There are many old saws, if you will, surrounding the world of tools: “Measure twice, cut once,” “Use the right tools for the right job,” and “A tool fool and his money are soon parted.” OK, so we made the last one up. But it’s true, isn’t it? Buy cheap tools and you might as well measure 15 times, and not cut at all: If your tools stink, nothing you build, repair, or maintain is going to pass muster.
This week we look ahead to the Labor Day weekend with tools on the brain. It’s a great time to pick up special buys on the tools you need, and we’ve done all the deal measuring and cutting so you don’t have to. Summer 2011 may be on its way out, but saving money on quality tools never goes out of style.
- Refurbished TaskMaster 2,600 PSI Gas Pressure Washer
Store: CPO-Outlets via Buy.com
Price: $176.99 plus free shipping
Is It Worth It?: Refurbished items are usually a good bet, and this one comes at $150 below list, or 47 percent off. And at 2,600 lbs. of pressure per square inch, this power washer is ideally suited for blasting the grime of cars, home exteriors, porches, and sidewalks. On CPO’s website, this model gets all four- and five-star reviews, so you can buy with confidence. Caution: Using the TaskMaster in an end-of-summer water fight is not recommended, as that's an extremely unfair advantage.
- Coleman 120V Air Pump with Hose
Price: $14.88 plus $1.97 s&h
Lowest By: $4
Is It Worth It?: Anyone who owns inflatable beds or blow-up toys knows it’s a breathtaking task, literally, to fill those puppies up. The Coleman comes with the promise of making inflation and deflation an instant task, which may explain why 96% of Walmart customers online highly recommend it. The Coleman also comes in handy for blowing up balloons, something to think about if your kids love lots of SpongeBob balloons at their birthday parties. At 2 lbs., it’s lightweight and works via a simple plug and ... we could go on, but why waste your breath?
- DeWalt 18V 1/2" Cordless Drill/Driver Kit
Price: $299 plus free shipping
Lowest By: $109
Is It Worth It?: That depends. Even with the steep discount and the high quality DeWalt’s known for, $300 sounds pricey for home improvement hobbyists who only pick up a drill or electric screwdriver occasionally. I’ve done just fine with an electric drill I bought at a garage sale for $5, and screwdriver bits work well for woodworking projects. Minus points as well to DeWalt for using eco-hostile NiCd batteries (we’d prefer NiMH) and for not listing the charged battery life anywhere in their extensive specs. But for those serious about their repair and construction projects, it’s hard to imagine going wrong here. These tools have the speed, strength and superiority to stand up in the most challenging work environments.
- Kobalt Tools and Tool Sets
Discount: Up to 75% off
Shipping: Opt for pickup, or pay $5.99 s&h
Is It Worth It?: Among the many winners on sale here, we’re loving the DeWalt SpeedFit 21-Piece Socket and Hammer Set for $19.98. You might expect junk at that low a price point, but Lowes online customers rave about the durability, and can’t seem to find a single negative to report about this product. The set revolves around an ergonomic “SpeedFit” handle that can serve a hammer, wrench or screwdriver with an easy click. For a portable and easy-to-use solution for simple at-home jobs, this set looks like a prize find, and about as clever and creative a socket and hammer set as we’ve seen.
- Home Depot Labor Day Sale
Store: Home Depot
Discount: Up to 50% off
Shipping: Many items receive free shipping
Expires: September 28
Is It Worth It?: This sale is worth checking out via the website for a few reasons: First, many of the tool deals are only available online; and second, anything beats staying away from Home Depot on Labor Day weekend, when the not-so-good customer service is only bound to get worse with the maddening crowds. As for values, you’ll find plenty, including a Powermate 5" High-Speed Air Sander for $24.64. This tool’s just the ticket for removing rust, sanding, shaping, and sharpening tools. A tool you can use on your tools: Now how cool is that?
Front page photo credit: _sarchi via Flickr