Import Tooling Precision

When we all start out, we are trying to tool up with as much bang for the buck as possible. Naturally once we discover the Enco catalog and others such as Travers, MSC Direct we think we’re doing pretty good since we’re moving away from Harbor Freight.

However, it’s important to note that import tooling is pervasive. After seeing suppliers at the various trade shows, we’ve noted that while some brands are of USA, German, or Japanese origins, they even sometimes manufacture from countries such as China and India.

That in and of itself is truly not the issue since some quality tooling is manufactured there.

The real concern is that the tooling manufacturers who don’t manufacture for those brands with quality control standards and market expectations of quality based on the companies’ countries or origin and legacy of quality, will often times make products with price in mind. Basically, so long as they can meet specifications such as 0.0001″ precision, they think they’re good to go.


However, based on our experience, those are the disposable tools at best not to mention the lack of fit and finish and feel that the higher quality tools have.

We can tell you horror stories of digital calipers that skip readings by 0.200″, dial calipers that don’t repeatably go back to zero, outside calipers that stick and don’t turn, telescoping gages that don’t hold or are sticky, etc… We suppose this speaks more so of accuracy as opposed to precision, but tooling should have both accuracy in its precision. In tooling, these go hand in hand. If one is not met, the tool is not reliable for its intended purpose.

So, when browsing the monthly specials catalogs, skip the known imports, find a coupon like the ones we post here, and spend a bit more on a tool that will last. And if you still don’t like it, you can be sure to gt some money back when selling it.

Think about it… would you rather buy a Browne and Sharp or Starrett or Mitutoyo anything at a discount in good condition or an import new?

Now, we’re certainly not bashing the imports per se… They serve its purpose in the market. But, if you want to feel good using tools that last and make your job that much more fun, buy quality. Even if used. :)

Happy shopping!

PS – For the record, WE LOVE ENCO!