I've had my Hamilton Beach Blender for 20 years (oh gosh, am I THAT OLD!) and it's made more batches of Margareeta's than most bars! Now it makes Medifast shakes and crushes huge ice cubes fine! I recently bought one just like mine at a yard sale for $5 - as a spare! How's that for a recommendation!..
Oh look, here's one like mine on ebay and it's still less than $5 in the bidding..
I know the feeling. I bought my mini blender on target.com for $17. It's small enough to bring to work and make shakes and it is great at crushing ice. The only bad thing is this blender is only available online.
I am sure older blenders actually do last longer! The new ones just aren't built the same. The one that I had that died out last year was a Hamilton Beach except it was a newer model...
With the rocket and the bullet if you take the cup off the base after about 30 seconds and shake it for a second and then blend again you will find all your ice will crush. I think it is because some of the ice gets stuck away from the blades and you just have to manually relocate it. Hope this helps...
"Cooks" from JC Penny is a fabulous Magic bullet knock off. It is often on sale for $19.99. I even bought one as a gift for my boss..