How to Make the Right Choice When You Shop for Tools

With such a variety on offer, buying new tools can be an overwhelming experience. With our guide though tool shopping will be a piece of cake.


It’s hard to assess how useful a tool will be until you start using it. Hire—or borrow—whatever you’re considering buying, so that you can try it out first. Bear in mind that hire tools will be of professional quality, so they’ll be more robust than those designed for DIY use. But always hire tools or equipment that you’ll use infrequently—a steam wallpaper stripper, for instance.

2. Beware of rust

Secondhand tool shops and car-boot sales are good sources for tools, but inspect them carefully before buying. Never buy tools with rusty blades, you’ll never be able to sharpen them to a keen edge. Inspect the flexings and casings of power tools closely for signs of damage.

3. Table-mount heavy tools

Power tools must feel comfortable to use, so pick up and handle new tools in the shop before you buy. Opt for heavy-duty saws, routers and other cutting and shaping tools if you have the room to mount them on a workbench. That way you can use them as fixed tools rather than portable ones.

4. Choosing a workbench

Always buy the sturdiest workbench with the biggest worktop you can find that will fit into the space you have. If you don’t have space for a permanent workcentre, pick a foldaway workbench. The most versatile have a section on the top that can be detached and reversed to give extra vice capacity.

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