Vitamix Aer Disc Review

Vitamix Aer Disc Container - Top ViewHere’s my review of the Vitamix Aer Disc Container. Instead of blades, it uses a disc with holes in it, which makes it less aggressive. They named it Aer for aeration, referring to its ability to whip up foams. It can also extract flavor from ingredients for drinks, and emulsify sauces and dressings. It works on all full size (non S-Series) models, so that includes everything from the classic 5000 up to the latest Ascent models. As usual, if you order via my link, you get free shipping, and Joy of Blending gets a commission.

Vitamix does not intend for users to remove the disc from the container, so you shouldn’t plan on swapping it into an existing container.

Vitamix advertises the Aer disc container as performing four culinary tasks. Here is my explanation and experience with each task:

Whip

This refers to making whipped cream. The thing is that the standard wet blade Vitamix containers can make perfectly good whipped cream. I did a quick side-by-side test with a half cup of cream, and, as expected, the Aer disc whipped up a bit firmer, but the standard 3” wet blade was still satisfactory. (½ cup is right on the border of the smallest amount that will work in both containers.)

Emulsify

Culinary emulsification is combining oil and water-based ingredients in a mixture of microdroplets for a dressing or spread (e.g. vinaigrette or mayonnaise). As with whipping, the standard wet blade containers can do this. I’ve made plenty of well-emulsified vinaigrettes in a wet blade container. I’ve never really liked mayonnaise, but for this review I tested making it. I used Vitamix’s vegan recipe, and it came together perfectly with the standard wet blade. Because it doesn’t have blades, the disc is more gentle, so for tricky emulsions it may help a bit, but I think in most cases the standard containers work well enough.

Muddle

Muddling is a cocktail-making technique that mashes flavorful ingredients in the glass. Because the Aer disc doesn’t have blades, it can agitate ingredients without cutting them. I was most impressed with the disc’s treatment of citrus. It can extract the juicy part of the fruit while leaving the skin, pith, seeds, and even the dividing walls intact. Here’s what lemon slices look like after a spin with the Aer disc (the green bits are mint): Lemon extracted by Vitamix Aer Disc Container

Mint Lemonade with the Vitamix Aer Disc ContainerI tested making a mint lemonade, and I found that to fully extract the lemon, the mint gets over-muddled. So if I were doing it again, I would add the mint later in blending, and lower the speed to medium after the lemon is extracted.

The other trick is that you can add ice, and the disc will not pulverize it. So you can cool a cocktail or lemonade and leave ice cubes intact, in the same way that you would use a cocktail shaker.

You can strain out the solids by unlatching the lid and then holding it in place as you pour. This works surprisingly well to keep ice, seeds, skins, etc. in the container.

Foam

This task is quite similar to whipping, in that it involves incorporating tiny air bubbles into a liquid. Vitamix mainly highlights making milk foams for coffee drinks. They say that it only works with skim milk, but I actually had good results with whole milk. Skim milk foams are more stable though.

The standard blade container can add some froth to milk, but it’s usually a light foam that floats on top of the liquid. The Aer disc can incorporate all of the milk into a denser and more stable foam. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Starbucks uses the Vitamix Aer disc to make their cold milk foams. The thing is, in most cases for home coffee drinks, a small milk frother like this one is sufficient. The small frother is more convenient and much cheaper, though the Aer disk can make more robust foams.

Some liquids hold a foam much better than others. I tried making a foam from soy milk with the Aer disc, but it just made a froth floating on the liquid. I also did a side-by-side comparison of hot chocolate, and the standard blade made a drink that was almost as foamy as the Aer disc: Foamed Hot Chocolate Comparison

Aquafaba

I was excited to try making aquafaba foam. (Aquafaba is the liquid left behind after straining out cooked or canned beans, typically chickpeas. It is possible to beat air into it similar to what you can do with egg whites, and you can use it to make meringues and other vegan desserts. Many people agree that the bean flavor does not carry over, and the transformation from bean water to a voluminous foam is kind of magical.) People usually use an electric mixer or stand mixer. In the past I tried using a standard Vitamix container, and it was able to whip up a foam, but I was not able to get stiff peaks for meringues.

I attempted to use the Aer disc to make an aquafaba foam with stiff peaks. I was able to get it to a soft peaks stage, but I could never get it to stiff peaks. Also, when I added sugar, it softened further. The following images shows the increase in volume and the best peaks I was able to form (without sugar): Vitamix Aquafaba Trial

I tried a variety of techniques (different speeds, with and without tamping, using powdered sugar, using cream of tartar). After the third failure to form stiff peaks, I transferred the aquafaba mixture to a bowl and used an electric mixer. Within a few minutes I had stiff peaks, so I confirmed that there wasn’t a problem with the aquafaba.

Vitamix lists an aquafaba “fluff” in the Aer disc recipes, and the recipe notes make it sound like they also were not able to get stiff peaks from aquafaba.

Summary

The standard wet blade Vitamix containers can whip, emulsify, and foam to an extent that is usually perfectly satisfactory. With some ingredients, the Aer disc works a bit better, but on the whole it’s not a huge difference. If you only have a wide container (64-oz low profile), then the Aer disc will allow you to do these tasks with smaller amounts, but a 32-oz or 48-oz container would also work, while allowing you to make smaller amounts of more common blends like smoothies.

On the other hand, muddling is a technique unique to the Aer disc. It does a surprisingly good job of extracting the fruit from citrus, and the lid makes it easy to strain out the solids. If you’ll be blending up a lot of cocktails or lemonade, the Aer disc could be a nice addition to your arsenal. If you are at all tempted, note that it is covered by Vitamix’s 30-day trial period, so you can return it within 30 days for a full refund if you don’t find it worthwhile.

Epilogue: Tips for Use

I suspect that the optimum foaming speed depends on volume and viscosity. I think that the best speed is the fastest speed before it starts splashing up. Also note that Vitamix’s recipes indicate a speed, but they do not indicate which machine they are referring to. I believe they are referring to Ascent speeds, and the mid range of Ascent speeds are considerably slower than on other models. For example, speed 6 on Ascent is equal to speed ~3 on G-Series and Explorian (for more info on speed equivalents, so my speed plots of Ascent vs G-Series, and G-Series vs 5200),

To make a foam, you need a minimum of 1/2 cup of liquid, because you need enough to cover the disc.

To do the citrus extraction trick, you need at least 1.5 cups of liquid to get the flow going. I tried with 1 cup, and the lemon slices just got stuck.


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Comments

Vitamix Aer Disc Review — 15 Comments

  1. Very nice review and thanks so much for introducing me to aquafaba–I’d never heard of it.
    The new container is interesting (especially its ability to muddle) and if I didn’t already have a Bamix, I’d seriously consider investing in it. It saddens me, though, that Vitamix seems to be committed to phasing the 32-oz. container out of their home-use line. :`(

  2. Outstanding review, so thorough. You even made me feel better about purchasing a 7500 instead of Ascent series. I think that what with the speed differences as well as unreliable Wi-Fi I’d have been incredibly unhappy. So, there’s a year’s worth of fretting over and done. Your comparisons and test are so incredibly helpful.
    Thank you

    • I’m glad you liked my review. The 7500 is a great machine, but I want to clarify for other people who may see this comment: the Ascent speed response is different, but it’s not inferior. It still gives control over the full range of intermediate speeds. It just increases more slowly at the low end of the dial, and faster at the high end. And aside from hearing about a few lemons that Vitamix replaced, I haven’t seen any reason to believe the Ascent’s wireless connectivity is unreliable.

      • Thanks, Adam. The comment was poorly worded, it’s my WiFi that’s unreliable as in one needs to go outside to use an I-phone, too much demand, not enough towers. 🙂

        • WiFi is only needed to download the app. Once the app is downloaded you connect using Bluetooth so no internet connect needed to operate the Ascent or Venturist models. I have the Vitamix Venturist 1200, it’s an awesome machine.

  3. Excellent and objective review. I was tempted by Aer container launch marketing, but your tests and comments make me feel great about owning a 32oz and 64oz standard, wide, wet blade containers. Thanks for all your research! I’ll keep reading.

    • Agreed and it’s unfortunate that Vitamix seems to have phased out 32-oz. containers for those seeking anything Ascent-compliableK.

  4. I think you are right about the need to lower the recommended speed for non-Ascent models. I have been trying to create foam for two weeks on my 6500 and was getting frustrated. After reading your review more closely, and watching your video, I dialed the speed down to a 3. I was able to make perfect whole milk foam for a flat white. So thank you for that suggestion.

  5. For example, speed 6 on Ascent is equal to speed ~3 on G-Series

    This was what I needed to hear!!!!! Thank you! My milk foam was a flop, but I think I was doing it at too high of a speed. I have a G series.

  6. Great review, thank you. I did buy the Aer but will send it back. My regular blade does the job just as well for dressings and smoothies — the main uses. Foam did not work well with using two types of milk, and we have a smaller unit to do that anyway.

    I’d really like a much smaller container instead of the larger ones as well. Still love my Vitamix!

  7. Can you clarify for me, on the Vitamix ascent 3500 can I use the 8oz and or 20oz detect bowl and cup to make peanut butter and nut butter?
    Thank you

    • If you use oily nuts or add oil, it will work in the 8-oz container (and probably not in the 20-oz container). I haven’t done the testing to say which nuts are oily enough to blend in there without added oil. And how much oil comes out of nuts can vary from batch to batch anyway. For a sure-fire nut butter, the 48-oz container is better because you can use the tamper (or the stock 64-oz container if you’re making a big batch).

  8. Awesome review. Ordered using your shipping code. With a 30 day no questions asked refund policy we decided it’s a no brainer to give it a try.

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