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Advice on good tools?

3350 Views 13 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Legit
I was wondering about good tools to buy. I am looking at wormdrive circ saws and impact drivers, chop saws, sawzaws, and the like and I was wondering about peoples advice on any brand they have used that has been reliable and heavy duty. I understand dewalt and milwakee are great tool brands but I also understand I would have to budget quite a bit to buy these great brands...any advice and reviews (both good and bad) are greatly appreciated.



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I currently use mostly Bosch, some Milwaukee, Dewalt and Makita. I've tried Ridgid and Hitachi (which are usually cheaper) and have had them always break. I've found you can have premium brands at not so premium prices! Never buy from box stores or catalogs, always buy from Ebay, Amazon, or CPO Refurbished sites. I have top of the line tools and have never paid full price for any of them. Buy quality and wait for good deals.
Who are you?
Where are you?
What do you do?
A few details might help
to get you some guidance. :thumbsup:
Go green.

Oh yeah good point Neo.

What do you need to do and what are you wanting to do it with?
The tools I use the most are the following:

Hitachi N83A2 framing nailer- The thing takes a licking and keeps on ticking... Not a bad choice for a framing nailer, mid range in price you can pick them up used sometimes too. A Max framer is probably one of the better ones I have used but they cost alot of $$ (Check CL and in the paper, there are contractors going out of business due to the poor economy and sometimes you can get a package deal...)

Skil-77 worm drive- I have one of the old 13 amp "made in the USA" models, it is a workhouse, but it is heavy and isn't as fine tuned as the Bosch ones (both made by the same company) in things like depth of set, bevel gauge and the like. I would pick up on of the Bosch 15 amp models that has the direct cord plug in if you are looking to spend a little more $$

A decent set of bags and boots will save you and your body in the long run. Occidentals are good bags but expensive, I use a set made by Brown bag company and they were fairly reasonable.

Hitachi trim guns - a 15 gauge angle nailer and an 18 gauge pinner- I bought these at the same time 5 years ago and they are still holding up after alot of use. I don't know about the new "space age" looking ones, I assume they are roughly the same gun under all that plastic crap.

Bosch 4410L compound mitre saw- this has been a mixed bag... If I would buy another it would probably be one of the Makita 10" or maybe a straight chop- the slide is nice but the Bosch tends to get rail slop after awhile.
If price is at the top of your list for your deciding factors then you will be disappointed most of the time. When I am ready to buy a certain tool price is one of the last things (within reason) I look at. If the price is high then so be it. I know what I need to save to purchase that tool. Like the other guys said .... what do you need it for? Do you do tons of flooring but need a roofing nailer for a couple jobs or are you a roofer who needs a tile saw for 1 or 2 jobs. It is all relative to what you do. The last nail gun I bought was a micro pin nailer. I paid 100 bucks for it. I wish I did a ton of cabinetry but sadly I don't. So it is not the best on the market but it gets the job done for me when I need it. Also each brand has its strengths and weaknesses. I love my milwuakee sawzall. Would not ever buy a different brand for that tool. As for a worm drive saw I am not buff enough to pick a milwuakee worm drive up everyday. Also this is just my oppinion so you would need to see what works for you best. Read all the reviews you can and even try to test them out before you buy if you have to. Lots of things to think about before you just start buying up tons of tools.
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I do hvac work, and have no problems with the Ryobi gear. Except, I mainly use the impact drill, and flash light. The sawzall is alright if you are only cutting osb board that is about 3/4" thick. Otherwise I go corded. I am under the impression, that most of the other cordless brands don't do too well with 11/2" lumber either, but, I may be mistaken.

I like the Ryobi because of price and the availibility of batteries. I think all brands are relatively equal when comparing apples to apples. Just like furnaces and air conditioners
What I have found, is there is no one brand of tool that fits all applications (except maybe Festool hee hee). I favor certain brands for certain lines of tools i.e, I like Bosch for drills, Hitachi for air tools, DeWalt for saws, etc. Of course there are exceptions to those too, especially with specialty tools. Price is pretty low on the list of determining has been said, if you use that as a motivator, you will be highly disappointed in the long run. The only way to find what works for you is long term use. You can speed up the process by only buying quality gear to begin with....two or three cheap pieces of equipment are usually more expensive than one good one anyway.
I have tried so many tools over the years and made the mistake of leaving Makita just as the Dewalt XRP range come out. The dewalts were an ok tool but i had numerous problems, Bosch gear was ok but not as tough as the Makita and a little expensive for what you got i also made the mistake of going with some porter cable gear which all funked out after a year, Tried a few skill tools here and there and was very disapointed after getting some recommendations from other trades. Now after this many years of trying out numerous brands i use only Makita, Bostitch, Paslode and one dewalt belt sander that keeps messing up but when it works it works well. Thats getting changed to a Makita sander when the new models come out.
No one brand is a panacia.

I like hilti the most all around but their obvious stregnth is hammer drills and low velocity nailers. The impact is nice yet expensive and is lackinging in power compared to an 18V.

I have a Hitachi nailer yet have never been overly impressed with any of their other tools (or really dissapointed for that matter). I think all around they are of decent dollar value.

Alot of guys have been dissapointed with dewalt lately, i'l admit everything I have dewalt is older and its been solid (circular saw, cordless drills, corded drill).

Ryobi is cheap and performs cheap, aimed at the DIY market. Yet if your are only going to use it a couple times a year they are rather good dollar value.

I have mixed feelings with Milwaukee, I always found them to have heavy rock solid product until the explosion of product all over Home Depot. I think their quality control has slipped seeing as my wormdrive blew a gearbox in about a hundread cuts. I haven't bought enough recently to know so take my opinion with a grain of isn't based on much.

If your not married and win the lottery Festool may be for you, I'm not a fine wood worker and don't even know a domino jointer from a horses arse so its not really for me.

I always like Bosch tools, good hammerdrills too. Yet around here their prices have been creaping up and their product support has been slipping (could be a canadian thing).
I think that most of the stuff sold at HD/Lowes are just consumer/ho based products no matter what brand.

Like everyone else I do have preferences on certain brands for certain tools.

Bosch is tops for me - Demohammers, rotary hammers, and hammer drills

My Skil worm drive saw is over 20 years old and works like new with absolutely no maintenance issues.

Dewalt for framing nailers and cordless trim nailers - portable table saws.

Paslode for air trim nailers.

Makita for Sawsalls and jig saws and sanders.

Greenlee for any electrical testers

I think the list could go on and on but if you do not buy the "professional" versions in tools then you can likely expect to be let down in performance and durability. Mind you it depends on your tool budget and actual needs.

Tools you u se every day should be good stuff - tools you use once in a while could be the lesser consumer models.
I agree. I bought an 18v lithium ion drill/driver and impact kit and I hate it. I should have bought the Makita kit for another $30.00. The drill is wimpy, the battery life sucks, and the impact driver although packing alot of torque, turns reaaallllly slow for an impact. My dad has a 12v Nicad Makita impact and it'll drive 2 fasteners in the same time mine drives one.
No one brand is a panacia.

I have mixed feelings with Milwaukee, I always found them to have heavy rock solid product until the explosion of product all over Home Depot. I think their quality control has slipped seeing as my wormdrive blew a gearbox in about a hundread cuts. I haven't bought enough recently to know so take my opinion with a grain of isn't based on much.
Makita makes all around great tools.
In the years I have been working with Makita, i only encountered problems with the ni-cad batteries, which are now obsolete.
Their new 18V LXT lithium ion batteries are amazing and only take 30 minutes to charge!
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