The Vitamix 5200 goes beyond ordinary blenders: It can grind grain into flour, pulverize whole fruits and vegetables, turn ice into snow in seconds and even create hot soup with the press of a button, making it a top recommendation from experts and owners if you want a heavy-duty blender. It's self-cleaning, just swirl soapy water in the jug, and the controls are intuitive and simple to use. Yes, it's expensive, but it lives up to its price.
A blending superpower. In virtually every expert review we found the Vitamix 5200 was at the top of the list. It's also one of the highest-rated blenders on consumer review sites such as Amazon.com. Owners say the Vitamix never stumbles, no matter what they throw at it. It churns nuts into nut butter, kneads dough and grinds coffee, spices and even grain - - something that's really popular with the gluten-free crowd. Vitamix says the friction of the blades can create hot soups in four to six minutes, and owners say that it really works. It excels at traditional smoothies, but can also handle "green" smoothies made with hard fruits and leafy veggies, an area where most blenders tend to lag. Expert reviewers say it's loud, but owners don't seem to care.
Easy to use -- and blends itself clean. The Vitamix 5200 is simple to use, reviews say: Just set the jug on the base and flip the switch. A dial lets you control the speed, from 1 to 10. It also has a variable speed option for even more control. The lid has a removable plug to add ingredients while the blender is running or to use the included tamper to prod food toward the blades. It scores highly for convenience at a top testing organization, where experts like the well-balanced, easy-pour jar, clear controls and easy cleanup. The blades don't detach from the jar, but Vitamix recommends whizzing soapy water in the blender to clean it, and owners say this works well. None of the parts should go into the dishwasher, Vitamix says. Reviewers love the long, 6-foot cord.
Looks can be deceiving. A few owners say they initially were underwhelmed by the somewhat old-fashioned styling of the Vitamix 5200 with its turn knob instead of push button or LED interface. However, once they used it they realized that looks aside, it works like the industrial-type blenders it's styled after. Most experts don't rate or comment on the blender's looks, but SweetHome.com calls the Vitamix, "The Renaissance man." It's big, but it also has a generous half-gallon capacity to match. Be sure to measure your cabinet clearance too, at 20.5 inches tall, it might not fit everywhere. It comes in five colors, black, white, red, platinum or brushed stainless.
Built to last. Reviews reference Vitamix blenders that have lasted for 20 years or more and experts agree: the Vitamix 5200 has survived years of use in one professional test kitchen. Those professionals say that, although it's expensive, it's cheaper in the long run than buying low-quality blenders and replacing them. The jug is made of tough, Eastman Tritan copolyester, which is considered more durable and resistant to the demands of heat, heavy usage, impacts and chemicals than the more common polycarbonate. As for that "plain" looking dial that some users say looks uninspiring: Experts say that design will last much, much longer than the typical pushbuttons. The Vitamix 5200 comes with a long, seven year warranty.
Editors of ConsumerReports.org test and rate 79 countertop blenders, including the Vitamix 5200. Testing methodology includes blending yogurt, pureeing soups and crushing ice for smoothies. They also evaluated convenience, noise and durability. User reviews are also helpful for real-world perspective, but are not part of the editor's evaluation process.
Review: Blenders, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
This testing was originally performed in September 2012 with editors challenging nine blenders, including the Vitamix 5200, with a variety of blending tasks. It was updated in January 2014 to include long-term durability results. Testing is thorough, long-term and now includes real-world durability.
Review: Blenders, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, January 2014
Cristine Cyr Clisset tests nine blenders, including hands on testing, research and expert interviews to arrive at her top pick: the Vitamix 5200. She says it's the only model they tested that could handle everything. That includes delicate emulsions to pulverizing raw veggies for perfect smoothies.
Review: The Best Blender, Cristine Cyr Clisset, April 23, 2014
4. Good Housekeeping
Calling it "one of our top performers," testers for Good Housekeeping give the Vitamix 5200 series an overall letter grade of A, just one step down from the highest possible A+ grade. It excels in all the tasks they set for it, but is downgraded for no pulse feature, not being dishwasher safe and the noise factor.
Review: Vitamix 5200 Series Blender 001372-1101, Editors of Good Housekeeping, July 2013
More than 600 owners review the Vitamix 5200, giving it an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5, making it one of the highest-rated blenders on this site. Usually, with top-end appliances, people complain about the price, but most reviewers say that even though it's very expensive for a blender, it's worth every penny for performance and durability. Though this page links to the black version, reviews of all the color options can be seen here as well.
Review: Vitamix 5200 Series Blender, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2014
This particular review is for the Vitamix 7500, but Crist notes that the Vitamix 5200 offers the same general level of performance at a lower price. The 7500 receives a CNET editor's rating of Excellent, getting 4 stars out of 5.
Review: Vitamix 7500 review: A muscle car for your kitchen., Ry Crist , March 7, 2014