My husband bought me the Ninja blender system for some holiday last year. I left it sitting on a chair in our family room because it was too big and overwhelming a job to open the box, read the instructions, set it up, and make it work. Then I'd also have to clean it afterwards and find a place to store the numerous, enormous parts. Plus we already had an old thrift store blender which was working just fine. Although admittedly, it was not all that great for smoothies.
Then one day my teenaged daughter asked if she could open up my blender present and make a shake. I said knock yourself out, so she did it. Young minds are not as intimidated by new pieces of information. Well, I speak for the young mind in my house in comparison to the old mind in my head. Anyway, to make a long story slightly shorter, she made a shake and showed me how to use my machine. As it turned out, it was not too difficult after the first time.
The Ninja we bought is quite gigantic. I'm sure you could easily make smoothies for your entire neighborhood in one go. It also works fairly well if you just want to make enough for one person. It has some individual serving cups that you can attach right to the stand, but I haven't used those yet.
For making a smoothie with fresh or frozen fruit, the Ninja is very effective. It is fast and thoroughly pulverizes everything. It is also very loud! Leafy veggies like spinach are also effectively blended into a shake. Although there are tiny bits left, they are about as small as a grain of sand. Not too disturbing, in my opinion.
We chose the Ninja because it seemed like a good compromise. It is much cheaper than the Vitamix, although it does not have all the same features. It doesn't grind grains, for example. And it can't make soup, which apparently the Vitamix does. Since I don't know everything the Vitamix can do, there may be other features lacking with the Ninja.
But if you're just looking for a better blender, a step up from the old thrift shop item that cost five bucks, the Ninja may be for you. It certainly has more power, can blend a much larger volume of ingredients, and makes a smoother smoothie.
And if you have a teenager at home, they can show you how to assemble it and make it run.