Cost vs performance

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 10-04-2013 10:48 PM 1040 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4795 posts in 3270 days

10-04-2013 10:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip

I would really like to read reviews of tools with no mention of the cost. Mentioning cost automatically prejudices the reader against a particular brand. Of course cost is a factor, but I feel it would be more constructive to judge a tool by it’s good and bad features. Once you find a tool that meets your requirements, then you can check the price. If too much, go and save your money. If not, go buy it. Sometimes we buy tools for the wrong reasons. That happens when we add cost to the equation. Companies who make or sell tools like to put the price out front, because they know people are greatly influenced by price. They know that people will compromise for cost over quality/performance.

Like most shoppers and I consider myself typical, I will look at the cheapest tool and then at the most expensive tool. I may note that the expensive tool has everything I want and the cheaper one doesn’t. That’s where cost raises it’s ugly head. I know I want that expensive tool, but my pocketbook can only afford the cheaper one. If I were wise, I would go away empty handed and come back when I can afford it. Deciding on the cheap one would be my biggest mistake. I know I will always regret that decision.

There are times when a cheap tool might be the best decision; you need a tool for an emergency one time job is a good example. Your budget may never allow you to buy the best other than cheap is another good reason. There was a time in my life when nothing but the best would do. I had the money so I got what I wanted. Today is a different story. I can no longer even consider the best tools (Festool for example), but fortunately, I stocked up on quality tools when I had the chance. They serve me well and I have learned to work around any shortcomings.

28 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2660 days

#1 posted 10-04-2013 10:52 PM

Funny- I hate it when people don’t mention the price.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2065 days

#2 posted 10-04-2013 10:58 PM

I think price plays a big part in the buying process, at least for cheapskates like me. And as the price goes up, so does my expectation of the tool – I want tighter tolerances, shinier finishes and bigger/better bells and whistles. That’s why most of those old-timey magazine articles that did tool comparisons always had the price included and tried to group tools from the same price-points.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

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Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#3 posted 10-04-2013 11:02 PM

I also think the price is important. Although I agree with what’s been said so far there is also the cost comparison factor. If 2 tools do the exact t]same thing in the exact same way, why would you buy the more expensive one. Unfortunately its not always the more expensive is better.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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4795 posts in 3270 days

#4 posted 10-04-2013 11:19 PM

Wow! I got 3 replies before I even got done editing this thread. I don’t believe any 2 tools will do the same thing in the same exact way. The only exception is a tool that is made and sold under a different name, like “Craftsman”. There are many factors to compare, but cost should not be one of them, until all other factors have been resolved. If you can remember when you were a kid at Christmas; you looked through all the magazines and told your parents what you wanted. Cost wasn’t a concern; it may have been to your parents, but you knew exactly what you wanted. Cost would eventually determine if the smile on your face was a great big one or just a mediocre one.

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Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#5 posted 10-04-2013 11:37 PM

I guess we’ll have to agree t disagree. I have had plenty of tools from different manufactures that performed equally. One instance that comes to mind is nail guns. Wen ever I make a tool purchase, cost is considered.

I’m not sure what xmas was like in your house, but believe me, in mine cost was a huge consideration.

We all do things different, and I respect your opinion, but mine is different.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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4795 posts in 3270 days

#6 posted 10-04-2013 11:45 PM

That’s what makes us all different. I was an only child, if that matters.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#7 posted 10-04-2013 11:56 PM

usually – on top of the most expensive tool, and the cheapest tool, there are also alternatives in between. For that purpose I think that price has a good reason to be included in the review as it can give you a another tool to decide which of the features are more important to you, and if that tool which has the feature you need is in your price bracket – maybe it is and you don’t have to go to the most expensive one, and maybe it doesn’t… at least you’ll know.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jonah's profile


1727 posts in 3325 days

#8 posted 10-05-2013 12:06 AM

Reviewing something without regard for the cost is a ridiculous concept. People read reviews to figure out which of a group of items to buy. The cost of those items, for the 99.99% of us without unlimited amounts of money, is vitally important to that decision-making process.

Everyone wants to know where the best bang-for-their-buck is.

As for your “it prejudices people against certain brands” statement: some brands feature mostly or exclusively overpriced crap. Sometimes you can get a substantially similar-performing item for a lot less with a different brand. If that’s the case, I want to know about it.

View toolie's profile


2134 posts in 2655 days

#9 posted 10-05-2013 12:36 AM

I know I want that expensive tool, but my pocketbook can only afford the cheaper one.

as an economist by schooling, i tend to focus on value…the utility acquired in exchange for the consideration necessary to acquire that utility. often times, the most expensive item has features unnecessary to the effective operation of the item. why pay for features one will never use? my model eliminates those items from the purchase decision. in my shop, it’s all about value. ‘course, i’m also one of three, so having to focus on the most bang for the buck was ingrained long before i completed my education.

as far as wanting the more expensive tools with all the bells and whistles, i guess that’s why god created jet and powermatic tools.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#10 posted 10-05-2013 12:42 AM

I look at the specific pro-level problems a high-tech tool
(like an INCRA thing or Festool tool) can solve for me.

If you’re not a pro, you can do amazing work with
hand tools and a band saw. It’s interesting work too.
Mortising by hand is not that big a deal really but it
gets tiresome doing a lot of mortises. I still do it
if I only need one or two, rather than setting up
a machine.

A pro can do amazing work too with basic tools, but
whether the work is profitable depends of where
the pro lives and where his or her reputation and
marketing skills are at.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2120 days

#11 posted 10-05-2013 12:55 AM

I tend not to put price in my reviews because price can vary depending on where you buy. If I’m reviewing something favorably specifically because of price I’ll put that in there. Harbor Freight bar clamps, for example. After comparing them to Irwin, Bessey, and Jet clamps (of equivalent size) I’ve found the Harbor Freight bar clamps to be just as good and much less expensive. So I mention that. Or if something is particularly expensive but particularly crummy.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2054 days

#12 posted 10-05-2013 12:57 AM

I play a balancing game, and watch or great deals. Mostly I look at reviews of various things I would like to have and lurk til I get a good deal somewhere. In many cases, Harbor Freight tools are more than sufficient. The bulk of my big end tools are Grizzly’s, I couldn’t have afforded to buy as much as I did if I had gone with one of the others. The Grizzly’s do a great job, but dealing with them is not a perfect experience. They do stand behind their products though and get the job done. A lot of my tools are highly rated tools from companies like bosch, dewalt, or porter cable. Each of these companies have tools that shine better than the others. It just a matter of lurking and watching for sales and special offers.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2054 days

#13 posted 10-05-2013 01:01 AM

I’ll add into Purrmaster comment about the bar clamps but add to put peachtree out of Atlanta into your spammer subscriptions, cause they put Bessey clamps on sale regularly, both bar and other, at very competitive prices to Harbor freight. I got 12 of the 3/4 inch H style Besseys for only $1 more each over HFs price.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3920 days

#14 posted 10-05-2013 01:02 AM

good luck finding those kind of reviews

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2120 days

#15 posted 10-05-2013 03:00 AM

I should probably add that if a tool is very expensive I will mention that and probably be harder on the tool overall. My expectations for a $300 plane is different than that for a $50 plane.

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