Warnings about buying tools at a home superstore

When you're out to buy a new appliance or power tool, it's only natural to make your local home superstore your first stop. But purchasing a complex mechanical device is not the same as picking up a new faucet or some paint or wallpaper — and you may not be getting quite the same good deal. One more thing: think of big-box stores as retailers, period. If you call in for service, you must negotiate a huge phonetree.Here are some things that you should consider before buying that washer or router at a big-box outlet.

Warnings about buying tools at a home superstore

1. Buying tools that are exclusive to one retailer is risky

Some brands of power tools are sold at just one retail chain. Some power tools, for example, are only available at certain stores. This can spell trouble for contractors working long distances from their hometowns, and for others who move to an area where there's no branch of that particular store.

Without easy access to the store that sells your brand, you might not be able to buy nails or other accessories for your tools. Before you choose a brand, find out where accessories and parts for that brand are available, where repairs are made, and then consider if it's convenient for you.

2. Power tools that use one kind of battery are a great idea

The battery is typically the priciest part of a new cordless drill, saw or other power tool. And it's always nice to have a backup battery. Buying multiple tools that use the same battery basically gives you free backup batteries. It also cuts down on the number of battery chargers you have around the house, which reduces clutter and saves you money.

3. Renting tools can be as expensive as buying them

Renting a power or garden tool can cost nearly as much as buying the same tool new. If you're going to use the tool more than once or twice, it makes sense to buy it.

Even if it only takes you an hour to aerate your lawn, you may have to rent the tool for a minimum time period, for instance 24 hours. Instead, if you need expensive lawn tools like lawn mowers or tillers, ask your neighbours if they'd like to go in on buying one.

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