Vitamix Ascent Series Review (A2300, A2500, A3300, and A3500)

Updated September 11, 2017

The Ascent Series is Vitamix’s latest line of blenders. Vitamix sent me the A2300 and A3500 to review. The other models have different combinations of the same features, so this is a comprehensive review of all four models. [Disclosure: If you make a purchase after following a link from this site, Joy of Blending may receive a referral commission (at no cost to you), and I am grateful for your support.] I’ve had them for a short time, and will update this page as I use them more. As far as I can tell, the Ascent models blend just as well as previous Vitamix models. The most notable new feature is wireless connectivity, which allows them to use “personal size” containers on a full-size Vitamix. There are also a range of other incremental changes.

Also, note that you can lower your upfront cost of Vitamix purchases by paying over time with Vitamix’s generous Easy Pay options in the US and Canada.

Differences between Ascent Models

The difference between Ascent models is their control interface and color/finish options. The A3300 and A3500 use a knob and touchscreen, while the A2300 and A2500 use a knob and physical switches. The A2500 and A3500 have program modes plus manual control, while the A2300 and A3300 have manual control only.

A2300A2500A3300A3500
touchscreen
programs35
count-up timer
user-set countdown
variable speed
pulse
metal base option
price$449$499$499$599

These prices are after a $20 discount that should appear in your cart if you click any of the Vitamix links on this page.

Which Ascent model is best for you?

If you want an Ascent model, there are essentially two decisions to make:

  1. Do you want to pay more for touchscreen control and a premium digital knob? (The touchscreen also lets you set a countdown timer.)
    Yes ⇨ A3300 or A3500. No ⇨ A2300 or A2500.
  2. Do you want to pay more for preset program modes? (I have a discussion of presets on my which Vitamix page.)
    Yes ⇨ A2500 or A3500. No ⇨ A2300 or A3300.

Beyond the options of touchscreen or switches, preset program modes, and finish options, the Ascent models are identical, and offer the same blending performance. (Actually, one minor difference between them is that the touchscreen models have the settable countdown timer.)

Wireless Connectivity

Compared to previous Vitamix models, the major new development is wireless connectivity technology. The Ascent bases use near-field communication (NFC) to identify which container is being used. (There is an NFC tag embedded in the bottom of the container.) This allows Ascent models to use both full-size containers and small personal-size containers. In addition to the 64-oz container that comes with Ascent models, there are optional 20-oz and 8-oz containers.

The Ascent models only run when they recognize a container. This means that previous Vitamix containers that don’t have NFC tags will not work with the new models.

The Ascent models also have Bluetooth. Vitamix has not said what they plan on doing with it, but when you turn on any of the Ascent models on, you can search for available Bluetooth connections on your phone, and “Vitamix_1.1” shows up. I don’t know when they will roll out Bluetooth features, but since the Bluetooth connection is there ready to go, we should be able to use the future features on models bought now.

Other New Features

Timer Display

All Ascent models feature a digital timer that counts up and displays the seconds and minutes of manual blends. The motor automatically stops after 6½ minutes when using the large 64-oz container. (Smaller containers will have shorter maximum blend times because they are not vented, and extended blending could build up too much pressure.) The 6½ minute automatic cutoff means that even the Ascent models without programs (A2300 and A3300) effectively have a soup program. Just ramp up the speed to high, then the motor will turn itself off after 6½ minutes. (The soup program on the A2500 and A3500 runs for 5¾ minutes.)

The A2500 and A3500 have program modes, and when running a program, the timer counts down the time remaining. The A3300 and A3500 have the option of manually setting a specific amount of time, which the timer counts down from and then automatically stops the motor.

Here is a video tour of the touchscreen features of the A3500 (the A3300 is identical except it does not have the program buttons):

New Lid

The Ascent lid is clear, instead of the previous black lids. I never thought about the black lids blocking the view before, but after using the clear lid, I find myself appreciating the better view. The Ascent lid also has snap fasteners that make a satisfying click when they are locked on. (It reminds me of the Glasslock food containers, which I like.) In this video you can see Vitamix’s head chef demonstrating the A3500, and you can hear the lid click on:

The Ascent lid also forms a better seal. The seals on the old lids are usually fine, but if you blend a large amount of thin liquid, they can leak a bit. The Ascent lids stay sealed in situations where the old lids could leak.

Dishwasher-Safe Container

Previously, Vitamix said that only the S-Series containers were dishwasher safe. Now this full-size container is dishwasher safe. For normal use, most people will be better off just running it with soapy water, but for the occasional thick and sticky blend, being able to run it through the dishwasher will be nice.

10-year warranty

Previous Vitamix models came with either 5 or 7-year warranties. Vitamix warranties are great because if your machine needs service, they cover shipping both ways. They also often offer first-time courtesy replacement for items damaged by user error/negligence

New Styling

The Ascent models have more curves, and a clean bevel. They are designed to look good from all sides, including the back. They moved the label from the back to the bottom, so if you use it on a kitchen island, the back of the machine looks more polished.

Digital Knob (A3300 and A3500 only)

The A3300 and A3500 have a digital knob. It is still a physical knob, but it does not have absolute position. Every time you turn the machine on, or after a blend is stopped, the speed setting resets to one. This is nice because it prevents the potential to accidentally leave the speed on high and make a mess by unexpectedly starting at max speed. The knob has a nice feel, and it gently clicks between speed settings. (It moves from 1 to 10 in half-step increments.)

More Containers

The 20-oz container container is the same size and shape as the to-go cup on the S-Series, but the screw-on blade assembly is different. (The S-Series 20-oz and the Ascent 20-oz are not interchangeable because they have different magnets for container detection.) The 8-oz container uses the same blade assembly as the 20-oz, but the container is much shorter. It’s great for blending small amounts of things like sauces and salad dressing.

The one significant downside I see to the Ascent models has to do with containers. I like being able to use my 32-oz container with my 7500. It has 3” blades instead of the wide 64-oz container’s 4” blades, and a narrower bottom that allows it to blend smaller volumes more easily. (The 7500 and Ascent models come with a wide 64-oz container.) The Ascent 8- and 20-oz containers are good for small volumes, but you can’t use the tamper with them. They are good for liquidy blends like sauces and smoothies, but not for thick spreads or frozen desserts that require the tamper.

I believe Vitamix will release a tamper-able narrow container for the Ascent Series because the Ascent cookbook refers to a 48-oz container, but I don’t know when—hopefully later this year. Until then, the Ascent models can only make larger batches of thick spreads and frozen desserts. (The difference in minimum volume to blend thick recipes easily is ~36 vs. ~24 oz.) However, I know many people who happily use the wide 64-oz container only, so this is a non-issue for plenty of people.

Subtle Differences

Dimensions

The overall dimensions are similar to G-Series Vitamix models. The Ascent base is about ¼” shorter. The Ascent base plus container and lid is also about 1/4” shorter than G-Series models, which puts it at 17¼”. The base footprint is 8×10¾”

Power Cord

The power cord length is 4 ft instead of 6 ft on C and G-Series models. Like previous models, Ascent models allow you to stow excess cord by wrapping it around the bottom, and it secures out of sight.

Speed

The maximum speed is the same as the G-Series models (~23,000 RPM).

The minimum speed is slightly slower than G-Series models, but the difference is barely noticeable (1,400 RPM vs 1,600 RPM).

More noticeably, as you turn up the speed knob, the speed first increases more gradually, then more quickly. (The G-Series models increase evenly across the full range.) It’s easier to understand with a plot:
Also, the Ascent models have a similar microprocessor speed control to the G-Series, which maintains speed regardless of load, up to the maximum output of the motor. (See my speed measurement page for more details.)

Also similar to G-Series models, there is a soft start. If you start the motor at high speed on a Classic Vitamix, the motor immediately goes at full throttle, but G-Series models automatically ramp up the speed. The soft start on A-Series is not quite as soft as on G-Series (~1.8 sec vs. 2.4 sec to get to maximum speed). This could make high-speed pulsing slightly more effective.

64-oz Container

The Ascent 64-oz container is very similar to the G-Series Container. It weighs ~4% more (1240g vs 1190g). With the lid, the container is same the same height. Without the lid, the Ascent container is ~1/4” taller, because the Ascent lid is shorter. The pour spout is slightly different, but so far I haven’t noticed a big difference.

Physical Controls

For people who prefer physical switches over touchscreens, the A2300 and A2500 deliver. The A2300 and A2500 have pulse and start-stop paddle switches, which work nicely. The variable speed knob is bigger and the numbers are more visible than on previous Vitamix models. The speed knob also adds an off position, which makes turning the machine off more convenient (and can help prevent accidentally starting it).

On-Off Switch

Ascent models have an on-off switch towards the rear bottom of the right side. This is the same position as G-Series models. The Ascent base shell has a little lip over the switch to protect it from spills, which the G-Series does not have.

Rubber centering pad

The Ascent centering pad that the container sits on has more curves. It’s a bit more stylish, but the top of it is also not perfectly flat like the old ones. This means that the container can rock slightly, but it’s not a big deal. I guess the advantage is that it slopes away from the hole in the middle, which means that if you spill a lot of liquid on the top of the pad, it will drain off the sides, instead of into the motor in the middle. I’ve never seen it be a problem with the old design though.

Packaging

Vitamix replaced molded styrofoam in the box with a clever cardboard design, which is a nice benefit for the environment. The cardboard holds everything securely, even if the box is inverted.

What is the future of older models?

My Vitamix source says the C-Series is likely being discontinued. I don’t know when they will go out of stock for good. My source also says that they plan to continue making the S-Series, plus the Pro 750 and 780 through 2017.

Container Compatibility

Legacy containers cannot be used on the Ascent series, because they do not have NFC tags. Interestingly, the Ascent series drive shaft is the same as the C- and G-Series drive shaft, so you can use the Ascent full-size container on C- and G-Series bases. (Vitamix says the wide container shouldn’t be used on C-Series bases, but I don’t think it is a big problem—just be a bit more careful about not overheating the motor.) However, the inside of the 4 centering posts are different on the Ascent series, which will prevent you from using the Ascent 20-oz and 8-oz containers on legacy models.

It’s too bad that Legacy containers can’t be used on Ascent models. My understanding is that this is primarily a safety concern. Vitamix needed a container detect system to be able to use the screw-on blades, so that the blender wouldn’t run with the blades exposed. Vitamix engineers came up with a clever solution: the screw-on blade assembly has an NFC chip with a magnetic reed switch, so that the NFC chip only activates when the container is properly screwed on. The advantage of this setup is that it doesn’t require any cumbersome locking devices.

Color Options

A2300: White, Black, Slate, and Red
A2500: White, Black, Slate, and Red
A3300: Pearl Gray and Black Diamond
A3500: Brushed Stainless, Black Stainless, Graphite, and White

A3500 Premium Metal Finish Options

At the top of the line, the A3500 comes with premium finish options. The Brushed Stainless, Black Stainless, and Graphite all use a solid metal shell on the base, instead of the plastic used on other Vitamix machines. I don’t think it makes a difference in durability, because the plastic they use is plenty tough, but the metal adds a touch of elegance. The Brushed Stainless and the Black Stainless both have a subtle brushed texture, and the Graphite has a finely speckled finish. The front panel of the Black Stainless is also customized with darkened chrome accents. Here are some photos, which you can click to expand (left to right, Brushed Stainless, Black Stainless, and Graphite):

Vitamix A3500 metal finishes (Brushed Stainless, Black Stainless, and Graphite)Close-ups of Vitamix A3500 metal finishes (Brushed Stainless, Black Stainless, and Graphite)The Black Stainless is a limited edition, which might not be around for long.

Is the Ascent Series for you?

If you will only be using the smaller container, the S-Series bases are more compact, so they could be a good choice for a tight kitchen space. If you don’t like the look of the digital timer, you might want a Legacy model.

I am sure some people will raise concerns about the new, more advanced, models having more things that could go wrong and be harder to fix. My first response is that the new models come with the 10-year warranty, so at the minimum you will be covered for that long. I’m guessing that the microprocessors should last for a very long time, but we won’t know for sure what the lifespan of these new models will be until they start aging. Vitamix has been selling models with microprocessor speed control (6300/Pro 500 and G-Series) for about 5 years, and I haven’t heard of any problems with the microprocessors failing.

Vitamix Ascent vs. Legacy models

Here’s an overview of how Ascent models differ from the current non-Ascent Vitamix models (aka Legacy models):

  • Warranty: 10 years for Ascent vs. 5 or 7 years for Legacy
  • Containers: Ascent models will eventually have more variety (8- and 20-oz containers coming this Spring, more containers later), but in terms of what is available now, Legacy models have more options (including narrow 32- and 48-oz, plus dry grains container).

The following are new features on Ascent models:

  • Wireless connectivity: container detect and future integration with app(s?).
  • Timer display counts up minutes and seconds (all Ascent models) and counts down to automatic shutoff on A3300 and A3500
  • Clear lid with better locking mechanism
  • Fully dishwasher-safe containers
  • Sleeker styling

All for about the same price as Legacy models!

There is some talk of Ascent models being quieter, but I’ve found them to be about the same as the G-Series (which is a bit quieter than the C-Series).

Summary

The Ascent series offers a range of improvements over previous models. Vitamix plans to release more containers and wireless features for Ascent models, so getting an Ascent is buying into the future of Vitamix. It will be interesting to see what the Bluetooth features will be. Other standout features on all Ascent models are: timer display, 10-year warranty, clear snapping lid, and fully dishwasher safe containers. Here are links to Ascent models at Vitamix.com and Vitamix.ca.


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Comments

Vitamix Ascent Series Review (A2300, A2500, A3300, and A3500) — 111 Comments

  1. Thanks for the detailed review! You mentioned that the A3500 is Brushed Stainless (the shell is solid metal instead of plastic on other models), does this make it heavier or more solid than the other models with plastic?

    • Yes, it is a couple of pounds heavier. And I presume it is more solid, but the plastic shells are plenty solid. I haven’t ever seen problems with them being too weak.

  2. Excellent article! We need to replace an older (not a Vitamix) blender that died 2 days ago so this comes at a very opportune time. After much on line research, The Vitamix brand rises to the top of my list as a replacement. I have located a model 750, but I am intrigued with the newer A series and the improvements. My question is……..the specs appear the same, but are the motors the same in the 750 and the A models?

    Thanks for your help.

    • I don’t know if they are necessarily exactly the same (i.e. interchangeable on the production line), but everything I’ve seen about them indicates that they perform the same. So you should consider the other factors (mentioned above) to make your decision.

  3. Can you answer my question please (can i make a hot soup with A2300 model ?? And how ? I don’t find any button for it )

    • Yes, you can make hot soup with any Vitamix. They heat with friction within the blend, so you just run for ~5 minutes on high to heat ingredients.

  4. So I’m about to make my first purchase…If you had to buy a new one today that has all the best features, which one would you purchase? The 7500 or the Ascent series?

    • The Ascent Series is an upgrade over the 7500. The only major reason to go with the 7500 is if you want to be able to use the older containers. The smaller size containers for Ascent aren’t available yet, but they should be coming soon. If you want to be able to use the smaller containers now, then I’d go with the 7500. But if you’re not getting additional containers, or you don’t mind waiting for them, then the Ascent Series is the way to go.

  5. Hello,
    I am interested in Scent A3500 but waiting for the 20 OZ smoothie container kit. does anyone know if vitamix ever have sale on bundled items if we purchase the containers kit together with the blender. Will they offer any discounts . Also will the 10 year warranty get extended to the new containter kit if purchased as a set along with the blender.

    Is it better to wait for the new kit to come out and see if there will be any promos or this sale the best its going to get at $749+ tax for blender only

    Thanks for your replies,

    Regards
    AD

    • First, for anyone else wondering, the $749 is the Canadian dollar pricing.

      As far as bundles go, I don’t think you’ll get a better price with a bundle any time soon. In the past, Vitamix has sometimes offered bundles. However, it’s usually about a $50 discount on the container, which is not as good as the current $70 off. Also, there’s no way of knowing if/when they will offer a bundle again.

      I’m not sure if the 10-year warranty would carry over to the container kit. The container kit is listed with a 3-year warranty. Since no bundles have been announced, I don’t know for sure. The 10-year warranty is already super long for an appliance like this, so I wouldn’t count on it carrying over to the smoothie cups.

    • I do say at the beginning that it blends as well as previous Vitamix blenders. Which is to say, blending performance is excellent. It does an excellent job blending any of the recipes on this site. The only place where it struggles is trying to blend small amounts (under ~2 cups) with the stock 64-oz container. Vitamix plans to release smaller containers for Ascent, but, without a second container, a classic narrow-container Vitamix will do a better job on small amounts.

  6. When I put the A3300 in my cart from your web sight, It listed it at $519 Not $499. At $519.00 after tax, shipping, and $20.00 discount the total was $534.95 If it were listed at $499.00 the total should be $514. Has the price went up, is there a code, or did I put it in my cart wrong?

    • If you follow a Vitamix link from this site, you should get shipping plus $20 subtracted off your order total on an Ascent machine.

      The item price in your cart will display as $519.95, but lower down there should be a line subtracting the shipping cost, and a second line subtracting $20.

      I don’t know what your local tax is, but $35 sales tax on a $499 purchase is in line with many sales tax rates around the country.

  7. I have one of the oldest models, a 5200 Vita-Mix with the tall 64-ounce/2.0-litre and love it. I’ve had my VM for 8 years and it’s still going strong so I’ve only replaced parts at this point. I’ve looked into upgrading but I’ve seen a number of people comment that the stouter (short, wide 64-ounce) container doesn’t blend as well as the original standard container, particularly for smaller portions. This is holding me back from upgrading. Can you comment on the difference and whether the original standard container will work in the newer models? Much appreciated and thank you for the coupon information. I saved over $32 today when I ordered a new accessory.

    • It is absolutely true that the narrower containers blend smaller portions better than the wide containers. I wrote about the pros and cons in this section of my Vitamix comparison page.

      Your original container will work with G-Series models (such as the 7500, 750 and 780), but it will not work with Ascent models. That’s because the Ascent models require an NFC chip in the container for the Self-Detect system. I’ve heard that Vitamix is releasing narrow 48-oz containers with 3″ blades for Ascent on September 1st.

    • Ditto that. I invariably use the tall container on my 7500 base. I’m looking forward to a smaller, full-function container for my A3500, which is, I’m told, on its way. One last thing to consider: Variable 1 on all G Series and Ascent Series machines is quite a bit faster than on the 5200.

  8. Have you made almond butter with the 2300?

    I have a 5300 and have made 100’s of pounds of raw almond butter, do you think the 2300 will perform equally as well. Never added oil, I crush the almond with an Omega 8006 juicer first and it works just fine.
    Thanks for the review

  9. Do you have any comment on CNET’s doesn’t perform as well as earlier models in particular in whipping cream and making almond butter?

    • Yes, and, in fact, I left a comment over on their review. The gist of it is that their almond butter test used too small of an amount.

      This is a common problem with that sort of “blend-off” test. Someone comes up with a set of set of blending tasks to compare blenders. In principle, that’s a good start, but the problem comes when they generalize from a single task.

      The Ascent line performs almost identically to the 7500, but CNET claims they got better results from the 7500. I suspect that they did the tests separately and by different people. In a side-by-side test, I would be extremely surprised if someone found a difference between the 7500 and the A3500.

  10. I have been using a digital laser thermometer, and to avoid overheating the container running on about 1/2 speed for three minutes. Let cool for 25 minutes then three minutes again. Total of nine minutes creates wonderful raw almond butter. Works with Ascent 2300 and the 5300.

    • Assuming 3 ½ cups of nuts for a tall container and 4 for a low-profile, if you’re willing to substitute ¼ – ⅓ cup of raw or toasted pecans (or as much as ½ cup in the low-profile container) for a similar amount of almonds, you’ll have, in the same time it takes to make peanut or cashew butter, a blend that’s even more delicious and healthful than plain almond butter; it’s a trick I learned watching a live demo some years back. Optional: I also add just a pinch of salt (my go-to is Maldon, which crumbles easily) and a scant teaspoon of coconut sugar to kinda pull the flavors together. I put the pecans in first–not really necessary but it’s my equivalent of “liquids/softs on the bottom.” In fancy jars, it makes an appreciated gift, too. 🙂

      • I understood that! But the addition of the pecans, even raw, helps to move things along–even if the almonds are raw–in an awesome way with no added cooking oils. After following your link, I noticed you also recommend the pecans.

        • I didn’t mean to undermine your comment. I was just putting in a reply to Dale’s comment so that other people wouldn’t think that you need to wait 25 minutes to avoid overheating the container. (Unless you are concerned about the almonds getting above a “raw foods” temperature.)

          • After Melting Cuisinart, and Vitamix containers with making almond butter and consulting with the manufacturer the max temperature is 170 degrees F.

            The container can melt and with almonds, you are creating a very hot spot.
            You can get away with hot soup because the vortex is pulling down less hot air and helps to keep from getting too hot.

            The hot almond butter does not have any relief from the heat.

            I have made five pounds or more each week for several years.

            The only safe way (for the machine) is to take a break and let it cool.

            I am lucky enough to have one of the new ones that can be washed in the dishwasher I just got it and it is great.

            I ask about cooling between the cooking cycles and was told that the abrupt water cooling was not advised as the bearings are more vulnerable to water incursion when they are hot.

          • OK, I guess I misunderstood. I’m now thinking your technique is less about keeping the almonds cool than the fact that making butter from raw almonds is more difficult than using roasted almonds. How many cups of raw almonds do you blend at a time? (And, if my memory serves, you first pass them through an Omega juicer, right?)

            By the way, the containers don’t melt below 212°F. It’s probably inadvisable to get them that hot, but I once boiled water in a Vitamix, and the container survived.

          • Well, when I spoke to support they told me 170- degrees. I think that while the container is, in theory, able to take 212°F.

            I can tell you from personal experience that you will ruin the container (if that is your goal) by simply putting the almonds in and turning the machine on and letting it run till it stops. 5 to 7 minutes. No damage.

            Then after it cools enough 3-8 minutes, start again using it when it stops again, examine the bottom of the container, under the blade.

            The plastic area where the blades mount to the plastic it will be deformed. ( I know this from personal experience. )

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