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Forum topic by MrRon posted 11-02-2019 05:25 PM 744 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5767 posts in 3779 days

11-02-2019 05:25 PM

How do you buy a tool? Do you depend on reviews or do you just use pick whatever seems to be the best. What is the primary thing you look for, quality, price, features, reviews? Personally, quality is always #1. I have found reviews don’t always give an honest assessment. One person may give a 5 rating while someone else may only give a 1 rating for the same thing. Reading the 1 rating may reveal it as a “lemon”. I have read reviews where a 1 rating was given because batteries were not included, (certainly not a reflection of the tool itself) The point is, can one trust reviews. I use them as a guide, but don’t rely 100% on their accuracy. It is difficult to judge a tool without buying it as we may not be able to compare side-by-side. We can only take a chance and hope for the best. People can buy based on a consumer report and be totally disatisified. That is a good reason why people go out and buy a Festool (for example), because they think they will be totally satisfied.

30 replies so far

View Sark's profile


217 posts in 896 days

#1 posted 11-02-2019 07:04 PM

Price/performance is my main consideration. Quality is never #1 because a) I cannot afford the best of everything and b) I don’t need the best and c) it is usually not clear what single item is the best, even if I were willing to spend the money to get ‘the best’.

Does Festool make the ‘best’ orbital sander? Or is that Mirka? Best for whom? Who decides? How can you try things out before you buy? Answer: you’t can’t generally. Hammer isn’t going to send you a $10,000 saw just to try out. Nor is Festool.

View diverlloyd's profile


3676 posts in 2393 days

#2 posted 11-02-2019 07:08 PM

I don’t trust reviews and figure most new tools are made to last just past the warranty period. Most of my tools are older and bought from auctions. New tools are a 50/50 chance of giving satisfaction over remorse. Just my personal experience.

View Dwain's profile


599 posts in 4394 days

#3 posted 11-02-2019 08:38 PM

As was mentioned, I also can’t afford the best. I doubt FESTOOL will ever find a place in my shop. I read magazines, look online at sites like Amazon, and see the tools on YouTube. A good example of a purchase last year was my Colt router. Bosch tools really seem to fit in a sweet spot for me. I have several and love them all. I get the best tool I can for my money, and take into account reviews after that. Still, reviews aren’t everything. As for large tools, most all of them were purchased used. Bang for your buck really makes a difference when you are spending on a table saw or jointer. I wish I had the money to shop for those tools new, that’s for sure!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View Redoak49's profile


4232 posts in 2524 days

#4 posted 11-02-2019 08:54 PM

Number one is quality for me. I rely on brands that have worked well for me in the past. I read the reviews and can generally find a good piece of information among everything. If a lot of reviews are bad, I will not but the tool.

Recent, I bought a MP3 player and in the box was a card saying they would pay me for giving a good review. I notified Amazon and got a nothing worthless reply.

One needs to read reviews carefully as too many are worthless. I want a review after someone has used the tool awhile and not an unboxing review.

Call me bad by some people’s ideas as I own a couple of their tools. I think their Sanders have the best dust collect and low vibration. The vacuum is also very good.

View Phil32's profile


687 posts in 439 days

#5 posted 11-02-2019 11:45 PM

At this very advanced age I trust myself to judge the utility of tools for the work I do.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View WoodenDreams's profile


791 posts in 446 days

#6 posted 11-02-2019 11:49 PM

Like Redoak49 says to a out of the box review. A initial review is not the same value as a review from somebody that used it for a while, then gave a review. When I check reviews, I look at the three star rated reviews, then look at the reviews of four star then the two star. Not always but It seems like the five star rated reviews seem right out of the box with minimal usage, even good tools have quirks and one star seems to miss any advantages of the tool, like comparing apples and oranges

There’s five local tools suppliers and local hardware store in there area. I visit their stores and check out their isles of tools monthly. Even if I don’t want to buy anything and just browse. This way I know what each has to offer and prices, also can see who has good sale prices. Get email notices from different suppliers on theirs sales. So when I decide to purchase a tool or equipment I already know who has what in the area.

Don’t use Craigs List but have gone on facebook merchandising a few times.

A local supplier does carry Festool, but I’m not buying a festool sander, but I’m seriously thinking about the 5” Mirka Deros System sander from a local supplier. But being cheap, I may get the Mirka MR-5 instead.

I’ll admit that there are some disadvantages to being too frugal. But what can I say I’m cheap.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


689 posts in 1997 days

#7 posted 11-03-2019 12:42 AM

I do read reviews, Most often with a tool or brand that I am not to familiar with. And I will start a 1 star and go to 5.
I agree, a lot of the 5 stars are worthless out of the box, and 1 star often will be trivial complaints.
For the most part though. I buy trusted brands that I can afford.. What gives me the best bang for my buck.
An example is that all my battery operated tools are Dewalt 20v max. trusted brand for me, not necessarily the best.
But I feel good, and one style battery fits everything. and like Wooden dreams stated. I pay attention to prices all year long, and sale shop.
Another thing about reviews. I gave up on reading most store reviews. (Rockler, Home Depot) for example.
And look mainly at sites like this one where the reviews are not being screened to improve sales of poor products.

-- John

View BB1's profile


1469 posts in 1383 days

#8 posted 11-03-2019 02:05 AM

I do look at reviews – typically check various sources if possible. I agree some seem too good to be true, and some are unfairly negative…but at times there is a “theme” of an issue that serves as a warning to look at other options.

View OSU55's profile


2437 posts in 2525 days

#9 posted 11-03-2019 01:44 PM

Value to ME is most important to me. Lot of difference between what a hobby worker needs vs a production shop, and I consider those who make and sell at shows etc production shops. Sometimes its a limited use tool so the cheapest is fine. Rarely go for the very best, but my Veritas planes are nice to use. I always read reviews, but all of them, even on ww forums, have to be put into context. Mostly look for common themes of good and bad. Many times a particular feature is panned or rated as great, but I may consider the feature in the opposite way. Reviews are just another source of info.

View splintergroup's profile


2988 posts in 1758 days

#10 posted 11-03-2019 02:53 PM

I like most magazine reviews because they usually compare a number of similar “new” tools on the market and can hopefully compare the features and test results side-by-side in a useful way. Of course they can be suspect due to advertiser allegiances.
Web site “star” ratings are usually the worse, but the negative reviews may give an idea about really bad issues.

Personal reviews I like, but they are very limited. It’s not the reviewer I don’t trust, many pros know what is good/bad. It’s that these personal reviews are limited since the reviewer first has to have spent some real in-use time (months/years?) with the tool to really dig out what works and what doesn’t. Second is they usually only have their single old version of the tool to compare it with, side-by-side. Thirdly, by the time someone has really spent quality hours with the tool, it has been updated/replaced with a different model an may no longer be available.

I could nit-pick some fine points on my bandsaw, but what use would that be unless that 16 year old model was still for sale? I also have only used that one saw, others in its same price point from 16 years ago may have all been much worse (or much better), I would never know.

View MrRon's profile


5767 posts in 3779 days

#11 posted 11-03-2019 05:25 PM

I usually regard a newer model of a tool to be less quality than the one that was superseded, especially if the price is the same or lower. A manufacturer will introduce a new model to replace an earlier model by saving cost of components by switching vendors or redesigning to make it cheaper to make, or to boost profit. A tool that has been around for 10 years and still going strong proves it is better made even if it lacks features of a new model. I find that buying reconditioned tools are many times better than buying the “latest and greatest”. Off course there are “consumer” grade tools and professional grade tools. I always try to get the professional.

View ibewjon's profile


1035 posts in 3328 days

#12 posted 11-03-2019 07:49 PM

I mostly buy used tools of the older established brands. Griz still remains questionable due to the often changing models and colors. No, paint is not important, but it seems like a useless selling point to me. Maybe made by different manufactures each change. I do read Wood magazine reviews, seems to be a good, honest assessment.

View Redoak49's profile


4232 posts in 2524 days

#13 posted 11-03-2019 10:25 PM

Wood magazine has done some of the best dust collector reviews I have read. Excellent data and performance curves.

View rustfever's profile


778 posts in 3845 days

#14 posted 11-04-2019 12:03 AM

I do not trust ANY tool review. [Tool reviews on this forum, included.]

I do, however, love and carefully review those evaluations that are frequently included in national magazines. Evaluation of 10 [or 15 or 20] make/models of Chop saws, or Routers,or most any other bench, floor, or hand tools.

Those reviews tend to analysis each tool on 10, 15, or more points. And they are rated ‘Great’ all the way to ‘So-So’ for each of the multiple points. They are also evaluated according to price.

With this type of review, each person can use their personal needs, knowledge, skill set, and preferences to play in a subjective and meaningfull evaluation.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Desert_Woodworker's profile


1929 posts in 1750 days

#15 posted 11-04-2019 03:08 AM

In the 1990’s it was Norm Delta and Porter-Cable tools. Remember that they didn’t have a telephone contact number- you had to set up an appointment to meet with the district manager at the store that you bought it and it was there that you tried to resolve the issue.
Then in 1992 Dewalt came into the market “try and if you don’t like it – return it for a refund.” I was sold!

Made in America with a Real power cord...

-- Desert_Woodworker

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