Doug Deacon will hopefully also chime in here but my experience was totally the opposite of Babyjdrums. I had the 16.5 for a number of years and it always worked well. I decided to try the Loricraft with a money back offer and was a Doubting Thomas about whether it could justify the price (and price difference).
If you have a large collection of LPs, a nice TT rig or just love vinyl, I can tell you it is WELL worth the difference. I cleaned a number of my reference LPs that had been cleaned 2 or 3 times with my VPI. I made sure I listened to them first before cleaning them with the Loricraft and then after. In almost all cases there was a noticeable improvement in not only suface noise and pops and ticks but the newly cleaned LPs had better dynamics and were more engaging. NO. I am not one of those consumers who needed to jusify his purchase or hear what I wanted to hear to convince myself I spent wisely since I had no obligation to buy and I went into the trial NOT WANTING to buy the damn thing and spend that much money. The problem was, I just couldn't go back to the VPI knowing I wasn't getting every last bit of performance from those grooves.
I have posted my opinions on why I think the design is better and suggest you look those up. The short version is that you have a more powerful vacuum concentrating ALL of its suction power in a minute opening (maybe the size of the point of a pen) rather than a whole tube (like the VPI). The VPI tube also can't get as close to the LP since an LP is cupped because the outside of the LP is raised thus keeping the long tube of the VPI from getting as close to the LP as the tonearm style of the Loricraft. It only stands to reason there will be more suction power if the opening is MUCH smaller and by being closer to the record, more residue removed. Then you add the thread which keeps the dirt from being redeposited on the LP and you have a better chance of getting those miniscule grooves cleaner. The fact that it runs so quiet is a bonus.
All in all, if you are a vinyl lover or want to extract the MOST from your grooves, I can't think of a better investment.
Then again, this is just MY experience and opinion and YMMV.