There are many, many places where you can buy new tools and supplies. Here are my favorite places to shop, with a brief discussion about each.
- Online distributors (e.g. Amazon.com, Harry Epstein Co.)
- Big Box Retailers (e.g. Home Depot, Lowes, Sears)
- Industrial Suppliers (e.g. Enco, McMaster Carr, MSC)
- Woodworking Shops (e.g. Lee Valley, Rockler, Woodcraft)
- Specialty Supply Shops (e.g. Little Machine Shop, plastics suppliers)
- Ebay, Forums, and other peer-to-peer marketplaces
I shop at all three major big-box retailers, and typically pick one over the others depending on what I’m looking to buy. In recent years Sears has been getting more of my business than the other two retailers. Before that, Sears has received a lot more of my business, as my hand tool collection contains many Craftsman tools.
Amazon Supply: Formerly known as Small Parts, navigation is effortless and they offer free 2-day shipping on $50+ orders.
Enco: Good but limited selection, great prices, slow shipping.
McMaster Carr: Vast selection, ambiguous branding, quick shipping.
MSC Supply Co: Great selection, great prices if you shop from the monthly sales flyers, quick shipping.
Zoro Tools: Occasionally frustrating navigation, but good prices and free shipping on $50+.
Lee Valley: Home of Veritas tools, great customer service.
Rockler: Reasonably good selection, but wait for a sale or coupon if you can.
Woodcraft: Favored slightly better than Rockler, and offers great semi-annual coupons.
Woodpeckers: Great layout tools, their “One Time Tools” can be addictive.
Specialty Supply Shops
Ebay/Craigslist/Forums/Shows/Yard Sales/Swap Meets
I don’t shop for second-hand tools often, but have scored some nice deals via enthusiast forums.
Which vendors would you add to this list? It’s not an exhaustive list of where I purchase new tools from – these are just where I shop at and spend the most.