If, like me, you are the kind of person who uses their blender a lot, it’s just a matter of time before you come to see the world of blenders as I do: There’s the Vitamix, and there’s everything else. It’s not like we have a secret handshake or anything; there’s just an unspoken understanding among everyone who has ever spent time in a professional kitchen, and plenty who haven’t, that the Vitamix is a superior blender in every way. Unfortunately, one of those ways has always been price. $450–500 has always been the jumping-off point, which, for most people (myself included) might as well have meant jumping off a cliff.
Vitamix piqued our curiosity, however, when we heard about their newest model, the Explorian series E310. With a retail price of about $350, it’s considerably less than their other full-size models and very similar in look and performance to the 5200, the overachiever ubiquitous in professional kitchens. So similar, in fact, that I had to reach out to their publicist to find out what, exactly, was different. Turns out, the container is slightly smaller, and it has a five-year, not seven-year, warranty.
After two weeks with the E310, the main difference I noticed is the controls. After years of muscle memory for how to start, go to max power, and power down the 5200, my biggest struggle was adjusting to the E310’s lack of “max” switch. Instead, it has a pulse switch, for doing rough chopping instead of pureeing. The E310 goes to full power simply by rotating the power knob all the way. For most people, this paragraph sounds like a food nerd geeking out about blenders, which it is. This next one is for anyone who has never used a Vitamix in the first place.
A Vitamix will change your blending life forever, and this model is no different. It is so powerful that it can literally cook food using the friction the blades create. Purees are smoother. Soups are creamier. You won’t notice the kale in your smoothies quite so much. You can mill flour from whole grains in it. That’s not what sets it apart from other expensive blenders, though. Its true beauty lies in its simplicity. The controls are basic and intuitive. There are no mystery buttons to worry about or small parts to lose. Just flip the ON switch, at which point the motor will start to spin with the barest whisper, then twist the knob to unleash the equivalent of two furious horses stampeding inside the blender. A soft start can make all the difference when blending hot liquids, keeping them inside the blender and not all over your face and kitchen.
Is $350 still a lot to pay for a blender? Absolutely. But at least getting a $500 blender for $350 makes it sound a lot sweeter. If my experience in the test kitchen is any guide, your kitchen will become a broken-blender graveyard in the five years during which you could have been using a warranted Vitamix, and, chances are, your Vitamix will work for at least another five years after that.