I can say, other than the communication skills of the maker, the Stoker is a great product. We started off with a bad start (but after exchanging the unit and fans a three times it was okay), I obviously made some of the most popular videos about the subject and but John has never once made amends or thanked me for my support. But, I don't need personal support if the product is good. I call them Like I see them.
In any case the unit is great - although for low and slowers on big units you may need to seal up your firebox real well. I don't do that of course as the unit I use with the 25CFM blower is used to reach those real good hot and fast numbers I use like 270- 340 sometimes or 400 for clod. I do seal for Jerky though and the Stoker is crucial them for keeping those small little fires in a big unit.
Pluses are when John says he gives you 25CFM he means it. In competitor's stuff the FAN may be 25CFM but the outlet may slow it to the extent its less. Of course if you use a little egg or something its no big deal with those 5 and 10CFM blowers.
The only disappointment engineering wise is that I think the 25cfm taxes the unit as far as it can go. I found this to be the case when I, per advertisement and product lit, attached standard stereo extention cords run through the old Funkotorium Trailer so I could keep my Stoker unit safe inside the commissarry. As far as the sensors they worked well through the extention cords. But when the fan was plugged in it would not work at all... prob too much resistance. I bet John would be able to figure it out but the unit was so INDESPENSIBLE (I've used it for maybe 3500 hours) I dared not send it back.
About my crack about John. John is obviously an engineer of sorts. This means his primary duty is to be that much brighter than anyone else. Thats the power he tapped into in order to complete his vision. He does this well. Customer service is a crap shoot. I have heard good stories and bad but the usually are focused around just communication. He always fixes what he is asked so he cannot be faulted with that, but at times communication is a problem.
In 2008 I wrote him an email, my choice of communication, about ordering three more stokers but 2 WITHOUT the fan. My purpose was to use them with my Trailer's on board computer to be able to monitor the temp and cool down of just about anything. I was going to order a mess of probes. Can you imagine being able to actually show the HD I got my meat from an internal of 190 to 70 in under two hours and from 70 to 40 in such and such time. This would all be shown on a grid which could even be printed out. Proper cool down is an obsession of mine and people screw this up all the time. I have seen 300 pounds of pork shoulder go straight from the smoker into sealed plastic and thrown directly into a freezer and be pulled out with a high bac count. I think the Stoker would be GREAT for this and wanted to dedicate a unit just for recording holding temps.
There was NEVER any response for an additional sale (and I write his service, admin, and sales emails) so I thought if the guy can't get back for sales then service THIS time might be worse.
I am very glad to see that he is still making the product and hope he continues to do so. I had a partner that was really upset with him at one time (by the way, never take in a partner) and said some things (not really bad just sort of questioning) the Stoker on BBQ NEWS which is where we heard about it (problem at that time was it took forever for us to get it and there was no answer to our calls for two weeks as to where it was) and the nutjobs that ran THE BBQ NEWS didn't help any by deleting the posts. It was like a swarm of bees, really. LOL
This is why, incidentally THIS forum is better. If you are a advertiser in the BBQ NEWS print or web media, then when someone starts a thread complaining or asking about a vendor who advertises there, they erase all negative comments. As a result, don't look to BBQ NEWS for anything but GLOWING reviews when you are about to spend your hard earned dollars.
This forum doesn't let that get started so you get good reliable info. BBQ News responded we don't let anyone complain about anyone - to which I showed them negative commentary of Wal Mart, Sams, and copies of deleted threads about people asking about Austin National Smokers (and we all know what happened to them). Sad, I know.
Popdaddy is Dead - 1933-2011 - Pitmaster T is a free agent