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Hi all, when you're a beginning woodworker looking to buy a new machine, it can be tricky to make sense of all the different brands and figuring out whether they make machines that are right for you.

With that in mind I made a simple interactive tool to rank brands and find out which brands you might consider when looking at buying a new machine.

You can find it here

A few notes: First, this is not a ranking of pure quality, more of the categories particular brands are aimed at. Second, this only takes into account stationary woodworking machines like table saws, jointers, band saws etc. Not handheld power tools.

However, being European I'm not as familiar with the US brands as I am with EU ones. I was hoping some of you would be able to help here.

I do know some American brands I want to add, but I'm not yet sure how to categorize them (Ridgid, Porter Cable, Harbor Freight, Rikon, Craftsman, Delta).

How would you rank them? And do you see any other brands missing, or would you change any particular rankings?

Thanks!
 

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By the way, forgot to mention, but if it's not immediately obvious, you can show only brands of a specific quality by clicking on that category.

Virutex is spanish brand, very good quality.

Stay away from anything french!!! Except cheese and women.

- wildwoodbybrianjohns
Hadn't heard of Virutex yet, thanks for mentioning it. There aren't really many (if any?) French brands left, but Lurem used to be a good brand, Kity was reasonable, and INCA was produced in France for quite some time. What's wrong with French brands?
 

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Personally, I would not concentrate on the brand first. I would look at what you plan to do with the tool and the machine capabilities you need and want to determine the type or level of machine you need. For example, if workshop space, mobility or portability is important, you need to narrow your search to good quality tool that best meets those needs and is also in your budget. Once you have that list, then compare the brands. It will be a much shorter list to rank. Also, one brand may make great table saws for example but have terrible or no longer make drill presses. There is no point in even researching brands that doesn't even make the type or class of tools you are interested in.
 

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So often these lists are subjectively opinions of the author. In this case it is subjectively the area aimed at was by manufacturer not the needs of the consumer. When the same Asian company manufacturer supplies many different brand labels, it all boils down to trust of the brand and their commitment to their customers. To many sellers rely on their past reputation as their basic quality control. What is needed in these days of world wide manufacturing is a comprehensive listing of value, reliability and quality control where the list is defined by the method used to evaluate. Sellers are must return to satisfying the buyer rather than just their Board of Directors.
Enough Jack!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So often these lists are subjectively opinions of the author. In this case it is subjectively the area aimed at was by manufacturer not the needs of the consumer. When the same Asian company manufacturer supplies many different brand labels, it all boils down to trust of the brand and their commitment to their customers. To many sellers rely on their past reputation as their basic quality control. What is needed in these days of world wide manufacturing is a comprehensive listing of value, reliability and quality control where the list is defined by the method used to evaluate. Sellers are must return to satisfying the buyer rather than just their Board of Directors.
Enough Jack!

- Jack Lewis
Good points! I was actually thinking of making specific overviews for specific categories (table saws, jointers, etc.), which actually do take into account value for money, reputation for reliability, etc. This was more meant as a general overview to help point people in the right direction.
 

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Personally, I would not concentrate on the brand first. I would look at what you plan to do with the tool and the machine capabilities you need and want to determine the type or level of machine you need. For example, if workshop space, mobility or portability is important, you need to narrow your search to good quality tool that best meets those needs and is also in your budget. Once you have that list, then compare the brands. It will be a much shorter list to rank. Also, one brand may make great table saws for example but have terrible or no longer make drill presses. There is no point in even researching brands that doesn t even make the type or class of tools you are interested in.

- Lazyman
+1 i find little value in these kinds of lists,as lazyman said determine the need and budget then do some research.
 

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My 2 cents, some brands really accel with some tools but leave much to be desired with others. Older machines especially can be very good but if it didn't sell well and had some proprietary design then parts may be obsolete down the road. Fast forward to today, if you get a good deal on something unique because it isn't selling well (whether from a "quality" make or not) it could bite you down the road. Porter Cable used to produce very high quality tools across their line, not only some sanders and routers could still be considered "quality" as B&D has gutted the quality out of many previously excellent tools. The other problem is that of diminishing returns, I can get a Stanley square that will probably be pretty good and might need a little tweaking to get close to perfection all for under $20 or I can buy one from Woodpeckers for several times as much and it will far more likely be close to perfection that a luck of the draw Stanley.

I try to only buy used, Made in USA machinery now with an occasional Grizzly snuck in the mix. I like my tools to have a little experience when I get them.
 

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I prefer used when I can find them but I had a really hard time finding a planer. I only found one Dewalt at what I considered a fair price. I drove about ten minutes to get it and he said some just drove off with it. It was $275 I think. After that everybody wanted like $400+ for older used models. When I figured in that the blades would likely need to be replaced anyway it made the 735X with an extra set of blades worth it for me. I get what I can when I have the need. It is a function of price and research with a roll of the dice mixed in. The above list may be worth a look if I was a recent lottery winner and wanted all my tools to color match. But that's not me and my feet feel the same with one blue sock and one brown one.
 

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What s wrong with French brands?
- city17
That is a very old european joke.

Puegot used to make very good quality tools, you can find 150yr. old chisels or hand-planes made by them, and I would buy somethin like that in a second. They still make woodworking tools/machines and they are poorly as far as quality goes. There is a popular french brand(forget name) that makes routerbits, saw-blades, drillbits, etc, which is utter crapola.
 

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As a general rule you get what you pay for. The most expensive (like Fein) are mostly for commercial application but if you can afford them they are great
Next for tools that take batteries I would pick a brand that uses the same battery across all its various battery powered tools. I like Delta for that.
I agree with those that good used tools is a great way to start on a budget and they usually resell well when you decide to upgrade to a new tool…..unless you wear it out.
 

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Welcome to ljs.

If you're a beginning woodworker you are way overthinking this. Even if you have unlimited funds I'd suggest as others have buying well known brands off of whatever the EU version of Craigslist is as you find you need them. You can outfit a full shop on CL for what you'd spend for a top of the line table saw.

What to you think your interests will be? Furniture, boxes, turning, Decide on a project, maybe something somebody builds on youtube and get the tools you need for that. Then, start making stuff.

That's a nice looking drafting table you posted.
 

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Hi all, when you re a beginning woodworker looking to buy a new machine, it can be tricky to make sense of all the different brands and figuring out whether they make machines that are right for you.

With that in mind I made a simple interactive tool to rank brands and find out which brands you might consider when looking at buying a new machine.

You can find it here

A few notes: First, this is not a ranking of pure quality, more of the categories particular brands are aimed at. Second, this only takes into account stationary woodworking machines like table saws, jointers, band saws etc. Not handheld power tools.

However, being European I m not as familiar with the US brands as I am with EU ones. I was hoping some of you would be able to help here.

I do know some American brands I want to add, but I m not yet sure how to categorize them (Ridgid, Porter Cable, Harbor Freight, Rikon, Craftsman, Delta).

How would you rank them? And do you see any other brands missing, or would you change any particular rankings?

Thanks!

- city17
An interactive tool doesn't help much. You can't compare a tool that is 10 years old with the same one brand new. Quality fluctuates all the time depending on who is now making it. A saw can be made in the USA 10 years ago and now made in China. You can't compare. Except for old USA made tools, the higher the price, the better quality you can expect. Also you need to take into account features vs quality. A tool maker might load all sorts of bells and whistles onto his product and at the same time reduce quality, so it's hard to compare tools. I am not a beginner, but if I were buying a new tool, I would be looking for an industrial tool (big bucks).

Since you are a beginner, I would start by reading user reviews and choosing a tool that gets good reviews, but don't expect that selection to be a perfect tool. It will wear out depending on how much you use it and how well you take care of it. With all tools, there will always be an exception. Out of 1000 tools, you could see 10 of those as failures. If you are lucky, you won't get the bad one. In the past, Harbor Freight tools were considered garbage, but they seem to be selling better and more expensive tools. Some of the well known names in the past have gone from good to poor, but that is mainly for hand held tools. Jet appears to make well made tools, but I don't know how a new 10" cabinet saw compares with my 30 year old Jet saw, which is still going strong. I generally try to stay away from tools made in China. Taiwan tools are a step up and better than a lot of U.S. made tools. I know it's hard to judge tools just by reading or looking at them. It just takes experience with many different tools to be able to judge. My best advise is you can't go wrong with a used made in America tool, even if you have to repair or rebuild it. there are machines that are 100+ years old and still being used today; they were built to last.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the replies. Just wanted to clear up since some of you may have misunderstood my first paragraph slightly (I wasn't clear enough): I'm not a beginning woodworker. I made this for woodworkers who don't know all the brands yet, and want to get a quick overview of the brands that they might consider (most likely a beginning woodworker).

It's not meant to be buying advice, just a push in the right direction to narrow down the selection of brands they have to start looking at. Fully agree with buying used machines first (started that way myself).
 

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Hmm,

The list doesn't recognize that ALL mfg sell many different tools. Sometimes making both a PRO and Consumer grade tools of same function. Without specific tools listed, ranking is useless.

Another fallacy of this list is ALL tools made by each mfg are of the same caliper and quality. Mfg have a range of tools, while one might make mostly great tools, and they also make at least one not-so great tool that has poor market acceptance and/or quality. You can't lump them all together. What happens when someone gets the bad tool thanks to your ranking? Hmm, YOU are at fault for giving ONE ranking for an entire product line.

If I worked for one of the OEM that you ranked, and my rank was below my company expectation; I would be calling the corporate lawyer to request a copy of your ranking criteria, and justification for how/why we got the ranking. If you can't back up ranking with hard data, and/or don't post a note in big bold letters 'This is my opinion, use at your own risk', you would be instant target for lawsuit. With so many companies listed, wish you luck staying out of court.

IMHO - Brand ranking is total BS, and a waste of time.
 

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Hmm,

The list doesn t recognize that ALL mfg sell many different tools. Sometimes making both a PRO and Consumer grade tools of same function. Without specific tools listed, ranking is useless.

Another fallacy of this list is ALL tools made by each mfg are of the same caliper and quality. Mfg have a range of tools, while one might make mostly great tools, and they also make at least one not-so great tool that has poor market acceptance and/or quality. You can t lump them all together. What happens when someone gets the bad tool thanks to your ranking? Hmm, YOU are at fault for giving ONE ranking for an entire product line.

If I worked for one of the OEM that you ranked, and my rank was below my company expectation; I would be calling the corporate lawyer to request a copy of your ranking criteria, and justification for how/why we got the ranking. If you can t back up ranking with hard data, and/or don t post a note in big bold letters This is my opinion, use at your own risk , you would be instant target for lawsuit. With so many companies listed, wish you luck staying out of court.

IMHO - Brand ranking is total BS, and a waste of time.

- CaptainKlutz
I think you're overanalyzing this. It's not a ranking in terms of quality or how good a brand is, it just describes what general target market a brand is aiming at. It's based objectively on their price level/feature set and how they market their brands. Maybe there are slight nuances where brands could be ranked slightly different, but it's not so much a matter of opinion. No manufacturer is going to sue someone for stating what target market their products are aimed at (since it's based on their own information). But to each their own opinion.
 

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I think I get the point of your ranking. Taking 5 of the popular HD brands it would look something like this:

Milwaukee -professional
DeWalt -pro-sumer/professional
Ridgid -DIY/pro-sumer
Ryobi -DIY/trash can
Porter Cable-trash can

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY OPINION AND WAS MADE AS AN EDUCATIONAL ENDEAVOR
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think I get the point of your ranking. Taking 5 of the popular HD brands it would look something like this:

Milwaukee -professional
DeWalt -pro-sumer/professional
Ridgid -DIY/pro-sumer
Ryobi -DIY/trash can
Porter Cable-trash can

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY OPINION AND WAS MADE AS AN EDUCATIONAL ENDEAVOR

- sansoo22
Hi Sansoo, that's exactly right. But you're lucky that you put that disclaimer or Ryobi would've sued you for sure!
 
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