January 4, 2011

Ax
Courtesy iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Buying tools with a lifetime guarantee is a big draw when buying tools; however, some people prioritize other qualities in their tools. For example, I prefer my wooden-handled ax to an ax with a guaranteed fiberglass handle.

As I mentioned last week, a blog reader commented on comparing guarantees when considering which of two brands to buy. He makes a good point. I hate to say how many splitting axe handles my son and I have gone through. If I just bought a fiberglass-handled splitting axe with a lifetime replacement guarantee, I could stop supporting the hickory wood workers.

If only the decision was that simple. The problem is that I like the feel of the wooden handle. I like the way it slides through my hand on the down stroke. I even like the process of replacing a spent handle with a new one. It is a hassle and a minor expense, but as addictions go, it’s not too bad, so I’ll probably stick with my wooden handle.

However, when I was looking at battery pack tools, I went with the company promising replacement of the tool and the battery packs. It is increasingly hard to find a small tool repair shop, but more importantly, the industry has a bad reputation when it comes to replacement battery packs. Countless tools get thrown away each year because a battery pack is no longer available.

Even if a lifetime guarantee is offered, ask the tough questions. We have a garage door opener with a lifetime guarantee on parts. Recently the dealer told me our model had been discontinued, and parts would no longer be available. His solution was for me to buy a new opener. Mine was to call the company. The customer service department said it was discontinued, but they would replace it with a new opener if parts were not available. In this case, I’ll stick with the company, but I am looking for a new dealer. 

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