I have consistently come back to Total and use it almost exclusively for all my client’s sites and personal sites.
It may not boast the same level of design polish and unique elements as some other top themes, but the benefits of Total are far more valuable. No other theme I’ve used is as flexible as Total.
Among countless benefits, here are a few of my top reasons for using it:
1. Extensive documentation and snippets for extending the theme. http://wpexplorer-themes.com/total/docs-category/getting-started/ it’s truly amazing and so helpful.
2. Edit the name of custom post types. Wanting a post type for “videos” instead of “portfolio” is as easy as renaming and editing it with the built in post type editor.
3. Enable or disabled post types that you aren’t using. Other themes force post types to be added to your dashboard.
4. Super clean code, and a lead bloat free core. Easy to edit in a child theme. (though I do wish a child theme came in the download and didn’t have to be taken from github).
5. Outstanding support. Fast response time and real solutions to problems.
I think Total really shines in the hands of a designer or developer. If you can use it as a framework to then design and build your own layouts, it will serve you well. Or get a head start with an easy to install demo and build on top of that.