I can't justify the high end red dots either, but have wasted my money on several in the $100 and under range. The Vortex models are much closer to the high end dots at under $200. I went with the SPARC over the Strikefire. Only $20 more but the smaller 2 MOA dot actually makes it fairly precise out at 100 yards or more. Many of the 5 MOA dots are pretty useless at longer ranges since they cover so much of the target.
None of the cheaper versions I've tried would zero easily. The adjustments were not predictable and I had to shoot up a lot of ammo getting them zeroed. Sometimes 3 clicks would move POI 1.5". The next time 3 clicks wouldn't change anything or would move POI 3-4 ". I chased groups all over the target and once zeroed they would not be on the next range trip.
The Vortex models work, and are worth the small price difference.