Best tool isn’t necessarily the largest

Although I was never a fan of the TV show “Home Improvement”, I am amused by the appetite for tools by the main character, Tim Taylor. Whenever there was a job to do, Tim purchased the largest tool he could find, which was gross overkill. This is so amusing because it is so true in real life.

So many times, I see consumers get preoccupied with specifications and buy the biggest thing they can possibly afford. Often a cheaper item is a better fit. For instance, as people rush to replace their wireless computer networking gear, they forget that the oldest wireless standard, 802.11b (“wi-fi”), is about 4x as fast as the fastest cable or DSL connection. In few cases will a home user see any benefit from a wireless networking standard that is 5x or 10x faster.

Another example: people who purchase cameras based on megapixels. (“Look, this one has 8 megapixels! It’s 4 times as good as my old 2 megapixel camera!”). It only takes 2 megapixels to enlarge a 150 dpi photo to 8 x 10! Aside from Digital SLRs, which use a different technology, cameras with “only” 5 megapixels generally produce better images than those with more.

Spend wisely.

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