I purchased this blender in the retro green color and it looks beautiful in my kitchen. If looking good on the counter is important to you, the Waring gets five stars. The sleek glass jar and simple toggle switch make it prettier than many other blenders. On noise, the blender also deserves five stars as it is much quieter than other blenders I've used (though of course, any blender is somewhat noisy). I've made fruit smoothies, pancake batter, and even nut butter with it and it's done the job, though it needs a little help with pushing the ingredients down. It works. My main issue with this blender (and why it isn't rated higher) is that the blade is set into the jar and is very difficult to clean. Any remnants of food that you didn't get out work their way between the washers and seal at the bottom, causing them to get gunked up and possibly to leak. To fix the problem, you have to do some fancy work with a wrench, take it all apart and put it back together - not easy! However, I must say, that I appreciate the fact that you *can* take it all apart, clean the simple nuts/bolts/washers and put it back together again and it works as good as ever. No weird plastic parts that might break. However, if I had to buy again, I'd get the old-fashioned jar-lid bottom blender. Blending Power Makes almond butter (if the almonds are warm). That says something! Ease of Cleaning Can't take out the blade to clean without an assembly of tools! Durability Sturdily built. Does get a little hot when doing tough jobs.