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Ranking of Woodworking Machine Brands - What do you think?

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Forum topic by city17 posted 12-05-2019 09:00 AM 1309 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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city17

16 posts in 161 days


12-05-2019 09:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: brand ranking machinery machineatlas stationary tools

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!


22 replies so far

View Brawler's profile

Brawler

104 posts in 437 days


#1 posted 12-05-2019 12:07 PM

If one were a beginning woodworker I would think most would start off buying used, then upgrading as skills and need develop. With that said, don’t forget Bosch and Dewalt.

-- Daniel

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

705 posts in 154 days


#2 posted 12-05-2019 12:38 PM

Virutex is spanish brand, very good quality.

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

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: If you tell the truth, you dont have to remember anything (S. Clemens) Edit: Now where is that darn pencil/ tape measure!

View city17's profile

city17

16 posts in 161 days


#3 posted 12-05-2019 01:39 PM

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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Lazyman

4513 posts in 1994 days


#4 posted 12-05-2019 02:30 PM

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.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Jack Lewis's profile

Jack Lewis

571 posts in 1685 days


#5 posted 12-05-2019 02:39 PM

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!

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"

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city17

16 posts in 161 days


#6 posted 12-05-2019 02:45 PM



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.

View pottz's profile

pottz

7696 posts in 1591 days


#7 posted 12-05-2019 02:53 PM



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.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

6184 posts in 2327 days


#8 posted 12-05-2019 03:12 PM

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.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

409 posts in 208 days


#9 posted 12-05-2019 03:26 PM

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.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

705 posts in 154 days


#10 posted 12-05-2019 04:53 PM

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.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: If you tell the truth, you dont have to remember anything (S. Clemens) Edit: Now where is that darn pencil/ tape measure!

View city17's profile

city17

16 posts in 161 days


#11 posted 12-05-2019 06:04 PM


What s wrong with French brands?
- city17

- wildwoodbybrianjohns

Ah I see! I knew Peugeot used to make a wide range of products (also bikes I think) way back. Didn’t know they still made (so apparently crappy) tools.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2314 posts in 4050 days


#12 posted 12-05-2019 08:57 PM

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.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2376 posts in 1210 days


#13 posted 12-05-2019 09:29 PM

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.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5811 posts in 3850 days


#14 posted 12-05-2019 11:19 PM



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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city17

16 posts in 161 days


#15 posted 12-06-2019 08:00 AM

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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