Wrench Tip: In Defense of Cheap Tools


The Mobile Toolbox


Harbor Freight has a 130 piece tool set that is often on sale for $29 and is a collection of the worst tools I’ve ever used. I love it. I use it all the time. I leave it in my car and use it to fix all sorts of things. I’ve used it to fix everything from a plastic boat toilet to a multi-million dollar prototype electric car. It is amazing, and you should buy one for yourself and all of your friends. 


130 of the worst, most useful tools made.

I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking, “This sounds like the advice of someone who's never had a cheap cut-off wheel explode in his face.”

Yes, there are several tools that you should never buy cheap. The best way to decide if a cheap tool is not right for your situation is to ask yourself, “Will this really f— up my day if it breaks?” Cutting tools, drill bits and the like, especially taps are usually a bad idea. So are easy-outs. I also don’t recommend floor jacks. Aside from the fact that they are dangerous, they always seem to leak. Most cheap cordless tools are underpowered and the batteries don’t last, which may be fine for your project, but beware.

Cheap power tools always sound slightly like they want to kill me, but none have yet. I have a dirt-cheap chop saw that I’ve gotten an insane amount of use out of, but it sounds like someone threw pocket change in Satan’s industrial blender. So, buy it, and with the money you save, buy the nice safety gear you should be wearing anyway. Also, stand slightly to the side when you use it.

I build a lot of things, and sometimes I build them with cheap tools. Maybe you do too. It’s okay, this is a safe place. No judgment. No condescending Snap-On man telling us that no real man or woman buys cheap tools, and by the way, these pliers are on sale for $162. You have a favorite cheap tool, it’s time to admit it.

I’ll start: My name is Matt, I own a cheap multimeter, and I love it.


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