Everything you Ought to Know About the Vitamix Ascent Platform
The Vitamix Ascent Series, is going to have you swooning. Not because of the safety and usability improvements. Not because of its new design. But its actual, practical versatility will make you realize this was the Vitamix we’ve all been waiting for. A full-sized machine with a 64 ounce container that can also do personal-sized tasks in 20-ounce and 8-ounce blend-and-go containers. The Ascent, in its most feature rich configuration, is the best of its predecessors. It’s as if a Pro 750, an S30, and a 780 came together to make this super Vitamix: The Ascent Series. You’re going to want this Vitamix. Ascent Series models with 64-ounce containers are now available on vitamix.com (and soon vitamix.ca). The 20-ounce and 8-ounce blend-and-go containers will be available in Spring 2017.
Best for most peopleThe A2500 is the best Ascent choice for most people.
Best for culinary creators (upgrade pick)For anyone wanting an Ascent with all the bells and whistles, the A3500 is the only way to go.
Best for those on a budgetThe A2300 is the best way to get into the Ascent ecosystem for the least money.
The Ascent Series comes in four different models.
Ascent Series Model Overview
Before elaborating on our Vitamix Ascent recommendations, remember this: Actual performance (blend quality) is identical across the entire Ascent line. Also, all Ascent machines are compatible with the 8-ounce blending bowl and 20-ounce blending cup add-ons. The increase in price as you proceed upward in model number is correlated with an increase in features.
The Best Ascent for Most People
We think the A2500 is the best Vitamix Ascent series model for most people. First of all, you get the platform. You can start basic and add 20-ounce and 8-ounce compatibility whenever. And, with the A2500, you get three pre-programmed settings. No, “you don’t need pre-programmed settings“. But they are helpful for anyone with an on-the-go, multitasking lifestyle. I’ve also unscientifically postulated that owners with pre-programmed settings on their Vitamix get more useful years from their machine. Why? Because they’re more likely to run cleaning cycles and therefore keep their machine cleaner and in better shape. The A2000 series (this one and the A2300) have actual switches which is preferred by many (and is certainly better for individuals that are visually impaired).
Note: Although the A2500 does not have a dedicated “self-cleaning” program, you can essentially get the same results by running a “smoothie” program with warm water and a drop of soap. (Thanks Mark B. for pointing this out.)
The “Fully-Loaded” Ascent
If you’re looking for the Vitamix Ascent model with all the bells and whistles (most features), you’ll love the A3500. This is the flagship Vitamix and the one we use. With this upgrade pick, you get the Ascent Platform, plus five pre-programmed settings, plus touchscreen controls, plus metal finishings like brushed stainless. No doubt, this is the latest and greatest Vitamix; the best money can buy.
The Ascent for those on a Budget
For anyone on a budget, you cannot go wrong with an A2300. It’s the basic Vitamix Ascent, warrantied for ten years like the rest. If you’ve never had a Vitamix, you won’t miss any of the features that come on the higher-end versions. It’s entry-level, but it’s still an Ascent. The most advanced and versatile product Vitamix has ever offered.
The Sneaky Savvy Ascent Pick
The only Vitamix Ascent that we didn’t discuss is the A3300. It’s the touchscreen Ascent without pre-programmed settings. At first glance, this model seems like the odd man out. If you’re getting an Ascent and want to upgrade from entry-level, what’s a few more dollars (per month if you’re using their easy, zero-interest payment plans) for pre-programmed settings? Well, this may actually be a shrewd pick for an experienced Vitamix owner. This model comes with a programmable timer, allowing you to set a time and speed and let it go. (Think like how you use a microwave oven.) So with this model, you get walkaway blending capabilities without paying the premium for pre-programmed settings. Plus, of course, all the new Ascent Series features.
Here’s a preview of me unboxing an A3500. The full unboxing and up-close video should be posted soon. (Stay tuned!)
Want to see the Ascent in action? We had the pleasure of visiting Vitamix headquarters and got to see it live. Check it out.
What’s New with the Vitamix Ascent Series
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, the Vitamix Ascent Series is more than an internationally market tested name for a high-performance blender.
It’s a platform.
The Vitamix Ascent is a product upon which Vitamix corporation plans to build.
It’s a Vitamix with full-size capability. Every machine comes with a 64-ounce container with Smart Detect technology.
But it’s also a machine than can handle blend-and-go containers. That’s right, with an add-on kit, you can use your full-sized Ascent with a 20-ounce blending cup to make smoothies, shakes and dressings. Or, you can use an 8-ounce blending bowl to make small smoothie bowls, baby food, spice grinds, and more.
So as I said above, this machine combines the power and performance of a G-Series with the flexibility and convenience of an S-Series.
I’ll say it. The Ascent Series is a total game-changer.
And the changes are all based on feedback from people like you and me. Vitamix lovers.
Let’s get into a bit more detail about what’s new with the Vitamix Ascent.
Redesigned 64-ounce container
Three cool new features with the Ascent’s 64-ounce container.
1) Improved pouring
There’s a small bulge in the front of the container that makes thick blends pour much smoother. No more smoothie and shake avalanches that were common in the original low-profile, 64-ounce containers.
2) Clear, locking lid
People enjoyed the clear lids in some of the vintage Vitamix machines. These clear lids are nice for seeing the blend as it’s going. And the “click” helps you be sure the lid is secured tightly. No more accidental green smoothie explosions.
3) Lid plug with measurements
A minor, but nice feature that’s back by request. Assuming you’re not using a Perfect Blend, you’ll need to measure ingredients occasionally. The ounce and half ounce (30 ml or 15 ml) make this easy.
(Coming in Spring 2017) New 20-ounce and 8-ounce container capability
Want to make a small batch of salad dressing? With the Ascent, this is easy.
Want to make fresh, small portions of baby food? With the Ascent, this is possible.
All other features and enhancements aside. The 20-ounce and 8-ounce containers are why you’re going to want an Ascent Series Vitamix.
All containers that are compatible with the Ascent Series machines “talk” with the motor base. The “Smart Detect” technology is still pretty basic, but here’s why it matters.
Ascent Series Vitamix machines will only run when an Ascent container is on its base. Bump the container off and the motor stops immediately. Nice for homes with small children, pets, and less-than-careful occupants.
Ascent machines recognize what type of container is on its base. Place a 20-ounce or an 8-ounce container and you’ll only see programs that are configured (and safe!) for that container. The result is more precise blends and user error prevention.
All Ascent Series models have a digital timer on their face. The timer’s functionality gets more advanced as you move up the line.
These digital timers are new to Vitamix models and is actually pretty exciting.
You’re going to get a lot more visibility into your blends. And it should help you get more consistent results with the recipes you make most often.
Here’s how each of the Ascent timers work.
A2300: Timer counts up when variable speed is selected.
A2500: Timer does two things:
- Counts up when Variable speed is selected.
- Counts down when a pre-programmed setting is selected.
A3300: Timer does two things:
- Counts up when Variable speed is selected.
- Counts down when Variable Speed and time is selected. (Think of this like how you use a microwave oven.)
A3500: Timer does three things.
- Counts up when Variable speed is selected.
- Counts down when Variable Speed and time is selected (microwave again).
- Counts down when a pre-programmed setting is selected.
The A3300’s presents itself as a neat option. Despite not having pre-programmed settings, you still get “walk-away blending” without paying a premium for pre-programmed settings.
Quieter in open spaces
Vitamix has not done any scientific testing on the Ascent’s sound output. And neither have we.
But in our limited experience so far, the Ascent seemed quieter than its G-Series predecessor while running in an open kitchen.
Dishwasher safe containers
All containers in the Ascent Series (even the 64-ounce) are dishwasher safe.
Thinking about the 20-ounce and 8-ounce containers, this makes sense. Similar 20-ounce containers on the S-Series are dishwasher safe (and basically dishwasher required).
But why is the Ascent’s 64-ounce container is suddenly dishwasher safe? Not sure. Seeking confirmation, but my guess is that the blade assembly’s seal has been reconfigured due to the Smart Detect technology. Either way, this is nice for the occasional deep cleaning.
Note: You will get the most out of your Ascent if you use the traditional method of cleaning your Vitamix most of the time. Warm water, soap, run.
New sleek design
Are they futuristic? Are they retro?
I’m not a design guy, but I know the new design took me a minute to get used to.
But now, I really appreciate the update.
Most relevant to you, though, these machines are designed to be aesthetically pleasing from every angle. So for people with open kitchens, the sides and back are just as impressive as the front.
All Vitamix Ascent models come with a 10-year full warranty. This covers free shipping both ways if anything should happen during the warranty period.
Why the jump from 7-year warranties to 10-year?
These machines have always lasted decades. Why not promise to service them for a full one?
Answers about Ascent Series containers (and compatibility)
“Can I use my old Vitamix Containers on an Ascent?”
As discussed above, the Vitamix Ascent is designed with Smart Detect technology. As such, the motor will only operate when it recognizes one of its Ascent containers.
So no, the Ascent is unable to blend with any non-Ascent (legacy) container.
“Can legacy Vitamix models (G-Series or C-Series) operate an Ascent add-on 20-ounce or 8-ounce container?”
Ascent Series blade cups (8-ounce and 20-ounce) do not fit on legacy machines. This is a safety feature (requirement), as only Ascent Series machines are designed to prevent open blades.
“What do you mean by open blades?”
The 8-ounce cup’s removable blade is quite close to the user. With Smart Detect technology, heavily-weighted blade assembly base, and strong magnets, this add-on becomes safe for household use.
Why only 4.5 stars?
There are two simple reasons we “rated” the Vitamix Ascent Series 4.5 out of 5.
Self Detect Technology
The Self Detect Technology certainly adds some safety. And it adds some user-error prevention; potentially better blends.
But owners upgrading to Ascent will have to completely replace their old containers. Not a huge deal, since all new Ascent machines come with a 64-ounce Self Detect container. But for anyone who had an S-Series or invested in a secondary 32 ounce container, the new technology rendering those containers worthless may be frustrating.
Limited testing time yet
We received our Ascent 3500 just a few days before it was available online. We plan to make it our everyday blender and update the ranking as we see fit. (And just like the 780 review, we plan to publish several recipe videos so that you have more than the five Ascent demos we got to see at headquarters.
Who should upgrade?
If you’re a power-user already, you are probably going to want to upgrade. And rightfully so.
The Ascent Series solves a lot of the challenges that you may have had with using your Vitamix to its fullest. Small batches, very small batches, blend-and-go capabilities. Also, if you have ever felt limited by only having one large container, upgrading to any of these Ascent Series models is worth it.
In our house, we are upgrading because using our Vitamix is our job. In my sisters’ houses, they’ll be upgrading because they’re the head of household, like on-the-go smoothies and shakes, and make baby food.
If you’ve had a Vitamix for a while, and are satisfied with your green smoothie, protein shake, and occasional hot soup or frozen dessert regimen, you should not feel obligated to upgrade. The Ascent Series is going to be around for a while and will only get better.
If you just bought, you may want to upgrade, especially if you got it within the last 30 days. Vitamix has a 30-day upgrade, downgrade, and return policy and would be happy to get you an Ascent in exchange.
Why (why not) Vitamix
If you’re reading this page, you probably already know you want a Vitamix. But in case there’s any doubt, here’s an abbreviated explanation for why Vitamix.
Vitamix has been in business since 1921. They engineer and assemble their machines just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, USA. They’re a 4th generation family business started by the Barnard family. Today, they’re run by the humble, kind, and wise, award-winning President and CEO Jodi Berg, great granddaughter of founder, “Papa” Barnard.
Chefs around the world use Vitamix machines in their kitchens. More than a drink maker, they use the Vitamix as a finishing tool to make velvety purees, soups and dressings.
But it’s not just back of the house…
The last smoothie, shake or other blended drink you purchased and was so delicious? Its greatness was not because of secret ingredients. It was because of the machine and was probably made in a Vitamix. These machine are in Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and dozens more. Aside from making the best drinks, quick-serve restaurants know that…
Vitamix machines are built to last. The Ascent Series comes with a 10-year full warranty. Call up one of the Vitamix Customer Service reps and they’ll joyfully take care of you as needed. But the long-term warranty is generally just the beginning. There are so many stories of people passing their Vitamix down through the generations.
Why are these Vitamix machines so durable? The hammer mill blades are dull from the outset. It’s the performance engineering of the motor, blade container, etc. that keep the blends consistent over the long haul. (Sharp blades found on Ninja and others are not only dangerous, but mean performances declines quickly.) And as this demonstrator nicely put it, “You’ll cry once buying a Vitamix. You’ll cry dozens of times when you have to keep replacing a shiny blender.”
And finally, more than any other kitchen appliance, Vitamix owners are passionate about their product (and company). These machines are part of divorce settlements and roommate disputes. They travel across the country with people. You can’t know it until you know. But the feelings people get when a Vitamix becomes part of they lifestyle is priceless.
The Vitamix Ascent Series, by design and functionality, really is the future of Vitamix. I can’t wait to see where our family goes with it.Shop Ascent Now!