Quoted from gweempose:
I just can't justify spending all that money on the Paragon machine when I can buy this one with a cart for half the price. I realize it isn't made as well, but I'm sure it will still make some tasty corn.
You won't be disappointed. I had the same concerns as you, that the Great Northern machine would be lower quality, but I honestly think it's great quality. It's a popcorn machine, not a sherman tank.
I think the longevity of them has more to do with how you take care of them. Mine still looks brand new, and we've done over 100 batches of popcorn already. We do at least 2-3 a week, and did 4-5 a day during the holidays when we had family in town.