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I picked up a vintage (probably 1960s era) Oster several years back for $3 at a garage sale.. It blows away any modern unit I've used in terms of power. So, I'd look for an old school oster on the cheap.
I owned a Blentec and was constantly having to purchase the container as the seal would wear and then leak the contents all over the motor area. Also, it's very loud. Last year I bought a Ninja and absolutely love it. The cost was like 40 dollars and I use it daily. I HIGHLY recommend a Ninja!
I have a Ninja and I love it. However, the one thing that sucks is that you can't blend & pour at the same time for things such as mayo. Not that big of a deal, but yeah. Also, isn't it suggested not to press down on the Ninja more than like 12 seconds at a time? I'm always worried I'm pressing down too long...
I use a Vita-Mix and have had good luck with it. The bearings did go out after a year and some too-thick contents, but they sent me a replacement as soon as I called. Great customer service, but a pretty high price tag.
Life is an ongoing Experiment of One, so here's to science!
Well, I bought the ninja after many recommendations. I made primal nutella and wasn't crazy about the texture, but it worked valiantly making two-ingredient (banana, coconut milk) ice cream.
I can see the removal of the motor every time an ingredient needs to be added or the walls scraped down becoming very tiresome. So far, I'm not sure if it's ideal for non-liquids. I do like the multiple blades and different sizes of containers!