Consider Buying Reconditioned Tools
by Damien Andrews
Every do-it-yourselfer aspires to have more tools in their workshop. There are several reasons that the acquisition of additional tools is almost always at the top of every do-it-yourselfer's list. And unlike most 'toys,' tools are productive additions to a household – even if that household has only a beginner do-it-yourselfer. Tools, especially really good ones, are expensive. They're worth it, but they're pricey! Consider buying reconditioned tools if you want to add more tools sooner. Before you jump back afraid of lemon 'used' tools, take a look at what reconditioned tools can offer – besides substantial price breaks.
One reason to buy a new tool is to accomplish a task that is otherwise all but impossible to accomplish. A great example of this is a hammer drill. If you've ever tried drilling into concrete, brick or cinder block without a hammer drill, you understand what a monstrous task it can be. Without a hammer drill, the do-it-yourselfer skips projects that involve boring holes into masonry. The cost of a new hammer drill might be a problem, but maybe a reconditioned tool will get the job(s) done, and be within your budget. If you buy from the right place, reconditioned tools are much cheaper than new ones, and come with a proper warranty. How many more projects would you get done if you bought a reconditioned hammer drill tomorrow? (Reconditioned tools come in kits, also - see photo below. A hammer drill is frequently included ion kits, so check out these special kits of reconditioned tools if a hammer drill is on your list.)
Makita LXT400 Factory Reconditioned 18V 4-Tool LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Combo Kit
1/2 inch Hammer Driver-Drill has a new 4-pole motor for 560 in-lbs of torque & weighs only 4.9 lbs • Impact Driver is 40% more compact, 1280 in-lbs of torque with 0-3200 IPM and is 3.3 lbs • 6-1/2 inch Circular Saw has a D35 high torque motor, built-in blower and is 7.1 lbs • 4-Position Flashlight with Xenon bulbs runs 5 hrs. Reconditioned tools bought from good factory authorized companies even come with the carryibng cases!
Another good reason to consider buying reconditioned tools is a router. A router does things that are practically impossible to do with any other tools or combination of tools. If you want to install new counter top laminates, trim plywood laminates, groove a board or make a better overlap joint, then a router is just what you need. Again, if the cost of a new tool is out of the question, take a look at the offerings in the reconditioned tools arena. Having a reconditioned router in the shop will spawn all sorts of new ideas for projects around the house. And all sorts of new ways to do projects already on the drawing board. The money you save buying reconditioned tools instead of new tools can go towards purchasing accessories, and routers love accessories! You can save money on the accessories you get for your reconditioned tools, also. Look online in your area for items for sale, or try craigslist. If you have a local flea market, used tool accessories can usually be found there.
Another reason to add a tool to the workshop is to upgrade or add-to. I think I see more of this with battery operated drill/screw guns than with any other tools. I know I had to get a new screw gun as soon as the 18-volt system became available. In fact, that was the first time I seriously reviewed reconditioned tools and their warranties. Since that time, I've bought numerous reconditioned tools. One of the reconditioned tools I bought was a 6¼" battery operated circular saw. I didn't really have a genuine need for this tool, but I bought one of the aforementioned reconditioned tool kits and it came with it. Well, I have tremendous respect for this hardworking little 18-volt circular saw! In fact, I'd say it is one of my favorite reconditioned tools. It's just so easy to use it – and it's so light. I never would have bought one new, but that's one of the joys of the world of reconditioned tools – you'll end up with more!
If you're going to consider buying reconditioned tools, be sure to use a reputable dealer that is authorized to factory recondition the tools. This makes all the difference. Also, whenever you look into reconditioned tools – check out the warranty before you buy. I've only had one bad experience with buying reconditioned tools, and it was with a non-authorized dealer who really offered no warranty at all. The tool didn't work properly from the day I received it. It looked pretty good, but it was battery operated and would not run consistently – as though there were power surges and drops. Very irritating. When I called, and it was hard to find a phone number, I was told that the problem was not covered by their warranty. So, when buying reconditioned tools – as always – it's buyer beware!
Unlike new tools, reconditioned tools are not always available. This is to say that if you're looking for a specific model reconditioned tool by a specific manufacturer, it might not be available when you want to buy it. I've found that it's not usually a long wait, but get ready for that to happen. Companies that are factory authorized to recondition tools must wait until they receive a tool that is up to standards for a proper reconditioning.
The only real difference I've found between new tools and reconditioned tools is their appearance. When you buy reconditioned tools, expect a certain amount of wear to be visible. Scratches on housings, small dents in metal or nicks in rubber will be there. But you'll never have anything there that can adversely affect the tool's use or operation.
One of the nice things about going with a good company for all of your reconditioned tool needs is that you get instructions with the tool! I find this invaluable – I keep ALL of the paperwork for all of my tools, new and reconditioned. This sometimes irritating practice has saved me more than once when I needed a small part. I just replaced the cord on a 20+ year old circular saw. Had I not had the paperwork for that tool, I'd have absolutely no idea what model or year it was. I keep my tool paperwork in a plastic container in my shop. It's not really very well organized, but it gets the job done.
I hope I've given you adequate reason to consider buying reconditioned tools. If not, would it help if I mentioned that buying reconditioned tools is a great way to recycle? It is, and that's just one more reason to give reconditioned tools a serious looking over the next time you want to add a tool to your workshop. Maybe you won't have to wait as long as you thought to get started on that playhouse for your daughter…