For what it's worth, here's my journey into smoking.
I read somewhere that the BGE was the best steak griller on the market, so I started with a BGE mini to grill steaks at high heat. I realized the BGE (Big Green Egg) mini was VERY limited and terrible at cooking anything but steaks for the most part. So, I got a medium BGE to be able to cook chicken and ribs. I still never liked the way the BGE cooked chicken because the coals are too close, even with a diffuser I always found the chicken to have a burned oil taste. I tried all different methods for chicken, but it was always dicey. Ribs came out ok, but after owning 2 BGE's, I'm just not a fan - especially when you consider the price.
So, I sold my 2 BGE's and still believing in a Kamado style cooker, I got a char-griller Akorn. I immediately found the Akorn to be superior to the BGE, both in price and because it could cook some really good chicken and ribs. I used the Akorn a lot for about year or two. During that time I wanted to get a smoker that I could "set and forget" and not knowing any better, I bought a Masterbuilt Propane Smoker off of CL for $50. It was terrible and I turned around and sold that for $75 - at least I made $25.
From there, I discovered this website and decided to build a UDS. I built a UDS (you can search for my posts and you'll see it) and it was awesome - life changing. My cost to build was about $125. During my UDS period, I also discovered Traeger pellet grills - also life changing, but different from the UDS. I found both a Jr. and Lil Tex on CL for a fraction of the cost of a new units.
My smoking hobby now had become a full blown illness / addiction. I then built a mini-wsm. It soon became clear to me that my trusty Akorn was now my 3rd string smoker. I recently sold it because it just sat there unused.
I now have 2 Traegers, a UDS, and a mini-wsm. I also have an old Weber Gasser, which I mainly use for the shelves. I also recently picked up a gas Patio Bistro infrared off of CL cheap just as a toy to play with. I'm not sure the Patio Bistro is gonna stay with the team at this point.
Anyways, that's my story. I hope it helps you along your journey.
Traeger 070 & Jr., Mini WSM, UDS, Akorn, Weber gasser, BGE(sold)