If you just started shopping for woodworking equipment, it may seem like cost is the biggest difference between one piece of hardware and another of the same make. However, the cost difference between the machines typically reflects where the true difference really lies: in the equipment’s grade of construction.Woodworking equipment is manufactured in three grades, with each possessing less quality and production capacity than the next: hobby grade, mid grade, and industrial grade. If you plan on running a high capacity woodworking operation, you will likely need the capabilities of industrial woodworking machinery – the grade of equipment that offers the highest production rate, longest lifespan, and best resale value.Comparing Grades of EquipmentWhile the differences between hobby grade, mid grade, and industrial grade equipment are elementary, and shouldn’t cause one to accidentally buy the wrong type of equipment, people routinely use the wrong grade of equipment for their needs. Often, the misuse results from choosing an insufficient grade of equipment in hopes of saving money, but it can also result from over investing in hardware that offers too much capacity, not too little.Before they purchase equipment, woodworkers are wise to take a refresher course on how each grade of hardware is meant to be operated, and why.As its name indicates, hobby grade equipment is intended for hobbyist work, meaning work that isn’t produced in high volume, and doesn’t require the hardware to possess a special capability, such as the ability to cut on five axes. Because their short lifespan limits their resale value, hobby grade models are seldom purchased as used woodworking machinery,. In addition to production capacity, this is a major way in which the equipment differs from mid grade and industrial grade models.Compared to industrial woodworking machinery, mid grade models also have limited capabilities and a short lifespan, which limit their value as used woodworking machinery. However, their capabilities may be robust enough to suffice for the capabilities of industrial equipment on a short-term basis. For example, a mid grade CNC router may achieve the production rate of an industrial model, but the strenuous operation makes it wear prematurely, which leads to frequent breakdowns and affects work quality.Although using mid grade hardware in place of industrial hardware is financially insensible in the long run, the cost of the latter tempts workers to use with a lesser grade of equipment.However, the availability of reliable, attractively priced, pre-owned industrial equipment makes this scenario unnecessary, especially when sellers offer attractive financing options.ConclusionUsing the right equipment is essential to producing quality work. Although hobby grade and and mid grade models don’t cost as much as industrial woodworking machinery, neither do their production capabilities allow one to produce the same quality and volume of work as an industrial model. When the cost of industrial hardware is a barrier to getting the equipment one needs, buying the equipment as used woodworking machinery is a better option that using an insufficient grade of equipment to cut costs.