+ The size of the container
+ A cheaper, utilitarian model
+ The smoothest smoothies
+ Frozen fruit is fine
+ Other negatives in reviews that I haven’t encountered
+ Easy to clean
- The lid and spout
- The clear, hollow handle
- It’s loud
- Five year warranty
- Replacement containers are expensive
After years of dithering I finally bought a Vitamix (affiliate link) even though I told myself I wouldn’t. When I priced one up I assumed I’d want one of the new Ascent Series Smart System Blenders but because I only really want to make smoothies I figured I’d need to get the smaller cups and adapter as well. It totalled to over £700 and that wasn’t even for the top of the range model.
Surprisingly, a trawl through the reviews didn’t make me want to buy any of the Ascent Series, even if I did somehow come into a small windfall. While the Vitamix brand is generally well regarded and used in plenty of professional kitchens, a lot of people seem to have difficulty getting the Smart System motor base to recognise the smaller containers. These containers have a narrow bottom (at the opposite end to the blade) so frozen fruit and protein powders can get stuck and they’re personal sized so if I want to make a smoothie for two (pretty much every smoothie I make) I’d have to blend twice. The 2 litre low-profile jug that comes with the Ascent Series apparently struggles to process smaller portion sizes and I remember my old 2 litre Philips blender being overkill for two people. A lot of reasons not to spend an imaginary £700+.
I really needed a new blender though. My Nutribullet had been on its last legs for months and I finally had to let it go when I found a small metal shard in my smoothie. I only came across it because I’d made a particularly good peach smoothie and was rolling it around in my mouth, savouring it, when I found the shard (or the jagged metal Krusty-O as I now think of it). The Nutribullet went straight in the bin but I just couldn’t bring myself to hit the buy button on another Nutribullet, especially as the binned one was a replacement for one that had died just within its warranty.
I started looking into classic and legacy Vitamix models but the well reviewed 5200 (with a narrow blade base that’s good for smoothies) is way too tall to fit on my countertop and the E320 has a low-profile 2 litre container like the Ascent Series so it was a no go. Then I saw the Vitamix E310 (cue angels singing). I’d initially disregarded it because why get a 310 when you can get a 320? Because it turns out that the E310 is the only Vitamix that comes with a 1.4 litre container.
Before I get into the good and bad bits of the E310, I should say that I mostly use it for making smoothies and occasionally milling flax seeds. I don’t make soup, dough, flour or nut butters in it but from what I’ve read it manages these well. Check out Blending with Henry’s video where he makes peanut butter using the E310 using just peanuts, no oil needed.
The good bits
The size of the container
For me, 1.4 litres is the perfect size for a household of two and Elizabeth Martin from Healthy But Smart agrees. This was the review that convinced me to buy the E310 and it’s really thorough and helpful*. I’m especially pleased with the container size because it means that I don’t have to buy any additional bowls, cups or adapters. While I liked that the Nutribullet came with an array of different cups and lids, finding a place to store them all was a pain. The only accessory I store for the E310 is the tamper.
The E310 sits on my countertop underneath a cupboard, which it clears by a few centimetres. It’s 46cm (18”) tall and before it arrived I wasn’t 100% sure that it would fit but it’s fine. The footprint is considerably larger than my compact Nutribullet and because the base is heavy it’s not as easy to tuck away to the back of the countertop when I’m done blending. It doesn’t bother me as the blender lives next to some other gadgets so I don’t use that space for chopping or food prep.
*The Healthy But Smart review states that the containers can’t be upgraded for the E310 but I contacted Vitamix to double check and they told me that the E310 is a Classic C-Series model so the C-Series containers are compatible, specifically “the 64 ounce classic (2 litre), the 48 ounce (1.4 litre), the 32 ounce (wet and dry, 0.9 litres), the Aer Disc, and the Personal Cup Adapter”.
A cheaper, utilitarian model
The E310 is at the lower end of the price scale for a Vitamix blender because it has zero bells and whistles and is as basic as a Vitamix gets. There’s no power switch on the side, no presets, no timer, no SELF-DETECT™, no wireless connectivity - just an on/off toggle, a pulse toggle and a speed dial. I’m absolutely fine with this as it makes the blender incredibly easy to use; just flip the switch, dial up the speed, blend, turn off, done.
The smoothest smoothies
The first smoothie I made came out so velvety smooth I was astounded (sorry for the overuse of “smooth” but there’s no other word for it). I’m used to the Nutribullet, which I think makes a great smoothie but this is a whole other level. I immediately cleaned the container and refilled it with what I considered to be a challenge: 1 cup of water, 2 satsumas, 2 carrots roughly cut into 2” pieces, a tiny knob of ginger and a handful of ice - blended on speed 10 for 1 minute. While I can’t quite call it carrot juice, in the sense that juice has been extracted from a carrot with all solids removed and only liquid remaining, it’s very close and, even better, all the pulp, fibres and goodness are still in the drink. I’ve since realised that carrots pose no challenge whatsoever for a Vitamix, which is great as I’m pretty sure I would have burnt out the motor of my Nutribullet had a carrot gone anywhere near it.
Frozen fruit is fine
I read many, many reviews before buying the E310 and my main concern was that several people reported that the blender struggles with frozen fruit. 90% of my smoothies include some form of frozen fruit so this would be a deal breaker for me. I couldn’t understand it though, as my Nutribullet coped fine as long as the liquid levels were sufficient and the E310 has a 2 horsepower motor. Vitamix replied to a lot of the complaints advising that ingredients need to be added to the container in the correct order: “liquids first, then dry goods, leafy greens, fruit and veggies and finally ice and frozen ingredients”. To date I haven’t had any issues with frozen fruit or ice and I’ve yet to find any lumps or chunks in my smoothies.
Other negatives in reviews that I haven’t encountered
Some people have found that the base of the E310 sometimes “walks” across their countertop while blending. They might be processing hardier ingredients than me but I’ve never had this happen and I feel comfortable walking away from the E310 while it’s blending.
The Vitamix container drops onto the base and there’s no clipping or pushing it into place to lock it. Some people have complained that it doesn’t feel secure (I don’t agree) and that once the speed is turned up high, the container shifts a little to the right. This is definitely true and it’s quite odd; you can see it happening in Blending with Henry’s video review when he turns up the dial to make peanut butter. Initially I wondered why Vitamix didn’t create more of a snug connection to stop the shift but I believe it’s because a super tight fit would cause more wear and tear on the motor and container. Vitamix responded to one of the complaints stating that the shift is normal and that it’s not a good idea to hold the container in place to stop it from happening. Once the container has shifted it’s fine to hold it down if you’re worried it’s not secure but I don’t feel the need.
Other complaints mention that ingredients can stick to the sides of the container and not get blended but that’s what the tamper is for.
Easy to clean
The E310 container, lid and lid plug are dishwasher safe but they can also be cleaned in the usual Vitamix way, by rinsing out the container, adding a drop of detergent and half filling it with warm water then running the blender for 30-60 seconds. I usually do this or I sometimes hand wash the container as I worry that the dishwasher might make it cloudy.
That’s another complaint - after a while the container gets scratched and cloudy. Mine got scratched near the bottom after a few uses but I would expect this given that I blend tough vegetables, dates and occasionally seeds. It’s too soon to tell regarding cloudiness and I’ll update my review in due course. I wish Vitamix made glass containers but I don’t think glass is compatible with the speed of the motor. My Phillips blender had a lovely glass jug but the motor was nowhere near as powerful and the smoothies it produced were of the chunky, lumpy variety.
The bad bits
It might just be me because in all the reviews I’ve read no one else has complained about this but the lid is weird. I struggle to get the clips to, well, clip to the container. I’m not the strongest person, but not entirely feeble either, and I always have a small battle when trying to attach the lid. It’s made from a fairly stiff plastic and I thought it might ease up after a few uses but it hasn’t. Vitamix advises lining up the clips halfway between the handle and spout and pressing down evenly on the plug. I find this much easier when I’m cleaning the container and everything’s wet - then the lid clips in easily. I appreciate that the clips are probably needed due to the power of the Vitamix and if the lid came loose while blending there would be an unholy mess but I still find it mildly annoying and I worry that the clips will eventually snap off. I’ve taken to wetting the bottom of the lid before securing it in place and this helps.
The clear, hollow handle and spout
Previous Vitamix containers had chunky, soft-grip handles so no water could get into them. I live in a hard water area and if any water gets into the hollow E310 handle I spend far too long twisting up a tea towel and attempting to dry the inside of it to prevent water spots. I’ll probably stop caring at some point and let it get messy but a non-hollow handle would have been better. Vitamix have used hollow handles on the newer A-Series so it’s hard to avoid unless you buy a legacy model.
The square-shaped spout drips a little after pouring; a minor annoyance but not a huge deal.
It’s not Nutribullet loud, when the bearings have gone and it sounds screechingly, screamingly, bone-and-glass-grindingly loud but when the E310’s speed is turned up any higher than 5, it’s pretty loud. It’s not intolerable and it’s certainly smoother sounding than the Nutribullet but be warned. Some people have returned the E310 due to noise and concerns about disturbing neighbours but I don’t think it’s that bad. I got used to wearing ear defenders when using the Nutribullet so unless I’m blending a smoothie with soft fruits, I pop the ear defenders on, turn the E310 up to 10 and walk away for a minute or so until it’s done.
Five year warranty
The E310 comes with a five year warranty, which seems decent enough but considering that a lot of the other Vitamix blenders come with a seven or ten year warranty, five suddenly seems a bit mean.
Replacement containers and accessories are expensive
The container certainly feels like it should last and it’s covered by the warranty (within reason - “cosmetic changes” aren’t covered) but if you do need a replacement it’ll cost £125.
There’s an overpriced (in my opinion) tamper holder that you can buy for £15 that attaches to the Vitamix for convenience but I’ve never had to use the tamper so mine sits in a cupboard. The under blade scraper costs £12.50 but if the container is washed immediately after blending then I see no reason to buy this.
I’ve had my Vitamix E310 for over a month and I know I should use it for a few more months before writing a review but there’s not a lot more to explore with it. I use it most days to make smoothies and it performs brilliantly. Our vegetable intake has certainly increased.
I bought the E310 from John Lewis for £314 but I can see that they’ve recently put the price back up to the RRP of £349. In theory the E310 should last for at least five years so it works out about the same as buying a cheaper blender every year or so (this is a very rough calculation based on the price I previously paid for a Nutribullet and how long it lasted).
While I’ve listed the things that bug me about the E310, they’re not deal breakers and in general I find it a pleasure to use. It produces fantastic smoothies and because it’s so powerful I’ve been using it to make low sugar vegetable juices that actually taste good; something I’ve never been able to do with my old blenders.
A note on the S30 model
The Vitamix S30 looks like a good replacement for a Nutribullet, Ninja Blender, etc, but I ruled it out early on because the motor isn’t as powerful as the E310 and it has a detachable blade. I’m leery about detachable blades, having had poor experiences with them before, and I specifically wanted the older style of Vitamix that’s been so well reviewed in the past.
Would I replace it if it broke tomorrow?
If the warranty had elapsed then I would.