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Old 11-10-2009, 10:11 AM   #1
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Non-Brand name tools


There is a bargain tool place here in town (similar to Harbor Freight) with some pretty good prices on a lot of items. My question is - when is it advisable to stick with a brand name tool and when is it OK to buy the cheap knock-off / throw away version? It's been my experience in life that you usually get what you pay for, however just because it is a brand name it isnt necessarily better. At what point is the line drawn for tools? Is the $50 Craftsman socket set (for example) really better than the $15 socket set made by a nameless company of indeterminate origin?

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Old 11-10-2009, 10:47 AM   #2
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Non-Brand name tools


I've seen the cheap socket sets simply snap & break with any moderate to great force required to undo a bolt etc
I very rarely buy no-names
The few times I have - tape measure - some other things - they fall apart in short order

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Old 11-10-2009, 11:55 PM   #3
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My rule of thumb, buy the most expensive/best tool I can afford at that time. If that happens to harbor freight, then so be it.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:21 AM   #4
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Non-Brand name tools


It really depends on how much you use the tool and what you expect from it. For the most part I have not had good luck with cheap tools. But I use them every single day. If you are purchasing for occasional use I think discount tools can be a great deal.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:57 AM   #5
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Non-Brand name tools


Cheap no name tools invariably fail just when you need them most. The frustration factor of dealing with it just isn't worth the percieved savings. You have a job to do. You start. The tool breaks. You stop work to drive to Mr. Cheapo hardware and buy another $15.00 socket set. Get back to the job and risk having the whole process start again? And that doesn't even factor in the lack of accuracy and precision of certain tools. Rounded off bolts and nuts from poorly fitting sockets, wrenches, etc. Hammer faces that chip because they were tempered wrong or made with inferior materials. My time is more valuable than that. I buy decent tools and buy them once.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:02 AM   #6
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Non-Brand name tools


There are two areas I find that it never makes sense to go cheap (which isn't to say you need to go top of the line, but do avoid cheap):

1) Cutting bits and blades. In a pinch I can (and have) make do with a cheap and even poorly made saw/drill/router etc. But even the best tool is absolutely worthless with a hopelessly dull bit or blade. If I was cash limited I would definitely buy a cheap drill and good bits rather than the other way around.

2) Measurement and layout tools. If you can't measure accurately, or even trust your measurement tools, then you are just hopelessly doomed.

I suppose it would be too obvious to say that the more you'll use a tool the more it makes sense to go for quality.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:34 AM   #7
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Non-Brand name tools


thanks for the feedback! if i did buy the discount tools it would be things like scrapers and wire brushes and brooms, not drills or bits.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:08 PM   #8
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Non-Brand name tools


M6,

Fifty years ago my dad taught me everything you said plus one more thing:
Add in the busted knuckles .

cellophane,

As quick as you'll wear out cheap sandpaper, etc. I would go ahead and buy stuff you won't spend half the day changing to new sheets. If a tool makes me work twice as hard, it isn't cheap, it costs me.

I have two places for cheap tools- I have a cheap set from Mart in the trunk of the wife's car just for an emergency and several in the shop that you are welcome to borrow anytime. Very few people get to borrow my "good" tools.
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:59 PM   #9
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Non-Brand name tools


Quote:
Originally Posted by cellophane View Post
It's been my experience in life that you usually get what you pay for, however just because it is a brand name it isnt necessarily better. At what point is the line drawn for tools? Is the $50 Craftsman socket set (for example) really better than the $15 socket set made by a nameless company of indeterminate origin?
I trust my knuckles/skin with Craftsman socket sets because they are tough, affordable US product with a great warranty. I tend to avoid any electric HF tool and have scaled back my purchases from HF to just wire brushes and clamps. The HF screwdrivers(free/low $) are okay for light duty but usually end up being a sacrificial tool for a job. HD and Lowes can also stock similar no-name/rebranded low quality tools depending upon manufacturer so buyer beware.

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