Here’s my review of Vitamix’s latest model, the Explorian E310. The E310 is a solid performer with just the essentials. It is similar to previous models, and it doesn’t introduce any drastically new features. The good news is that it is priced lower than the previous entry-level model, and it is more functional. If you order via this link, you can get free shipping and Joy of Blending may receive a referral commission (at no extra cost to you).
The 2017 Black Friday Vitamix Sale includes the E310! This holiday season you can save $50 on it.
This model release is also good news for shoppers who don’t want the newfangled features of the Ascent Series. For a while it seemed that Vitamix was moving to selling only blenders with wireless technologies, but this model establishes that Vitamix will keep offering a model with just the basics.
The E310 has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. It doesn’t light up or have a secondary on-off power switch. And it doesn’t have Bluetooth or NFC technology. What it does have is a powerful Vitamix motor, and full variable speed control. (The only slightly superfluous feature is the pulse switch: you can also achieve pulsing by flipping the on-off switch up and down.)
Performance-wise, the E310 is identical to every other full-size* Vitamix machine that has variable speed. That means it makes the smoothest smoothies, and it can plow through thick nut butter and hummus. It can quickly blend up frozen desserts, and, if you let it run for ~6 minutes, it can make hot soups from room temperature ingredients. (However, in my experience, the soup heating is more of a party trick, since I usually add hot water or pre-cook some of the ingredients.) I measured the speed under load of the E310, and confirmed that it is just as fast and powerful as previous full-size models.
The E310 has some subtle updates to the styling of the base. It is closest to the classic (C-Series/5200 et al.) base shape, but it has some side accents that Vitamix introduced with the Ascent series. Legacy models had smooth sides, while the Ascent and Explorian series have this curved bevel on the sides:
If you only have one Vitamix container, the 48-oz is a great one to have. It’s shorter than the classic 64-oz container, which means that scraping ingredients out of it is a bit easier, and it fits under standard 18” kitchen cabinets while on the base. It’s narrower than the low-profile 64-oz containers that come with Ascent and G-Series models, which means that it works better for small amounts. For small amounts of smoothies, the narrow container splashes around less. For thick blends like frozen dessert and nut butters, it’s the difference between an optimum batch size of 3 cups vs. 4.5 cups.
The main downside of the 48-oz container is that you can’t blend quite as much at once. However, for most people, 48-oz is plenty. And, if you are careful, you can go a few ounces over the maximum. The narrow container is not quite as good as the wide containers for chopping. But again, most people don’t use their Vitamix for chopping that much. In order of most to least common use, most people make smoothies, soups, hummus, nut butter, and frozen desserts, with chopping coming at the end of the list. That said, some people love chopping in the wide containers.
The E310 comes with a 5-year warranty. Vitamix is generally extremely generous with what they cover in their warranties. The warranty length is the same as the previous entry-level models. It is shorter than the 7 years on Legacy models and 10 years on Ascent models.
How does the E310 compare to previous models?
I haven’t added the E310 to my Vitamix comparison page yet, but, if you want more background on differences between models, you may want to read that page.
E310 vs. Turboblend Two Speed (previous entry level)
The E310 adds variable speed, which is useful for when you want to control the texture of a blend, like for pesto or salsa. I know some people who bought a Two Speed and ended up wishing they had Variable speed. Now you don’t have to make that compromise at the entry level!
E310 vs. S30 and S-Series
The E310 is more powerful, which helps for getting maximum smoothness from tough ingredients. If you want to blend in a to-go cup with the E310, you can get the Personal Cup Adapter. However, in my opinion, the Personal Cup Adapter is a bit cumbersome, so if you will be using the blending cups a lot, I’d recommend choosing a model that can use them without an adapter (either an S-Series or an Ascent Series model).
E310 vs. 5200 and C-Series
Out of all the previous model series, the E310 is closest to the C-Series. The shape of the base is mostly the same. And it has the same narrow container, which is good for small amounts.
The E310 has a pulse switch instead of the high-variable switch found on the 5200. Speed 10 on the E310 is essentially the same as high on the 5200. (If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of speed, check out my speed measurement page—the E310 max speed behavior is identical to the models with feedback speed control.)
The speed control of the E310 also features a slightly soft-start. This means that if you start it at maximum speed, it will quickly ramp-up, instead of instantly starting at maximum speed the way the 5200 does. Also, having the maximum speed at 10 on the dial instead of at the high-variable switch makes it easier to notice if the machine is set to maximum speed and reduces the chances of accidentally starting at top speed.
E310 vs. 7500 and G-Series
The biggest difference between these models is the width of the container, discussed above. Also the G-Series has better sound insulation in the base, but, in practice, the difference in noise is minor.
The E310 uses the same feedback speed control as the G-Series. That means that it tries to maintain the same speed regardless of load. In practice, the speed feedback doesn’t make much difference. The most noticeable feature of the speed feedback models is that when you blend something thick and increase the speed dial, the actual speed will max out before you get to 10. (For more details, see my speed measurement page.)
E310 vs. A2300 and Ascent Series
Everything mentioned in the previous section (comparison to G-Series) applies here. The other difference is that the E310 does not have NFC or Bluetooth. That means that it can’t use the small 20-oz and 8-oz Self-Detect Ascent containers. Also, the E310 will not be able to use the coming smartphone app features that are soon coming to the Ascent Series.
An advantage over the Ascent Series is that the E310 can be used with Legacy containers that do not have the Self-Detect NFC chip. So if you already have an old extra container, the E310 could be better.
Should you buy an E310?
In my opinion, there are two categories of Vitamix machines that you might want to choose over the E310.
First, consider the Ascent Series. If you want to be able to use the Self-Detect small containers without the bulky Personal Cup Adapter, an Ascent model may be a better choice (or, possibly an S-Series model, if you don’t care that it has lower power). Also, if you have any interest in the smartphone app connectivity coming in the near future, you should go with Ascent.
The other option is a Certified Reconditioned Legacy model. The Certified Reconditioned models are in excellent shape, they come with a 5-year warranty, and currently the Reconditioned 5300 is $50 less than the E310. The only thing to keep in mind is that the 5300 comes with a wide container, so that may or may not be something you want. Currently the narrow Certified Reconditioned models are all out of stock, and I’m not sure if they will ever come back.
Those other options aside, the E310 is an excellent blender that would keep you blending happily for many years. It offers the full performance that Vitamix has built their reputation on.
*Full size means any Vitamix that is not one of the “personal size” S-Series models (S30, S50, and S55).↑