Vitamix just released a new stainless steel container. They previously used metal containers, but stopped making them in the early 1990s. Now metal is back and updated for 2020! Vitamix sent me one to review. If you order via a JoyofBlending link, I get a commission. Thanks!
It is compatible with all full-size Vitamix models, which means it has an NFC tag to allow it to work on Ascent and Venturist models. It’s also compatible with machines going back to the early 1990s that look like the 5200. The only modern machines that it is not compatible with are the now-discontinued personal-size S-Series models. It is not compatible with the 4000 and earlier “antique” models.
This is a premium option, and their most expensive container, at $199.95. It has a 48-oz capacity, with an extremely similar size and shape to the previous 48-oz container (made out of clear Tritan polymer). I’m impressed with how much of the shape they replicated in stainless steel. There are very slight differences in the handle and the lid.
The handle is slightly thicker in the middle, which makes it a bit more comfortable to hold. To my eye, it looks like it sticks out from the container more, but it turns out that’s mostly an optical illusion, probably caused by it being solid instead of clear.
The lid is the exact same shape, but the color is slightly different. Other Vitamix containers and lids have a slight blue tint. The tint is subtle enough that it’s easy to not notice, but I think it was a design choice to make them look more substantial, cleaner, and/or fresher. The less-blue new lid matches the neutral tone of the stainless steel.
The lid seals on the metal container better than the lid on the Ascent 48-oz container. In my vacuum blending investigation, I was surprised that the stock 48-oz container gaskets don’t seal against even the lowest level of vacuum. I tested the metal container, and it sealed all the way to the maximum capability of my vacuum pumps (27 inHg). That means that if you want to try vacuum blending, you can do it without adding the extra o-ring that I previously had to add to the Ascent lids.
Tamper and blades
It uses the same tamper and standard (wet) blades, which means that it delivers Vitamix’s usual great blending performance. The blade on my test unit initially made a slight squeaking noise that I’ve never heard before, but the noise went away after a few uses, and it seems just like the other Vitamix blades now. I’m guessing that it was just a quirk of this particular unit.
Unsurprisingly, the stainless steel container is heavier. The difference is noticeable, but not enough to make a significant difference, unless you’re spending all day pouring smoothie samples. Weights with lid and lid plug:
Metal 48-oz: 3.28 lb (1.49 kg)
48-oz Ascent: 2.50 lb (1.14 kg)
64-oz Ascent: 2.74oz (1.24 kg)
The metal is more thermally conductive. In normal use, ingredients are in the container for a short enough time that the increased conductivity won’t make them lose their heat or coldness. The main thing is that the outside of the container heats up with hot blends. If you have a hot soup or drink, in principle you could burn yourself by touching the outside of the container. There’s a hot warning symbol on the outside.
Vitamix warns to use an oven mitt for hot blends. However, the handle itself doesn’t heat up too much. I was able to blend a hot drink (160°F) for multiple minutes and was still able to grab the handle barehanded with no discomfort. They also put a strip of dark grey plastic on the outside of the container under the handle, presumably as a guard to keep your fingers from being burned by the container.
The stainless steel has a slight brushed finish. The container does show fingerprints more than the Ascent and Pro 750 Stainless Steel bases, which have a protective coating. The container seems to be bare stainless steel. If the fingerprints bother you, you can of course wash or wipe them off.
It has volume markings on the inside. They’re actually easier to read than the ones on clear containers, which have subtle raised clear markings.
Vitamix selling points
Vitamix marketing materials advertise: Durable, Non-Reactive, Easy to Clean, and Odor & Stain Resistant. Those all apply to the standard Tritan containers. I’ve never had problems with odors or stains, though I do know if you blend turmeric in a hot blend, the clear containers can turn yellow. That can easily be bleached out though.
I think the significant difference comes with blending hard items, which scratch the inside of the clear containers and eventually make them cloudy. The stainless steel should stay looking elegant indefinitely. In principle I guess it could get dented, but it feels extremely solid.
It takes some getting used to to not be able to see the progress of a blend from the side, but it’s not a big deal. As expected, it blends up silky smooth smoothies and soups.
Some people have asked if the metal makes it quieter. It seems like it’s about the same noise level. If you’re concerned about the noise, I recommend picking up some earmuffs.
I clean Vitamix containers by running them with soapy water, but Vitamix does list this container and lid as dishwasher safe.
Who should buy it?
I haven’t thought of anything that you can make with the new metal container that you can’t make with the standard Vitamix containers. It will make all Vitamix recipes, but that’s not really a reason to buy it. The main reasons are aesthetics and concerns about plastic.
The stainless steel container looks really nice. Some people will just outright prefer it, and others don’t like the looks of their scuffed up old plastic containers.
I personally think that the benefits of eating whole foods (made easier with a Vitamix) far outweigh concerns about food briefly being in a plastic container. But for people who are concerned, now they can get a non-plastic Vitamix container. The lid is still plastic, but honestly, the lid hardly contacts the food. Most of the time the lid gets coated in small splashed droplets that stay on it, so you don’t actually consume them. It also uses the same plastic Vitamix tamper, but again, the tamper is not in contact with the food for very long. If you’re really concerned about the plastic tamper, you can make do without it for all blends except for the absolute thickest ones. In principle you could make your own tamper out of wood.
Finally, if you have a model that came with the low-profile wide 64-oz container, it is nice to add a narrow container for blending small amounts. I’ve been recommending the 32-oz and 48-oz containers as useful extras for years. (This metal container is classified as a “narrow” Vitamix container.) If you’ve been on the fence about getting that extra container, this fancy new one might provide the motivation to get the upgrade.
Check it out: Stainless Steel Container