I recently purchased the Brinkman 57" Vertical from Home Depot. I could not be more pleased with the unit. I did use high temp silicone to seal every joint during assembly, and the main chamber door required quite alot of effort with the silicone to get a good seal when closed, but it does not leak at all. The metal is thick, alot more sturdy than my Chargriller pro, which I have been using for nearly 8 years now. I envision with keeping this new Brinkman out of the elements it should last many many years. There are 5 racks which while great, still arent big enough to allow for one HUGE peice of meat like a large brisket, but for pork butts, ribs, chicken, you can easily smoke enough for a large gathering and have room to spare. It also comes with a sausage hanger in the top which is an awesome feature as well. I also read up on the mods done for the Brinkman Trailmaster horizontal unit and made my own firebox out of expanded metal. This is a must do modification, as well as adding an additional quality thermometer. The stock one does not always read accurate temps. I LOVE the vertical unit, it now does not leak a drop of smoke, and maintaining consistent temps is quite easy. I too was looking for a new smoker in the same price range as you are, and I could not be happier with the vertical Brinkman. Plus, Home Depot has free shipping. I wish there were a cover available, but as of yet there is not. I keep it under the patio awning so the rain doesnt get to it. I hope this helps, good luck in your search, and if you have any questions, just let me know.
Edited by Bama70 - 7/25/13 at 7:14am