Skilled trades can require significant investment in tools
One of the common barriers we hear about getting into the trades is: buying a starter set of tools is incredibly expensive. Many companies require you to have a truck and full set of tools which can cost thousands of dollars! As an eager apprentice this can be a huge hurdle.
You can save a lot of money by borrowing tools you from relatives, but not everyone has family or friends in the trades but not everyone has that option.
We started looking for cheaper alternatives—and found them. It turns out that there are tons of ways to find good-quality tools without breaking the bank. Here's how to do it:
Surplus tool stores
Surplus tool stores are a great resource for finding the right tools at a discount. These stores buy up large quantities of tools that have been used lightly in garages and resell them at a fraction of the original price. The only problem is finding one; they're not as common as other types of hardware stores, so it might take some legwork to track down your nearest surplus store.
To find a surplus tool store near you, try searching for "surplus tool store" on Google Maps or asking friends and family members who work in various industries if they know where any surplus stores are located nearby. Alternatively you can ask around on Reddit's r/HomeImprovement subreddit (which has over 40k subscribers).
Once you've found your local surplus tool store, head over there with an open mind! While many people use these shops purely as places to get cheap tools without worrying about quality control or safety standards, others enjoy browsing through all their options while looking for something specific like an old-fashioned wrench set or an antique hammer head with intricate designs engraved into its surface by skilled craftsmen hundreds of years ago before being sold off cheaply because nobody wants them anymore due to changing technology trends.
Check the battery type when buying used! It is important to remember that power tool batteries lose charge overtime. Battery tech has improved and the adapters have changed so you may not be able to buy replacement batteries for really old tools.
Facebook Marketplace is a great place to find tools for cheap, but there are some things you need to know before you start shopping.
- First, make sure the person selling the tool is legit. Facebook Marketplace allows people to sell items at their homes or businesses, so be sure your seller isn't trying to scam you by posting fake listings in order to get in touch with buyers and ask for money.
- If a seller has any negative reviews from other users (not just 1-star ratings), stay away from that person because they're probably not trustworthy enough for you to trust them either!
Moving / Estate sales
Movers typically charge by weight so most people get rid of expensive tools when they are doing large moves. This is a great opportunity to pick up some deals.
Moving sales are a great place to find tools and other household items for cheap. They're also a great way to get rid of old stuff you no longer want or need. Moving sales are typically held on the weekends, in the morning and/or summer months.
They can be held indoors or outdoors, so keep an eye out for signs that say "moving sale" or something similar when you're out driving around town.
Business liquidation auctions
With the help of a few simple tools and an Internet connection, you can easily find tools for cheap at business liquidation auctions. The best thing about these auctions is that they offer a wide variety of items to choose from—including heavy equipment, automotive supplies, and even office furniture.
In addition to the many different types of items found at business liquidation auctions, you may also enjoy buying items still in their original packaging or even brand new (without having been used). This means that you'll get high-quality products without paying too much money for them!
With all these great deals available at business liquidation auctions it seems like everyone should be able to find cheap tools no matter what type or condition they're looking for.
Harbor Freight has a semi-regular sale where they give away free multi-testers. These are perfectly serviceable and function as well as my first one (that I still have) that cost more than $100.
You can save a lot of money on tools by using these resources!
By now you know that tools can be expensive. But there are several ways to save money on tools, including finding them for free, buying them secondhand and buying generic brands. Keep reading for more information about how to find the best tools for cheap!
- Free: If you're just starting out in woodworking or building your first home workshop, there's no need to go all out on expensive power tools right off the bat. You may not even need most of them! Instead of spending hundreds on a table saw or fancy drill press, consider borrowing one from a relative or friend who has one they don't use much anymore, or check Craigslist or other online selling sites (like eBay) for good deals on used equipment.
- Secondhand: Used surplus hardware stores are great places to find inexpensive hand tools at low prices—but beware the dinged corners and rusty handles before buying anything! Some people even sell their old stuff on Facebook Marketplace; just make sure they aren't trying to pass off damaged goods as new ones by slapping some WD-40 onto it first thing in the morning ;)