Vitamix blender - which one should I buy
There are quite a few in the range 1300,1700 and then the pro range.
I don't want to overspend - will be used daily. Are the cheaper Vitamix's any good?
I have and love my 5200. I bought it using VM's 3-month payment plan on their website. I haven't regretted the purchase once!
We recently bought the 5200 Pro model for our friend's wedding and he was ecstatic. The Pro model has a 3 HP motor so it can grind meat (for pate', for example). The only disadvantage I'm aware of for the Pro is that it has only a 3-year warranty (vs. the 7-year for the home models). I read that it has a shorter warranty because Vita-Mix expects that it will be used every day and frequently since it's often used in a restaurant kitchen setting.
You're confusing the "Professional" range with the commercial Vita-Prep 3. The Pro range is a household machine sold by high-end retailers and it targets foodies who think all their equipment needs to be (or at least be labeled) "pro"; the most expensive of these machines has several preset speeds and a pulse function, and the other two function identically to a 5200 (sold direct from Vitamix and by demonstrators). All three carry the same 7-year warranty as the 5200.
The Vita-Prep has a 3+ horsepower motor; the extra power is there to ensure that the machine runs cooler than the household machines because it's expected to work long and hard in a commercial kitchen. Other than that, it functions the same as the 5200 and Pros--same RPM at both the low and high ends. The VP3's container isn't BPA-free and has a limited 3-year warranty. Unless you're running a restaurant or a busy at-home catering service, you DON'T need it and you don't get the benefit of the household division's really excellent support staff.
Should you not believe me, Vitamix has a toll-free number and will happily patch you through to the commercial division for a chat.
BTW, don't even consider their household 4500 model (sold by vendors, often individuals, who don't want to become demonstrators). I've never seen the point of that machine. No variable speed and not as good a range between the high and low ends.