We ended up ordering a Vitamix. They have unbelievable deals on reconditioned models right now. We investigated this far more than necessary, but that’s half the fun, right? I’ll provide all the details below in case it might help someone. I found two very helpful guides at Joy of Blending and Life Is NOYOKE.
You can get either a tall jar or wide jar reconditioned model for about $260, shipping included. Go to the Vitamix shop and choose either Certified Reconditioned Standard Programs or Certified Reconditioned 5300. The latter lacks the pre-programmed settings of the prior, but from everything I read, those “programs” aren’t very useful anyway. Otherwise, the two are the same except for the jar.
Use coupon code
champannej for 10% off and free shipping. Here is a sample screenshot of what your shopping cart will look like.
If the coupon code doesn’t work, just call them and ask for another one. Alternatively, you can support the various Vitamix blogs by using their coupon codes. You won’t get 10% off, but you still get free shipping. For example, you can find the promotion code for Joy of Blending here.
In that screenshot above, you’ll see a tamper listed under “You might also be interested in…”, but don’t worry, a tamper is included with the unit. It confused me at first.
Reconditioned jars are always brand new, however the actual blade itself may have been reused after undergoing sterilization. The reconditioned units have only a 5 year warranty instead of a 7 year warranty.
You have 30 days to return the unit and Vitamix will pay return shipping. Additionally, shipping is covered both ways for any warranty repairs.
I got the tall jar because it requires less ingredients to blend and that fits my use better. From reports I read, it seems like the wider jar is better for working with dough and a little better for thicker blends like hummous.
If you scroll to the bottom of the Joy of Blending guide, the author of that blog recommends a silicone spatula off Amazon over the ones that Vitamix sells. I purchased one of those, too.
Once I settled on Vitamix, I eliminated the Personal (S-series) and newer Ascentia series from my search. That left C- and G-series models, otherwise known as Legacy. There are still a ton of models to choose from so it gets confusing. However, it seems the motor for all of these models is actually the same. So, ignoring “programs”, there are three primary differences between the Legacy models: the shell, the speed control, and the jar (tall/narrow vs short/wide). The G-series has an updated shell that allows for better airflow and sound dampening. The G-series also has a feedback speed control. You can read here that some C-series also have the feedback speed control. The older speed control does have an advantage in that it gives a lower minimum speed, which some owners prefer. Vitamix says not to use the wide jars on C-series models, but you can read about that here. Also, confusing matters more, is that some C-series models are sold with the wide jars, like the reconditioned one Vitamix is selling right now. (Most of these details were learned through discussion with the author of Joy of Blending.)
In summary, just pick the one with the jar that suits your needs and don’t worry about the other stuff.