This is what I use:
1. Blueline 250w titanium heater element (http://www.bluelineaquatics.com/products/heaters/
2. Blueline temperature controller (http://www.bluelineaquatics.com/products/heaters/
3. Koralia Pico Evolution Evo-Mag 300 GPH Nano Aquarium Pump (bunch of ebay sources).
4. Coleman 28qt cooler I picked up at Bevmo for beer during get-togethers.
5. 3 1L accordion containers for FD, CD, BX or 2 1L accordion containers for CD, BX (Freestyle).
6. A couple small bricks I picked up from Home Depot to keep the containers from floating around.
I bought the heater+controller for 95$ as a combo deal on eBay, the pump for 20$, and the Coleman for 20-30$ but it's cost was of course amortized against it's intended use: beer.
The reason I specifically went for a titanium element and an external controller rather than an all in one cheapo-unit is that the former usually go beyond 100F (even if unsafe for fish) just by design. One is able to set temps of up to 110F if I remember correctly. The controller itself uses an external probe and is basically a fancy relay for the heater itself. The pump you just plug in. I fill the Coleman up with 90F+ water from the sink, turn the controller on to 37-38C, place my 1L accordion containers containing FD, CD, BX (E-6) or CD, BX (C-41) and let it stabilize for 20-30 minutes. I don't bother heating the stab for either processes. The bricks I just submerge and wedge against the containers to stop them from floating or moving around.
Heating element, pump, probe in water:
My coveted mercury-based Kodak Process Thermometer:
2-stage C-41 setup:
First roll of Astia (E-6) I developed with the setup:
Another roll of Astia (this one in Polyester fold-flaps, so there's reflection glare):
Nothing beat the moment I pulled the slides out of the tank and saw such jeweled color against the light. It was better than the first time developing black and white, honestly. Recently I picked up a Phototherm bath but haven't used it for any development other than testing that it worked properly. It's cost was around the same aggregate cost for the ghetto-route, but I can tell the temperature stabilization is more precise and the built in pump is nice. It's entirely self-contained and well-designed but I don't think it'll make a difference in the final product (just less hassle).