Uncle Bobs Tips

Hand Tools Buying Guide

Hand Tools Buying Guide

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Buying the right hand tools is the closest thing to buying a job well done. While you are not dropping hundreds of dollars on a screwdriver as you would for your power tools, quality hand tools ensure that the project is done efficiently, that things run smoothly, and that extraneous work on your part is kept to a minimal. Here is the low down on buying hand tools.

As Always, What's The Point?

Why are you buying this tool? What will it be used for? Is this a one time use, occasional home project tool, or for a professional job site? Frequency of use and type of project will determine whether you can get away with a cheapy store brand or if you are going to need the deluxe bang for your buck model.

Guarantees Speak For Themselves

You can advertise till you're blue in the face about the benefits and advantages your product has over the competition, but too often companies just blow a lot of hot air. Put your money where your mouth is. If your product is so good, your guarantee will convey that. Companies that know the quality of their products are not afraid to offer compensation or replacements for damages done.

Feel, Deal And Visual Appeal

The three most important senses to use when shopping for tools are your sense of sight, sense of touch and common sense. Most often, you can judge the quality and life expectancy of a tool just by looking at it and feeling it. Quality tools have weight to them. They are packaged properly, not in some cheap pop out plastic bubble sheet. The pieces are properly attached and not going anywhere, and they make an impression when held in your hand.

You Get What You Pay For

Obviously, if you are dropping fifty cents into the machine and directing a hand claw, you aren't getting a Snap-On. The better brands can and will charge more for their products because they are worth the price. What you have to determine is which price range is best for your specific needs. A light backyard project doesn't need a heavy-duty tool or the price tag that goes with it. As we mentioned earlier, know what your goal is, and spend what you can accordingly.

That being said, here is a VERY brief summary of some of the hand tools brands on the market.

Good Dollar To Delivery Brands

Craftsman is probably the number one rated brand out there. This is because of the quality of their products as well as their unbeatable lifetime guarantee. Read above for my opinion on guarantees. Husky and Kobalt also fall into the good for your money category.

If You've Got The Money, Spend It

Snap-On is the generally adored professional hand tool brand, especially in the automotive field. They make superior quality products every time, and the hefty price tags attest to that. Mac, Starett, Veritas and Clifton are other top names asking for top dollars.

Specialties

Stanley and Lenox are known for their quality saws and files. Two Cherries makes great chisels. Everyone knows Estwing hammers and driving tools are the best, and SK is very good for line or flare nut wrenches. Buck Bros. wood chisels and backsaws are preferred. Carpenter's hammers, folding rules etc. are good pieces to have. Irwin has great multi-bit screwdrivers, drill bits and specialty pliers. Channellock pliers work well and last long. Klein hand tools that make the charts include pliers, cutters and multi-screwdrivers (US made only, of course). Starett makes hack blades that don't wear down after a few uses and fantastic measuring tools.

As I said, this is just a quick look at hand tools brands. Even with the best brands, each person will have his or her own individual opinion and preference. At the end of the day, you'll end up using the tools that get the job done best for you.

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