Startup cost: $450
How often you need to use it to make it worthwhile: Daily for many years. Expensive? You bet. But there's a reason O editors—and Suze Orman—are huge fans of this high-performance, self-cleaning wonder machine. It's extremely versatile, can easily puree fibrous foods (like green-smoothie standbys chard and kale) that other blenders have trouble with and will last for years. To get the most out of this investment, you need to use it a lot)—but it can be a truly useful tool for every meal, from making kick-start-your-morning juices like Oprah's Green Drink to the creamiest broccoli, asparagus or mushroom soup you've ever had; to smooth and fluffy butternut squash casseroles. Unlike other blenders that we've had conk out after five or even 10 years, Vitamixes (which come with seven-year warranties) seem to keep on chugging—we've even found still-working models from the late 1960s for sale online.
Next: 5 confounding kitchen appliances (and how to use them)