"I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for"

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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 02-05-2010 07:00 PM 4069 views 0 times favorited 60 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4920 posts in 3819 days

02-05-2010 07:00 PM

I was reading the review for a tool on this website and I read this
” I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for”.
Do you agree or not?
I believe that this was certainly true years ago when most tools were made in the USA by independent companies but today it seems that most tools, what ever the name on, come out of a few factories in China and that the built in quality from one brand to the other is just about the same.
(this days we do not even know anymore who makes what)
I believe that today more than ever one pays for the name more than for the built in quality.
Did you look at Porter Cable or Delta tools sold at Lowes lately and did you look at the similar tools sold at Harbor Freight?
Is it an obvious difference in quality?
I have been an HF customer for many years and so far I always have been satisfied with the tools I bought there.
I believe that most tools that we buy today are of comparable quality and performance except may be for the very high end (that I cannot afford)
I believe that tools review such as this one: prove my point.
I own a Ridgid R4511 that I paid $299.00, could an additional $1000.00 have bought me a better, but similar, saw of a different brand? I doubt it.
What do you think?

-- Bert

60 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4146 days

#1 posted 02-05-2010 07:06 PM

I believe it’s possible to get what you pay for, but paying more only tends to improve your odds of getting something good….it also improves your odds of paying too much. Discounts on tool prices don’t necessarily mean that a tool is cheaply made. Good tools sometimes get sold at a deep discount, and sometimes it’s just wise to take advantage of that. Sometimes formerly well respected brand names sell at a premium but are no better (sometimes no different) than a less respected name.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View John Steffen's profile

John Steffen

218 posts in 3826 days

#2 posted 02-05-2010 07:08 PM

I don’t think that higher price is always a sign of higher quality… But I also know that producing a better product costs more than producing junk regardless of the continent on which it’s being made.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View Raspar's profile


246 posts in 3919 days

#3 posted 02-05-2010 08:49 PM

First of all I love reading the reviews on this site for whatever tool. I know when I purchase a tool I look at a number of things. I look at how much I will use this tool first, this lets me know if quality or price is more important. From here I look for the price and quality on that end of the spectrum. I have both high and low quality tools, sometimes I have to get in at a HF, crafsman level and then upgrade later. Or sometime the HF is good enough for some. I have not found HF good for tools I use allot. I have had issues with the Chicago brand so if i can I stay away from the drills and reciprocating saws. I guess to sum up I get the best quality for the price at the time.

-- Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.

View Mark's profile


1817 posts in 4044 days

#4 posted 02-05-2010 09:07 PM

when it comes to woodwork yes…people always complain that handmade woodwork is too expensive but its the handmade woodwork that lasts forever and go down generations. not like prefab or made in china crap that snaps once theres too much weight on it. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR AND CRAFTSMEN KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT WORTH IT!

-- M.K.

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4592 days

#5 posted 02-05-2010 09:12 PM

Bert, I have never shied away from spending money on tools. I believe in spending the most money my budget will allow on a tool. The times I have bought a more economical tool solely because of its price I have always come to regret the decision later. So I guess you can label me as another “I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for”.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 4259 days

#6 posted 02-05-2010 09:15 PM

I am torn on the subject. I bought a Grizzly bandsaw and love it. It cost a LOT less than a Powermatic or Laguana or even a Jet. But I also bought a Powermatic Lathe and love that too. I have a Sawstop (please, no arguments!!) too.

I think if you go ‘rock bottom’, then yes, you get what you pay for. I would not buy a Harbor Freight tablesaw, but would buy one of their inexpensive welders.

So, I think if you do the research and really check out what you are buying, sometimes you can get a deal.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View PurpLev's profile


8572 posts in 4419 days

#7 posted 02-05-2010 09:15 PM

Generally speaking – yes – you do get what you pay for.

But – just like with anything else in life- there are exceptions to the rule.

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

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4017 days

#8 posted 02-05-2010 09:33 PM

Yes, you do get what you pay for. It’s a package deal though, not just the tool. Customer support, parts availibilty and resale value are part of the package. So that HF router may be the same as the PC (just an example), but try selling it or finding parts in 2 years.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3825 days

#9 posted 02-05-2010 09:49 PM

I have found, in my contracting business, that HF tools are ok. Ok, if you are using them occasionally, not continually. I will never buy another HF airtool and probably will stay away from most of their power tools, just because I have found they don’t hold up to the kind of work I do daily.

That said, I hate most DeWault tools, but love Makita and Hitachi. Porter cable is alright, but bulky and no different than the lighter makitas.

DeWault is no better than it’d Black &decker counterparts, IMHO.

--, Making design and application one. †

View PaulfromVictor's profile


230 posts in 4116 days

#10 posted 02-05-2010 09:57 PM

Nothing is more true than you get what you pay for with tools… you’ll pay now or you’ll pay later.

I find that the best quality tools that I have are USA made, and there are still some of them (Incra, Whiteside, Forrest, and even Delta Unisaw is back). There are also some great tools made in Europe, Japan and elsewhere.

Personally, I am making an effort to avoid tools made in China. (Warning Politics Approaching). We all know about the potential quality issues, but look at everything that is happening there. First relating to China exports there has been melamine in baby formula, lead in toy paint, toxins in drywall, pet food poisoning, toothpaste poisoning, etc… You REALLY don’t know what you are getting. Add to that the governments lack of concern for human rights, the government not allowing their currency to float and creating an unfair trade environment, piracy of intellectual property and branding, the government’s support of Iran through trade and U.N. veto power, government sponsorship of electronic espionage… it goes on and on. I think the Chinese government needs to step back a bit and make some regulatory and human rights advances, and then come back with a more free trade approach to doing business.

Sorry for the rant. I’m not sure what got me started.

Carry on…

View DynaBlue's profile


131 posts in 3961 days

#11 posted 02-05-2010 10:25 PM

I generally believe that paying more, up to a point, will get you a better tool. Early on in my woodworking, before I decided it was something that I really wanted to do, I purchased much Ryobi stuff from the Borg. Six years later I don’t have a single Ryobi item that I use any longer. I had one of their RO sanders which died in the first week I used it, replaced by a Dewalt that is still going strong five years later. I had two Ryobi routers, a hand held and a table mounted, that worked okay for several years until the both the depth lock and collet gave out on the handheld and released a spinning bit to drill through a project I was routing, just missing my foot. Other items worked and still work but, all things being equal, they don’t provide me the same level of accuracy that my more expensive items do. While I think that experience and determination can help overcome many obstacles buying more expensive/higher quality tools reduces the obstacles to be overcome in the first place. And to answer the OP, I think HF tools fall into that Ryobi category. They work but usually aren’t the best at what they do. Of course my Dad’s HF sliding compound mitre has done a good job for him for six years and doesn’t need replacing..but I tend to look at the tweaking he did to get it good and the mods he made to improve the saw and wonder if there was really much tradeoff with the lower price vs buying a more ‘reliable out of the box’ saw.

I usually read many reviews on a particular item before I buy it as no company seems to make ‘the best’ everything with the possible exception of Festool..they usually seem to be highly regarded across the board. For example Jet makes decent equipment but there are levels even within Jet, the lower pricepoint equipment doesn’t tend to have the nicest features so just filling your shop with white (or older green) gear doesn’t always ensure you’ve gotten the best deal. I like the rainbow shop effect: I’ve got yellow gear, white gear, black gear, grey gear, blue gear, etc, whatever got the best reviews within my price range. The thing to watch for is personal or endorsement-related bias in the reviews; if several reviews tend to speak well about a product it becomes easier to objectively assess why a particular review might have been negative.

I believe that B&D bought P-C several years ago and I tend to believe that when the parent company made their mark on ‘weekender project’ tools that the philosophy will trickle down no matter what brand they market under. Hence the reason I purchased my P-C router before the company was purchased and before they could potentially cheapen up a good brand.

Padre, I also have a Sawstop and was impressed that it wasn’t just a mediocre saw with a nice safety feature but it was a nice quality saw with a nice safety feature. Nothing I’ve encountered in the past three years of ownership have made me regret spending the extra money for the brake, even customer service has been very responsive in anwering questions via email or phone.

More than two cents worth but there you have it…

-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3825 days

#12 posted 02-05-2010 10:32 PM

DynaBlue, you are correct about B&D buying P C, but they previously bought DeWault, probably 2 years or so prior.

I do not hate DeWalt completely, just don’t think it is as worth the money as some of the other tools in my box. I think they are overpriced on most of their stuff.

Although, that said, I love their contractors tablesaw, it is easy to use, lightweight and has some cool features. Someday, I will probably own my own, but for now, my craftsman does a great job, just heavier when i have to load and unload it.

--, Making design and application one. †

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 3813 days

#13 posted 02-05-2010 10:37 PM

Bert, You do get what you pay for. If you constantly buy cheap tools you’ll be buying (replacing) them constantly. Even if the cheaper tools look like their more expensive counterparts, they’re not the same. I personally won’t use HF routers because of the vibration in the few I’ve tried and the overall cheap plastic feel. You don’t need to go all the way to the other end of the spectum, either. It boils down to reseach and trying out someone else’s tool if you can. Get the best you can justify to yourself spending for the intended use. HF has some good deals. All the major brands have some tools I like, Some you couldn’t give me. There are twice as many opinions as tools to choose from out there, it comes down to safety, budget, preference; in that order.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4146 days

#14 posted 02-06-2010 12:00 AM

Dennis – I’m not a fan of most B&D tools and don’t have much allegiance to DW either, but regardless of our opinions for or against, most of the DW tools are built to a higher standard than their B&D counterparts.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Raymond's profile


683 posts in 4498 days

#15 posted 02-06-2010 12:13 AM

I agree to a point that we get what we pay for. However having said that I have puchased several tools from Harbor Frieght, and to this point have not had one failure. I have there Mini Mill, Band saw, dust collector and several power tools, mostly sanders, and several air tools. At 19.99 for a 23 guage nailer with a 20% coupon if it fails I can throw it away. I have found there service to be very good. All in all I know for myself, I purchase what I can afford. When there is only so much money to spend I believe it is all about getting value for our hard earned dollars and making that money go as far as it can

-- Ray

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