How do you determine what tool to purchase

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Forum topic by Resurrected posted 02-23-2011 04:56 AM 1271 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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671 posts in 2691 days

02-23-2011 04:56 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource

Are you a tool collector needing one of each?
Do you buy the most expensive just to have the tool gloat?
Do you wisely weigh your choices and pick the tool for the job?
Do you buy what you can afford?
Are you just cheap and make the cheapest tool outlast the best tool?

I buy the best I can and try not to go over board. I have bought cheap just because I could not afford the best at the time. I like reliable tools when I talk about the best this is what I refer to.

-- Who can I block now???????????????????????

19 replies so far

View lew's profile


12060 posts in 3754 days

#1 posted 02-23-2011 05:40 AM

Buy wisely- not necessarily the most expensive. I do rely on reviews here and other sights but temper them with personal experience and my budget.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Resurrected's profile


671 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 02-23-2011 05:42 AM

That is actually well said and mostly reflects me.

-- Who can I block now???????????????????????

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3711 days

#3 posted 02-23-2011 06:27 AM

I try to buy the tool for the job, generally after I need it 3 or more times I figure it is time to buy the proper tool. Reviews here, and seeing what people have in their shops influences what I buy, as do the reviews in FWW. Sometimes I just go with my gut if there is too much information available, so far its worked out okay. Budget of course plays a part, but if the tool is more appropriate and safer I’ll probably find the budget. Its a hobby for me so it has to fit in to space, time and what the family is doing to. If we are renovating then the tools are a little easier to justify, Jenn likes tools also so it isn’t too hard to convince her (if she can see the need for it). I guess Jenn’s opinion counts quite a bit as well, I mean she picked me right so her judgement can’t be that bad LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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671 posts in 2691 days

#4 posted 02-23-2011 06:40 AM

I always like when I can justify a tool purchase due the project at hand for the family. :P

-- Who can I block now???????????????????????

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3135 days

#5 posted 02-23-2011 06:43 AM

Relying on reviews today is becoming a really big joke today…

I’m not just talking about tools….

There’s too much love/hate going on with the reviews…

To many people are writing reviews using something just once (couple of minutes) or don’t really know how to use it in the first place or it doesn’t meet there expectations, it gets a bad review, you get 50% swear by it, then the other 50% say don’t waste your money…

-- Rick

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2970 days

#6 posted 02-23-2011 07:00 AM

It’s not that simple. For me it’s more like an addiction. When I’m in a tool store, like Woodcraft or even Harbor Freight, it’s like it must be for an alcoholic in a liquor store. I can rationalize anything. I need to get that 8 pc chisel set because it’s just on sale for this month and I don’t have a full set that matches. Never mind that I do have three smaller sets that are just as good or better. I hate this attribute of my personality. I know perfectly well that I would be much more satisfied if I waited till I could afford a nice set of Pfeils or Two Cherrys, or Sorbys; instead I have 4 mixed sets of cheap chisels and a few old Stanleys. I have always had a passion for tools; any kind of tools. What ever type of work I am doing, it’s like I can’t rest until I have all the tools needed to do that work and learn how to use them properly. My basement is a freakin hardware store.

View SkySoldier's profile


4 posts in 2684 days

#7 posted 02-23-2011 07:11 AM

Thanks for throwing that out there, surfin2, as a new guy, I read as much as I can, but sometimes the reviews leave me a little confused, and, sometimes downright afraid to purchase.
But to hit Resurrecteds’ post, at this stage, I have bought a few of the cheaper tools, but have paid the price. (I.E. spray gun) I believe, from here on out, I will wait a little longer to buy what I think is the better tool. Unfortunetly, it seems that more money=better quality for the most part.


View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 2678 days

#8 posted 02-23-2011 02:23 PM

I do a lot of research on tools before I buy them. I try and buy made in usa first…its a huge decision maker.

-- New Auburn,WI

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3696 days

#9 posted 02-23-2011 02:43 PM

If I see a tool that I like need it or not I buy it, I have tools that are still in boxes some I don’t remember buying, someday I may need them.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3285 days

#10 posted 02-23-2011 05:23 PM

In answer to your questions—-Yes!

There are so many variables, they all apply at some point.


View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3157 days

#11 posted 02-23-2011 05:38 PM

I buy them as I need them…and only after extensive research. Usually it balances value vs. reliability vs. feature-set…as much as I’d love to just purchase all Festool, it’s just not realistic right now.

Sometimes, I’ll find alternative methods for accomplishing a job until I find a suitable purchase…this is dictated, often, by the tool I want coming up on Craigslist.

I think quite often (for many of us), Craigslist dictates the timeframe and the tools that we actually purchase.

-- jay,

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3107 days

#12 posted 02-23-2011 05:45 PM

If I have to borrow a tool more than once, I usually buy it. Review reading is almost a lesson in psychology. When I read personal reviews, I look for how the tool was used, and how experienced the user is. For example, I read one negative review on the Multimax by Dremel. The reviewer complained it lacked power then remarked that he finished the job he was working on with a circular saw. Hmmm, the 1.5 amp tool couldn’t compete in power with the 15 amp saw… I dismissed the review. Hand tools I tend to try to get used, older tools requiring a little elbow grease usually mean good tools at an affordable price. Power tools I tend to be sold on warranty and quality of the product. Good warranties usually mean the manufacturer is confident in their product.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2849 days

#13 posted 02-23-2011 06:42 PM

Careful research can be important in a tool purchase decision. In scrutinizing specs for benchtop mortisers, I found only one—Jet—that ran at 1725 rpm as opposed to 3450 (in the middle price range of tools). I think that’s a game changer, in that heat is the enemy of a good cutting edge and you’ve got metal clanging around metal on this tool.

There is opportunism. I saw a little edgebander at an auction and got it for $35 because no one knew what it was. It pushed me right into all kinds of stuff that I simply couldn’t have competed in without it. It served me for years and I sold it for way more than I paid for it.

Recently at a junk store I found a pair of pliers that felt like quality; I bought it for $1.50. Boker is the brand name. Web research: company (German) dates back to the 17th century! Mostly knives now (as then) but also quality hand tools. This one is no longer in their catalog, and it’s unusual, so I don’t know its highest purpose, but it grips things and it’s in my drawer of pliers and one day I’ll use it and say “Yesssssss!”

Early on in the history of John Ekonomaki’s Bridge City Toolworks, I bought two of his limited edition, numbered measuring tools. They remain unused, in the box, and my sons know who gets which one.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Stormin's profile


193 posts in 2788 days

#14 posted 02-23-2011 06:59 PM

Hello my name is Norm and I’m also a toolaholic I sometimes buy the cheaper tool and if I use it lots I will buy the better one. I quit smoking 3 years ago and use the money from that habit to support my new tool addiction :-)

-- I started off with nothing I have most of it left

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3399 days

#15 posted 02-23-2011 08:09 PM

I buy what I need or would make the job a lot easier/faster. My last 2 major purchases; mortiser and jointer, were tools that I really didn’t need but I felt they would save a lot of time and effort. I waited about 3 months from when I decided I would buy on, I spent that time research and watching Craigslist like a hawk eventhough I ended up buying brand new.

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