If you’re in farming, then budgets are likely to be tight and you’ll often be looking for economies. That’s virtually “business as usual” in agriculture.
However, one area you might not want to cut spending corners in is that of your tools. There might be little point in purchasing prestige items like for example Krone hay equipment if you then put that at risk by trying to maintain it with cheap tools.
So, here are some top tips for selecting quality tools.
1. Look for recognised quality brands. If they’ve been around a long time and have a reputation for quality, then they’re clearly doing something right. Be prepared to pay a little extra, if necessary, for that reassurance.
2. Learn a bit about metal descriptions. For example, if terms such as “HSS” or “Chrome Vanadium” don’t mean much to you, you should research them and other such technical designators. That’s because tool producers often use such designations to describe the quality of the metallurgy they use. Note that metal hardness isn’t always necessarily the only criterion behind selection – read up on that too.
3. Be certain you understand how different tools function and which one is right for the job. Most professional farmers or farm workers will have a good understanding of this but it’s still possible to see people using a totally inappropriate tool for the job. That can be dangerous and put at risk what you’re working on and perhaps any warranties you might have in place. In this sense, quality means “select tools that are fit for purpose”.
4. If you’re buying tools with a brand name you’ve never heard of, research them on the internet first. Try to find out where the manufacturer is based and get objective feedback on their products. Be alert to fraudulent sponsored feedback designed to mislead. You can often spot that by repetitious phraseology used in feedback comments, such as “exceptional value tools”, “truly exceptional quality items” and “an excellent product” all used by supposedly different purchasers in quick succession.
Look out also for feedback that is overly gushing (using lots of superlatives) and that which is left in a language that’s clearly not the native language of the supposed customer concerned. Finally, most legitimate positive feedback is usually terse, such as “good buy and I’m very pleased”. Be suspicious about lots of positive feedback that goes into unnecessary detail – it might suggest the reviewer is being paid by the word and is working too hard to prove their worth.
5. Purchase tools that offer a money-back guarantee. Use a credit card or other payment mechanism that offers you a degree of protection should you demand your money back. That means avoiding cash or cash transfer payment mechanisms.
6. Be very cautious with offers that look too good to be true. Some producers do offer loss-leaders when they’re getting started and that can lead to real bargains but it can also signify that a manufacturer is cutting corners big time on quality.