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Sturdy Tools – What to Buy in Canberra?

By Known_only_as_Jack - 1 January 2012 36

I have made the most common mistake that any novice landscaper can make:

I assumed that ALL TOOLS ARE CREATED EQUAL

I went to that big green warehouse and picked up some basic gardening tools (at the cheaper end of the price scale) and used them for all of 15 min before the handle of the first shovel snapped off and blade to the second bent permanently out of shape.

Now I need a new set. I am happy to shell out some coin but need them to last years not minutes. Can anyone give me an idea where to go and what to buy (i.e. good brands).

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Jack

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36 Responses to
Sturdy Tools – What to Buy in Canberra?
KB1971 7:39 am 02 Jan 12

Pork Hunt said :

ALL petrol powered whipper snippers are the the invention of Beelzebub himself!

Anyone care to differ?

Yep, I have one that is at least 13 years old & has never had a spanner on it except for a spark plug., its an Oleo Mac & is quite possibly the most reliable thing to come out of Italy that I have had anything to do with.

Re the $100 quote, I have a $40 240V Ozito drill driver that I have had for about 3 years, maybe longer (I dont use them enough to buy a good battery operated one that the batteries wont die on) & it has built a lean to, re roofed my pergola & built my kitchen. The only reason it died was that I was misusing it recently & burnt the motor out (too lazy to go & get a bigger drill). For 40 bucks it was sensational value for money.

My GMC cirular saw it still going stong after building a pergola at our old huse & doing all the floors in this house.

Anything battery operated you need to spend money on because the batteries are no good & dont last on the cheapieds

Pork Hunt 10:58 pm 01 Jan 12

ALL petrol powered whipper snippers are the the invention of Beelzebub himself!

Anyone care to differ?

Henry82 10:34 pm 01 Jan 12

cranky said :

$100 is about the best price for a balance of quality/reliability at the big green shed. This applies to everything from drills & orbital sanders to electric chain saws..

I’ve got an ozito angle grinder and (hardwired) electric drill and they’ve done well (cost me around $30-40 each). 3(?) years warranty, on the spot replacement in store afaik. I was pretty skeptical at the start, but they’ve lasted many hours of continuous hard use. At the end of the day, even if it does die after 3 years, i’ve had pretty good value.

thatsnotme 10:06 pm 01 Jan 12

All tools are definitely not created equal!

After plenty of time spent lamenting the death of cheap tools, I’m now firmly in the ‘pay for stuff that will last’ camp. That doesn’t mean I buy the most expensive, professional quality tool available – I’m not a tradie, I’m not relying on this stuff to make a living – but I do want to know that when I’ve got stuff to do around the house, I’m not going to have to drive down to the big green shed half way through the job to replace the piece of crap that’s just failed me…

As for some specific advice, all of this is experience I’ve gained (normally to my loss!)

I’ll never again buy a Ryobi power tool. Their rubbish has let me down one too many times.

You don’t mention whether you’re looking for a cordless, or a corded drill. If corded, make sure you get something with a key chuck – keyless chucks suck, and if you ever need to do anything serious, will likely fail you.

When buying a wheelbarrow, look at what the wheel is made of. I’ve just had to replace the wheel on mine, as the plastic wheel had broken when I’d run it over sleepers with a load (guessing the impact had compressed the tyre, and hit the actual wheel, which broke). I’ve got a steel wheel now – not invincible, but a lot tougher than plastic.

If there’s a choice between a petrol powered product, and an electrical powered product, the petrol powered one will almost always be more powerful, more flexible, and lead to less frustration than the electrical equivalent.

Lastly, I think that when it comes to tools, you do get what you pay for. If you can find the balance between paying enough for something that will last, and not paying the premium for trade level gear, then you’ll be laughing.

Felix the Cat 8:36 pm 01 Jan 12

A lot of tradie guys use DeWalt power tools. Be aware too that Fisher Discounts also sell cheap handyman tools as well as more expensive tradesman (tradeperson?) tools.

Combined Electrical is another place in Fyshwick (Newcastle St) that sells quality power tools.

Stay away from places like Super Cheap Auto for tools, you get what you pay for there.

dungfungus 8:01 pm 01 Jan 12

bikhet said :

Cyclone is a reasonable brand for the shovels and the mattock – at least mine have lasted me well in spite of being abused. Can’t help with the barrow or the edger.

When it comes to the electrical stuff there are two approaches. Pay big bucks for something good, or treat them as essentially disposable items – use them until they break and then buy another one. I know the “disposable” approach isn’t environmentally sound and may sound counter-intuitive, but the cost differential between the the good stuff and the cheap stuff is such that it may provide value for money.

If you want to do precision work with the drill and/or the jigsaw then you’re probably stuck with paying for the good gear. The cheap stuff won’t do it.

I agree that Cyclone still make the best garden tools. They are more expensive but this is proof they are better. If you buy a “steel” garden rake, first test it at the store by standing on one side of the prong bar and bending the handle to the same side. If the prong bar has little resistance then don’t buy the rake.

The Antichrist 7:24 pm 01 Jan 12

cranky said :

Fishers have been pretty reliable from the word go. For workshop tools, M & G are the local dealers for Hafco. All very reasonable quality at very competitive prices. I have nothing to say about their competition in Gladstone St.

Fishers are good to deal with and have a good range of reasonably-priced tools – but if you are looking for the best – M&G are head and shoulders above anything else in the ACT.

Just be aware – know exactly what you need, and be prepared to pay for quality.

You can buy ordinary fittings at ordinary fasteners.

cranky 6:24 pm 01 Jan 12

As a bit of a tool buff, a couple of observations re power tools.

$100 is about the best price for a balance of quality/reliability at the big green shed. This applies to everything from drills & orbital sanders to electric chain saws.

Always buy a drill with a 10mm chuck.

The quality of drill bits does seem to relate fairly closely to their price.

Fishers have been pretty reliable from the word go. For workshop tools, M & G are the local dealers for Hafco. All very reasonable quality at very competitive prices. I have nothing to say about their competition in Gladstone St.

arescarti42 3:30 pm 01 Jan 12

EvanJames said :

I hope you took the broken stuff back for a refund. Fit For Purpose means exactly that, as-does implied warranty… stuff should do its job and last for a reasonable amount of time.

Exactly.

Bad Seed 3:07 pm 01 Jan 12

My Dad (who came to Canberra in the 50s as a tradesman from Germany), never had much money but always bought the best quality tools (carpentry). As a result, we are still using those same tools long after his departure from this earth.

Henry82 2:58 pm 01 Jan 12

Just take all back for a refund, or ask for an exchange for a better product?

screaming banshee 2:03 pm 01 Jan 12

The big green shed has a wide range of brands from good to rubbish. Generally if you haven’t heard of it before it is probably rubbish. The old saying you get what you pay for is true to some degree as the better quality tools are going to cost more.

Take a look at the range available, discount the cheapest, look at the most expensive to see what you get and then determine where along the scale of second cheapest to most expensive you think you need.

I worked with a guy that used to say he couldn’t afford s*** tools so he had to buy good quality ones, which is a bit of a mix of ‘buy cheap buy twice’ and the fact that rubbish tools cost you in wasted time.

As for the tools, you can get reasonable quality electrics for around $100 each, avoid battery powered garden tools, I’ve been very happy with a ryobi petrol whipper snipper that takes a hedge trimming attachment and an edging attachment.

EvanJames 1:56 pm 01 Jan 12

I hope you took the broken stuff back for a refund. Fit For Purpose means exactly that, as-does implied warranty… stuff should do its job and last for a reasonable amount of time.

johnboy 12:48 pm 01 Jan 12

For electricals it’s hard to go past Fisher Discounts.

bikhet 12:44 pm 01 Jan 12

Cyclone is a reasonable brand for the shovels and the mattock – at least mine have lasted me well in spite of being abused. Can’t help with the barrow or the edger.

When it comes to the electrical stuff there are two approaches. Pay big bucks for something good, or treat them as essentially disposable items – use them until they break and then buy another one. I know the “disposable” approach isn’t environmentally sound and may sound counter-intuitive, but the cost differential between the the good stuff and the cheap stuff is such that it may provide value for money.

If you want to do precision work with the drill and/or the jigsaw then you’re probably stuck with paying for the good gear. The cheap stuff won’t do it.

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