A Vita-Mix is to a regular blender as an electric chainsaw is to the sort of thing a logger would use to cut down trees. This is a piece of professional quality equipment that is in fact sold to restaurants and bars. Ever get a frozen drink in a Starbucks? They use custom machines made by Vita-Mix, just like Baskin-Robbins and Chi-Chi's do.

It is amazing for making cream soups and smoothies. Blenders make these grainy--the Vita-Mix makes them completely and utterly smooth. Smoothies are thick and creamy even if they're just made with fruit because it pulverizes the fiber in the fruit. In fact it's often sold as a juicer, but a juicer will extract only the liquid from fruits and vegetables and discard the pulp and the Vita-Mix incorporates it. What you get out isn't exactly juice (and many of the recipes suggest adding ice or water for better consistency) but tastes wonderful.

Even if you're not some sort of granola-munching hippie it's still a good thing to buy as a blender. I anticipate ours will last us the rest of our natural lives, and will be doing a better job at what we want it for than even the best commercial blenders of other brands.