>>> UPDATE 12/7: A few Vitamix models are on sale for the holidays. We’ve made a list of the best Vitamix deals here.
Over 5 years, we’ve run all the currently available Vitamix models through their paces. Sometimes our testers were home cooks. Sometimes professional chefs. After countless smoothies, salsas, soups and ice creams, we’ve determined the equation for “The Best Vitamix” is actually pretty simple.
With its host of new features (and no price increase over legacy models), the latest Ascent range of blenders is objectively the best value for money. And of those, we’ve judged the Vitamix Ascent A2500, with its preset programs for smoothies, frozen desserts, and hot soups, as the model that strikes the best balance between price and functionality.
The Vitamix Ascent A2500 does what all Vitamix blenders do: Perfect purees, smooth smoothies, delicate pulsing cuts for grating cheese, or slicing garlic if you want to. But only a handful of models come with preset programs. The A2500 is the cheapest of them. Not only does it come with the 3 most important ones (hot soup, frozen dessert and smoothie), but because it can connect to the Perfect Blend App, you can add and save your own preset programs, maximizing your options and topping out your convenience.
The Vitamix Ascent A3500 is the pinnacle of Vitamix technology. On top of the 2 extra presets and better (programmable) timer, it has the touch screen control panel and modern speed dial that’s softer and more intuitive. It’s a few decibels quieter than its younger siblings too.
Want to take a deeper dive? Peruse the table of contents below and skip to any section, or just keep on scrolling…
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
My name’s Liz, and it may sound bold but… I know exactly where your life is at right now.
The feeling’s been bubbling away for a while, and now you’re finally sure. This is the year… this is the month… you’re finally going to buy a damn Vitamix blender!
That’s both a solution and a problem. There are so many of them now, you need to work out which one to buy.
I had the same feeling. That was 8 years ago now.
At a friend’s house, they made me a green smoothie in what seemed like seconds. They could throw whole strawberries & whole apples into the thing (seeds and all!), and out came health heaven.
On this page, I’m going to tell you what I feel confident is the best Vitamix blender you can buy in 2021, whether you’re dreaming of hot soups, cookie doughs, perfect green smoothies, or something else.
And not just because I’ve owned one for the last 8 years…
But because for the last few years, I’ve obsessively reviewed Vitamix blenders for this website. I’ve written about all Vitamix blenders that exist… even the ones that don’t exist (some just have different model names despite being the same blender).
What I’m about to tell you is the “don’t argue with me” definitive list of the best Vitamix blenders for a person to buy for their first time, in 2021.
The rankings are based on:
- What you get for your money
- Average customer experience & frequency of complaints
- Noise and versatility
Ready to dive into our list? Let’s do this.
#1: Overall Best Value: Vitamix Ascent A2500
The Ascent series A2500 is from Vitamix’s latest, most feature-packed range of blenders, but it’s far from the most expensive. It’s #1 on our list because it gives you the most features and the greatest capability for the money you invest, hands down.
Let me explain why:
Reason #1: Preset Programs at a Discount
As you’ll know well by the end of this page, the biggest differentiator of price points in Vitamix models are their “preset programs”. Models that have them are more expensive. Models without them, less so.
To give you an example, jumping from the Ascent range’s lowest-priced model (with no presets) to their highest-priced (with the full 5 presets) generally increases the cost by about $150. Note that these aren’t the only feature differences between higher and lower-priced models, but the most significant in terms of the function of the blender.
With that in mind, consider the following: The Vitamix Ascent A2500 has 3 of the possible 5 preset programs but the price only jumps up a small amount from the lowest priced Ascent model (the A2300). In other words, the A2500 is the most affordable way to get the most features in a Vitamix blender.
Not only does the A2500 have 3 of the 5 presets: In my view, it has the most important ones: It has the presets for frozen desserts, smoothies, and hot soups.
It doesn’t have the preset program for self-cleaning, or dips/spreads. The self-cleaning preset is, in my view, a bit of a gimmick. You can do without it. When you finish using a Vitamix of any model or price, you clean it by dropping water and dish soap into it and turning it up to 10. Whether it runs for 30 seconds or a minute doesn’t matter. You’re not eating the contents of this container. You’re not trying to achieve some specially textured dish soap and water mix. The container won’t end up more clean because of the self-clean preset.
What about the dips/spreads preset. Well, that really is helpful, especially if you want to do a lot of guacamole, hummus, and salsa. I’m not going to speak ill of the dips/spreads preset, I’m only going to say that it’s one preset, and to get it (as well as a couple of other features, yes) the jump up in price is huge compared to the jump from 0 presets to 3.
Ok, I’ve spent a good couple hundred words on this distinction because it’s the most important one. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s the only reason the A2500 tops our list.
Reason #2: It Has The Newer Better Motor
The Ascent series 2500 has the newest motor of the Vitamix blenders, said to be the quietest and most powerful they’ve yet made. Maybe if you try to blend your previous blender in this blender, it’d stick a bit… otherwise, nothing will stop it 🙂
Even in the new Ascent range, none of the other blenders have a more powerful motor, so you really are at the top of the food chain with this.
Practically speaking, this means you’ll get your baby food in a puree and your green smoothies smooth in a bit less time. Also this blueberry lime freeze with chocolate chip granola…
Reason #3: It Has Dishwasher Safe Containers & Clear Lids…
Ascent is the first range of Vitamix blenders whose containers you can put in the dishwasher. All previous models containers had to be washed by dropping in dish soap and running it on high…
This is great, but any Vitamix user will tell you this doesn’t clean everything off. You’ll still end up, sometimes, with your dish brush in there, scrubbing away at sticky bits that didn’t quite lift.
Not with the A2500. You can still use this dish soap option for most things, but for everything else, you drop the container in the dishwasher and walk away.
Then the clear lids.
If you’re someone who likes to check on the progress of your blend, particularly with hot things or delicate textures, the clear lid is amazing.
You look down into the blender and see exactly what’s going on, without having to keep stopping it to open it up and peek in. You actually see it as it’s running too (rather than stop, lift lid, check, restart) so you can sense the progress of a blend better than with other models.
Reason #4: It Has the Big Container & the Digital Timer
64oz is the biggest container of any Vitamix model, and the A2500 has it, so you don’t need to worry about upgrading in the future.
And the Digital Timer? Yes, you can see exactly how long any given blend runs for. This is only possible with Ascent blenders. No previous model had this. It means you can know the exact amount of time that gets your favorite recipes to the exact texture you prefer and adds a layer of control and precision to your cooking that isn’t possible with other models.
But an important note here: There are two kinds of “timers” on Ascent blenders, and they’re very different.
The Ascent A2500 has a “count up” timer. This just starts when your blend starts and counts upward until your blend stops. This kind of timer is good because it allows you to “see what happened” so that if you want to replicate a recipe, you can remember the number of seconds, and stop the blend when it gets to that number in the future.
The Ascent A3500 (in our #2 position below) has a countdown timer, which is much more functional. This is where you can set an amount of time, and the blender will run until this time expires. This timer offers maximum convenience since it will stop a blend even if you’re not there. Put another way, the timer on the A2500 can’t affect your blend at all, it’s just a measuring device. The timer on the A3500 controls your blend and works in conjunction with its preset programs.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
The Ascent A2500 Has a 10 Year Warranty
Yep, they actually extended the warranty on these newer models out to 10 years. It’s crazy really. Already at 7 years, you knew this blender was going to pay for itself many times over. Now it’s reached the point of being ridiculous.
I Haven’t Even Mentioned Self Detect Containers & Wifi Capability
I’ll leave those for our full review.
To sum up, it means you get:
- 64oz container
- Digital Timer
- Dishwasher safe
- Clear Lids
- Self Detect Containers
- Wifi Capability
- Variable Speed Control
- Pulse feature
- 3 preset programs: Smoothies, Frozen Desserts, Hot Soups
- 10 Year Warranty
It’s just an objective fact that there’s not a better value Vitamix blender for the money.
If you’re one for quick decisions, grab a Vitamix Ascent A2500 now and be happy.
If you’re looking for a Vitamix that’s either cheaper or has more features (that you’re willing to pay more for) keep reading…
#2: Best Features: Vitamix Ascent A3500
If you really want the pinnacle of the Vitamix blenders, this is the option for you. This is the blender that cafes and restaurant kitchens choose.
Straight up: This one’s going to cost you more. Let’s put that part first.
Why would anyone upgrade even further in price? Because…
a) You want preprogrammed settings (like hot soups and frozen desserts) and, as Vitamix says, “walk-away convenience.” More on that shortly.
b) You want the short container, a 10-year warranty, and the most powerful motor but…
c) You really, really, REALLY, don’t like noise.
That’s it. If those things are worth the extra cash to you, then the A3500 is the best of the Vitamix blenders for you.
Let me explain this more clearly, because the preprogrammed settings mean a couple of important things, practically speaking.
How Much Do You Like Preprogrammed Settings?
They mean you can press the button and walk away, certain of what will be there when you get back.
If you make your smoothies, dinners or hot soups in a hurry, and you really value the ability to multi-task in the kitchen, then – again, extrapolated over years of use – you’ll adore this Vitamix.
Also, if you value consistency… that is, the pleasure of getting exactly that same perfect smoothie/butter or whatever else, every time, you’ll also love the A3500.
Without preprogrammed settings, you have a bit more experimentation to do, and you can’t be confident of an identical output every day. For many people, that doesn’t matter, but this is a professional model for a reason: It’s made for professionals who need consistency because they’re selling the product that comes out of their Vitamix blenders.
The Noise Thing Again
Decibel tests show that, along with older professional models, the A3500 is quieter than any other Vitamix blender by a few decibels.
Yes: the quietest. Decibel-wise, we didn’t see it go over 100db in our tests, where even some newer models (like from the Explorian range) can exceed 100db.
The reason it’s quieter is because of the high-quality steel casing materials around the motor base. Because it’s a professional blender designed to be used in commercial environments, it has all the noise insulation features they’ve been able to invent.
Oh… And Everything Else
You also get the Ascent range’s:
- 64oz container
- Digital Timer and touchscreen display
- Dishwasher safe container
- Clear Lids
- Self Detect Container technology to swap back and forth between containers and have the preset programs adjust timings and speeds automatically!
- Wifi Capability
- Variable Speed Control
- Pulse feature
- 10 Year Warranty
It’s a ridiculous blender. When you’ve had this thing in your kitchen for years, churning out dessert after smoothie after cocktail after salsa, you won’t remember how much extra it cost on top of the other models. You’ll only remember what a great decision you made.
#3: Most Affordable: Vitamix Explorian E310
It was already the most affordable Vitamix model, but now, after a recent price reduction, the Vitamix Explorian E310 is really affordable.
Up until 12 months ago, there was no way to get NEW, fully equipped Vitamix blenders under 4 bills, unless you went refurbished.
But then things changed with the release of the E310. Vitamix hit on a combination of features and price point that tipped the scales and made this the best value way to get started living the Vitamix life.
There’s only one BUT… and we’ll get to that below.
With the Explorian E310 you get the latest model Vitamix. No, not the most feature-packed, but still the newest one they’ve released.
- You’ll get all the essential capabilities of Vitamix blenders: You can do blending and juicing; Smoothies and purees. You can do nut butter and hot soups. You can do ice cream and pizza dough. This Hummus above? Straight outta the E310.
- You get the variable speed dial with 10 options, a pulse feature, a tamper, and a 48oz low profile container (the better one for fitting under kitchen countertops).
- You get the patented 7-year Vitamix warranty too.
For most people, in most situations, the Vitamix Explorian E310 will make you happy for years to come. For value alone, it’s the best Vitamix blender you can get right now unless one of the following is REALLY important to you…
What DON’T You Get With a Vitamix Explorian E310 Blender?
Simple: You don’t get the bigger 64oz container. If you’re making meals for a family larger than 3, you’ll need a 64oz container, and you’ll have to buy it separately. Note that the 64oz container DOES fit with the Explorian series.
What else? You don’t get some of the newer tech that comes with the Ascent series (more on which below), like Wifi capability, pre-set functions for different meals.
You also don’t get a clear lid. This is a minor convenience but it makes a big difference to some people, being able to see “into the blend” as it’s running, to check for consistency and completeness.
What About the Noise?
Some reviews of the E310 said that it was louder than older Vitamix blenders. This is wrong.
Here’s us blending some ice at top speed in the E310…
And here’s the much more expensive Ascent A2500 model crushing ice on a lower speed.
The sound difference is almost negligible.
Noise is something Vitamix has constantly tried to improve and this was a rare model where, despite lowering the cost, they didn’t increase the sound output. At least not for the average ear.
If it sounds noisier, it’s because of the surface you’ve got it on… the position… whether it’s in a corner or against a wall, or on a kitchen island… how big your kitchen is, how high your ceilings are, and more. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
#4: Ascent A2500 Renewed (Best Renewed)
It’s our #1 model, but discounted because it’s “renewed”.
That’s right. Not the newest, not the fanciest, but if you want that 64oz container and 3 presets… and you want to save a LOT of money? I’m about to tell you why the renewed Vitamix A2500 is better value than all your other options.
I know what you’re thinking. “Reconditioned”? Refurbished?! What does THAT mean? It’s second-hand? Someone owned it before??
Just stop. I’m going to explain to you why those things either aren’t true or don’t matter AND…
Why choosing this as your first Vitamix can (and prices can vary slightly, so this isn’t definitive down to the dollar) save you many bills compared to the other Vitamix blenders on this list.
Spend much LESS than you thought you had to, and still get one of the best Vitamix blenders that exist? Read on to see how and why…
What is a Reconditioned or Refurbished Blender Exactly?
Mostly, it’s when Vitamix has a test blender, a store sample, a demo blender, or something else, that they realize they can send back to the factory, service, clean, and sell again as new, and make money on.
A certified reconditioned Vitamix is an “as new” blender. The famous Vitamix technicians have re-tested it, reconditioned it, re-inspected it, repackaged it.
Want Further Proof That It’s Really “As New?”
Vitamix still offers a five-year warranty on the reconditioned blender. If it fails within five years, they’ve got your back. Would they do that on a “second-hand” blender? Or one they expected to be less than new?
I could go on, but I hope you’ll believe me when I say there’s no meaningful sense in which you’re getting something less than a new blender here.
But It’s Not Just the Price
It’s more than the cheapness, however.
The refurbished A2500 blender comes with the low profile container (important because it fits under your benchtop easier AND has more space between the stainless steel blades and the container edge, making it easier to clean), and has the same preset programs (hot soups, frozen desserts, smoothies) as the more expensive option #1 on our list.
It comes with a 2.2HP motor just like the more expensive option #2 on our list.
It will make your hot soups (all the Vitamix blenders can do this. It’s only ever a matter of increasing blending time so the stainless steel blades heat the ingredients). It will make your frozen desserts.
The only things it doesn’t have are the full 10-year warranty (how bad is a 5-year warranty really?) and the two presets for self-clean, and dips/spreads.
People have told me that getting the refurbished a2500 Vitamix felt like a cheat. HOW could THESE Vitamix blenders cost so much less? My guess is you will feel the same.
“But What About?” Vitamix Blenders That Didn’t Make The List
People have different opinions when it comes to Vitamix models. The following section describes why those opinions – if they’re different from mine – are wrong.
A joke of course, but I think I can make a good case for why the top models on our list are better value overall than the following options:
1. Vitamix Ascent A2300
Really if there were a position 5 on the list, the A2300 would take it. It’s the lowest priced Ascent range blender. It’s certainly better value than all the G-series and C-series Vitamix blenders (because it has the clear lids, dishwasher safe containers, and count up timer, as well as self detect for container swapping, at a lower price than older models like the 750 professional that has none of those things).
If you don’t care about presets – which many people don’t – I’d even recommend the Ascent A2300 over the A2500. Keep all the important features and save yourself some money. But the low-cost preset upgrade of the A2500 pushed it into number 1, and knocked the A2300 down to here.
2. Vitamix Ascent A3300
Companies like Vitamix are great at chopping up their product line so that at least one variation suits everyone.
The Ascent A3300 has no presets, but it costs as much as the A2500 that has 3. After reviewing it, I didn’t put the A3300 on our list because I think presets are the feature that most justifies an increase in price.
Why is the A3300 that expensive at all? The programmable countdown timer. It has it, but the A2500 does not. If you’re someone who doesn’t care about presets – you’ll work it out yourself and keep maximum control in each dish – but you know you’ll be doing multiple things in the kitchen at once, and you need the cooking cycle of your Vitamix automated, you should get the A3300.
3. Vitamix 5200
For almost the same price as the 7500, the Vitamix 5200 blender has the old motor, and the taller, less convenient, less easily cleaned container. The Vitamix 5200 is not a bad blender at all. In fact, this is the model I have! It’s just that, since I purchased mine 8 years ago, Vitamix blenders have gotten so much better.
The Vitamix 5200 sometimes goes on sale offline, but other than that, there’s no great reason to consider it.
It looks amazing, that’s for sure. This is one of the newest Vitamix blenders you can get. Maybe it would have ranked number 5 or 6 on my list.
But it’s a huge jump up in price compared to the others in our top 3, and unless you’re using it commercially, I don’t think you’ll get that amount of benefit.
Sure you get a cool touch screen display, preprogrammed settings, AND variable speed control (rather than one or the other), a newer, supposedly quieter AGAIN motor… but that’s about it.
If you’re someone who wants the best of the best, the 780 blender is what you might buy. But overall, and as yet, I can’t see a good argument for why that makes it better value than anything in our top 3.
5. The Vitamix 6300
This is one of the old Vitamix blenders, discontinued by the company (not because of any fault, just because it was superseded, it seems), and even though you can still buy a 6300 blender some places, it’s sometimes even more expensive than each other blender in our top 3, for no particular reason.
6. The Vitamix S30 or S50
These are – I should say “were” since they’ve also been discontinued by Vitamix – really cool little blenders that are convenient and versatile. If all you’re making is your morning smoothie, you’ll still be really happy with these.
But if you need those salsas, nut butters, pizza doughs, and hot soups, you’re not going to get the best results with a “personal” blender like these.
While you can still pick these up at certain offline stores now and then, they’re priced such that you’re better off just getting one of the premium Vitamix blenders (like an Explorian or 5300 Reconditioned) anyway!
7. The Vitamix E320
Vitamix – I think – introduced the E320 to serve as an in-between price point blender in their range. It could make the cheaper options seem better value, and the higher-priced options more appealing.
It doesn’t have preset programs. You can’t switch containers. And it’s more expensive. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth that price for the amount of time you’ll have this blender.
8. The Vitamix 750 Professional
The 750 is an outstanding Vitamix, but the Ascent A3500 superseded it. They’re the same price, but the A3500 has the dishwasher safe container, clear lid, touchscreen, digital timer, self detect containers and more. Everything else is equal. I can’t see a good reason to choose this blender at the moment.
9. Vitamix Quiet-One
Maybe you saw this model in a cafe or restaurant somewhere. It’s the one with the shield over it.
It’s quiet. I give it that. Estimates are that it’ll cut 20-30 decibels off the sound output. It also costs about double as much as our #1 model and for home use Vitamix blenders, there’s no way it’s worth the splurge.
And the Refurbished Models?
You saw one of them on this list, but there are more refurbished (sometimes called reconditioned, or renewed) Vitamix blenders you can buy, and there is more to say about them in this humble article.
There are two kinds of people in this world: People who are weird about the idea of refurbished kitchen appliances, and people who aren’t. Without the intention of moving anyone from the former category to the latter, I would like to point out the folllowing.
Vitamix blenders aren’t “reconditioned” in the same way that other brand’s kitchen appliances are. In 2012, they formalized their process for “reconditioning” blenders that had been returned largely for cosmetic reasons (Eg, I thought I was ok with slate, but actually I want a red blender). Now, these returned machines go through a 17 step process of testing and cleaning at the factory in Ohio before being repackaged for resale. Note that any blender returned for mechanical issues is not renewed, but discarded.
How does a renewed model actually show up at your house? According to Maxine Builder at NY Magazine, and based on an interview with Holly Hacker, Vitamix’s director of direct sales and custoemr experience:
“What doesn’t get dealt with as rigorously on these machines are cosmetic flaws, like scratches on the base. But in terms of function, these reconditioned blenders should be in perfect working order when they arrive at your door.” – Maxine Builder, NYMag.com
So you might get a machine with small scratches on the motor base, but you won’t get a machine that functions any differently to a brand new model.
Before I list the available refurbished models and talk about where they might rank on our list, we must state the main thing you lose on a refurbished blender: The warranty.
The warranty on a refurbished Vitamix drops significantly. In some cases, it goes from 7 years to 3 years. In other cases 10 years to 5 years. Is this meaningful? Given that your Vitamix is intended to last more than 5 years, we think it is significant. Given that this drop in warranty reduces the price so much, we understand that many people will consider it worth the trade-off.
Ok, let’s go through the available refurbished models next, keeping in mind that which of these you can find available changes week to week.
Yes, the #1 Vitamix on our list is currently available at a steep discount in its certified reconditioned form. If anything I said above changed your mind about buying refurbished, this is the best deal you can get, on the best Vitamix model.
All the features are the same as I described at the top of this page, except the warranty, which drops from 10 years to 5 years. You can even choose between the main 4 colors (slate, black, white, and red) which isn’t usually the case with refurbished models.
The Vitamix 5300 doesn’t make our list and the refurbished model doesn’t either. Yes it’s cheaper, but if you’re looking for cheap, the value is better on the renewed E320 from our list, or on a brand new E310. If you do want refurbished, and you hate noise (the E320 is a little louder than the 5300) and the E320 isn’t available… Ok, I’ll accept you buying a renewed 5300.
This is a model that now, is only available in it’s reconditioned state, and as far as reconditioned goes it’s pretty appealing.
Price and size-wise, it’s kind of comparable to the new Ascent A2300. Like that model, it has no presets, but unlike that model, it has a couple extra cards up the sleeve. For one, it has the vaunted countdown timer, that you can’t get on any other model priced at this level. It also comes with a smoothie takeaway container that you can blend in.
If you liked the idea of that countdown timer and you drink a lot of smoothies on-the-go, I think this is also a highly justifiable purchase. Just note that the warranty here is 5 years rather than 10 on an Ascent blender.
Just don’t. This is an old model before it was renewed, and now it’s basically impossible to justify. There are cheaper models, even in the refurbished category, with better features like the low-profile container. Unless you have some sentimental attachment to that old-style Vitamix, move it along. Nothing to see here.
Demystifying “What You Can Make”
If you’ve never owned a Vitamix before, I’ll tell you a little secret: Pick any Vitamix blender on this list, and you can make anything you’ve heard of a Vitamix blender making. Yes, they all make smoothies, hot soups, frozen yogurt, flours, nut butter, and ice cream. (Or my personal favorite “nice cream”)
If that’s true, why do they vary so much in price? Because what varies between the different models is:
- How much of each thing you can make in a single blend (this has to do with container size)
- How quickly you can make each thing (this has to do with motor power, but doesn’t vary much)
- How consistently you can make exactly the same version of each thing (this is where preset programs come in)
Just to get you excited, this means that whichever Vitamix model you pick, all the following delicious treats could be in your future.
This epic black bean burger with sriracha aoili. You’ll make both the aoili and the patties in your Vitamix. Even if you’re wanting a meat patty instead, you can mince the meat in your Vitamix!
This insane apple pie ice cream:
Wash that down with a cocktail…
I could do this all day. Not drinking. I mean giving you recipe ideas 🙂
I hope the point is clear though. What you’ll be able to make is not something to worry about. Whatever you’re imagining, it will be yours.
Demystifying Container Sizes
If you’re still having trouble making your decision, I thought it would be worthwhile to say a couple of things about container sizes, since they are, as we’ve seen, the main differentiator of price among Vitamix models. The motor bases of all Vitamix models are, relatively, very similar compared to the 16oz difference between a 48oz and 64oz container.
A 64oz container is a 2-liter blend capacity (if you’re into your metric measurements). Note that some blenders list the fill capacity on their packaging, which is the container full to the brim. You can’t blend with a container full to the blind, so this is a marketing trick by these companies.
How much actually is 2 liters, practically speaking?
If you’re making smoothies in the morning, it’s four 16oz glasses. That’s a pint glass. Four of these:
The 48oz glass is of course 3 smoothies of this size.
Say you’re making ice cream in the 64oz container. How much will you yield? Yes, 2L. One of the big Haagen-Dasz tubs:
Maybe you’re thinking about something harder to measure… Guacamole perhaps? How much guacamole will you knock out in a single blend with your 64oz container? Enough to fill one of these 64oz bowls:
You can kind of tell the difference if you compare to a 48oz bowl (which you’d get out of a 48oz container) which looks like this:
Demystifying Noise Levels
The question of “how noisy is a Vitamix blender?” is tricky to answer, not only because it varies from one model to the next, but because we all experience noise so differently.
The CDC has a helpful guide to the noise levels of common activities and their effects on your hearing. As context, normal human conversation sits at around 60 decibels (unless you’re talking to my Mom, which is closer to 6000 decibels), and a gas-powered lawnmower sits at 80-85 decibels.
Vitamix blenders range from 80 decibels to just over 100 decibels, as measured by a phone app (the accuracy of which is difficult to verify) depending on the model, the material of your benchtop, where it sits in your kitchen, and more.
Here’s the A2500 model running at 94 decibels at low speed, but with the noisiest ingredient, ice:
Here’s the A3300 model going slightly quiter on a slightly higher speed with ice:
As we showed above, even the lower cost E310 running at speed 10 didn’t get much higher in our tests:
For the tl;dr, the Professional models (the Pro 750 and the Ascent a3500) are a little quieter than non-professional models (eg 5200 and Explorian) and the newer models (Ascent range) are quieter than the classic or G series models (5300).
If you really hate noise, it’s worth shelling out for the slightly quieter (inevitably more expensive) pro models. If you don’t mind, this is an opportunity to save without sacrificing function.
Demystifying Attachments, Addons
There are currently three addon capabilities that Vitamix blenders offer, and it’s worth understanding what they are, whether you need them, and which models they can be used with. They are:
Food Processor Attachment
I’m putting this one first because it’s the newest and most exciting. In 2020, Vitamix released a new food processor attachment. Before then, one of the biggest challenges for Vitamix in competing with traditional food processors was not having a wider based food processor bowl, with different kinds of blades for different prep tasks.
That all changed with the food processor attachment. Now you can properly grate, slice or chop foods to a wider range of textures, with the different blades of this handy add-on.
I’ll put the bad news next: This food processor upgrade will only ever be available to you if you choose a Vitamix from the Ascent range (or, incidentally, the more expensive Venturist range, which I haven’t written about here because I don’t recommend).
Even picking an expensive 750 professional won’t allow you to drop this container on the top and press go. If you’re going to want the food processor attachment at any point in the future, you’ve got to pick an Ascent blender for your Vitamix now.
Just to be clear, that means you can’t use the food processor attachment if you pick the Explorian option from our list above, the 5200, the 750 professional, or the 5300.
That said, you WILL still be able to use the food processor attachment if you were lucky enough to pick up a reconditioned Ascent blender from a previous sale. If that’s you, pat yourself on the back.
Final word: The food processor attachment (while certainly not compulsory) is a really helpful upgrade that extends the value of your Vitamix even further. Being able to slice onions or cucumbers, carefully knead dough or batter, and mince meat? It means you’ll use your Vitamix almost every day.
Dry Goods Container
In my view, the “dry goods container” was poorly named by Vitamix. A lot of people think they don’t need a dry goods container because you can work with dry ingredients in your regular Vitamix “wet” container.
And while that’s kind of true, it’s not the whole picture. More than just a container, it’s almost a different blender.
The dry goods container has blades of a different shape, and when you put nuts or grains into the container and turn it on, it moves them through the container differently. The purpose of this is to create a more even texture and prevent the sticking that can happen to dry ingredients with the blades of the wet container.
You can see how it works in this video:
My view is that the dry goods container is only worth investing in if you know you’re going to make flour regularly. Even if it’s nut butter you’re considering – perfectly achievable in your wet container – the dry goods container is not a “must”.
Now, for the sake of your decision making on a Vitamix blender, here’s the good news: No Vitamix models “come with” a dry goods container. They all have to be purchased separately. More than that, all the Vitamix models on our list are compatible with a dry goods container.
One relevant fact to mention here is that the dry goods containers for the older models (Explorian, 5200, 5300) are slightly cheaper. They’re also smaller, at 32oz compared to 48oz. Here’s the older model dry goods container:
And here’s the dry goods container for the newer models (Ascent, Venturist, etc)
Other Container Sizes: Smoothie Cups, Baby Food, 48oz
Last of all – and if you’re still frozen with indecision – think for a moment about your options on container sizes.
All Vitamix models come with a primary container, a 64oz or a 48oz. All Vitamix models also allow for some other containers – that you need to buy separately – to be added on. One differentiator between Vitamix models is which containers can be added on.
If you purchase a classic model or a G series model (so a Pro 750, a 5200, a 5300 or an Explorian) the only other containers you can add to your purchase are a 48oz container or a dry goods container.
If you purchase an Ascent series blender, you’ll also have the option to add baby food containers to your arsenal should you want them. That’s these little cuties:
They’re actually not just for baby food, but super useful for individual breakfast portions. You blend the thing, take it off the motor base, and eat it right out of the same container. Yes, that means one less dish to clean. I’ll take it.
Oh, and the Smoothie Cup? That can be confusing. There’s a product that’s just a cup. It’s not a blender addon at all. That’s just a plastic, sealable 20oz smoothie cup like any other. For the price, I doubt you really need one 🙂
Then there’s the personal cup attachment, which is a blender addon, and that, incidentally, can be added onto even the cheaper Explorian series (even our #3 Explorian Renewed!) as well as the Ascent range. But it’s not available to buy separately at the time of writing. One less thing to decide on 🙂
Comparison Table of our Top 4 Vitamix Models
If you’re still not quite sure, I’m running out of things to tell you. But maybe you’re a person who needs to see it all laid out clearly, in one glance.
If that’s you, enjoy this comparison table I painstakingly put together, (you’re welcome) that sets each of our top 4 models side by side with their most important (not always most obvious) features listed:
Vitamix Ascent A2500
Vitamix Ascent A3500
Explorian E320 Renewed
|Timer||Count up||Countdown (Programmable)||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|
Conclusion: Your Own “Best” Vitamix Blender
That’s it… my “don’t argue with me” guide to the best Vitamix blenders of 2021 is complete.
To sum it up in three sentences: (all these links will take you to the product on Amazon)
If you want the most features and capability dollar for dollar, get the gleaming new Vitamix Ascent A2500.
If you’re willing to pay a little extra to have the best of the best, get an Ascent A3500.
If you want the best value, all the important features and a 64oz container, get an renewed Vitamix A2500.
If you want the most affordable new option, and it’s just for you and a partner, get a Vitamix Explorian E310.
Ok, that was 4 sentences.
I hope this helps you make your decision. If you have any other questions, just ask me here in the comments!
Happy blending 🙂