Find discount hand tools to fill your toolbox

How to Buy Hand Tools

by Tricia Goss

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Whether you need tools to use for general home repairs or you require a fully stocked box for your job, building up a supply of the tools you need can get expensive. Here are some ideas to help you fill your toolbox without emptying your wallet.

Know what you need. It doesn't matter how deep the discount is on that socket set if it's only going to collect dust in your garage. List the different jobs you will be likely to need tools for. Do you work on your car at home, or consistently take it to the mechanic? Is your do-it-yourself list made up of patching small holes and hanging pictures, or are you building your own deck? Being aware of the types of tools you need will help you keep your eye out for good deals.

Don't discount discount stores! Obviously, discount tool stores or liquidators such as Harbor Freight or NorthernTools are great places to find deals on hand and power tools. But you should also consider discount stores that aren't necessarily known for vending tools. Retailers such as Big Lots, Dollar General, Family Dollar and even your local 99 cent store will frequently have special offers on tools. Of course, a one-dollar socket wrench won't last long if you're a mechanic, but a factory clearance nail gun could be just what you are looking for.

Shop online. Search an auction site like eBay and more likely than not you'll find tools at deep discounts. The only downside is that shipping can get expensive. Check out local sites such as where you can find people in your area with tools for sale. Another website to investigate is, which is a nonprofit organization that encourages people to give things away rather than load up landfills. If Freecycle has a group in your area, consider joining and you might get your hands on some terrific, free tools! Just remember to return the favor and post some of your unwanted or unneeded stuff.

Why buy new? Gently used tools can be found at various places for a fraction of their brand new counterparts' prices. Peruse pawnshops, scan thrift stores, examine estate sales, survey yard sales, and wander through swap meets. You might not find everything you are looking for in one shopping trip, but you are likely to find some great deals over time. How many times have you bought something, used it once and then donated to your local Goodwill? Chances are that someone out there has a tool you need and they don't and sooner or later they will clean out their garage!

One time deals. Sometimes you need a specific tool to complete an extremely important chore. However, it is a very expensive tool and it's likely that you will never need it again once this particular problem is solved. You could call someone to come fix it for you, but that would cost even more. In a situation like this, consider renting. If you don't have a tool rental shop in your area, check your local hardware stores; many rent specialty tools on a daily basis.

Take the Next Step:

  • Decide which tools you really need in your tool box
  • Check out your favorite discount stores for the tools you're missing.

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