Vitamix Ascent Series Review
2017 Vitamix Ascent Series Review
This review comprehensively covers the A2300, A2500, A3300, and A3500 models
If you are up on your kitchen blender trends, you will already know that the Ascent Series is Vitamix’s latest model line up line of countertop blenders.
Now for starters, the previous Vitamix models blend just as well as the new Ascent models.
The BIGGEST and most notable change is WIFI connectivity.
Now, why would you want/need wireless for you Vitamix?
It allows Vitamix to use “personal size” containers on a full-size Vitamix. There's also a range of other incremental changes.
Just What Are the Differences Between Ascent Models?
The differences between the Ascent models are not to do with actually belnding performance
It has mostly to with the control interface and looks/style.
3 Program Settings
5 Program Settings
1-10 Speed Dial
1-10 Speed Dial
1-10 Speed Dial
1-10 Speed Dial
Touch Programmable Timer
Touch Programmable Timer
Black,White, Red, Slate
Black,White, Red, Slate
Black or Slate
Stainless or White
Note: swipe your screen left to right to see chart on a smart phone
Shopping Tip: Save OVER $200 by choosing the A2300 in Black on Amazon.com
Note these Ascent model differences from the chart:
- Center Control Knob + Touchscreen on the A3300 & A3500
- Center Knob + Physical Switches on the A2300 & A2500
- Program Modes + Manual Control on the A2500 & A3500
- Manual Control only on the A2300 & A3300
Yeah... isn't Vitamix great at keeping their, model selection simple? *sarcasm*
But then again, I guess they are making them with enough features to try and please most buyers.
That's not a bad thing!
Which Ascent Model is the Best One?
Well, this will depend on you.
What you want.
And what you like best.
If you know that you do want a Vitamix Ascent model, there are really just two decisions to make:
- For a touchscreen control panel, you must get the A3300 or A3500.
- For preset program modes, you must choose the A2500 or A3500
A2300 = NO Touchscreen + NO Programs
A3300 = Has Touchscreen + NO Programs
Is this all as clear as mud yet?
You might need to re-read those options 2 or 5 times!
The 2 Most Important Things All Vitamix Ascent Models Share
- 10-year Warranty - covers all parts, performance, labor, and two-way shipping.
- Same Blending Quality Results
Here's What's Up With the New Vitamix Ascent WIFI Feature
The base unit for the Ascent models use wifi communication to identify which container is being used.
There's actually a tag built into the bottom of each container.
This new change allows Vitamix Ascent models to use either the full-size jugs as well as the small personal-size containers.
The motor base will automatically adjust for the maximum blending times based on the container size you’ve chosen.
These compatible new small containers will be available for purchase soon (due out Spring 2017).
Vitamix is planning to offer a 20-oz container as well as a new mini 8-oz cup container.
In order for your Vitamix Ascent model to run, it must recognize the container.
So if you already own and older Vitamix model, you will not be able to use any of the older containers on the Ascent.
The Ascent models even have Bluetooth, although Vitamix has not indicated yet what they plan on doing with that.
When you turn on the Vitamix Ascent, you can use your phone to search for available Bluetooth connections, and “Vitamix_1.1” will show up!
Other New Features
Digital Timer Display
All Ascent models have this feature that will count up and display the seconds and minutes of manual blends.
When using the 64 ounce container, the motor will automatically stop after 6½ minutes.
The neat thing about having this automatic 6½ minute shutt off means that even the Ascent A2300 & A3300 models without pre-programs, kind of still do!
You see, you can make 'cooked' soup by cranking up the speed to high, then the motor will turn itself off after 6½ minutes.
That's only a touch longer than the A2500 & A3500 which have the 'Soup" program which runs for 5¾ minutes.
Newly Designed Lid
The Ascent features a lid which is clear, unlike the previous black lids.
I guess this makes sense when you realize the old black lids blocked your view of the contents form the top.
This clear lid will have you appreciating the view of what's going on during blending.
The Ascent lid also has snaps on and makes a satisfying click when they are locked on.
This new lid also forms a better seal.
Not that there was ever a real problem with the seals on the old lids, but if you blended a large amount of thin liquid, they could occasionally leak a bit.
Not these Ascent lids!
They remain sealed in situations where the old lids could leak.
More Convenient Dishwasher-Safe Container
Prior to the Ascent models, Vitamix advised that only the S-Series containers were dishwasher safe.
The full-size container for the Ascent is also dishwasher safe.
I say, that's no biggie for me!
Personally, I find it's better to just rinse it then run it with warm, soapy water.
Squeaky clean in mere minutes.
But for those of you who don't want to do more than rinse it, being able to run it through the dishwasher will be nice.
Totally New Style Base Unit
This new generation of Vitamix features a newly designed shape for the base and a clean bevel. These machines are meant to look good from all sides, including the back.
Vitamix has moved the label from the back to the bottom, so if your's is set up on your kitchen island, even the back of your Vitamix Ascent looks more polished.
Digital Knob for the A3300 and A3500 Ascent Models
The A3300 and A3500 still a physical knob in the center of the base, but it does not have absolute positions.
The knob is a good size and has a nice feel.
It gently clicks between speed settings which range frrm 1 to 10 in half increments.
And each time that you turn on your machine, or after a blend is stopped, the speed setting resets to one.
The cool thing about this that it can prevent the potential for you to accidentally leave the dial set on high which could make a big mess by unexpectedly starting at max speed with the lid off!
Two Really Important New Features
The New 10-year warranty
Previous Vitamix models came with a maximum of a 7-year warranty on new machines. The refurbs have 5 years.
Vitamix warranties have always been legendary due to their awesomness!
For one, they have the best customer service reps. They do not give Vitamix customers a hard time - AT ALL!
But another great thing about Vitamix is that if your machine needs service, they cover the cost of shipping both ways.
They will often offer you as a first-time courtesy, the replacement for items damaged by your own error or negligence.
No blender brand beats the Vitamix warranty.
More Containers and New Sizes
People have almost been begging for a small bowl type container to use on thier Vitamix blender.
Well... it's here!
Vitamix offers a new 8-oz cup container to fit on the Ascent models.
There will also be a 20-oz container made as the same size and shape as the to-go cup on the S-Series.
These 20-ounce blending containers have spill-proof lids, and are versatile to use when you need to chop up ingredients as well as making smoothies, whole juices, salad dressings, and more.
With its tapered design at the bottom, it will easily fit into car cup holders and your refrigerator door.
The little 8-oz cup uses the same blade assembly as the 20-oz, but the container size and shape will be very handy for blending small amounts of things like salad dressing.
The containers, lids, and blade base are all dishwasher-safe.
Since the Ascent cookbook refers to a 48-oz container, we expect that they will be offering one in that size as well.
But no one knows when—hopefully later in 2017.
For now, the Ascent models can only use of the large 64-oz container. But I know this is really a non-issue for plenty of people.
Other Little Changes from the Vitamix Legacy Models
The overall dimensions are kind of close to G-Series Vitamix models.
But the base of the Ascent base is about ¼” shorter. When you set the Ascent container onto the base, it's about 1/4” shorter than G-Series models, which puts it at 17¼”.
The footprint for the base is 8" × 10¾”
Shorter Power Cord
The new power cord is 4 ft long instead of 6ft as was on the 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.
The max speed is the same as the G-Series models @ 23,000 RPM.
The minimum speed is a tiny bit slower than the G-Series models, but it's not really a noticeable difference.
What is more noticeable, as you turn up the speed dial, it first increases very gradually, then more quickly.
The G-Series blenders increased evenly from start to finish.
Another similarity to the G-Series models is a soft start.
This means that if you start the motor while the dial is set at a high speed, with the C-series Vitamix, the motor will immediately go at full throttle.
With the G-Series models, it automatically ramps up the speed but with a slow start.
However, the soft start on the Ascent series isn't quite as soft as on G-Series. But only by a tiny bit.
The Design of the 64-oz Container
At a glance, the Ascent 64-oz jug is very similar to the one for the G-Series.
But this new one weighs a little bit more:1240g vs 1190g which is just a 4% difference.
With the lid on, the both containers come in at the same height.
Without the lid, the Ascent jug is actually 1/4” taller. However, the Ascent lid is thinner.
Lastly, the pour spout is a different shape, but so far, no reports of anyone noting a big difference of how it pours.
I guess there will always be those people who prefer mechanical switches over touchscreens.
The A2300 and A2500 are perfect for those people!
They have pulse and start/stop paddle switches, which work nicely.
The variable speed dial is a larger knob and the numbers are more visible than on the older Vitamix models.
The new speed dial also includes an OFF position, which makes shutting down the machine more convenient. It can also prevent you from accidentally starting it.
Protected On/Off Switch
Vitamix Ascent blenders have the On/Off switch located towards the rear bottom of the base on the right side. This is the same location as the G-Series models.
But new and unique to the Ascent base is a little lip over the On/Off switch to protect it from spills.
What Will Happen to the Older Vitamix C and G Series Blenders?
It's highly probable that the long running C-Series is going to be completely retired.
But no one really knows when they will go out of stock for good.
For now, sources say that Vitamix plans to continue making the S-Series, and the G-Series Pro 750 and 780 models until the end of 2017.
Container Compatibility Between the Old and New Models
Legacy model containers (the C and G Series machines) cannot be used on the Ascent series, because they do not have NFC tags to communicate with the Ascent base unit.
However, since the drive shaft on the Ascent machines is the same as the C and G-Series, you can actually use the Ascent 64-oz container on both the C and G-Series bases.
But according to Vitamix, the new container is wider and shouldn’t be used on C-Series bases. It affects the blending performance and you will have to be more careful about not overheating the motor.
As for the smaller containers... you are not going to be able to use those on Legacy machines.
This is because the inside of the 4 centering posts are different on the Ascent series, which will prevent you from fitting the new 20-oz and 8-oz containers on Legacy models.
Bottom Line - Is the Vitamix Ascent a Good Fit for You?
If you only really need the 20-oz container size, the S-Series bases are much more compact, so that model might be a better choice for those of youwith a tight little kitchen.
If you don’t like the looks, or you hate the digital timer, you might want one of the Legacy models.
Some of you may quip that the new, more advanced technology models just have more things that can go wrong and be harder to fix.
Well... Vitamix is backing these with a10-year warranty, so that should really put your mind at ease.
If you are worried about the microprocessors, know that Vitamix has been selling models with microprocessor speed control (6300/Pro 500 and G-Series) for over 5 years, and I haven’t found any complaints about the microprocessors failing.
My guess is that the microprocessor will last for a very long time.
Vitamix Ascent vs. Legacy models
Here’s an quick comparison of how these new Ascent models differ from the previous Vitamix models (aka Legacy models).
10 year Warranty
5 to 7 Year Warranty
Multuple Container Variety
1 or 2 Container Sizes
Clear Lid to see blending activity
Black Lid hides blending
Timer display counts minutes + seconds
Some look dated
Smaller Size Footprint and Height
Some are quite big
And the Ascent models deliver those extra goodies for about the same price as the old Legacy models!
Summary and Bottom Line for the Vitamix Ascent
You have to admit that the Vitamix Ascent series offers a terrific range of improvements over previous models.
I was stunned and happy to see them offering the 10-Year Warranty.
That tells me that they really have a great deal of confidence in this new line-up.
Plus, Vitamix will soon release more container sizes and wireless features for the Ascent models.
So owning an Ascent is buying a Vitamix blender that will take you long into the future.