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Method #1: Home Depot (The First 10%)
If you are starting out on your journey of looking for tools on a bargain Home Depot is a great place to start. They have a policy that if you find a new tool cheaper anywhere else (online or in store) they will match the price plus an additional 10% off. Online retailers like Amazon and Jet are constantly slashing prices to be the market leader in price. Anytime you are interested in purchasing a brand name tool off of one of these sites check out “The Home Depot”.
They will slash prices an additional 10% and give you free shipping if you send them a screenshot of the same tool being a lower price. This helped me get this set of Stanley Chisels for $72.49! (Saved $25.50 or 26% off of normal retail price) It’s important to note that these prices literally change by the minute, but if you are going to buy the tool anyway it is worth a look. Probably 15%-20% of the time I am buying a brand name new tool Amazon or Jet is running a small deal on it. Use this to your advantage to cash in for an additional 10%!
Method #2: Harbor Freight
Harbor Freight is a hidden gem for craftsmen who have never heard of it. While the quality is sometimes questionable the prices are insanely low. In simplest terms Harbor Freight works in two different ways. First, Harbor Freight sells used tools. Admittedly, this is a mixed bag. I have had some insane deals buying used tools and been burned on others. Second, is Harbor Freight’s new white labeled products under their own brand. Below is how I suggest you navigate Harbor Freight to maximize your gains and minimize your losses.
Rule #1:Do Not Buy Used Power Tools
You can buy as many power tools as you want on Harbor Freight, just make sure they are not used. I have bought everything from drills to table saws (see also ‘How To Fold A Bandsaw Blade‘) on Harbor Freight, and as long as they are new they are always fine. Quite frankly they do not have the shelf life of brands like Dewalt or Black + Decker, but the are typically a fraction of the price. Check out this Black + Decker Cordless Drill on Amazon. It’s retailing for $49 the last time I checked it. Now check out this Cordless Drill from Harbor Freight…It’s only $19.99. That over 60% saving for basically the same product! I personally bought both products and the quality was perfectly fine for both. The Black + Decker was definitely more shock absorbent but I can deal with a little jarring for 60% off.
Rule #2: Get The Free Stuff
Many people do not know this but Harbor Freight literally gives out free tools every month. If you sign up for Harbor Freight’s ad flyer (monthly newsletter) they will literally give you a coupon for a free tool once a month. Usually the value of the tool is under $20 but hey it’s free. I’ve gotten everything from chisels, to hammer, to tape measures on there. It’s always exciting every month trying to guess what they are going to give out. Each month. And if you are on a really tight budget this could easily save you $150-$250 over the course of a year.
Rule #3: Used Hand Tools Are A Mixed Bag
I have bought used hand tools on Harbor Freight and quite frankly sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. My general rule of thumb is to keep purchases under $40 when buying used tools on Harbor Freight. My mindset is that any used tools I buy off of Harbor Freight are being used in order to “save” my good set of tools. There are a lot of times when I don’t want to risk damaging or chipping my nice set of chisels when working on a messy or goofy project. However, I would expect “Premium Quality” when buying used tools.