Sunday, December 4, 2022

How to buy a power tool correctly


Electric tools are no longer in short supply. We can replenish our arsenal in an offline store, or by safely ordering devices via the Internet. But the range is so huge that it is quite difficult for an inexperienced person to choose the right model. And you also need to bypass counterfeit products and get high-quality service and a full warranty for your tool. Let’s try to understand the pitfalls and work out a simple procedure.

What is the difference between a fake power tool

If you own a genuine branded tool, you can count on branded equipment to fit it exactly, that you can use a certified service and quality spare parts. Eminent manufacturers usually service their power tool under warranty without any problems , if it entered the country legally, and if it has properly executed documents.

Most of all, the differences between the counterfeit and the original are noticeable at autopsy, but this can be done when the tool has already shown its true face and is sent to the trash can. In order not to waste money in vain and not risk your health, you need to be able to recognize pirated products by their appearance.

1. Plastic and rubber parts smell sharply unpleasant (low-grade material, recycled).

2. Poor fitting of body elements, casting defects (squeaks, gaps, backlash, flash, heterogeneous structure).

3. Unusual plastic color, size, shape (relevant for those who know the tool of this company well).

4. Elastic non-slip inserts and pads on the body are replaced with smooth black plastic or black paint.

5. There are traces of rust on the steel parts, they are poorly processed.

6. The power cable is thin, too hard, short. The protective tube at the housing inlet falls out. The fork is of poor quality.

7. Anthers are inelastic, made of glossy material.

8. No performance sticker, pasted upside down or too crooked.

9. There is no PCT or CE certification mark on the label. There are inconsistencies in the technical specifications, the same serial number is repeated on several tools.

10. The smell of burnt insulation is heard from the ventilation holes (sparking can be noticed when the motor is running).

12. “Cheap” equipment included.

13. Box/case of poor quality (material, printing).

14. The name of the brand and model are implemented on a paper sticker or paint instead of 3D embossing.

15. The passport does not have pages in Russian, the information in it is hard to read, contains many errors.

16. There is no specific model in the official catalogs of the company.

17. The seller does not have certificates for this product.

18. Very attractive price tag.

How to understand the term “gray tool”

Large manufacturers of power tools usually have several factories in different parts of the world. By the way, many of them have located their production in China and do not hesitate to talk about it, since all products are tested and quality is guaranteed. However, it should be borne in mind that specific markets may be supplied with tools from specific enterprises. For example, in Russia (and in other states of the former Soviet Union), there are no Makita factories, and tools manufactured by this company in Mexico and Brazil are not officially imported to us – it goes to the USA, Canada and other countries of America.

In Russia, quite often they bring an instrument that is “intended” for other countries. And it turns out to be 20-30 percent cheaper than the official one – including because of the “bypass” of paying customs duties. But as a result, having decided to save money, the consumer runs the risk of getting his hands on an original branded device, which is not designed for our operating conditions without alteration (for example, it operates at a voltage of 110 volts). It is clear that the “gray” tool is not supported by the warranty.

There are few signs of a “gray” tool:

  • The store does not have a certificate.
  • There is no PCT mark on the nameplate.
  • There is no Russian language in the user manual.

What is the difference between a household tool and a professional one?

There are separate lines of amateur tools (Bosch in green cases) and even “household” brands specializing in budget tools, such as Black & Decker. There is an opinion that cheap household tools are less durable. But it is not so.

A household tool, unlike professional class devices, is designed for occasional use. Therefore, manufacturers are able to:

  • Use a simplified design.
  • Use non-resistant materials.
  • Make do with a more limited shared resource.

At the same time, the home master receives a really inexpensive model of a power tool, which completely suits him in terms of the available functions. And, as practice shows, an amateur tool at home can last many times longer than professional devices in a construction site.

Some features of the amateur instrument:

  • Mode (20 minutes work – 20 minutes pause).
  • Additional protection for an unskilled user (“foolproof”).
  • Less power, light weight.
  • Longer interval between maintenance (service may not be provided at all).
  • Versatility, lots of attachments included.
  • Longer warranty period.

Some features of professional class devices:

  • You can work 8 hours without a break.
  • Resistant to dust, moisture, shock, temperature.
  • High power.
  • Technological systems on board.
  • Serviceability, maintainability.
  • Precision and performance.
  • Narrow focus (specialization).

Useful information from the passport

To get acquainted with the real technical characteristics, you should contact the official website of the manufacturer, read the nameplate, or look into the passport.

Here you will find reliable information about power, torque, rigging speed, available gadgets and benefits. This has already been said and retold many times, but there are other data that are no less interesting for the average (especially inexperienced) user.

Beautiful numbers are, of course, good. But also information about actual performance will be very useful. For example, pay attention to the depth of processing in certain materials and (as an indirect sign of the same characteristic) – the ability to use a nozzle of one size or another. For example, the size of the nozzle for a construction mixer or the maximum diameter of a drill for metal for a drill will be indicative.

An eloquent indicator is the “use factor”, which, as we found out, is a key criterion for dividing a tool into household and professional. Sometimes nothing is said about the mode of operation, and sometimes you can meet very serious restrictions (such as no more than 3 hours a day, or a mandatory five-minute pause after 20 minutes of work). Whether this tool is right for you, decide for yourself.

The next interesting criterion is the frequency of maintenance. It is clear that everything depends on the load on the device, but you can predict them. See that, for example, it doesn’t turn out that you bought a beautiful productive unit, but every two weeks you will need to visit the service to change the lubricant inside the case. By the way, if it is not directly stated about the frequency of maintenance, you can focus on the service life of the brushes (they wear out just in time for the scheduled maintenance of the tool).

Be mindful of operational limitations: ability to operate in wet conditions, acceptable high and low temperatures of use, dustiness, etc. Pay attention to other points: noise level, vibration, fire safety of the tool.

Features of choice, if possible, inspect and test the device

When you have theoretically decided on the models, you can proceed to the testing phase. Here you need to make one reservation right away: if you choose from several contenders, then it would be more correct to compare instruments of the same class with similar technical indicators.

1. Power up and run the instrument and listen to it. A good sound is monotonous, with moderate noise.

2. Release the trigger button and listen to the device as it coasts. Excessive noise will indicate poor quality bearings, lack of lubrication or poor balance.

3. Install the equipment, evaluate the deviations of the rod, the runout of the spindle. After turning off the start key, a well-assembled tool does not stop too quickly (relevant for devices without a braking system).

4. If this is allowed at the point of sale, and there is a prototype for this – load the tool on different materials, try different modes to evaluate performance.

5. Check the operation of all switches and buttons.

6. Check that there is a steady flow of air from the vents when “gasping”.

7. Test the convenience of changing equipment.

8. Shake the instrument. Evaluate the weight, layout, convenience of the location of the handles and switches.

9. Inspect the network cable. A good cable: soft, moderately thick, with a good plug, with protection against creases at the entrance to the case. According to experienced users, the longer the cable, the better (electric chainsaws do not count – where the ultra-short cable is an element of protection).

10. Examine the hull. There should be no signs of opening, lubrication streaks, mechanical damage, squeaks / backlashes.

11. If the metal parts show signs of rust, this may indicate that the tool was stored/transported incorrectly.

12. Check the integrity of the case, the completeness of the package and the operability of auxiliary devices (stops, limiters, guides).

13. For a rechargeable device, check the functionality of the charger and the functionality of the second battery, if any.

When the visual inspection of the tool and its “sea trials” are successfully completed, you can proceed with the purchase.

In order for the warranty card to be valid, it must accurately indicate the name of the tool, catalog and serial number, and receipt number. The coupon must contain the date of purchase, and must also be stamped and signed by the seller.

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