Make no mistake; there's no replacement for good tools, as it's a lot easier to focus on your craftsmanship when cheap junk isn't making life miserable. And a good rule to live by is to spend good money on the tools you use most, even if the initial blast of buying high-quality tools will make you cry at first. But it's a plunge you'll thank yourself for taking every time you pick them up to go to work from then on. That's especially true if you use them to make a living.
But does it make sense to pay a premium when the same tool with a different sticker on the side is available for much cheaper? Most would agree it's nice to have nice things, but not if it means getting ripped off. Yet, this seems to be a really common occurrence in the tool world as a lot of what the top names are offering seems to have cheap clones available. And if you spend a little time doing your homework, you'll find out that there are a lot of opportunities to get what the pros are pedaling at serious discounts, so long as you’re willing to forgo name-brand recognition.
Matco is probably the first name to come to the minds of many vets when this subject comes up. Many of its tools can be had at much lower costs through brands like Icon and Central Pneumatic. They aren't the only ones falling under scrutiny, though. Milwaukee is being compared to Rigid regularly, as is DeWalt to Hercules and even Snap-On to Daytona. Let's talk about what's going on here.