The Ascent A3500 is Vitamix’s most feature-rich, and most expensive blender. It’s the only one in Vitamix’s latest range that has all 5 preset blending programs: Hot soups, smoothies, dips/spreads, frozen desserts, and self-clean.
If you want maximum “walk away” convenience with your food prep tasks, the splurge on the Vitamix A3500 will justify itself easily over the enormous 10 year lifetime covered by the warranty.
If you want to dive into the details and see exactly how the A3500 performed on our 5 blending tests, carry on reading below.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s in the Box?
- 2 How Does It Look/Feel/Sit?
- 3 How Easy is it to Set Up?
- 4 Test #1: Smoothie (With Preset)
- 5 Test #2: Frozen Dessert (With Preset)
- 6 Test #3: Pico de Gallo (With Dips/Spreads Preset)
- 7 Test #4: Hot Soup (With Preset)
- 8 Test #5: Self Cleaning (With Preset)
- 9 About the Noise Level
- 10 About the Programmable Timer
- 11 Playing With “Make Your Own” Presets
- 12 How Easy Is It To Clean Overall?
- 13 How Would I Improve the Vitamix A3500?
- 14 What’s the Warranty?
- 15 Verdict
- 16 How Does It Compare?
As a Vitamix fan, I’ve had the Vitamix Ascent 3500 on my list for a long time now. It is currently Vitamix’s flagship blender and the top level of its already awesome Ascent Series.
The Ascent line of blenders is Vitamix’s attempt at creating an aesthetically driven line of blending appliances combined with its already high-quality blender technology. The majority of Vitamix products up until recently have been utilitarian style, professional-grade blenders.
With square, boxy bases and straightforward analog controls, Vitamix blenders in my experience have never been as aesthetically pleasing or feature-rich as other blender models. Vitamix products are known throughout the hospitality world as the best blender available for a professional kitchen because they are consistently the highest-powered, best quality blender available.
Compared with many of Vitamix’s other offerings, the Ascent Series is a sleek, well-designed blender line. Featuring digital displays and in some models, 3-5 presets and touch screen capability. Furthermore thanks to the Vitamix “Perfect Blend” application you can wirelessly upload preset programs to any of the blenders in the Ascent line. Just load the blender with the recipe’s ingredients, upload the recipe to your Vitamix Ascent and press a button. It’s really that easy.
During my week of testing the Ascent 3500, I found a high-quality blender that handled everything I threw its way with ease. If you are looking for the best Vitamix with the most features, presets, and capability, then the Ascent A3500 is for you.
Keep reading for more insight into what makes this blender the best Vitamix has to offer!
What’s in the Box?
As always, Vitamix does a great job packaging its products. Everything fits snugly inside the box with little wasted space, and you can feel confident knowing your Vitamix was properly protected throughout transport.
Inside the Vitamix A3500 box I found:
- 1 Vitamix Ascent A3500 Blender Base
- 1 Vitamix Blender Pitcher with lid and removable cap.
- 1 Tamper
- 1 Quickstart guide
- 1 “Simply Blending” Cookbook
How Does It Look/Feel/Sit?
I’ve talked in the past about how I love the Ascent Series of blenders from Vitamix because it changes the overall profile of their blenders. In the past with legacy Vitamix models like the 5200, I have been unable to store the blender as one piece on my countertop because of the height of the blender pitcher when sitting on the blender base.
The older pitchers were taller and skinner which made them almost impossible to fit under overhead cabinets on my counter or in an under-counter cabinet for storage. With the Ascent A3500, Vitamix has switched things up by offering a wider, broader blender pitcher that sits squatter with a lower profile. This allows me to fit the entire blender under a cabinet or on my countertop tucked out of the way saving counterpane and helping me stay organized.
In addition to the shorter profile, the Ascent A3500 feels like a much more space-age product than your everyday Vitamix. With a sleek black, molded blender base, a digital touch screen display, and brushed stainless steel accents, this blender definitely feels like it was designed for the consumer kitchen in terms of aesthetics. Gone are the days of the utilitarian Vitamix, and now is the time for sleek, well-designed appliances made to be displayed!
How Easy is it to Set Up?
While blenders are typically pretty straightforward appliances to set up and use, compared to the older Vitamix models the newer Ascent blenders are a little more complicated. With a touch screen, variable speed control, and preset functions as opposed to the older analog dial and variable/high settings, getting your blender up and running takes. a little more time.
The quick start guide/Simply Blending cookbook make helps a lot, and the quick start guide alone is enough to get you off and blending in under 10 minutes. I highly recommend downloading the Perfect Blend app as well, it is a huge resource and with the added wireless recipe uploading capabilities of the Ascent series, it can truly expand the capabilities of your new appliance.
Beyond the perfect blend app, the Ascent A3500 is the most feature-rich blender in the Ascent line. On top of its touch screen controls and digital display, the Ascent A3500 comes with program settings for smoothies, hot soups, dips and spreads, frozen desserts, and self-cleaning. With the touch of a button, you can create delicious recipes using these preset programs, taking a lot of the work out of your blender recipes.
Test #1: Smoothie (With Preset)
To test the Vitamix A3500 I put together a list of must-make recipes and got to work. The first step on my testing journey was to make a Smoothie. I start most of my mornings with a smoothie. I don’t love big breakfasts especially during the week, and with a toddler running around not much of my morning is mine, to begin with so a smoothie makes life easy when I’m on the run.
To start I loaded mango chunks, vanilla yogurt, almond milk, hemp hearts, and cashew butter into the blender pitcher, secured the lid to the pitcher, and placed it on the Vitamix blender base.
Using cashew butter or peanut butter in my smoothies is one of the easiest ways to improve the texture/mouthfeel. When the smoothie blends the fatty nut butter combines with the frozen fruit/veggies and yogurt to create a rich, ice cream-like texture.
I set the blender to “smoothie/frozen drink mode” and pressed start. After 50-60 seconds the present blending program had finished and I was left with a picture-perfect smoothie. My recipe is enough to make 1 large or 2 small smoothies depending on your tastes and hunger level.
With a 64oz pitcher, the Ascent series can handle up to 8 cups of blended ingredients, and I could have fit 2 more servings in the pitcher without issue if I had wanted.
Test #2: Frozen Dessert (With Preset)
Frozen desserts are a ritual around my home especially come summertime. I have been making no-churn ice cream, kulfi, and popsicles for a long while now and I love experimenting with new flavors and combinations.
One area Vitamix really sets itself apart from other blending systems is in its ability to create frozen desserts in the blender. By chopping frozen fruit, yogurt or juice, and a small amount of sugar into a perfectly blended puree you can keep the frozne texture and make a unique frozen dessert with far less fat or sugar than traditional ice cream.
To create one of my favorite frozen treats, I began by loading the Vitamix Ascent 3500’s pitcher with frozen peach slices, yogurt, lemon juice, a small amount of powder sugar, and a pinch of cayenne. I placed the blending pitcher onto the blender base and set the A3500 Ascent Series to “frozen dessert mode” on the digital display.
I pressed the start button and stepped back to wait for my perfect dessert to be finished.
After about 10 seconds I realize that my peaches were maybe a little too frozen and I needed to help the puree along. I stopped the blender and grabbed the blender tamper and inserted it into the blender pitcher using the removable blender cap on top of the lid.
The Vitamix blender tamper/pusher is designed to fit into the blender without any worry of it coming in contact with the blade when operating. I restarted the blending program and used the tamper to help move around the ingredients for the first 20 seconds, at which point the puree was liquid enough to blend continuously without my intervention.
The entire blending program took about a minute. After the blender stopped I was left with a perfectly pureed spicy peach frozen yogurt. I transferred the frozen peach yogurt to an air-tight container and placed it in the freezer for 30 minutes to allow it time to set up completely before enjoying it.
Like most of my previous frozen dessert recipes, this spicy peach frozen yogurt was absolutely perfect with just the right amount of spice and sweetness. I love the blend of spicy and sweet with a hint of sourness from the yogurt and a rich peach flavor, it is perfect on a hot summer day, especially when frozen in popsicle form.
While I only made enough for 2-3 servings, I could have easily doubled my recipe without a problem. The Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series has an incredibly powerful motor and super-sharp blades that can handle a lot of food at one time even with the increased thickness of frozen desserts.
All the frozen desserts you can make in the Vitamix will work well as popsicles, simply pour the blended frozne dessert base into the popsicle molds and allow them to freeze for 8 hours before unmolding and serving!
Test #3: Pico de Gallo (With Dips/Spreads Preset)
To test the dips and spreads preset I decided to make an easy blender style pico de gallo salsa.
First I loaded the blender with tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. I cut all the vegetables into larger-sized pieces before placing them in the blender pitcher and then set the blender pitcher on top of the ascent a3500 series blender base. I pressed the dips/spread preset button and stepped back to let the Vitamix work its magic.
Looking at the time for the dips/spread setting I knew I was going to have to stop it before the program finished its full run. The dips/spreads preset function starts with a total blending time of 1 minute, which for salsa is a little much. I tried to adjust the program time but it was locked at 1 minute. I decided to go ahead with the program to see how it would work out, but from the get-go, I planned to stop the blender at 20 or so seconds.
As I predicted, 20 seconds was all it took to make delicious salsa. While the dips/spreads function is great for things like hummus, or white bean dip, if you like your salsa with a lot of texture and nicely chopped veggies, you are going to want to go with a different approach.
To get great salsa in your Vitamix I would recommend using the pulse function to run the blender in 2-3 second intervals. This will allow you the greatest control possible over the final texture of the salsa.
Despite the slightly over-blended texture of this pico de gallo, it was absolutely delicious. The super sharp blades kept the veggies nice and evenly chopped resulting in a nice texture and an incredibly fresh flavor.
Test #4: Hot Soup (With Preset)
Making hot soups from scratch entirely in a Vitamix is one of the greatest kitchen hacks I’ve ever encountered. This method is perfect for making a quick soup to go as an appetizer course for your next dinner party. It also is great for preserving vegetable flavor in more delicate or temperature-sensitive veggies like asparagus or peas.
For this test, I decided to give a new recipe I’ve been working on a spin. I loaded a bag of frozen corn, some shallot, garlic, and tahini into the lender pitcher of the A3500 with some milk, and veggie stock. I added some salt and pepper for seasoning and firmly attached the blender lid. I placed the pitcher onto the base and set the display to the “hot soup” preset.
Because I started with frozen ingredients and cold milk/veggie stock the blender struggled for a moment with the ingredients before heating them up enough to blend consistently.
After the five and a half minute blending program finished I opened the blender lid to check for seasoning and temperature. As I feared the soup wasn’t quite hot enough so I placed the lid back on and set the blender to speed 8. I pressed the start button and allowed the soup to blend for 3 more minutes before stopping the blender and checking the soup again.
At this point, the soup was piping hot and ready to serve. I ladled some soup into a bowl and garnished it with cilantro, sriracha, and a little olive oil.
I’ve been making a lot more hot soups in my Vitamix at home, but I am consistently impressed with the Vitamix’s ability to create incredible soup without needing to “cook” it on the stovetop. This corn and tahini soup was warm and refreshing with the perfect amount of spice. The ingredients were perfectly cooked, and the texture was incredible, which is impressive considering Is tarted with completely frozen corn.
Test #5: Self Cleaning (With Preset)
Given that the Vitamix Ascent A3500 series comes equipped with a self-cleaning function I wanted to give it a whirl, and see just how clean it could get a dirty blender pitcher.
After I finished preparing the pico de gallo salsa, I emptied the salsa into a container for storage and filled the blender pitcher 1/3 of the way up with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. I locked the lid in place and set the blender pitcher on the blender base. I pressed the self-clean button and allowed the preset to run its course before removing the pitcher and rinsing it with more warm water.
After the blender had finished its cleaning cycle and I had rinsed away the salsa remnants, the pitcher was definitely completely clean. It took 35 seconds to run the cycle and overall I think this is a really nice feature. That being said, using the self-cleaning feature wasn’t really any more convenient than rinsing and quickly scrubbing the container with a non-abrasive sponge.
About the Noise Level
One main complaint with Vitamix blenders, in general, is the large amount of noise they produce. These blenders are super high-powered pieces of equipment and they are truly designed for professional kitchens where loud appliances are the norm. In the home kitchen, the noise level produced by Vitamix blenders can sometimes be frustrating.
According to some, the Ascent A3500 is the quietest blender that Vitamix has ever made and I definitely found that to be true under certain circumstances.
At speed 1 the blender put out about 75 decibels which is really quite low for a blender. Once i turned up the speed to the highest level the decibel level hit ~100 which is right in line with the rest of the Vitamix blenders available.
I did my tests using water to make it easy to reach a benchmark, but if I had been blending something even tougher like ice or frozen fruit the noise level will definitely increase and it’s important to keep that in mind.
About the Programmable Timer
The programmable timer is a really nice function especially when you want to blend things for a very specific amount of time and you don’t feel like uploading a custom program from the Perfect Blend App.
To use the programmable timer simply press the “plus” button on the digital display and set it to your desired time. The Ascent 3500 has a max blending time of 6 minutes and 30 seconds, but that is more than enough time to blend even the most stubborn of purees.
Playing With “Make Your Own” Presets
While the Vitamix Perfect Blend application isn’t the easiest to use, it gets the job done and definitely makes it simple to upload a new program to your Vitamix A3500.
The Ascent A3500 comes equipped with the largest amount of presets out of any of the Ascent series blenders with five program settings including smoothies, hot soups, dips and spreads, frozen desserts, and self-cleaning. With the added capabilities offered by the Perfect Blend app, you can add countless preset programs or even build your own recipe from scratch.
To upload a program you need to follow these steps.
- Download the Perfect Blend app for your iOS or Android device.
- Turn on Bluetooth.
- Open the Perfect Blend app.
- Click the blender menu and choose your Ascent Series blender.
- Follow the connection prompts and connect to your blender.
- Choose a program or recipe and upload it to your Ascent 3500.
- Fill the blender pitcher with ingredients and press the start button on the A3500 to start the pre-loaded program.
Overall I like this app, it’s straightforward and easy to use. Connecting to the blender itself is a pretty simple task, though I would prefer if I could dismiss the “do you have a scale” prompt permanently. The app is in need of an update in terms of design and UI, the margins weren’t optimized for my newer phone model and some of the text was cut off on the right side, but I was still able to make full use of the app’s feature set regardless.
While I haven’t had time to take a deep dive into the build your own recipe function, it is a pretty powerful tool. You can break your recipe into stages, with different blending speeds and times for users to use as they follow along. You can make frozen coffee drinks that start with 2-3 ingredients, blend at one speed, and then add new ingredients, and blend at another speed for a specific amount of time. The customization is outstanding and given enough time you can craft custom recipes built specifically for your tastes or needs.
Even if you have zero interest in building your own recipes, there are tons of recipes to choose from, and with over 17 unique program settings to upload with the push of a button this app really takes the capabilities of your Ascent A3500 to the next level.
To upload a program or recipe you need to connect to your Ascent A3500 through Bluetooth. To make the connection you’ll need to press the blender button in the top right corner of the blender screen. This will take you to a connection screen where you can choose your blender from a list of options and pair the app and the blender together.
Once your blender is paired you can begin to upload programs or recipes. You can only load 1 preset at a time, but with 17 options to choose from, the perfect blend app more than triples the capability of your blender. Once the program is uploaded it will display the name of the program and speed/time setting on the A3500’s digital display so you know it’s been uploaded properly. To start the program simply fill the blender pitcher with the necessary ingredients and press the start button.
One thing that I want to note about the app is that it is designed to be used with the Vitamix Smart Scale. By combining this Bluetooth scale, the wireless connectivity of the Ascent series of blenders, and the powerful Perfect Blend app you can learn to make a ton of really special blended treats with ease.
While it’s not necessary to use the perfect blend app with your Vitamix Ascent series blender, it can add a lot of dimension to your experience and I highly recommend experimenting with the app to see where it can offer value in your blending recipes.
How Easy Is It To Clean Overall?
Having used many different types of Vitamix blenders I think the Ascent series has the easiest pitcher to clean out of all the available models. The wider container allows you to get inside easily with a sponge or brush. Also, the plastic top for the blender pitcher as opposed to the rubberized style lid that comes with older Vitamix models is easier to rinse clean.
The pitcher is dishwasher safe which is nice. Over time the dishwasher can slowly dull the blade in the blender pitcher so I prefer to hand wash my blender whenever possible. The Ascent 3500 does come with a self-clean function, simply fill the pitcher with a few drops of dish soap and some warm water, lock the lid in place, and set the program. This is convenient especially when your making tougher thicker purees or sauces that are harder to clean.
The Face of the blender is very simple to clean. The glossy black plastic finish on the machine will show smudges and marks so it’s important to wipe down the blender after every use if possible. The flat touch screen does make it easier to clean, just make sure to turn the on/off switch on the side of the machine off before
How Would I Improve the Vitamix A3500?
Overall the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series is a perfect blender. It combines the incredible blending power/capacity of a Vitamix with a great aesthetic and awesome digital interface. While this is definitely the nicest Vitamix I have ever had the opportunity to play with, there are still some areas for improvement.
- Overall the cord length on the Vitamix Ascent Series leaves something to be desired. While this is more of a consumer-focused product compared to the professional models I’m used to using, a good long cord can really come in handy.
- I mention this on a lot of Vitamix reviews but it bears repeating. I really wish Vitamix would start including the special tool needed to remove the blade assembly from the blender pitcher. Because of the large amounts of tension placed upon blade assembly when the machine is running it needs to be tightened down firmly to ensure a good seal. While it’s not necessary to remove the blade every time you clean the lender, it does help to remove it every few weeks to clean the o-ring and connection. Without the blade removal tool, this is way more difficult than it needs to be.
What’s the Warranty?
All Vitamix Ascent Series blenders come back by Vitamix’s incredible 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. The 10-year manufacturer’s warranty covers defects in the quality of manufacture for 10 years from the date of purchase.
To take advantage of the warranty it’s important to register your Vitamix Ascent A3500. In the event, you need a repair or replacement you can call Vitamix Customer Service at 1.800.848.2649 to begin the process. For more information about the warranty process head to this link.
I absolutely love this blender, though my old Vitamix 5200 is very nice, the Ascent A3500 is a big step above it in terms of performance and feature set. If you are in the market for a new Vitamix and you are looking for the most feature-rich option you can find, then the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series blender is definitely the one for you.
Design-wise, this blender is best for someone who wants a great blender but also a great aesthetic. A feature-rich function set, an easy-to-use digital display, and the ability to upload unique/individualized blending programs make it easy to truly customize your blending experience.
If you are looking for something utilitarian then this is not the blender for you, but if you want a sleek, well-designed blender with a digital display then this is the best Vitamix you can find.
How Does It Compare?
Here’s how the Vitamix A3500 compares to our other preferred models at a glance. Below is a detailed breakdown of the comparison to each model.
Vitamix Ascent A3500
Vitamix Ascent A2500
Explorian E320 Renewed
|Timer||Countdown (Programmable)||Count up||N||N|
|Dishwasher Safe Containers||Y||Y||N||N|
|Fits Baby Food Container||Y||Y||N||6|
|Fits Food Processor Attachment||Y||Y||N||N|
|Height||17 inches||17 inches||18 Inches||18 inches|
|Warranty||10 year||10 year||90 days||5 years|
|Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
The A3500 is a pretty clear-cut winner between the A3300 and the A3500. There are a lot of similarities. The biggest difference is the five program settings that come with the A3500. The A3300 (like the Ascent A2500) has only 3 programs.
The A3500 also has the metal base option, which is nice, while the A3300 does not. The A3500 costs more, so really it comes down to how much you value presets. Will you use the two extra preset programs all the time? If so, the upgrade won’t seem like much money after a year of regular use.
The A2300 is the base version of the Ascent series, while the A3500 is the top of the line. There are quite a few features that the A3500 has and the A2300 does not have, including a touchscreen, 5 programs (smoothie, hot soups, dips & spreads, frozen desserts, and self-clean), user-set countdown, and the metal base option.
That being said, the A3500 costs much more than the A2300 (which is still an outstanding blender, especially for the price). I think that if you are looking for top-of-the-line, you will want to invest in the A3500. If you want maximum value for money, you might consider the older Vitamix 5300.
vs 750 Pro
The 750 Pro is a well-loved blender. Lots of people leave rave reviews on it.
The 750 Pro also doesn’t have the self-detect technology that the A3500 has with its containers. This can be good or bad, depending on what you are looking for. I would say the A3500 has an advantage here because you are going to get a better blend every time.
The 750 has a rubber lid that a lot of people really like. That was a complaint on the Ascent series, having a clear plastic lid. They both have the stainless steel blade, motor, and control dials. I think it boils down to what you are looking for in a blender. The A3500 is more convenient than the 750.
The 5200 is in the C series of the Vitamix lines, which means you’re stepping down two rungs in development from the A3500. The 5200 has no touchscreen, no programs, and no pulse setting. In many ways, the A3500 is superior to the 5200. The 5200 is slightly cheaper depending on the day, but if you’re investing this amount of money, I really recommend just making the leap and getting the most up-to-date product that gives you the longest time with the best technology.
The A3500 and Blendtec are both high-quality blenders that are commercial grade. The Blendtec has multiple models, so it’s hard to draw up a complete comparison.
The Blendtec has a 3.0 horsepower motor, while the A3500 has only a 2.2 horsepower motor. This lets the Blendtec go faster and possibly blend things better. However, I would argue that a 2.2 horsepower motor is plenty of power for a blender, especially if you aren’t using it for commercial use.
The A3500 has 5 programs (Smoothie, Hot Soup, Dips & Spreads, Frozen Desserts, and Self-Clean), while the Blendtec has 6 (Batters, Ice Crush, Smoothie, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, Hot Soup). I think these kind of even out, especially considering the A3500 has a self-clean feature.
There’s also the lid issue. The A3500 has a clear plastic lid, while the Blendtec has a vented gripped lid. A lot of people will prefer the gripped lid, but there are some that like to see in from the top. A preference issue here again.
Beyond that, these two blenders are pretty similar, with stainless steel blades and BPA-free containers. The Blendtec basic version is about $150 less than the A3500. I would argue the A3500 has better reviews, but it’s up to you which blender is best for your lifestyle.