Another year has begun and it is time for all of us to start planning our budgets.  A very important part of a tradesperson’s job is to set funds aside for the right tools to help the job get done faster and more efficiently. This sounds like an easy undertaking but with the wide range of products available to the professional, this may be a very daunting task for anyone to muddle through.  What do I need?  What is the best bang for my buck?  Am I going with the right brand for the long run?  All important questions that need to be answered.

I am not a tool reviewer nor am I a tradesperson.  I do not make a living using tools. I am not sponsored by any one company and I am not paid to promote any one particular brand.  The value of my opinion comes from my experience selling professional hand and power tools in my store, Mississauga Hardware, for almost twenty years.  I see what people use.  I observe what people buy and I see what people bitch and complain about.  I see what comes in for repair and what stays in the field and takes a beating.  Take it for what it is worth but I feel my opinion is unbiased and my goal is to recommend what I feel will be the best value for your dollar.

We all know budgets are rarely unlimited so I have decided to focus on trade specific tools and have set a ceiling of $600CAD.  I think this is a fair and realistic budget for a tradesperson buying their own tools.  We all know $600 doesn’t take you very far so I will recommend that one tool that each specific trade needs to have in their tool box.  I will recommend what I feel is that one “must have” item based on each trade.

-HVAC Specialist – Bosch RH540M SDS MAX Combination Hammer ($480 CAD). Best bang for your buck in the 1-1/2” SDS MAX class. It can drill a 4” Core without issue and can be used for medium chiseling.

-Plumber – Milwaukee 2429-21XC Compact Band Saw ($290 CAD). Small and light, ideal for one handed overhead operation. It is the only unit of this size on the market that I am aware of.

-Electrician – Dewalt DCS350B 20V Threaded Rod Cutter ($400 CAD). Definitely a specialty tool, so much faster and will save time by preventing chewed up threads.

-Trim Carpenter – Makita LS0714 7-1/2” Sliding Mitre Saw ($570 CAD). Very easy to transport and carry upstairs and yet very accurate with exceptional dust control.

-Rough Carpenter/Framer – Dewalt DCS577X1 Worm Drive Style Framing Saw ($450 CAD). Very close in popularity to Makita DRS780…..This unit is priced less so it is a little easier to justify versus a corded Skil Worm Drive.

-Metal working/welding – Makita 9005B Angle Grinder ($150 CAD). Simply put, this unit is a work horse. Very easy to repair on site, this unit will last a long time at a very inexpensive initial investment.

-Drywall Layout – Bosch GLL3-330CG 3 Beam Laser ($600CAD). The best priced three beam 360 laser on the market.

-Drywall Board Installer – Dewalt DCK263D2 Drywall Gun/Cut Out tool Kit ($310 CAD). Priced very well, both Drywall gun and cut-out tool are durable tools. Advantage over Makita is the Auto-feed attachment. This may change once Makita releases their attachment.

-Glazier – Milwaukee M12 Caulking Guns (Range $230-$280 Depending on Format). Much smaller than 18V and 20V units out there, these guns are as close as possible to the size of a manual gun.

-Landscaper – Makita DUB362Z Cordless Leaf Blower ($400 CAD). Best battery operated blower out there. Also, the centre point of the most comprehensive battery operated OPE line on the market.

-Mason – Makita HM0871C Small Demo Hammer ($500 CAD)….Small but powerful, this unit is a work horse that can be used all day.

-Sheet Metal Worker – Makita JN1601 16ga Nibbler ($450 CAD). This area remains a focal point for Makita. Very easy and inexpensive to change punch and die.

This is a very generalized and brief recommendation.  There are many more trades that are within the ones we have listed.  What I recommended is what I see to be the most useful, durable and best priced tools directed towards these trades.  I have come to these conclusions through my own experience.  There is no science involved.  This is just one man’s opinion.

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