I purchased a Vitamix at Costco about a year ago for over $300.00. I thought my husband was going to kill me, but he was actually thrilled about it. It has been a fantastic kitchen tool and we use it everyday.
It is the same high quality as the blenders that they use at Jamba Juice. We make smoothies in it many times a week (almost daily). It is so powerful that it blended almost anything you throw in there (that is edible of course). It crushes ice in seconds.
We also use it to make fresh salsa. I throw in canned tomatoes, a white onion (chopped in half), a jalapeno, lime juice and mix it up well for a few seconds. Then I add in cilantro and green onions. If I want a chunkier salsa I coursely chop up the cilantro and green onions before adding them to the blender. If I want it really smooth I just throw all the stuff in and blend until it is all the same consistency.
You can put various veggies in to make soups. Taco soup is a favorite in our house. I hide carrots, peppers, spinach and all sorts of things in there and the kids don't even know. I think you can make creamed soups too, but I don't really like those.
I have used it on "low" to chop up cranberries and apples for my famous "Cranberry Fluff" salad which I will post another day. I hate chopping stuff up so this is very handy for me. And to clean it you just put warm water and a squirt of soap in it and run it on high for 30 seconds and then rinse it out. I think you could also put it in the dishwasher but we use ours too often to have it stuck in there for long.
I also bought the attachment which grinds wheats and grains. That is amazing too.
I am not a Vitamix salesperson, but I tell you I am a firm believer in the quality of this product and we LOVE having ours. It was well worth the price. I even bring it on vacation if we're driving.