12 Tools Worth Splurging On
Feeling extravagant? You could pay less for most of these tools, but if you’re willing to splurge, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. Not to mention bragging rights.
SawStop Contractor Saw
At about $1,800, a SawStop Contractor Saw will cost you more than a typical table saw. But then again, how much are your fingers worth? SawStop’s patented safety system brings the blade to a complete stop within five milliseconds of sensing contact with human skin. That’s a tenth of the time it takes a car’s airbag to deploy. Instead of a potentially debilitating injury, the operator walks away with a minor cut. Priceless.
Photo: Courtesy of SawStop
Photo: Courtesy of FLIR
FLIR E6 Compact Thermal Imaging Camera
When you need to see what’s hot and what’s not around the house, there’s just no substitute for a thermal imaging camera. The FLIR E6 detects temperature variations, allowing you to spot drafty windows, insufficient attic insulation, electrical hazards, leaky pipes and other areas needing repair. Particularly helpful is the device’s Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging feature, which lays a photographic image over the infrared display, so you can clearly decipher where the issues are. You could potentially justify its $1,998.99 price tag by estimating your energy savings over time. Or you could just splurge and buy it because it’s so cool.
Photo: Courtesy of FLIR
Snap-On Ratcheting Screwdriver
Would you spend 75 bucks on a screwdriver? Some people do, and they can’t stop raving about this one. The Snap-Oon Ratcheting Screwdriver features a three-position ratchet adjustment, silky smooth action and a contoured handle that fits comfortably in the hand. Behind the bit is one of the strongest magnets you’ll find in a screwdriver, so you’ll waste less time searching for dropped screws. It comes with an assortment of bits that can be stored in the handle.
Photo: Courtesy of Snap-On
A rotary tool is one of the most versatile tools you can own, and the Dremel 4300 boasts the most powerful variable-speed motor in its product line. It’s also the first Dremel rotary tool with a three-jaw chuck, enabling you to change accessories without a wrench. With its 360-degree grip, improved airflow design and a pivot light to illuminate your work, the 4300 is the Dremel tool you wish you’d bought years ago. It’s only $199 for the tool and a boatload of accessories, so go for it.
Photo: Courtesy of Dremel
WORKSHOP Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vac
Now that’s a shop vacuum. With its 6.5-peak-horsepower motor and 16-gallon capacity, the WORKSHOP WS1600SS sucks up water at a rate of a gallon every second. Its low center of gravity and large wheels make it stable over rough terrain, and even though it’s a beast, you’ll be surprised at how quietly it runs. Maybe your shop vacuum works perfectly fine. But now that you’ve seen this bad boy, go ahead and splurge. It’s only about $200.
Flooded basement? Know what you can clean up yourself and what to leave for the pros.
Photo: Courtesy of WORKSHOP
WORX ZipSnip Cutting Tool
Driven by an efficient, rechargeable 4v MaxLithium battery, the self-sharpening blade on the WORX WX081L ZipSnip electric cutter handily cuts through carpet and other tough materials. Weighing only one pound, the ZipSnip is compact and easy to control, helping you get a precise cut every time. Bet you never thought you needed electric scissors, did you? Now you know you do. Especially if you’re removing old carpet.
Photo: Courtesy of WORX
Blue Spruce Toolworks Dovetail Chisel
These beautiful chisels are handmade with blades as thin as possible to enable the kind of precise dovetail joints once made by craftsmen of a bygone age. Intended for detailed work, they are not the kind of tool you can just wail on with a hammer. And at prices starting at $75 each, they’re not for everyone. But if you’re looking to step up your joinery game, you need these.
Photo: Courtesy of Blue Spruce Toolworks
Bosch Random Orbital Sander
What does a $275, top-of-the-line 6-inch random orbital sander get you? More power, fewer swirl marks and less fatigue. The Bosch 1250 DEVS features a beefy 6.5 amp motor with variable speed control. Its integral pad-dampening braking system and microcellular backing pad result in a smooth, fine finish with fewer swirl marks. Paired with a soft grip, the sander’s vibration control suspension system reduces vibration so you can work longer without feeling fried. Sanding’s a dirty job. Why not splurge a little so you can get it over with sooner?
Photo: Courtesy of Bosch
eTape Digital Tape Measure
No more squinting at hash lines or difficult math with fractions. This $30 tape measure takes the guesswork and error out of measuring. Its large digital display can switch between US or metric units, and you can store three measurements for future reference. And, the eTape makes it super simple to find a center measurement. Just measure the whole, then hit the “split” button and the eTape will tell you the center point. That alone is worth the price of admission.
How’s your measuring mojo? See these measuring tips and techniques for DIYers.
Photo: Courtesy of eTape
Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
At around $1,200, it’s one of the more expensive floor drill presses in its class, but take a look at the Delta 18-900L’s advanced features that make it worth the price. Its laser crosshair, for example, enables pinpoint accuracy, while its auto-tensioning belt-drive system allows for easy adjustments while drilling. Plus, it’s got 16 different speeds for drilling through wood, plastic or metal. And you’ll love this drill press’s sturdy feel and roomy work table that you can angle up to 90 degrees, left or right. Still working with a bench-top drill press? Splurge and get what you really want.
Photo: Courtesy of Delta Machinery
Makita Robot Vacuum
Wouldn’t it be nice to turn off the light, close your workshop door and come back the next day to clean, sawdust-free floors? That’s totally possible now with the Makita DRC200Z Industrial Robot Vacuum. This brawny machine has a 2.5-liter capacity and is powerful enough to suck up nuts and screws. Though built for commercial use, at about $1,100 it’s not that much more costly than what you’d pay for a genteel robot vacuum designed for living spaces. Totally worth it.
Photo: Courtesy of Makita
Milwaukee M18 Combo Kit
Did you know you can buy 15 Milwaukee power tools with compatible lithium ion batteries all in one fell swoop? Milwaukee’s M18 15-Tool Combo Kit includes 15 cordless power tools, four 4.0Ah batteries and a six-bay charger. So dump your mismatched, used and abused tools and splurge on a set from a company known for durable, hardworking products. Get the entire set for about $2,000.
While you’re overhauling your power tools, why not also rethink how you’re storing them? See these clever tool storage ideas and projects to keep your tools organized.
Photo: Courtesy of Milwaukee