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Sunday, August 12, 2012

VitaMix Models - Essentially the Same!

I've had my VitaMix TNC (Total Nutrition Center) since 1994.  The TNC V-S (variable speed) was the first model that VitaMix released after their infamous steel container with spigot models (3600 and 4000).  Each of these VitaMix models has the same model number on the back label (VM0103).  Same machine!

VitaMix TNC verus VitaMix 5000 versus Vitamix 5200

Every VitaMix released since 1994 has been based on the TNC 1993 design and other than a few tweaks, not much has changed since.

{The NEWEST Vitamix models from 2013 forward do have some additional features like presets.  You may want these newest features.  You may not need them though, so do your homework!  The basic power of the Vitamix and blades are the same though.  2+ HP up to 37,000 rpm}
  • VM TNC has the same 2+ HP motor, with up to 37,000 rpm as the Vitamix 5200
  • VM TNC has both high and variable speeds controls (1-10)
  • VM TNC uses the same 64 oz containers with the same blades (either wet or dry).
  • The container materials have evolved to no BPA and the lid design has been improved.  I upgraded my 64 oz container in 2008.
  • There are smaller containers now available in addition to the 64 oz standard.  The 32 oz is the new one I just purchased.  There's also a 48 oz container.  However, not every container will fit so make sure you check with Vitamix!
  •  The tamper design changed with the 5000 model.  I now have an updated tamper that will work with both the 64 oz and 32 oz containers.
  • Starting with the VM 5000 the high/variable switch was changed to a vertical orientation instead of horizontal but other than orientation, it works the same and is in the same place on the base (left of the center dial).
  • Lots of cosmetic and label changes over the years, along with the VitaMix logo and the addition of colors for the bases (black, white, red, stainless).

VM Centering Pad
The design difference on the base (the workhorse part of the machine) from when I purchased my VM in 1994 is the use a rubber centering pad, which was standard starting with the 5000 models.  That's a simple upgrade and one that is required to use the smaller containers on an older Vitamix base.  I'm awaiting the arrival of a centering pad so I can start using my 32 oz container. 

Other than that and the cosmetic changes over the years, my 1994 VitaMix TNC is the same as the 5200 model that many purchase today.  Even the "pro" VitaMix models have the same underlying engineering and design.  However, Vitamix has come out with newer models (6000 and up series) so check the specs and see if new features are important to you!

VitaMix has a lot of models, but don't get confused.  They have some fancy pre-programmed settings in their higher end models, but you will pay extra $$$ for those features.  The manuals and recipe books have been upgraded and that too is part of the increased cost.  The essentials are the same:  a variable speed setting with 10 speeds on a dial and a high speed (take me to the moon, rocket ship) setting. 

There are 3 container sizes now instead of just the one that was manufactured when I purchased my Vitamix in 1994.  Most Vitamix models still come standard with the tall 64 oz container.  There's also a 48 oz container (which does require a separate blade to fit the base) and a smaller 32 oz container (which uses the exact same blade as the 64 oz size container).  Changing a blade is super easy and fast with the Vitamix plastic wrench, so you can use the same blade in both the 64 oz and 32 oz containers.  Those are the 2 size containers I like.  That said, do your homework!  If you are confused if a container will fit the base you want to purchase, then check with Vitamix customer service.

Want to keep your your Vitamix on the counter and have the base + container fit under your kitchen cabinets?  Simple.  You need the shorter 32 oz (or 48 oz) container.  That's it.  The VM bases are the same.  These newer containers are shorter and that's what allows the VM blender to fit under your kitchen cabinets.

What about purchasing a separate dry blade container?  Unless you know you're going to grind a lot of grain, you really don't need a separate dry container.  It's a nice-to-have, but not essential unless you are into grinding grains to make flour.  Grinding grain will, over time, mar the finish of a plastic container.  That's why VitaMix started selling a separate "dry" container with a separate dry blade.

And what about the newest Vitamix model 6300?  Same base, same machine, same containers, higher cost!

My Advice:

If I were in the market to purchase a VitaMix today I would purchase a used machine (look on ebay) or even just a used base and then purchase a new container separately, with one blade.  You'll save hundreds of $$$.  You'll see listings for the Vitamix 5000 or Total Nutrition Center or the Vitamix 5200.  Except for the labels and base color, each is essentially the same machine!


  1. Hi All
    I bought a model 3600 for my Wife, already on the way and would like to know I the 12 Point Drive Socket from the newer models, 5000 and up (Look to be a 1/4" drive mount) will fit the Model 3600 Base so I can use the Newer Containers ?
    Timmy from Trumbull, CT

  2. Hi All
    I bought a model 3600 for my Wife, already on the way and would like to know I the 12 Point Drive Socket from the newer models, 5000 and up (Look to be a 1/4" drive mount) will fit the Model 3600 Base so I can use the Newer Containers ?
    Timmy from Trumbull, CT

  3. Hi Tim,

    Check with My understanding is the older models 3600 and 4000, can not use the containers designed for the newer models (5000 and up).

  4. Thanks for this article. I just bought an original TNC at a flea market - base only. VM site says I have to contact Customer Service to find out which containers fit. Your answer is clear and simple. I'll get a 64 oz with cutter for now. Can't see a need for a second container. Is their any benefit to the newer rubber base other than allowing the two smaller containers to attach? Wondered if there is any noise or vibration benefits as well.

  5. Hi GroupofOne,

    I do find the blending quieter with the newer rubber base but that wasn't why I got it. Yes it's required in order to fit properly with the newer containers. You'll be set with the 64oz and regular (wet) blade. A 2nd container is useful if you want to get into grinding grain or anything that may scratch the polycarbonate. Plus there is a dry blade which is used for grinding grain, and it's nice not to have to switch out blades, which would be necessary if you only have one container. But all in good time. No need to worry about that now.

  6. Wow that was quick.......

    Just spotted a model VM0102 which is a two speed turbo blend. Owner hasn't used the 64 oz so asked if she would consider selling that. Would that fit my older TNC or is it a different thing all together?


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  8. Do you know if my container from my current 3600 Model 479029 will fit the visually identical 3600 Model 479041 ?? They look identical and the drive nut is not like the 3600 plus nut with many more teeth. I appreciate it

  9. So will the 32 oz. and 48 oz. containers fit my 3600+ model?

  10. @Rebecca - No, the polycarbonate containers (32 oz, 48 oz, and 64 oz) will only fit on the newer bases. The 3600 and the 4000 are the original models of Vitamix and those have the old steel/metal bases. If in doubt go to to look at the various models.

  11. This all sounds dandy, but those of us who really use our dry containers love them! It's so much better for chopping veggies, as the blades blow the contents up rather than pulling down like the wet blade. This makes for much better chopping of veggies for things like tuna salad. I never wet chop anymore.

    I grind grains, coffee beans, etc., in it as well. Also, I can make almond meal, and other nut meals in it, but can't in the wet container, as it turns them into butters.

    Also, wanted to comment that the new vitamix that was released in the last year or so is supposed to have a more powerful motor with higher RPM, so only it will use the short 64oz container (the one that's approximately the same height as the 48oz).

  12. The 6300 (and prob other models with presets) is not the same as previous models. It has speed control. That is the dial setting corresponds to a specific speed and the controller will add/reduce power to achieve that speed. On previous models, the dial setting corresponds to a power set point the speed varies depending on what is being blended (load). This is a significant difference. ...I am currently shopping for a vitamix...


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