Following are ToolGuyd’s favorite places to shop for tools, workshop supplies, and related products.
There are of course many places where you can buy new tools, with different retailers offering benefits over others.
As a tool user, I’m usually looking for lower prices, better customer service, and an overall easy and satisfactory customer experience. I still haven’t found the best-overall retailer – have you?
Here’s how I break down the different types of retailers:
- Online Distributors (e.g. Amazon.com)
- Big Box Retailers (e.g. Home Depot, Lowe’s)
- Industrial Suppliers (e.g. McMaster Carr)
- Woodworking Shops (e.g. Lee Valley, Rockler)
- Specialty Supply Shops (e.g. TEquipment)
- Marketplaces (e.g. Ebay)
The following tool store recommendations were last updated in August 2022.
Online Tool Retailers
Acme Tools – Great selection of power tools, hand tools, and tool storage, usually at competitive pricing (or better). I check Acme’s deals and promos regularly.
Use coupon code TOOLGUYD for $10 off $79+.
Amazon – Wide selection, great prices, excellent customer service, easy return policy, many items eligible for free shipping. One of my favorite place to shop for tools and supplies.
CPO Tools – Strong 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 – One of my favorite power tool retailers, with good selection, fair prices, lower free shipping threshold.
If you’re looking for information about where to buy cordless power tools, we have a separate post on that here:
Home Depot – Vast selection, decent prices, many items are eligible for free shipping and time-saving free in-store pickup. I have had great customer service experiences as well.
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. If both offer the same tools or supplies at similar prices, I prefer Home Depot.
McMaster Carr – Vast selection, ambiguous branding (which I sometimes dislike), 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 – Good selection, strong attention to packing/packaging, reducing the changes of damage to specialty supplies (such as liquid wood finish), great customer service.
Woodpeckers – Great layout tools, their “One Time Tools” are occasionally interesting (but pricey).
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.
KC Tool – Focused on German hand tool brands, great customer service.
Use coupon TOOLGUYD4LIFE for 10% off, excluding sales and Stabila.
TEquipment – A great 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 and trades on enthusiast forums. There’s always a risk factor.
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? This isn’t an exhaustive list of where I purchase new tools from – the above list reflects where I shop and spend the most.
ToolGuyd has affiliate/referral relationships with many of these retailers, but I have also been buying our own tools and supplies from them for many years, and strongly recommend them without hesitation.
How does a retailer get on this list? Simple – by winning over my business.
Latest Post Updates
This post was last updated in August 2022 with minor updates.
KC Tool added.
Acme Tools and KC Tool coupon codes were added.
No-longer-recommended retailers were removed.
For Zoro – I’d ad that they seem to offer 10%, 15% and 20% off deals (usually with lots of fine print) if you have bought from them in the past and have an account. I’m never quite sure what triggers their sending you a promo code.
Other suppliers that I’ve used include those that Stuart mentions plus:
Burns Power Tools (for Lamello)
Great Lakes Power Tools (full line Milwaukee supplier)
HNS Tools ( mostly for Klein Tools)
KCTool (German hand tools – 10% off with code TOOLGUYD4LIFE)
MaxTool (good holiday sales)
Router Bit World (saw blades too)
ToolUp (mostly for Ridgid plumbing tools)
Zoro’s promotions have become more strategic.
I’ve been waiting to order some pricey casters for a few months now. They’re for a project I’m not quite up to, and so I was able to wait. There were no applicable deals since October or so when I started looking for a matching promo.
I bought some electrical supplies, and then the targeted me with some electrical promos.
I just got a 10% general code a few days ago, and used it to get my casters.
The days of 10%, 15%, 20% on broad categories are over. This could also be COVID-related, where business could be so good they can be more stringent about promotions.
As an extremely avid Zoro shopper, I can attest to this as well. I used to get a 20% off code for anything except the obvious excluded brands (Sawstop, Honda, Fluke etc.) at least twice a month. About mid March of 2020 this all of the sudden dried up. As Stuart said I’m not sure if they initially cut them off because of Covid, but now I’m lucky to get a 20% off once a month that’s only good on a few select categories. A bit of a bummer to say the least, as it was an excellent honey hole for quite a few brands, but I understand business is business; it was a good run while it lasted.
Grainger typically offers 15% across the board to “business customers” last I knew. The registration process is a joke if you aren’t trying to establish a line of credit.
At one time Zoro was sort of independent. Not now.
Grizzly International is great for bigger shop tools, like cabinet saws, planers, and dust collection. A bit more commercial though.
At that point need to include Eastwood, sort of the industrial/automotive version of Harbor Freight.
Truly industrial is Baleigh,
Does Sears even exist anymore?
Shout out to Ace Hardware – they sometimes have really good sales but more importantly they’re everywhere.
I updated this post from a 2013 post, and felt it deserved a brief nostalgic mention.
That makes sense.
The part about all three big box stores confused me.
It really defies belief that Sears paint, hardware and appliance businesses-all Crown Jewels have all but disappeared from America.
They sure wiffed on the whole cyber era.
“It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”
Reminds me of the old tv show “Lost in space”. The Robot was always blasting out “Warning, Warning”.
I wouldn’t say they lost on the cyber era. Sears was one of the first to have an online presence. Remember Sears was heavy into mail order before Bezos was even born.
Many try to point a finger at Walmart or Amazon or at private equity companies. But in all three cases I’d point out that this is merely the creative destruction process at work. Sears itself wiped out many mom and pop stores as well as many competitors such as Montgomery Ward. They made many strategic blunders ultimately ending in their demise. Almost any “household name” rarely lasts more than a few decades at most, even those companies based on innovation at their core. Has anyone under the age of 25 heard of Yahoo or Altavista or MySpace? How about Betamax, Laserdisc, or 8 Track? Retail/distribution is no different.
Heinz, Coca Cola, Ford?
Only 1 left in New Jersey- Jersey City.
What about hand-tool centric places like KC Tool?
Also, the major electronic distributors (Digikey, Mouser, Newark) carry a surprising number of hand tools. Pricing generally is around list, but I’ve got some absolute steals from Newark’s closeout deals (Wera and Wiha hand tools , along with network cables and such)
My experience has often been that the places with above average NORMAL prices have some of the most amazing CLEARANCE sales – 90% off or more after awhile.
My shipment including a $98 stabilla torpedo level got jacked en route, and after 5 minutes on the phone asking if I could get some credit or anything in the reorder, and they just shipped me a second order free of charge. I’ll be a KC customer for a long time.
BF Acme and the Depot.
My experience at Harry Epstein has been wonderful for old new Craftsman tools.
They have a Craftsman professional grip driver Made in Germany!
Harry must have bought 4,000 of them He has 3,400 left and they are better than any ratcheting screwdriver for $12.50 and they come with a few bits and work in two positions.
I give them out as gifts and they are very robust. I wonder if the gears inside are metal?
Since Harry wants to get rid of them they are 7.50 each for 12 drivers.
Made by Schroeder Screwdriver company which makes all its tools in Germany
I have one that’s very similar, Craftsman made in Germany, except it doesn’t have the red knurling.
Tekton for a lot of my work tools – free shipping with an account, plus 10% back in reward points.
Zoro is worth signing up for an account, just for the occasional 15 ~ 20% discount coupon; between that and free shipping at $50+, it adds up quickly.
Anything else varies based on what I’m looking for – I’ll bounce between Lowes and Home Depot, occasionally Harbor Freight, depending on what I’m looking for and how quickly I need it.
I’ve come to regard Tekton as the modern equivalent (in wrenches) to the old Sears model: Simple to select, simple to receive, etc., in such a way that they’ve become a no-brainer (as Sears was) when wrenches are needed.
But I’m not a hard-core mechanic…
If you want local warranty replacement on the spot harbor freight actually does well for hand tools.
I recently started ordering from Tekton and I have to say, I am VERY impressed. Amazing customer service and an amazing warranty! I will buy an occasional tool (usually with the mindset of it being sacrificial) but I can not stand their inconsistent “need a receipt” to replace a tool. I mean come on, where else can I buy an Icon tool! It is literally a different response depending on who you talk to…..needed to replace an Icon tool and on the third trip there, got an employee who just let me swap it out.
That’s very odd. In North Carolina I’ve never needed a receipt.
Koko The Talking Ape
For woodworking, there’s also
Garret Wade, though they seem to be becoming a new Smith and Hawken, with lots of gardening tools, desk accessories, etc.
Highland Hardware. I’ve used them in the past, though not lately. Some unique finishing products, I recall.
Woodcraft. A bit like Rocklers, but with deeper inventory in certain areas, like veneering, but no house brand, IIRC.
For woodworking specifics – one might add:
MLCS and their sub Eagle America
Infinity Cutting Tools
Tools for Working Wood
A couple of links:
I believe Wood River is Woodcraft’s in-house brand. Both Bench Dog (Rockler) and Wood River seem to be mid quality, mid priced brands. In my limited experience (some planes), Wood River a notch better and a bit more expensive.
Like several others have said KC Tool should be on the list for general hand tools.
For woodworking I’d add Lie-Neilson to that list. They have a smaller selection than some other places but you can’t beat their quality.
Also I hate to be that guy but you can’t have a list of where to buy without mentioning Harbor Freight. For me they’ve filled in the void left by Sears for DIY automotive tools.
I got a 3/8 Milwaukee m12 impact and 3/8 fuel m12 ratchet for a decent price at mechanixgear
How about Travers tools?
I just found out about them when I saw someone post a picture that had Lixie hammers in it. I did a search and realized that Lixie is a modern brand, not a defunct brand of yesteryear. Travers tools seems to be geared toward industrial and machine shops.
Actually Tiger Supplies (the folks we bought our total station from) has good prices (often better than KC Tool) on Halder Hammers:
One of the few aspects of living in Chicagoland that I miss is Berland’s House of Tools. A great place to get hands-on.
One of the things that sticks with me is their level-checker-stand gizmo, probably 350 pounds of calibrated horizontal & vertical steel to check levels. The only place I’ve ever seen that.
Early in my working life many cities had go-to large hardware and/or tool “stores”. Even in Manhattan NY there once were major tools suppliers (Canal St. had several). In our plumbing and remodeling/GC businesses – before there Home Depot became so ubiquitous – we often frequented smaller establishments. Many of these now have an online presence;
Ones the Come to minds are:
Ace Tool Co.
Oh, and again, don’t forget about flea markets, estate sales and garage/yard sales for the hand tools of the 50s-80s. All the “modern” designs but pre-China (“BC”). The guys who own that stuff are starting to “phase out”, and where else should that all that go but to people who absolutely appreciate good hand tools?
Broken-in but far from worn out.
Highland Hardware here in atlanta is great https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/
They also do different classes from sharping tools to lathe turning – wife and I have taken a few classes on turning and it was fun.
I’ve always had a great experience buying from them or taking a class staff is very knowledgeable unlike the big box stores.
Never needed to buy anything online from them as it only a few miles away- but my understanding is that they also do a lot of online sales.
As a woodworker, I’ve used Highland Hardware for years. Hartville tools is great. Woodcraft has the largest selection locally if I want to see something in hand. I’ve been to Grizzly several times, as it’s an hour north to Bellingham.
I just realized that the buyingguyd logo should be a fist full of dollars
I’ve gotten some great deals from Crawford Tools.
I like Zoro. I bought a lot of MItee Bite fixtures from them with 20% coupons. They sent a survey and I received a $15 dollar credit to use on any purchase.
You didn’t mention Graingers. Items usually arrive the next day. I bought up fasteners they were closing out. All stainless.
For fasteners – you might also try:
At work, we normally use Olander for our nuts, bolts, and such (typically stainless steel, hex head, metric and standard); they have offices in SoCal, NorCal (Sunnyvale), and WA.
They are industrial-oriented (in their words, they serve “semiconductor, medical device, aerospace, telecommunications, alternative energy, and robotics industries”), not construction.
Grainger’s pricing is greatly inflated since they mainly serve business-to-business with contract discounts. Zoro carries most of what Grainger does, but at lower pricing and slightly slower shipping.
We had a Grainger account for our fabrication business. It was always a bit frustrating to try to calculate up-front what items would cost. Back then – with us – they would rebate some of our spending based on yearly volume. On the other side of the coin – I was told that sometimes a order in the morning would arrive at our dock that afternoon. I think that the fellow who ran our tool room would shake his head about both.
There were other MRO suppliers that also seemed to offer pricing based on volume.
BTW – for some supplies we also used:
Fastenal and Omega Technologies
I wasn’t aware of that. I am able to use the corporate account so my pricing is based on that.
Zoro is Grainger’s on line store . They are the exact same company. I’ve purchased many products from Zoro that are priced much
Lower than Grainger. Same exact tool.
I always received my order within 1-3 days if it’s in stock w/o paying extra deliver charges
I’m adding another vote for Crawford – I’ve spent too much in the past year on their Wiha closeout deals.
For tools it’s buy 95% online to get the best tool at the cheapest price.
5% I buy locally due to “need it now”,or its on clearance .
I buy all normal tool consumables (bits, blades,batteries etc), and packout for the entire year……all over BF sales from October-Jan.
I typically buy cordless tools in mid summer when the deals are the best,like buy 1 get a free tool ,then return the free tool for a refund,2 extra free batteries, etc.
I stock my pantry with canned goods when they’re on sale,same with paper products .
I ordered 1 years supply of toilet paper 2 months before the shortage last year.
I know it helps the local stores out when you buy from them.
I have a butcher,grocery store,ace hardware that I buy all lumber/food/meat from usually about once per month at each.
I like to plan ahead and not pay a “convenience ” cost ,plus full price on anything.
Obviously you cannot plan for everything.
How do you get a refund on a free tool?
Good question. As HD and I presume others as well are now using an outside vendor software company to authenticate all returns of power tools. AKA whether they’ve ever been a part of a kit or other multiple item sales event before actually cash refunding or crediting your account.
The “free tool” refund value will be on your receipt.
For example the m12 hammer drill/impact kit comes with,either a battery, ratchet,light etc.
The ratchet is $84 in a return.
So the kit is normally $230 at HD.
During the summer sales it will dip to $200,and the “free” tool is worth $84.
So from $ 230 to 200 -84 = about 125 after taxes.
The Do It Best hardware store near me is great when I want advice that I doubt I will get from HD or when I need a specific fastener that isn’t very common.
I’ve needed an odd fastener that was missing or damaged from a kit a few times and found HD’s stock to be frustrating to deal with. A lot of their fastener bins are managed by third party reps who aren’t always diligent in checking that bins are full/correctly stocked.
Mike (the other one)
Ace Hardware, True Value, and autoparts stores, such as Advanced Auto, O-Reilly, etc often have a good selection of hand tools at various price points.
True Value’s Master Mechanic screwdrivers are USA-made by Pratt-Read, who also made Craftsman screwdrivers at one point. The Master Mechanic versions are better, in my opinion, and the price is excellent.
I have occasionally found good deals at discount stores like Big Lots, Ollies, etc.
Harbor Freight does have some high quality (made in Taiwan) items among the disposable Chinesium junk, and even few USA-made products, like penetrating oil.
We’re fortunate to still have contractor oriented tool stores and lumber yards in Portland, so I dedicate my purchases there. Barbo Machinery, Chas H Day, and Woodcrafters get 90% of my tool business. The other 10% goes to Amazon when I’m in a hurry for something specialized.
Hall Tool Company too.
Im not much for online sales but if i cant find it local then it’s amazon ore the home depot. Local is hf, menards, Home Depot, napa or oriley auto parts
I would add Woodcraft for woodworking tools and supplies and Murdoch’s has good deals on Dewalt tools every so often.
Local here on Oahu, Hawaii: my Snap-on driver, City Mill, Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Slim’s. Online Order: Harry J. Epstein’s, Amazon, McMaster-Carr with reasonable or free (Amazon) shipping. Places like Zoro, CPO, etc., astronomical shipping of no shipping to Hawaii.
Local ACE has a group of experienced go-to-guys for help figuring things out. Big Box, the local HD.
Amazon warehouse – half price on tools that look very lightly used
DirectTools Factory Outlet has had some very good prices on Ridgid factory blemished tools with $7 shipping. Haven’t bought from them yet.
BigSky Tool has had some very good sales on reconditioned nail guns
RE: Amazon Warehouse
I’ve purchased tools this way – there can be good deals, but you have to inspect them upon receipt and be ready to send them back.
Example: I bought an 8-piece SK extension set that was “Used Very Good”, but turned out to be a set from “US Pro”. My guess is someone bought the SK set, returned the US Pro set pretending it was the SK set and received a full refund.
Another time I bought a kerosene heater that didn’t want to light. It looked brand new and indeed was “Like New” per Amazon. It was silly cheap, but I bought it in the summer and didn’t check it right away so I could not return it.
After spending an hour tweaking and disassembling it trying to diagnose the issue, I found that it was missing the rotor from inside motor. Considering the visual condition of the heater, I can only assume someone bought it, removed the rotor for parts and then sent it back to Amazon. I bought the replacement parts myself, but it wasn’t so much of a deal anymore.
I’d echo what Jared said about Amazon Warehouse. I order occasionally, when schedule allows, and have to send some items back once for every few successful deliveries.
I will add Misterworker for European brands like Stahlwille and USAG, etc.
Two questions, assuming you are in the United States.
1. Is shipping a pain in the rear? I always wonder how that works and whether stuff gets taxed on entry.
2. Doesn’t buying from a place outside the United States void the warranty?
I’ve seen the prices as Mister Worker, and they’re quite competitive. The issues that I have questions about always gave me pause, though.
Anywhere I can walk in and touch it/feel it/look at it.
Amazing Place. I live in Kansas City. Walking in is like stepping back in time when tools where overbuilt to last forever. Worth the trip is your ever near KC.
HNS has 10% off Jameson tools (for St Patrick’s day week) – using code JAMESON
For Canadian Reference we have:
Atlas Tools and Machinery
The Tool Store
More Traditional Retailers:
Busy Bee Tools
Peavey Mart (aka “Tractor Supply Centers” in the east)
More will probably come to me, but that’s what I can recall right now.
My favorites are Lee Valley, Wurth, Princess Auto, KMS tools and Grainger. I would shop at Vallen more if there was one near me – or if their shipping was more reasonable (good source for affordable Williams tools).
I’ve actually ordered from these guys (outside Toronto:
Good addition! I’ve perused that site before but never actually made an order.
I love that list. Yeah, most of them I don’t use, but I have very few to add. To the point that I can really only say that my own, personal, preferences are:
Atlas Tools & Machinery*
Guillevin (https://www.guillevin.com/) Marvellous for Electrical Supplies, and Wiha Tools.
Squares Hardware (https://www.squareshardware.ca/)*
*=On this list used to be Blackrock Tools, but they were secretly bought by Grainger, their customer service dropped off the face of the Earth, and then they were merged into a completely different industrial supply company. When I went looking for a replacement, I found Squares first, who seemed to be nearly identical to Blackrock, except being Milwaukee-centric rather than DeWALT-centric like Blackrock was. I have since moved on to Atlas, because… well… They’re Everything-Centric, have better shipping and customer service, and have been in business for much longer. Not too fond of their slight favouritism toward Festool and Systainers, but they heavily promote in-store Martinez Hammer customization and personalisation events and dedicated floor space to testing your choices out. They also are one of only a handful of places one can buy Ansel/Microflex Midknight/Midknight+ gloves. The Pandemic has made them extremely scarce, and they go extremely fast, but they do carry them as much as Ansel will ship to them. They, too, have pay-and-pickup and easy Delivery options. They even had Drive-Up service for months during the Canadian Lockdown measures. They refuse to close or give up on their customers. Plus they have their own Swag you can buy, and it’s so dang comfy I’m basically in love with the place now.
Atlas Tools & Machinery
*=Both the physical stores, and the warehouses those stores have, sell direct to the customer with full web-based shipping options. They have all adapted slightly to Covid as well, offering curb-side-pickup, full customer service assisted buying, and either ship-to-store, or ship-from-store options. Amazon, as we are well aware, is purely Online only. But the overlap between having the Physical locations, and the Online parts of those stores is a major feature worth mentioning.
Add Cryer Tool to my 2021 Canadian List (there’s an American website too).
It’s a source for Williams USA line of hand tools – as cheap as I’ve ever been able to find.
They also carry Toptul.
Outils Pierre Berger is a great place too.
Outillage Placide Mathieu too
On their website https://www.placide.com I found great stuff on tools in general
Someone else mentioned this in an earlier comment chain, but I’d add Taylor Tools (http://www.taytools.com) to the list for hand tools. I can’t afford Starret, and they strike a great balance between quality and value for me.
Nice. Reasonable shipping to Canada too! I just ordered a few things.
If you are in the Midwest:
Farm and Fleet (DeWalt, Milwaukee, FESTOOL, Klein, Stihl)
Fleet Farm (Dewalt, Milwaukee, Husqvarna, Felo, Klein)
Menards (Bosch, Knipex, Metabo HPT, cheap consumables/hardware)
Probably get 90% of my stuff from those three. Home Depot/Lowes/online vendors when there is a deal, i.e. Black Friday.
Living in BFE but working in mining, our only brick and mortar is a home Depot that I try to keep my consumables business at. Tools generally come from acme and KC for me, with some cross shopping among Amazon, CPO, toolnut, Chad’s toolbox, and I think I’ve used Zoro once or twice. Online is pretty much the only reason I’ve got the serviceable mountain of tools that I have.
I like Cripe Distributing. Great for discounts on tools.
Local liquidators for me for all basic cordless tools. Online for everything else.
I don’t think I’ve seen a mention of Northern Tool. I’ve been buying a lot of equipment from them recently that ranged from a concrete mixer and tools, scaffolding, welding supplies and trailer parts. They just about carry the full Milwaukee power tool line in my local store and have a large selection of their house brand tools. I get a flyer every couple of months with $ off coupons that are typically about 20% and can be used on sale items.
I’ve been browsing OfferUp lately and what I’ve seen is there are small businesses that are buying up pallets of HD returns then selling the tools at a discount. From what I’ve seen in pictures most of the tools are open box items that for whatever reason got returned to Home Depot.
The tools look brand new. I believe they also still have a warranty. In addition there are some deals on new in the original packaging tools.
Lee Valley , great place and i like to give them my business.
I have gotten lots of stuff at Direct Tools Outlet (Ryobi & Ridgid), always been happy even with the refurb stuff i have gotten
Berlands House of Tools
K.C. Tool (mostly) and Chad’s (sometimes) for Knipex and Stahlwille. True Value for most things local. Sometimes Home Depot or Lowe’s.
hilti.com for Hilti tools as they only sell direct. The tools are great though.
For a wide range of drills we use Pan American Tool (https://www.panamericantool.com)
they also have an extensive line of Nova Pneumatic tools great for reaching those hard to get to spots
Very helpful updated list. Any way that the old comments from a year ago could be put further down or archived when posts are updated like this? In instances like this, scrolling down 80 comments to get past old ones will get to be a bit much..
Sorry! I added a “skip to latest comments” link at the end of the post. I can create a button to do the same, but that might confuse anyone coming to the post for the first time.
Comments can be in chronological or reverse chronological order, but on a global and not per-post basis.
The only option is to purge older comments, but that doesn’t seem right, especially since the comments are still new enough to be helpful to other readers.
I used to create separate posts for updates, but that does the same as purging older comments, as older posts need to be redirected to avoid cluttering up links and on-site search results.
Before the March update, this guide was a page, as opposed to a post, and comments were disabled entirely, but that doesn’t seem helpful either.
Stuart, your comments RSS feed has helped me a great deal in finding updates. Perhaps John and others could benefit as well.
I have had good savings and met expectations with Chadstoolbox and Misterworker sites for Europe hand tools. Read reviews for yourself and watch the listed expected ship dates for out of stock items. Savings were worth it for me. Seemed deeper savings than amazon.de to me. Misterworker doesn’t have a free shipping amount so deep discount items with actual shipping costs from Italy. I put in couple hundred dollar orders with each of items I didn’t need immediately. Good value proposition to me.
Palmac is another source that sometimes has good prices on European tools and KoKen – but lead time can be long.
Not mentioned: local tool repair shops. They often have some amazing discounts but it’s obviously hit or miss like flea markets.
Just recently looked for a small starter tool set for my daughter going to college. Checked several places. I was down to piecing one together and found a set at Harbor Freight with all the basics for a whopping $60. It’s all their Pittsburgh brand but as far as I can tell none of it is the really cheap disposable tool stuff. She’s not going to tech school so no need for tradesman grade (yet).
It really depends on the location. There are no repair shops or outlet stores anywhere near me.
As a general warning Amazon is not an official Milwaukee seller so you only get the warranty from the time of tool manufacture and not the time of sale. I learned this the hard way.
Would definitely add Taylor Tools to the list as well as Great Lakes Power Tools. Tekton might be worth the add since buying direct from them is often the better deal.
Travers Tools…if MSC is on the list then Travers has to be as well! Lots of overlap but Travers often has some pretty great sales in certain categories. Customer service at Travers is over the top outstanding even for small time customers.
Penn Tool is also worthy of mention although their focus may be a bit out of the realm of most readers here and their site is a little archaic.
Bit of a sideways game, but by looking at product details, emailing customer service, or calling them, I’ve never come across something at McMaster they would not provide manufacturer and model number for, from screws through industrial equipment or power tools. They get back to you quickly but, yes, often you need to ask.
I have had a couple of surprises, but it’s never a big deal.
With things like fasteners, I might get machine screws, nuts, and washers from all different brands, although they’ve been consistent over the years.
Tools have been Bahco, Proto, Armstrong, Stanley, Mayhew, and Vaughan. I think I’ve only ever been disappointed with a micrometer holder.
I’ve heard they can ID brands via customer service, but haven’t been compelled to do that yet.
I’ve been using McMaster for 25+ years and their customer service is indeed awesome. I’ve called them and asked for manufacturer/model info on products in their catalog, and also the other way around: do you carry a Dewalt XYZ-123? They’ve always had the answer straight away.
You do have to watch it with their prices on power tools though. Sometimes they are fantastic, other times they are list or even higher.
I’m still trying to figure out McMaster-Carr’s shipping secret. I’ve never had items shipped so fast via ground.
Elmhurst, Illinois, with distribution centers in Robbinsville, New Jersey; Santa Fe Springs, California; Douglasville, Georgia and Aurora, Ohio – strategically placed close to shipping centers and across the country. Order today, get it on the truck tonight, at your local center in the AM, out for delivery.
Menard’s (for those in the territory covered by them) is great for the Harbor Freight level stuff and often beats them on price now. The brand names they carry leave a lot to be desired though.
Masterfarce is better than Harbor Freight in my view, even though I rarely get them.
But Menards is unbeatable on lumber and building materials around here (though if they have the 11% rebate hot you can get that matched by Home Depot: https://www.homedepotrebates11percent.com/#/home
A lot of the shine on Amazon has come off for me lately. It’s been more a marketplace than a retailer for years now, and it’s flooded with no-name Chinese products. I’m not a person who demands everything be made in the US, but I’m worried by the lack of protection those Chinese manufacturers give to consumers, their workers, and the environment. Especially, the growing appearance of counterfeit products (like N95 masks) makes me lose trust in Amazon.
But they do ship fast. I generally avoid it for books, but sometimes I need a book right away, and then I use Amazon. I also use it for things like stainless steel metric bolts. They’re cheaper than McMaster-Carr and the like, and the consequences of the product being second-rate or counterfeit aren’t huge.
I’ve bought a fair number of vintage woodworking tools from Jim Bode Tools:
and I’ve bought a fair number of Bridge City Tool Works tools:
esp. since they’ve become more affordable since the acquisition.
In addition to Lee Valley and various vintage tools, I also have begun buying Lie-Nielsen tools:
usually via Highland Woodworking as noted by others.
Lastly, as some other folks have noted, Tools for Working Wood:
has some unique tools, and is a great company to buy from.
At one time Garrett-Wade was once headquartered just north of Canal Street in Manhattan. Later, Tools for Working Wood was located a few flights up in the Flatiron district. We’d (my wife and I) come into Manhattan to shop, eat and catch a show. She’d roam the Fifth Avenue shops – while I’d look at what was new at GW or TFWW. I’d rarely buy anything – but it beat the alternative. We’d meet for a pre-show dinner then compare notes. GW introduced me to Lie Nielsen planes (they were one of the first distributors) , while TFWW had more items from folks like Ray Isles.
Amazon.de (German Amazon) will beat KC Tools prices every time but I cant say enough about KC Tools customer service.
DRPD (drpd.cc) has recently become my go-to online domestic supplier of PB Swiss, Nepros and Ko-Ken. Good prices, reasonable shipping, and an excellent, expanding inventory. A USA option that doesn’t feel like a compromise.
Has anyone else ordered from drpd.cc? If so, has your experience been good?
Are there other sources for PB Swiss tools that folks can recommend?
I would add Chads toolbox to the list. Sells German tools and has a price match guarantee. Side note: I could write a book about how much I hate Harry Epstein’s. I would recommend taking your money elsewhere
Why do you say that? If you’re not comfortable saying so in a comment, you can always email me.
I have never had any problem ordering from them. They appear to me to be something akin to an old hardware store that now sells online. Lots of what they sell seems to be remainders, odd lots or NOS. That said – you may not get your item shiny or in the latest shrink-wrapped or clamshell packaging. They also don’t always represent the lowest-cost buying option – but that goes for almost all retailers. I have bought from them rather sporadically – so, I don’t have tons of data – but I’ve been satisfied.
I’m a little surprised your “local hardware store” like Ace Hardware is not included in this discussion.
There are 3 Home Depot closer to me than the local Ace. I’ve been to the Ace once or twice, but never for tools, as they have a very small selection.
It depends. My semi-local Ace (it’s significantly farther than the closest HD) has a better selection of Milwaukee tools than HD. They claim to be the biggest Ace Hardware store in the West. They do have some unique products (last time I was there, I bought single hex wrenches and blueberry bushes, neither of which was available at HD).
I’ll have to see if I can upload a couple pictures, but for now there’s a video here https://dale-hardware.com/tour-2/ that’s too old to include the new Milwaukee section
I’m a little surprised your “local hardware store” like Ace Hardware is not included in this discussion.