I read your thoughts on tool quality in a recent edition of SEN with interest. Do you think the more expensive toolsets are ever worth the money?
A: Quality tools, even if they are second tier, are expensive to buy one at a time. A good crimper might be $50, a good cutting tool might be $50. A good screwdriver set might be $100-200 and still may not give you all the sizes you want. A quality multimeter is likely to be $250. If you add these costs up, you’re going to be spending $1500 or more putting together a comprehensive toolset. Given this, is it better to buy a full kit from a quality maker? It probably is, if the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty and honours their warranty – that last point is very important.
Some of the best toolmakers are German but there are also quality toolsets coming out of Taiwan and the USA. Good tools are well designed for the hand, have excellent adjustment, protect the user, have hardened surfaces where needed, have treated surfaces to resist corrosion. We’ve all bought stuff like Trojan from Bunnings and found it rusting in the toolbox after being put away damp. If you are on the tools for a living this is simply not good enough. You can hold back corrosion with lanolin or olive oil spray, but surface treatment on coated and hardened steel lasts a lifetime.
Techs should think about their toolset as their workspace. Spending a couple of thousand on great tools that feel right in your hands is trivial in the context of the decades of quality work they’ll do for you. Obviously, no toolset is going to give an electronic security tech everything they need so there will be items you’ll add to your kit along the way. Whatever you buy, it must be made to last and fit for purpose, same as the products you’re installing.