Most of the things we bring into our homes will eventually end up in landfills. If, however, we make conscious choices to buy durable and well-made products, then we can reduce both the amount of waste we create and the amount of clutter we bring into our homes.
When it comes to tools, be honest about what you really need to own. Unless you’re a contractor, you probably don’t need to your own drywall lifter or demolition hammer, especially when those types of tools can be easily rented when needed for DIY projects.
There are, however, several basic hand tools that every homeowner will eventually need. When buying these tools, consider either the quality of the product or the quality of the warranty.
Quality of the Warranty
When I was in high school I had a part-time job working at a Sears Hardware store in the suburbs of Chicago. Occasionally I would work shifts at the service desk. In that capacity, people would bring me sad and misshapen Craftsman hand tools. It was my job to smile and give them shiny new replacements.
Sears takes the “complete satisfaction” warranty that covers their hand tools very seriously. It’s also worth noting that Craftsman hand tools are rather inexpensive when compared to other professional-quality toolmakers, especially when you consider that you’re basically buying a bundled insurance policy with every covered tool.
When the warranty is that good, you might feel the product’s quality is irrelevant, provided you’re willing to deal with the hassle of actually schlepping a broken screwdriver into the store to pick up a replacement.
Quality of the Product
Most of the higher-end tool manufacturers don’t offer a warranty as good as Craftsman. That doesn’t mean their tools aren’t made as well. In fact, most contractors and mechanics would agree that the quality of tools made by the companies listed below exceeds the quality of Craftsman Tools:
- Snap-on Hand Tools: Generally better made but more expensive than Craftsman. No lifetime warranty.
- Klein Tools: Favored by electricians and linemen.
- Lie Nielsen: Heirloom quality woodworking tools that are almost too beautiful to use, as shown below. Someday my wife will finally take the hint.