How to save your money buying tools from Craiglist

Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Kravelv

Craigslist offers incredible deals on quality used tools that like new or at least in perfect working condition. You have to know how and where to look, however.

Beware of scammers, junk peddlers. Still, Craigslist the marketplace to go to for cheap, high-quality tools. Quality tools and outdoor power equipment with a more favorable price move quickly on Craigslist. To find the best tools at the right price follow the steps outlined below.

How to search?

Bookmark your search on Craigslist and include the search term as well as price, owner/dealer, newest, and the image shown. Do the search, then bookmark the page. Craigslist also provides RSS feeds for search, and you may load up multiple feeds in a reader like Feedly for a quick scan of items and price. You might also use a service like IFTTT to get an email or SMS notifications when a new item is posted with your search terms (see list of IFTTT recipe for Craiglist here)

On Craigslist, use the general search box, because tools might not be under the tools category. Do check other sections, such as farm and garden, garage sale, household for cheap quality tools.

Determine what you want

  • First, decide and make a list of the tools you need. If you are a tool enthusiast, it will be an easy chore to shop the tool section on Craigslist and then go to listings you think might be good deals. Don’t do this. It’s not the best way to get the best deals. Instead, start with one or two tools and focus on them.
  • Determine the average price of the tool on the retail market if you bought it new. Don’t forget to add in taxes. If brand and model are important, make sure your estimate includes the exact cost of that particular model.


The above steps will allow you to form a base price for determining how much you’ll save by buying it used. If you can find a nearly new or slightly used tool for half the list price, then you’ve found a very good deal. Sometimes, you’ll do even better than that. I know, Craiglist is awesome!

Craiglist tool evaluation

Tool Type

Get familiar with different professional brands. Moreover, check out DIY tools to find the best fit for you. DIY tools are awesome for people who aren’t professionals but like to do projects in their spare time. They are suitable for people who need a light duty tool for a good price.

Professional brands are sometimes referred to as contractor or commercial grade tools and made for professionals whose livelihoods depend on a tool that will be reliable and perform under stress daily.

DIY tools include Ryobi, Craftsman, Kobalt, Black & Decker, Skil, and Porter Cable to name a few. Some of these brands manufacture some contractor grade tools like Skil and Craftsman, but overall the brands are light duty and cost less on the retail market. If you buy DIY tools, expect to pay less on Craigslist than commercial tools. Also, if they seem worn or rough, these tools should be avoided as they will have a shorter lifespan.

The contractor brands are Dewalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, Makita, and Hilti. These are the most expensive tools when new because they are built to last through the constant work and rigors of a commercial job site.

Work Tool.

When faced with a choice between two tools in the same condition and the same price, buy the professional brand. Usually, that tool will last longer, and customer will get more use of it. Be aware it may have been used before, so it might be approaching the end of its use.

Buy at the right time!

Off-season is the best time to buy seasonal tools because the seller will have fewer prospects. For example, you’ll get a much better rate for buying lawn mowers in the winter or snow equipment in the summer.

Mowers and gas powered equipment are sometimes listed at the beginning of the season because the owners didn’t get them to start right off. They’ll put them on Craigslist to get rid of them and save repair hassle. If you can service small engines, these units can probably be repaired easily by cleaning or replacing plugs and filters.


Take into consideration the seller of the tool you are finding. A contractor might have used the tool extensively and may be selling it because he’s noticed something about the tool that he doesn’t like, for instance, it could be overheating or occasionally freezing up. A homeowner may have used the tool only once for a project like stairs or doors.

Have the tool in action & thorough check-up

It is important to operate the tool before you settle on a final price. Check battery chargers and all accessories, make sure the instruction manuals and all cases exist. If anything is unavailable, the price should be negotiated down for an incomplete product.

Buying cordless tools, check the cost of replacement batteries and see if it’s still under warranty. The price of batteries could be more than the tool, and the combination of the tool and batteries could be more than the retail version when new.

Ask for the original proof of purchase. This document is important: For example, Ridgid offers lifetime warranty for power tools, but original proof of purchase is required.


A word of caution, avoid stolen tools. Tools that are new-in-box (NIB) and for sale cheap should raise a red flag. If something feels fishy or the seller is acting suspicious, just walk away. It’s just common sense: If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is not. Happy shopping on Craiglist! Hope this home improvement tips will help you.


Author Bio:

This is a guest post from Jimmy, a DIY enthusiast at Air Tool Guy – where he shares his guide to help people choose the best tools for their home improvement project.