5 Tips for Choosing the Right Tools
It sounds like it should be easy to choose the right tools for the job, but is it? If you’re a contractor, then you know well how much a good tool can make life easier. They’re on the job site with you each and every day, so you need reliable, easy to use tools that will go the distance. With all the options available these days, it’s not always easy to choose what will be best—and tools can be expensive, so you don’t want to waste money rebuying the same things over and over again. That’s why we’ve got these tips, so you can use them as a guide to make sure you’re buying the best tools possible for your line of work.
Look for Good Warranties
There’s a couple of reasons why a good warranty is important. Number one, it’s a financial safeguard. Nobody wants to invest money in tools only to have them break in short order, leaving you to invest a second time. Good warranties save you money and headaches down the road.
Another reason to look for good warranties? They’re often a sign of reliable, quality products. When manufacturers back their products with solid, long-term warranties, it’s a sign that they’re confident the tool will go the distance. When they’re confident in their products, you can be, too.
Ergonomics are Important
Ergonomics are one of those things that is often overlooked when it comes to tool selection. When choosing tools, there are a few rules of thumb you should look for:
- Ideally, a tool should be operable with one hand. A power drill, for instance, should have buttons and switches in place so that the user can reverse the drill direction one-handed if needed. Tools designed with this in mind are much easier to use.
- Grip and texture is a concern, especially with regards to power tools. Rubber and other non-slip surfaces help workers keep a firm grip on the tool, preventing it from going out of control.
- Tools should also feel well balanced in the hand. This is why it’s nice to shop for tools at a showroom! Pick up the tools, handle them, and when you’re holding them, check to make sure that they feel easy to hold, with the center of gravity aligned with the center of your hand.
Think about Versatility
Job sites change sometimes by the week or even by the day. For contractors, that means everything is mobile and everything needs to be hauled into and out of the job. That’s why it helps when you can choose tools that serve multiple purposes rather than more specialized tools for single tasks. Sometimes specialized tools are necessary, of course, but anything you can use that fits a variety of needs will minimize the load you’ll need to bring to and from jobs. Consider things like the Adaptive Cutting System Master Kit from Kreg Tools. This is a tool that lets you rip boards, cut plywood accurately, trim moldings or whatever else you can think to do with it.
Safety is Key
Tools are a common source of injuries on the job, so it’s important to choose equipment that places a high priority on safety. For things like saws, this means tools that come with shielding for blades. Grip is important here, too. Power drills, belt sanders and other handheld power tools should have rubberized or textured grips so that the tool doesn’t slip from a worker’s hands. Repetitive motion injuries are a factor to consider, too, when it comes to long-term safety. Why risk repetitive motion injuries to your arms by hammering nails when a nail gun gets the job done quickly and with less strain on the body?
Investing in Time Savings Saves You Money
Tools are meant to make the job easier, but that’s not the only way they affect your workflow. Lots of tools make the job go faster, too, and that means minimizing labor costs on the job. Nail guns are a prime example—much quicker and easier to use than a hammer. But there are lots of other pieces of equipment that streamline the job in less obvious ways. Work lights powered by 18-volt batteries, for instance, help workers get the job done in dark spaces without the need to spend time running extension cords and setting up stand lights. Reciprocating saws let you cut everything from lumber to metal piping in tight spaces without the need to open those spaces up so you can get a larger saw in to make the cut. Keep these things in mind and invest in equipment as necessary to cut both time and labor costs on the jobsite.
Equipment choices seem simple on the surface, but if you’re not careful, you may end up with tools that aren’t quite the best fit for the work you do. Use these tips as you’re buying equipment to make sure you make the right choices!