If you’re not using power tools professionally, it can be difficult to separate the difference between quality and garbage. If you’re buying new power tools and overwhelmed by the options, we have some tips just for you. When you’re done reading this, check out our buying guides to help you choose specific tools.
Top Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Power Tools
#1 Buying Power Tools Based on Color
It’s perfectly understandable that you like the Florida Gators (it’s a little less understandable if you’re an FSU fan but to each their own…). Please don’t buy a power tool just because it’s blue and orange. That’s just dye in the tool plastic and it won’t do anything for the performance and durability.
#2 Assuming Corded Tools Are Irrelevant
Cordless tools are incredibly convenient and make many projects easier. You don’t need everything to be cordless, though. When you’re looking at miter saws, table saws, high-power grinders, and other tools, don’t be afraid to buy corded or pneumatic. While professional tradesmen often gain a great benefit from cutting the cord, most DIYers and occasional users are better off spending the money to get a more refined corded version.
If still need convincing, there are a ton of corded and pneumatic power tools on professional jobsites all over the country.
#3 Buying Power Tools That Don’t Have High Enough Performance
Consider what you need your tools to do. If you’re going to remodel and do your own plumbing rough-in, a 12V drill isn’t going to run a 2 9/16-inch self-feed bit through studs. Make sure you’re buying the right tool with high enough performance for the job.
#4 Buying More Tool Than You Need
On the other hand, that same 12V drill we just talked about is great for a wide range of projects around your home and for lighter professional work. Even our Pro team prefers to use lighter, more compact tools whenever they can. While you need to make sure you have enough performance, you don’t always need the biggest or strongest one available.
#5 Not Registering Your Power Tools
There are some outstanding warranty programs out there. Brands such as Flex and Milwaukee offer 5 years, Ridgid has a lifetime service agreement, and Metabo HPT has a lifetime warranty on their lithium-ion tools… but you need to register them to get the warranty service in most cases. Many registrations are online now. If you need to send in your reciept, be sure to take a photo of it first, just in case.
#6 Only Buying Power Tools on Amazon
Many major power tool brands sell on Amazon and you can get some excellent deals on quality tools. Not all great brands sell through the online giant, though. Ryobi and Ridgid are Home Depot exclusives, Hart is a Walmart exclusive, and brands such as Stihl retail only through their dealer network.
Additionally, Amazon prices are constantly changing. Before you complete your purchase, check Acme Tools, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ohio Power Tool, or other reputable retailers to see if they have a better price.
#7 Buying Milwaukee Tools on Amazon
It’s possible to buy Milwaukee products on Amazon. The problem is that there are NO authorized retailers on Amazon (including Prime) and the sellers are constantly being shut down. Even if you get a legitimate tool or battery instead of a knock-off, it’s ineligible for Milwaukee’s 5-year warranty. You’re better off buying from an authorized dealer.
Milwaukee isn’t the only brand that doesn’t have an authorized Amazon dealer, but it seems to be a bigger problem for them than others.
#8 Buying Into a Battery System That Doesn’t Have Everything You Need
If you’re looking at buying into a cordless system, make sure it has all of the power tools you anticipate you’re going to need. Some lines cover a few core tools and that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with having multiple brands, but the more you can stay on one platform, the less you need to spend on additional batteries and the more convenient your tools are to work with.
#9 Buying Knock-Off Power Tool Batteries or Adapters to Save Money
We hear from people who swear they’ve never had an issue using knock-off batteries or battery adapters to save some money. We don’t recommend it, though. The cost of new original manufacturer batteries can hurt, but they are guaranteed and are designed with electronic communications that safeguard the tool, battery, and charger. While there might be a relatively low number of catastrophic failures each year, we’re not willing to risk burning down our shop or house with batteries that lack the proper design.
#10 Listening to Brand Snobs
There’s nothing wrong with being loyal to a brand, especially if they do a great job of taking care of you. Some folks take it too far and try to convince you that only their brand is worth buying while trashing other ones. The truth is that it’s rare for a reputable brand to make a bad tool, but you can put a good tool in the wrong situation.
We group tools into 3 main categories: DIY, prosumer, and professional to help you understand where it fits. Try to use a Black and Decker impact driver on a commercial jobsite and it’s going to hinder your progress. It’s a DIY tool. If you put that same tool in the hands of a homeowner with a few repairs to make and it’s a fantastic fit.
What are some other mistakes tool buyers should avoid? Let us know in the comments below!