Budget will determine a lot of this. As a home cook, my current one is a $40 Kitchenaid. I had a Cuisinart before that for about $30 that lasted about 5 years. Before that it was a $20 Braun that ran more than 10 years.
Now, there are some other caveats. The Braun was a blade only and fixed to the drive shaft, much less to go wrong. The Cuisinart and KitchenAid have swappable tools. Blade and whisk as well as a mini food processor cup system. This is not just the blender cup, but a bowl, blade and lid. The food processor cup is OK for salsa, not OK for hummus. The blade handles hummus well. And the whisk makes a fine meringue or whipped cream. The current Kitchenaid has three speeds but that's pretty gimmicky. The lower speeds only make sense for starting whipping which I don't find to be a killer feature. The Cuisinart turns out to have had a better lock for the attachments. No idea yet on who has the better gears. I think the Cuisinart failed from plastic gears, but I don't know that for a fact.
If you've got the budget to burn. Robot Coupe is the best from what I've read, full of professional grade goodness, 10-20X the cost of what I've been talking about.