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johnlanguab
11-24-2012, 11:05 AM
I thought some of you may appreciate this:

http://jalopnik.com/5959822/i-love-you-harbor-freight-but-you-smell-like-plastic-hell

-V-
11-24-2012, 12:24 PM
nice.

neil.anderson63
11-24-2012, 12:33 PM
Now that's a "top shelf" rant.:rant:

mikeg205
11-24-2012, 12:37 PM
so true...so true...

Kyle
11-24-2012, 12:52 PM
I thought some of you may appreciate this:

http://jalopnik.com/5959822/i-love-you-harbor-freight-but-you-smell-like-plastic-hell

LOL

So true about HF. The place is a chit hound, definately has its own smell, and the tool that you bought will maybe last through one and only one DIY project. I have friends who buy HF bull chit tools and it makes me laugh just knowing that the tool will last 5 minutes yet they are so proud to be a tool man.

I will say that I have bought items from this crappy store. For the most part they are tools that I take home and use a cut off wheel or a bench grinder on to make a 1 use only special tool. I refuse to cut, weld, grind on my snap-on tools.


While I love my snap-on tools, the craftsman & kolbalt tools seem to be a great value for the dollar for the general public non industry worker. Kolbalt tools are not made by snap-on but their wrenches are almost the same style and feel.

h2oskifreak
11-24-2012, 01:42 PM
Here is a funny story. I sold a parts car after I was done with it for scrap price. It rolled, but barely. This "Junk Yard Dog" came out and used a winch to put it on his flat bed. He couldn't shut his truck off because "it might not start again". His winch was so small and the gear needed hammered back in place several times during the event. My cul-de-sac was filled with smoke from his carbon monixide spewing truck. It took 1/2 hour for his POS winch from Harbor to get the small (240Z) car on his trailer. I swear we could have pushed it on with another neighbor or two. He pulled away and had no lights on his trailer. My neighbor still jokes with me about our CO2 levels still being elevated because of that "damn Harbor Freight" winch wouldn't make any headway and get him on his way.

JohnnyB
11-24-2012, 07:44 PM
I wouldn't buy most everyday use tools there but when I need an obscure tool for a few uses or something light duty, I will buy it there.....not a bad place to buy some of your typical consumable materials either...

old blue
11-24-2012, 07:54 PM
I price harbor freight against rental tools. If they last more than one job I win! Built my duck boat with HF electric planer and air sander. Both were the same price to rent. Still have both and work fine.

JimN
11-24-2012, 09:42 PM
Here is a funny story. I sold a parts car after I was done with it for scrap price. It rolled, but barely. This "Junk Yard Dog" came out and used a winch to put it on his flat bed. He couldn't shut his truck off because "it might not start again". His winch was so small and the gear needed hammered back in place several times during the event. My cul-de-sac was filled with smoke from his carbon monixide spewing truck. It took 1/2 hour for his POS winch from Harbor to get the small (240Z) car on his trailer. I swear we could have pushed it on with another neighbor or two. He pulled away and had no lights on his trailer. My neighbor still jokes with me about our CO2 levels still being elevated because of that "damn Harbor Freight" winch wouldn't make any headway and get him on his way.

Didja think that, maybe, he bought the cheapest one he could afford and it was for lighter duty than he needed? They come in all sizes, even at H-F. Did you look at the rating or how it was wired? If the truck might not have started, what makes you think he wired the winch correctly?

gotjag941
11-24-2012, 09:47 PM
I love the plastic wrapped oil covered tools from there I guess there Chinese Luke warm metal rusts easily lol

JimN
11-24-2012, 09:55 PM
I bought a H-F 2HP dust collector for my woodworking machines and it works very well. The switch was a POS, but I bypassed it and now have a regular light switch that I use to turn it on and off. I knew someone who worked there and he gave me a smokin' deal- must have been close to 10 years ago and I couldn't guess how many hundreds of hours it has run without doing more than bypass that switch. I also bought their reciprocating cutting tool (vaguely like a Fein Multi-Master) for $39 a few years ago and it's down to $18 now. Still, it paid for itself the first time I used it to alter a bookcase so a larger TV could be installed- it worked better than I imagined. I buy their clamps when they're on sale- the black/orange plastic ones (like Quick-Clamps) with the metal bar are OK for light duty but the blue and black all-metal ones that have a hand-screw kick butt, especially since they're about $4 for an 18" (I have 18", 24" and 36"). Their sockets are flank drive, like Snap-On developed and they work. I no longer use those kinds of tools every day but the swivel-head 1/2" ratchet will be getting a good trial soon.

They never said they sell the best- their stuff fills a need- decent tools for little money. If they're going to be used hard, every day, it would be best to use something better.

JimN
11-24-2012, 09:56 PM
I love the plastic wrapped oil covered tools from there I guess there Chinese Luke warm metal rusts easily lol

All cast iron machinery is shipped with Cosmolene smeared on it and all cast iron rusts easily unless it's an alloy made to resist it.

dmminfla
11-25-2012, 07:20 AM
This is a must read HF flyer

http://www.flutterby.com/images/2012/10/01/hf_tool_sale.pdf

gotjag941
11-25-2012, 08:19 AM
All cast iron machinery is shipped with Cosmolene smeared on it and all cast iron rusts easily unless it's an alloy made to resist it.

Not in my prior experiences which are more than most people I've purchased numerous (25+) bottle jacks, floor jacks, Porta powers, Porta pullers, chain hoists from Harbor Freight an I can say with that the similar in box item from Snap On, Mac, or Northern Tool isn't wrapped in a hard plastic wrap covered in oil but hey that's just in my experiences

JimN
11-25-2012, 08:52 AM
Not in my prior experiences which are more than most people I've purchased numerous (25+) bottle jacks, floor jacks, Porta powers, Porta pullers, chain hoists from Harbor Freight an I can say with that the similar in box item from Snap On, Mac, or Northern Tool isn't wrapped in a hard plastic wrap covered in oil but hey that's just in my experiences

I thought it meant larger pieces with bare cast iron like table saws, jointers, etc.

mustangtexas
11-25-2012, 10:47 AM
95% Junk + 3% Almost Junk + 2% Huh, they sell that? = Harbor Freight

Kyle
11-25-2012, 01:34 PM
95% Junk + 3% Almost Junk + 2% Huh, they sell that? = Harbor Freight

Very well put I must say lol

GoneBoatN
11-25-2012, 04:43 PM
Last thing I bought at HF was a cheep chain saw. I was cutting down some over grown bushes. The local rental shop was closed (over the weekend believe it or not) and it was cheaper to buy anyways. It would be years before I would need it again. I have enough chit in my garage and shed so I did not want to buy a good one and have to store it. The rental shop charges rental for the tool plus you have to purchase the chain because they figure you will ruin it. I trashed the chain when I got too close to the ground. Bought another chain at the local hardware store. Job is done. It still works. It was the least expensive option.

Sometimes cheap/crappy but "good enough" is just that - good enough.

As far as tools I use repeatedly and I want quality, HF is not the place.

mikeg205
11-25-2012, 05:03 PM
Harbour Freight - One time use - maybe 2...:D :D

madcityskier
11-25-2012, 05:18 PM
Had family out to help frame a basement a few years back and needed a compressor to power 3 framing nailers. Spent $75 for a 20 gallon upright at HF and it's still going strong. I'm still surprised every time it fires up.

CruisinGA
11-26-2012, 07:32 AM
I have plenty of Snap-on, ingersoll-rand, Miller tools etc etc but I still have plenty of things from harbor freight that work great. Just have to be picky about what you buy there.

I keep all my nice tools in the garage and crap Chinese stuff in my truck toolbox so that when they get stolen I don't lose any sleep.

02ProstarSammyD
11-26-2012, 12:14 PM
I bought a HF grinder in college..........its still in the garage and use it constantly. Best 5 bucks I ever spent lol. For clamps and cheap crap its the place to go. other than that yea a ton of crap

milkmania
11-26-2012, 05:17 PM
pleased as can be with my 7" Electronic Polisher/Sander with Digital RPM Display
granted, I'm not trying to make a living with it

http://www.harborfreight.com/7-inch-electronic-polisher-66615.html

orbeamlb
11-26-2012, 10:24 PM
pleased as can be with my 7" Electronic Polisher/Sander with Digital RPM Display
granted, I'm not trying to make a living with it

http://www.harborfreight.com/7-inch-electronic-polisher-66615.html

I have the one without the display and it works quite well. Agreed, I would use something better if it was putting food on the table.

Traxx822
11-26-2012, 10:27 PM
I keep all my nice tools in the garage and crap Chinese stuff in my truck toolbox so that when they get stolen I don't lose any sleep.


Thats precisely what I do. They work when I need em. Too bad my truck never gets robbed and my shop seems to get thin on its own.
Policy again not creating results.
Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2

stuartmcnair
11-27-2012, 05:50 PM
Had family out to help frame a basement a few years back and needed a compressor to power 3 framing nailers. Spent $75 for a 20 gallon upright at HF and it's still going strong. I'm still surprised every time it fires up.

Same here. My compressor has been going strong for probably 5 years. Use it all the time to run air drills, blow stuff up, impact drivers and air saws. That thing has provided the air for several dock projects as well.

thatsmrmastercraft
11-27-2012, 11:46 PM
I have only bought a few tools at HF, but no complaints. Careful shopping can go a long way as long as you don't have any thoughts that great tools come from there.

j.robinson389
11-28-2012, 07:37 AM
Like many others have said, I wouldn't want to outfit my whole garage with Harbor Freight tools but from reading on other forums and my own experiences, two items really stand out for quality/$.

In no particular order.

1. Impact sockets metric or SAE.
http://www.harborfreight.com/13-piece-12-drive-sae-deep-wall-impact-socket-set-67903.html

2. The US General Pro Toolboxes.
http://www.harborfreight.com/roller-cabinet-44-13-drawer-gloss-red-industrial-uality-69387.html


I won't be buying my open end wrenches there anytime soon, but sometimes brand name tools are just way to inflated to justify.

d2jp
11-28-2012, 08:44 AM
My tools are hand-me-downs and things I've purchased, everything from auto-parts store brands, Snap-On, MAC, Craftsman and HF. HF is absolutely the crappiest, but sometimes a crappy tool works just fine.

Things I've bought from HF which are decent:
in-line spark tester, orbital sander (smoked like crazy at one point, but kept working), Fein-like multi tool, digital photo sensor tachometer, nitrile gloves, aluminum jack, big-*** crescent wrench.

Things I've bought from HF that sucked:
radiator hose clamps, assorted box of ss screws, allen wrench sets, compressor, the worst screw drivers ever, blades of any type, pliers, cutting tools.

Every time I'm in there, the place is busy.


Interestingly our local Sears is closing. It's been here since the 40's I think. Not saying Sears is the best run retailer in the country, but stores like Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe's and Tractor Supply seem to have hurt them here - at least in the department I always shopped in, which was tools and lawn/garden.

TayMC197
11-28-2012, 09:03 AM
Lol love the rant.

I bought 2 $50 dollar winches there and 80 bucks worth of chain. That almost $200 of cheap hardware pulled my truck out of a hole that was going to cost me $600 plus... Yes the winches failed after I used them that one time but considering the work they did, they deserved to die. The chain still holds strong. lol

Like others said, I don't buy my everyday handtools there, I'll buy the cheap stuff that doesn't have any working components like pry bars, grease guns, grease, tool magnets, etc... wrenches and everything like are bought from Sears... Sears has never failed me when i have broke a tool, they exchange it and I'm on my way... They truly are one of the good ol' stores for tools. highly underrated in my opinion.

JimN
11-28-2012, 09:34 AM
Lol love the rant.

I bought 2 $50 dollar winches there and 80 bucks worth of chain. That almost $200 of cheap hardware pulled my truck out of a hole that was going to cost me $600 plus... Yes the winches failed after I used them that one time but considering the work they did, they deserved to die. The chain still holds strong. lol

Like others said, I don't buy my everyday handtools there, I'll buy the cheap stuff that doesn't have any working components like pry bars, grease guns, grease, tool magnets, etc... wrenches and everything like are bought from Sears... Sears has never failed me when i have broke a tool, they exchange it and I'm on my way... They truly are one of the good ol' stores for tools. highly underrated in my opinion.

I'm pretty sure the HF hand tools (wrenches, sockets, extensions) have lifetime warranty. I gave up on Craftsman screwdrivers (except slotted, which I absolutely REFUSE to spend a lot for because I think slotted screws' time passed about 20 years before I was born and I have no use for them. I don't even like Phillips, but when I was doing car audio, it was hard to find a car that didn't have them. I had replaced a #2 Craftsman Phillips one night and the first time I used it, the tip fractured. Later that day, the Snap On truck showed u p and I bought a few- I have never had a problem with them. They do wear, but that's the nature of Phillips screws and drivers- unlike square-drive, Torx and some others, Phillips head can cam out of the screw and that's why I don't like them, either.

Point is, a company that rests on its laurels will fail and that's what Sears has done. They used to replace a whole ratchet wrench and now, they only tell me they can give me a rebuild kit. Also, a lifetime warranty is great but if I need to drive all over town to replace tools all the time, I'd rather pay more for a tool that won't fail in the first place and that's why I bought Snap On for the things I used all the time and could wear. I think I wore out one Snap On impact socket and that's only because I used it more than any other and impact sockets are softer than the plated ones.

thatsmrmastercraft
11-28-2012, 09:41 AM
No question that Snap-On tools are the ticket for anyone who uses tools in their profession. They are simply the best overall choice, and what I relied on for my years of wrenching. there is also a lot of overpriced junk out there from most manufacturers, and you really have to be careful not to just go by brand when purchasing.

JimN
11-28-2012, 09:47 AM
No question that Snap-On tools are the ticket for anyone who uses tools in their profession. They are simply the best overall choice, and what I relied on for my years of wrenching. there is also a lot of overpriced junk out there from most manufacturers, and you really have to be careful not to just go by brand when purchasing.

Having been in many tool trucks, I saw a lot of the same tools with different names- plug gap tools, piston ring compressors, pick tool sets, small screwdriver sets and others that are exactly the same as some of the Northern/Harbor Freight/big box tools but the Snap On/Mac/Matco/Cornwell etc bread & butter is box/combo/ratchet wrenches, tool boxes and other major items. I know a Snap On dealer and his accountant told him that he doesn't have enough deductions for how much he makes and Snap On tool profit is about 25%, which isn't really a lot. OTOH, he doesn't need to have a B&M store, just his truck and garage, where he stores bulk/fast moving inventory.

thatsmrmastercraft
11-28-2012, 09:50 AM
Having been in many tool trucks, I saw a lot of the same tools with different names- plug gap tools, piston ring compressors, pick tool sets, small screwdriver sets and others that are exactly the same as some of the Northern/Harbor Freight/big box tools but the Snap On/Mac/Matco/Cornwell etc bread & butter is box/combo/ratchet wrenches, tool boxes and other major items. I know a Snap On dealer and his accountant told him that he doesn't have enough deductions for how much he makes and Snap On tool profit is about 25%, which isn't really a lot. OTOH, he doesn't need to have a B&M store, just his truck and garage, where he stores bulk/fast moving inventory.

Interesting........I would have guessed at more than 25%. Those tool guys put a lot of time in. thought about it at one time, but glad I went another direction.

ncsone
11-28-2012, 09:57 AM
All -

For what it is worth - I am a member of a garage/tool forum as well and they have a running thread about which HF tools are worth it or not. If you are looking for something from there, it might be worth a look at this first:

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27192&highlight=harbor+freight+pass%2Ffail

NCS

SP Maristar
11-28-2012, 10:10 AM
An excellent redirect to the garage journal thread. Like a Consumer Reports for HF tools. I'll check it before my next purchase there.

JimN
11-28-2012, 10:20 AM
Interesting........I would have guessed at more than 25%. Those tool guys put a lot of time in. thought about it at one time, but glad I went another direction.

The guy he bought his route from retired at 40, with tons of cash and over 300 acres in northern WI.

ncsone
11-28-2012, 10:50 AM
The guy he bought his route from retired at 40, with tons of cash and over 300 acres in northern WI.

Those truck franchises, especially Snap-On, can be very lucrative, especially if you are running more than one truck. My local guy has 4 trucks and a couple of vans, the drivers get to keep 30% of what they collect and the owner is doing very well.

It is a tough business, though, from what I hear. Lots of chasing people around for money they owe.

thatsmrmastercraft
11-28-2012, 10:58 AM
The guy he bought his route from retired at 40, with tons of cash and over 300 acres in northern WI.

I suspect he made out like a bandit through the late 80's and 90's when everyone had plenty of money. I bet it will become more a struggle as our economy slides downhill.

JimN
11-28-2012, 11:08 AM
Those truck franchises, especially Snap-On, can be very lucrative, especially if you are running more than one truck. My local guy has 4 trucks and a couple of vans, the drivers get to keep 30% of what they collect and the owner is doing very well.

It is a tough business, though, from what I hear. Lots of chasing people around for money they owe.

It was an established route and the shops do well around here so there's not much chasing needed. This is a single-truck operation, too.

d2jp
11-28-2012, 11:20 AM
My Snap-On guy retired at 60, owns a bunch of land, has a huge garage and wood-working shop. He also ended up buying a lot of 'distressed' independent garages throughout his years as a salesman. He now owns a considerable number of income producing properties. The guy that bought his route is also doing well. It's a lot of hard work, but I think the company provides pretty good support and makes a great product - if you're willing to work, and like that type of work, it can be a good career!

TayMC197
11-28-2012, 12:56 PM
I'm pretty sure the HF hand tools (wrenches, sockets, extensions) have lifetime warranty. I gave up on Craftsman screwdrivers (except slotted, which I absolutely REFUSE to spend a lot for because I think slotted screws' time passed about 20 years before I was born and I have no use for them. I don't even like Phillips, but when I was doing car audio, it was hard to find a car that didn't have them. I had replaced a #2 Craftsman Phillips one night and the first time I used it, the tip fractured. Later that day, the Snap On truck showed u p and I bought a few- I have never had a problem with them. They do wear, but that's the nature of Phillips screws and drivers- unlike square-drive, Torx and some others, Phillips head can cam out of the screw and that's why I don't like them, either.

Point is, a company that rests on its laurels will fail and that's what Sears has done. They used to replace a whole ratchet wrench and now, they only tell me they can give me a rebuild kit. Also, a lifetime warranty is great but if I need to drive all over town to replace tools all the time, I'd rather pay more for a tool that won't fail in the first place and that's why I bought Snap On for the things I used all the time and could wear. I think I wore out one Snap On impact socket and that's only because I used it more than any other and impact sockets are softer than the plated ones.


As far as screwdivers go, a Klein 10in1 is the way to go. I have 1 in my truck, my tool box, kitchen drawer, and my boat... Add a pair of channellocks, you can fix the world. lol

I'm a craftsman guy as far as wrenches, sockets, ratchets, allens, etc. go... if you manange to break one of those, then you weren't using it properly. I have broke sockets with my impact wrench... well we all know you need to use impact sockets for that. So it was my fault, not the tools...

thatsmrmastercraft
11-28-2012, 01:10 PM
As far as screwdivers go, a Klein 10in1 is the way to go. I have 1 in my truck, my tool box, kitchen drawer, and my boat... Add a pair of channellocks, you can fix the world. lol

I'm a craftsman guy as far as wrenches, sockets, ratchets, allens, etc. go... if you manange to break one of those, then you weren't using it properly. I have broke sockets with my impact wrench... well we all know you need to use impact sockets for that. So it was my fault, not the tools...

Don't forget duct tape, WD-40 and baling wire.

TayMC197
11-28-2012, 01:39 PM
Zip ties!

thatsmrmastercraft
11-28-2012, 01:55 PM
Zip ties!

Can't forget them.

jeverett
11-29-2012, 12:51 PM
Don't be fooled by the Snap-On or MAC trucks, they get you hooked on the tool "Crack" because they are good quality tools for sure. They are not in the tool business, they are in the $$ business, they get you hooked on credit and easy payments at some high interest rate and you keep coming back for more because it is good quality and a good feel. By the way according to our VP of international sourcing they are all made in China! the only thing you have to do to say made in the USA anymore is package it here, which is TBS.

jeverett
11-29-2012, 12:53 PM
I do like harbor freight for one thing. I had to do some gel coat work so I bought one of their cheap spray guns and used it once and then threw it away so I didn't have to use a ton of Acetone to clean it afterward.

JimN
11-29-2012, 04:15 PM
I do like harbor freight for one thing. I had to do some gel coat work so I bought one of their cheap spray guns and used it once and then threw it away so I didn't have to use a ton of Acetone to clean it afterward.

I bought one of their regular spray guns (my old one had water-based contact cement and I thought it was solvent-based, so it rotted the pot) and that worked as well as I could have hoped, so I bought one of the gravity-feed HVLP conversion guns and shot my kitchen cabinets with Minwax satin poly- it's flawless. I sprayed more poly and some shellac for some things I was refinishing and those were flawless, too. I bought a second gun as well as a smaller one when they were on sale- for the price, I have a hard time believing spending more will be any better. I also use their little filters that fit into the bottom of the container. Easy cleanup, decent regulator and all I have to do is make sure no moisture gets in.

It's like anything else- pick the better items and leave the rest.