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How to save money on tools

Consider these five practical tips

IN THE SHOP with Rachel

By Rachel Gingell

Let’s face it: tools – especially good ones – are an expensive necessity. If you’ve been repairing your own equipment for very long, you’ll understand how important it is to have the right tools for the job on hand. How can you get these tools without spending a fortune? Here are my best tips.

1.     Buy tools with a warranty

For tools that you use (and abuse) frequently, it pays to buy tools that come with a guarantee. I tend to run through screwdrivers more quickly than any other tool – even the best made ones can snap and warp. While it costs more to purchase quality tools upfront, after your third (or, in my dad’s case, 30th!) replacement you’ll come out ahead.

Besides the eventual cost, consider the frustration and work hours that are lost when tools break. My recommendation: spend more for tools that you use the most (screwdrivers, socket sets, etc.) and for tools that have a critical safety function (like a floor jack).

2.     But other times, buy cheap

If you’re buying a single-use tool and you aren’t sure if you’ll use it often, head to a discount store and get an inexpensive one. Make a deal with yourself: if you break it or use it often enough that a low-quality feature really irritates you, buy a new one.

After a few years, you might find that those discount tools are still ok for their infrequent use – saving you some money along the way.

3.     Buy second-hand

They don’t make 'em like they used to… so get the originals! Tag sales and auctions can be great places to find high-quality tools at rock-bottom prices. It might take a bit of searching, so get the word out to trusted friends and neighbors who like to browse.

While deals can be found at going-out-of-business sales, I often do the best at personal moving and estate sales.

4.     Make your own

With a little bit of ingenuity, you might be able to make some specialized tools on your own. Keep some of the basics around – like threaded rod, big washers and scrap steel – and see what you can come up with! It’s especially fun to invent a custom tool of your own.

How about you – do you have any ideas for saving money on tools? If so, share in the comments below! 

Comments (2)

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Personally I look at appropriate tools as a cheap alternative to costly repairs , downtime and frustration. Tools are a long term investment. I have 40 plus year old Snap-On sockets still in common use. I have never seen an article so in tune with my attitude.
Jim Maw |Apr 12 2020 7:37AM
Like the thoughts but there is a problem, I always bought quality tools like Snap On, S-K. ProTo etc yes they taunt a great warranty however like Snap On they discontinue tools they used to supply and when the original breaks and you claim warranty there is NONE. Or when like S-K Tools get bought out by another company etc and you have their tool and claim warranty there is no new tools because like SK they disavow and responsibility because the old SK company no longer exists. Similar to the old quote Figures not lie but liars figure the customer is always stuff with wrong end of the stick today
John Betka |Mar 4 2019 12:40PM