Pros: High Value, High Performance, Fugly
Cons: Not Cheap, Not a Vita-Mix, Fugly
To make a good frozen drink, milkshake or smoothie, a blender has to get to speed quickly, stay at speed as the blade hits ice and as the mixture thickens, and must stay cool enough and work fast enough so as not to transfer a lot of heat to the mix.
Most home blenders can't do that. Many, so called, "commercial" bar blenders can't either. Just for the record, the "can't do" category most definitely includes the beehive bottom Osters and Warings. The problem isn't "watts," it's torque. Even though a lot of manufacturers are posting high wattage figures, the little guys' motors don't generate enough torque of either the start-up or general persuasions.
If you want a frozen daiquiri that isn't lime slush, but with the ice whirred into a mound of snow; if you want a milkshake that's still thick, if you want crushed ice, if you want what you want how you want it:
This one can.
In addition it can do almost everything anyone asks from a blender. Besides its bar tricks, of course it can do all the normal cooking stuff without a hiccup. It really doesn't take much to make gazpacho. A regular residential machine can do all that stuff just fine. But, ifyou're going to grind grain, have a weekly margarita party with 50 guests, run a smoothie bar, or make puree of gravel soup -- get a big Waring, Blendtec, or a VitaMix.
So, that's what it ain't. Try to remember what you actually need 3hp for, and that 3/4hp is not 3hp, and you'll be fine.
Speaking of motors, you can smell the ozone come off this one when it starts running. Sulfur and pitchforks can't be far behind. I like it.
It's no beauty, either. I like it all the more for its fugly black, graceless base. The polycarbonite pitcher is incredibly practical fuglifying it all the more. Love that.
The way pitcher shape affects the fluid dynamics of vortex is actually important. Like all Waring pitchers, this is a good one.
Two states of being, two speeds, two switches. Excellent. Maybe one more speed and one more switch than you need, but Waring's generous that way. On-and-off and fast-and-slow are selected by individual and honest-to-God toggle switches. No membrane here. You can get membrane if you want it on the BB185. Same price, but the toggles are so much hipper.
You can dress this up to a stainless 190 series, get a glass pitcher, and end up with industrial chic. But it's twice the price, and you don't mess with the fugly.
Easy to clean. Most of the time all you need to do is just put a couple of drops of dish soap in the pitcher with some water, and give it a whirl. The shrouded pitcher base can be disassembled for the dishwasher when necessary -- otherwise it's more or less the same deal as a standard home pitcher.
This beast occupies the neverland between blenders that can't quite make proper smoothies, shakes and frozen cocktails, but look good on your counter; and the behemoths that say "nothing but the most expensive will do." When it comes to performance, the BB180 is a lot closer to the top than the bottom. When it comes to good looks... oh well. Call it a reverse-chic slice of prosumer heaven.
Capable and fugly. Less is substantially less and no good for many of the things you actually want a blender to do. If you buy a bigger machine and don't grind seeds into flour or won't actually use it to run a business, you probably overspent.
If you want a blender that doesn't cost a mint, will do what you want how you want, and looks great in a cabinet with the doors closed... This One Can.
PS. It's a little embarassing to come out so strongly for something you actually chose and use. But it's all true, and Waring should pay me to write this stuff.