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I have a Blendtec blender (very similar to Vitamix in price/function). I use it at least once a day- for blended drinks of all kinds, smoothies, cold soups, when I don't feel like taking out the food processor...I've had it for years and love it.
I watched as day after day students at culinary school would burn out vitamix blenders, granted they were mistreated. They had a problem for a while with the pitcher to stand attachment and it would strip out if to thick a liquid was put in it. They may have since fixed that problem. That said I always look at how the pitcher attaches to the stand/motor.
Vita Preps are great tools for blending, pureeing, mixing, etc. I've made dressings, pureed soups, and pulvarized fruits for smoothies.
They blend things quickly, don't wear out as long as you take care of them. Clean up is a snap, but do not put the base in water. Wipe with a damp towel and let dry. Easy storage.
CONS: Price tag. A simple model can run from $500 to $700.
Vitamix is certainly worth the money. If you cook regularly, it's an invaluable tool. But it's one of those things you don't realize you need until you have it. I'll give you an example. For a long time, my apartment didn't have a vegetable peeler. It bothered me and my roommates but nobody was willing (too lazy) to go buy the peeler. It's not an expensive item but we just never got around to it. How often did we peel vegetables? Rarely, and when we did, we just used a paring knife which is obviously very slow and wasteful, but we had nothing to compare it to. Then one day I bought a peeler and life was so grand. Same thing goes with a KitchenAid standmixer. People were able to make cakes and cookies before the standmixer was invented but boy is it easier with the KA.
A Vitamix makes perfectly smooth liquids, no matter what you put in it. There is hardly anything to strain out. Cleanup is very easy.
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