Great discussion. I just ordered one just 5 minutes ago :). I've been an oster blender person for awhile but since my 4th one broke down today (jar started leaking) i decided to do a lot of research to find out which one would be right for me.
Osters are great for the price except for "plastic" ring that holds the blade in place on the jar. The gear system on the osters are great being all metal and are powerful but the cheap made rings always crack and start leaking within 1-2 years of use. Replacements are usually even cheaper and break sooner. My last was a oster fusion.
So i did as much research as i could. It looks like KA is highly rated for the price but it isn't well made and breaks down quickly. See: Blenders - Cook's Illustrated
also see all the complaints on amazon.
I then did a lot of research on the blendtec & vitamix. After my research i decided to go with the vitamix for three primary reasons:
1. People who have both agree both are great but generally agree the vita-mix is better supposedly the vita-mix blade spins slightly faster.
2. Vita-mix stands behinds its product (look at the warranty).
3. Its made in the good ol.. USA and not china
I do kind of like the controls on the blendtec better but thats not really whats important for a blender.
I really didn't want to spend that much on a blender but this way i don't have to worry about constantly having to buy a replacement (i use my blender constantly). If i couldn't quite afford the vita-mix then i would buy the http://www.amazon.com/Breville-BBL60...eville+blender
You can be a refurbished vita-mix directly from them for almost 1/2 the price. You can also find a free shipping code if you search google. They do reduce the warranty (unless you want to spend $75 extra) to 5 years but 5 years is still a lot of warranty for a blender.