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Should I Buy Cheap Hand Tools?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

As a man, you may find yourself in a situation like this, at the crossroads of Harbor Freight and Lowes.  

You consider the cost of the tools at Harbor Freight, and that seems like a good idea...until you remember how cheap they are.

You consider the cost of the tools at Lowes....until you remember how cheap they are.

We often face very difficult decisions in life, not limited to appliance buying, car maintenance, and whether or not to call our clothes "outfits".  Okay, maybe that last one doesn't apply.

But for real.  We all know that there are many options out there when buying these items, and we do want to make the right decision.

When NOT to Buy Cheap Hand Tools - My Experiences

  • You don't want to be let down in "combat", working on your car or home or boat.  It'll just waste your time when you break that #2 flat head driver that's necessary to remove the flux capacitor so that you can get to the alternator in the trunk of your car.  That's just not cool!  You don't want to get stuck in the past!
  • You really don't want to lend a crowbar to a friend, only to have it break while he is removing his flux capacitor in his boat.  Who even knew boats could go 88 miles per hour?
  • If you use your toolbox for "unconventional fixes", such as screw drivers as pry bars or chisels, wrenches as hammers, etc.  I can't tell you how many cheap ones I've broken when trying to fix something using an "unconventional method".
  • If you use any of the items in your toolbox more than once a week.  I wish I could tell you that cheap products will hold up, but that just hasn't been my experience.  Buying quality itmes instead will last you your whole life, and then you can pass them down to your kids.  Now that's cool!
  • For friends.  Friends don't buy friends cheap tools.

When to Buy Cheap - My Experiences

Yes, I know I just bashed inexpensive tools to a pulp, and it was kind of fun too.  However, there are legitimately good times to buy these products, and I even own a decent number of them myself.  Gasp!  I know, right?

Cheap Hand Tools
You should buy inexpensive hand tools:
  • When you are in the situation of traveling or lending tools often.  In the world I work in, we often lend tools to a local crew member, coworker or the TSA.  Okay, we don't purposely lend them to the TSA, they just take them.  In this kind of circumstance, it makes sense to have cheap hand tools, as expensive ones disappear, and that just gets darn expensive!
  • When you know you're only going to use the tool once.  Specialized sizes, bits and odd tools are great to buy at the cheap tool stores.  If you know you're only going to use it once, or not often, buying cheap can save you a ton of dough, and you won't use it enough to break it!
  • If you're cheap like me.  I often buy a cheap tool first.  Then, when or if I break it, I go and buy a higher quality version.  With that said, there are some tools that I either don't use enough or haven't broken, and so I saved money!
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