Recommendations for the best tool shops


#1

HI

I’m fairly new to the tools in the US as I am based in England. I am looking for recommendations for the best tool shops (online and actual shops or small chains).

My name is Mark and I am a landscaper by trade and joiner by hobby with a small obsession with tools!

Looking forward to your suggestions.

Many Thanks from England

Mark


#2

As you know the US is pretty big so there are national chains, regional stores and then local stores. The Internet has blurred some of the distinctions – where bricks and local mortar stores may have a local presence. Vendors (sometimes having an actual physical store may sell their wares via Amazon, eBay, WalMart or other internet outlets. There are also the what once had been industrial supply companies.

Having (now sold up and retired) worked had an ownership position and run businesses in the 4 state region including CT, PA, NJ and NY we sometimes used local suppliers like these:

http://www.coastaltool.com/

http://www.tools-plus.com/

https://www.dynamitetoolco.com/

http://www.sunrisetool.com/

https://www.acetoolonline.com/

http://www.toolnut.com/

In terms of showroom selection and service AW Meyer was our favorite.

Not surprisingly, probably because of Home Depot, many of the smaller hardware/tool stores and lumberyards that were on our places to stop when we had work in their area have long ago disappeared.

That gets me to the big box stores – which in the Northeast of the US – mostly mean:

http://www.homedepot.com/

https://www.lowes.com/

But in the Midwest there is:

https://www.menards.com/

Beyond Amazon the online purveyors that I’ve used include:

http://www.acmetools.com/

http://www.toolup.com/

http://www.internationaltool.com/

I’ve had considerable and good experiences with the 3 above, but never had an issue with the 5 below:

https://www.hartvilletool.com/

https://www.ohiopowertool.com/

https://www.burnstools.com/

http://www.ustoolandfastener.com/

Then there are more specialized or woodworking outlets like:

https://www.leevalley.com/

https://www.japanwoodworker.com

https://www.woodcraft.com/

http://www.rockler.com/

https://www.infinitytools.com/

http://www.thebestthings.com/

http://www.ptreeusa.com/

https://www.woodpeck.com/

https://www.mlcswoodworking.com/

http://www.eagleamerica.com/

https://woodworker.com

http://www.carbideprocessors.com/

https://www.toolstoday.com/

http://www.routerbitworld.com/

http://www.nailgundepot.com/

http://www.garrettwade.com/

https://www.bridgecitytools.com/

Then Online Industrial supply houses including:

https://www.zoro.com/

https://www.grainger.com/

https://www.mscdirect.com/

https://www.mrosupply.com/

https://www.grizzly.com/

And of course there are the low cost suppliers such as:

http://www.northerntool.com/

And

https://www.harborfreight.com/

but my limited experience with them would not lead to a recommendation one way or another. Harbor Freight is known for low price first - with longevity/quality as something the buyer would have to judge for themselves.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve left hundreds of other tool outlets off this list.


#3

On a prior thread about marking gauges I provided this list:

Some other sources of tools you may be familiar with include:

http://www.daedtoolworks.com/2

http://www.hamiltontools.com/2

http://www.hocktools.com/products.html1

http://www.holteyplanes.com/2

http://www.lazarushandplane.com/shop/1

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/product/starrett-tools-bevel-gauge-1

http://redrosereproductions.com/tools/1

https://www.stjamesbaytoolco.com/2

http://sauerandsteiner.blogspot.ca/3

http://www.sterlingtoolworks.com/sterling-saddle-tail-dovetail-marker-and-dovetail-square/1

http://www.thebestthings.com/newtools/outils_cullen_tools.htm3

http://www.walkemooretools.com/other-tools/3

http://www.woodjoytools.com/layout/3


#4

Fred

What a great reply, thank you so much.:slight_smile:

I am mainly looking for the independent stores/websites that are of a good size rather than massive chain stores. Your list is a good start but I’ll love to hear from other people as well.

Mark


#5

For online power tool shopping there is one name to know CPO. cpooutlets.com


#6

I’m glad you have had good experience with CPO - mine has been less than perfect with a missing battery on one tool and another tool not what I had ordered. To be fair, I have not used them after these initial issues so my sample size is tiny. Their return policy was fine.
In contrast, I’ve ordered hundreds of items from Acme and ToolUp - with no problems - maybe just luck.

BTW - I’m no auto mechanic - but there seem to be a plethora of online outlets that stock auto and motorcycle tools. To a lesser extent, there are also outlets for specialty tools for aircraft maintenance, appliance repair, bicycle repair, crafts/modeling, electronics, gardening, glass/stained glass, HVAC and refrigeration, jewelry making, lawnmower and small engine repair, leatherwork, locksmithing, plumbing, pool maintenance, pyrograpghy and woodcarving, roofing and siding, tile and stone work and upholstery.

I’ve dealt with some of these specialty vendors - but thought you were more interested in generalist stores.


#7

Sorry you had issues with them - I hope they resolved it quick and correctly.

I’ve gotten a few things from them and loved them so far. Now I know upfront I’m buying a reconditioned item in some cases - so I expected things like the blade on the table saw to look used. etc.

but often times nobody beats their cost to my door. (I always tell people check the shipping - for something like a table saw even portable it’s not that cheap)

But shopper be ware - always. Great lists by the way.


#9

Shipping cost and the billing for it is indeed one of the foibles of buying online.
Amazon and others say that you get free shipping when your purchase exceeds a certain threshold dollar amount.
Amazon also has Prime membership (others too may have a “buyers club”) that gives you free shipping and maybe some other perks - but you pay upfront for this.
Amazon costs are not always competitive - I suspect because they build shipping costs into the price.

When buying in quantity - or multiple different items from a single vendor - shipping costs from some vendors may be adjusted to reflect the resultant weight and size calculated for the package. Others may have flat rate shipping - or per-item shipping costs. Amazon third-party sellers might quote $ XX.xx for shipping, but if you bundle a number of items from that same vendor - the shipping cost might still only be $ XX.xx or only slightly more. Comparing Amazon or other online retailer costs to Home Depot, Lowes or WalMart - that sometimes offer free delivery to a nearby store - may also save you some money.

When we’d buy a piece of heavy machinery, we’d look at the option of picking it up with one of our own trucks or using one of the shipping or freight companies that we had under contract.


#10

In addition to tool shops, you may want to consider tool makers:

  • Blue Spruce Toolworks
  • Bridge City Toolworks (hoping the change in ownership won’t change things)