I’ve been testing out a Vitamix V1200 to write this review. As expected, it delivers the high quality results that Vitamix has built its reputation on. If you’ve been shopping around for a Vitamix, you’ve probably noticed that they make many different models. The first thing to know is that all of the full-size machines offer the same blending performance. (The only non-full size models are the S30, S50, and S55.) The differences are in features, aesthetics, and the containers they come with.
Vitamix created the Venturist line specifically for Costco. It is essentially the budget cousin to the Ascent line.
Compared to other Vitamix machines, the V1200 comes packaged with extra accessories: 8-oz and 20-oz blending cups, blade scraper tool, and tamper holder. (All Vitamix blenders come with a tamper and cookbook.)
Vitamix V1200 vs Ascent
Features in common with the Ascent Series include: digital timer display, container detect, the same containers, and Bluetooth connection to app. It also uses the same containers as Ascent models. The V1200 has the same type of dial as the A2300, which lets you continuously control the speed, with markings from 1 to 10. (The fancier Ascent A3300 and A3500 have a premium control knob that resets to the lowest speed automatically.)
Differences from Ascent models
The V1200 is slightly less elegant and louder than Ascent models.
The V1200 has a settable countdown timer on the front, which is similar to that found on the A3300 and A3500. The difference is that the A3300 and A3500 use capacitive touch buttons, whereas the V1200 uses dome switch buttons. The dome switches protrude a bit and require more force to activate than capacitive buttons. The V1200 buttons work perfectly well, but the Ascent touch buttons look and feel a bit more elegant.
Another difference with the Venturist timer that is slightly annoying is that it takes longer to set. Getting to the maximum 6.5 minutes takes 6 seconds on the A3300 and A3500, but takes 20 seconds on the V1200. That said, I rarely use the countdown feature on my A3500. I do appreciate seeing the count-up timer, which doesn’t require any extra button presses. (The count up timer is on all Venturist and Ascent models.)
However, it’s worth noting that all Ascent and Venturist models have maximum blend times that depend on the container. For the 64-oz container, the maximum is 6.5 minutes. So if you want to use the Vitamix to heat something like a soup or a sauce, you can leave any Venturist or Ascent model running, and it will automatically turn off after 6.5 minutes without requiring any countdown timer or program mode.
The base shell has some elements of Ascent, and others of legacy Vitamix models. The front panel is the same shape as the legacy G-Series. It lacks the distinctive curved bevel found on the side of Ascent models, but it has the same back vent as Ascent models.
The Venturist base has less sound muffling than the Ascent line, which I determined by making some sound measurements. However, much of the blending noise comes from ingredients slamming around the container, so in practice the differences are minor. But Ascent machines are quieter. Here are the results of my tests:
|no container (dBA)||83–85||86–87||78–79||77–78|
|4 cups water (dBA)||86–90||86–90||86–89||84–87|
(The E310 base is identical to the E320 base. The A2300 noise applies to all Ascent models, except for the metal versions of the A3500; the A3500 I measured has a metal base.)
Water is noisier than some blends and quieter than others. I made these measurements using a RadioShack sound level meter. Blender noise can depend significantly on surroundings, so I swapped each model into the same location for each measurement, and kept the sound meter fixed in the same spot in front of the blender. Even set to “slow readout,” the readings jump around, which is why I’m reporting ranges. Also note that decibels use a logarithmic scale, so the differences are greater than might be intuitive. That said, once you are blending loud ingredients, the differences between models are quite minor.
Summary comparisons to each of the Ascent models:
All Ascent models have a base design that is slightly more elegant and quieter than the V1200. Here is a view that shows the Ascent curved bevel (right) and the Venturist’s (left) more plain design: (For more views of the Ascent bevel, see my Ascent review.)
V1200 vs A2300
V1200 has the settable countdown timer, while A2300 does not.
V1200 vs A2500
V1200 has the settable countdown timer, while A2500 does not. The A2500 also has 3 preset programs (smoothies, frozen dessert, hot soup), which the V1200 does not have. However, you can use preset programs on the V1200 if you send them from the app.
V1200 vs A3300
Both have the settable countdown timer, but the A3300 uses flat capacitive buttons, whereas the V1200 uses raised dome buttons. This makes the A3300 look and feel more premium. Similarly, the variable speed knob on the A3300 looks and feels more premium than the V1200’s.
V1200 vs A3500
See A3300 comparison directly above, then add 5 preset program touch buttons on the A3500. Also, the A3500 has metal base options for the most elegant look. The metal base is also a better sound insulator, which makes the metal A3500 the quietest. Here’s a view of the V1200 compared to the the A3500 premium interface:
Vitamix V1200 vs E320
The V1200 and E320 are the two models sold at Costco, so if you are considering the V1200, you are probably also considering the E320. The main difference is that the V1200 has a range of new technology, which it shares with the Ascent Series. The extra features are:
- Digital timer
- Can use 8-oz and 20-oz containers without bulky adapter
- Bluetooth connectivity to app
- Longer warranty (10 vs 7 years)
- Secondary on-off switch on side
- Clear lid on container
Are these extras worth paying more for? It really comes down to personal preference. If you’re excited about the extra features, I say go for it. But know that you can blend just as well with the E320.
Also note that the V1200 requires Self Detect containers, which means that old Vitamix containers will not work with it. One the other hand, the E320 can be used with Vitamix containers going back to the the mid ’90s.
V1200 vs 5200 and E310
While the V1200 comes with a nice package, it is missing one key Vitamix capability. It does not have a narrow container that can be used with the tamper. That means that you can’t make smaller amounts of thick blends like spreads and frozen desserts. For frozen desserts, that means you’re looking at 3+ servings instead of 2 servings with a narrow container. You can buy an extra narrow container (48-oz) to use with the V1200. Depending on how you plan on using it, you might be better off with a machine that comes with a single narrow container. To do this, you would forgo the new technology found in Venturist and Ascent models, since none of them come with a narrow container. If you don’t need the 64-oz capacity, the E310 is the one to get. And if you want a the full 64-oz capacity on a narrow container, you would get one of the classic “legacy” models—of those, I recommend the 5200 or the equivalent Standard Reconditioned.