I used Judson for several years and know the TCS machines. Reliable and good service. I am not sure what your definition of independent is, but Butler also makes a very reliable machine, that is easy to service and they support you.
The smaller manufacturers often have only one or a few authorized service centers. This can make it hard to have a machine serviced, especially for warranty issues. That is a benefit of the national organizations that have many service outlets. If you choose one of the smaller manufacturers, consider if the service is available near you. Some of these companies have great service but only in a limited area.
TCS has been great to me so far. Kind of hard when they only have 2 locations though. But anytime I’ve needed anything at all, I’ve been able to call and they always walk me through whatever I need. Very simple machines that are easy to work on too.
I have been running a reliabuilt machine for over 3 years now and for the money it is a great machine. Very easy to fix yourself especially if you are about 4 hours to the closest carpet cleaning repair shop like we are. And most of the parts I can buy locally at industrial hose and fitting and small engine shops. I have been in business for over 10 years now and it was a great choice to buy reliabuilt. I also bought a filter from Kacey for $399 which he builds like mini waste tanks and it is leaps and bounds better than anything else on the market even the devastator which I bought years ago for over $500 but it leaks air and I was always messing with it. Kacey builds quality stuff for reasonable prices I will get many more years out of this truck mount and the filter will probably last forever. I posted some pictures of the filter and basket that it came with very nice quality as you can see in the pictures.
Masterblend does make a good unit, and I believe the guys that designed it were ex Steamway guys. You can’t beat the heat on these things. We’ve used all kinds of heat exchanger units from Whitemagic, the Dynachem from Cobbs, various propane fired units from PCS...and nothing compares. It will spoil you. I firmly believe the guy over at Amtex was on to something really good. I liked the way you could slide the engine forward to replace the joy coupler. Very beautiful set up too. Too bad all those problems arose...