Steve wrote in with a reminder that’s definitely worth repeating. Zoro Tools, or just Zoro as they call themselves these days, is a Grainger company that usually saves you some money.
I’ve read comments mentioning Zoro tools in many posts, among other industrial supply sources such as McMaster and Grainger. What I haven’t seen (I admit I’ve only been reading for about a year) is any reference indicating that Zoro is a subsidiary of Grainger. You must have realized that by now, yes? Has there been a post to let the readers know? It’s a huge money saver. While Zoro’s site is atrocious, what I usually do is look it up on Grainger and then put the Grainger number in the Zoro search. It usually works.
Steve is absolutely right.
Grainger used to be a strictly business-to-business distributor that was difficult for consumers to purchase from. If you didn’t have a business account, they didn’t want your business. This changed in recent years, but if you don’t have a business account, you could expect to pay full and sometimes exorbitant prices.
Let’s consider the Milwaukee self-feed drill bit set, model 49-22-5100.
Street Price: $140 to $180 at typical power tool and accessory dealers
Zoro Price: $152 without any additional coupon
Grainger Price: $270
Steve says that Zoro is a huge money saver, and he’s not exaggerating.
Another example is the Conrader SRV187-100 air safety valve I bought a few months ago. It is priced at $5.51 at Grainger – which seems to be the regular street price – and $4.21 at Zoro.
I believe I have mentioned before that Zoro is owned by Grainger, but not as the focus of a post. Every now and then I find a product of interest on Grainger’s site and check to see if it’s available on Zoro. If it is available, I find that it’s often a lot cheaper there. But not all Grainger products are available through Zoro. Techni-Tool is also owned by Grainger, and the situation is similar – there’s not complete overlap.
Things are similar with MSC Industrial Supply Co and Enco. These two companies are competitors to Grainger and are linked to each other in a similar way as Grainger is to Zoro. If a product is available at Enco, it’s probably available and more expensive at MSC. Although the two are sister companies, Enco is run quite a bit differently in regard to pricing, sales, and shipping. I try to avoid buying anything at MSC unless 1) it’s on sale for less than anywhere, or 2) I need something specific right away and don’t mind spending a small premium. I suppose the same would be true with Grainger.
With Zoro, you get free shipping on $25+ orders. The threshold used to be $50.
For items that are carried by both Grainger and Zoro, you can order from Zoro and have the items shipped to you for a lot less than you would probably pay to order from Grainger. That is, if you’re an individual consumer without a business account or discount arrangement. Even for business customers, it’s hard to think that pricing at Grainger could ever be less than at Zoro, especially when Zoro’s regular coupon codes are considered.
I don’t like to recommend using Grainger product numbers as a better way to search Zoro – which does have a finicky search engine – because Zoro doesn’t carry everything that Grainger does. But, it was definitely worth the reminder that the two are related. I have yet to find a product that’s cheaper on Grainger than at Zoro.
If you’re new to Zoro, there are a few more things for you to know. First, save bigger non-essential purchases for great coupon promos. 25% off $200 comes around every so often, and smaller ones such as $15 off $75+ tend to be a little more frequent. Once in a while they have even better promos, such as around Black Friday. Second, Zoro has pretty decent customer service. Not all of my orders with them have been flawless, but they corrected minor issues speedily.