There are many places where you can buy new tools and supplies. Here are my favorite places to shop for tools and related workshop supplies, with a brief discussion about each.
- Online Distributors (e.g. Amazon.com, Acme Tools)
- Big Box Retailers (e.g. Home Depot, Lowe’s)
- Industrial Suppliers (e.g. McMaster Carr, Zoro)
- Woodworking Shops (e.g. Lee Valley, Rockler)
- Specialty Supply Shops (e.g. Little Machine Shop, TEquipment)
- Knives, Multi-Tools, EDC Tools
The following tool store recommendations were last updated in March 2021.
Online Tool Retailers
Acme Tools: Great selection of power tools, hand tools, and tool storage, usually at competitive pricing (or better).
Amazon: Wide selection, great prices, excellent customer service, many items eligible for free shipping. Our favorite place to shop for tools and supplies.
CPO: Wide selection of reconditioned tools, great promos on occasion, lower free shipping threshold than other independent sellers.
Ohio Power Tool: A great source for power tools, plumbing equipment, and Milwaukee Tool products.
Tool Nut: A favorite retailer with good selection, fair prices, lower free shipping threshold, compelling promos. As a customer, it seems that they strive to prioritize the customer; you’re not just a dollar sign on a piece of paper.
If you’re looking for information about where to buy cordless power tools, we have a separate post on that here:
Home Depot: Growing selection, decent prices, many items are eligible for free shipping and time-saving free in-store pickup.
Lowe’s: Good sales, and different tool options than other home improvement retailers.
I shop at both major big-box retailers, and typically pick one over the others depending on what I’m looking to buy. Sears used to receive a lot more of my business, but that changed a few years ago, even before they sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker.
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+.
Festool Products: A good place to order Festool tools, accessories, and consumables.
Lee Valley: Home of Veritas tools, great customer service.
Rockler: Reasonably good selection, but wait for a sale or coupon if you can.
Woodpeckers: Great layout tools, their “One Time Tools” can be addictive.
Knives, Multi-Tools, EDC Tools
BladeHQ: One of my favorite places to shop for multi-tools and pocket knives.
Knives Ship Free: Another much-liked source for EDC knives with fair pricing and great customer service.
Specialty Tools and Supplies
Harry Epstein Co: a friendly mom & pop shop with focus on USA-made tools.
Little Machine Shop: A great place for benchtop machining tools and accessories.
TEquipment: a favored source for benchtop test equipment products with friendly customer service.
This includes Ebay, Craigslist, community forums, shows, yard sales, and swap meets.
I don’t shop for second-hand tools often, but have scored some nice deals via enthusiast forum alerts. I also tend to visit the traveling Woodworking Show with a healthy budget as I never know what goodies I’ll find and feel compelled to buy on impulse.
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.
Aside from our affiliate/referral relationships with many of these retailers, we have been buying our own personal tools from them for many years, and strongly recommend them without hesitation.
How does a retailer get on this list? The answer is simple – by winning over my business.