When it comes to buying things cheaply, second-hand purchasing is a very common way to find great deals on items that would generally be very pricey. This manner of purchasing goods is becoming more popular due to the dire state of the economy. We’ve all been there; there simply isn’t enough money to buy new expensive goods, such as tools. It is a great feeling when you find bargain prices for used items; not only are you saving money, but you are also reducing your carbon footprint!

However, you’ve got to be wary when looking for second-hand things; you don’t want to lose money on goods that are overpriced. Cash Converters has a few tips and tricks to help you with this, regarding the purchase of used tools specifically:

Do your Research:
If you don’t have a lot of knowledge regarding specific tool brands and their qualities, it is important that you look into it. You can look up information on popular hardware stores’ websites (such as Leroy Merlin, Buco or Builders’ Warehouse) to have a look at what you want.

Another thing you can do is to visit a nearby hardware store to have a first-hand view of what is available and what their price ranges are. You can use these prices as a basis for evaluating your second-hand purchases.
You should also remember that some retailers have items on sale that they wish to clear due to discontinuation. But more details about this will be provided later.

Now after you’ve got an idea of what you are looking for, the next thing to do is to look up some auction websites to get a clearer view of the price of second-hand tools. But you need to be thorough with this. Be aware of how old the items are and their conditions. Take down a few notes to get an idea of the variety of features of the tools and their relative prices.

You could also come and check out our range at Cash Converters. Second-hand dealers, like us, purchase items from people and sell them again. There is an advantage to this because the tools you buy from us will not be faulty as we only buy things that we know we can sell again. Also, everything we purchase is tested and evaluated before reselling. And through our pricing, you will be able to get an accurate depiction of the current prices of tools on the market.

Take brand names into consideration:
Once you have your expected price range in mind, you can start thinking about your purchasing choices.
Brand-names should be considered first. People tend to have their own preferences when it comes to tool brands, but when buying second-hand tools, your choices will most probably be limited. However, you should attempt to find a well-known brand.
In terms of power tools, trustworthy and durable brands are DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, Ryobi, Milwaukee (this brand is considered top-quality by professionals), Hitachi, Porter-Cable, Skil and Delta. For outdoor power tools, recommended brands include Husqvarna, Poulan and Stihl.

Inspection is key
When looking at electrical power tools with cords, you will need to thoroughly inspect the device’s electrical and mechanical functionality. Examine the cable of the device, making sure that there are no serious crimps and bends in it. If there are indications that the cord is faulty – such as it being held together with insulation tape – then this is a warning not to buy it. You should also have a look at the plug and its prongs to make sure that they are not overly worn.

When it comes to wireless devices, you will need to be just as thorough when inspecting them. Keep in mind that replacing batteries or power sources can be very expensive. Power source replacement can sometimes add up to half the amount the tool is worth. It is also difficult to determine how long the battery will stay charged because it could work perfectly when you test it, but this may be an inaccurate indication of the battery’s capacity. Rather look toward getting corded devices unless you can find wireless tools that are not too old.

With any device you are looking at, be certain that there are no missing parts and guards. If the casing and usage handbook is provided this will be a great plus. And if you are worried about replacing attachments, it is very simple to find these in hardware shops as the measurements for these are usually standardized. It is impossible to evaluate these devices with in-depth precision, however, it is possible to spot some signs that could be indications that you should not buy the device in question.

Firstly, you should examine the vent for the motor of the device. It is preferable that this is clear of dirt and grease, however, used tools generally won’t be the cleanest. But the most important thing to look for when examining this is whether or not there are burn marks or smoky patches on it. This is an obvious sign of electrical issues. If the vent is clean, you should also smell the vent to see whether it has a smoky smell.

Whilst still examining this area, switch on the tool. Make sure that there are no sparks and smoke coming from the device. While it’s on, also check whether it runs smoothly with no jerky movements. You should have a lot of control when using it. If it feels like the device is not easy to control, there are probably internal problems. Also, listen to the tool when it is on. If it is making strange, grating sounds, that is another sign that the tool is faulty.

You can also test the functionality of devices when they are off. For example, when inspecting a table saw or a circular saw, you should attempt to move the blade when it is switched off. The blade should not tremble as it spins. If it does, it could just be the fault of an over-used blade that needs replacing. But you should really be looking to see if the arbour (the rod which the blade spins on) has a bend in it. If this is the case, the device is not worth your time and money.
When examining any tool, always check that the device has no misplaced screws. This could indicate that the tool has been taken apart, which can mean that the device has had issues or that it has had new parts put in.

There are some tools that we at Cash Converters would not recommend buying second-hand, which are usually used for heavy duty and specialized construction (like tile saws, hammer drills and stump grinders). When finding tools like these second-hand, it is usually an indication that they aren’t very functional as these tools are bought for long use. If you need these devices, we advise that you rather loan one from a hiring company.

When examining hand tools, it is generally more clear to see if any problems are evident. If they are of good quality, don’t have any cracks and major rusting issues, the tool is probably worthy of your money. To be on the safe side, it is still recommended to stick with well-known brands, for example, Stanley or Craftsman.

Where to find second-hand tools:
You could begin looking at some of the places you saw when researching. Rather find local places as you will save money by not having to pay for shipping. Always inspect tools wherever you shop.

Garage sales
There are often some great bargains to be found at garage sales, as sellers could be selling their devices below their price value. These sellers will also be less reluctant when it comes to bargaining. However, be sure to examine the tools thoroughly.

Flea Markets
Flea market are also great places for bargaining, but sellers will definitely be aware of the price value of their goods on sale. Some sellers may even have goods from suppliers that had a surplus of devices or goods that didn’t sell, and thus there might be a range of old and new tools at these markets.

Advertisements in the newspaper/online
You will be able to find many advertisements for tools on the internet or in the newspaper classifieds. You could find some very good deals. However, if purchasing through one of these mediums, you should always be thorough when examining these tools.