Should You Buy Your Tools New or Second Hand to Save Money?

Wednesday, July 4, 2018, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Purchasing used items is a great way to save money and stretch your budget. But depending on what you’re buying, obtaining secondhand goods not only raises the question of quality but also of safety and reliability. That is especially true if you’ve been considering investing in some new (or new to you) tools.

Before you go out and purchase all of your tools for the local pawnshop in an effort to save money, consider these guidelines for purchasing new versus secondhand tools. 

Should You Buy Your Tools New or Second Hand to Save Money?

  • When Is It Okay to Buy Used? 

    One of the first steps to any home improvement of DIY project is making sure you have the right tools on hand. So you may be considering purchasing used tools in an effort to reduce the overall cost of the project.

    In most cases, buying used, even if it is a power tool, is an effective way to manage your budget as long as you follow a few key guidelines.

    Particularly if you are working on home improvements on a periodic basis, as compared to managing your own construction business, going the secondhand route is generally a safe bet to both save money and get a quality product that will last.

    However, there are a few instances when it really is in your best interest to buy new and cut costs elsewhere.

  • When Is It Best to Buy New?

    If you’re budget minded, it can be difficult to make yourself ante up and pay full price for brand new power tools, especially on a project that’s already pushing the budget. But the truth is, there are some cases when it really is a better “deal” to just buy new.

    When you’re trying to make the decision between new versus used, ask yourself these questions:

    • What purpose does it serve?

      Chances are if you’ll be using this tool for something you do in your profession on a daily basis or at least on a very frequent basis, then you should just buy new to increase the longevity of the purchase. If it’s more for a hobby or a project once or twice a year, you’ll likely be okay with going secondhand.

    • What will the consequence be if the tool malfunctions?

      This question is particularly important when you’re considering buying secondhand power tools, so think about it…If the tool could severely injure you or even kill you if it fails, such as a lift, a jack or a tile saw, then your best bet is to pay for a new tool. However, if replacing the tool would simply be a nuisance that requires replacing, it might be okay to get it used.

    • What is the brand?

      Particularly if you’re buying a secondhand power tool, being able to recognize the brand can give you a lot of information about the quality and reliability of a tool. For example, a professional brand like Bosch tends to hold its value and stand up to a lot of use. In the same vein, if you can’t recognize the name of the brand, then you might want to do a little more research before paying out of the nose for it – new or used.

  • Tips for Buying Used

    If you decide to go ahead and purchase used tools, there are several steps that you can take to make you get the best deal. Use these tips to help you navigate buying secondhand power tools successfully.

    • Ask to see the tool run before agreeing to purchase it.

    • Negotiate the price if the tool doesn’t come with batteries or a power cord.

    • Refuse any tools that have frayed cords, bent plugs, taped electric cords, or other visible trauma.

    • Factor in the cost of new batteries for cordless tools and compare the total to that of purchasing a new tool.

    • Buy only what you need at the time.

    • Ask around about deals as well as the reliability of different brands, etc.

  • Where to Buy Used Tools

    Just like there are a number of different places to purchase new tools, you can also find deals on used tools in a number of different locations. Keep in mind you’ll likely pay more on shipping if you’re shopping anywhere other than local, but nonetheless, you can sometimes still find a really good deal that way.

    • Individuals

    • Pawnshops

    • Live auctions

    • Thrift stores

    • Garage sales

    • Flea markets

    • Classifieds

    • Craigslist

    • Ebay

Depending on your project, investing in the tools you need can quickly increase your budget. In many cases, purchasing secondhand tools is an effective way to manage your costs and get a great deal on a reliable tool that you actually need.

However, there are some instances when it’s best to just pay full price and get new. Use these guidelines to help you decide when you should buy used versus new and how you can ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

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