Anyone who follows my Twitter feed, @bitznpcz, will know that I love my tools. Whether it’s power tools, hand tools, gadgets or gizmos, I like to try them out and buy the best that my budget can afford.
I’m an IT Consultant to primary schools by trade, but I don’t like to turn down any job… one day I could be installing software on a set of laptops or iPads and the next I could be installing speakers, interactive whiteboards, projectors, touch screen TV’s, stage lighting or wiring up a full IT Suite.
As my job varies so much, I like to carry a full set of tools to undertake any task, (within legal boundaries), and have found the best brands to suit my needs. The list is subjective and we all have preferred brands and manufacturers, but I’ll tell you my favourites towards the end. The main point of this article however is that buying cheap tools is false economy.
I follow the adage, “buy cheap, buy twice” and it is very true for tools. For DIY purposes, it is fine to pick up the Argos catalogue and select a tool within your budget. For professional usage, I would stick to the more commercial brands and buy based on your needs, budget and usage requirements. The cheaper brands are OK for limited use, but for a tool used every day, spending that little bit more could save you money in the longer term.
Take screwdrivers for example – my favourite brand is Wera. Their lasertip screw drivers have a micro-rough surface which bites into the screw head and ensures that the screwdriver is held securely to the screw. This reduces the risk of cam-out, (the screwdriver slipping out), and also reduces the amount of contact pressure required to tighten the screw. I’ve used the same set of Wera screwdrivers daily for the last 3 years and they are still showing no signs of wear. Prior to using Wera, I was replacing my screwdrivers on a regular basis… Quality costs more, but gives better value.
For power tools, my favourite brands are Makita and Milwaukee (but I prefer Wera bits in my impact and power screwdriver). I have friends on Twitter who swear by Hilti drills – for my trade these are overkill, but if you’re drilling a hole for a flue or waste pipes they eat through the wall like butter. For specialised jobs like this, we’d advise you to buy a drill with a clutch. Otherwise if the core drill jams and the drill keeps rotating you could seriously damage your wrists.
For anyone starting out who doesn’t have a big budget, my advice is still to buy quality, but build up your tool kit over time. Start off by buying quality tools that you’ll use every day and grow your collection as funds allow.