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

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.

April 5 Update: Vitamix just launched their 2017 Mother’s Day Sale, which includes $70 savings on all Ascent models.

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  
price$469$399$519$449$519$449$619$549

The Ascent Series is now fully available in Canada!

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? (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? (See programs section below for details.)
    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. The smaller containers aren’t available for purchase yet, but Vitamix plans to offer a 20-oz container and a new mini 8-oz container for the Ascent series in Spring 2017.

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 will most likely 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

Vitamix says that the 20-oz and 8-oz containers will be available in the Spring. The 20-oz 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 8-oz container uses the same blade assembly as the 20-oz, but the container is much shorter. I think it will come in handy for blending small amounts of things like salad dressing.

The one significant downside I see to the Ascent models also 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 will be good for small volumes, but you can’t use the tamper with them. The small Ascent containers will be 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 6ft 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 (1240 g 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 its 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 it 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, Graphite Metal, and White

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. The first additions will be the 8- and 20-oz containers in the Spring, then there will be more coming later. 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’s a link to all Ascent models at Vitamix.com.


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Comments

Vitamix Ascent Series Review (A2300, A2500, A3300, and A3500) — 88 Comments

  1. Really interested in the smaller containers. So many uses for them. Sometimes hard to get things out on the big ones. Looking forward to them coming out.
    Thank you.

    • I think the A3500 has the advantage. The main downside of the A3500 in that comparison is that the smaller containers for the Ascent series are not available yet.

      • Thanks for the reply. Will the 20oz container make frozen desserts as well as say the 32oz container? Not sure if the 20 oz container is for smoothies and dressings/sauces only.

        • Good question. The 20-oz container will not be good for frozen desserts because you can’t use a tamper with it. In the Ascent series, I believe the 48-oz container will play the role of the 32-oz container, with the combination of a narrower bottom and the ability to use the tamper. We don’t know when the 48-oz container will be released though.

          • So the 20 oz container really is only good for times when you’re making liquids that are less than 2 cups (smoothies, almond milk, sauces or dressings)?

  2. The Ascent it seems like what the G series should have been to start with. It should be interesting to see how customers respond to this move. If you want to use the new 8oz and 20oz containers you have to buy an Ascent, and if you upgrade none of your old containers will work so you are out ~$140 per container. It seems like they could have found another way to appease the safety issue. The S series uses basically the same type of container/blade system and did not require an NFC tags in the containers to be approved. Almost seems more of a marketing move to ensure people that upgrade have to buy all new containers as well and that anyone that wants to use the new containers has to buy an Ascent.

    It’s too bad they did not redesign the 64oz container more. People were pretty unhappy with the low profile 64oz container because it performs so poorly with smaller batches or single smoothies, Vitamix really should be including a smaller container with these blenders instead of expecting them to spend $140 on a second container to make a smoothie. This wasn’t an issue with the older tall 64oz container because it worked well for everything with it’s narrower base.

    I’m surprised at the non-linearity of the speed on the Ascent, it gives you a more control at lower speeds, but very little at higher speeds. For example speeds 5-10 on the G series are covered only between 8-10 on the Ascent. Speeds 1-6 on the Ascent only get you to 6000 RPM then you only have 4 settings to go from 6000-24,000. Perhaps they found that there was more to be gained by having extra range in the lower rpms and past a certain point it was better to just be going max speed. In reality 10 speeds is probably twice as many as anyone needs. Perhaps that’s one thing the bluetooth setup with allow custom user RPM settings and programs.

    • The S-Series makes the screw-on containers safe by using physical barriers and magnetic detection… That system would not be compatible with using the bigger containers.

      And as far as using the smaller containers on full-size machines, Vitamix wanted a way to make sure someone didn’t try to make hot soup in one of the sealed containers, because pressure would build up and it could explode (or at least shoot out hot liquid).

      For the speed response, I think it’s nice to have more control at the slower end. When I’m not blending at maximum speed, I’m usually on the lower half of the range, trying to retain some texture.

  3. Do the Accent machines have the quieter motor like the 7500? Do you know if they will be making a dry grain container for the accent? I assume you can use the container that comes with it for grains? I also cannot decide if I need the pre-programmed buttons. I am a newbie to this technology. Thanks

    • In my measurements, the Ascent bases are slightly quieter than the 7500’s. I didn’t put it in the review because the difference was minor.

      I believe that they will make a dry container for the Ascent, but I don’t know when. You can use a wet container for grains, but it won’t work quite as well as the dry blade, and it does scratch up the container.

      Nobody needs the pre-programmed buttons. But some people love them and find that they add convenience.

  4. The A2500 and A3300 cost the same. For someone with no prior Vitamix experience, what are the plusses and minuses of programs (A2500) versus a programmable timer (A3300)? (Does the timer allow self-programming as an effective substitute for pre-set programs?) Do have any other suggestions for choosing between them? Reasons for choosing a different model?

    Thanks.

    • You can set the timer on A3xxx models to automatically stop the machine after a specified time. You can see in the A3500 touchscreen video above at 1:06 how the timer works (the A3500 and A3300 have the same timer function). The timer is different from pre-programmed modes in a few ways:

      • It does not control the speed, whereas the program modes progress through a series of speeds, which are mainly ramping up the speed for you).
      • You have to set the timer every time, whereas the program modes are always ready to go.
      • The advantage of the timer is that it is customizable; the program modes are always the same, which might not be the ideal time if you change ingredients or volumes.

      The time when I will use the timer is for grinding flour, because in that case I usually grind the same amount (2 cups whole grain), and there is a balance between getting it as fine as possible while not heating it too much. However the count-up feature on the A2xxx models would be useful as well. I believe Vitamix will be releasing a dry blade container for Ascent models at some point, but I don’t know when.

      The big difference between the A2500 and A3300 is the switches vs touchscreen control. They are both good, and I don’t have a strong opinion on which is better. It’s really a personal preference. The question to ask yourself is, are you excited about using the touch controls and premium digital knob?

      I personally wouldn’t pay extra for the program modes, though I know plenty of people who love them. So, I would be choosing between the A2300 and A3300. (Though I do like the elegance of the A3500 all-metal brushed stainless finish.)

      Sorry I don’t have a simple answer for you. I’m just trying to be honest.

  5. What poor timing. I just got a 7500! It was a Christmas gift so I can’t complain of course but it does kind of dampen the buzz.

    Interesting how cheap the A2300 is…less than the 7500 even with the newly lowered price.

    Microprocessors are generally not a concern when it comes to more things to go wrong. They last a long time when they’re from a reputable source. The real issue is in the digital knob, display and touch components, which wear badly even in luxury products. In my opinion the physical controls on the 2xxx’s are a much better idea than the digital interface. I find it strange that the price is so much lower than the legacy models though. It seems like the Ascent line is an upgrade in (almost) every way.

    • I agree that the day after Christmas is a poor launch date. If you want an Ascent model, you can probably return your 7500. (Vitamix has a generous 30-day trial period.)

      Do you have a source on high-quality digital knob, display, and touch components wearing badly?

      As far as displays and digital knobs go, I’ve seen plenty of 20-year-old car radios (that use digital display and knob) working fine without problems, and I haven’t heard of them being a problem. Touch panels haven’t been around as long, but my guess is that high-quality ones should last fine. I had a cheap touch panel scale that started acting up after a few months, but that was low quality. The other example I can think of are mobile device touchscreens, but a) those can last a long time, b) they get a lot more abuse, and c) I don’t think they are totally comparable, since the blender touch panel has big fixed-position touch buttons.

      • I am actually wondering the same thing. Is the ascent really an upgrade in every way? Pricing wise the legacy series can come out to be cheaper if you consider the availability of recertified units. More importantly containers for the Ascent series aren’t out and we don’t know the pricing on them. The legacy series has those 32 oz containers and we know the price for them. The biggest advantage of the Ascent series is the ability to use 20 oz and 8 oz containers. But if you don’t plan to buy those containers the advantages are moot.

  6. Some sources say this new line of blenders is “quieter”. In your opinion, is the Ascent any quieter than the Heritage Pro 750? Thank you.

      • OK, thank you very much. I’m quite happy with my Pro 750 Heritage, but I was wondering if I should have waited for the new Ascent models. They look very nice, I must say. I like the clear lid.

  7. Regarding the A3300 (and apparently the other new Ascent blenders), PRNewswire relates the following information:

    “Attendees [at the Consumer Electronics Show] will see how the Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series blender communicates with the Vitamix® Perfect Blend™ Smart Scale and Recipe App to detect the type of blending container being used and modify the desired recipe accordingly.

    “‘If, for example, a user selects a smoothie to make in the Recipe App, the Perfect Blend Smart Scale will automatically determine the size of the container being used – whether it’s the 64-ounce low-profile container or the smaller 16-ounce or 8-ounce containers – and adjust the recipe as needed,’ said Mark Fleming, Vice President, Product Management and Engineering for Vitamix. ‘Through wireless technology, the scale, blender and app are all connected and work together to make the consumer more confident and successful in the kitchen.'”

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vitamix-unveiling-cutting-edge-blending-technology-at-consumer-electronics-show-300386449.html#continue-jump

    Can you elaborate based on your own and sources within Vitamix? For example, would it be possible to use an app to “program” the A3300 and A3500 for a particular recipe? If so, a major difference in functionality between the two blenders is substantially reduced. If not, what’s the full story?

    Thanks.

    • I strongly suspected that the Ascent wireless technology would eventually be used with the Perfect Blend Smart Scale, but, so far, Vitamix has not told me anything about it. So that press release you found has more information than I had up until reading it.

      It’s too soon to know the full story. I believe the functionality described in that press release is in an unreleased version of the Perfect Blend App. I will update as I find out more.

        • I also own a Thermomix, which has a built-in scale. Scales are your friend! Weighing, or (in my case) a combination of weighing and measuring, is a handy and often easier way to prepare food. For instance, when I prepare Vitamix Harvest Cheddar Soup, I use a piece of cheese that weighs in at the recipe’s provided metric weight, THEN I grate it. Much easier than grating cheese and trying to evaluate (“Packed?? Loose??”) the U.S. standard volume the recipe calls for, and dead-accurate as well. And isn’t easy and handy why we love our Vitamixes?

  8. Do you think the price is an “introductory” one which will become more expensive after a short time? It does seem strange that the new Ascent models are less $ than the ones they are going to replace.

  9. Geez, the thought of phasing out the 5200 (especially with the tall container) is chilling. I think it’s perfect–you can use it for small amounts, you have the option of very slow speeds at the low end of the variable spectrum, and it’s durable and versatile as hell. And what about the dry container?? We’ve been told for years (since at least the release of the 5000) that it was the way to go if one wanted to grind rather than blend–I still remember when they were 64 oz instead of the current 32. I dunno . . . as tempting as I find the Ascent 3300, I can’t imagine life without my my 5200-ish Prep 3.

    My guess is that Vitamix isn’t about to discontinue the Prep models because they’re such a commercial mainstay but the warranty isn’t nearly as good. It just seems to me that they’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater. 🙁

      • I bit the bullet. My A3300 arrived yesterday and although I haven’t completely unboxed it/set it up, I was pretty disappointed to discover that there’s no instructional DVD or Getting Started Guide. That I’ll learn the machine is a given (I actually read manuals) but c’mon–even my 4000 came bundled with a VHS cassette! And to add insult to injury, the sealed instructional packet APPEARS to contain a DVD but it’s just a pretty, not-very-useful DVD-size tri-fold pamphlet. To be fair, I paid no attention to what I now see is the omission in “What comes in the box” on Vitamix’s product page–my bad, it would seem. However, it strikes me that given the lack of what I’ve come to expect as included support material (especially with a machine this pricey, possessing the most sophisticated electronics to date), plus the incompatibility of “Legacy” containers/necessity of buying new ones (and no 32 oz. wet or dry on the horizon???), that Vitamix–in its quest to be perceived as a major player–has not only thrown out the baby with the bathwater but released a line of money-sucks as well. I’m not getting that warm and fuzzy “we do it classy, don’t cut corners, and welcome you to the family” sense of inclusion that I’ve come to expect based on my previous (and numerous) Vitamix purchases.

        On the plus side, the machine (mine’s Pearl Gray) is gorgeous. Like you, I’m not one for pre-sets; unlike you, excepting the S55, I don’t like the brushed stainless and might even have bit the bullet and gone for the A3500 “just because” if there’d been a choice of colors. In fact, I wish more colors were available for the entire line (I’d have thought Platinum would be a shoo-in). And I’m looking forward to being able to program shut-off times for soups and sauces because that task is the only one I actually time.

          • Ah, well. I’m going to go with the better part of valor and spare you and your readers my snark. You do a stellar and balanced job of providing information and I’m very appreciative of that.

  10. Do you know if the 8oz cup or smaller containers will be able to be used with the programs/presets? It would make sense that if it knows what container your using, the smoothie program (for example) would adjust for the 20 oz cup in time and speed?? Would the hot soup program work in 20 0z cup or even 8oz (hehe).

    • Yes the small container will be able to be used with the programs. And yes, part of the idea of the Self Detect is that it will adjust time and speed for the container being used.

      The hot soup program will be disabled with the 8- and 20-oz containers, because they are not vented. If you were to run them for extended periods and heat built up, pressure would also build up, and they would either explode, or spurt hot liquid/steam when you unscrewed the blade assembly.

  11. Adam – I have the Professional Series 750. Does the Asscent models have the exact same power and speed as the 750? Is the only difference just the wifi, touchscreen and the new smaller containers?

    • Power and speed are basically the same. The speed response to the dial is a bit different (see the speed plot above for details). There are other differences beyond what you mentioned. For a quick overview see the summary at the end of this post, or this Ascent vs. Legacy section I just wrote for my Vitamix comparison page.

      • Thanks. So all else being equal, would you recommend the new Asscent over the Pro 750? And if so, which particular Asscent model would you choose?

        • Yes, I do recommend the Ascent Series. Basic blending performance will be mostly the same, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend ditching an old model, but in a side-by-side comparison I think the new Ascent features easily win out. The only significant downside to the Ascent right now is if you want a secondary narrow container, they aren’t available yet (but they are coming soon.)

          The analogous Ascent model to the Pro 750 is the A3500, with its 5 program modes and premium metal shell. If price were not a major concern, I would pick the A3500, but, if I were feeling more price-sensitive, I wouldn’t be disappointed with the A2300.

          • Thanks. I have a spare 32 oz container for the 750 – but you are saying they will make a 32 oz container soon for the Ascent Series?

          • I don’t know about 32-oz, but a 48-oz container (with the same narrow base as the 32-oz) is in the works. They don’t have a release date for it yet though. And the 8- and 20-oz containers will be good for small volume tasks that don’t require the tamper.

  12. Could someone with computer skills make and sell a chip that one could attach to the bottom of some of the legacy containers that would make them usable on the Ascent series blenders?
    Or is there some physical impediment to doing that?

    • I wondered about this myself. Using an unapproved container would of course void the warranty, but I was still curious. The chip in the Ascent containers can be detected by NFC readers (present in most modern Android devices). With an NFC tools app I was able to see that the chip type is an NXP NTAG216 Mifare Ultralight C. Ultralight C cards use cryptographic authentication to prevent cloning. I tried cloning it anyway to a writable NXP NTAG216 tag using an Android app, and, not surprisingly, the new tag did not unlock the Ascent base.

      So, it’s not a physical impediment exactly, but it would require some more sophisticated cracking. I don’t know how feasible that is.

      (There is a physical impediment to using the Legacy 32-oz container, because the four centering posts on Ascent are a different shape. The Legacy 48-oz and 64-oz containers fit on the Ascent base, but, of course, won’t work unless you figure out how to bypass the Self Detect.)

  13. I very much enjoyed reading your review. I was curious about the power of the motors of the Ascent vs. the “legacy” models. I still am using the Vitamix 3600 (which I purchased in the 1970’s). It has a stainless steel container with a spigot. It does have variable speed and although it advertised reversible blades, my experience was that reversing the blades made them come loose (so I never do that).

    Do you know if the containers for the legacy models would fit on the old 3600?

    • I’m not sure if you are classifying your 3600 as legacy when you ask about power. When I refer to legacy models I am not including the 3600.

      The Ascent motors have the same power as full-size legacy models (that is, all models that are not the smaller personal size). I am not entirely sure how the power of the legacy models compares to the 3600. Vitamix changed how they rate power when they introduced legacy models, and I have never used a 3600 to do my own power tests.

      Legacy containers will not fit on your 3600. There was a conversion kit for the 3600 to allow it to use a modified legacy container, and there is an eBay seller that still sells a version of it. Note that that will only work with the single modified legacy container, which uses a third party blade assembly (which probably won’t last as long as a Vitamix brand blade assembly). So if/when your old 3600 finally kicks the bucket, I think you’d be better off taking advantage of Vitamix’s $100 credit trade-in program. If you place a phone order, please mention code 06-007021 to give me referral credit and to get you free shipping.

      • Thank you for your response. Yes, I was thinking that the 3600 was “legacy,” I didn’t understand that it was a pre-legacy model!

        I also didn’t know about the trade-in program. That’s good to know, and also the code that you mentioned so you can get a referral credit and I get free shipping.

        The new Ascent models seem to be a great innovation. I’ll wait and see how they work out, and for now, be content with the 3600.

        • Judith, my first Vita-Mix was a 4000, the generation after yours. Don’t be afraid to upgrade! The 5000 (essentially the same as the 5200, the series I still love best) I bought 11 years ago kicked the traded-in 4000’s posterior in all ways. The newer machines are several orders higher of superior and Vitamix’s customer support is still stellar. Go for it!

          • Hi Karen,

            I guess I’ve felt a little wasteful upgrading when the 3600 just keeps on going! I do like the spigot on the container, which none of the newer ones have. I am very interested in the newest innovations. As soon as I hear more about people’s experiences with the Ascent series, that may get me to loosen those purse strings!

          • I agree with you about the spigot, although I didn’t use it much. It’s way cool for frozen desserts! I also liked that I could run my 4000 in reverse and that I could see sparks from the base. But even with all that, I still had to appreciate that the 5000 did a much better job of blending. You could always hang on to the 3600 and use it for processing scraps into liquid compost. That suggestion was featured in the 4000’s manual (they recommended a dedicated container for it).

          • Wow, that’s interesting.

            I never was able to do the reverse blade thing with the 3600, the blades invariably came loose, so I stopped trying. However, I just used the spigot last week. I was making a delicious cauliflower almond soup, and I was able to continuously feed the product into the blender and the processed part out the spigot. However, the container is small, I don’t like that I can’t see into it (because it’s stainless), and it’s VERY noisy.

            I am really looking forward to hearing about how the various bells and whistles on the new Ascent work!

  14. Great review I enjoyed reading it. I bought the 780 when they first launched in 2015. While I like the 780, The Ascent has a lot of features I do like such the smaller containers, the only downside is while a smaller container the 48 oz is in the works, it would be nice to see a dry grains container as well. Would you recommend the Ascent 3500 or the 780?

    • Yes, I would generally recommend the A3500 over the 780, with the one caveat that the smaller containers aren’t available yet. I do believe we’ll see 48-oz wet and dry containers for Ascent, but I’m not sure when. One reason someone might choose the 780 is a preference for the all-touch interface with no physical knob, but, personally, I like the knob, and I think it’s slightly easier to control than the touch slider on the 780.

  15. I have never owned a good blender! My interest is in smoothies and juices. I understand that the things you can do with a Vitamix are almost limitless and I would love to learn how to use it to its fullest potential. I have read the reviews and want to purchase from the Ascent series. However, if for now, my primary focus is smoothies and juices, is this the right series for me? I underatand it may be more difficult with the wider container until the smaller one comes out in the spring.

    • In some ways the wider container is actually easier for smoothies and juices, because the wider shape allows ingredients to fall into the blades more easily, which reduces the need for the tamper. (On the classic narrow containers, I use the tamper on ~50% of smoothies, whereas on the wide container I only need it for ~5% of smoothies. You only need to use the tamper when ingredients aren’t circulating past the blades.)

      For smoothies and juices, one downside to the wide container is that low volume blends will splash up onto the sides and lid significantly more than they do in one of the classic narrow containers. I don’t think this is a huge deal, but it is a bit annoying. You can blend small amounts. I just blended 1 cup of soup in the wide Ascent container, and it worked fine, aside from a bit of it coating the upper part of the inside of the container and lid.

      The other limitation of the wider container applies to thicker blends like nut butter and frozen desserts. These thick blends always require the tamper to push ingredients into the blades and deflate the air pocket that forms around the blades. To use the tamper, you need enough ingredients to significantly cover the blades and allow you to have something to push on. So for these thick blends, the minimum batch size in the wide container is about 50% more than in the narrow classic Vitamix containers. (So that’s a minimum of ~3–4.5 cups, instead of ~2–3 cups.)

      • Thanks so much for your response! This is a big purchase and I want to make sure I make the right choice! I am so glad that I found your site and I have told several people about it!

    • Right now, I would get a Pro 750 (but I would be totally satisfied with a 7500), plus a 32-oz wet container and a dry container. That’s because I do like using the smaller container and the dry container, and Vitamix hasn’t released those for the Ascent yet.

      Once Ascent versions of those smaller containers come out, I would get the A3500.

        • Not sure if I should get the least expensive ascent model or the 3500! Not sure if I need the extra bells and whistles and not sure about the touchscreen. Too many decisions and choices!!

          • I like the stainless finish and the look of the 3500 but I’m not sure, with my huge lack of knowledge, that I need all of the features it has. Mainly interested in smoothies/juices at the moment. But I have a feeling I will want to use it for more things as I get comfortable with it! The only blender I have ever owned is a hand me down from my mom that sits on a shelf in my pantry! I think it is a kitchen aid. Thinking about the future as well. I don’t plan on buying another $500+ blender any time in the near future so I would like to make the best choice for now and the future. I am so indecisive!!

          • As I think I mentioned somewhere above, I too like the stainless finish of the A3500. It’s elegant!

            One thing to clarify though: in terms of going beyond smoothies/juices, that shouldn’t affect which Ascent model you get. They all have the same capabilities.

        • Adam, if I understand you correctly, your current preference for the Pro 750 is based on the unavailability, at present, of a smaller container or dry container for the Ascent series. But as many of us will be buying a Vitamix with the idea of keeping and using it for several years, at least, I wonder why that current unavailability makes a difference for you. Could you, please, elaborate?

          Also, regarding your recommendation of the A3500, I get that it is the top-of-line Ascent, offering both programs and the user-settable countdown clock. But it’s $100 more than the A3300 or A2500. If one didn’t want to spend the extra money for the A3500, then, as between the A3300 and A2500, which do you recommend, and why?

          TIA

          • You are correct that my choice in that answer was based on the current unavailability of smaller containers for Ascent. I regularly use my dry container for grinding grains to make pancakes and bread. And I like being able to make smaller batches of frozen desserts, and the ease of smaller blends in the small container.

            Note that the question was what would I buy if money was no issue. In that case, I would have no problem upgrading to the Ascent line once the extra containers are available. But I can see how for most people (myself included) buying with the expectation of upgrading in the near future doesn’t make sense. So it’s probably not the best answer. I did add the clarification that if I wasn’t getting the extra containers to begin with, I would go with the Ascent right away.

            As for choosing between the A3300 and A2500, I don’t have a strong opinion. It is a personal decision, so the first thing I’d say is to ask yourself which of the features are you excited about? If you aren’t particularly excited about any of them, then you might as well go for the A2300.

            If you’re someone who likes the idea of presets, I think the A2500 is better. Even though the A3300 has the user-settable countdown, you have to set it for every blend, so that makes it less handy than the presets. The flip side of course is that the countdown is customizable, whereas the programs are not.

            The choice of switches vs touchpanel is a personal one. I don’t have a preference. I was initially skeptical about touch controls, but I’ve been using the A3500 for over a month, and I’ve been perfectly satisfied with the touch interface.

            I do slightly prefer the knob of the A3xxx models. It has a premium feel. I also like that it automatically resets to 1 after every blend. Many Vitamix owners (myself included) have accidentally started a Vitamix at high speed without the lid on properly, launching the contents out of the container, so the auto reset cuts out that possibility. So, for me, I’d go with the A3300 over the A2500.

      • Kerri, my first Vita-Mix (back in the hyphenated days) was a 4000 that I bought in 1988. My first upgrade was a 5000 which, for all intents and purposes, is the same as the 5200. I also have a Vita-Prep 3 (basically a commercial 5200, that was a steal), a 7500 from QVC, an S55 (not really comparable to anything else and the only model I have with pre-sets), and now an Ascent A3300, which I’m still getting to know and for which I got trade-in credit on the old 5000. In other words, I’m pretty experienced with the ins and outs of Vitamixes. After all this, my preference is still for the 5200, which I not only feel is perfect but have bought for family members and friends (six, I think). The only thing you need to add to its purchase is a dry container IF you think it’s something you’ll use (I never have), otherwise it’s complete. It lacks bells and whistles but you really don’t need them. My Ascent is gorgeous, I love that I can set it to shut off when I’m making soup, and I like that I can use my 7500 base with with my tall container but if I was told I had to give up all but one of them, Prep 3 would be the keeper because it’s most like a 5200.

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