cheaper tools from the USA ? read this first



I have written this as a note which is self expalnitory. (question has been asked a few times now)

You see an electric tool on a website, price is in U.S. dollars as its American website, you do conversion rate, yes its about 2/3 - 1/2 price than here. OR IS IT?

Let's see.

America has 120v 60 hz ac for its mains

We have 230v 50hz ac for ours, NO chance

:idea: I will get a "site transformer" and run it from that


Site transformers are centre tapped giving 55v / leg to earth

USA mains is 110v to earth

So you get:


55v - 0v - 55v


120v - 0v

Your electric tool is expecting 120v - 0V NOT 55v-0v-55v so it may not work.

Also as the USA is 60hz (we are 50hz) your tools motor will run slower, this may cause it to overheat / burn out (also any fans will not be running at optimum speed)

You must also add the cost of the site transformer.

You also invalidate any waranty, and as its an import, you are unlikely to be able to get spares "off the shelf" (unless you import those too)

You think that's all? read on

You give USA site your cc. details, you then may have to pay EXTRA for shipping to the UK

c.c. company will charge you a % for exchange rate

As you are bringing something into the UK from the USA, YOU are now an importer.

This means that YOU are liable for, IMPORT DUTY, and VAT (VAT is also charged on the packaging)

BUT wait, you say, i am a private individual, i dont pay VAT.

YOU DO if you are importing something, this can take anything up to a day on the phone to get a "special VAT number" (whole topic in itself)

While all this is taking place your tool (or what ever) may be sitting in a bonded warehouse, the warehouse company can then charge you STORAGE

You may also have to pay transport from the warehouse to your place.

In summary

You will have to pay for:

Tool (or what ever you are bringing in), extra shipping to the UK, cc. company conversion fee, transformer, VAT, import duty, storage.

I admit it does depend on size weight / value of what you are importing, (the bigger / heavier, the longer it takes), even if it can be posted in a padded envelope, IT WILL get stopped and YOU have to PAY

In short

What was cheap now isn't

Just one question do you really want to go through all the above ?

You can also opt to refuse to pay import duty, VAT etc, in which case you have to say so in writing, and if you do, ask politley to watch it being destroyed (this is so you know that no one else can have it at your expense, but this means you have to go to xyz at YOUR expense + the cost of what was destroyed)

your choice

How do i know all the above? I have done it. (several times) it really depends on WHAT you are importing but now you have all the information, you decide.

The big boys

The big companies do it all the time (except they are VAT registered) and instead of ONE tool, they bring in hundreds, the import /vat / shipping is then divided between the hunred or so tools imported, and they also import 230 v equipment, specialy made for here.
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Breezer is correct about everything he says.

I used to collect imported cars from the USA via Holland.

The general rule of thumb was that the dollar price became the pound price with the taxes. That is to say a 20,000 dollar car in the US cost you £20,000 here. Cars don't have electrical problems, but you may have to change lights and have special mot tests.

I would suggest everybody heeds Breezers warning,it is not worth it, you never get anything for nothing in the UK.
Also if you were using it on site as opposed to private use and there was an accident would your insurance company pay out if the tool was not CE approved? or had been modified or not used as intended.

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I don't really understand anybody considering buying power tools from the US. It never occured to me to even consider buying from over there. I would only buy in UK as although prices might be higher (offset somewhat by seeking out bargains - like £300 Bosch GOF900CE router from Machine Mart for 100 quid), I can get (in Bosch's case) a 3 year warranty, and if anything does go wrong, I can sort it with a UK supplier. Surely, nobody buying in the US can improve on a professional quality router with 3 year warranty for £100? What possible better deal could be obtained from the US? In Bosch's case (I tend to buy Bosch) it so happens that many of their tools are made in the USA.
Handyman said:
I don't really understand anybody considering buying power tools from the US.

It has been asked several times on this forum. I guess its because people see the price as "being cheaper" on a USA on line tool store but do not think / unsure of (so they ask) of the consequences
It is not always a case of saving money.

The U.S. has a massive range of tools and lots of stuff you just don't see in this country.

I bought a Porter Cable "D" handled router 7years ago, I got it through a specialist importer cost me £360, cost over there $120. Was it worth the money? no, am I glad I got it? yes, more money than sense? proberly.

The spare parts issue is important, I have waited 4 months for a plastic guard for a mitre saw, which I cannot use, it's just too dangerous, without it. I bought this from somebody who imported it himself.
better to ask now, then find out later. As for buying tools from machine mart, having spent some time looking on the web at variuos suppliuers, they seem to be quite expensive.
Just to muddy the waters a little, i asked dewalt about this with regards to the dw708 mitre saw and i they have said it would run perfectly well on a 110 v site transformer. Still ive managed to pick one up brand new from the uk for £475.00 so im more than happy now! (new toy new toy new toy!!)

Thermo, is that £475 inc vat? Where is that from then? I'm just about to buy a 712 and the best price I could find is from Lawson-His @£381.88 inc vat. The 708 is £521.70 inc vat.
Shaggy, yep that sincluding vat and delivery. Unfortunatley its from a guy on ebay who only has one left, brand new still boxed never opened. That is quite a good price for the 708 youve been quoted there. I looked at the 712, however im using mine for all sorts of stuff including large timbers in landscaping so i needed the extra cut. I was thinking of the 712 but for the difference in the depth of cut i decided to pay the extra. I know a lot of people say the 712 is good but if you atre using it for kitchen fitting ive been told it struggles with the deep cornices. Its worth keeping your eyes open though as ive seen new ones on e-bay for just under 500 on a regular basis (guarenteed etc)

Ok Thermo, thanks for info; sounds like you got a bargain. My mate's had an Elu for years, which looks like it is now re-badged as the dw707 and has been a good machine although only 60mm depth cut. The 712 has 70mm depth cut & will do me. Anything bigger & I'll get my chain-saw out!

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