After my old G.E. blender started leaking, I knew I had a problem on my hands. As a raw foodist, having a blender was a necessity and being without one would be a tough pill to swallow.
Knowing that the Blentec and Vitamix blenders were way out of my price range, I began to looking for the best blender for under $100.
After doing extensive research online and in-store, I set my eyes on the KitchenAid Blender. This model is available in several colours, but the retail store I purchased my unit from only offered white, which is still nice to look at.
The jar is made from polycarbonite and while many prefer glass, the lightweight jar that KitchenAid decided on is great. I really like the fact that the jar has a flat bottom, which makes scooping every last bit of sauce from the container very easy. I also like the fact that the blade is a single unit and the coupler seems very durable.
Using this blender is a joy - it has a "soft-start" feature, which means that it won't blend at full-speed as soon as you turn it on, but will start slow and then quickly kick into gear. This prevents your liquids from being thrown about in the container (and keeps things clean). Having 5 speeds (stir, chop, mix, puree, liquefy), there were no problems in finding the right setting for just about everything. As a side note, while this blender isn't very loud, the slow speeds were very quite, so waking up the family when making a late-night smoothie isn't likely :)
With a rating of 0.9 HP (approx. 750watts), there's enough power in this machine to blend anything from soups to snow (out of ice cubes).
This blender does have a few flaws, but they are not dealbreakers. First, the lid does NOT lock into place, so overfilling it just a little will result in a mess. The ingredient cap (which doubles as a 2oz measuring cup) does not form a perfect seal, so some liquid does seap up through the top when the blender is running at max capacity.
Another annoyance is that the container does not lock to the base of the blender. While this has not been an issue for me, I can see a disaster in the making if the container is moved while the blender is in operation.
Overall, I've been very happy with this blender, and for under $100 you can't go wrong.