The best I've seen for a home kitchen are the Waring and the Bamix -- both light-duty, small, blenders designed for commercial use. Neither has the sort of attachments you see with the "home" appliances. The Bamix is a bit stronger, and more expensive, while the Waring is plenty good enough.
I owned a Braun for years and it worked fine. The white plastic did stain, but I don't care. Although it didn't need actually need replacing I thought I'd get a Waring, but my wife bought the top of the line Cuisinart. Also, fine. I'd still rather have the Waring or the Bamix for the status more than anything else.
We -- or to be more accurate -- I, don't use a stick blender much, so perhaps I'm insufficiently critical.
It's just a stick blender. Don't lose too much sleep over the choice.