I thought of the following......ceramics is a commitment to me, which means firing 2-3 times/week and several hours loading and unloading ware and firing late or overnight
....so I decided to spend the money up front on a front loader to make my workload easier and a Bartlett V6 digital controller which allows me to start the firing at 4am, fully control every element of the firing schedule and experiment with different schedules
....in the end I guess, you're going to have this essential piece of equipment for many years, you will be spending quite a bit of time loading and unloading, and you would come to really like the ease and flexibility of multiple firing options.....and...you're going to want to love working with it
I live in Sydney so I had more options but I am very short and started ceramics later in life so health matters did count when I set up my studio
... my 5 cents worth is buy the best set up you can afford and really want now, because you will be working with it for some time ....it would be a shame to choose the 'cheaper, I'll manage with it now' option if it could mean health issues or frustrations crop up to spoil your enjoyment of the kiln
I bought 2 electric kilns + 2 controllers for my studio, a mid sized Tetlow brick and a small Ward brick, both came secondhand from private sellers after careful scrutiny at fairly good prices ... with the Ward which is a discontinued South Australian make I had a technician replace all the elements and electricals from 10amp to 15 so it can fire to stoneware as well.... it did cost a good deal of money but in the end not as much as one brand new one of top or front loader models. Both kilns will probably outlast my ceramics career and will still have a decent resale value.
Buy what you really want now, within your budget, so you always love using it.
Let us know what you decide.