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need tool shopping advice

I have a couple of ideas for gifts for my husband this year but need some advice. First, he has wanted a compound miter saw for some time now and this is the year that I want to get it for him. I am not sure how much he will actually use it so I am hoping that I can get one for $200 or less. I have found them as little as $69 but am afraid to get one that cheap. The big box stores seem to have a decent selection but I don't even really know what I am looking for! Any suggestions/thoughts?

Another item that I would like to get for him is a cordless circ saw. We used a friends over the summer and found it to be great (and that was part of a start-up pack of 5 or so tools for less than $150!). I have seen many in combo packs but we don't need any of those other tools. It seems that HD and Lowes have DeWalt and a couple others. Can you recommend one over another?

Thank you, everyone, for all of your help!!

Re: need tool shopping advice

Dewalt makes perhaps the best cordless tools because of the fact that the batteries last a long time. Most other brands, the batteries are the weakest point. in terms of a miter saw, stay away from a cheap one. Do not buy any saw unless it is on sale. Dewalt is good, Mikita is good but they will cost you over $300 - $400. But you could probably get a good 10 inch Dewalt for about $250.



A. Spruce
Re: need tool shopping advice

The type and size tool you purchase should be determined more by how it will be used than by price.

For most DIY projects, a 10" miter saw will do fine, particularly if it is a sliding style. If you need more cutting depth than that, you can step up to a 12" saw which can cut up to 3-1/2" material. The advantage of a 10" is that the blades are much cheaper. I started with a 10" Delta miter saw and it did the job for years. When I started doing bigger projects I needed a bigger saw and stepped up to the Dewalt 12" compound miter. Both saws performed very well and never gave me any trouble.

Cordless tools are great! You say you only need a saw and none of the other tools in a combo kit. If you've already got a particular brand and voltage cordless drill, then I recommend sticking with the same brand/voltage for the saw so that the batteries are interchangeable. This will cut down on battery and charger chaos. If you've got a cordless drill that is either older or under powered, then I'd recommend a drill/saw combo kit with a higher voltage, again, to keep the batteries interchangeable between the two. As for a particular brand, I've always been partial to Dewalt, though Rigid isn't too bad and the Ryobi brand has significantly improved over the years. While I would not purchase Rigid or Ryobi for professional use, it will hold up fine to most DIY work. There are other brands as well, though I do not have experience with them. One thing you should not do is purchase no-name brands from the likes of Harbor Freight, Walmart, or anywhere else that sells the really cheap stuff. It won't hold up.

Re: need tool shopping advice

I would recommend shopping at Victorians Secret and then giving a gift card.

VS + GC = Happy man..........

Re: need tool shopping advice

I'm sorry guys but I have to agree with NEC, who could argue with that??? :):D

Re: need tool shopping advice

As you can tell already each of us have our favorites and most of us use tools often so we generally buy better tools. For example my 12" compound miter saw cost around $700.

You didn't give any hints as to what the tools will be used for or how heavily it will be used. I personally don't recommend cordless tools other than drills for occasional DIYers because the batteries usually go bad long before the tool gets much use and new batteries often cost more than buying new tools.

If the miter saw is only going to be used as a cut off saw you can go cheap but if it is going to be used for trim work or furniture or cabinet work stick with one of the name brands like DeWalt or Makita. There is nothing more discouraging for a beginner than have the tools he use give unsatisfactory results.

Re: need tool shopping advice

Wow! Thanks everyone. I can tell you that we already have a corded circ saw, a table saw as well as DeWalt cordless drill and finish nailer. I'll take a look at those and try to get a circ saw with a battery that matches one of those (quite certain that the drill and the nailer do not have interchangable batteries).

To be honest, I cannot think of too much that he will be needing the miter saw for. I just know that it has been on his list for a while. We could have used one when we did crown moulding over our kitchen cabinets but he did a great job with the table saw. Now, I am not sure what projects we have on our plate for the next couple of years. I think the miter saw will get occassional use, but certainly not heavy use.

One more thing...is there somewhere other than HD or Lowes where I should shop for these things?

Again, I really appreciate all of your ideas and opinions! You are the best.

Oh...about the VS wear...I'm off to the gym now, maybe that would be a good gift next year!

A. Spruce
Re: need tool shopping advice

I would check online retailers such as Amazon or Northern Tool first. Local boutique tool shops are harder to find, but there are still some out there. Use your phone book to find them. The big box stores will have them as well, though their selections and brands can be a bit meager.

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