I was torn on this one for a long time. Did a lot of reading and a lot of research. It boils down to preference. I well built stick burner with tuning plates will be just as efficient as a reverse flow. Came down for me thickness of the metal and if the firebox was insulated.
I looked at Lang, JohnsonSmokers,Jambo, R&O, Gator, and a few others. Ended up deciding on an R&O. Reasons were:
1. Lang never returned my calls or my emails
2. Local - JohnsonSmokers, Jambo, R&O, Gator all in Texas.
3. In the end Firebox efficiency and flow of heat won out over the reverse flow.
4. Price - more bang for my buck. Saw a Jambo/R&O/Gator in person. All are quality built. R&O though had pricing that saved me a bit of money. I actually finalize my order next week with them ...
Again though - each has their own opinion and preference.