Ask any home cook what the best blender money can buy is and they’ll likely say, almost reflexively, a Vitamix (even if they haven’t ever used one or observed one in action). The American company’s approach is comprehensive — design, multi-functionality, customer service, warranty and ease-of-use are accounted for with every model, new and old. But the 5200, the brand’s longstanding unofficial flagship, is still $450 from its website.

Released in 2017, Vitamix’s Explorian line, and the E310 model, is a response to the real pressure from competitors making similarly powerful blenders at a fraction of the Vitamix price point. The E310 is $100 more affordable than the 5200, and promises virtually identical blending prowess, marking Vitamix’s first concerted effort to lower the point of entry for a full-sized, badass blender. Does the E310’s stack up to Vitamix’s classic 5200 blender and a cavalcade of lower-priced brands’ models?

The Good: Without a doubt, the E310’s performance stacks up to its predecessor. The 5200’s main selling point is an ability to pulverize virtually anything into whatever consistency you wish — chunks of veggies diced in 10 seconds; soups made, cold produce to piping hot, in six minutes; homemade frozen yogurt in 60 seconds, creamy nut butters and so on. Yes, it can make you a really, really smooth smoothie, too.

After making curried carrot soup (recommended on Vitamix’s site), pistachio nut butter (it’s as incredible as it sounds) and way too many walnut and mint chocolate milkshakes with the two models side-by-side, the E310’s performance basically mirrored the 5200. On top of this, though both have similarly-sized bases, the E310’s container is almost three inches shorter (48 ounces) than the 5200’s (64 ounces), allowing it to fit snugly under my kitchen cabinets.

Who They’re For: Anyone who’s set on a Vitamix and just on the edge of buying the 5200 or other similar models, with price being the sole thought otherwise. It can do what the 5200 can do from a performance perspective, and it can be had for $100 less at full price.

Seeing as most folks who are considering dropping $300 or more on a blender likely plan to use it close to every day, it’s short (albeit less voluminous) container is more likely to slide into a corner on your counter.

Watch Out For: The E310 is indeed cheaper. The handle of the container is a slippery-when-wet plastic, where a rubberized grip is provided with the classic model. The knobs and switches on the base also lack the rubberized feel the 5200 provides. They’re covered by the same type of warranty, but the E310’s five-year warranty is two years briefer than the 5200’s. Final bit: at 48 ounces, if you plan to blend larger batches or have more mouths to feed the E310’s stock container (get the E320 for more room for the same price) may prove too tight.

Alternatives: By way of longer base warranties, more hardy, quality-of-life-improving materials and the potential to blend in greater volumes, the 5200 is a better blender, if only slightly. A new one will run you $100 more than the E310, but a manufacturer refurbished model can be had for less than a new E310 (we didn’t test the refurbed 5200, but reviews are overwhelmingly positive).

Outside of the Vitamix label, Oster’s Versa Pro Series blender has been offered up as a more affordable blender, if slightly less affordable. It’s also discounted on Amazon fairly frequently.

Verdict: The E310 is good. It shaves a healthy amount of cash off what is a luxury product and maintains that product’s performance integrity. Think of the E310 as a utilitarian, stripped-down 5200 — it’s without some smaller features but accomplishes what it needs to all the same.

What Others Are Saying:

• “There’s no other blender on the market today that balances price and value better than the E310. You could get a Vitamix Certified Reconditioned blender at similar pricing, but for some it’s an icky thought, and for others, it’s tough to find the right model at the right time at the right price since they are limited quantities. Being a brand new blender, the E310 availability will be way better than a Certified Reconditioned model, and it does offer the warranty extension to 8 years as well.” — Rick, Blender Reviews

• “The Vitamix E310 and the Vitamix 5200 are both solid 2-horsepower machines that will deliver nearly identical results in terms of blend quality… If you are blending smaller batches, I’d recommend the E310 — and the 5200 for larger blends. Keep in mind cabinet height if purchasing these – the 5200 is ~2.5-inches taller but could make all the difference when it comes to storing this on your countertop.” — Keith Knittel, Blend Guide

Key Specs

Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 18 inches
Blades: 3-inch laser-cut, stainless-steel blades
Horsepower: 2.0
Weight: 10.5 pounds
Cord: 4.5 feet (coiled in base of device)

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