I kept a Blender (four actually) running seven days a week, 364 days a year. The machines got one day off a year for good behavior. :-)
So I know about "heavy-duty" blending. I owned a restaurant and lounge or over 30 years.
I used different ones for different jobs. I have two smaller units in the lounge for making all kinds of drinks.
A one gallon Waring Commercial was a work horse in the prep kitchen for making salad dressings, sauces, soups, making breakfast shakes for large groups, etc.
It served me faithfully for many years.
The other kitchen unit ... a KitchenAid Pro Line Chef's Unit I used frequently for smaller jobs and as a backup.
I had two brands in the lounge. One was a Waring and the other was a Hamilton Beach.
Both are pictured here. Both are good appliances for making a large variety and number of beverages.
One of my friends has a Vitamix. She likes it a lot.
What you need (or want) to buy depends on how often you intend to use it and on how much volume you need at one time.
If you only cook for one or two people, you may not need a countertop unit at all.
Instead, you might want to consider a hand model like the ones pictured.
If you are interested in an immersion appliance, do your research and buy a really good one.
Regardless of what you need, when you purchase a small kitchen appliance I encourage you to "slightly over buy."
What I mean by this is simple: buy one that has a reasonably sized motor and a container that is a little larger than what you think you need. You don't want a motor burning out and you don't want the contents spilling over. Besides, you do have company over once in a while, right? :-)
Here is what you should look for:
I use stainless steel or plastic containers with my bar units for obvious reasons.
(Don't forget the lid!)
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“Having a two-year old is like having a blender without a lid.”