AL, you have raised some of your concerns with the sturdy press.
" With that said I really didn't like the bucket idea on the sturdy press."
The sturdypress does not "require" any water for lever arm weight, in fact the calculator that comes with the press calculates the lever arm weight in lbs, or kgs, or cups of water, or liters of water. You can use any weight you want although water is cheaper than iron, lead or any other metal. Water can also be measured by volume so you don't need a scale to get the correct lever arm weight.
"Also did not like the lack of a pad or foot on the vertical arm. Looks like it would destroy a follower in short time. Needs a round foot to disburse the weight more IMHO."
"Keeping the foot square to the follower seems to be a big issue."
If you calculate the torque using a 1 1/2 inch square push rod on the follower ,you will find it adequate to keep the follower level. I have NEVER received a complaint about this issue from any of the 400+ users of the sturdy press.
"I may buy a sturdy press in the near future for those times it's needed but if I do it will be fitted with pulleys and a foot. "
Why would you need pulleys when the sturdy press will press over 500 lbs without them?
The cabarrusfarms press is a fine press, but it would be better to compare presses using the REAL attributes of each press.