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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Western Mass

    Default Same price lower quality tools rant

    Am I the only one to notice the quality of many tools has dropped but not the price?

    It all started with needing to replace some of my stanley folding sawhorses. The ones a bought several years ago had aluminum legs and have served me well, the new ones( which I decided not to buy) have steel legs ( major weight increase) and a narrower stance but the same price. On that same trip to the orange box I purchased some LENOX demo blades at a premium price. While cutting through a clean 8x8 I had teeth break off the blade, I switched to the other one in the two pack and the same thing happened.

    Festools are still as expensive as ever but seem to be going downhill since being spun out of festo 13 years ago. I have had to have my rotax rebuilt twice, a router fail with in two weeks, the receptacle on the front of one of the vac's flakes out from time to time and the smell from the domino makes me wonder if it's long for this world.

    Milwaukee is now a city in China...

    What's a guy who is willing to pay for quality tools to do ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Re: Same price lower quality tools rant

    BigLou, You've stated it well and that is exactly why I have done most of my tool buying at auctions, flea markets and to a lesser extent Craig's List and ebay. No tools from china. Even if a second hand tool needs servicing I am more than happy to take it to a repair shop and have the parts replaced as long as it had some basis in quality manufacturing to start with such as items made in USA, Germany or Japan.

    The sad thing is when you see major brands being predominantly made in china and the manufacturers just keep caving in to the pressures of major retailers to keep the price and therefore the quality low.

    Where have the marketing graduates gone to ? At one time companies were proud to make durable products and formed a marketing plan based on quality and service. Now , who needs a marketing staff, just keep lowering the price and the quality in the race to the bottom. This concept has been thoroughly drilled into consumers heads ad nauseam and of course it carries forth to how the consumer perceives what contractors do.
    "ALS IK KAN" - Stickley

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Leominster, MA

    Default Re: Same price lower quality tools rant

    A lot of the pry bars and "heavy metal" tools I use were made by the Verona Tool Works in PA. These tools are Railroad grade and some are at least 80 years old, and still work. Purchased a new "pry bar" from the orange box a while ago, it lasted 1/2 a day before it snapped. The steel quality in new tools has gone way down hill.

    Renaissance Restorations LLC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Greensboro, NC

    Default Re: Same price lower quality tools rant

    Seems like very few make tools anymore, just money as they're owned by investment groups.

    That said, since the recession I've bought a good bit of Recon tools. Never have had a problem. Online, no tax, free shipping at times. Even Festool and Fein have CPO sites.

    "Get three coffins ready" - A Fistful of Dollars 1964

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Default Re: Same price lower quality tools rant

    Surprisingly Dewalt have been making some impressive tools marketed to the industrial sector. We're trying out their new angle grinders and worm drive saws. So far I've been impresses.

    We are also using their 20v cordless drills and drivers. I've had 4 of each for about 6 months and I'm impressed. Light weight, good balance, lots of power and run time.

    I had to find a driver for installing allen bolts to a specific torque setting to be used in the assembly of solar arrays. I found the solution in a Panasonic line of cordless "assembly tools" that they market to factories, specifically the auto sector. They are better quality than the cordless tools available retail to contractors. You have to order them from an industrial supply house but they are very good quality tools and of course the price reflects it.

    In nearly every class of tools you can still find quality products, it does take some searching though and you have to be prepared to pay for that quality.

    Overall the tool manufacturers are marketing to the masses. The way I see it retail tools are sold more to DIY'ers and small contractors. industrial tools are sold through distributors and not on display. The industrial tools don't need marketing, they sell themselves.

    A lot of tools are so cheap it makes more sense to buy 2 or 3 cheap tools rather than buy one good one, it really is a bit of an art to figure out the best value. I see some cases where shops spend money on the very best stationary equipment and hand tools then buy cheap Ryobi cordless tools for assembly.

    Tool manufacturers have had the brains not to mess with some tools. The PC 75128 is still the workhorse it was in the 1980's although the 690 is no where near as good as it used to be. It is really hard to find a good small router these days without buying something exotic. The Dewalt 268 versa clutch is a direct descendent of the same tool that I used to use in the 1970's and 80's. I just bought a couple recently and compared one to one of my old B&D industrial from the 1980's and weight, feel and specs are all the same.

    Other than that I go out and look at tools on display occasionally and I am really disappointed by the junk that is out there. I agree with Otis's comment on steel quality. it's hard to find a good wrecking bar that doesn't cost $80 and comes from Sweden.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Same price lower quality tools rant

    I think the cordless drills are pretty good nowadays. At least better than before. I have never broken a prybar. I only lose them. Air compressors seem to be ok. Things like sawhorses, storage compartments, and tool boxes I struggle to find anything decent.

    If there is a need out there, the market place will bring out a product that will work, as long as the government stays off the backs of small business.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Default Re: Same price lower quality tools rant

    I have to agree about Festool not being at the quality level it was 10 years ago. I returned the last track saw, got my money back and went with a Mafell. The sanders I buy are now Mirka. Panasonic makes some very good industrial tools, they are pricey.

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