BasedSS: I was in your situation. I started with a cheapo smoker and spent a few bucks (actually more than a few) converting it too reverse flow, which I think is the only way to go. The mods worked but you can't get around two big problem -- the thin metal doesn't retain or distribute heat and air leaks carry out moisture which dries out the meat. Air leaks make it impossible to control airflow which controls temperature.
So, with that in mind, what I think a mate should look for when deciding to upgrade, is units constructed of thicker steel and workmanship that is as close as one can get to air tight. I have a Lang and it works for me for the price I paid for it. It's not prefect but it cooks good product and heat control is a snap compared to the cheapo one I had. Horizon also makes a good unit but you have to buy accessories to convert it to reverse flow.
My advise is because you're spending around $1000, which may not be a lot of money to some folks but is to me, is to do your research. Check out all the owners comments of the various units your looking at and then decide which brand works for you. Your first priority should be thicker metal.