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bushings, bearings, nylon, steel ???

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  • bushings, bearings, nylon, steel ???

    So..... when someone goes to purchase a power tool...a saw, a drill, etc.
    they are inundated with red, blue, green, yellow, orange, gray, black, tiger stripe etc.

    They are presented with prices from $19.99 to $299.99 for the same or similar tool.

    The name brand of tools today are somewhat moot as the majority are likely made in the same location in China....the only option is...is my tool made by a child, prisoner, slave, or grandma?
    [please no flames regarding some tools are still made in USA...this is a general observation to make a point on the question]

    I read in one of the wood working magazines a while ago an interesting article describing the differences between "homeowner tools" and "professional tools". They discussed ball bearings VS brass bushings, Nylon or plastic gears VS steel or stamped gears, etc. and better motors.

    Here are the questions of the day:

    1. How does the tool purchaser know what they are getting inside?

    2. Does price truly represent quality? I have seen twenty dollar drills last
    longer, feel better, etc. than a hundred dollar drill.

    3. I look at Harbor Freight power tools and they really look similar to some of
    the well known tool brands..sometimes they are even the same
    colors..gray for gray, a loud orange for yellow... are these "selected tools"
    as good? or are they seconds tossed into a different basket to be sold to
    someone other than the name brand??? or are they just re-engineered
    ripoffs? you get the concept.

    4. when you look at the odd colored tools with the catchy names. you have
    seen these in Pep-Boys and Auto Zone and Checker Auto stores to name a
    few places.....Who's the manufacturer? All you get is "made in china"
    Are they perhaps in the posture of bang for the buck a good deal for the
    homeowner who uses his tools only on a Friday night at 10p.m. ?

    5. Finally, how really different are the various brands motors? Take a typical
    1/2 hammer drill, weight, size, fit, torque, safety, [ok color] are specs we
    usually see. but is there that big of a difference between say a red, gray,
    yellow, orange motor for that drill?

    I do know brush-less motors are slowly entering the scene but for this
    question we will stick with the brush type.


    let the flood gates of expertise begin.........


    Cactus Man

  • #2
    1) There is really no easy way to know. So many manufacturers might outsource a tool to a lower grade manufacturer/model but may have another tool that is built way better than the rest of the competition. I think the best you can do is just to do as much online research as possible and places like this were its possible someone has already tried to figure it out. Chances are someones has already taken a look at schematics, taken it apart, knows what is really inside.

    2) I really do believe that generally speaking, if you pay for a more expensive tool theres a good chance you are in fact getting a better tool. Particularly within the same brand. Cheaper models are cheaper because they tend to be of poorer construction and materials. The question is how much better of a tool do you really need. Often times the smallest details make all the difference. You many time experience the law of diminishing returns. At some point prices for some high end tools might start increasing far out of proportions for smaller and smaller benefits.

    3) A lot of these off brand tools its hard to say what you get. You really need to do research on them before you buy. Craftsman is a good example of this. You never really know what you're going to get unless you find out who manufactured the tool for them and what model its based on. FOr example I was just browsing through the sears the other day and immediately noticed their Router combo was noting more than the highly regarded Bosch 1617 in but red colors with the Craftsman logo. Chances are in a few years someone else will be filling in for that router category and it could be junk.

    4) I don't really know about these tools but I read every now and then about how terrible they are, to be avoided at all costs unless you only need to drill like three holes a year.

    5) There definately can be a big difference between brands even with specs that look very similar. Thats one of the tricky things about power tools. There is no real universal way to measure and compare specs from one brand to another. For example I was just trying to figure out the difference between Boschs new 36v tools and Dewalts 36v. Bosch tells me their drill does 600in/lbs of torque at 450 rpm and Dewalt says thair drill does 750 Unit watts out. Its impossible to draw a conclusion from that.
    Last edited by Velosapien; 11-01-2006, 10:36 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      1. Unless you personally take it apart, the vast majority of consumers haven't a clue as to what's inside anything they buy.
      2. A higher price doesn't necessarily mean better quality but more times than not it does.
      3. Re-engineered rip-offs.
      4. Definately an excellent investment for use after 10:00 PM but junk if used in the daylight.
      5. I don't have a clue.

      Personally, I think that the world went to hell in a handbasket and the downfall of quality levels can be directly traced back to the exact day that the 2x4 became an 1-1/2x 3-1/2.
      ================================================== ====
      ~~Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

      Comment


      • #4
        thanks guys

        I appreciate the candor in your replies.

        I'm an Amateur Radio operator and last night while having a conversation the topic of power tools was the main subject.

        Cactus Man

        Comment


        • #5
          What was written by the above people is accurate, I would just like to add my two cents about Harbor Freight tools, I can not speak for all of them. But evidently they have a supplier that is flat ripping people off. They sell a rotary hammer that is colored like a Makita it even has a model sticker for makita. Unfortunately the model is for a hand drill and the rotary hammer is not actually made by Makita. I have had several come in to my shop for wtty work on this particular tool and it is a real shame to tell them it is not a Makita and they got screwed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, here's my go which is probably along the lines of what the others have said.

            1) You don't know. Well actually you can get an idea by looking at the exploded parts diagrams which a good reputable toolmaker will supply for the tool. Even the big names in tools use cheap parts sometimes and get raked over the coals for it in the field reviews and feedback. Best is to go by reviews and see what others have said/experienced. amazon is a good place where the reviews are usually pretty honest.

            2) Generally yes. if you stick with the main players like Milwaukee DeWalt Bosch Makita for example, you'll usually do fine. They're usually priced similarly within the same line. You'll never get for $20 what $200 will potentially give you.

            3) Don't know much about them.

            4) There's two schools of thought - those who see an immediate advantage by spending less on cheaper tools, and those who want nothing to do with cheap tools and want to buy right the first time. IMO, with cheap/unknown tools you'll end up spending more in the long run in terms of tool breakdown and repair, time, and frustration.

            5) I try to buy the ones that have motors designed/built by the manufacturer themselves for that specific tool. A lot of the cheaper brands (sorry I don't mean to rake on Ridgid here but they are one of them) use mass produced motors by the likes of Johnson Electric and Mabuchi. IMO these motors are not up to the durability, longevity, and power output of say a "DeWalt-built" or "Bosch-built" motor. The brand motors usually have much heavier steel construction, heaftier copper windings, better brushes, and not to forget replaceable brushes and are generally more maintainable and last longer. In other words they'll take a good butt-kickin' and still work well.

            Originally posted by cactusman View Post
            So..... when someone goes to purchase a power tool...a saw, a drill, etc.
            they are inundated with red, blue, green, yellow, orange, gray, black, tiger stripe etc.

            They are presented with prices from $19.99 to $299.99 for the same or similar tool.

            The name brand of tools today are somewhat moot as the majority are likely made in the same location in China....the only option is...is my tool made by a child, prisoner, slave, or grandma?
            [please no flames regarding some tools are still made in USA...this is a general observation to make a point on the question]

            I read in one of the wood working magazines a while ago an interesting article describing the differences between "homeowner tools" and "professional tools". They discussed ball bearings VS brass bushings, Nylon or plastic gears VS steel or stamped gears, etc. and better motors.

            Here are the questions of the day:

            1. How does the tool purchaser know what they are getting inside?

            2. Does price truly represent quality? I have seen twenty dollar drills last
            longer, feel better, etc. than a hundred dollar drill.

            3. I look at Harbor Freight power tools and they really look similar to some of
            the well known tool brands..sometimes they are even the same
            colors..gray for gray, a loud orange for yellow... are these "selected tools"
            as good? or are they seconds tossed into a different basket to be sold to
            someone other than the name brand??? or are they just re-engineered
            ripoffs? you get the concept.

            4. when you look at the odd colored tools with the catchy names. you have
            seen these in Pep-Boys and Auto Zone and Checker Auto stores to name a
            few places.....Who's the manufacturer? All you get is "made in china"
            Are they perhaps in the posture of bang for the buck a good deal for the
            homeowner who uses his tools only on a Friday night at 10p.m. ?

            5. Finally, how really different are the various brands motors? Take a typical
            1/2 hammer drill, weight, size, fit, torque, safety, [ok color] are specs we
            usually see. but is there that big of a difference between say a red, gray,
            yellow, orange motor for that drill?

            I do know brush-less motors are slowly entering the scene but for this
            question we will stick with the brush type.


            let the flood gates of expertise begin.........


            Cactus Man

            Comment


            • #7
              Allen tool guy,

              There is no way for a person to know it is not Makita, the sticker is an actual Makita model plate and the housing color are identical. I spoke with Makita about it and they did not seem to interested so I won't take time to pursue it any further

              Comment

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