Pros: quieter than older models, blends to perfection, 3 horsepower peak, commercial grade
Cons: expensive, not for the casual user, dial is way too loose for commercial machine
(NOTE: The day after I wrote this review, I encountered my first problem with the Vita Prep 3. Check the end of this review and I will keep an updated record of how the problem is solved and what I experience in the process- please make sure to read the last section carefully)
I have had Vitamixes for a long time. I used to be a dealer with Vitamix. I had a 3500, a 4000, and used a friends first lexan style Vitamix back when they switched from stainless steel to the see through resin.
Recently, the Vitamix company frustrated me when they began to issue inferior blades which broke upon the first few seconds they were used- I never had the blades snap off in all of the years I have owned Vitamixes no matter WHAT I put in them. Because I did not have my receipt handy for my replacement blades, they would not replace them, even though they cost $90 each. This was for the Vitamix 4000, which is still in great condition, it was just the changes made to the replacement blades which was upsetting. They no longer are made well , forcing owners to upgrade or stop using Vita Mix products.
My son who is a welder explained upon closer examination that the weld was faulty and that there was no way that the blades should have done this.
I was all set to never buy another Vitamix product again, when I met someone who explained to me that the newer Vitamix products had an exciting blender processor in it called the VITA PREP 3. It is also known as a Vitamix model 1005, but hardly anyone refers to it by that name. I will refer to the VITAMIX MODEL 1005 as the VITA PREP 3 from this point on to avoid confusion to the internet searches being done with that name. VITA MIX 1005 is technically correct, but so few people even know it by that name, that I can not see the point in confusing anyone who is trying to learn about this machine. I just figure it is like the VITAMIX 1005 is a secret agent in stealth mode undercover as a VITA PREP 3. :)
WHAT IS THE VITA PREP 3 LIKE?
After using the Vitamix for so many years, we have been spoiled by the ability to make just about anything for our raw foods way of eating. When the Vitamix died, we suddenly realized what a big help it was to our household.
We could not go without a Vitamix or something comparable. We did not find anything else out there that would compare with the Vitamix as far as performance went- as long as they were not containing faulty parts like was in our last Vitamix.
After much research, we decided to take the plunge and purchase a new Vita Prep 3. These are sold via dealer only. You can call the company, but they will just redirect you to distributors. I preferred to find my own dealer who would deal honestly with me and understand some of the problems we have had with Vita Mix in the past and help us to avoid repeating them.
The blades of the VITA PREP 3 are completely different than the Vita mix 4000. They are what Vita Mix calls the "wet blades". Some are bent and some are flat and they are very sharp unlike the others we had which were blunt and went at food with force and broke it open.
CONTAINER AND LID
The container is 64oz capacity and it has a press on domed lid with a large removable cap on it so that you can add other ingredients. Interestingly enough, the VITAMIX 5200 container and lid will fit the VITA PREP 3 so if you need an additional container, you can purchase that one which has a less likely composite to leach into food, but I do not have the particulars on that as of yet, I hope to update in the future.
Also, you can use the 32 oz dry or wet containers with this unit, also sold for the Vitamix 5200. Dry blades will grind grain into flour better than the wet blades, but the container will get all scratched up and not be easy to see through if you do a lot of that.
HOW TO CLEAN IT
The blades do not come out of the container easily- you need a special wrench to get them out, so washing it is a matter of running some water and detergent through it. Dishwashing is not recommended.
BASE AND SWITCHES
The base has two switches. There is an on off switch on one side like a lever. That switch turns on the machine. On the left is an up and down switch which is VARIABLE and HIGH speed. On variable, you can use the dial in the middle which goes from 1 to 10. When on high, all other speeds are overridden and it is at highest speed possible.
There is a 6 foot cord which does wrap around the bottom under flexible feet which hold it into place. No unscrewing is necessary.
There is an override internal switch if the unit overheats then it will shut off for about 20 minutes saving the motor from burning out. You can run the machine again after the waiting period is over.
Here is where my problem is with VITA MIX. If for some reason the blades get jammed, the drive socket is designed to break. If this happens, the unit is not operational until you replace them. The part costs $15 plus shipping approximately. An extra one comes with the unit at purchase time, but I am not comfortable with this way out- I was told BY VITAMIX that if you put any frozen things in the unit that the blades would jam and the drive socket would have to be replaced.
Well, $15 is better than $90 like it cost for the other replacement blades for the 4000, but I still take issue with the fact that they always show frozen fruits and ice in Vitamix commercials yet they have this *safety feature* which can cost a lot of money in the long run. I have found that if you have plenty of liquid in the container at the time, that it will work fine so far. The problem comes when you don't and the ice gets jammed in there.
There are four rubber feet on the base unit and they do not travel at all while using so far.
SOUND REDUCING PAD
There is a pad with four prongs on it which the container fits on and that reduces the sound some and holds the container in place while it processes the food. The Drive Socket holds that on.
What used to be known as the tamper for the VITAMIX, has now been renamed the ACCELERATOR tool. This is a plastic version of the old wooden tamper and it has a splash guard to keep it from coming back at you when using. This is used to keep the ingredients moving in the container when there is an air pocket or similar problem. It does not hit the blades when using due to protections which keep it from going in that far.
Here is what the Vitamix company claims about the Vitamix VITA PREP 3:
• FAST! A workhorse in the commercial kitchen, puréeing quicker and smoother than any blender or food processor you have ever used without over heating.
• VERSATILE! Variable speed control allows you to chop, grind or blend different ingredients at exactly the right speed.
• DURABLE! Built to last with a 3-year limited warranty against defects in parts and workmanship which includes a 1-year service contract. (Other warranties may apply outside the US.)
• CREATE! Includes a 54-page recipe manual that explains methods, variations and suggestions for a myriad of menu items.
• PROFIT! Easy-to-prepare purées or chopped vegetables cost less to make than fabricated products.
• EASY CLEAN-UP! After each use, simply flush out container with kitchen’s power rinse or the Vita-Mix® Rinse-O-Matic®.
HERE ARE THE SPECS for the Vita Prep 3
BLENDER MOTOR: ≈ 3 peak hp motor 120 VAC, 50/60 Hz., 12.5 amps DIMENSIONS: 20.25 in. H x 8 in. W x 9 in. D 51.44 cm H x 20.3 cm W x 22.9 cm D
CASE PACK: 1 Each
SHIP: 13 lbs. / 5.9 kg
CASE CUBE: 1.5 cubic feet /.04 cubic meters
MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE VITA PREP 3
Before I continue, I have to lay out for you some things about my usage of the VITA PREP 3 to help you decide if this machine is for you.
1. GREEN SMOOTHIES
I have done a review that you can find a link to in my personal bio which lays out why and how Green Smoothies have literally changed our lives. My skin is completely different. Our family has had remarkable transformations in health and even pain that was bothering us- and we are doing very well with them. Green smoothies depend on using greens like turnip greens, kale, collard greens, chard, mint, parsley, even occasionally comfrey with some fruits or vegetables and then blending with a quart of water.
I have to make 2 quarts at a time in the morning as our son takes one of them to work with him. I also make large amounts of green smoothies for others so this is the main use for this tool at this time. I make smoothies in bulk for this purpose so it needs to be efficient and high quality.
(UPDATE-As I continue to work with the Vita Prep 3, I find that it makes the smoothest smoothies I have ever had- very creamy and they stay homogenized for a very long time- often most of the day if refrigerated right away in a sealed jar. )
2. RAW SOUPS
Since we don't eat much cooked foods anymore, we depend on the Vita Prep 3 for raw soups which means that they can not be processed too long or they will cook.
3. RAW NUT BUTTERS
It is important to be able to make nut butters and not cook them.
4. MASHED RUTABAGAS
The few cooked foods we have are often in need of a VITA PREP 3 and one of them is mashed rutabagas. When run through the VITA MIX they are like creamy butter. There is nothing like them. That is a delicacy that has not equal.
5. ICE CREAM SUBSTITUTES
We make ice cream using coconut milk and other similar items and it is necessary to whip the air into them using guar gum and xanathan gum to give the ice cream its creaminess. Then we put in the Cuisinart ice cream maker.
(UPDATE - The coconut ice cream that I made from baby coconuts raw was one of the finest that I have ever had. It is a different experience and I have to adjust the timing according to the thickeners response.)
6. NUT MILKS
We do a lot of nut milks and other dairy substitues using soaked nuts including sour cream, ricotta cheese and others. VERY creamy and fantastic so far.
7. RAW SPAGHETTI SAUCE
Not only in summer, but in the fall time, we process large amounts of tomoatoes into raw spaghetti sauce using green peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs. We like to keep it chunky so we often use a food processor to chop the veggies, run the rest through the VITA PREP 3 and then mix them together for freezing.
There are other uses we have for the VITA MIX VITA PREP 3, but these are the main ones. I will continue to update this review with more input as we continue to test this kitchen wonder in our kitchen.
HOW WELL IS THE VITA PREP 3 PERFORMING SO FAR?
So far, the VITA PREP 3 is way outperforming the VITA MIXES that we have used. Although I had used the TOTAL NUTRITION CENTER that a friend let me use some years back, my most recent experience has been with the VITA MIX 4000.
The VITA PREP 3 is much quieter than the VITAMIX 4000. That is quite remarkable as I have read in some places that it is very loud. I was not expecting this perk!
Our first use of the VITA PREP 3 has been of course, green smoothies! WOW what a difference. The motor of the VITA PREP 3 is so powerful that it does not leave a whole lot of particles behind. For example- I used collard, kale, chard, and two italian styles of greens with pineapple, blueberries and bananas this morning. I only had to let it run for 12 seconds and there was not one chunk of anything left in the container. VERY CREAMY and smooth. My daughter is up to three glasses a day!
I poured out 32 ounces, added a bit more water and spun it for a few more seconds and there was not even a particle left of the greens or blueberry skins!
The next thing was nut milk and raw soup= again very little time and almost no chunks of anything at all. Just a tiny bit- way less than any other unit I have used so far.
Because rutabagas and spaghetti sauce are not in season just yet, I have not been able to test it on those, but as I do test the different uses out, I will be updating this review for you.
I have just done my first raw tomato sauce and the results were completely amazing- very smooth. I use the food processor to make tomato chunks to put in the sauce which is wonderful.
I am very impressed with this great machine and for the money it is worth it.
WHERE I GOT MY MACHINE
I decided to order from a dealer instead of the company, so I bought this machine through
If you need to talk about anything, this company is delightful to work with. One of the people at this company has successfully reversed cancer using raw foods and the VITA PREP 3 so you might be interested in that story as well.
I highly recommend this site.
The cost for my VITA PREP 3 was $495.
There is a three year warranty which is not as much as the usual VITA MIX warranty on their 5200 but the motor is 3 horsepower instead of the 2 horsepower that the VITAMIX 5200 has , and the VITA PREP 3 was designed for commercial use where the VITAMIX 5200 was designed for home use.
We use our VITAMIXES constantly so we have to have a commercial grade machine.
As I said, I will be updating this review as I have more experience with the VITA PREP 3 and let you know any drawbacks and advantages with it over older models I have worked with.
So far, it is lightyears ahead of the other models in performance, but time will tell. If you don't see updated information and you want to know anything, please by all means email me. I will be glad to update and talk about it with you if you like.
For more information you can also check the VITAMIX COMMERCIAL site here:
Well, THAT sure did not take long! The day after I wrote this review, I encountered my first problem with the VITA PREP 3. I was making several soups (which turned out very nicely- smooth and delicious), and suddenly the center dial began to move around and the speed became erratic as the dial moved.
I was horrified and stopped the machine immediately and checked the dial. There was no resistance - or barely any at all. There is no way that any commercial machine should have a dial act like this. It can be easy to move, but not THAT easy.
I ran it again- same thing.
I tried moving it around and the machine kept it still, but there was not quite the vibration anymore.
Now, the soup was already smooth- so it was not due to chunks or problems. There was no reason for this to do this.
I am in the process of seeing how this replacement is handled, and I will let you all know what happens with the new base I eventually will get. This is an important issue to know about and I want to keep you informed as much as possible.
I have changed my five star rating to four stars because this type of problem should not be happening. Depending on how my experience is with the second replacement, I will adjust the rating accordingly.
Replacement base sent out quickly along with return tag. The replacement is the same as the base I got with the machine. The dial in the center has virtually no resistance to it so that if any kind of vibration occurs, the dial can move on its own causing the speed to adjust according to where the dial ends up.
This type of problem should not happen with a machine of this price range and professional level. The problem only happens on variable mode as the highest level of speed switch on the left side overrides the center dial.
This machine is designed for constant professional use. I find it hard to believe that any other professionals on tight food prep schedules would be happy about this any more than I am.
UPDATE ON THE DIAL ISSUE
Although the loose dial is a frustrating issue, I still love this machine anyway and am willing to endure the dial moving when under high load. I have had to learn to hold the dial in place when it is in higher modes of blending a heavier load. It is annoying, yes, but it is still worth tolerating anyway as this machine does smoothies like nothing I
have ever used.
The VITA PREP 3 does not do mashed things as well as the Vitamix 4000 used to, as it strains more under thicker loads, but for raw soups and sauces and smoothies it fantastic.
UPDATE OCTOBER 1, 2009
Well, since I last updated, we have been giving our Vita Mix Vita Prep 3 / Vita Mix 1005 a real workout.
So far we have made tons of green smoothies, raw soups, even a raw pumpkin pie which was challenging, but the Vita Prep 3 handled it beautifully.
My findings are that this machine continues to pulverize better than any other Vita Mix product I have had over the many years that I have used them. There have been almost no chunks in the end product and the flavors are superb.
One thing I want to note is that compared to the older Vita Mix products I have seen that the method of use for this machine is a bit different. Everything seems to start on variable speed around #3 and then eases up a bit to about #5 and then up to high if it is not too thick.
VITA MIX 5200 vs VITA PREP 3
I don't think that the recipe book that comes with the Vita Prep is as good as that which comes with the Vita Mix 5200. There is almost no information in the book outlining how to use the blender unless you read through a specific recipe. The book is not laid out very well- especially since this is designed to be used professionally, which means that a chef needs to consult a quick chart or information (especially if there is a sub working that night) to learn basic operational techniques.
The Vitamix 5200 has less power but better instructional materials. I still prefer the Vita Prep 3 to the Vita Mix 5200 because it is a more powerful machine and less likely to pop the overload switch. We use our machines constantly so need to have something designed to take a lot of heavy usage.
Another note- you can use an extra container from the Vita Mix 5200 with the Vita Prep 3 and have backups. I find this to be a perfect method for us- as we usually make large quantities of food with our unit.
I will continue to update this review as necessary to keep you informed so that you can make a good buying decision for you- and perhaps I can include a recipe or two if anyone wants...
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2011
I have used the Vita Prep 3 daily for the entire time we have had it and have made smoothies and even thicker sauces with great results. I am constantly thankful for the Vita Prep 3. It makes smoothies like no other machine. I had to use another blender a few times when away from home and was amazed at how much smoother the smoothies are in the Vita Prep 3!!!
The dial issue is not really a problem for me, I just hold it in place if I need to which is not very often.