Get insider access
Preferred blender store

Vitamix Explorian E520 Blender Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Oct 26, 2021 at 08:27 am
Vitamix Explorian E520 Picture
9.2
Multi-Purpose
8.8
Smoothies/Protein Shakes
9.9
Ice Crushing
9.1
Soups
9.3
Professional Use
Blender Type
Full Size Blender
Power
1,400 W

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 (US). Like most Vitamix blenders that we've tested, it delivers a versatile performance, producing excellent smoothies, snow-like crushed ice, and very smooth almond butter. It's also safe to use for hot blending. There are two 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 Explorian E520 is fantastic for multi-purpose use. It's very well-built and offers ten different speed settings and three preset modes. 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 very easy to clean by hand, and the jar, lid, and tamper are all dishwasher-safe as well.

Pros
  • Easy to clean by hand.
  • Makes snow-like crushed ice.
  • Can hot blend.
Cons
  • No additional jars you can use for blending.
8.8 Smoothies/Protein Shakes

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is amazing for making smoothies and protein shakes. It's very well-built and takes less than two minutes to make an excellent smoothie. It's also very easy to clean by hand when you're working with liquid ingredients, and the main jar, tamper, and lid are all dishwasher-safe.

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.
9.9 Ice Crushing

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is outstanding for ice crushing. It's very well-built, and you can use its pulse mode to make snow-like crushed ice very quickly.

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

The Vitamix Explorian 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 Explorian 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
  • 8.8 Smoothies/Protein Shakes
  • 9.9 Ice Crushing
  • 9.1 Soups
  • 9.3 Professional Use
  1. Updated Oct 26, 2021: Review published.
  2. 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 Explorian 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 Explorian E520 has a fantastic build quality. Similar to other Vitamix models like the Explorian E310 or the Vitamix 5200, it's made of plastic that feels sturdy, with a metal transmission gear on the motor base.

Design
Main Jar/Beaker
Material
BPA-Free Plastic
Jar Capacity
64.0 oz (1,892.7 ml)
Beaker Capacity
N/A
Weight
2.6 lbs (1.2 kg)
Dishwasher Safe
Yes

The main jar has a 64-ounce capacity and comes with a two-part lid. The lid and the jar's handle are both made of a rubberized material.

Design
Additional Jar
Material
No Additional Jar
Capacity
N/A
Weight
N/A
Dishwasher Safe
No

The Vitamix Explorian E520 comes with two 22-ounce tumblers with matching lids and stainless steel straws. ฮ—owever, you can't use them to blend.

The tumblers are each 8.7 inches (22 cm) tall and feel very well-made. The straws also feel durable and are long enough to reach the bottom of the tumblers. The lids screw into place and each has a hole for a straw. It's covered by a flap that opens when you push the straw in and automatically flips closed again when you remove it, so the lid doesn't have a hole in it when you aren't using a straw.

Design
Blades
Blade Type
Sharp
Blade Count
4
Removable
No
Dishwasher Safe
Yes

The four sharp blades aren't meant to be removed. 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
2 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 you can use it as a small measuring cup. ฮ—owever, 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 Explorian 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
Performance
Speed And Controls
Min Speed
1,460 RPM
Max Speed
21,200 RPM
Speed Dial
Yes
Pulse/Turbo Mode
Yes
Noise @ Max Speed
96.8 dB
On/Off Toggle
Yes

Similar to the Vitamix Explorian E310, the Vitamix Explorian 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. Unfortunately, this blender is much louder than the E310 when it's running at maximum speed.

9.0
Performance
Almond Butter
Preparation Time
< 5 min
Texture
Smooth
Spreadability
Great
Unprocessed Almonds/Chunks
No

The Vitamix Explorian E520 makes superb almond butter. Starting at a low speed and gradually increasing to the maximum speed setting, it takes less than five minutes to make smooth, very spreadable almond butter. The process is easy, but the ingredients can splatter up the sides of the jar as you ramp up the speed, so you may need to stop the blender and use the spatula to push everything towards the blades. The result is very smooth, easy to spread almond butter. It tastes slightly sticky when eaten on its own, but the texture is great on toast.

8.5
Performance
Smoothie (Best Jar)
Jar Used
Main Jar
Preparation Time
< 2 min
Texture
Smooth

The Vitamix Explorian E520 makes excellent smoothies. It doesn't take very long to make very well-blended smoothies if you use the one-minute smoothie preset followed by about 20 seconds of manual blending. ฮ—owever, the texture isn't quite as silky as smoothies made with the Vitamix Explorian E310 or Vitamix 5200 since there are a few small bits of kale leftover.

0
Performance
Smoothie (Other Jar)
Jar Used
No Other Jar
Preparation Time
N/A
Texture
No Other Jar
10
Performance
Crushed Ice
Preparation Time
0.5 min
Ice Quality
Snow Like

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is fantastic for ice crushing. If you use pulse mode, it turns ice cubes into snow-like crushed ice in a matter of 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.

Ease Of Use
Ease Of Use
Programs / Modes
Crushed Ice
No
Self-Clean Program
No
Single Serve
No
Timer
No

The Vitamix E520 has three different preset modes that you can select with the speed dial: 'Smoothie', 'Hot Soup', and 'Frozen Dessert'.

8.5
Ease Of Use
Cleaning
Smoothie Cleaning
Simple
Almond Butter Cleaning
Simple

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is very easy to clean. After making something liquidy like a smoothie, you can get the blender completely clean by filling the jar about a quarter full with warm water and a drop of soap, blending for about five seconds, then rinsing it out with warm water. If you're working with sticky ingredients like almond butter, you can scoop out any excess ingredients with a spoon before following the same process. Running it for about a minute at top speed takes care of most of the residue, and then you need to wipe the blades and the underside of the lid with a brush or sponge. Vitamix also includes instructions for sanitizing the jar with bleach or vinegar in the manual, and the jar, lid, and tamper are all dishwasher-safe.

Ease Of Use
Extra Features
Hot Blending
Yes
Additional Jugs
No
Juicer Attachment
No
Food Processing Attachment
No
Heating Element
No
Noise Dome
No
Tamper
Yes
Vacuum Pump
No
Speed Adjustment Based On Jar Size
No

The Vitamix Explorian E520 has three preset modes that you can select with the dial on the motor base. You can use it to blend hot ingredients for soups and sauces, and it comes with a tamper so you can stir your ingredients mid-blend and push thicker mixtures towards the blades.

There are no additional jars included that you can use for blending, but Vitamix sells a 20-ounce jar with a 'Vitamix Personal Cup Adapter' that allows you to use it with the Explorian E520 motor base. Also, Vitamix says this blender works with its 'Legacy Series' containers if they're listed as compatible with C Series or S Series models. This information should be listed under 'Specifications' for each product if you're shopping on Vitamix's website.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Vitamix Explorian 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 Explorian 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. Ηowever, it makes less silky smoothies. 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.

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

The Vitamix Explorian E520 and the Vitamix Explorian E310 have similar designs, but the E520 is a bit better. The E520 has a main jar with a bigger capacity and three preset modes. It makes crushed ice with a better texture and is easier to clean by hand when you're working with sticky ingredients. Also, it comes with a pair of 22-ounce tumblers with matching lids and straws, although you can't use them for blending. On the other hand, E310 makes much better-blended smoothies and takes less time to make smooth almond butter.

Vitamix 7500

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is better for most purposes than the Vitamix 7500. The E520 makes smoother almond butter and has three preset modes as well as 10 speed settings. It also takes less time to make an excellent smoothie. On the other hand, the 7500 has a much better build quality.

Breville The Q

The Vitamix Explorian E520 and the Breville The Q have different strengths, and you may prefer either. The Vitamix does a much better job of making crushed ice and almond butter. However, the Breville makes silkier smoothies in less time. It also has a dedicated self-clean mode as well as a preset for heating up cold ingredients, unlike the Vitamix.

Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-iQ BL642

The Vitamix Explorian E520 and the Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-iQ BL642 have different strengths, and you may prefer either. The Vitamix has a much better build quality and can hot blend, so it's a better choice for professional use or making soups. However, while both blenders come with two jars you can use to take drinks on the go, only the Ninja's personal jars can be used for blending. The Ninja also makes much better-blended smoothies using its 32-ounce jar.

Blendtec Classic 575

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is better for most purposes than the Blendtec Classic 575. The Vitamix is much sturdier and comes with a tamper. It's quieter at maximum speed and makes significantly better-blended smoothies as well as smoother almond butter. On the other hand, the Blendtec is much easier to clean by hand.

Blendtec Designer 725

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is better for most purposes than the Blendtec Designer 725. The Explorian makes significantly better-blended smoothies and smoother, more spreadable almond butter. It can be used to blend hot ingredients, while the Blendtec can only heat up cool ones. However, the Blendtec comes with a 34-ounce personal jar with a to-go lid in addition to its main pitcher. It's also quieter at maximum speed.

NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender Combo

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is much more versatile than the NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender Combo. The Vitamix has more speed settings and makes much smoother, more spreadable almond butter. It can also make snow-like crushed ice, while the NutriBullet should not be used to crush ice on its own. Both models make excellent smoothies, but the NutriBullet comes with a few personal jars well-suited for single-serve drinks. It's also much quieter at maximum speed.

Vitamix 5300

The Vitamix Explorian E520 is better than the Vitamix 5300. The E520 has three preset modes as well as ten speed settings. It also takes less time to make smooth, spreadable almond butter and makes much better-blended smoothies. 

+ Show more

Discussions