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Professional vs. DIY Power Tools

Professional vs. DIY Power Tools

The odor of a drill burning up is unmistakable. Have you ever been in the near proximity of a lightning strike? The smell of the ozone or the air burning is exactly the same as that of a drill motor singing its swan song. I know because I have burned up drills and been too close to a lightening strike.

Several years ago, I helped a friend build his deck. He insisted upon using his power drill to drill 5/8 inch holes through a treated 2x8. We used a relatively sharp spade bit for the job. His drill didn't have the guts to cut through the wood. The moment you would push against the wood, the drill speed would drop. Within a few minutes I smelled the telltale aroma of an overheated motor armature. I convinced my friend to allow me to get my drill out. Within minutes each and every hole was drilled.

The shocking thing to me was the price my friend had paid for his drill. He indicated that he had spent nearly $50 for his make-believe drill. I, on the other hand, had spent $89 for mine just a few years before. Yes, $40 is a significant amount of money, however, my drill has withstood vast amounts of abuse. It has drilled for hours without fatigue. My friend was also amazed. He thought that my drill had cost in excess of $200. You can bet that he will buy professional tools from now on. Especially when he learned that they do not cost 5 times the amount of the DIY tools.

The Difference

The bottom line is simple. Professional tools are built with better components. The motors, gears, transmissions, plastic housings, even the cords are better in a professional power tool.

I realize there is a market for DIY tools. There will always be a segment in the marketplace for those people who want the least expensive product. On rare occasions I buy this way. If I want a disposable object then I will buy cheap. The big difference with me, and I hope you, is that I don't feel that power tools are disposable! I want a power tool that will deliver power, precision, dependability, etc. This is exactly what you as a homeowner NEED if you are trying to frantically complete a one week project in a weekend!

Where Are They?

Professional quality power tools can be found in your town or city. Virtually every major manufacturer has a distributor in major marketplaces. If not, you can often see these tools displayed at the "big box" retailers. Beware! The "big box" stores do not always stock the full line of pro tools! To see what each manufacturer makes, you must check their web site or get one of their catalogs.

I urge you to go to a "big box" store and compare a professional power tool to a DIY brand. The feel, weight, balance, etc. will be different. Ask for a demonstration. The professional tools will operate more smoothly. There will be much less chatter or vibration.

You can also buy professional power tools through the mail. I have purchased many in this fashion. The service is excellent and the selection can't be beat. Most mail-order stores stock every tool made by the major manufacturers. Pricing is competitive as well. You will get great pricing when buying mail order.

Care and Maintenance

Professional tools can withstand immense amounts of abuse. I have dropped my circular saw and drill from heights in excess of 10 feet. The damage assessment yielded a few minor scratches. I doubt a DIY tool would have survived.

The great tools require no more care or maintenance than you would give to your toy DIY tools. They are not bothered by ordinary saw dust, dirt or masonry dust. You care for professional drills by simply keeping them dry and clean. If you perform a dusty task, try to use some compressed air to blow out the motor cooling ports on the body casing.

Investment Analysis

Are you wondering if it is worth the extra $50 to $75 to pay for a professional tool? That's a good question. To help you study the subject ask these additional questions. What will you spend if you buy a new DIY saw or drill every 5 years? What will it cost you in lost time if your toy drill or saw breaks down in the middle of a project? Will you have to drive to get another tool? Will your DIY tool deliver the precision cut or hole you require? Think before you buy....

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