Tools for A/C Work

Started by Dwayne2021, July 18, 2021, 08:35:36 AM

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So, wow, what a year for me so far. I am a first year apprentice, having changed careers after 20 years to do this. I have spent well over 7$ in tools. I don't know if its covid and prices are ridiculous, or what the deal is. I had a helluva time finding exactly what I wanted. My trainer has a hilmor hydraulic swager that he paid 300$ for new a few years ago. That same swager today is 600$! I have bought mostly fieldpiece and hilmor tools. RSL is out to lunch on their prices. Most companies do not carry fieldpiece or hilmor. The ones that do, haven't gotten the latest models and are not keeping up with the technology. I spent something like 3k$ at RSL and I gotta say, their staff seem like jerks to me. I understand that they get a commission on tools that they sell. I went in there to buy a hilmor swager and tube benders and their price was not only ridiculous, but I must have been small potatoes cause there was zero give in their prices. This led me to hours of doing online searches. I eventually bought a set of tube benders from yellowjacket that work fine locally from another retailer (not what I wanted), blackmax hydraulic swager from the USA(works amazing) and some other fieldpiece gear from the USA. I would love to buy locally and exhausted my efforts with local suppliers who can't get certain equipment in, can't locate the latest models or just don't carry certain brands.   I guess I am curious where everyone here in Canada shops for their tools online? I am paying a fortune in duties and exchange rates. I feel like if you want what you want, then you gotta pay, but it sure would be nice to give my money to a Canadian company.  I apologize for my little rant on RSL, but most techs that I talk to have had the same exp there (at my local retailer anyways). I would love to have bought all my tools there.


When you say $7, I assume you mean 7 grand? I don't bother with swaging. I just get what I need in bushings or reducing couplings. I find the Yellow Jacket tube bending kit is more than good enough. I also have the reverse bending attachment that comes in handy in odd spots. Since I do more commercial than residential, the hard drawn a/c copper doesn't allow for any swaging anyway.
I've also been a fan of fieldpiece for a longtime. I have the sc640 multi meter, the dual port manometer, the hot wire anemometer, and the dual port psychrometer. One tool they have that didn't work out well was the inspection mirror with the led light. It's not built well for anything tougher than a stay at home mom. All the other pieces of equipment are absolutely fantastic. I bought them years ago when things were a little cheaper, some were barely used, most were new. We do have one or two wholesalers in this area that carry fieldpiece, but most suppliers I go to don't carry it.
You do have to do your own homework trying to source items for the best price. Our company is a huge customer at our main wholesaler, and every single one of their tools are still priced out to lunch for what I can get at a competitor down the road. It's actually frustrating having to make extra trips because their prices are so bad.