Pros: Large volume, powerful, makes great purees and related preparation
Cons: Not good for very small volumes. Not ideal as a juicer
This blender is a fabulous machine. I makes the best smoothies, purees of all kinds, milkshakes, and smooth soups. It is powerful. Not as versatile as a food processor but for pureeing it beats my two cuisinarts hands down. As a juicer, for pulpy items such as carrots, one has to strain the puree through a juice bag, which is a bit of a pain, compared to a dedicated juicer, but it can work for that. For thick purees it can be a bit difficult to get every last bit of food out from under the blades and it works best for volumes of at least 1 cup (but up to about 2 quarts). The instruction book says to clean it by adding warm water and a few drops of liquid detergent and then run it for a few seconds. Then rinse. That works quite well. I'd highly recommend this for someone who want a machine dedicated to purees, smoothies, smooth soups.
I bought mine in 1983 from a friend who never used it. I've loved it and used it ever since. Just thought I'd let you know they do go on and on forever. Price is a lot higher now, but for over 20 years service, just grin and bear it!
Pros: Durable, foolproof, made to last under professional conditions.
Cons: The price.
This mixer is relatevely new to me, but I have another vitamix in my kitchen, and it has been used and abused for almost 5 years without giving me any problem. I'm a carefull person, but most of my staff isn't and when a mixer can stand that kind of handling, all I can do is to cheer up the brand and the people behind the design and manufacture of such item.
It's an "expensive" device, but on the long run it pays itself, before vitamix, for me the blenders were some kind of disposable thing that had to be replaced at least once a year... Not anymore.
I have the new and it's a joy to work with, I get the feeling that is a keeper that is going to last years and years... And I still like and use the old one, that is getting some kind of hick-ups while running... But after 5 years of abuse... Man, is that a well made blender or what?
Get this vitamix... You'll not regret. Hopefully I'll be writting this same review in 5 years about this new model.
P.S. I don't remember the exact price that I paid for this mixer but it was about the 400s, a bit les a bit more.
I have to admit that I was a little dubious when offered the Turbo Blend 4500 for review. Could it, I wondered, live up to its reputation. This is the blender, after all, that is most often seen on the counters at juice bars and is frequently cited by chefs as a favorite kitchen appliance. But its price tag, which averages around $399.00, is one that can be difficult to swallow. Could this blender be that much better than another name brand blender that sits on my counter but cost a fraction of the price? My questions were answered and put at ease the moment I tried this professional-grade blender.
This is a big blender, without doubt, but it needs to be because it is used as often in professional kitchens as it is in the home; the container holds 64 fluid ounces, or about 2 liters, and stands a full 20 inches tall. This is also a powerful blender, possibly the most powerful on the market, but it is also one of the simplest kitchen appliances I've ever operated. And the genius of this machine, I believe, truly does lie in its simplicity. It sports a mere two switches: on/off and high/low. And though the container is large it is also lightweight and easily attachable to its base. While other blenders may require some fidgeting or wiggling of the bowl to attach to the base, the Vita-Mix fits on first try every time (it's easily apparent why busy juice bars, which require quick and frequent container changes, often use this blender).
While this may be an attractive countertop appliance, where this machine truly shines is in its performance. Put virtually anything in this blender and it will be ground or pureed to desired consistency in a minute or less. Where lesser blenders may leave a chuck or two, or even a grainy consistency to a puree, the Vita-Mix TurboBlend 4500 yields silky-smooth purees every time.
I have used this blender for multitudes of fruit and vegetable smoothies, often including ice cubes, and within 30 seconds I have a perfectly a smooth and frothy beverage each time. The same goes for pureed soups; this by far out-performs other traditional blenders I've used, or even high performance immersion blenders. The large capacity container allows you to puree large soup batches a half-gallon at a time. But what I found particularly interesting about this machine was its ability to grind dry items, which is an area where other blenders and even food processors fall short. Its large high-speed blades allow the cook to grind small amounts of grains and dried legumes to a powdery consistency in a matter of seconds. I recently ground dried beans, lentils, and barley for a bread mix and was astounded at how quick did the job.
OK, now here's the best part; I've been saving it for last. If you are like me the thing you like the least about blenders, food processors, and especially juicers is the clean up. Well with this blender you struck gold because there is no clean up, or at least almost none: this thing washes itself. Let me repeat that but word it a little more bluntly: you do not need to wash the Vita-Mix TurboBlend 4500 because it washes itself. That's right; it becomes its own internal dishwasher. Simply fill it with 5 cups of hot tap water and a few drops of liquid soap, run it on high speed for about 20 seconds and rinse it out. It sounds almost too good to be true but it's not. For many applications, particularly cold smoothies, vegetable juices, and soup purees, the process from start to clean up spans two minutes or less. To sum it up with a cliché, this is one smooth operation.
Summery: The Vita-Mix TurboBlend 4500 is a professional-grade blender that is worth its price. It will be as equally comfortable on your home kitchen counter as it will in a restaurant. Its 2-liter capacity container allows the cook to prepare large or small batch recipes with ease. It only has two switches making it simple to operate, and foods are pureed or ground silky smooth with consistent results. Cleanup is a snap because it washes itself. The only real problem I've encountered with this blender has more to do with the home cook than the professional. Standing 20 inches tall and 8 inches deep this is a big countertop appliance, and it is difficult to rinse the container in my home-kitchen sink (this would not be a problem in a professional kitchen), but this is purely trivial.
Final words: On the opening page of the recipe book that accompanies the Vita-Mix TurboBlend 4500 they state, "We want you to love your machine as much as we do!" Well Vita-Mix, you've succeeded, I do love this machine: I use it often and plan on doing so for years to come.