If your contractor comes into your job with some clunky and cheap tools, you need to do one of two things.

  1. Consider another contractor
  2. Check their prior work/reference carefully

I kid you not.  If a contractor comes to your job sporting a $79 table saw and a $59 miter saw, you might have made a mistake by selecting that contractor.  Now, I know that it might be difficult to ascertain what they use prior to getting them in to do the work on your property, but if they opportunity presents itself take a look at what they use.

Many of you don’t know brands, but a quick search should uncover the “quality tools” from the “cheap” tools.  Price is really the big factor here.  With tools, it is almost a certainty that you get what you pay for.  This isn’t a market where Ralph Lauren or Martha Stewart slapping their name on a product will garner a 25% premium price.

As someone who has done a lot of work, I realize that a quality tool is actually going to save me money and time while doing a better job (a more accurate cut, less swirl marks, faster, more powerful, etc).  Experienced contractors will realize the same.  My realization moment came back in 1996 when I was building some outdoor furniture.  I had a $19 Black and Decker jigsaw that I purchased at the factory outlet store nearby.  The cuts took a long time and I could only cut one board (there were many matching pair parts that were easier to double up and cut together).  I finally broke down and spent the $160 for a Bosch Jigsaw that was on sale.  The first time I used it, I literally began laughing and the difference in quality of the cut and the added power that doubled my efficiency.

A couple of quality brands:




A couple of brands favored by the weekend warrior rather than professional contractor.

  • Chicago Electric

Now there are cases where an inexpensive tool is just fine.  If I was going to be making a cut in concrete with a grinder, I don’t want to destroy my nice Bosch grinder with the horrible cement dust. Instead, I’ll pick up a $12 Chicago Electric grinder form Harbor Freight Tools and toss it when it burns out (maybe right after the job).  In fact, this is a tip from Ray Oldhafer on the “Ace on the House” podcast.  Buy a cheap tool if you are doing a job that will destroy it. Thanks Ray!