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Forum topic by MrRon posted 11-18-2013 07:21 PM 2280 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5913 posts in 4021 days

11-18-2013 07:21 PM

I have been watching a series on TV of “how its made”. Recently, they have been following the making of exotic cars, like Ferrari, Bentley, Audi, etc. I noticed that the portable tools they were using were Makita, Dewalt and Bosch. This would indicate to me the quality of those tools. I don’t think you would find Skil, Ryobi or HF tools used there. Closer to home, we used to see what contractors were using as a guide. When I want a tool, I don’t go to the big box stores. I go to my local building supply store to see what they sell. You won’t find Skil or B&D or Ryobi there. That has to tell you something. But beware: the Dewalt sold by the building supply store may not be the same as the one sold by the big box store. The price will tell you the difference. You will ask; why would a contractor pay $100 more at the builder supply when he could save $100 at the big box store. That’s because they are different tools. They may look identical on the outside, but there will be differences hidden behind that yellow plastic case. Most tool companies makes a “contractor” grade and a “consumer” grade tool. The contractor grade goes to the builders supply and you know where the other one goes.

32 replies so far

View lightcs1776's profile


4256 posts in 2432 days

#1 posted 11-18-2013 07:28 PM

I like to purchase American made, but can’t always justify the cost. Many of my tools are either purchased from Craig’s List, eBay, or garage sales.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View pintodeluxe's profile


6159 posts in 3591 days

#2 posted 11-18-2013 08:20 PM

I haven’t found that Dewalt makes contractor grade vs. consumer grade tools. For instance, a Dewalt 618 router is the same tool whether it comes from Lowes, Rockler, or XYZ Hardware. Same for Bosch.
I see Porter Cable and Hitachi saws branded differently, when they are essentially the same tool. That tells me there is very little engineering done. That typically hurts a tools quality.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View jonah's profile


2122 posts in 4076 days

#3 posted 11-18-2013 08:41 PM

The reason the contractor buys tools at the building supply place is because he has a line of credit there and it’s convenient for him to buy there. It’s not worth it for him to go to Home Depot, since he’s already going to the building supply place regularly. They are selling the same tool.

Among some tool lines there are different models that are intended for different uses, but a tool with the same model number is going to be the same no matter where you get it.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3749 days

#4 posted 11-18-2013 08:50 PM

”I like to purchase American made, but can’t always justify the cost.”
Good luck with that.

Except for a very few rare instances, all handheld power tools are made somewhere else.
Brand names mean nothing.

In fact, you are probably more likely to find a foreign brand name being made in the USA as you are to find what was a traditional American brand being made here.

View lightcs1776's profile


4256 posts in 2432 days

#5 posted 11-18-2013 08:54 PM

Crank, unfortunately that seems to be the case with just about everything these days. I’ve looked at vehicles, long term planning for after the last one of the kids gets his licence, and can’t tell which ones are American and which are made elsewhere.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1343 posts in 2491 days

#6 posted 11-18-2013 10:05 PM

I 2nd Jonah. Another issue is that stores that caters for professionals generally tend to be much more serviceminded and if something breaks or is missing you just get a new item instedad of a repair. For a pro that i worth a lot.

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4903 days

#7 posted 11-19-2013 02:55 PM

I have not particularly caught Home Depot at it, but it’s well known that Wal Mart carries cheaper versions of the same brand. I made the mistake of buying an “X-Acto” branded knife at Wal*Mart once, and damn… never again.

But I also think that much of the “tools back then were better” has been from the degradation of brands over time. That Craftsman rotary tool that’d cost $25 to replace? It cost $25 back in the early ‘80s or even late ‘70s, when $25 was $100. And it’s part of why my wife insists I buy Festool: It’s the difference between a disposable sander and a sander with replaceable brushes that are spring loaded so the tool stops immediately rather than burning holes in the rotors when the brushes wear out.

So, yeah, I shop at Home Despot only when no other alternative presents itself, and, having had a few Ryobi tools in my shop, avoid the low end brands like the plague: Even though this is a hobby for me, it’s really nice to know that when I”m having trouble that it’s not the tool, it’s me.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3453 days

#8 posted 11-19-2013 03:02 PM

never thought about that…..if I buy a junk tool and complain a lot about it,

” wife will insist I buy Festool”.

hmmmmm…..might work.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 3414 days

#9 posted 11-19-2013 03:12 PM

I don’t buy into the notion that there is a difference in a Dewalt drill bought at Home Depot or one at McMaster, Grainger, Fastenal or any other contractor store. There is mark up for the extra service and convenience that it can easily be charged to the company account. If there was truly a difference, they would package it as such with a new SKU and sell it for more everywhere.

View bigblockyeti's profile


6583 posts in 2498 days

#10 posted 11-19-2013 03:16 PM

I try to buy older, but not too old broken power tools as I used to fix them professionally. I can get a quality drill with a minor problem and be into it usually for less than $40 for something that I know will last me a very long time.

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

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4903 days

#11 posted 11-19-2013 03:21 PM

Rockindavan, I suspect that they do package it with a different SKU. That’s what Wal*Mart does, but you’ve gotta look really closely to not get screwed.

Mark: Yeah, a few years ago I was out in the shop, swearing at something, and she came out and said “You didn’t buy the Festool version of that, huh?”. Being northern Californians and all we usually refer to each other as “partner”, but I use “wife” when I’m telling other woodworkers about that…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View jmartel's profile


8926 posts in 2928 days

#12 posted 11-19-2013 03:37 PM

Typically, I buy from all over the place. Craigslist, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, other online sites, local powertool stores. I don’t usually buy from Rockler or Woodcraft as they are far too expensive.

Regarding contractors buying elsewhere: As it was said, service, and line of credit. The cost of tools is insignifcant compared to the cost of labor, so if they get better service for a bit more, they’re going to take it.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View bondogaposis's profile


5791 posts in 3129 days

#13 posted 11-19-2013 03:47 PM

Brand names mean nothing.

Boy, isn’t that the truth. Brand names are bought a sold like commodities, it gives you no idea who made it or where it was made, pretty meaningless anymore.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MrRon's profile


5913 posts in 4021 days

#14 posted 11-19-2013 04:55 PM

It would seem to me that tools that are used in auto assembly lines would be picked for their reliability. I don’t really think the Dewalt impact driver used in the Ferrari plant is the same as the one from Lowes or HD.

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 4144 days

#15 posted 11-19-2013 05:56 PM

It depends on what kind of tool that I am buying.

I buy most of my larger more pricey tools from Woodcraft. I know I am paying a little premium for that privilege but have been very pleased with the help I get from several folks at our local store. They have helped me buy several tools with the confidence that I have made the correct purchase, some time less expensive and sometimes more expensive. But I trust their opinion and believe that it has helped me avoid some big expensive mistakes.

With that being said, I bought my jointer of of Craigslist and my thickness planer from a fellow Woodworkers Guild member. I ran both of those purchases by my local Woodcraft guy to get his opinion.

I also attend the annual Woodworkers Show every year. Sometimes they have good deals on clamps or planes etc. You have to be careful there to make sure you know what you are buying but still among all of the junk there are often times good deals.

Hope this helps


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