Last Updated November 17, 2017
The certified refurbished Vitamix machines (aka certified reconditioned) are usually the best Vitamix deal. Vitamix guarantees them to be as good as new machines, and, aside from the print on the box, they are generally indistinguishable from new. They come with a 5-year warranty, backed by Vitamix’s generous customer service. You can save $80–$230 or ~20–40%.
Confused about which model to get? See my Vitamix comparison page for help deciding.
Reconditioned vs Refurbished?
Many people use the words refurbished and reconditioned interchangeably. The important thing to know is that all of the reconditioned/refurbished Vitamix models discussed on this site are reconditioned by Vitamix to the exact same standards as their new machines. (For other companies, refurbished might mean that a third party fixed up broken products, possibly with third-party components, but that is not the case for Vitamix.)
The recertification process takes place at the Vitamix factory, and any sub-par parts are replaced with new ones. The Certified Reconditioned Vitamix 17-point checklist includes both function and aesthetics—that is, everything is guaranteed to work as good as new and not look beat-up.
The following parts are replaced on every reconditioned machine, regardless of condition: the pitcher, lid, and tamper. If the shrink-wrap on the cookbook or DVD is broken, those are replaced as well.
One thing that might not be immediately obvious is that the blade assembly is not necessarily brand new. Technicians remove the blade; if it does not show any wear it is high-temperature washed and sterilized, and then placed in the new container.
Why are there so many refurbished Vitamix machines?
A common concern is, if Vitamix blenders are so great, where do all the reconditioned machines come from? The machines were either used at product demos (many just as display without ever even being turned on), photoshoots, or were returned by their owner. As soon as the initial factory-sealed box is opened, Vitamix can no longer sell that blender as new. Vitamix does not release specific numbers, but my guess is that the majority of refurbished blenders come from returns during the no-risk 30-day trial period. Since Vitamix offers a full refund and also pays for return shipping, returning is extremely painless.
Impulse buys where someone did not check with their spouse first about the large purchase are likely one of the leading sources, as well as people who changed their mind about their preferred model or color. (All returns within 30-days are no-questions-asked.) Some of the returns are probably also from people who realized that they could get a refurbished Vitamix for cheaper….
I don’t think there’s any reason to worry about the refurbished machines being lemons. If something happens to be wrong with your machine, Vitamix will take care of it at no cost to you. Also, if you change your mind within 30 days, the no-risk trial applies to reconditioned machines as well as new, so you could get a full refund and not even have to pay for return shipping.
I have seen firsthand five reconditioned machines as they came out of the box. At first glance all of them were indistinguishable from a brand new machine. With a very close inspection I noticed on three of the five machines one part that didn’t quite look brand new. There were slight scuffs on the rubber centering pad. I would take this as a complete non-issue because you can’t see them if the container is sitting on the base, and after you’ve used the machine a few times that pad will develop minor scuffs. Everything else on all five of the blenders was completely pristine. I have also heard many reports from other people that their reconditioned machine looked brand new. [Update: I’ve now actually seen that light scuffs on the centering pad can be present on new machines as well: it’s just a sign that the unit was tested before leaving the factory.]
The only time I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a reconditioned machine is if it is a gift and you are concerned that the recipient might not understand that the reconditioning process really makes the machine as good as new. (The packaging clearly identifies reconditioned machines as reconditioned.) If it’s for someone close to you, you can probably explain, but there may be gift cases where making that explanation is difficult. On the other hand, there are situations where a more affordable gift is more appropriate, so in those cases reconditioned is an advantage.
The other material differences between reconditioned and new are:
1) 5-year vs. 7-year warranty. All reconditioned machines come with a 5-year warranty, while some new machines come with a 5-year warranty, and others come with a 7-year warranty. The reconditioned warranty is exactly the same as on new machines, aside from than the duration. (All parts are covered, as well as shipping both ways for any repairs/replacements; for more details see my Vitamix warranty page.) QVC Creations, S-Series, and Turboblend Two & Three Speed new models have a 5-year warranty, so that is exactly the same as reconditioned. If you are concerned about the warranty length you can purchase a 3-year warranty extension for $75, which is less than the difference in price between reconditioned and new, and would take your refurbished machine’s warranty out to 8 years.
2) Less colorful box. The new machines are packaged in a glossy box covered with bright photographs, whereas the reconditioned machines come in brown or white boxes.
Included in the Box…
One thing to keep in mind with the reconditioned machines is that you may receive any identical model. As I explain on my Vitamix comparison page, there are many model names that actually refer to multiple identical machines. For example, if you order a refurbished Next Generation no presets model, they may send a 7500, a Pro 300, or a Creations Elite.*
If you look at Vitamix blenders on eBay or Craigslist you will find that they usually sell for more than these refurbished units (you can find ancient models for less, but those are a bit of a gamble since they’re out of warranty and the seals can wear out). The robust second hand market is evidence for the strong demand for Vitamix, but it’s also a sign that most people don’t know about these refurbished deals. If you’re looking to save money on a Vitamix, refurbished is the way to go!
In fact, I’ve talked with a few Vitamix employees, and they say that even with their employee discount, Vitamix employees nearly exclusively choose Vitamix reconditioned when buying units for themselves, family, or friends.
Refurbished Vitamix blenders come with the same “No Risk Guarantee” 30-day in-home trial as new Vitamix blenders. If you change your mind about your purchase you can get a full refund, and Vitamix even pays for return shipping.
Here’s a page with all reconditioned machines on Vitamix.com.
*If you order a refurbished Next Generation no presets model one of the bases that you could receive is a Creations Elite. You might worry that you wouldn’t get the new style short/wide 64-oz container because the new Creations Elite models are sold with the 48-oz container. However, I’ve consulted with Vitamix and confirmed that you will get the Next Generation short/wide 64-oz container. I’ve also heard from satisfied customers who received the new style wide container with a reconditioned Creations Elite base.