A guide to choosing the right portable machine tools

Portable Lathe
Portable Lathe
03 Mar 2022

When purchasing portable machine tools (PMTs), the top concerns have to be safety, quality, durability, performance, versatility, ease of use, and – ultimately – total cost of ownership and return on your investment.

We invite you to ask these four critical questions when purchasing a PMT from any OEM or supplier:


1) How safe is the tool?

Are you using the safest tools available? User safety has to be the No. 1 priority anytime you are machining on-site. “Hands-free” feed, safety interlocks, protection from pinch points and remote-controlled operation are all factors to consider.


2) Will the tool last and perform under demanding conditions?

Many OEMs don’t use strong metals, high-grade bearings or gear boxes, robust power units, or high-grade cutting bits and tooling. Plenty of companies can make a machine that performs in their showrooms, but ask about how the tool performs in demanding conditions and applications: Does the tool perform consistently throughout the advertised range? Does it chatter, stall, skip or bind? Don’t believe the hype until you’ve tried the machine for yourself and pushed it to the edge.

There’s no shortage of PMTs that work for a little while and then break. 


3) How versatile is the PMT? What are the configurations, options and accessories?

Don’t get forced into one of a few pre-defined models or let an OEM convince you there is a “one-size-fits-all” tool. Ask how versatile and configurable the tools are. This will allow you to expand the capabilities of the tool at any time in the future, keeping pace with growing business needs.


4) Can the PMT supplier & manufacturer serve all my needs?

Don’t just buy a machine; buy the value that comes from an OEM that can meet all your after-sale needs. Questions you could ask are

  • Can you get certified OEM training and application support from experts?
  • Does the OEM have a local support network that is available 24/7?
  • Can you rent a tool? Where can you rent the tool? Can you rent it often?
  • Can you get custom tools or parts for your specific applications?
  • Where is the PMT made; in a substandard facility by low-priced labour or in an ISO 9001-certified factory?

Buying from a reputable manufacturer or reseller that can meet all your needs is crucial and will add real economic value to your business offering.

Consultation, application engineering, installation support, custom designs, sales, rentals, factory-certified repair and tool maintenance services, spare parts, a complete range of products and local support are all key to successfully buying a PMT.

Contact Field Machine Tools to learn more about choosing the right portable machine tools.