Alright so I did a little more research. There seems to be a unanimous opinion that Hobart makes well built grinders. That being said a #12 .5HP from them cost $2500 which I am a little confused about. The top end Weston grinder (#32 1.5HP) only costs around $800 so I am trying to figure out what justifies this surge in price.
I think ultimately I am going to decide on a 1 HP unit. I’m debating between the Thunderbird, Weston, and LEM brands. I am leaning towards the Weston #22 1HP because of its reverse function which the other two brands lack. I know if we use the machine properly we shouldn’t need a reverse function but I simply want to be safe.
The price of the Hobart’s is making me second guess myself though. Do these other brands lack something significant enough to warrant a $2000 price difference? While I would like to keep costs down to around $1000, knowing that the unit I buy will be good for years to come would be appreciated.
THAT being said though, our old Thunderbird TB-12GS lasted us roughly 8 years (although some repairs were done along the way) and right now its selling for around $700. Obviously this math is rough, but considering the comparable unit from Hobart costs $3500, the Hobart wold have to run for like 40 years for it to be comparable in cost effectiveness.
Also if someone could tell me the difference between the two Thunderbird units (TB-12GS vs TB-300E) that would be helpful.
Special thanks to pnwchef, you’ve been super helpful.