What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?
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  1. #1

    What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    So far mine is I think the Pittsburgh hand tools are okay but am not thrilled with the Chicago Electric tools but might just have bought two that were defective.
    Great return policy and fun place to look around.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    There are several threads on this subject already. See "Harbor Freight tools that suck" and "Harbor Freight tools that don't suck". Also a couple more threads specifically on HF welders.

    "Great return policy and fun place to look around."

    Show me a man that doesn't like to look around a tool store!

  3. #3
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    I bought a HF 1/2'' breaker bar for work around 10 years ago. I didn't want to take my good ones to the job because sometimes tools walk. Anyway, used it for years and no fail and no bending. This was used mainly on pipe flange bolts from 1/2'' to 3/4''. We even used cheaters on it and has been awesome ! I don't know about the stuff today except a dead blow hammer. Farmer bought one and didn't last at all. Actually it ruptured and hundreds of BB's all over.

  4. #4
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    I've said on other threads and I'll say on this one: I tell myself to always remember what you paid for this so when it breaks or the smoke leaks out you won't be quite so angry. On the other hand I have a HF 1/4" air die grinder that's 25 yrs old and still going strong.
    Mike
    Ol' Stonebreaker
    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

    Miller 175 mig
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  5. #5
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    Dec 2015
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    Western New York State, USA
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    say a tool is normally $100.
    .
    if you buy a cheaper version for $10. most dont expect much
    if you buy the $50 to $90 version it usually last for some time
    .
    its like somebody buying a $5. Rolex watch and complaining its not a very good watch

  6. #6
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    Mar 2011
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    You'll find mixed results all over the place mainly because there is no real quality control!!!

    In china there could be a hundred different 'factories' pumping out the same(more or less) item... anything from a 3 year old kid to a 100 year old woman grinding,shaping,wrenching on whatever it is you are buying... and starting out with who knows what for the base product!!! So yeah, you might get lucky and it *might* not break the first time you need to *really* use it. Even with the 'get what you pay for attitude' the more expensive stuff from china is still a crap shoot... oh it might be better but who really knows???

    I will agree with most people in that the main reason I will buy some things there for work is when they grow legs I don't feel so bad

  7. #7
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Quote Originally Posted by loydchase View Post
    So far mine is I think the Pittsburgh hand tools are okay but am not thrilled with the Chicago Electric tools but might just have bought two that were defective.
    Great return policy and fun place to look around.
    I think most of HF's stuff is ok, where 'good enough' will get the job done. For a DIY'er or for occasional farm repairs (my application). For example buy the pipe threading kit for one project and you don't know if you will ever need it again.

    This is a different customer than the tradesman who will lose money if a tool fails during a job. The sometimes random quality and quality control will drive a pro customer to frustration. That guy should be buying top quality name brand tools with predictable reliability ... and paying 5x as much for them.

    We have yet to see if HF's new brand names reflect a step up in quality. So far the new lines seem to be comparable to Craftsman etc. At least comparable to modern Craftsman, maybe not a match to traditional Craftsman.

    HF is good enough for my farm repairs and I like their prices. But I have returned three items for exchange in the past couple of years, that had manufacturing defects. You win most of the time, not 100%.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

  8. #8
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronsii View Post
    You'll find mixed results all over the place mainly because there is no real quality control!!!
    I think your right. One guy might buy a drill and it work forever while another guy can buy the same drill and it fall apart the very next day. Which one are your going to be and is it worth chancing?
    Last edited by jfh; 11-17-2018 at 11:20 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    If has a cord ? AVOID. Everything else at HF works to varying degrees.God invented flea markets, classifieds and yard-garage sales for intelligent people to shop for tools with cords.

    Battery tools are for pro-s that do out of shop work(and some for people too lazy to handle an air hose in a real shop). Bust the wallet out and get some real shiit.

  10. #10
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Do not buy a defibrillator from them . Sure it has a lifetime guarantee, just saying.

    You could get lucky for occasional use. If you need to use it a lot consider buying a real one.

  11. #11
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Quote Originally Posted by BD1 View Post
    Do not buy a defibrillator from them . Sure it has a lifetime guarantee, just saying.

    You could get lucky for occasional use. If you need to use it a lot consider buying a real one.



    LOL!!!!!! Ok, that beats my HF horror stories

  12. #12
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    I have several tools from them that are very good tools for the average joe. 20 ton Press for example. Heck Swag Off road sells several upgrades and options for Harbor freight based tools so that should tell you something about some of their products.

    I have bought tools from them that were a waist of time and money. Do the research on any tool you are thinking about buying. Google the part number or tool name with harbor freight in the search and see what people have to say about the tool.
    Lincoln, ESAB, Thermal Dynamics, Victor, Miller, Dewalt, Makita, Kalamzoo. Hand tools, power tools, welding and cutting tools.

  13. #13
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    I have several tools from them that are very good tools for the average joe. 20 ton Press for example. Heck Swag Off road sells several upgrades and options for Harbor freight based tools so that should tell you something about some of their products.

    I have bought tools from them that were a waist of time and money. Do the research on any tool you are thinking about buying. Google the part number or tool name with harbor freight in the search and see what people have to say about the tool.
    Yes Tony on their 20 ton press . I had mine forever and really used and still going . Mine is around 10 years old. Their 16 ton pipe bender works for me too. I got my money out of that too. Their tubing roller from them works for me but I only rolled 1/2'' square with mine. I did buy their metal cutting circular saw for a job. I didn't want to buy the Milwaukee metal cutting circular saw because I didn't know if I would use it much. Well after using the HF one, I realized the Milwaukee would be awesome. So I did buy the Milwaukee and it's great !!! The HF ones still works but sounds like it's gonna blow up.

  14. #14
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    They sell the highest quality tools/stuff that they have.

  15. #15
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Disposable....
    Self-sufficient...to the end...
    Engineer and build it all

    Miller CST280
    ESAB EMP 235
    Abene
    Rockwell
    Atlas
    Fluke
    and the list goes on....

  16. #16
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Fortunately, I was pretty well set up before the cheap Chinese tool invasion hit and as long as eBay is still around I'll never need a to go into a Harbor Freight store. And as much as some of these imported tools look pretty good compared to the crap they were making 20 years ago, I still get a belly ache when I see a Made In China stamp on a tool.
    ***********************

    CR

  17. #17
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    Garbage in : garbage out LOL!!!!

  18. #18
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    If your life or your income is dependent on the tools in question, , , don't buy 'em from harbor freight. Other wise have a ball. I buy some laugh at others.
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  19. #19
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    Feb 2015
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    Valencia PA.
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    I have an electric 3 in. cut off tool I beat the snot out of, paid $19 for it.....good. I bought the mini tire changer, looks like the others I have found, at a good price. I have also bought things that crapped out right out of the box. It boils down to which neighborhood in China it was built. LOL. Look at it for what it is, the application for the price, or grief.

  20. #20
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    Apr 2019
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    Vancouver, BC
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    Re: What is your opinion of Harbor Freight tools?

    A lot of their stuff will be crap out of the box, but with some minor adjustments/modifications might run ok. A lot of the time there are videos on YouTube of guys who have modded something that can be good for ideas. I just bought a 4" x 36" belt + 6" disc sander from them. Out of the box it wobbled all over the place, and the work stop on the belt was in a ridiculous place, too close to the end so the work didn't press against the back plate. Adjust the belt tension/motor alignment and quickly fabricate a new work stop and the thing actually works pretty ok (for a $75 machine). At first I was going to return it but now I think it'll stay.

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