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Harbor Freight Tools - Your Experiences


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#16 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted June 05, 2010 - 10:50 AM

When it comes to tools, I would love to own nothing but snap-on or Mac but I can't afford them. My next best is craftsman or at least it was. I haven't bought any tools in a long time to know if they still have their lifetime replacement. I will certainly buy HF and NT tools. In fact I am going to be buying an Ingersol air compressor from NT before too long. Can't beat the price they have with free shipping. Ingersol had a local operation here in Shippensburg but I believe it is owned by Volvo now.

#17 jdslednut ONLINE  

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Posted June 05, 2010 - 03:16 PM

Well, I received my mini tire changer from HF today. I wanted to put it to work but it's not going to happen unless I redrill some holes. The pin won't go through the holes in the aluminum handle, one pin has a busted spring in it, and the channel iron mount on the base is welded crooked. Argh! I have sent an email to them requesting replacement parts so we'll see how that goes. I've taken some pictures and plan to post when I get to a faster connection someday in the future. I'll keep everyone up to date on the quality of customer service I do or do not receive. I've read a lot of good things about these so I hope this turns out well!

#18 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted June 05, 2010 - 03:18 PM

Well, I received my mini tire changer from HF today. I wanted to put it to work but it's not going to happen unless I redrill some holes. The pin won't go through the holes in the aluminum handle, one pin has a busted spring in it, and the channel iron mount on the base is welded crooked. Argh! I have sent an email to them requesting replacement parts so we'll see how that goes. I've taken some pictures and plan to post when I get to a faster connection someday in the future. I'll keep everyone up to date on the quality of customer service I do or do not receive. I've read a lot of good things about these so I hope this turns out well!


It sucks when you do get one of the lemons, let us know how you make out. I hope they pull through on the customer service end.

#19 tractormike OFFLINE  

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Posted June 05, 2010 - 03:26 PM

I have bought several micrometers, digital calipers, and lathe bits from harbor frieght and they seem to be pretty well made and accurate. For what I do with my 9x20 lathe they will work fine. I also bought 4 each of their magnetic holders for when you are assembling pieces of steel.
I usually by my electrical and other tools from my local hardware store when they are on sale. The local hardware does keep quite an inventory of stuff and supplies on hand and it's only 4 miles away. I try to support it as if they would ever close I would have to go over 20 miles to the next hardware store for supplies.

#20 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted June 05, 2010 - 08:33 PM

Me too Mike, dial calipers, dial indicators, & micrometers, lathe bits....all are very accurate & dependable from HF. I've bought many woodworking tools from HF too, special wood bits, router bits, sanding belts...all do quality work & hold up well. Most of my electrical tools are brand name...Dewalt, Craftsman, Bosch, Skil, B&D, etc. Now my small bench top drill press from HF has been doing great for many years with the original motor. There are exceptions, and this drill press is one,...long lasting & plenty of power.

#21 onan302 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 07, 2010 - 12:14 AM

Im just gona narrow this all down.... Sometimes you get what you pay for, and sometimes you dont.

#22 mikebramel OFFLINE  

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Posted November 07, 2010 - 01:26 AM

lets see
8 gal 2hp compressor - OK, been running alot for over a year. its loud and its losing compression but i got the extended warranty and will use it
1/2" earthquake impact - GREAT. wish the compressor would give it enough air
1/2" earthquake ratchet - same. its loud. but no louder than the other air ratchets
13 drawer ball bearing heavy 41" tool cab - one of the best buys. got it for $280. a great deal. cant say enough about it.
4pc prybar set - no complaints. work good
leak down tester - not sure what to say. the gauge isnt consistent. i dont read the gauge anyways. just go off where to the air is escaping
fine tooth roto swivel head ratchets - GREAt
pittsburgh pliers - not worth your time. never tried the "pro" ones
taiwan gear puller/bearing splitter - pass
extra large chinese bearing splitter - OK. made of soft metal
set of four 3 jaw pullers - GOOD
impact sockets and extensions - good
digital battery analyzer - GOOD. paid for itself
nitrile gloves - 1st box GREAT. 2nd box OK. 3rd box GARBage. different sizes and thickness
double ply nitrile latex dark blue gloves - GREAT. stretch really far, good chemical resistance. only $7 this month with inside track

northern seems to be more expensive but they have less hit or miss items. also have bought american items form there like bondhus t-handles, bulk wiring, ernst tool organizers.

the best value in tools that i have found is TOPTUL Distributor | Wren Hand Tools never had a problem and what i have gotten. such as set of sae 1/4"-1" combo wrenches less than $100. i would put them up against snap on 8 days out of the week.

i would like to buy american but what these companies are charging is crazy. especially companies like mac and even matco which just sell imported tools for sky high prices. atleast with snap on you get mostly american but even they are taking all the "USA" off their tools. i have had pretty good luck with ebay on used industrial like proto, wright.

#23 DMF OFFLINE  

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Posted November 09, 2010 - 04:02 PM

I've had pretty good luck with their stuff. I did just cook an angle grinder this weekend but I'd had it for 20 years or so...

#24 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted November 09, 2010 - 04:36 PM

I love the air tools from HF. I also have several of their impact socket sets which I find are very good. I wouldn't buy any electric power tools from there as I have learned from the experiences of others. I also steer clear of their drill bits and grinding / cutting wheels. But as it said in an earlier post, you can usually tell if you're getting a deal by just looking at the display units.

#25 WQDL753 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 11, 2010 - 04:12 AM

Never got anything fom HF. I have got a few things fom NT and I like them, Sometimes I'll get stuff from MSC, the Nuline brand they carry is pretty decent for air tools, I got a gearless angle grinder several yeas ago that is great, it runs very smoth, not as powerfull as the Cleco grinder I have but probably $300 less.
Where you buy and what brand you get boils down to what you need it to do and how often. Sometimes cheap no-name does the job, sometimes it don't have a chance, and I'll just leave it at that.

#26 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted November 24, 2010 - 10:05 AM

One of the best buys at HF is the $10 set of grinding disks. (Even better with the 20% off coupon) It comes with 3 flap sanding disks. maybe 3 1/4" grinding stones and about 5 cut off disks. I have yet to have any of these fail, and use them a LOT! Keep in mind, just one flap disk will cot you between $5 to $7 anywhere else!

Socket sets - buy the impact ones and you will get a great value.
Tire irons - Awesome value at $5.00 each!
Leather welding apron... I paid $5.00 on sale, and it's amazingly good both in the heavy leather and the heavy straps to tie it.
I picked up a set of 4, 3-jaw pullers and while they are kinda flimsy, they did pull everything I needed to pull without fail.
I have the mini tire changer, and worked it hard on a set of J front wheels that were heavily rusted on the inside. Major work, but they were welded on to the rim. It did not break and only minor bending on the threaded rod.... I was abusing it though.
Moving dolly's... AWESOME for the price! I have one under a large 3-phase industrial drill press and you would never know its there!
Oh, and the purple gravity spray gun is very nice, although the cup is very thin and flimsy.

I would stay clear of any of the electrical stuff though.. I have not tried, but I do hear the red paddle handle 4.5" grinder is pretty good if you buy the warranty.

#27 SammyRye OFFLINE  

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Posted November 24, 2010 - 06:01 PM

As many of you, I'm not a cheap-skate or a tight-wad, but I am frugal and try to make an informed decision when purchasing something. I don't confine my purchases to just one brand anymore - it used to be Craftsman or nothing. Buy American? Not always - American manufacturers got complacent and were strolling along fat, dumb and happy, sticking it to their customers, all the while the foreign competition was sneaking up. All of a sudden there went out such a cry and hue - we're losing jobs to foreign competition - buy American - save our jobs! Bull - that's protectionism and kills the competitive nature of free enterprise. If there wasn't any competition, we wouldn't have innovation.

Anyway, as to HF, I've purchased several items from them and have not been disappointed. Not everything was great, but I balanced ny purchase against the intended use and cost - value. My worst purchase was a 4" angle grinder - used it for some major grinding and burned it out. It cost me $15 and did the job I wanted it to. I would've been really bummed if my Bosch grinder had burned out on that job, so the HF grinder was sacrifical and a good bargain.

I've purchased other electrical items from them without a problem - 4" mini-table saw, 4" cut-off saw, power chain saw sharpener, 2,000# winches (2), and a few other items. I try to match my expectations with the tool I'm buying, matching them to the price, thus a satisfying purchase. BTW - the winches seem to be identical to other "brand name" winches for almost double the money.

One of my most gratifying purchases was the 3-bit set of step drills - fantastic! I've used and abused these a lot and they haven't dulled or failed yet. Was in to Menards yesterday to purchase some 7/64" black oxide drill bits, and I noticed a similar set of step bits (made by Irwin, I think), and they were selling for $53 - I bought my set at HF on sale for $7.99! Now, to me, that's value!

Just because it says "Made in USA" (that's a country near RUSSIA, right? That's what a salesperson told me in a hardware store one day) or "Made in China" doesn't make it inherently good or bad. American manufacturers had it too good for too long and are now struggling to compete, while the buying public is demanding less expensive products, resulting in poorly designed and built products. We have truly gotten to be a disposable society.

Anyway, enough of my ranting! For me, I look for the best value when making a purchase. BTW - did I mention that I love those 10" pneumatic tires and wheels from HF? $3.99 on sale? Are you kidding? Who wouldn't want to buy a bunch of 'em - just in case! LOL

Anyway - that's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it!

Rich

PS - Please note that this time the hyperlink is in bold blue italic - I'm learin'!

#28 Big John OFFLINE  

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Posted February 08, 2011 - 12:55 PM

I have had little trouble with anything I bought from HF. except stationary power tools with induction
motors. Some of these motors are rated way higher than what they will produce & won't do the job.

#29 wvbuzzmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted February 08, 2011 - 01:13 PM

Best tools at Harbor Freight:
ANY hand tools (wrenches, and pliers and such)
Electric winches
Many power tools and some stands.
Anything you want to buy for occasional use.
UHM, anything you want to save a buck on, their mechanics toolboxes are hard to beat in price and seen to be of decent quality for hobbyists like ourselves. (I bought mine a Tractor Supply on sale and still didn't beat HF price, but didn't realize that at the time I was buying something marked down 100 more dollars than advertised. :D )
Anyway, I think Harbor Freight sells good tools at good prices for the people that don't need the best tools to get the job done. If you make a living on your tools, buy name brand tools; if you don't rely on your tools to earn a living, you probably don't need the best, no matter how much you want them. But in the end it comes down to how much you WANT TO SPEND.

#30 straub OFFLINE  

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Posted February 08, 2011 - 06:55 PM

We all complain about the economy and the jobs going over seas yet we continue to buy this chinese junk!




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