1) Price has nothing to do with what binding you need. If a smaller spring (generally less expensive) version of a right model is optimal for your weight, you don’t need the more expensive model.
2) Bindings come with different heights and ramp angles. This can make a big difference of how the boots interact with (pressure) the skis, and skier posture. For example, racers and people who like carving turns find it easier to carve turns when their boots are higher off the snow (using a binding with a higher stand height and/or getting the binding higher with plates). Many powder/freeride skiers prefer their bindings mounted as close as possible to their skis.
3) Some bindings have fore/aft adjustment, which is important if you haven’t demoed a ski before and are trying to find the "sweet spot." Some people like moving their boot center back using a fore/aft adjustment when skiing powder. Some experts want more effective tail on their skis (for carving), and may prefer the bindings moved slightly forward. Many park & pipe rats like forward binding mounts, but not when free skiing. Some demo bindings are great for the fore/aft movement, and are almost as light or lighter than the regular bindings (e.g., Griffon Demo vs. Schizo). So why buy the Schizo when you can buy the demo version?
4) Some bindings have more release angles than others, making them seem safer to skiers.
5) Some bindings cost more than similar same-brand models because they are lighter from using titanium or other materials. Lighter models are deemed less tiring to the skier.
6) Some bindings are geared for less movement before it releases, while others have lots of elasticity. Which is best for you? That depends if you are racing, skiing slow turns in soft snow, etc.
7) Some skiers believe certain brands pre-release more than others. Over time, I have never had problems with two brands. For that reason, I stick with them.
8) Each model has different available brake sizes. Some will fit the fattest skis and some will not.
9) Some people believe bindings designed for fat skis (wider binding width) help them perform better. Some people do not believe this.
10) Some bindings are padded to help absorb shock. They aren’t only for the under-35 jibbers. Old guys with bad knees may like these despite the extra weight.
11) Combination bindings are important for backcountry skiers, who like lightweight bindings and/or bindings that allow the heel to rise when climbing with skins and work like regular bindings when skiing.
12) Bindings are made with different materials, which can effect longevity.
13) Some bindings are much easier to get into after a fall in deep powder or steeps than others (you can get them on while sitting on your sorry tail in the snow).
14) Some bindings are designed to flex freely with the ski, which the manufacturers claim helps with carving.
I’m sure I forgot a lot more than what is listed above.
Edited by quant2325 - 11/6/10 at 11:35am