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Vitamix Explorian E520 Blender Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Oct 26, 2021 at 08:27 am
Vitamix Explorian E520 Picture
9.2
Multi-Purpose
8.9
Smoothies (Single Serving)
9.5
Smoothies (Multiple Servings)
9.4
Ice Crushing
9.5
Soups
9.3
Professional Use
Blender Type
Full Size Blender
Power
1,400 W
Hot Blending
Yes

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is a full-size blender that's part of the same product line as the Vitamix Explorian E310 and is only available at Costco (U.S.). Like most Vitamix blenders that we've tested, it delivers versatile performance and is safe to use for hot blending. There's a pair of 22-ounce tumblers included with matching lids and stainless-steel straws, but you can't use them for blending.

Our Verdict

9.2 Multi-Purpose

The Vitamix E520 is fantastic for multi-purpose use. It's very well-built, has a 64-ounce capacity, and offers a wide range of speed settings. You can use it to make amazing smoothies, snow-like crushed ice, and very smooth, spreadable almond butter. It can also blend hot ingredients for soups and sauces. It's easy to clean by hand, and the jar, lid, and tamper are all dishwasher-safe.

Pros
  • Easy to clean by hand.
  • Makes snow-like crushed ice.
  • Can hot blend.
Cons
  • No additional jars you can use for blending.
8.9 Smoothies (Single Serving)

The Vitamix E520 is amazing for making single-serve smoothies. Using the 64-ounce jar, it makes a nearly perfectly smooth blend with single-serve batches of fibrous ingredients like kale. It's also easy to clean by hand after whipping up a personal smoothie, and the jar and lid are dishwasher-safe. There are tumblers with straws included that you can pour your smoothie into, but they aren't blending jars.

Pros
  • Easy to clean by hand.
  • Makes snow-like crushed ice.
  • Fantastic build quality.
Cons
  • No additional jars you can use for blending.
  • Can struggle to fully process kale in smoothies.
9.5 Smoothies (Multiple Servings)

The Vitamix E520 is fantastic for making multiple servings of smoothies. Even if you fill the 64-ounce main jar to its full capacity, it makes an extremely smooth puree with fibrous ingredients, so you can make silky smoothies even if your recipe includes tough additions like leafy greens. It's very well-built and easy to clean by hand.

9.4 Ice Crushing

The Vitamix E520 is fantastic for ice-crushing. It's easy to use to make snow-like crushed ice for cocktails and frozen drinks. It's also very sturdy. That said, some blenders can crush ice a little faster or have automatic blending programs for a hands-free process.

Pros
  • Makes snow-like crushed ice.
Cons
9.5 Soups

The Vitamix E520 is superb for making soups. It's very well-built and comes with a 64-ounce main jar that you can use to blend hot ingredients. It can incorporate fibrous ingredients like kale into your mixes and is very easy to clean by hand. The jar, lid, and tamper are all dishwasher-safe as well.

Pros
  • Easy to clean by hand.
  • Can hot blend.
Cons
9.3 Professional Use

The Vitamix E520 is incredible for professional use. It's very well-built and has a 64-ounce main jar with a two-part lid, so you can add ingredients or use the tamper without stopping the machine. It has a very versatile performance and is safe to use for hot blending. It's also very easy to clean by hand, even after making something sticky like almond butter, and the jar, lid, and tamper are all dishwasher-safe.

Pros
  • Easy to clean by hand.
  • Makes snow-like crushed ice.
  • Can hot blend.
Cons
  • Can struggle to fully process kale in smoothies.
  • 9.2 Multi-Purpose
  • 8.9 Smoothies (Single Serving)
  • 9.5 Smoothies (Multiple Servings)
  • 9.4 Ice Crushing
  • 9.5 Soups
  • 9.3 Professional Use
  1. Updated Sep 26, 2022: Revised text to reflect Test Bench 1.0.
  2. Updated Sep 07, 2022: Added a comparison between this blender's tumblers and the Vitamix Venturist V1200's additional jar.
  3. Updated Aug 24, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  4. Updated Oct 26, 2021: Review published.
  5. Updated Oct 19, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
17.3" (44.0 cm)
Width 7.7" (19.5 cm)
Depth 9.4" (24.0 cm)
Weight
10.1 lbs (4.6 kg)
Shaft Length (Immersion Blenders)
N/A

The Vitamix E520 is a big blender. If you don't have a spacious cupboard, you likely need to store it on your counter. You can remove the jar for easier storage, though.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The Vitamix E520 has a fantastic build quality. Similar to other Vitamix models like the Vitamix Explorian E310 or the Vitamix 5200, it's made of plastic that feels sturdy, with a metal transmission gear on the motor base.

9.0
Design
Jar Capacity
Main Jar Capacity
64.0 oz (1,893 ml)
Additional Jar Capacity
N/A

It comes with a 64-ounce main jar. There's also a pair of 22-ounce tumblers with straws, but you can't use them for blending. If you want a similar blender with personal jars for blending single-serves, check out the Vitamix Venturist V1200.

Design
Jar/Beaker Materials
Jar/Beaker Material
BPA-Free Plastic
Dishwasher Safe
Yes
Design
Blades
Blade Type
Sharp
Blade Count
4
Removable
No
Dishwasher Safe
Yes

You aren't meant to remove the four sharp blades. There is a nut assembly, but it needs to be serviced by Vitamix. Fortunately, you can wash the jar and blades in your dishwasher.

Design
Lid
Two-Part Lid
Yes
Lid Closing Type
Friction

The Vitamix E520 comes with a rubberized two-part lid. You can remove the lid's clear plastic centerpiece to add ingredients mid-blend and use it as a small measuring cup. However, while the manual says it has measuring marks, ours doesn't have any.

Design
Power Cord
Stow-Away Compartment
Yes
Cord Length
6.2 ft (1.9 m)

The power cable is long and thick, and there's a space to wrap it under the blender with tabs to hold it in place.

Design
In The Box

  • Vitamix E520 motor base
  • 64-ounce jar
  • Two-part lid with plastic cap
  • 2x 22 oz tumblers
  • 2x tumbler lids
  • 2x stainless steel straws with rubber sheaths
  • Manuals and recipe book

Performance
9.7
Performance
Fibrous Ingredients (Small Batches)
Jar Used
Main Jar
Fibrous Ingredients Processing
8.5
Fibrous Ingredients Texture
10

The Vitamix E520 is fantastic for processing small batches of fibrous ingredients. When working with smaller amounts, bits of food can splash up the sides of the jar, so you sometimes need to stop the blender and use a spatula to scrape the sides. Still, it's not too much work and produces a nearly perfectly smooth puree with ingredients like kale.

10
Performance
Fibrous Ingredients (Full Capacity)
Jar Used Main Jar
Fibrous Ingredients Processing
10
Fibrous Ingredients Texture
10

It's exceptionally good for processing big batches of fibrous ingredients. It makes an almost perfectly smooth puree with ingredients like kale, and if you fill the jar completely, there's no need to use the tamper or scrape the sides of the jar with a spatula.

9.6
Performance
Crushed Ice
Crushed Ice Preparation
8.5
Crushed Ice Texture
10

The Vitamix E520 is fantastic for ice-crushing. If you use the dedicated switch to manually pulse, it turns ice cubes into snow-like crushed ice in seconds. There's also a 'Frozen Dessert' setting, but if you use it to try and crush ice cubes, the blender can't fully process them.

9.6
Performance
Nut Butter
Nut Butter Preparation
9.0
Nut Butter Texture
10

The Vitamix E520 makes superb almond butter. After ramping up from low to high speed, you need to use the tamper to push the ingredients towards the blades for the best results. You need to stop and use a spatula to scrape any ingredients stuck on the sides down towards the blades. Still, it doesn't take very long to make outstanding nut butter.

4.6
Performance
Noise
Noise @ Max Speed
100.7 dB

It's very loud and irritating to stand next to for more than a minute or two. We've tested many quieter full-size blenders, like the KitchenAid K400 and the Vitamix 7500.

Performance
Blade Speed
Min Speed
1,460 RPM
Max Speed
21,200 RPM
Speed Adjustment Based On Jar Type
No

The speed dial gives you access to a wide range of blending speeds, so you can easily start at low speed and slowly ramp up or fine-tune the speed to suit your recipe.

Ease Of Use
Ease Of Use
Controls And Programs
On/Off Switch
Yes
Speed Presets
0
Speed Dial
Yes
Pulse/Turbo Mode
Yes
Programs
3
Blending Time Indicator
No
Programmable Timer
No

Similar to the Vitamix Explorian E310, the Vitamix E520 has a 10-speed dial. Unlike that model, though, there are also three preset modes that you can select with the dial: 'Smoothie', 'ฮ—ot Soup', and 'Frozen Dessert'. There's a switch for pulse mode to the left of the dial and a start/stop switch to the right. To start the blender, you also need to flip the ON/OFF switch located on the bottom left side of the motor base. The switch lights up in blue when it's in the 'ON' position.

7.5
Ease Of Use
Cleaning

The Vitamix E520 is easy to clean. Running it for about a minute at top speed takes care of most residue. You still need to wipe the jar, blades, and lid with a sponge, especially the underside of the lid. Since the blades aren't removable, you may need a brush with a handle to clean them effectively.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Vitamix E520 comes in two colors, 'Βlack' and 'Gray'. We tested it in 'Gray', and you can see the label for the unit we've tested here

If you come across another variant, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Blenders

The Vitamix E520 is a full-size blender that's very well-built, like most Vitamix models that we've tested. It looks and performs similarly to the Vitamix Explorian E310, with the addition of three preset modes on the speed dial. Its jar also has a bigger 64-ounce capacity. There are two 22-ounce tumblers included that are well-suited for single-serve drinks, but unlike the personal jars that come with blenders like the Ninja Mega Kitchen System BL770 or the Blendtec Designer 725, you can't use them for blending. Unfortunately, it's also a very loud blender.

If you're looking for more options, take a look at our lists of the best blenders, the best blenders for smoothies, and the best blenders for frozen drinks.

Vitamix Explorian E310

You may prefer either the Vitamix Explorian E310 or the Vitamix Explorian E520. The biggest difference is their capacity: the E520 has a 64-ounce jar and the E310 has a 48-ounce jar. The E520 is a bit better-suited for processing large batches of fibrous ingredients and ice-crushing. It also has a few automatic blending programs and comes with a pair of tumblers with straws. They're meant for serving drinks like smoothies but you can't use them for blending, unlike the personal jars that usually come with blenders. On the other hand, the E310 is slightly better for making single-serve smoothies.

Vitamix 7500

The Vitamix 7500 is a bit better than the Vitamix Explorian E310. The 7500 is sturdier and much quieter when it's running. That said, the Explorian's 48-ounce main jar offers a better performance for some uses, like processing small amounts of fibrous ingredients. It's also better for making nut butter, but the 7500 is great for that purpose too. 

Vitamix 5300

The Vitamix Explorian E520 and the Vitamix 5300 perform very similarly. The Explorian is a bit louder, but it has a few automatic blending programs in addition to a speed dial. You may also prefer it because it comes with a pair of tumblers and straws that you can use to bring a smoothie to go, but they can't be used for blending. 

Blendtec Classic 575

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is better for most purposes than the Blendtec Classic 575. The Vitamix is much sturdier and does a much better job of processing hard ingredients like nuts. On the other hand, the Blendtec is easier to clean by hand and has a bigger 90-ounce capacity.

Blendtec Designer 725

You may prefer either the Βlendtec Designer 725 or the Vitamix Explorian E520. The Βlendtec comes with a bigger 90-ounce main pitcher and a 24-ounce personal jar that you can use to blend single-serves. It's quieter and easier to clean by hand. Ηowever, the Vitamix makes a smoother blend with fibrous ingredients like kale and hard ingredients like nuts. 

Breville The Q

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is slightly better than the Breville The Q. The Vitamix is better-built and has a speed dial that gives you more control over the blending speed. It's somewhat better for making nut butter. However, the Breville has the edge when it comes to ice-crushing. It's also much quieter when it's running and easier to clean by hand.

NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender Combo

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is better than the NutriBullet Smart Touch blender. It has a better build quality and does a fantastic job of crushing ice and making nut butter. It offers a wider range of speed settings and it's easier to clean by hand. On the other hand, the NutriBullet is just as good at processing fibrous ingredients like kale and comes with a personal blending jar, so you may prefer it for single-serve smoothies.

Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-iQ BL642

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is a better blender than the Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-iQ BL642. The Vitamix is studier, offers more speed settings, and it's easier to clean by hand. It's better for processing fibrous ingredients like kale and making nut butter. It can also hot blend. On the other hand, the Ninja comes with personal jars that you can use to blend single-serve smoothies. It's a bit easier to use to crush ice and it's quieter when it's running. 

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