We all know the basic rule: If you use a tool rarely, buy a homeworker quality power tool or a cheap one. If you use a tool often, buy a pro or semi-professional power tool.

Allow me to summarize some european brands into four categories:

  • Cheap stuff: Lux Tools, Okay Power
  • Homeworker Quality: Bosch green, Einhell red
  • Semi-pro: Makita, Metabo, Bosch blue (The cheaper ones)
  • Pro: Makita, Metabo, Bosch blue, DeWalt, Hilti

Personally I buy drills and stationary tools from the semi-pro category and tools for particular tasks that stay in the shelf most of the time (Belt Sanders, Handplaner, Plunge Router) are of homeworker quality (mostly Einhell). But that is just my personal opinion. I'm looking for numbers.

I've had these never ending discussions with my boss long time ago what would be more beneficial: Buying 10 Einhell red drills or 3 Makita drills for the same price.

Having more drills is great. One breaks? Theres a box over there filled with drills, get a new one. More people join to work? No problem, we have enough drills. The downsides would be more frequent visits to the store to fix or buy new drills and of course transportation and storage of a large number of power tools.

We've had a situation where were we required over a thousand screws for the floor of a terrace and we only had three screw drivers. One guy was drilling the holes, the other two were busy with the screws and the rest were just standing around pretending to be doing something intelligent.

I want to roughly narrow it down to how long each of the categories mentioned above will last. Hours (for any tool), charges (for battery tools), Number of screws (drills)... the variables don't really matter. As the title says I'm looking for a general rule of thumb if possible for all power tools. Also for large stationary tools: If your bandsaw dies and you don't have a big car you've got a problem.

Here is a rule of thumb I got from reading some different articles but I doubt the credibility of these numbers:

  • Cheap tools: 5 hours average operation time until failure
  • Homeworker tools: 50 hours
  • Semi-Pro tools: Somewhere inbetween I guess
  • Pro tools: 1000 hours+
  • 1
    You're right to doubt the credibility of those numbers because even IF they are an average of real-world numbers — which is exceedingly unlikely because online 99 out of 100 statistics are made up on the spot (see what I did there?) — every individual tool is different. So how useful is a rule of thumb when there are even duds from some of the best brands... better than all those listed in your pro category! Furthermore I have no tools from your third or fourth categories, but ALL of them have seen far more than 50 hours use. Many saw that in just the first week. [contd]
    – Graphus
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 12:43
  • 1
    But even better, one tool I have is must have past 500 hours given all the use I've put it to since I got it (secondhand, and it was 10+ years old then) and another, which is hard to categorise but I doubt could be genuinely said to have been made to be semi-pro as it's specifically for hobby work, past 1,000 hours sometime in the 00s and is still working. 30+ years old and only in the last 2-3 yrs is it finally shown signs that it's wearing out. So bottom line, I don't think there are ANY useful rules of thumb for power tool lifespan... it's basically just a crapshoot and some win, some lose.
    – Graphus
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 12:51
  • 3
    I'm going to vote to close this because it just seems like an invitation for anecdotal evidence. Everybody has some cheap tool that's lasted forever and something name brand that died. To really determine this you need a large pool of evidence. The only people that are going to have information like this are the manufacturers, and I'm sure they're not sharing it (or if they do it's going to be heavily skewed in their favor.) Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 16:01
  • 1
    There are sites that compare tools in this manner. Some even try to simulate real-world "how many cuts/screws/holes/things" the tool can do. But it will always be a simulation. As you say, there is a complicated matrix of comparisons and requirements. I'm not sure how a single answer could address the notion of real-world "durability" across multiple tool functions. Even so, how would anyone vouch for the credibility of such an Answer? This feels like any Answer would be an opinion. It might be an informed opinion, but it will still be an opinion.
    – user5572
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 16:27
  • 1
    (Sometimes I feel like power tool choice is like Pokemon Go: you choose Team Blue, Yellow, or Red and then stick by that choice even knowing that in most cases there isn't a significant difference of play. [I'm team blue these days, if anyone is asking.])
    – user5572
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 16:28


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