Poll: What’s the Most You’ve Spent on a Single Tool?

pm-hh-planerTools can be quite expensive, especially if you buy them new or you just happen to have a thing for premium quality. While in every category there are always less expensive options available, the high end will put a serious dent in your credit card. The 20″ helical head planer pictured left costs about $4300. Powermatic is definitely a high quality brand, but they aren’t even close to the most expensive on the market!

And if you’re a hand tool user, you aren’t exempt from this question. I have seen products from companies like Bridge City Toolworks and Sauer & Steiner that make my wallet quiver in fear.

So we are curious, what’s the most you’ve ever spent on a single tool purchase?

For my international viewers, the values are in U.S. Dollars. To convert your currency to USD, visit this Universal Currency Converter.

This poll was created by Tom Iovino of TomsWorkbench.com.

Category: Poll of the Week


  1. Ted August 12, 2013

    Are we talking about “tools” or “equipment”? I voted “$2,500 +” for my CNC, which is a piece of equipment. I have a couple of more in the $1,000 range and my panel saw was about $1,700 although retail was over $3,000 (I got it off the floor at the close of AWFS last year). As for power tools, I’m not sure off the top of my head, but certainly several hundred dollars. Hand tools, between $150 and $200 for some “one time tools”, but I’m sure that doesn’t even come close to the high end planes out there.

    • Renzo August 12, 2013

      I think you’re mudding the issue. A table saw is a tool as is a CNC :)

      • Ted August 13, 2013

        I’m not the one that wrote a sloppy poll without precisely defining the terms used.


      I see a CNC as a tool.

      • Alex August 14, 2013

        $4500 for a sawstop ICS.

        Ted, I think you completely missed the intent of the poll, which no one else seems to have a problem with. And read definition 2a of the link YOU provided:

        “a : something (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession”

        That basically encompasses every item in my shop I use for woodworking, be it file or drum sander.

        • Ted August 14, 2013

          I didn’t miss the point, I just wanted to clarify whether it referred to tools alone or tools and equipment. If you read through the comments you’ll notice that many people mention their “equipment”.

          Nice how you skipped right over the first, and primary, definition which says “handheld”.

  2. Raf August 12, 2013

    $900 and that’s Canadian dollars!

  3. Garrett G August 12, 2013

    I just spent $10,000 on an entire shop’s worth of Jet and P0wermatic tools, but that was by no means a Single Tool. I spent $1000 more for mobile bases for all of them. Someone stop the bleeding!

  4. Greg Zenoble August 12, 2013

    The exact planer you’ve listed here.

  5. jHop August 12, 2013

    I think the most I’ve spent so far is $35. Which kind of explains the quality of the work coming out, right? (yes, I know, don’t blame the tool, blame the tool using the tool.)

    at the current price of textbooks, though, I can’t afford more expensive tools. And since I work weekends, that limits garage sales and flea markets. Still, I’ve found a couple gems inside the flops.

  6. Peter Perrello August 12, 2013

    PM1800 $3699 back in the fall of ’09 and that doesn’t include a resaw blade, custom mobile base by HTC, a really big 220v breaker, #6 wiring, and $100 bucks for the local moving company to get in into my shop. Another 10,000 feet of resawing I’ll break even on the investment (LOL).

  7. Bainiet August 13, 2013

    Easy to spend $2,500+ with Festool, just buy the CMS with all the modules and extensions… Worth every penny though if you have to move it all the time! ;-)

  8. james August 13, 2013

    second hand festool kapex $1400 NZ dollars thats like $1100 USD

  9. Scott August 13, 2013

    $3900 for a Vicmarc VL175 Wood lathe.

  10. Boj August 13, 2013

    I’ve just spend 4400 on a hammer a3-31 with a silent power cutterblock
    2500 for a wadkin cabinet saw from the seventies but with a new motor
    730 on a felder af-14 dustcollector and 1900 on a kapex
    It’s an expensive year!

  11. James August 13, 2013

    I purchased a Woodmaster 18″ planner Being a person who wants a tool to last a lifetime not one time use, I wanted something that will show its quality as welll as its performence. I prefer to have tools Made in the USA. as the Woodmaster is made here. If it can’t be bought new, I will find made and used in the USA.

    • Riley August 13, 2013

      James, that is one of my most used tools in my shop, I love my woodmaster!

  12. Dave Spafford August 13, 2013

    $2325 for my Sawstop Contractor Saw with the mobile base and 2 cast iron extension wings.

  13. J R Rightmire August 13, 2013

    I spent over $3800 in 1997 for the shopsmith (5 in 1) system. For the hobbyist woodworking this is a great system.

  14. Chris H August 13, 2013

    Does a vehicle to support the delivery of commissioned works count? I would have had a vehicle anyway, but certainly not a truck.

    I am surprised how much concentration there is in the +$2500 mark. I would have expected a bell curve peaking in the $1000-$1500 range. Very interesting.

    • Brian August 13, 2013

      The low spot of $2500 catches a lot of table saws. That is where my vote was, $3300 for my table saw.

  15. Dave Jenkins August 13, 2013

    The wife is getting broody for kids. I keep putting her off because there are soooo many tools I want to buy and kids would mean no tools :-(

    • Brian August 13, 2013

      I hear ya, basically outfitted my shop this year with everything but a bandsaw knowing a kid was in the works.

    • Jeffrey August 13, 2013

      I really love woodworking but children are much more valuable than any tool I could buy.

    • Chris August 14, 2013

      Dave, the kids wont necessarily take time away from the shop. I have spent more time in the garage doing wood working and have purchased the bulk (granted smaller dollar amounts) of my woodworking tools since having kids. Dont let that stop you, kids are pretty awesome.

    • Kids are a great blessing, & don’t mean no tools. I have 3 kids ages 3-7 & have built my shop up from almost nothing to a decent sized basement full in their lifetime. Kids give you someone to pass the craft on to too! :)

  16. Sk1pp3r August 13, 2013

    $220 on my router combo.

  17. Brian August 13, 2013

    CNC is a tool, equipment is like a truck to move stuff.

  18. Ted August 13, 2013

    I’ve always heard, and agree with, that you take a tool to the material and the material to a piece of equipment. Trucks, forklifts, etc. are a whole different type of thing regarding woodworking and don’t fit the definition. They aren’t used to process the material so they are neither tool or equipment when it comes to woodworking.

    If you want further evidence you just need to browse a few woodworking dealers websites for “hand tools”, “power tools” and “woodworking equipment” and see what comes up.


      Equipment is a broad category for things you are equipped with to get a particular job done. Tools are a subset of that broad definition. I consider my stationary power tools as well as my hand tools part of the equipment I use to do woodworking. If it helps you shape wood, it’s a tool for woodworking.

  19. Brian A August 13, 2013

    $3995 on a rocker CNC machine

  20. abt August 13, 2013

    Festool T75 track saw. Believe the hype.

  21. wenyce August 13, 2013

    $1600 USD a festool product.

  22. Sam Green August 14, 2013

    $2800 on a SawStop Professional table saw. I had a close call on my Craftsman cabinet table saw and was lucky and just cut my thumb. I sold the Craftsman and bought the SawStop. I looked at it as paying the emergency room bill ahead of time

    • Beechwood Chip August 14, 2013

      $2000 on a SawStop Contractor table saw. I had a close call on my Bosch 4100 table saw and was lucky and just cut my finger. I sold the Bosch and bought the SawStop. I looked at it as paying the emergency room bill ahead of time.

  23. Cal Deobald August 14, 2013

    I have bought most of my stationary tools used, so most of them have cost $1,400 or less, but, frustrated with the chip-out I was getting from an old 20″ General planer I’d bought, I dumped it and blew $3,600 on a 20″ King Industrial spiral model instead. No regrets there.

  24. Magnus August 14, 2013

    About a year ago, I sold all my stationary Grizzly equipment in order to purchase a Hammer combo machine. The setback was about $12,ooo! Seems like a huge chunk of change. The gains are huge though. Especially all the extra space I have now to actually move around and still retain the big 5 stationary tools.

  25. Barrski August 14, 2013

    I bought a Grizzly 12″ sliding Table saw used for $5500.00 . I wanted to go euro style cutting, never have connected it yet, need to hire a electrician that knows 3 phase and how to connect to a 3phase converter. Maybe one day!

    • lynxsg August 17, 2013

      Hire an electrician to connect your 3 phase saw using available single phase power. The converter will cost more than the electrician.

      Steve (industrial electrician, retired)

  26. David Fitzgerald August 14, 2013

    Since I’m just a hobyist, I find it difficult to part with large sums of money for tools. I have somehow managed to turn out decent stuff over the years with box store kit. In recent years, I have dropped some significant cheddar (reference to “Breaking Bad”) for some Festool combos (OF1400 and CT36, MFT and TS55), but the most serious buy was a SawStop Professional Saw I picked up last year. I play guitar as my other passion in life and I kept thinking about how hard it would be to lose that. Turned out to be the perfect rationale for the wife as well….

  27. Tom (http://n/a) August 14, 2013

    I agree, Mark, these polls are for fun. I was having fun until I realized my poll entry had a dangling chad. Wouldn’t want anyone to get upset about that, so I better not cast it. I don’t know exactly what my most expensive tool is, because I traded some handguns for my JET air filter, jointer, band saw and a Delta planer. I long for the day when I can spend some big bucks for a real cabinet saw.

  28. Jamie August 14, 2013

    The Handibot! Handibot.com

    I can’t wait till it ships!

  29. claude August 14, 2013

    The most probably on a Bosch router table. But I tell you what the best deals have been yard sales! My wife and I try to go every Sunday morning. Best deal so far (and keep in mind all the tools were used maybe once or twice) I got a 13″riobi planer , ports cable router with plunge base 40 piece bit set a bunch of new table saw blades and small things all for $75 most of my tools though not the highest quality have been from yard sales:)

  30. Violet August 14, 2013

    I was thinking it was $900 which is what I paid for an immaculate late model Powermatic 66 table saw (my local community college upgraded to SawStops) but then I remembered my lathe (Delta midi) ran about $1200 (not including the chucks, chisels, etc.).

  31. hippyengineer August 14, 2013

    Craigslist has kept me flush in good quality tools and all for under a grand, including my Jet 52″ cabinet saw.

  32. Gary August 14, 2013

    Your right Marc. This is getting silly. I thought this was a woodworking site not a class room.

  33. Rick August 15, 2013

    950 euro 1250 dollars roughly for my scm fs30 1995 bought second hand this year and 500 for a sip 01332 table saw about 650 dollars also bought this year second hand these tools r about 4000 new can’t afford that :( lots of work getting them running perfectly tho.

  34. TylerW August 15, 2013

    I recently spent $650 on a 20 year old Delta Dj-20 8″ parallelogram jointer that I found on C-list. You could call it $750 since I needed to buy new blades for it and a mobile base. I was thrilled with the purchase and even more so when I got there and the guy selling it told me he was retiring and getting ready to move and wanted to clean his shop out. He ended up giving me 50+ board feet of ash, red oak and walnut on top of the jointer!

    Also, am I the only one who finds it ironic that someone in a comment section about tools is acting like a total tool (see the 2(d) definition)?

  35. Jon McGrath August 15, 2013

    Wow- looking through the comments… First, how did the fun poll deal turn into this? So I won’t feel bad pulling up my big boy pants and jumping on the soapbox for a moment…
    As for me – the same as most – Table Saw was the highest $$ – Delta Unisaw, I guess some 10 years ago now. Of course some real “prettys”, (try to find that definition LOL), from Lie Nielsen and some impeccable vintage pieces also can grab some Benjamin’s.
    But to shamelessly use the MC commercials, while each tool had a cost, the experience of shop time, the ability to create, share and give as a result of those tools and our organic addiction (TREES people, not the “other” organic) that is the beauty in the media we choose and hope rather than alter it, reflect it’s beauty in another form… Well all of that is Priceless :)

  36. Claude Stewart August 15, 2013

    It would have to be my tablesaw. 750.00

  37. Bob D. August 15, 2013

    Over 2200$ for a 8″ jointer

  38. Steve August 16, 2013

    Have to be my table saw. And my favorite tool by far.

  39. Kevin August 16, 2013

    Are you seriously getting in a pissing match over this? I’m glad you have time to waste on this rather than making saw dust. Marc, thanks for putting up with us!!!

  40. Timmer August 16, 2013

    My Sawstop, then my MM16, both from C-List

    I think Andy Rooney has provided the answer to your question, I especially like the Rembrandt reference. I can’t count the number of friends that question the money spent on tools, the same folks that would not think twice about spending $80 on a bottle of wine. Naturally, those same folks are fascinated by that super cool Spags Cutting Board you made, and generously offer $20 for you to produce one for them ;-)

    In My Imagination All of My Tools are Sharp “A tour of a tool jukie’s shop and psyche” by Andy Rooney, Fine Woodworking

    “… If I had known when buying them which tools I would use regularly and which tools I would almost never use, I might have saved enough money to take over Bill Gates’ share of Microsoft. I would also have enough room left in my shop for tools I do use, space now taken up by the tools I do not use. It is certain that the tools I own exceed the total value of anything I have ever made with them, but the satisfaction they have given me simply by their presence is priceless.

    When strangers come into my shop and look around, they often look at a tool and ask, What do you do with that? They don’t understand that having the tool, like having good wood, is an end in itself. If I owned a Rembrandt, no one would ask, What do you do with it? …”
    From Fine Woodworking #146 , pp. 86 January 1, 2001

  41. CarlJ August 16, 2013

    Like a few others, a little over $3K for my SawStop Cabinet Saw. I look at is as pre-paid insurance. : ) I just built a stand alone shop and thought I should spring for a good tool to put in it, and that was it. It took me a loooong time to finally cut the check, but wtf, you only go around once – may as well enjoy the ride.

  42. My most expensive tool was a little different: A Pistorius Double Miter Saw. It retailed for about $8000, but I got it at auction for $3000. (and sold it last year at auction for about $400 :-P)
    It cut perfect miters. And I cut a lot making Frank Lloyd Wright designed lamps.

  43. Allan Johnson August 17, 2013

    I’m surprised that the poll topped out at $2500 as some machines can cost as much as twice or more. My woodworking machine costs significantly more than the $2500 limit of the poll, to the tune of ten times as much. Now, I’m not bragging about the cost of my machine though some probably will say I am; instead I wanted to show that the poll has a large margin of the $2500 or large. I would have thought that the polls top number should be above $10,000. My tool is a timberking 1600. Since it shapes logs into sized wood it is considered to be a woodworking machine. It’s just a much larger bandsaw that can handle larger pieces of wood.

  44. I just dropped $15k on a legacy CNC. Not including the software which was another $2.5k. Worth every penny. Just check out the spiral columns on the website.

  45. Alex Borins August 17, 2013

    I’m a cheap bastard, all my tools are either inherited or bought for next to nothing. I bought an old Delta wood lathe for 150, then added a 3PH motor with a VFD. Also, I bought a large drill press, Buffalo Forge 15″ model. 55 dollars. Still hunting for a jointer though :)

  46. Tom_CH October 1, 2013

    Oh, wow. I see tools are much cheaper in the US…
    I have spent 20000 $ on a Felder KF 700 sliding table saw/shaper combo.
    There is no way I would give this away. It hurt when I have transferred the money, but now it’s pure joy :)

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