Top 5 Tool Buying Tips

Keep these helpful tips in mind when you're in the market to buy tools.

By Bob Vila | Updated Nov 11, 2013 8:52 PM

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Buying Tools

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1.  Less is more: While having the 628-piece tool set is an impressive thing to tell all of your home-improvement buddies, the practicality just isn’t there. The likelihood of using all 628 of those tools over your lifetime, or even your kid’s lifetime, is slim. Instead, focus on the quality of certain pieces and how you feel it fits into what you are trying to accomplish with your project. The old adage quality over quantity holds true.

2.  Expensive isn’t always better: While expensive tools may have higher standards of quality attached to them, that doesn’t mean that they are right for the average weekend warrior doing minor projects around the house. Many times, the most expensive tools are designed for professionals who are using the tools often enough that it can justify the cost. However, for the weekend warrior, using a pricey table saw twice a year does not. Further, more expensive tools are generally more complicated and above the average skill level of a do-it-yourself individual. Because they are designed for the professionals, they have additional features that make it difficult for the average individual but are necessary for the professional.

3.  Determine your skill level: If you are a beginner who hasn’t done a lot of work around the house in the past, it may not be the best idea to buy the biggest, newest tool. Simplicity, at first, will allow you to get accustomed to using tools while minimizing the risk for injury or damage to your home. It’s probably best for a beginner to avoid potent power tools, like saws, to make sure that you understand how to use a tool and don’t make major mistakes to your home or body while wielding a tool you can’t properly control.

4.  What are the project needs: It would not be prudent to buy everything you see in your local home improvement store if you are just building a bookcase. It is very important that you understand what goes into a project, so that way you can know exactly what tools you need for it and don’t under- or over-purchase.

5.  Ask questions: When you are shopping for the tools, make sure to ask questions of the sales associates on what particular products are best-suited for or do poorly with. Ask for demonstrations so when you get home to work on the project, you aren’t just winging it. Understanding what tools are best suited for and how to use them will make working on your project more enjoyable, safer and more efficient.