I have a hand me down one, but I'd get one w/ a good motor in your price range. Just see what the options are. Generally, I think that glass jar ones are made better than plastic jar ones too. Maybe a coincidence?
I've gone through a few blenders now... I had a Kitchenaid, which was horrible, I hated the design, and the pitcher leaked. I then bought a Waring, which has the one switch, you can choose between high & low. I really like this blender; it doesn't do a great job on ice, but it's good enough.
I recently bought a Vita-Mix Bar Master (which I know is out of your price range). This is an awesome blender! Great design, easy to use and clean, and has real power.
My suggestion is to look at Waring, and check reviews for other blenders in your price range on Amazon.
we have a black and decker one from linens and things. i think it was either $20 or $30 and it has an ice crush button, we only use it for making drinks. but i just bought a magic bullet and that is great! it comes with these cups that you add everything to then blend it in the cup and drink out of it (if that makes sense) but its $50 not sure if you want to spen that much. but it is compact .