Want the truth about the Vitamix Foodcycler FC-50?
We never would have bought one with our own money. Never ever.
But now that we have one? Now that it’s become part of our routine?
It’s safe to say that this thing is:
- Super fun.
- Super easy to use.
- A unique gift for yourself or a loved one (despite not being something that will, like getting a Vitamix blender, significantly make your life easier and better).
In this review, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about Foodcycler FC-50 from Vitamix. And as always, please contact us if you have any questions. (This is what we do.)
Who this review is for
Why you should trust us
The FC-50: Why we love it
Noise, Smells, Running Time, Energy Use
FYI’s (before you buy)
Who’s the FC-50 for?
Conclusion & Recommendation
Earlier: Our First Impressions
Who this review is for
This guide is for people wanting to understand why the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 exists, and if it’s worth it.
Because it’s true: The value of the FoodCycler is a bit unclear.
So by the end of this review, you should have a sense of what it’s like to have a FoodCycler in your home. And of course, if it’s something you should buy or not.
Note: At this moment, the Foodcycler is only available in USA and Canada. We’ll send an email when it’s available in the UK. (Keep me updated.)
Why you should trust us
We’re writing this review after using the FC-50 daily for three months.
We know who it may be for and who it’s not for. And we know the answers to the questions you may not realize you had.
As always, please let us know if you have a question you did see answered.
Shalva and I and our little team at Lifeisnoyoke have been exclusive, full-time Vitamix affiliate partners for nearly a decade.
And so while we do sell for Vitamix, we do not work for them. We stay independent by choice.
That allows us to be picky with our recommendations. Plus, we get to stay true to our core values.
- Dedication to our customers’ 100% satisfaction
We do what’s best for our customers, even if that means saying, “Meh, you don’t need that,” or “That product isn’t our favorite” or “Wait to buy!”
People love us for this.
And we’re going to keep doing it as long as we can. 🙏🏼
The Vitamix FoodCycler: Why we love it
It’s hard to appreciate a new thing with no comparables. And for minimalists like us, everything needs to earn its place in our home.
But after several weeks, it’s safe to say it. We really like having the FC-50 in our life.
Easy to Use
The FoodCycler is basically a magic box that turns your food waste into compost.
Not too exciting, right?
Well, you need to consider the normal composting process. For that, you take your food scraps, put it in a big drum, and have to wait two to five months.
With the FoodCycler, you do the same thing. The only difference?
It’s done in two to five hours.
And there’s something really exciting about opening it up when the cycle is complete.
The Slot Machine Effect
You can think of it like a slot machine. You press the button, and shortly after, get a variable, interval reward.
It’s become part of our daily routine. Actually, it’s our toddler’s.
Our last activity of the day is to do the Foodcycler. Load it up, press the button, and then go up for bed.
When we wake up, we look to see what we got.
No, it’s not something that will make your life easier, like a Vitamix blender. But this Vitamix product might make your life just a little more satisfying.
Green living benefits
It takes a lot of energy to dispose of your food waste. The water-heavy bags need to get picked up by a diesel-engine truck, processed at a facility, etc.
With the FoodCycler, you eliminate a lot of that.
And now, those food scraps become nutrient-rich, food-safe fertilizer for your garden.
And if you’re wondering what it’s really like to use, we’ll talk about that now.
FC-50’s Footprint: Size requirements, Smells, Noise, Energy
This FoodCycler is small but mighty. And its footprint is relatively small.
How big is the FoodCycler FC-50?
The FC-50 only requires 1 cubic foot of space. So compared to other cubic appliances, that’s quite small.
But compared to a toaster, for example, it’s pretty big.
It’s also fairly heavy; certainly not light.
And because you need to plug it in, you need to find it a permanent home near an outlet.
It needs space above it’s top for you to access the container, ruling out most under-the-sink placements. And the garage doesn’t work because you want it close by.
You may have a hard time finding space for it if you have a small kitchen. Even with a large kitchen, you may struggle to place it.
We’ve placed ours on the floor near the pantry. Here’s why it’s fine there.
Smells to expect
The FoodCycler, in our experience, is completely odor-free.
There’s a carbon-filtered top if you use the bin as a primary food waste collector. And there are two filters on the FoodCycler itself to clean the air when it runs.
And when the cycle is done, the dehydrated food waste smells like premium soil. Really!
The dehydrated food waste will smell different depending on what you put in. But it always smells fresh.
Not rotten or musty or moldy. Just naturally, deliciously fresh.
How noisy is it?
We compare everything to blenders. So compared to that, the FoodCycler is quiet.
You definitely know it’s running. Think like a quiet dishwasher.
And occasionally you’ll hear a thunk or clink.
But the grinder inside is moving so slowly that it shouldn’t even disrupt a sleeping baby.
How much energy does it use?
The FoodCycler FC-50, like all current Vitamix products, does not have an EnergyStar certification. Disappointing, I know.
But according to the folks who designed it, the FC-50 only uses 1 kWh per cycle. Not sure how much that costs or the net impact on the environment. (But my understanding is that it’s not a lot.)
FYI’s (before you buy)
We talked above about how you’ll need a place to put it. Here are a few more FYI’s before you buy.
A secondary compost bin
The FC-50 comes with a top for the food waste bin that has a carbon filter. This is so you can use the bin as a food waste collector.
In other words, you use the bin all day. Then, put the bin directly into the FoodCycler.
This process works in theory. But here’s the problem.
You may produce more food waste than the FoodCycler’s bin can hold. Then what?
So you’re going to need a secondary bin to collect everything.
You can get an FC-50 Replacement Bucket.
Or, you can save a little money and do what we do. Use a simple compost bin.
Some ongoing maintenance (and other accessories)
The FoodCycler has three filters that you’ll need to replace periodically.
- Collection Bucket Lid Filter – The carbon filter on the lid of the bin.
- FoodCycler Replacement Filters – The two filters that are inside the FoodCycler itself.
You can replace the former as needed.
You should replace the latter when the “Replace Filters” light appears. Like most filter replacement indicators, it’s triggered by activity. (After a certain number of cycles run, the filter light will turn on.)
There are also Foodilizer tablets. You can probably skip these.
Bones okay to process, but can’t use as fertilizer
On the box, Vitamix says your FoodCycler can handle small animal bones. So fish bones and chicken bones.
But if you read the instructions, there’s a warning: It says you shouldn’t use dehydrated food waste in your garden if it was made with animal proteins.
So if you’re planning to put bones in your FC-50, that’s fine. Just remember, you shouldn’t use that dehydrated food waste to fertilize your garden.
The research dilemma
Composting is a science. And if you do the research, it requires greens and browns and water and heat and time.
Using the FoodCycler is almost too easy. You press a button, and you’re done.
So if you’re anything like me, you might begin to research. And quickly, you’re overwhelmed and confused.
- What’s the correct ratio?
- How do I put it in my garden?
- When do I put it in my garden?
- How much do I put in my garden?
On and on until you drive yourself crazy.
For me, it was helpful to come back to the instructions.
“In most cases, depending on your existing soil makeup, using the dehydrated food waste as a soil amendment will incorporate all necessary nutrients to promote plant growth.”
Basically, just dump it in.
And if you want to look at it like we do, try this. Using the FoodCycler as well as you can is better than not using it at all.
The FoodCycler is a unique product for Vitamix in that there isn’t much competition at all. Since it’s a new tech product, knockoffs may appear.
There was a predecessor model, the FC-30. It was nearly identical to the FC-50 except it didn’t have a bin top and wasn’t Vitamix-branded. (If you can find an FC-30 on Amazon, you can get basically the same experience.)
Who’s the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 for?
The FC-50 might be for you if…
- You’d appreciate a fun way to deal with food waste.
- You compost today but want a simpler or quicker method.
- You’ve always wanted to compost but haven’t. You’ve wanted to make your own fertilizer for your garden but don’t want to wait several weeks and do the dirty work.
The FC-50 might NOT be for you if…
- You don’t have a place for it.
- You think you’re going to drive yourself crazy thinking about doing this perfectly.
But we really don’t think that should hold you up…
Conclusion and Recommendation
The FC-50 might fall into the perfect gift. A gift to yourself or someone else.
It’s not something you need that will make your life easier. Nor will it make you healthier or help you achieve your weight loss goals.
But if you get it, or someone gets it for you, you’re gonna love it.
Earlier: Initial thoughts about the FoodCycler
We posted our first impressions of the FoodCycler before our full review. Here it is:
Everything goes into a small compostable bag inside a small bucket. Eventually, those bags go into a compost-only container that gets picked up by the city of Minneapolis.
In the past, we’ve had a composter drum to do it all ourselves.
The challenges of the former are that we make a lot of trips outside. And with the latter, there was that plus you have to “stir” the compost regularly.
With both, we’ve never actually yielded any nutrient-rich soil.
So now some questions:
- Does this solve a problem for us?
- Do we have the space for this?
- Is there a net benefit? (economically, environmentally, time-spent, etc?)
I could see how this could be really awesome for us, especially once we get our garden going.
But I feel like the value needs to be demonstrated for me. Or by me.