The only indoor riding I do is TR workouts in ERG mode and I want to do them exactly as prescribed. I don’t Zwift or simulate outdoor rides so no need for the CLIMB or HEADWIND units.
Started with a dumb trainer and moved to a CycleOps Powerbeam Pro around 2014. It was fine, but would slip on hard efforts and went through trainer tires (yes, I was using trainer-specific tires) which was annoying. Sold it and went to a KICKR 2017 model, partly on the recommendation of the TR podcast -seemed they all used it.
When the KICKR worked, it was great. I liked not having to use a front wheel block and the perfectly smooth (though fake) power tracing it provided to TR was cool. It also interfaced elegantly with the BSXinsight which I used for FTP testing. It seems to have the largest market share in this space. However, mine had problems, possibly with the thermistor, long story and still not sure. I replaced the circuit board twice and after the second time gave the KICKR to a buddy. Got a Tacx Neo which has been reliable for about a year now. I picked it because it doesn’t need a calibration and is truly direct drive - no belt or weighted flywheel. It feels harder than the KICKR, possibly due to the lack of the flywheel. It can also simulate terrain (cobbles, expansion joints etc.) which I have no use for.
My two cents about the smart trainers is that whatever you chose, these things are not built with aerospace quality components and the combination of high speed rotating parts, heat (where do you think all those Watts go?) and delicate electronics will have a failure rate so they cannot be expected to last forever. That’s not to say the one you pick will have issues, plenty of people have been using all of these models with zero problems.