While manual speed settings will forever have a fanbase of its own, there’s no denying that digital controls are all the rage nowadays.
Easy to operate, it has precise details on display and it somehow always adds a certain sleekness to a machine’s overall appearance. Convenient for multi-tasking, it is no wonder the popularity of blenders with digital settings continues to climb steadily even though it is (often) the pricier option compared to a manual one.
The Ascent Series is Vitamix’s take on the digital operating front. Every model under this line boasts a sleek modern design and all are incorporated with cutting-edge technology and features. Amongst all, the A3300 and A3500 are arguably the most sought-after (and probably also the two most compared) models in the market.
People often get confused between the two – they look almost identical at a glance and both share the same price tag. What are their differences then?
Today, we will be breaking down each model to its core to show you all their best (and worst) qualities in this article. Utilizing our years of experience, we will also do a side-by-side comparison for your easy distinguishing so that you can determine which is the better blender once and for all.
Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series Smart Blender
Calling the Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series Blender smart is a gross understatement.
Armed with a wide range of automated features, everything on this machine comes digital. No more buttons, everything is done with just a simple touch or swipe using its touchscreen controls. We especially like the smart, built-in digital timer as the bright display makes it easy to read even from across the room.
What sets this mechanical marvel apart from its competitors is the programmability you can do with it.
Firstly, it has a control panel that can be synced via built-in wireless connectivity. This allows you to unlock endless possibilities when cooking, including automatically recognizing the size of the container you are using through its wireless self-detect technology.
This feature is particularly useful to professional chefs, caterers or just those who tend to juggle multiple tasks at once as the Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series Blender does not need you to be around when operating. It will stop by itself once time is up so moving around doing other tasks are now made possible with the A3300.
The machine is also compatible with the Perfect Blend App where you can find 17 different programs and over 500 unique recipes to try out. If you love experimenting with new cuisines, you will definitely love the trove of knowledge available!
One downside with the Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series model though is its high price. That’s not totally unexpected, given we are talking about an all-rounder that gets things done smoothly and efficiently – one that could very well serve as your sous-chef in the kitchen.
Nevertheless, we acknowledge it is not one for everyone so it will probably only appeal to trained cooks or people that are truly passionate about cooking. Also, it doesn’t come with accessories.
It does offer a lengthy 10-year warranty package though, which goes to show how assured the manufacturers are of their product’s quality. This gives buyers the confidence that appropriate action will be taken if the machine is not in order. You can definitely see that most customers are in unison when it comes to singing praises about the machine’s build, durability and quality.
All in all, the Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series Smart Blender is an incredibly reliable machine – not just for show but actually makes life easier for all users.
Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender
The Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender is, accordingly, an upgraded successor of the previous model we’ve just discussed. Is it really a better machine, or is it just all bells and whistles?
Visually, the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender doesn’t look any much different (hence the common confusion with the A3300). It sports the same sleek, minimalist design bearing the Ascent Series’ patented touchscreen control pad, and has almost exactly the same dimensions too. So size is not really a deciding factor when one is to consider between these two machines.
One aspect that we feel was greatly enhanced though lies in the controls. It now comes with five pre-programmed settings so one can just accomplish different functions at a touch of a button. This includes preparing hot soups, dips, smoothies, frozen desserts, and self-cleaning.
In particular, its Blade Friction Technology is worth a shoutout. Automatically warming up the ingredients it is blending by having heat emitted from the blades when spun continuously, (thanks to its powerful 2.2-HP motor), it makes preparing hot meals possible without needing to use the stove. On the same note, it makes defrosting cold food like frozen fruit and ice easier and quicker too, so less effort is required.
The A3500 is a particular favourite among those who prefer to have complete maneuverability as this machine is equipped with a variable-speed dial as well. One can manually adjust the speed if required, and fine-tune the texture of any recipe using the pulsing feature.
Giving the flexibility to choose between a more traditional operation vs. an automated setup that is the norm today is what sets the A3500 and A3300 apart in our opinion. It caters to the different needs and preference of different users, be it in a household or in a commercial kitchen thereby creating a more harmonious work flow.
Which is probably why the Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart model is still one of the most highly coveted blenders in the market despite its price tag, one that most chefs alike go for amongst other competitors.
Face-Off: A Thorough Vitamix A3300 and A3500 Comparison
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the Vitamix A3300 and A3500 look almost identical on the surface. We mean, you can even call them twins!
But a closer look will show you all their differences, especially in terms of how they are operated. They can be both an advantage or disadvantage, depending on what you like or need. Incidentally, this will help in making a decision especially when you’re unsure of which blender would be a better fit for your lifestyle.
In this next section, we’ll be comparing and contrasting the Vitamix A3300 and A3500 models based on characteristics that most buyers deem are the most important.
Shape and Size
Both blenders sit at 11-inches wide and 17-inches tall, with a depth of 8-inches. Compatible with 64-ounce containers, many consider them to be the perfect size for groups of four to six people.
As you can see, size isn’t a distinguishing factor for the two blenders. With that said, we have to say this is probably the most perfect size for most kitchens, especially if you have limited counter space. It doesn’t take up much room for firsts, neither are they too heavy or difficult to move around. The 4-foot power cord definitely helps with the latter, and you can even pack them up when travel is required on occasion.
Sure, most other blenders are larger and thus more durable but these two provide a healthy balance between practicality and durability. Not too big nor too small, and makes just enough for the regular household.
Layout and User-Friendliness of Controls
As you can already tell if you’ve read our individual reviews for both above, the controls are where the A3300 and A3500 differentiates the most.
For the Vitamix A3300, we have a model with manual speed-dial, a digital timer, and wireless connectivity. These are all useful features to have, and most importantly, they work together seamlessly.
The Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender has all that but it takes a step further by adding five pre-programmed functions for different kitchen tasks. This was a complete game-changer because now, even users with minimal experience can maximize its multiple features. Whipping up stews, shakes and sauces is now made so much easier, thanks to this addition.
Many people underplay just how useful this feature is because they think it doesn’t take much effort to use these machines. In reality, it can be rather complicated and requires time to learn to be able to make full use of the machine, something not everyone has the luxury to do so.
Therefore, in terms of control layout and user-friendliness, the Vitamix A3500 Smart Blender emerges victorious by a slight margin in our opinion.
Verdict: A3500 wins
Professional-grade blenders are typically used to cut a myriad of different ingredients. From fruits and vegetables (the two most common ones) to crushing nuts, grinding coffee beans and even ice, one would expect a good blender to be able to do it all.
This highly relies on a machine’s motor power which in this case, you have nothing to worry about.
Both A3300 and A3500 are equipped with a powerful 2.2HP (horsepower) motor. When paired with their stainless-steel blades, both are able to complete almost any kitchen task with minimal effort (sounds like good news for the electricity bill, no?). In fact, most users find them to continue performing optimally even after several years of use, so that’s good assurance.
Just remember that the blades need sharpening every once in a while, so that their effectiveness remains at maximum level.
Ease of Maintenance
When it comes to blending, it is almost always never a tidy job. Remnants flying all over, gunk sticking to the pitcher’s slides or underneath the blades are common occurrences that always happen no matter the blender brand.
If your blender isn’t easy to maintain, it may take much effort and longer time to clean up which really, is the main headache for most people. Fortunately, you won’t have this issue with the Vitamix A3300 and A3500 Ascent Series Smart as both models are furnished with an easy-clean function.
Simply mix warm water with a few drops of liquid soap then turn up the power to maximum speed. This should dilute all that goop from around the container and make it easy to rinse clean afterwards.
Depending on the ingredients you’re blending, sometimes the easy-clean function may not be enough and you’ll need to disassemble the whole unit to wash it clean. In this regard, the Vitamix A3500 blender is the easier one out as it is completely dishwasher safe.
All its major components are made from high-quality plastic materials and are resistant to hot or cold temperatures, so they are able to withstand excess wear-and-tear.
Nevertheless, we would say both machines are relatively easy in the maintenance department. Their sleek silhouette exterior definitely helps – it is not just purely aesthetic only but rather, a carefully thought-out design. In case anything overflows, simply wipe it off with a damp rag and it would instantly slide off – easy.
Verdict: A3500 wins
Total Budget and Price
Ah price, it is always a polarizing consideration.
You see, most people already have a perception of how much a product should cost in their mind so if something doesn’t come close to it, it can elicit a strong initial reaction. That’s completely understandable, and totally justifiable.
Which is why we would suggest you to come to the A3300 and A3500 models with a completely open mind.
Yes, they do have a significantly higher price tag if we are to compare them with other contemporary counterparts but we would say they are an investment well made. For all the features they have and the game-changing convenience they bring to the table, it actually saves more time, effort and energy in the long run.
With that said, we do think they are more suited for professionals, restaurateurs, cafe owners, caters and the likes as these people would be able to better utilize all that these machines have to offer fully. Beginners, you may still get it if you’re truly passionate about cooking – otherwise, a more basic model will be enough for all your culinary adventures, for now.
So, warranty is a pretty tricky topic.
One would like to have as long a warranty period as possible, but that’s usually only offered for more expensive blenders (or you’ll have to extend it yourself). That means paying more either way, yet should damages/faulty issues happen, you’ll be so glad to have it around.
The debate is still ongoing as to how long a fair guarantee period should be. In our opinion, five years is the absolute minimum that is acceptable. Anything less should be considered highway robbery, especially for high-end appliances like these.
We’re happy to report, though, that Vitamix has extended a generous 10-year warranty package for both their A3300 and A3500 blenders. Definitely good news for all interested buyers, and goes to show just how accountable the manufacturer is.
It certainly adds a certain degree of assurance, that you have a good product in your hands right there because the manufacturers are not afraid to offer such a long warranty period for it. And that’s certainly welcomed when you’re spending a rather substantial amount on a product, so no complaints from us here in this department.
This might be something new to many because programmability is a unique feature of smart blenders, particularly to the Vitamix Ascent Series.
Basically, this pertains to how capable an appliance is with external networks, such as mobile applications or wireless connectivity.
Both the A3300 and A3500 can be connected to the Internet in this regard to give its users access to various predetermined programs, recipes and automated controls. Based on actual experience though, the Vitamix A3500 operates slightly more smoothly. In many ways, the software feels newer too and this greatly affects our confidence when using it.
This isn’t to take anything away from the Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series Smart Blender though as it is still an extraordinarily amazing blender at the end of the day. We recommend it to those who have a slightly smaller budget but nevertheless still want to experience the marvels of going digital.
To sum up, both are technologically advanced machines that allow users enjoy greater freedom while accomplishing multiple tasks at once. You no longer need to put your full attention on just one station because the blender will automatically stop after its job is done, and you can pre-set its succeeding jobs using an outside command center.
Verdict: A3500 wins
Choosing between the Vitamix A3300 and A3500 is like comparing peaches with pears. They offer almost similar advantages, look very much alike and generally speaking, make everyone’s lives better.
Ultimately, it all comes down to price for us (and probably the majority of you also) when deciding which one is better. The A3500 is slightly more expensive than the A3300, so the question we ask ourselves is: are the extra two to three additional features worth the price difference? And in the bigger picture, is there enough value added?
After looking at all the major considerations, we can safely say that yes, it is.
Vitamix’s A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender offers just enough practicality and performance to be considered more valuable than its predecessor. The additions of five pre-programmed settings, being dishwasher friendly, and a polished software system – extras that will give us more convenience and efficiency in the long run – justify the higher price tag for us.
So if you’re ever looking for a smart blender to invest in, we highly recommend the Vitamix A3500 Blender. It truly delivers what it promises and does not disappoint based on our experience – you can have our word for it.