Vitamix A2500i Ascent review: The ideal premium blender
Quick verdict: The Vitamix A2500i Ascent is the the ideal premium blender. It makes the smoothest of smoothies and disturbingly frothy soups.
- Has lots of presets
- Powerful motor
- Easy to use
- No way to lock in the jug
- Jug base is square, so chunks can hide in the corners
- Motor gets warm, which can melt ice when using frozen dessert setting
Vitamixes are really the Thermomixes of blenders. They might not be part of a multi-level marketing scheme, but Vitamix owners just love talking about how great they are – as though they're the first people to discover the concept of blending. I get it now, and I am one of them. I love most aspects of the Vitamix A2500i Ascent, and were I the kind of person who would casually drop up to $1,300 on a blender, this would be the one I would pick.
There are a lot of blenders on the market, and the A2500i has been out for a few years. But there is a reason why Vitamixes are so well known and respected, and it's not just because of marketing gimmicks saying Vitamix owners eat double the amount of fruits and vegetables as the typical household.
The Ascent Series of Vitamixes are powerful beasts that blend mercilessly, all with the same motor power, but with each of the 3 models (2300, 2500, 3500) adding extra noise dampening and pre-set features so you can make a frozen dessert or soup with minimal effort. Being the middle child, the 2500i strikes the right balance between having enough features to suit everyone and not going overboard on stuff people don't need.
Vitamix A2500i Ascent review: Design
There's no getting around it; the Ascent A2500i is a massive blender of epic proportions. It's a bench-space slayer. It's got junk in its trunk. It has power up the wazoo, necessitating a massive wazoo.
In the Slate colour I was sent, I kind of expected it to blend better with my black and stainless steel kitchen, but it just dominated in an extremely confident way.
That's not a bad thing. If you had just spent $1,300 on a blending beast, you would want it to make its presence known so you actually remember to use it this time – unlike the last 3 blenders you bought and then killed in unfortunate ice-crushing incidents.
The aesthetic quality of black and slate plastic with chrome accents and a massive jug isn't unpleasant, but it's also very utilitarian. If I were going to design a massive and expensive blender, I would try to make it aesthetically pleasing, but I guess that isn't everyone's priority.
The styling skews more towards people who use those masculine 12-in-1 shampoo, body wash and dish detergent concoctions that come in scents such as "leather" and "gun", which I guess is to make it a safe space to prepare pre-workout smoothies.
On the front of the machine, there are 2 buttons and a dial. The left button is for pulsing, and the right is to start and stop blending. The dial has 10 numbers for neutral, smoothie, frozen dessert and soup settings. I really like how easy these are to use, even when you have soggy hands from food prep or hand washing. This is a blender designed to be used.
There is also an easy-to-read digital screen that tells you how long is left on the presets or how much time has elapsed on the numbered settings.
The more perplexing choice, however, is in the square shape of the jug. The blades turn in a circle, so having a circular base to better capture the food you're trying to blend would make sense. Vitamix has gone with a square base, which is totally fine when you add a lot of liquid to whatever you're blending, but if you're blending ice or fruit, this design allows some chunks to hide in the corners, forcing you to stab at them with a little spatula and blend again. It's not a lot of extra effort, but it feels unnecessary.
Other brands will also get you to lock the jug onto the base. Vitamix has taken a different approach once again, getting you to place the jug on 4 little rubber corners and then hope for the best.
Every time I do this, the little jug lurches disconcertingly when I start blending. It's never fallen off, and I doubt it will, but it is something you should know before using, lest you freak out the first time it does it. It is a little more convenient than locking it into the base but is less secure, especially if you have kids around.
The good news is that it's super easy to clean. As with all blenders, you can just half fill the jug with water and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid (or 12-in-1) after you rinse it and then blend on high until it looks clean. Or you can just put it in the dishwasher. Despite the jug being pretty large (it has a 2L capacity), it still fits just fine in my LG dishwasher, but your mileage may vary.
Another good thing is that Vitamix has backed up these blenders with a 10-year warranty on the whole thing so that clearly means they have great trust in the motor. As someone who manages to kill a hand blender every 2 years due to a love of caldo verde soup, I appreciate that confidence.
Vitamix A2500i Ascent review: Performance
I used this blender mostly over the summer to make dozens of granitas and it worked really well. Nice, powdery ice most of the time. Occasionally, there were some icy pebbles that got caught in the corners, but not often enough for it to count as a consistent problem.
I also really enjoyed the smoothies from the smoothie setting. They came out a little frothy, which was odd, but I liked that it left some of the texture of the fruit (though you can put the blender on 10 a bit longer to get a smoother smoothie if that's your jam).
The motor does get a bit hot, though, so I found that ice melted a little more on the ice crushing (cold dessert) setting than the other 4 blenders I was reviewing at the same time. Blending just one tray of ice meant there was a decent amount of water at the bottom, but blending 2 trays of ice allowed them to stay more frozen.
The weird setting, though, was the soup. You can pour in stock and cooked pumpkin, put it on the soup setting, and it'll use the warmth of the motor to make the soup hot and the blades to make the pumpkin smooth. It means you always have extremely easy, smooth soup available. The thing that made it weird, though, is that the soup comes out frothy. All that time in a blender kind of whisks it, so it ends up quite aerated. Still delicious, but a very strange experience the first few times before you get used to it.
Of course, there are thousands of Vitamix recipes out there with suggestions on which numbered settings to blend on and for how long. That's one of the big reasons to go Vitamix over other brands – the cult following means you'll never be short of ideas and detailed instructions until you're confident enough to experiment for yourself.
One thing to keep in mind is that the motor is loud. I imagine this is what it sounds like when you torture R2D2's baritone cousin. Now, you expect blender motors to be loud, so this is fine. But I did think that with a body this thick, there would be more soundproofing. There is not.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if you want a smart blender that does a lot of the work for you and your budget will stretch this far.
- Don't buy it if you just want a basic blender that just does the job without breaking the bank.
Out of all the blenders I've tried, the Vitamix A2500i is my favourite of the high-end models. It's easy to use, easy to clean and the presets mean it's easy to make a smoothie in the morning without requiring higher brain function. It is expensive, so it shouldn't be the first choice for everyone. But if you are committed to blending, will use it nearly every day and have the budget for it, then the Vitamix A2500i Ascent is a great choice.
Vitamix A2500i Ascent review: Pricing and availability
RRP: $1,299 (though often on sale around $900-$1,000)
How we tested
- I used the Vitamix Ascent 2500i for 4 months on a variety of foods, including ice crushing, smoothies, soups and general blending.
- I was lent the Vitamix Ascent 2500i by Vitamix's PR company.