I'm actually having a custom pit built mostly because I want to do some catering and comps but I'll have to say that even if all I wanted to do is cook in the back yard for the rest of my life I would still want a quality pit. It's kinda like the golfer who plays for years with Wilson clubs from the local sporting goods store and then has a chance to sample Callaways or Pings. He's simply applying the playing experience that he's accumulated over the years to a much better piece of equipment but the difference in quality can be astonishing. I have been cooking on a NB offset for about 18 years and I can make pretty good Q on it but I've had the opportunity to cook on custom pits off and on and the difference is really night and day. After struggling for years with thin steel, poorly fitted doors and a design that had to be modified in order to even work properly, the first time I cooked on a pit that had some real thermal mass, was well sealed and had a good working design I was amazed at how much easier cooking became. Q is a passion for most of us and I think that with only one shot at this life we should do the things that make us happy and get the most out of those things as we can. Some guys golf, some guys ride motorcycles, some guys hunt and fish a lot but we love to cook and we owe it to ourselves to have the best experience that we can with what we're passionate about. One thing that I learned from my Dad's early death was that you just never know when there will be no tomorrow and you have to live NOW, so why shortchange yourself? Even though my new pit will cost 10 times what my cheap offset cost, I know that it will be 10 times easier to use and it will have about 50 times more cooking capacity and efficiency! So to sum up, save your money, no matter how long it takes and get what you want. You've worked hard in life to provide for others and over paid on federal taxes all of your life, so you owe it to yourself to have something that makes YOU happy. If you get the chance, PULL THAT TRIGGER!