WHENEVER I NEED a new tool of a kind that I haven’t tried before – a table saw, a pair of pliers, a hack saw – I always start with the cheapest one available. After a few days’ use you can figure out what to look for when buying a better model.
When buying a table saw, the most important thing is not the speed of the saw, but the rigidity of the fence. If your fence doesn’t clamp securely, exactly parallel to the blade, you’ll never get a straight cut.
With pliers, you need to make sure that the two jaws at the tip meet flat to each other. When buying a hacksaw, the most important feature is the feel of the handle. Cheap hacksaws that have a bent rod for a handle will hurt your hand.
Of course, this does mean you’re going to have to buy some of your tools twice. But its better to waste a little on a cheap tool than to waste a lot on an expensive tool that doesn’t do the job.