I have a Rena and wouldn't change it for the world. I absolutely love it. It's quiet and keeps my tank clean. Minimal cleaning of the filter housing and media makes it even better.
Personally, I never let money dictate my filter choice. And yes, we're on a budget like most everyone else. When you figure that this little piece of machinery helps keep your pets alive, it's worth whatever you need to pay to get the right equipment for your tank setup and stock.
75: blood parrots, featherfin cat, emperor tetras, turquoise rainbowfish, BN plecos, japanese trapdoor; 46: WCMM, gold inca snails, ghost, bamboo & amano shrimp, kuhli loaches, rummynose & ember tetras, endlers, platies, flame gourami, guppies; 16: pygmy, peppered, loxozonus corys, otos, assassins, RCS ... ~ Research PRIOR to purchase.... ~