If you're in the market for a new blender or stand mixer, then you know: countertop appliances aren't cheap. Our favorite Vitamix blender is more than $400 (the cheapest Vitamix we recommend still clocks in at about $300), while our recommend KitchenAid stand mixer is nearly $500. In fact, the least expensive KitchenAid (the Classic) is still well over $300.
So, what's a home cook to do when a shiny appliance beckons and cost is a concern? Here’s an answer: refurbished gear. If you shop smart, you can get gadgets that have been spruced up and work like new for way less money and with return policies and warranties that are still sufficient.
What Does “Refurbished” Mean?
We put this question to the pros of refurbishment: Vitamix. In the past five years alone, Vitamix’s refurbishment program has kept 750,000 blenders out of landfills. “Knowing our products are an investment for consumers, it’s important for us to look at the whole life of a blender,” says Judson Cummins, Vitamix’s Director of Category and Product. “So much consumerism is about disposability, and we are trying to go the other way.”
Vitamix calls their refurbished items “certified reconditioned.” Traded in, returned within the trial period, or repaired from a return that was replaced with a new machine, each refurbished blender is run through a 17-point of inspection, cleaning, and repair. “We make it as new a blender as possible,” Cummins says. The blender gets a new container, lid, and tamper. If the shell of the base is blemished or scratched, it’s replaced. The blade is swapped out or sanitized, and the motor, control board, and power chord are revived to working order. Then every blender gets new cookbook and is sold on Vitamix’s website at 25 to 40 percent less than new. For example, a brand-new Vitamix 5300 will set you back $510, whereas a refurbished one is $360.
Where to Buy Refurbished Kitchen Gadgets
Though Vitamix sells machines through other parties like Amazon, its own website offers the widest array. Of course, other manufacturers also run certified refurbished programs. We recommend buying reconditioned gear directly from the retailer or from certified resellers. Here's a list of ones to check out:
- KitchenAid touts their hands-on approach, where each machine is restored by a single technician, who signs off with a unique number on the bottom of the gear. At up to 60% cheaper than new, a refurbished KitchenAid can be a bargain.
- Breville’s website lists the price of each toaster oven, coffee maker, or other item in its certified remanufactured line along with the price you would pay if you bought it new. This makes for quick comparison shopping.
- These and other refurbished products are also sold through third-party vendors. Approved vendors can participate in the Walmart Restored program, whose items listed as “refurbished” get a telltale “What is Restored?” link that explains the terms. Unapproved vendors can only list items as “used.”
- The eBay Refurbished program is similar. Only manufacturers and manufacturer-approved vendors can participate, and appliances must meet eBay’s standards.
- Target, on the other hand, offers appliances that are “certified refurbished” by its partners, but the fine print states, “Target does not represent or warrant that this information is accurate or complete.”
- Then there’s Amazon, which has Amazon’s Renewed Store. They offer certified refurbished gear from Vitamix, Ninja (the makers of one of our favorite air fryers), Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Philips, and more.
Terms, Warranties, and Prices Vary Across Sites and Over Time
Warranties on refurbished gear tend to be briefer then ones for new machines. Vitamix offers 5- to 10-year warranties on their new products and 3- to 5-year warranties on the certified reconditioned blenders. But the company also gives the option to purchase an additional 3-year warranty on refurbished gear, bringing the protection up to the level of that for a previously unowned product.
In addition, if you compare terms from one source to another, you can often eke out extra protection. Along with the warranty, Vitamix offers a 60-day, risk-free trial period on refurbished blenders. If you buy through Amazon, however, your risk-free trial is a full year long on a Renewed Premium item like a Vitamix-refurbished blender, and you’re still eligible for Vitamix’s own warranty.
The same goes for eBay Refurbished gear. KitchenAid has a 30-day return policy and a warranty of six months or a year. But Certified Refurbished appliances supplied by KitchenAid and sold at comparable prices on eBay come with the same return policy and a 2-year warranty, courtesy of eBay’s partnership with Allstate. That’s better than KitchenAid’s own 1-year warranty on new stand mixers.
Warranties in general, though, are better on new gear. The smart money move: give yourself time to check back for sales on third-party websites, and sign up for the manufacturer’s brand newsletter, where sales are announced. You might score an even deeper discount on a refurbished machine, or you could get lucky and find a new one, with a slightly better warranty than something reconditioned.
Why are so many Vitamix blenders refurbished?
Refurbishment is integral to Vitamix’s brand. According to Judson Cummins, Director of Category and Product at Vitamix, there are two reasons for this. Firstly, Vitamix is committed to decreasing waste through reuse. Fixing previously owned machines, rather than just churning out new ones, helps meet that goal.
Secondly, Vitamixes are pricey. A new one will set you back $500 or more. That narrows the company’s consumer base, so the refurbishment program helps make the brand accessible to more buyers.
Is it okay to buy a refurbished KitchenAid stand mixer?
It’s more than okay to buy a refurbished KitchenAid, but make sure you’re getting one that’s been worked on by a manufacturer-approved technician so you know it’s been rehabbed to a high standard. Those can be purchased through KitchenAid’s own website or from partners like eBay that offer them directly from the manufacturer.