Sounds the Vitamix Makes and What They Mean

Posted · 44 Comments

Some people are afraid of the sounds coming out of their beloved Vitamix machines because they are afraid they will damage the machine. This will put your mind at ease, because you will learn what causes the sounds, and what they mean.

Not many people are concerned about the sounds a Vitamix makes when on the lower variable speeds. As long as you remember that the lower variable speeds are never to be used with a thick recipe, you shouldn’t hear a sound that causes worry.

The “scary sounds” happen when the machine is on high.

There are basically 3 sounds a Vitamix makes while on High:

1) the normal Loud Sound
2) a “High Pitched Whine”
3) a “Low Growl”

The Loud Sound
Everyone wishes that the Vitamix wasn’t so loud on high, but that is what you get with a 2HP+ workhorse of a machine. (Tractors are always going to be louder than weed-eaters)! 🙂

When blending something that is relatively liquid (like a smoothie with not too much frozen ingredients, a nut milk, or a hot soup), the sound on high is loud, but “normal”. No one worries that this sound is going to damage their machine, so I’m only going to focus the “high pitched whine”, and the “low growl”.

The “High Pitched Whine”
The high pitched whine means the motor is doing little to no work, and the cooling fan is at full capacity.

This high pitched whining sound happens when an air pocket is formed, and the blades are spinning freely inside the a bubble of air with no resistance. Although it is loud (and to some a very scary sound) it is actually good for the motor! The blades have no resistance, so the motor is not straining at all. When the machine is on high, but the blades are spinning in air, the fan gets a chance to do its job to cool the motor!

This happens most often when making something thick like nut butters, ice cream, thick batters, and things like hummus. The thick texture makes it easy to maintain the air pocket over the blades. When a thick mixture forms an air bubble, only the tamper can pop it. If you don’t pop the air pocket with the tamper, the high pitched whine will continue.

An important thing to remember about this air pocket, and the high pitched whining sound, is that when the machine is on High, there is no resistance to the blades, therefore the fan cooling the motor is working at its best! In fact, I’m pretty sure that the motor can be cooled off faster by allowing the machine to run on high with no resistance, than by simply turning the machine off. Although the high pitched whine is loud and scary, it is happening when the machine has nothing to blend, and it is best for the motor!

This means that if you are making something thick (like nut butters, ice creams, hummus, protein bars, brownie batter, Larabars, date paste, etc.), and you fear that the motor is overheating, purposely allow an air pocket to form, and even though the sound is loud and high pitched, let it run like that for a bit, and it will cool off the motor!

The “Low Growl”
The low growl means the motor is working hard, and the cooling fan is not at full capacity.

The low growl happens when the air pocket is popped by the shove of the tamper, and the blades “grip” a thick concoction (like the ones listed above). That is when the motor is really working hard (and heating up). There is nothing wrong with the low growl as long as it doesn’t continue for too long without any breaks. The low growl is when the blending is happening.

You want the blending to happen, but it is good to create a balance between the low growl, and the high pitched whine. For many recipes this happens naturally, because every time you shove the tamper into the mix you get the low growl for a few seconds, then when you pull the tamper up you get the high pitched whine. Nut butters and ice creams are like this. In the beginning there is a lot of tamping before the mixture gets blended enough that it will flow freely through the blades on its own. Each shove of the tamper should cause a low growl (a little bit of blending) followed by a high pitched whine (an air pocket), and this happens over, and over, and over. This creates a natural balance between heating and cooling.

If you are making something thick, using the tamper a lot, are tamping quickly, and are doing this for a long time, the motor might not get a chance to cool off. Sometimes you will get a burning smell coming off of the motor when it is over heating. If the motor does overheat, your Vitamix has an “Automatic Overload Protection” feature, and it will turn itself off to protect the motor.

If the thermal heat sensor trips the Automatic Overload Protection, and your machine turns off, unplug it, and let it sit for 45 minutes to cool off. Once it has sufficiently cooled, it will come on again. Or, if you are like me (impatient) you can use a hair dryer (on the cool setting) to cool off the motor. Blow the cool air into the air vent. The air vent is on the back of the next generation machines, and on the bottom of the standard models. I’ve also heard that someone (who might be me) has put her Vitamix motor base in the refrigerator to cool it off quickly!

Sound Waves Vitamix

Real Life Example…
When I make nut butters (which can be VERY thick, and hard for the motor – especially almond butter) I get the low growling sound when the tamper is pushing the mix into the blades. If I tamp over and over (like you must to get the nut butter to form), I will get a growling sound with each plunge of the tamper, and a high pitched whine every time I pull the tamper up (because air pockets form almost instantly when you are making nut butters). If I’ve tamped repeatedly, and I can tell that the motor has been working hard for a long time, I will give the motor a chance to cool off. To cool the motor, I simply leave the tamper out of the mix for a bit (letting the Vitamix make that high-pitched whine for a while), then I begin the tamping process again. I hope this makes sense.

Important Information on How to Prevent Tripping the Thermal Heat Sensor
Whenever you are making something thick like nut butters, ice creams, and hummus, be sure not to exceed the recommend amount. Don’t double or add to the Vitamix Hummus Recipe (don’t make much more than 4 cups of hummus at one time). Don’t try to make ice cream in a 64 oz. tall vitamix container in a batch bigger than 4 cups.

NEVER use the lower variable speeds for any recipe that is thick, or causes resistance to the blades. If you really want to use the lower variable speeds on something thick, only blend on the slower speeds for a few seconds at a time.  The machine is designed to run on High any time there is a thick recipe that creates significant resistance to the blades.

If you have tripped the thermal heat sensor, you have most likely either: 1) used a lower variable speed on a recipe that is thick, or 2) used High, but your thick recipe had too much volume. On on average very thick recipes like hummus, nut butter, and ice cream should not exceed the 4 cup line. There are always exceptions when you might be able to get away with a bit more, but if you over heat the motor, and you were making something thick with more volume than 4 cups, that might have been your problem! Another exception to the 4 cup rule would be something REALLY thick like a Larabar recipe. If you attempt to make something like Larabars (or a thick date paste), you will need to make even less than 4 cups to prevent tripping the thermal heat sensor.

Was this article helpful? Do you have any questions about the sounds coming out of your Vitamix machine?

By Lea Ann Savage – Copyright 2015

SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLENDER LADY BLOG…
(to be notified when there is a new post)

  • Buyer's Guide Button

    Click on this picture to visit the Vitamix Buyer’s Guide

    44 Responses to "Sounds the Vitamix Makes and What They Mean"
    1. Layla says:

      Mine makes a weird motion on low. I’m actually thinking of using the warranty, I think it’s a 5 year and that would make it expire in 2019. Is the base motor included in the warranty?

      • blenderlady says:

        Hello Layla, the motor and container both are included in the warranty! Call Vitamix Customer Service – 800-848-2649 and they will diagnose the problem over the phone, and if it has to come in for repairs they will make those arrangements (no shipping costs to you)!

    2. Brittany says:

      Thank you for this! I thought I had somehow damamged my blender because of these sounds! I really cannot believe how insanely loud they are! I use it for smoothies 99% of he time and the high pitches noise is so loud that I’ve been turning it on low and using the tamper. Does using frozen fruit that’s hard (but soft when it comes together), have the same rules as a thick recipe? Should I not be using low?

      • blenderlady says:

        Hello Brittany,

        So glad that the article was helpful! If you hear the “low growl” that is when you should be cautious about allowing it to remain at the lower variable speeds. The “low growl” is when there is drag on the motor, and this is when it needs the fan blowing the most. The fan one blows highest when it is on the Higher Variable Speeds and High. HOPE THSI HELPS!

    3. Linda says:

      THANK YOU!!! I’ve been making ice cream and the noises scared me. I was getting nervous about using it, but this explains everything. What a huge help!

    4. Georges says:

      I’ve had my vitamix for a couple weeks now, and I love it.

      I’ve been making lots of peanut butter.. and I didn’t bother to read the directions on how to do so.

      Anyway, I’ve been blending the pb on lower variable speeds. And I just read that I should NEVER do that with thick recipes.

      Is there anyway to test to see if I’ve done any damage?

      Thank you in advance.

      • blenderlady says:

        Hello Geroges, your Vitamix has a thermal heat sensor that will cause the motor to shut off if it over heats. My best guess is that your motor base is ok, but I always recommend calling Vitamix Customer Service if you have any questions about how your machine is functioning, or whether or not it needs to be checked out under warranty. Vitamix Customer Service – 800-848-2649 

    5. william says:

      We just started with a new vitamix and the information here is excellent….thank you do much..

    6. Sabrina says:

      Hi,
      When I use my blender on higher speeds the container shakes out of alignment and I’m not sure if I should hold it or let it be in the new alignment?

      • blenderlady says:

        Hello Sabrina, that is not normal. I recommend contacting Vitamix Customer Service – they are trained to troubleshoot issues like this!

        Vitamix Customer Service – 800-848-2649 

        – When they say, “If you know your party’s 4-digit extension, please dial it now” – DO NOTHING.  
        – After they say, “If you want to dial by name, please press 1” – DO NOTHING.
        – Then they will say, “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed, for Household Product Sales and Customer Service, please press 1” – PRESS 1

        Then you can choose from these options:
        1 – If you have No internet access, and you want to Register your Machine online.
        2 – To check on the Status Of your Order – PRESS 2 – When they answer, give them you Order Number.
        3 – Sales (to buy a Vitamix or ask pre-purchase questions)
        4 – Repairs and Warranty issues
        5 – Questions about Recipes
        6 – General Vitamix Questions

        I find that if possible call as close to 8 am EST – this is the best way to have your call answered as quickly as possible!

        I hope this helps!

    7. Jenn says:

      Hi. I’ve had my vitamix for a few months. I’ve worked really hard at always starting at 1, but today I accidentally started at 10. I quickly went down to 1, but I’m afraid I did damage. Around variable 3 or 4 it makes a grinding sound and kind of goes to a wine higher up, but still grinds. It also smells after only a few seconds. Have I done damage?

      • Blender Lady says:

        I doubt that you did any damage, but it is ALWAYS good to call Vitamix Customer Service whenever you have a question about the performance of your machine, or container…

        Vitamix Customer Service – 800-848-2649 

        – When they say, “If you know your party’s 4-digit extension, please dial it now” – DO NOTHING.  
        – After they say, “If you want to dial by name, please press 1” – DO NOTHING.
        – Then they will say, “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed, for Household Product Sales and Customer Service, please press 1” – PRESS 1

        Then you can choose from these options:
        1 – If you have No internet access, and you want to Register your Machine online.
        2 – To check on the Status Of your Order – PRESS 2 – When they answer, give them you Order Number.
        3 – Sales (to buy a Vitamix or ask pre-purchase questions)
        4 – Repairs and Warranty issues
        5 – Questions about Recipes
        6 – General Vitamix Questions

        I hope this helps!

    8. Marcel says:

      Hi there,

      I’m a proud owner of a Vitamix Pro 300, but it seems if the container is put on the vitamix showing the handle to me, it vibrates. When I mix my smoothie and start on low, the container vibrates like it wants to shake the content.

      Is this normal behavior, especially the vibrating sound and shaking?

      • Blender Lady says:

        Hello Marcel,

        I recommend that you call Vitamix Customer Service – 800-848-2649

        – When they say, “If you know your party’s 4-digit extension, please dial it now” – DO NOTHING.
        – After they say, “If you want to dial by name, please press 1” – DO NOTHING.
        – Then they will say, “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed, for Household Product Sales and Customer Service, please press 1” – PRESS 1

        Then you can choose from these options:
        1 – If you have No internet access, and you want to Register your Machine online.
        2 – To check on the Status Of your Order – PRESS 2 – When they answer, give them you Order Number.
        3 – Sales (to buy a Vitamix or ask pre-purchase questions)
        4 – Repairs and Warranty issues
        5 – Questions about Recipes
        6 – General Vitamix Questions

        I hope this helps!

    9. Darell says:

      I’ve always been curious about a common sound not mentioned here – the one that sounds almost like slipping/grinding gears. And it happens when the machine is burst to high speed from off. In the moment it takes to achieve full speed, the acceleration sound is terrible, and truly sounds like the metal drive gear is slipping. It isn’t of course, but is there an internal clutch that is purposefully slipping (and causing the noise) to prevent damage? I’ve always wondered why after the electronic soft-start was offered on the machines, that it still allows 0-100% burst ever. But is is available… and it makes a terrible noise when used.

      • Blender Lady says:

        Hello Darell, I don’t know enough about the engineering involved to verify whether there is an internal clutch, but when I have questions like that, I call Vitamix Customer Service, and they are pretty good at tracking down those kinds of answers.

        That sound is an indication of operator error since you are supposed to always start up on Variable Speed #1 and work up (quickly) to High. But I know that accidents happen, others (kids, spouses of course, never us) leave the machine on High, and then it gets turned on and “squeeeawk” you get that sound you described.

    10. Ruth says:

      Hi there,

      I have only had my Vitamix for a few days. The only thing we have made in it so far are smoothies with mostly frozen fruit. Each time we use it we slowly move the speed up to 10, but then it sounds almost like the motor is slipping or that something is stuck in it? Do you think that this is normal or the same noises that you are talking about? I watched the dvd that came with it and didn’t notice it making the same noises that I am hearing but he uses mainly fresh ingredients in all of his recipes. We get that burning smell too, and I’m so afraid that we are doing something wrong, or that there is already something wrong with our machine. 🙁

      • Blender Lady says:

        Hello Ruth, Sounds like an air pocket is forming (the slipping sound might be an air pocket). Are you using your tamper? To avoid the burning smell work your way up to High as quickly as possible. How much frozen to fresh, non-frozen ingredients are you using?

    11. Lori says:

      You are wonderful!! I talked to Caroline at VITAMIX today and she said people are so confused about speeds, blenders etc. Always use the wet blender on high, with 4 cups for almond butter, after roasting them! Thanks so much for actually spending the time to clarify the amounts, blenders, size and noises. Everyone should come here first before burning their motors. 🙂

    12. Molly says:

      Thank you so much for this article! I have owned my Vitamix for nearly 10 going-strong years and always panicked when I heard these sounds. Now I know what my Vitamix is telling me!

    13. Michelle says:

      Hey there, Just came across this because my vitamix seems much louder than it used to be. I have had it for six years and use it all the time. It almost seems like it is going to explode when I use it now. I was looking into returning or repairing it today. Any idea of anyone who has had this problem? It has always been loud, but I never noticed, now it is so loud everyone in the family can tell there is something wrong. Any thoughts? Thanks. 🙂

      • Blender Lady says:

        Hello Michelle,

        When you detect a significant change in the pitch and sound of your Vitamix machine from its normal pitch and sound, it is a good indicator that you need to make a call to Vitamix Customer Service.

        Vitamix Customer Service Representatives are trained to diagnose the problem over the phone. If parts are needed, they will be sent free shipping. If repairs are needed, Vitamix will pay for shipping both ways!

        Vitamix Customer Service:  800-848-2649

        To navigate their phone message system: 

        – When they say, “If you know your party’s 4-digit extension, please dial it now” – DO NOTHING.  
        – After they say, “If you want to dial by name, please press 1” – DO NOTHING.
        – Then they will say, “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed, for Household Product Sales and Customer Service, please press 1 – PRESS 1.

        Then you can choose from these options:
        1 – if you have No internet access, and you want to Register your Machine
        2 – to check on the Status Of your Order
        3 – Sales (to buy a Vitamix or ask pre-purchase questions)
        4 – Repairs and Warranty issues
        5 – questions about Recipes
        6 – General Vitamix Questions

        I hope this helps!

        • Brynna says:

          Thank you for this! I think I am having the same problem as Michelle, and I’ve owned mine for about 5 years. It just started happening while I was making a smoothie a few weeks ago (and I just used it again today for the first time since then). Very noticeable difference.

          Another question, is it common for the container to not fit snugly on the base? For example, mine can turn a bit and always has from day 1, so it doesn’t “lock” on or anything (I know there’s no locking mechanism, that’s just the only way I can think to describe it). Is that what happens with everyone else’s or is that just mine? I’ve always been curious about that.

          • Blender Lady says:

            Hello Brynna, it is normal for the container to rotate a bit on the base. The four centering prongs will keep it from rotating more than just a bit. This allows room for the gears in the container to align with the gears in the motor base.

    14. phoebegrant says:

      I’ve been making my bulletproof coffee (with added gelatin) in the 32oz wet container. My machine is running on the 10 High and it hums and then growls for a second and then hums and growls again. From what you say, this is OK. I run it for about 4 mins to mix and heat the coffee.

      • Blender Lady says:

        That is not a thick recipe like nut butter or ice cream. Not sure what to think about the hum and growl in this case. I would be HAPPY to listen on the phone if you would like to call me when you’re making it one day and give you my opinion! 😉 Cell = 321-961-9219

    15. Deborah says:

      Great article Kathleen – just finished making some cashew cheese and now understand what the noises mean – blending with more confidence now!

    16. Kathleen says:

      This is incredibly helpful!! I have had my VM for about a year, and I know I haven’t used it as often as I could because the “noises” were concerning me. You explained what is happening when the whine and growl occur so beautifully…I feel much more confident now! Thank you!

      • Blender Lady says:

        I am SO PLEASED that this article is going to help you use your Vitamix more – that is my mission in a nutshell – “to help Vitamix owners use their machines to the FULLEST extent possible”! 🙂

    17. Brenda says:

      Thanks. This was so helpful. I am so excited to be added to the Vitamix FB group. I have learned so much and will be using my VM more daily.

    18. Lisa says:

      Thanks so much for clarifying! Sometimes it does scare me…. 🙂

    19. Thank you. What a relief! I’m always kind of paranoid that i’m doing something wrong because of the noise. Especially when when moving the speed to 10.

    20. Mary says:

      Great information to know when making nut butters or ice cream.

    21. Megan says:

      This is very helpful! I have had mine shut off on me once, and I was worried I broke it for good!

    22. Yaritza says:

      I’m glad I read this before using my vitamix. Now hopefully I won’t have a heart attack when I hear the high pitched whine!

    23. Helen says:

      Lea Ann,

      You’re the best. Thank you. I’ll admit I’ve stood on front of my Vita with my fingers crossed more than a few times.
      Thanks!

    24. Sally says:

      Informative! Thanks Lea Ann!

    25. Andrea says:

      Thanks for sharing you knowledge!!! This is super helpful :-).

    26. Melissa says:

      Lee Ann, I can’t thank you enough for this post! I’ve had my Vitamix for just a few months and one of my “sound” concerns has been when making daily smoothies for my husband and myself, using frozen pieces of fruit. What I thought were ominous sounds where I just knew I was ruining my precious machine were actually good/normal sounds, according to your post. I wasn’t sure if I should be running it at a higher or lower speed. I was planning to call the Vitamix company to ask about this, in fact, but you’ve answered my question. Great job!

    27. Pamela says:

      I am looking forward to the 30 day green Smoothie Challenge.

    Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *