A Comprehensive Guide to Shopping for Professional Tools

Regardless of whether you need tools for simple home repairs, like patching up kitchen cabinets, or professional-grade gear that pays the bills, the right tool is the one that just works. If you’re a seasoned tradie, you’ll have a general idea of which tools are worth the money, and which to avoid. Experience pays, but when you’re just starting in a new trade, and fresh off your apprenticeship, choosing what meets your needs and that of the workplace can be much harder. This simple guide breaks down power tools into different categories, so you can choose what’s right. 

Why Do Tool Grades Matter?


Like most devices, power tools are sold in tiered lineups. They’ll differ in power output, build quality, features and accessories, how fast they get the job done, and how long they last. Tool brands are constantly meeting new demands, and investing a lot of R&D in delivering products better than their rivals. The industry has gradually transitioned from corded to cordless tools, with battery tech and brushless motors offering many advantages in new tool variants. The tiered layout also provides options in terms of pricing and targets different buyer groups. In this sense, tools are sold as consumer or DIY grade, pro-grade for working tradies, and industrial grade when only the best is enough. 

Besides purpose and targeted customer groups, different tool grades are marketed differently. Consumer-grade variants are sold in most general hardware and department stores, at discounted prices with turnover as the main goal. Professional-grade tools are offered in well-stocked tool supply stores, with mid-level prices to suit longer spec sheets. Industrial tools are priced several times that of pro tools, offered by fewer brands and only in a handful of specialist stores. 

Consumer/DIY Tools

These offer good value, decent quality and enough power to complete most DIY projects or general repairs. It’s also a category populated with dozens of low-cost brands. Some are watered-down versions of more renowned power tool names. They won’t have the newest or most powerful batteries, or the grunt and durability to complete demanding tasks, but again, you’re getting a lot for your money. For the intended task, they meet most expectations. 

Pro Tools

These are the bread and butter of working pros. And here you start to see bigger names. This is also the category with the widest selection of tools, urged on by competition and innovation. Tools in this price range benefit from higher power, longer run times, increased durability and tools designed for ease of use, portability and productivity. 

There are also more options for tool accessories, batteries and chargers for cordless tools, storage solutions and items that extend versatility for different jobs. They’re staples in the construction, automotive, woodworking, metal fabrication and plumbing industries, among other fields, but will also do double-duty work at home with ease. 

Industrial-Grade Tools

Here you’ll find specialist tools from specialist, high-end brands. They’re the pinnacle of years of technological advancement, producing high-precision and high-power tools meant to run endlessly in any setting, They also hail from brands that have cemented the role of power tools with numerous product firsts as well as a long list of features that have steadily found their way in less expensive options. Most brands and tools in this tier are also focused on single industries, for instance, tools used in cement fabrication or specialised woodworking tools for high-volume work. While the performance is there, so are the prices. 

Benefits of Buying Online


If you’re just starting in any trade, you might be compelled to buy your gear in the nearest hardware store. A mistake many newbies make. Seasoned tradies now get most of their tools online and from dedicated tool supply stores, some of which also sell merchandise from traditional shops with real addresses. Getting anything online has its benefits: 

  • Wider product range – online shops sell all the major international brands, and include the full list of available products and accessories from tool makers known for offering high-quality, reliable and durable tools. They also have a larger selection of local brands that better suit Australian conditions. 
  • Lower prices – lower overheads (no rent, fewer employees, etc.) and lower profit margins mean online vendors can offer tools at lower prices, often much lower than quoted RRP. Moreover, there are more frequent sales, better conditions for buying in bulk, and loyalty programs for frequent customers. 
  • Convenience – Working pros can have anything delivered to a specified address, often within a couple of working days (some shops have same-day deliveries) and not leave the worksite. Besides saving cash, buyers save time and the hassle of waiting in traffic or long shop queues. 
  • Easy ordering – the same goes for orders. Anything you need can be ordered via easy-to-use websites, and with simple payment options. Some stores also have delayed payments, so if you’re having cash flow problems, no worries. 
  • Return policies – all online vendors are regulated and bound by customer protection laws. Anything that gets damaged during shipping, or is faulty, must be replaced without additional charge. 

Balancing Quality and Value


Tools are an investment, but they also determine results, and how fast you get the work done. Invest in quality, without skimping on the basics or safety features that can get you into trouble. This doesn’t mean you need the most expensive or newest tools, just what fits your needs. 

Quality gear lasts longer and offers better durability and build, as well as speed and power for higher precision and faster workflow. It also means that what you buy now will work for more demanding tasks. Initial costs might be higher, but the savings add up in the long run. What’s more, these tools feature all the necessary safety technology and additions, so they lower the risk of workplace accidents. Lastly, better tools instill confidence, show you’re serious about your business, and help secure future jobs. 

Wrapping Up

Every tradie remembers the first power tools he or she bought. This might still be in the toolbox. But for all future purchases, go with established tool brands. Just remember that you’re also buying into a whole ecosystem. Retailers and manufacturers offer bundled deals with everything you need for much less. Shop for tools online for better deals and more convenience, be sure to check up on discounts and have everything ready for the job. 


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