If you’ve been looking at power tools and are confused by the massive price differences for what looks like the same tool, you’ve come to the right place.

There is a pretty wide chasm between power tools for hobbyists and professional-grade ones. The market is made even more confusing by brands, like Makita, who have products spanning both markets. And then there’s the cheap knock-offs that not even a weekend warrior should consider.

The models designed for professional contractors use sturdier (and more expensive) parts as they need to stand up to everyday use. One of the ways the cheaper brands cut costs is by using plain bearings in place of roller bearings. These are fine for occasional use but tend to overheat under extended use, resulting in a tool that screams its dissatisfaction.

Should you stick to just one brand?

Not necessarily. Different brands have different strong points and it’s okay to go with the best option for each different type of tool. If a great quality brand is on sale, you may wish to go for that, rather than sticking rigidly with what you already have in your collection.

The only exception is with cordless tools. Once you’ve chosen a brand from the pro options out there, you’re best off sticking with it as the batteries are interchangeable. It’s definitely worth doing your research before investing in a range of cordless power tools.

Where to spend and where to save

If you’ll be using a tool every day, invest in the best quality you can afford. If it is used more rarely, then you can save some money on a cheaper brand. If you’re working as a professional contractor, you will be using your tools a lot more often than a hobbyist, so you need to go with quality to suit.

As a professional contractor, it’s best to stick with pro brands for:

  • power tools;
  • any hand tools that have moving parts;
  • any hand tools that are subject to a lot of force.

Where you can save is on simple hand tools like paint scrapers, mallets, hammers and the like.

If you’re on a really tight budget, a second-hand, quality brand may be a better way to save money than a new, cheap power tool. You just need to make sure it’s in good condition and has been well looked after. Keep an eye on the power tool section of the Machines4U website for some great deals on second-hand (and new) tools.

Australian tradies: favourite power tool brands

You’re never going to get 100% agreement among tradies (or any humans for that matter). Some swear by their Makita power tools and would never touch Dewalt. Others wouldn’t think of every using anything other than Dewalt. Still others like a mix of brands depending on the tool. Overall though, there is some level of consensus that the following brands are among your top picks for power tools:

  • Hilti
  • Makita
  • Bosch
  • Dewalt
  • AEG
  • Milwaukee
  • Panasonic

Really though, if you avoid falling for the cheap, imported tools on eBay, or the low-end options in Bunnings, you won’t go too far wrong with most professional-grade power tool brands.

You can find a number of great options here.

Top Notch: What power tools do professional contractors use?
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Top Notch: What power tools do professional contractors use?
If you've been looking at power tools and are confused by the massive price differences for what looks like the same tool, you've come to the right place.
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