How to Buy Reconditioned Tools the Safe Way

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This is How to Buy Reconditioned Tools the Safe Way. In this post I’ll show you several ways to take some of the worry out of buying used or repaired tools. These are good tips to apply as you shop, and they can help you avoid a disaster. Enjoy.

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Buying Reconditioned Tools

how-to-buy-reconditioned-tools-the-safe-wayThere is a big attraction in woodworking to reconditioned tools. On the surface, these tools look just like brand new versions. However, they are sold for sometimes a very attractive discount, which can be a good way to fill up your shop.

In most cases, reconditioned tools are not a bad purchase. Depending on who does the work, and what type of warranty you get, it might be very similar to buying a new tool. However, there are some things you do need to pay attention to.

It’s important that while you’re looking for a good deal, you also make sure that the immediate satisfaction of saving money isn’t overshadowed in the long term by having a bad tool. At the end of the day, you definitely want to have a tool that lasts a long time.

After all, the excitement of getting a good deal is going to wear off after a few days. You’re going to be stuck with that tool for several years, so you definitely need to watch for a few things, which I’ll show you coming up.

See Also: The Myth that You Need Lots of Tools to Get Started in Woodworking

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Find Out Who Did the Work

One of the most important things is to find out who did the work when they repaired the tool. It’s important for several reasons, but the most important is that there are third-party companies who can also do work.

While this might not sound like a bad idea, there are fly-by-night companies out there to just purchase returns at a steep discount and then polish them up and sell them a second time. They sometimes don’t even fix the problems well.

If there’s money to be made out there, somebody’s going to find a way to do it. It’s very important that the manufacturer, or somebody that’s licensed by the manufacturer is doing the repairs. That way you know at least they are approved to be doing what they’re doing.

If it is a third-party company, you can do a little research and find out if they’re reputable or not. Google their name, and read what people have to say about them. You can also email the manufacturer and see what type of relationship they have.

See Also: Where to Buy Woodworking Tools

What Kind of Warranty Comes With the Product

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a reconditioned tool is a good purchase is to look at the amount of warranty that you get. In general, the longer the warranty, the better you can feel about buying the tools.

Also, make it a point to look at the length of the original warranty. If the brand new warranty is 10 years, a used warranty of five years might seem like it’s long if you don’t know that first piece of information.

Make sure you compare the refurbished or reconditioned length of the warranty to the brand new warranty when you make your decision. Again, if the manufacturer is willing to stand behind their product, that’s a very good sign.

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See Also: Bench Top Tools Help Conserve Space in a Small Shop

How do You Get Service if Needed?

Another smart question to ask when buying reconditioned tools is how do you get service on your tool if something goes wrong. The answer to that question is very important, because you may have to jump through a lot of hoops.

You also may not be able to get service at the same place that the original manufacturer would service your tools. That can be a big surprise if you’re stuck getting service from a third-party company that may require you to ship the tool to them.

A lot of these less reputable companies will put barriers in front of you like that, and force you to eat the shipping cost until they can determine whether or not the defect is covered. If it’s not, you can be be liable for the shipping fees both ways.

In most cases like that, people will decide not to use the service, because they’re scared they’re going to end up with a big bill and no tool. It’s a common tactic, so make sure you know where your service will be performed.

See Also: What Tools do I Need to Get Started Woodworking?

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Does the Price Difference Make Sense?

Here’s another really obvious question that doesn’t seem to be asked often enough. Take a look at the price of the reconditioned unit and the new unit. Then ask yourself, is this price difference really enough to offset the potential risk?

If it is, and then continue researching to make sure that you are buying something that makes sense. If it doesn’t, and the discount is just not very big, then it would make more sense just to buy a new tool and not worry about it.

There’s no sense in saving a few dollars to risk potential heartache down the road. If the discount is substantial, then proceed with your research, but if it’s not, you might as will just get the new one and take advantage of all these benefits.

See Also: 19 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Woodworking

Find Out if the Tools Were Used by Customers

Another thing to take a look at is the previous condition of the tool itself. Reconditioned units are sometimes used as demonstration models, they’re sometimes owned by previous customers, and then sometimes they were just returns because of color, size, or another arbitrary thing.

There’s a really big difference between the three of these situations, and it’s definitely worth knowing. For example, demo models can get beat on pretty severely, and so can items that were once owned by customers.

Of the three, pieces that were just returned because of a reason that was not related to the use of the tool itself are the best. These are as good as brand new, and you are getting a discount in most cases just because the person opened the box before you.

See Also: The Myth that it’s Expensive to Get Started in Woodworking

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What’s the Return Policy?

One final thing to look at is the return policy. This is going to vary based on the seller themselves, but it’s definitely something you want to cover right away. If they have a no return, or all sales final policy, definitely be extra cautious.

There’s no reason not to allow returns or exchanges if you are not concerned about the quality of the product that you’re selling. People that try to force you to keep things are usually hiding something, so it’s definitely time to be aware.

However, if they have a generous return policy or are willing to exchange any defective unit for another one without a lot of hassle, then you should feel good about that. Again, anyone worth dealing with will not try to force you to keep something you don’t want.

See Also: 8 Reasons I love Woodworking

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know more about reconditioned tools and how buying refurbished woodworking tools can make a difference in your shop, it’s time to take action. Take a look online, and see what you can find.

Once you find a tool that you like, start doing the research and put it through the steps that I described earlier in the post. Make sure it passes your tests, and make sure that you’re getting a good deal in the future as well as right now.

If you have any questions on how to buy reconditioned tools in a safer way, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.

Post Author-

  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.


You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

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