Secondhand tools can save you money without sacrificing quality. Learn how to find bargains on used, but useful tools.
By Chris HillMore in Home Improvement
You can start your shopping by revisiting some of the places you accessed when doing your research. Clearly you'll save money on shipping if you go to a local operation or an individual. Remember to test and examine tools closely no matter where you shop.
As mentioned earlier, pawnshops are a good bet for buying tools. You're going to find better-known brands that are probably on the higher end of the quality and price spectrum. Although, you're going to have little to no negotiating room on price compared to if you were buying from an individual.
A thrift store may be a little less reliable for quality, and you'll probably find a lot less availability, especially at a thrift store that obtains its wares through donation. However, those that aren't donation-based aren't going to want to develop a bad reputation by selling inferior items.
Check local notices for potential auctions in your area. You may have a good chance of finding quality tools, but “auction fever” may set in, and you could wind up overpaying if you are bid up. These may be a good source for large equipment.
You could score the best deal at a garage sale, as the seller may be less likely to know the value of the tools being sold. Sellers will also be more open to price negotiation, and you can offer a bundle price for several items. Quality is going to be your biggest concern, so look these tools over really well.
These are similar to garage sales when it comes to negotiating, but the seller at a flea market will probably be more knowledgeable on price. Some flea market vendors have access to surplus or closeout suppliers, so you could see a potential mix of newer and older tools that haven't sold well at retail.
Search online or newspaper classifieds under the equipment and tools categories. You may see a set or combination of tools listed as one price, which can be a good deal. As with garage sales, look these tools over carefully.
Websites offering tools are almost too numerous to mention, but eBay is certainly one that comes to mind. Check the seller ratings and reviews when shopping on auction sites. You'll also want to take a look at Amazon, which offers a lot of items, both new and used. Overstock.com, for example, has surplus items and may be a good source for refurbished items. You can often get limited warranties.
Speaking of refurbished items, you may do well by looking at the clearance aisles at hardware stores and home centers. Sometimes they will heavily discount tools that have been returned. Check the reason for the return because it can be merely cosmetic.