If you cannot stomach the idea of buying reconditioned, I would recommend the 5200. (Of course, I don’t think there’s any reason not to go with reconditioned—especially since the parts most likely to show any sign of use, such as the container shell and cookbook, are always replaced with brand new ones.) Spending just a little more than the Vitamix 6000 gets you variable speed and two years more warranty. It doesn’t have the timer settings, but I don’t think that’s a big deal.
Another benefit of ordering direct from Vitamix is that if you decide to return your machine within 30 days they will pay for the return shipping in addition to giving you a full refund. Last I checked with QVC, they will give you a refund, but will not cover the return shipping.
About the name “12-in-1 Automatic Blender”
Automatic refers to the fact that the blender has programs that turn it off after a specified amount of time. 12-in-1 refers to the 12 appliances that Vitamix suggests that this blender can replace. Some of them are a bit of a stretch, but here is the list from Vitamix marketing materials:
- Whole Food Juicer
- Food Processor
- Stick Blender
- Hand Mixer
- Ice Cream Maker
- Ice Crusher
- Meat Grinder
- Cheese Grater
- Peanut Butter Maker
- Hot Soup Maker
P.S. I know the blog has been quiet lately, but my house has not been! I’ve got a bunch of things on deck. Here’s a little peek: