From what I have been able to piece together (nobody says this explicitly) SailRite machines are the same design
as several other made-in-China machines, but are not necessarily "the exact same machine." Originally, (their "version 1") it seems that SailRite used to import
these generic cheap
machines, "fine tune" them, reinforce a couple of key parts
, add some accessories, then re-sell them at a higher price
Fair enough - we've bought a few pieces of inexpensive Chinese farm equipment
, and they all seem to require that kind of tweaking to get them to work
more than a few days. If you're capable of doing this sort of mechanical work
yourself, you can often get a pretty decent tool, cheaply - with some effort on your part, and maybe a couple of trips to the local machine shop.
SailRite claims that they have taken that basic design and had all new molds made so that their cast parts
are more robust, have closer tolerances, and are made of better materials (Their "version 2"). Their
shows some fairly convincing quality differences in the parts. Of course, they could have cherry-picked those parts. And the video was from 2010, so it seems possible that the "other" guys could
have caught up by now. And we don't know if SailRite's Chinese connection is really so "exclusive" as they claim. One would have to take apart one of the cheap
machines for comparison to find out. Some of the on-line reviews
suggest that they still have the older hit-or-miss quality though.
I haven't found any info comparing the motors, other than one guy recommends replacing the motors on the cheap machines with a specific model that he found on Ebay.
In the end, I'm still kind of on the fence about this. The cheaper machines might be a bargain, but it's a bit of a gamble. One might end up having to buy so many parts from SailRite that you should have started there in the first place.