My buddy wanted one of "the best" and bought a "tier 1" Knights Armament for just over $2,000 and decided 15 minutes into our first range visit together that he liked my Spikes mid-length better because of how smoothly my rifle fires.
It's not always the amount of money you spend that matters. To be fair, I had changed some things out on my Spikes (KAC triple tap, geissele trigger, magpul acs, etc). But I had not spent anywhere close to what he had.
Solid reputation for reliability, what you're going to use your AR for, and the way the gun feels (and looks) to you seem to be the more important factors.