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Stuey, who recently busted Sears here on TM for some questionable “deals,” wrote in with a positive experience and a question: “I’m a bit picky about where I shop online — sometimes it’s about getting the best deal and other times the best service.  A week ago I decided to place an order with Enco after they were recommended to me when I asked around about where to order calipers from.  I was a little unsure about a particular item so I called them up.  A few minutes later I was speaking with two people who quickly and competantly answered all of my questions.  My order arrived today and everything was in brand new and tip top shape.  Check out their “hot deals” catalog; some of the items were a steal!”

“Anyway, I’d like to pose a question: from which online vendors do you guys like to buy your tools?”

I’ve had pretty good luck with Enco personally as well, though it’s important to note that they carry a pretty wide range of gear.  I like that, because Enco will sell me a cheapie $45 full-drill-set or a quality $300 full-drill-set — I choose.  But I’ve also seen guys order $45 drill sets from Enco just to avoid admitting they bought them from Harbor Freight.

So what retailers have treated you right?  Let us know in comments.


15 Responses to Reader Question: Who Are Your Favorite Online Vendors?

  1. joel says:

    McMaster for hardware, drill bits, taps, raw materials, etc. etc. I need fast (they’re in NJ, overnight to me by UPS ground)– they’re pricey but the stuff is quality. And their web site is awesome.
    I recently got an MSC “big book” that has just as much stuff as McMaster but they give you the option of the $45 “import” drill bits (for example) or the $300 “US Made” drill bits. Haven’t tried ordering yet, but they have locations all over so shipping might still be fast.
    I like Grizzly for cheap tools (machinery and smaller stuff), but some of the stuff is really cheap and has arrived broken from shipping. The bigger machinery has been fine (9×20 lathe, band saw).
    Most of all my local hardware stores… I’ll pay 10% more to support the local guy than go to the big box.

  2. Michael W. says:

    Lee Valley Tools, just good all around and fast shipping

    Woodworker.com for certain finish stuff I can’t find locally

    Duluth Trading company for work trousers, I have two pair of their Firehose jeans and two mid-weight denim jeans. I like the comfortable fit and they’re tough. Their t-shirts are nice and long. No customer is ever going to be ruded out when I bend over! They have nice specials too, either free shipping or free products.

    I really liked the service I got from Wilke Machinery when I bought a mortiser from them. The first one arrived broken (I blame UPS). They immediately sent another one out without waiting for the first one to be returned.

  3. eschoendorff says:

    I have had very good luck with http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net.

    My only complaint is that they are frequently out of stock on many items….

  4. clueless says:

    MSC has some great deals on their monthly flyers. The master catalog is fairly easy to navigate. A few times I have called in an order with a specific question about a product. The operator admited that they did not know but got a tech on the phone and answered my question about the product. Sometimes a certain warehouse is out of stock so they split the order without adding extra freight.

    Lee Valley Tools and Widget Supply are really great too!

  5. Bob says:

    I like Amazon.com a lot. Get a lot of my stuff from them and having Amazon Prime makes it really nice on shipping.

  6. David Decker says:

    I have ordered A LOT of stuff from Enco and have never had a problem. Their import cheapie versions are actually quite good and often on par or better quality than locally available tools such as Craftsman.

  7. james b brauer 66 says:

    McMaster, MSC, Newegg, ThinkGeek

  8. KaiserM715 says:

    http://www.tooltopia.com They are in Louisiana, so if you are in a neighboring state you get fast standard shipping (I got something the day after it shipped in Houston). They have great prices that I have found hard to beat and a wide selection of automotive and hand tools.

  9. William says:

    For computer parts or electronics Newegg wins every time. They normally have the best price or are only beat by pennies by some no name. Newegg also has a great return policy. They has have good user reviews.

    I also like Amazon for everyday random stuff. Good prices and free shipping a lot, but be careful a lot of stuff is sold through amazon and not by amazon. I prefer sold by amazon.

  10. John Laur says:

    Rockler has lots of esoteric stuff that’s hard to find elsewhere and a great presentation on their site with lots of information. They aren’t cheap though.

    If you broaden your definition of ‘tools’ somewhat I buy a lot of stuff from Newegg and Provantage.

  11. Aaron says:

    I second KaiserM715’s comment about tooltopia.com. I have ordered a number of SK torque wrenches from them. They always have the best price and if you order more than $75 you get free shipping.

    I also am a big fan of the German made WiHa hand tools. I have a bunch of T-handle Hex wrenches and screwdrivers from http://www.wihatools.com. Highly recommended.

    And of course, Amazon for power tools. Watching the prices yo-yo up and down can get addicting. Make sure to grab a low price when you see it. They don’t stay low for long….

  12. Stuey says:

    A tip about amazon – just add whatever item you’re interested in to your cart and then “save for later”. Check your cart regularly and if the price changes, amazon will alert you at the top.

    Another thing about Amazon is that they’re one of the most irregular shippers – I sometimes receive an in-stock item in two days, othertimes in three weeks. Also, instead of preventing dissatisfaction, they’ll just throw a refund at you if you send in an email comment/complaint.

  13. Abe says:

    http://www.rockauto.com for car parts. Super speedy ninja shipping and they always seem to have what I need in stock. Shipping to Misouri via ground only takes 2 days-that’s better than some of my local parts dealers can do and rockauto’s prices are much lower.

    As the above poster said I love newegg for electronics. Great selection, fast shipping, good prices and customer service that is truly second to none.

    http://www.sears.com I love the buy online and pick up in store otion. I often will see deals for sears on here then order online for store pickup.


  14. Fong says:

    Most of my work tools come from McMaster or Grainger. Both have great sites and fast shipping and between the 2 of them cover everything from the single drill bit to the free-standing hoist.

  15. Tracy Allen says:

    My tool website of choice is http://www.denlorstools.com they have warehouses throughout the country, so shipment times are fast and prices are good.

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