DIY (“Do it yourself”) is more popular now than ever. Do-it-yourself is experiencing a real renaissance, and the relevant hardware stores are full of electrical helpers for handicrafts at home.
We have chosen the largest DIY categories and present some of the most popular branded devices from these areas in our comparison tables.
In the case of professional artisans, the situation is clear. Every tool has to be of the best quality to withstand the daily rigors in the workshop and on the construction site without complaint and for a long time. But the picture is much less clear for do-it-yourselfers: Here, many people proceed according to the maxim “the main thing is cheap”.
Why exactly this is the wrong approach in some tool areas and why and where, even as an occasional screwdriver, you should not completely forego branded quality, we will deal with this in the following sections.
With power tools, inner values also count – only they are usually precisely defined by the name on the outside.
Brands are more than just a name.
A walk through the tool department of any hardware store can be quite confusing, especially for DIY beginners, because you are always confronted with several brand names that don’t necessarily mean anything. To start with, for example, cordless screwdrivers, the range might look like this:
- Black & Decker
- Bosch DIY (green)
- Bosch Professional (blue)
To name just a few. And the problem with it is that the devices of all these brands for the layman usually only differ in one thing: the price. If you look at the tools’ features on the box, they are also often like one egg to another. And because of a lack of experience, many beginners do not know what to look out for.
It looks like the big trappings of the tool ultimately affect the quality and thus also price. To turn a few screws into the wood now and then, a cordless screwdriver of the cheapest category is certainly sufficient.
But as soon as you want more, the wheat is separated from the chaff. Then the inside of the device becomes interesting:
- How high-quality is the battery – can it withstand thousands of charging cycles without noticeably losing performance?
- How durable are the gears inside the cordless screwdriver?
- Has the manufacturer relied on cheap plastic, or is it made of stable metal?
Brands are always (to a certain extent) a guarantee that the tool will last longer and be more robust overall.
Basically, with the vast majority of power tools, you can conclude that you always have to compromise on longevity and robustness through the economy. With the higher price, you not only buy a well-known brand name but in the majority of cases also always a tool that lasts longer and does not resent some abuse.
Spare parts and accessories
Few do-it-yourselfers think long-term – and that’s exactly why they make a mistake when buying power tools. Now the table saw, or the cordless jigsaw with two batteries, light, laser and a 100-piece saw blade set for 79 dollars might seem like an unbeatable bargain. But what if you need a new battery in a few years? After all, lithium-ion batteries don’t last forever. Or when the laser at the tip is over: who do you turn to? And what if you would like to purchase additional battery-operated tools, but want to operate both devices with the same energy tank?
In the case of very inexpensive tools, the answer to such questions is often: nonexistent. Here you can rarely get model-specific spare parts or additional accessories. If something breaks, the only thing left is a completely new purchase. This is annoying and a real negative factor in environmental protection in bulk and the long term. Besides, it costs a lot of money, the artisan motto “buy cheap, buy several times” is no coincidence.
Every power tool has its specific wear parts. You can buy these from brand manufacturers, but practically never from cheap tools.
With branded tools, however, it usually looks different. There are many tools that are all operated with the same battery and the same voltage. That alone is a price factor because if you already have a device of this type with a battery and charger, you can opt for the slightly cheaper purchase option for the next purchase, in which only the tool itself is in the box. And should the Velcro sanding pad of the eccentric sander or the drill chuck of the cordless screwdriver be worn out, spare parts can be bought without any detours.
In the long run, you save, because where you usually have to replace cheap tools completely in the event of damage, brand-name tools have spare parts that are much cheaper than even a very low-priced new, cheap device.
Recognizing good things
During the training, a craftsman is taught how to assess the tools required for his job according to quality criteria. A handyman, however, needs to get his knowledge in another way. And that brings us directly to friends, colleagues and co. – who are often also not professionals. One of them may have had bad experiences with DeWalt, while the other swears by his rather expensive Makita all-in-one suitcase.
Of course, experiences are important, but in this environment, you have to pay attention to who they come from: Your own brother, who has just screwed together with a small outdoor enclosure for his child’s guinea pigs with the brand new cheap screwdriver, can not make any serious statements about it give the longevity and quality of his device. It looks a bit different from his colleague, who not only screwed in every single screw in his carport with his cordless screwdriver but has also been using the device for years.
The longer and more extensively, you have been using this tool, the more you can trust friends and acquaintances’ purchase recommendations.
So you shouldn’t just blindly believe the experiences of friends, but always ask something. You can orientate yourself on the following points:
- How long has the tool been in possession?
- What work was done with it?
- What type of battery does the device have?
- Were “harder” tasks also taken on?
The following applies: the longer a device is in use, and the harder it has been used, the more meaningful the empirical value.
But there is still another possibility to be able to draw certain conclusions directly in the shop and without asking a seller: In the case of “cheap tools”, unusually extensive accessory packages are included in comparison to the price. The cordless screwdriver may include a flashlight, a 200-piece bit set, and a drills pack for wood, metal and concrete. When such a lavish range of accessories is combined with a very low price, the alarm bells should sound, because a manufacturer cannot put that much together at a low price package without compromising on quality.
If you want to make it easy for yourself, you can follow the following rule: Good tools that are comparatively cheap never have a lot of accessories. If these are included, the price always rises too.