Homebase & B&Q own-brand tools

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Anyone got any experience with either of these?
Peter
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I think they're quite good value, just the thing for occaisional use. The cordless ones don't seem as good, slow charging and underpowered.

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Yes. Which ones in particular?
PoP
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It's a case of you get what you pay for.
I have purchased some at various times and found that I've had to return them through failure or being underpowered. B&Q routers were a prime example of this. The cordless tools tend to have poor quality batteries and poor motor control, especially the cordless drills and screwdrivers.
I tend to use the majority of power tools that I buy quite a bit, so I'm also looking for accuracy and ease of use. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to come either in my experience.
I don't subscribe to the notion that because something is for DIY purposes that it has to be cheap. While part of the purpose of DIY is to save money relative to using a professional, I think that the other aspects are to get a job done when and as I want to do it and to achieve a result equally as good, if not better. Unfortunately I have found on several occasions that the own-brand tools fall short in one way or another.
The DIY chains' marketing policy is to deliver products to a price to attract buyers and to move a large volume of them. A keen eye is kept of turnover per square metre in retail operations of this type. In order to address customer perception problems, a 2 or 3 year warranty is given. However, no service operation is provided. The retailer plays the numbers game and simply replaces faulty product with new, tossing the defective one in the skip. They have acceptable return rate clauses in their supply contracts. At the end of the warranty period, the tool has to be considered scrapped. The stores do not generally have spares or service operations for the products. B&Q were quite clear to me about this when I called their help line recently. Occasionally, one might be lucky and find that the same tool or one close enough to it coming from the same private label factory in China is being sold elsewhere and there is parts backup but this involves time and detective work.
Of course, one might be lucky and with occasional use a tool might last longer than the warranty period, but it would be prudent to budget replacement at the end of the warranty period. Another factor is that I don't particularly want to waste time and fuel returning defective products to the store for replacement - that eats into the DIY cost equation as far as I am concerned.
Having said all of that, I am not against the notion of buying store brand tools, per sec. If it's a question of budget being an issue, something is for occasional use and limitations are accepted, then fine. I am just surprised when people expect to buy something cheaply and expect high quality and reliability, and are shocked when they discover that there is no backup.
If it is a choice between having and not having, then there are certain types of tool that will do a job that is worthwhile and save time. I would count a chop saw and a portable table saw in this category. There are sometimes total duds like B&Q's router and their collated screwdriver. However, inadequacy generally becomes apparent quite quickly.
.andy
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Performance Power tend to be pretty lame. Performance Pro tend to be pretty good, with well designed ergonomic handles etc. There are both excellent examples and lemons in both ranges, though. I'd post about a specific tool for specific opinions.
Christian.
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Peter wrote:

Well, I bought a 40 PPower 14v cordless drill from B&Q in Jan 03 and I've been VERY pleased with it. The 30 version didn't have variable speed trigger (either on or off at 'screw' speed or 'drill' speed depending on switch) and had a 3-5 hour charger, so I bought the 40 version and didn't get all the drills/bits that came with the 30 option.
It might have poor batteries - I don't know. Mine stay charged for weeks and always ready for whatever job I've given it when I take it out again. Okay, it may not be used for 2/3 weeks at a time - so the usage isn't heavy - but for my jobs - I've never regretted buying it - its been wonderful!
That's my experience.
David
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wrote:

My Homebase SDS lasted about 4 hours - now runs like a sick puppy so I presume I've burned out one of the armature segments. I didn't take it back because (a) I've lost the receipt and (b) with hindsight I was pushing it way too hard: it looks a serious piece of work and is probably fine for drilling intermittent holes, but I was using it for 10 minutes at a time in hammer mode demolishing a block partition. I replaced it with the 140 Wickes/Kress one which (a) is hopefully twice as durable; (b) if not, it's sold as 'professional' and has a 2-year guarantee, so if it breaks I would feel entitled to claim; and (c) if it breaks thereafter BMJ are up the road and can fix it.
I am a bit gutted about my Homebase SDS: if the whole drill was 60-ish (on a 10% day) then a new armature would only be 15 if parts were available: but I presume they're not (haven't asked though so would be glad to be corrected). I am just green enough to feel really bad about it end up in landfill so soon.
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Tony Bryer wrote:

I would not have thought that 10 mins continuous use counts as unreasonable even for a cheapie tool...
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Argos do power tools that are fine for light diy use, you can extend the g'tee to three years for a fiver.
Depends where you like shopping least!
cheers, Pete.
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Thanks to all for the advice. I agree you get what you pay for. I was considereing a cheapie router, as I have never used one, so thought I'd get a cheapie to see how much I would use it and then go for a good one if the answer was a lot!
Peter
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I'd never used a router until a couple of years back. After asking a joiner to do a small finishing job for me and him telling me to borrow the router and do it myself, I then got the bug I went out and did the same as you're thinking now, I'll get a cheap one to see how it goes. After using the cheap one until it died, I went out and got myself a Bosch industrial one that goes from low speed to high speed and does all the table tops, the board edges, the fancy bit for repairing skirting boards and door facings. All in all, I can honestly say that I wouldn't be without it now. The amount of work it has brought in from friends and relatives is also paying for its up-keep. :-))
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I have a B&Q Performance power (Or is it pro?) Router and it's very good.
sPoNiX
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On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 08:49:09 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (S P O N I X) wrote:

I do hope that's not the B&Q Power Pro 2050W that I took up major bandwidth on this newsgroup about several months ago.....my experience was anything but positive. Words such as "barge pole" existed in my recommendation to others.
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I've got the older smaller one (1250W?, definitely PPPro) and have been quite happy with it. However, it is the first router I've ever owned, so I don't have anything to compare it to. (Except for a rather manky one I hired several years ago which had an incredibly sticky plunge mechanism. It was a total pain in the ass).
The fence is rubbish, but so far I've not needed to use it. The dust-extract cover limits plunge depth but is easy enough to remove for deep cuts.
Just fettled together a board that allows me to use it inverted, clamped in a workmate, to act as a table-mounted router. Now why didn't I do THAT earlier - very useful even if it doesn't have the super-perfectly-flat-and-a-million-features of a commercial table. Not exactly easy to alter the plunge depth, but not too bad.
David
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(S P O N I X)

That's the one I have and I'm more than pleased with it. I don't use any of the "free" cutters though.
Andrew
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On 21 Jan 2004 03:53:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@sheerstock.fsnet.co.uk (Andrew) wrote:

The 99 jobbie. Easily the most awful router I've tried to use. The problems included the following:
1) For a 2KW router it had the performance of 800W. It literally slowed down significantly when taking only a minimum cut. 2) The depth lock did not grip - as you traversed a cut the cutter would dig deeper into the material. No amount of squeezing on the lock lever would coerce the router into sticking to the set depth. 3) After only a short time of use my hands were supremely aching by virtue of the fact that the switch was hard to hold in, and the other hand was squeezing real hard on the depth lock lever. 4) The dust extraction fitting prevented the router from plunging to its advertised depth. 5) It was noisy and there was vibration when the router was in operation - which suggests that either the bearings were crap or that they were out of alignment.
I was using brand new kitchen worktop bits - I tried a couple of different bits.
I think there may have been a couple more points which I can't remember now. Took it back, got a full refund, and purchased a Trend T9. Now that's what I call a router :)
You might like to be aware that at the time I took my router back the exact same rebadged router was for sale in Bracknell town square in a cut-price store for 39, and they were obviously still able to command a profit. That PowerPro router appears to have been a rebadged Rolson, which is a chinese or indian import.
PoP
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S P O N I X wrote:

Watch the 1/2" 2kw one though - its lowest speed was far too fast for safe use of larger cutters when I looked at it (did not go below 15K rpm IIRC).
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wrote:

I've got the Wickes one and it's utter crap.
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G&M wrote:

There is one Wickes one that looks like a badge engineered version of the Freud FT2000E which seems well regarded:-
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?id 864&tsD388
(very pleased with my one - got the Freud since the Wickes own brand was more expensive at the time!)
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No - it's a lower powered one - same as the NuTools.
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