I bought this blender to make really thick spoonable smoothies. After trying different procedures, I found a way to live with this blender.<br /><br />For a thick smoothie:<br /><br />Because the dry items (e.g., almonds) won't chop if wet, put them in firstand chop them as fine as desired. <br /><br />Then put in the wet and non-frozen ingredients and mix everything until liquid.<br /><br />Then, put in the frozen items (e.g., blueberries, strawberries) and blend. These will not fully blend on the first try since this blender only relies on gravity for items to mix vertically. Therefore, you'll need to blend in several rounds between each removing the blade, and scooping the bottom (more liquid) contents from the bottom to the top.<br /><br />This perhaps takes more effort than most people expect, but my older single-bottom-blade blender couldn't have achieved this at all. I've gotten pretty quick using this procedure to produce near-ice-cream consistency smoothies.<br /><br />I suspect the other blenders which are 4x the price may be able to do this by just tossing in the ingredients, but I doubt any sub $1000 blender can make ice-cream-like smoothies without the operator manually stirring from time to time.<br /><br />The only other thing I've made are Margaritas which are a snap in this blender since nothing gets very thick.<br /><br />Like others have said, the bottom does crack after some time, but it's not leaked for me, so I've not replaced it. I did run the blade while off the bottom spool once which caused the blade to slice the inside of the container (tossed out that batch), so ensure the blade is on the spool when plunging the blade back in to the smoothie.<br /><br />The instructions say not to run the motor for more than around 15 seconds at a time. I've cheated a bit to maybe 25 seconds and have never had a problem and never needed to run it for more than that at once (between stirring). I'm sure a person could over-heat the motor if running it for a minute. <br /><br />I often make smoothies more often than the dish-washing cycle, so I typically spray the container, lid and blade with hot water. This seems to clean it almost 100%.<br /><br />The handle is hollow and can trap sediment in a dishwasher. It's also difficult to disassemble to clean. I would suggest drilling a hole in a few strategic spots to help it drain.<br /><br />The lid should be placed in the dishwasher at just the right angle to minimize pooling with the spout open. Many plastic containers trap dishwasher water, so it's not a unique issue.<br /><br />Overall, this is a great tool for the price. Just learn it's weaknesses and work around them. I give it 3 stars and +1 for the price. You can buy 4 of these for the same price as the best-in-class model.
How long have you owned it:
More than six months
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.