If you’ve got $500 to spend on a blender, by all means get a Vitamix. They’re sturdy, powerful, quiet, and made in the USA. I lost mine in the divorce, and got a Magic Bullet, which turned blending upside down — literally. You put your ingredients in the cup, screw the blades on top, invert it on the base to blend. If you’re making mostly single-serve smoothies and protein shakes, it’s brilliant – you can even drink out of the cup. When I started adding raw kale to my shakes, I blew out the motor. I nearly replaced it with a Nutri Bullet – same design, more powerful motor, but started reading all of the online reviews and testimonials, settling on the Nutri Ninja Auto IQ. With a 1,000 watt motor, it has no problem tearing through the Kale. The only drawback: it’s LOUD. But not $400 too loud.
The IQ feature is an automatic mode that raises and lowers the blade speed, to help thick shakes and ice-based drinks blend more smoothly. A nice-to-have feature. The Nutri Ninja line includes 1,000 watt models without the IQ feature, and a Duo model with a traditional design pitcher in addition to the blending cups. About $129 on Amazon.com, or less than $100 when you use your 20% off coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond.