I was extremely close to dropping half a grand on one of the high-powered blenders that are being cleverly marketed these days. In the end, I ended up going with a name that I've seen in my kitchen for over 13 years; KitchenAid. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the 0.9 HP motor in this blender due to the fact that the other big blenders manufacturers are ranting about 2-3 HP in their line-ups. One of the deciding factors for me was watching and online video review done by Popular Mechanics - "5-Blender Comparison Test". This blender just happened to be in the comparison test. I wasn't even aware of its existence until I saw the video. It and another blender in the same class, outperformed the high dollar/high-power blenders in two, seeming simple, benchmark tests without the help of a plunger tool or an accessory jar. One of the high-power blenders failed miserably. I'm so glad that I watched that review. In this case, when something is designed to work with brains and finesse, it can easily perform the same task as one of those brute machines. In conclusion, this thing crushes ice like a champ, makes the perfect smoothies, and it looks great on my counter next to my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer. I am very pleased with my decision.