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Buying used tools is a great way to organize your workshop. You can save hundreds of dollars on equipment that has years of life left. On the other hand, you can buy someone else’s problem without realizing that you will regret your decision when you use it.
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Before buying used equipment you need to assess your needs, determine a budget, understand the market, and test the equipment. If you follow these steps you will reduce the risk of buying junk.
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Are you planning on woodworking, gluing, 3D printing, or something else? Buy what you need at the time. It’s tempting to browse the ads and find great deals on equipment you don’t really need. Focus on what you plan to build and the best tools to do the job.
Before you start shopping for used appliances, check the value of a new appliance. Some used appliances in good condition can only lose 20 to 30 percent of their value, while others can be had for a fraction of the cost of new ones. Search Craigslist and eBay to find the market value of the device you are looking for. This value may vary depending on the age and condition of the device but is the best indication of what kind of price you will get.
If the device you’re looking for isn’t in your budget, weigh the costs of going with a cheaper brand or a different device. For example, if you want a router but have a circular saw, just use a miter saw or a quick square to help you cut. With enough hands a chainsaw can be used instead of a bandsaw. Know the capabilities of your current equipment stack before spending money on equipment you don’t really need.
Hand tools and other non-electrical devices can be purchased without exposure or testing. Some handheld devices like the Creator come with a lifetime warranty, so if there’s a problem you can exchange it for a new one. Metal hand tools are also easy to clean and restore. Rust removers can work wonders on an old gooseneck.
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Electronic devices, especially wireless devices, are a different story. You should keep an eye on all electrical equipment to make sure it is working properly and maintaining a safe level. Cords and plugs should not be loose, and screen guards and other safety devices should be on the device and secured. It helps to drive the device and listen to the car. If it sounds bad, skip it.
When buying a used appliance you need to know the date of purchase from the seller, how much the appliance was used, and why it was sold. A visual inspection of the device and battery is also important, so be careful not to have rust or corrosion on the connectors. Test the device and make sure the dish is working. These questions will help you understand how much battery life is worth. Replacing the battery can sometimes cost more than the device. It is also better to buy a cordless device based on the battery pack you already have. You will get used to the battery and have a chance.
It will help you to understand the different types of equipment and tools that are considered for DIY/home, which are contractor grade for professional builders. You can find both types of appliances at Lowe’s and Home Depot and the price difference is what sets them apart first. Contract-grade tools are designed to last longer than heavy-duty tools like DIYer tools. Common DIY power tool brands include RYOBI, Builder, Kobalt, Black + Decker, Skil, and Porter Wire. Alternatives to this are the range of power tools from Craftsman and Skilsaws from Skil. Contract brands include Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, and Hilti. Buying a used contractor grade appliance doesn’t necessarily mean it will last longer than another less powerful brand. A contractor’s tools are often on the phone and the reason they are being sold is because the professional knows they are nearing the end of their useful life.
As with all purchases, it’s best to buy when you don’t need a device. Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a project when you realize you need a tool you can’t live without. Also, you should shop for seasonal equipment like snow blowers and outdoor power tools to get the best deals. Beware of the buyer’s market when buying. If you know your way around a small gas engine then it’s a no brainer to buy one that works and runs.
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Shop for seasonal outdoor weather related equipment such as snow blowers and outdoor power tools to get the best deals.
Craigslist is the king of online classifieds, even for the underdogs and junkies, it’s a great place to find used items of any kind, including appliances. Search and enter all the parameters you need (show image, distance, etc.), and bookmark the page for future reference. You can also grab an RSS feed from Craigslist and give it to your reader. Enter multiple search feeds into your reader for fast scanning.
Beware of offers that seem too good to be true. Stolen gear is often fenced on Craigslist and often buyers don’t know the market value but want to sell it quickly for cash. If it looks fishy, walk away.
EBay is another popular place to find used equipment. If the seller is not near you, you may not be able to find the device. Check customer reviews and ask as many questions as you can before clicking the buy button. If you have a friend in the area they can check the device for you to help.
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No matter where you get your gear, whether it’s online or at a local garage sale, enjoy the ride and try not to rush. Usually the previous owner is happy to share stories about how much their tool meant to them and how happy they are to find a good home with someone who uses it.
Timothy is a lifelong DIY enthusiast interested in smart home tech, cool gadgets and his FJ62 Land Cruiser. He is the DIY editor at Popular Mechanics and the founder of the home improvement site, Charles & Hudson, the Webby-nominated family site, Built by Kids, and Tool Crave. When he’s not working, you can find him on his skateboard or bike enjoying the LA weather with his family and friends. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
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There are a few ways to fix it so you can search all of Craigslist at once. SOPA Photo / Contributor/Getty Images
Craigslist is something of a paradox. It’s a very popular site for buying and selling products, finding jobs, and participating in discussion forums – it’s consistently ranked in the top 20 most visited sites on the Internet, according to SimilarWeb. However, its user interface has not changed for decades. The plain-text website has no new features and no benefits such as the ability to search multiple cities at once.
You don’t have to wait for Craigslist to add that feature, however, because there are many websites and apps that give you this ability right now.
Search All Craigslist is a website that is not affiliated with Craigslist, but uses the available data to provide search results for every Craigslist ad at once. It’s a great resource if you want to find Craigslist quickly and easily in the browser, but be aware
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