Black Friday, Thanksgiving weekend, Cyber Monday, and really the entire holiday season, can be a hectic time to buy tools. Flash sales, lightning deals, and “deal of the day” offers make things even crazier.
But all of those in-store special buys? There’s no reason to rush with those deals. Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, and other big box retailers start off with dozens of most of their holiday “special buys.”
Here are 5 quick points to consider. Most if not all are obvious, but can be easy to forget when you’re in a holiday shopping mood.
Feel free to add in your open holiday deal shopping tips!
1. Power Tool Accessory Special Buys are Not Always Good
Bit sets, such as many of the Dewalt value sets sold at Home Depot and Lowes, often have inflated numbers thanks to having many extra Phillips #2 bits or duplicates of other sizes. You get some variety, but not a lot.
A greater issue to watch out for are the many very inexpensive drill bit sets and drilling and driving bit assortments. Cheap drill bits might work on a couple of holes, but if you try to use them on tough materials or a project that requires more than one or two holes, be prepared to head back to the store for a “real” bit.
Very cheap drill bits are cheap for a reason, and tend to dull quickly.
Some power tool accessory packages ARE worth the money and offer great bang for the buck. Don’t avoid bit and blade sets, but very cautiously examine the contents of each set to know what you’re getting.
Regularly stocked bit sets and assortments are better buys.
2. Some Power Tools are Cheapened
Porter Cable’s new basic drill and impact driver combo, Dewalt’s $99 drill, and a slew of Ryobi and Craftsman kits are not fully-featured kits. They often have tools, batteries, and chargers that are specially designed or built for the holidays.
Such tools are cheap by design.
Others, like Dewalt’s new drill, impact driver, and tool box bundle, are a little cheapened and more appealing.
Sometimes a holiday-special might be a cordless tool built with a less powerful motor and bundled with lower capacity batteries and a slower charger. Other times it might be a handheld or benchtop power tool that lacks the worklight of its regular version.
Carefully consider whether that drill/cordless combo/woodworking tool/shop vacuum is worth the savings, or if you should spring for a regular fully-featured model.
3. Test Things Out Early
A lot of the “special buys” you’ll find won’t be in stock for very long. Some might continue to be in stock throughout the holiday season, but not many tools are available past the new year, as prices typically drop to help make up for slow sales.
If there’s a problem with your new tool, it’s better to discover this while replacements are still available.
4. Prices Will Continue to Drop
If there’s something you’d like to buy, but you’re not quite sure, then try to wait it out.
Last year, this Rayovac camo flashlight dropped in price from $20 to $12 in early January, and then again to $4. Sometimes you can get a price adjustment, most times it’s going to be impossible or at least a major hassle.
And of course, some deals sell out. That’s why you shouldn’t wait on a deal unless you’re really on the fence about it. What’s the point in waiting for a lower price if what you want sells out before you can buy it?
5. Cheap Does Not Always Mean Bad
Now’s a great time to pick up extra tape measures, utility knives, multi-bit screwdrivers, and other such tools. Some are cheap and junky, others are regular items in special bundles that provide great bang for the buck.