5 things to look for when purchasing a refurbished power tool

Refurbished power tools aren’t yet commonly available in Canada, but because they’re often priced at 30-50% of the retail price of a new tool, they can be worth a closer look. Due to their price advantage, shoppers who originally would have been looking for an older 12 volt ni-cad drill can walk out with an 18 volt lithium ion drill for the same price. In fact, many “refurbs” have never been opened – they’re simply unsold product from big box retailers who have return agreements with manufacturers.

Here are a few things to look for if you’re considering reconditioned for your next power tool buy.

1. Do they let you open the box?
– Opening the box is the easiest way to tell what kind of condition the tool is in. Check for scratches and obvious signs of use; a quality refurbished tool is going to be indistinguishable from a new one. If it’s cordless, remove the battery and look for scratch marks on the battery slide. This gives you a hint if the battery’s already got some cycles on it – if it’s obvious that it’s been used / charged a few times, leave it alone.

2. Are you even at a tool store?
– Funny as that question sounds, buying refurbished at an overstock store that just buys distressed inventory can be a mistake when you ask the salesman if the drill is a one-speed or two-speed, and he just shrugs. Making sure that you’ve got the right product is doubly important if you’re buying at an overstock store whose return policy is “if it breaks in half, you get to keep both pieces.” Which leads us to our next question:

3. What’s the return policy?
– Everybody buys something they’re not happy with every now and then. Make sure that if it’s not right for you, you can bring it back. If the sign at the counter says “final sale, no exchange, no return, no warranty”, then take a pass.

4. What’s the warranty like?
– Refurbished or not, if it’s going to break, it’ll probably do so in the first few months. Make sure you’re buying from an authorized dealer who can look after warranty claims for you. A six month warranty should do the trick.

5. Do they have a service shop?
– A service shop is a major bonus for refurbed tools: it means they can handle your warranty claim on-site rather than mailing it off to some service centre halfway across the country. The good ones have battery testers for cordless tools. Stores with battery testers can do random battery tests when they receive a shipment of refurbished combo kits to ensure that the batteries in their refurbished tools haven’t been through a lot of cycles.

If you’d like to have a peek at our current selection of refurbished power tools, look here. Please note that because of our particularly low prices on refurbished power tools, some manufacturers have asked us not to publish prices online. Give your local store a call if you’d like to check prices.

Good luck and happy shopping!

2 thoughts on “5 things to look for when purchasing a refurbished power tool

  1. Purchased a refurbished circular saw at Dewalt service centre. Seemed like a good buy. Opened the local Totem flyer. Same saw, same model number, same accessories, brand new for the same price. Don’t get taken by refurbished.


  2. The DeWALT service centre can be a good place at times but usually you can get a better or same price at KMS Tools and then you’re getting a new tool with the full 3 year warranty.


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