How to Pawn or Sell Your Tools

February 04, 2020 - Equipment and Tools

Sometimes when doing home improvements, you need a specific tool to complete a task.

That happened a lot when I was trying to finish my basement. I decided it would be best to avoid spending so much money on new tools at retail prices, and instead buy tools from pawn shops. I realized I could even sell the power tools back after the job was complete. A lot of people run into similar situations, creating high demand – and that’s a reason why pawn shops love buying tools. If you have tools you wish to sell, buy or pawn, go to a pawn shop. Here are a few tips on how to get top dollar for your tools.

In fact, tools make up 8.1 percent of all things sold to pawn shops. This might seem like a low statistic, but it’s actually the third highest category after the jewelry and electronics.

If you’re considering pawning tools, you’re making a great choice. Once you learn why it’s a great idea to pawn tools, you’ll probably agree that this statistic should be much higher.

Some are a great deal and can be like new with a simple rebuild. Many folks are in the market for a particular tool and know they can find some of the best that is just now broken in.

If you have some of these quality tools or are looking to buy, here are some names, models, and qualities to look for to get the most out of reselling your used power tools.

Selling Power Tools: It Pays to Pawn

Popular brands like Bosch, DeWalt, and Stihl command quality and with the quality is a high price tag. Outside of them breaking, a tool will do its job in 5, 10, even 25 years if cared for. This means they hold or even increase in value as they become collectibles!

Consider the following if you want to sell tools for cash:

You Can Get Them Back

Many people assume pawn shop transactions are always a one-and-done deal. They assume a person brings something in and leaves with cash. That’s not always true.

Pawn shops are in the lending business.

You can take power tools in, place them as collateral, and receive a short-term loan for their value. This is the “pawn” in pawn shops. By paying back the loan, you receive the collateral so you’re not out your items if you’re responsible.

Compare pawning versus predatory loans found at cash advance locations. The pawn shop offers fair value and loan terms that won’t further drive you in a hole. That’s why we always recommend folks in need of cash try pawn shops, which offer far better services and terms.

Quick Cash in the Off-Season

Let’s piggy-back on using power tools as collateral for the short-term loan.

Your tools may go unused for months on end during the off-season like during the winter months. During that time, you need capital to pay bills and get by.

A pawn shop presents an opportunity to get fast cash for items you’re not using. Then, when work picks up, you could return and get items back.

Make a Real Connection

Pawn shops encourage repeat business and will work with known customers. The connection could include better loan terms. Or, higher payouts given they have a history and they know the value items have with the person.

Alternative Options and No Credit Ding

Pawn shops offer an alternative for those who can’t get loans from banks. Likewise, you can walk away from the pawn without a ding to your credit if need be (minus collateral).

Your toolbox, in some ways, becomes your own personal bank. The power tools give you financial options when you’re ready to make a deal.

Money, Money, Money

Pawning tools actually will get you a lot more money than you think it will. Depending on their brand and condition, you can get anywhere between $50 and $150 dollars for a single piece. If you were to sell them at a garage sale, you definitely wouldn’t make anywhere near this much!

Pawn shops also give more money at certain times of the year or when demand is higher for your item. If it’s spring, a lot of your power tools, especially those for yard maintenance, are going to go for a lot more money since people want them for the summer season.

Throwing these tools in the garbage is basically the same as you throwing a $50 bill into the trash chute!

Out with the Old

Power tools are big and clunky and take up a lot of space in the garage. This is all well and good if you use them, but if you don’t, do yourself a favor and pawn or sell them to your local pawn shop. This will make space for things you actually will use.

Also, selling or pawning power tools will give someone else who can’t buy them full-price access to them. Don’t let items sit, and give people access to good deals: pay it forward!

What Kind of Used Power Tools Are Good?

There are different tools for all types of jobs. However, some are in high demand. These are often things like drills, saws, grinders, and sanders.

Often times, new box-store power are great for everyday use. But the plastic construction and battery powered motors can burn out and be a bear to replace.

Pneumatic tools, like pneumatic drills, often have strong metal casings that can be split and the internals refinished or replaced.

Tools like Ingersoll Rand, Mac, and Snap-On, for example, are great platforms for a rebuild and offer incredible warranties that cover all types of use done to the tool. Pneumatic items from these companies are hot sellers in pawn shops.

Drills aren’t the only power tools though. Dual-action sanders from Ingersoll Rand and other professional body companies are hot commodities at pawn shops and thrift stores alike.

Older Tools

If you come across an old pneumatic drill, stop a moment and check the label. Even if it is inoperable, you can fetch a decent price for what may otherwise be a paperweight.

Remember, even if you don’t have the means to rebuild a device, someone else might. Consider selling it for a low price as a vintage tool or shell.

However, an even better option you might have is to send the tool into the manufacturer to see if they can apply a warranty to the device.

Companies like Snap-On take pride in their equipment and may observe the warranty if the tool has not yet been registered to someone.

Old tools have a lot to offer. Keep an eye out for potential money makers at garage sales and storage sheds!

Rebuilding Tools

You may consider rebuilding a tool yourself. Even electric devices like table saws and sanders may only need a few parts.

Saw blades, chuck-heads, and sanding pad bases can be easy and quick fixes with a call to the manufacturer, search in a catalog, and quick YouTube video.

Picking up a “broken” device may just mean replacing parts that require maintaining and replacement anyways. The key is to keep a keen eye!


The condition of your tools is very important. Pawn shops want to buy tools that will last. They won’t spend time and money buying tools they need to fix before they can make a profit. There are certain brands that right off the bat pawn shops will swoon for. If these top brand tools are clean and have paperwork for them, you can can get a really good deal for them. Here is a table below to show you what the best brands in tools are. If you want more information on tool quality, please look at Cleanup.Expert.






-Snap On

Less Desirable-Rigid






Prepare to Pawn Tools

Another great thing about pawning power tools is that they don’t require a lot of preparation before you take them into the pawn shop. Sure, you’ll need to make sure all the parts and the manual are there and give them a good cleaning. But that’s a super easy and basic task that doesn’t take much work.

If you were going to pawn jewelry or electronics, you’d have to do a lot more prep work before bringing them in. Power tools are a really simple alternative if you’re looking to sell or pawn something.

Clean your tools

Presentation is key here. Pawn shops want to see that you’ve maintained your tools properly and that they will last a long time for their next owner. If you have and dirt or dust on your tools, wipe it down. Make them ready to sell.

Boxing & Paperwork

Boxing and paperwork completes the package of your tools. Pawn shops love the complete package because they’re easier to sell.

Happy Pawning!

You might have been questioning whether or not it was worth it to pawn tools before, but now you can say with confidence that it is.

Now that you know a great way to make money and get rid of unwanted clutter, you might want to check out this article for some ideas of other things you can also take to the pawn store when you’re taking in your tools. Enjoy!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email the PawnGuru team at We’re eager to help!
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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