The Vitamix E320 blender is among the latest models released by Vitamix, a family-owned company specializing in kitchen blenders for commercial and residential use. It’s an affordable blender, thus, its classification as a budget blender in most people’s books and we agree, too. It’s something that even the thriftiest person who wants to enjoy healthy and delicious smoothies, juices and nut butters will want to buy.
But don’t dismiss it as an inferior blender in comparison with its pricier counterparts in the Vitamix product lines. It’s still a high-performance blender that can chop, mince and blend nearly all solid and liquid ingredients. Its blades spin so fast that these make easy work of ice cubes, frozen fruits and other hard ingredients, usually within a minute or two.
Of course, proper use combined with proper maintenance is a must in getting the best value for your money from any blender.
Base Unit and Motor Power
The base unit of the Vitamix E320 blender is large so it provides a sturdy and stable base for the equally large jar. Even when the speed dial is at its highest (10), the blender stays in place instead of moving an inch or so due to the vibrations. We like this feature because it means that the blender won’t topple over even when the jar’s at near-full capacity.
The 2.2 horsepower motor is a common feature in many Vitamix blenders for a reason – it’s both powerful and durable. Vitamix says that the motors used in its blenders are Swiss-made while the rest of the parts are made and assembled in the United States.
When blenders are used for several minutes, these can overheat. But not so with the Vitamix E320 – it has radial cooling fan that keeps the motor and the base as cool as possible. It also has a thermal protection system that automatically shuts down the motor if it becomes overheated beyond what’s safe.
The jar is made of Eastman Tritan Copolyester material, a BPA-free material that can withstand high impact and temperatures up to 94°F. Its clear quality allows for determining the texture of the ingredients so adjustments in speed is possible without stopping the motor. It even has lines for measurements in ounces, cups and millilitres to eliminate the guessing game in recipes.
The black rubber handle makes it easy to pour the contents through the nice spout. The black rubber lid has a clear plastic has a clear plug through which the tamper can be inserted. The tamper is useful in creating a better blending vortex, mixing thick smoothies and scraping the sides.
The Vitamix E320 has a 4-inch blade made from hardened stainless steel, a sharp and sturdy part that will last for years even with daily use on frozen ingredients. It can chop, grind and churn virtually any food from frozen fruits and ice cubes to nuts, coffee beans and green lefts vegetables. It doesn’t need sharpening, too, since it will stay sharp for several years, not to mention that it won’t rust.
Control Panel and Speed
The Vitamix E320 is as simple as can be in terms of its control panel! You don’t even have to read the instruction guide since everything is laid out on the control panel, from the on/off switch to the dial for speeds. You can change the speeds even when the motor’s running, and the transition from low speed to high speed and vice versa is as smooth as can be.
There are only two switches and a dial on the control panel. The pulse switch is on the right, the dial for the 1-10 speeds is at the center, and the on/off switch is at the right.
The blender measures 18 inches from the base to the lid if the jar is placed on top of the base motor. You can then easily place the entire blender in a standard cabinet or place it on the kitchen counter. You won’t have to worry about it taking up an entire cabinet or most of the counter space since it has a fairly compact base.
The base itself has another function aside from the control panel. Underneath it is a few grooves where the 4.5-feet cord can be neatly placed when the blender isn’t in use.
This is a quite heavy blender, however, weighing at 14 pounds. You may want to be more careful when transferring it from a kitchen cabinet to the kitchen counter lest you drop it on the floor. The jar may be thick, sturdy and impact-resistant but it’s also breakable, and so is the base.
Functionality and Versatility
The Vitamix E320 makes smooth and silky smoothies – no bits, flecks and fiber present even when the ingredients used include fibrous fruits and vegetables, such as carrots. The blades are extremely efficient at crushing the seeds of fruits, such as berries, as well as so the fruit smoothies are, indeed, smooth.
While it isn’t the best tool for making regular juices, it’s great for so-called whole juices. These are still made from fruits and vegetables albeit with a thinner consistency than smoothies. You can use a strainer or nut bag in removing the seeds, fiber and other undesirable bits from the resulting juice.
Even ice cubes are no match for the sharp blades of Vitamix E320! You can then make homemade ice cream, daiquiris and margaritas, snow cones and slushy drinks in minutes. Add whatever the recipe calls for or experiment with the recipes so you can create your own flavors.
Smooth as a baby’s bottom. That’s what you will get when you use this blender to make baby food as well as sauces, dips and guacamole, even hummus and pesto. The mash is so smooth that there’s no risk of your baby being choked by a small piece of fiber from, say, a carrot.
Soup/ hot ingredients:
There’s no need to put the soup made in Vitamix E320 either. This is because the friction from the blades generate sufficient heat to warm up the cooked ingredients and spices! You just need to pour the warm soup into a bowl and immediately eat it, and that’s exactly how many on-the-go people like to do.
The variable speeds and pulse function allow for chopping fruits and vegetables into smaller cubes. You may have to cut down these ingredients into manageable portions but the blender will do the rest.
If you don’t have a grinding or milling machine, then you can use this blender instead. It can quickly grind nuts, seeds and coffee beans as well as spices into a powdery texture. It’s also useful in milling corn, wheat and rice, among other grains, which can be used for baking and other cooking purposes.
Mixing batter for cakes, muffins and pancakes is just as easy for the Vitamix E320 as kneading thick dough for pizzas and breads.
We have to admit that this blender is slightly noisier than the other blenders in the Explorian line, such as the Vitamix E310. You can’t adjust the noise level, however, so you have to adjust to it. You can leave the room or keep your distance from the blender when it’s in operation, for example, but it’s only for 1-5 minutes depending on what you’re making.
Ease of Using and Cleaning
You should be able to use this blender straight from the box since it’s so easy to use. There’s no assembly required expect for putting the jar on top of the base and the lid on top of the jar. You just plug it in, place the ingredients in the jar, and select the speed level before flipping the on/off switch to turn it on.
The Vitamix E320 can be cleaned in the dishwasher or through its self-cleaning mode. If you wash it in the dishwasher, you must obviously detach the jar from the base, disassemble the lid, jar and bottom part, and place these parts into the dishwasher. If you’re feeling lazy or the jar isn’t too dirty, just add warm water and a few drops of soap into the jar, turn the blender on at high speed for 30 seconds, and voila!
Warranty and Customer Support
The blender comes with the Vitamix standard 7-year warranty.
The Vitamix E320 is an affordable kitchen appliance, a relative rarity in Vitamix blenders known for their high-end prices. But its budget-friendly aspect doesn’t mean that it’s overall performance and quality lags behind its pricier Vitamix counterparts. Keep in mind that it isn’t the price per se but these last two aspects that matter most when it comes to making buying decisions.
It’s a budget blender that delivers well on a wide range of functions from making smoothies, purees and juices to grinding nuts, milling grains and chopping vegetables. It’s sort of a blender and food processor in a single unit and, for this reason, it’s a great investment for people who want a high-quality kitchen appliance without paying for an arm and a leg for it.