How do you feel about buying no-name tools?

It usually makes me a little queasy. When I find cheap, unbranded tools in the bargain bin at the hardware store, or at a deep discount online, I’m automatically suspicious.

My father and grandfather, who both used tools to make a living every day, always told me to buy American-made, good quality power tools. “If you want ‘em to last,” grandpa always said, “get the best tools you can afford.”

So I’ve always tried to take their advice, and it usually pays off.

However—sometimes you see a tool that is such a bargain, so attractively priced, that you can’t resist. That’s what happened with my Neiko Grinder.

I was in my local tool retailer, who sells the high-priced brands as well as a few no-name bargain tools, when I picked up this Neiko 10613A Angle Grinder out of the bargain bin. Made to fit a 4 ½” grinding disc, I knew it would come in handy for metal work, welding bead clean-up and general fabrication on my current hot rod project. I needed a grinder, although I knew I wouldn’t use one that often, and I had priced the name-brand tools already. They came in at somewhere between $75-$150, a lot to pay for a tool I probably wouldn’t fire up more than once a month. You can order this tool from their distributor ToolSale.com for about $41 with shipping or from Amazon for $36.

I picked up the Neiko and thought whoa! This thing’s heavy! I’ve always felt that you can generally feel the quality of a power tool just by its heft, and this one felt substantial. It has a top-mounted, locking trigger—good when you don’t want to expose your fingers to sparks from the grinding you’re doing—and a reversible side handle, a necessity for holding the tool stable when grinding steel. It has a big 7/8” arbor and a powerful 6.8 amp motor, plenty of grunt to grind whatever I needed.

I looked for the label next. I wanted to know: where was this thing made? All the tool said was Neiko USA. No “Made in Taiwan” or “Made in China” or “Made in Waziristan” label anywhere. Hmmm. I searched for Neiko USA on my smartphone, and nothing came up but a list of domestic tool distributors. No website—rarely a good sign. But the grinder felt so good, I decided to take the risk.

I asked the tool guy: “How much?”

“Thirty bucks,” he said.

“Any warranty?”

“Lifetime guarantee,” he said. “It’ll work until it dies.”

Sold. I bought the no-name Neiko and took it home, along with the nagging feeling that it wouldn’t perform very well.

But, hey, sometimes you actually do get a good deal. This grinder has performed flawlessly, on a wide variety of tough jobs, for quite a while now. It doesn’t heat up in my hands when I grind steel or welding slag. It doesn’t vibrate or wobble. It’s noisy and heavy, but that’s no big deal when you’re shooting sparks with its grinding wheel. Reliable, strong, powerful and cheap—that’s a good combination in my book.

I got interested in Neiko tools because of the good quality of this grinder, and looked a little more into the company. They import tools from Taiwan and China, it turns out—don’t trust that Neiko USA label—with the Taiwanese tools representing a little higher, more professional grade. Was my 10613A Grinder made in Taiwan or China? Who knows? Regardless of its country of origin, though, I enjoy using this reliable, tough tool.

Summary

This Neiko 10613A Grinder is a heavy, reliable, inexpensive tool of dubious origin. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Pros

  • Top-mounted trigger
  • Rugged construction
  • Powerful motor
  • Not much $

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Who knows where it’s made?
  • Warranty? What warranty?