Hammering nails into walls, drilling holes or tightening screws – wherever there’s a DIY task to be done, the key to success is choosing the right tools. But what’s the best way to find the perfect product? Non-pros often find it difficult to make the right choice. Which tool is the best for home DIY, and how can high-quality products be reliably identified? TÜV SÜD’s product expert, Horst Kristen, explains what to look out for when buying tools.
Choosing the right tool – and the right price level – is mainly a matter of the kind of task at hand and how often it occurs. “When shopping for tools, most consumers make their selection based on how often they will use the product. Tools can be divided into ‘budget’, ‘DIY’, ‘semi-professional’ and ‘professional’ categories”, explains TÜV SÜD expert Horst Kristen.
Battery life and trying before buying
A specialist retailer will be able to provide full information about the product, its features and functions, and any necessary or useful accessories. For example, if you are considering a cordless model, find out first of all how long the battery life is. As a rule of thumb, the longer you use the tool, the longer the battery will need to recharge. TÜV SÜD’s specialists also advise shoppers to ask in the store whether they can try out the tool – particularly if power tools are involved. Sparking, for example, may indicate that the electric motor’s carbon brushes are inadequate or the contact bars are poorly finished, and these faults may well lead to rapid failure of the motor.
Ergonomic design and price
As a general rule, the cheapest product is never the best choice – and tools are no exception. As safety must always come first, prospective tool purchasers should ensure that the product they choose has a GS and/or TÜV certification mark. Ideally, these signs of quality should be accompanied by a further mark that confirms characteristics such as fitness for purpose or longevity. TÜV SÜD’s certification marks, for example, provide information on using and caring for the product and on its expected service life. Branded tools can usually be assumed to be safe and high-quality. The best way to check whether a tool has been designed along ergonomic principles is to try it out, noting the following points: Is the tool easy to hold? Am I likely to get hand cramps or hand/arm vibration while using the tool? Can the tool be operated easily with safety gloves?
To make sure DIY enthusiasts get the most out of their tools for the longest possible time, the tools should be cleaned regularly after every use. This is particularly important for power tools. TÜV SÜD advises cleaning the housing with a hand brush or paintbrush and blowing into the housing a few times. Sanders must be cleaned of all residue and dust after use. In addition, tools also need regular maintenance – especially electronic tools. Maintenance tasks include lubricating bearings and gears. Instructions are given in the operating manual; however, if you are in any doubt, consult a specialist to avoid damaging the product or even causing injury.
A sign of quality and safety
A good and useful product will also have an easy-to-understand operating manual. After all, purchasers should be able to grasp how to use their new purchase quickly and easily, so that they can put it to use straight away. TÜV SÜD checks operating manuals, looking for clear explanations and correct product descriptions. The blue TÜV SÜD Octagon stands for product safety, reliability and quality, showing purchasers that a product meets the statutory requirements set forth in law as well as the quality standards expected by discerning consumers. They can then rest assured that tools bearing the TÜV SÜD Octagon are at the top of the range in terms of features, performance, ease of operation and long service life.
For more information, visit www.tuv-sud.com.
Note for editors: The photo can be downloaded here in printable resolution from the "Media Photos" category at www.tuv-sud.com/pressphotos.
Photo caption: The experts from TÜV SÜD Product Service inspect and test tools including jigsaws, drills and screwdrivers, examining their safety and checking whether the performance of the products matches the information supplied with them.
Press-contact: Heidi Atzler