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Thermomix versus Vitamix - a personal opinion (only).
Original post edited April 2016
This post needs a disclaimer because the kitchen appliance space can be a hot and emotional topic.
I own a Thermomix that I use on an almost daily basis. Whilst interstate I used a Vitamix heavily for a ten day period. I do not profess to be an expert on either machine and I welcome feedback on this post - if you've information to share that will add value for other readers please do leave a comment below. It's also worth mentioning that I am by no means associated with Thermomix or Vitamix.
Update: Due to issues with the faulty sealing ring within the lid of the TM31 model (allowing hot liquid to escape) owners of the 2014 model should have received a replacement.
For those of you who don't have time to read the full post or seek a personal opinion without the facts, I am going to cut to the chase and say this:
I believe the Thermomix is a superior machine to the Vitamix due to its greater capability.
The Thermomix is considerably more expensive which in turn justifies it's capability. I paid just short of $2,000 for mine, a more recent search tells me purchasing a Thermomix at full price will cost you $2,089. There are some great payment plans for the Thermomix in Australia which make it a lot more affordable over the long term for many.
A quick search tells me the Vitamix will cost anywhere from $800 to (top end) $1,500. You'll also find Vitamix payment plans available in Australia too.
Thermomix – pros.
- It supports my whole foods diet. I rarely buy anything in a packet because my Thermomix pretty much does it all for me.
I can: grind grains to flour; mill coffee and spices; make nut milks & nut butters, protein balls, smoothies, butter, cheese; steam my veggies whilst I cook my quinoa and poach my chicken. The Vitamix does the grinding, milling and blending too but the difference here is in the sheer speed it takes to do these things. The Thermomix simply has far greater power.
- It has a reverse speed which stirs or blends with the dull side of the blades so as not to continue chopping or grinding your ingredients.
- It allows you to prepare a whole dish at the same time. Steam your rice in the bottom whilst you steam your chicken on top.. and your veg on top of that.
- It allows for very slow or very fast blending. If you are looking to make a salad for example, you would not do what I (initially) did and throw everything in and blend on speed 9 for 5 seconds...your salad becomes a raw risotto (which was actually a damn tasty result). What you can do is throw your salady 'chunks' in and chop on a low speed to obtain the salad consistency you are after.
The cooking feature is the BEES KNEES! Plus, you don't have to stir! Throw your onion and garlic in, chop it in 2 or 3 secs, add your oil and let it saute to it's heart's content. You might then throw in vegetables and stock and make a soup - all in the one machine. It'll cook, then blend. Say goodbye to piles of dishes! The Thermomix heats foods from 37-100 degrees.
It has a timer and how I love that. To steam my veg I pop them in the steamer and set it to about 14-18 minutes and leave the kitchen. No more checking my steamer - I know how I like my veg and so now does my Thermomix. This frees you up to do many things at once..fantastic for the busy multi-tasker!
- It has a built in scale which is sensational. You whack it on zero, pour your ingredient in, pop it back onto zero, pop the next ingredient in. SO easy.
The size of the jug. It's quite short and broad at the base making it easy to get at the mixture at the bottom.
- Thermomix provide a good after-sale service.
Thermomix - cons.
- You can't see through the stainless steel jug to see how things are faring. This takes a bit of getting used to. You have to switch it off and remove the lid to check, although you can see through a small hole in the lid which helps. Having said that the stainless steel jug is very heavy wearing.
My jug only holds 2 litres, though I understand the new model holds 2.2. This means if you are cooking for a larger family you may not be able to make enough curry in one sitting.
- There is a bit of a process to buying them - you can't just order one off the internet. There are also 'catches'* i.e. you have to hold a Thermomix demonstration with friends to obtain all of the attachments and you need to continue to hold demo's if you want additional, reduced price attachments. On the plus side, the demo is fantastic because it teaches you about it's full capability which for someone like me who loathes an instruction manual is a plus.
* Whilst I was lead to believe the above was true at my time of purchase, I've since been advised that you do not have to have a demo to receive the attachments. If you choose to continue to hold demonstrations, you will receive 'host rewards' in the form of accessories, including very handy Thermomix recipe books!
It's expensive, there is no denying that.
You can't do EVERYTHING so you do still need some other appliances. I wish it had a mandolin attachment that would allow me to slice very finely. It also doesn't brown or caramelise.
- The timer on my model only runs for 1 hour so you can't slow cook. The latest model runs for 99 minutes.
It's not ideal for small portion cooking. If you don't have a lot of ingredients in the bowl it can take a bit of fiddling around. For instance, if you want to make a small portion of pesto you have to keep opening the lid and push the mixture back down onto the blades.
It's noisy. Really noisy.
- The lid collects a lot of mixture. For instance, if you're making a smoothie, you'll find at least one third of it on the underside after blending. It can be a little messy..
Vitamix - pros.
There is no doubting the fact this post is a little lop sided but I think you'll understand why - the Thermomix is simply capable of more. Having said that, there have been times when I've felt I could get by with a Vitamix. I do a lot of blending, grinding and milling, all of which can be done in the Vitamix.
- It's more affordable.
- It has a clear jug enabling you to see what is going on. That to me is a very simple yet handy feature!
- It has a higher RPM (revolutions per minute) which makes a bit of difference. I found it created a much smoother smoothie or soup for example.
- I believe that I am right in saying the Vitamix has a 7 year warranty (the Thermomix only has a 2 year warranty, disappointing given it's expense).
- It's much quieter!
Vitamix - cons.
The height of the jug and narrow bottom made it difficult to get at the mixture at the bottom.
- It doesn't have a heating element (however you can actually make and heat a soup in the Vitamix - t heats via the speed of the blend.)
- It doesn't have a timer and this I found disappointing. You can't switch it on and walk away so you need to have your whits about you, unlike the Thermomix.
So, that about sums up my thoughts, I hope this helps you with your purchasing decisions.
Do you own either machine and if so, have you any pros or cons to add? Please feel free to share your thoughts below to enable everyone a more educated buying decision.