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Old 06-12-2018, 10:37 PM   #1
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Harbor Freight

Had quite a shock at HF today, maybe everyone knows about it but it is a first for me.

Like many here I hate to buy their stuff because the quality isn't great, but I certainly can't afford the Big Name Brands tools for an occasional use.

About a year ago I bought a 3/4 inch drive set. The ratchet is sloppy and hardly works, and the sockets are not great quality but I knew what I was getting into.

Today I was using it to remove wheels and the first lug nut the flex bar broke in the joint. Well I tossed it in the back of the pickup and heading to get another. Seriously thought about going to NAPA but figured I would pay at least $60-70 for one. Bypassed them and went into HF. New one was $21.95, swallowed hard but thinking I could buy several for the price of one at NAPA.

As I was checking out I said something about hoping it last longer that the other one. When the clerk said it had a "lifetime warranty" I said that I better keep the receipt. She ask if I had the old one. Yep. Went out and got it, and in less than one minute I was out the door with a new one. Plus she never asked how long the cheater pipe was.
Works for me!

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Old 06-12-2018, 10:43 PM   #2
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Bought a HF impact screwdriver the bit broke so I took it back. They claimed that because the box didn't say Harbor Freight on it there was no warranty. Took it to another store and they immediately gave me a new one.

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Old 06-13-2018, 03:04 AM   #3
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It's Chinese slave labor equipment. Sometimes it works well. If I needed it for a reliable job tool I wouldn't buy it.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:52 AM   #4
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I would rather spend a few more bucks on some things, like a " breaker bar " that will hold up, rather then snap at the worst time.

Harbor Freight fills a need, but only for light duty or occasional use items.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:22 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
I would rather spend a few more bucks on some things, like a " breaker bar " that will hold up, rather then snap at the worst time.

Harbor Freight fills a need, but only for light duty or occasional use items.
Agreed, Some Harbor Freight tools are great for occasional use. Not sure I'd gamble my fingers, hands, knuckles on a HF breaker bar, but glad it worked out for you.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:07 AM   #6
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I have a ten year old harbor freight plastic welder that I've used twice. It was well worth the price. I also bought some hand screw clamps that have held up amazingly well. I've also got some other purchases that didn't go so well. At least you know what you're getting into.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:23 AM   #7
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I just wish they sold socks and underwear...I wouldn't need to shop anywhere else!

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Old 06-13-2018, 08:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RV Pirate View Post
Agreed, Some Harbor Freight tools are great for occasional use. Not sure I'd gamble my fingers, hands, knuckles on a HF breaker bar, but glad it worked out for you.
Years back, I went to HF for a 3/4 drive socket set. Before first use, I had a Craftsman ratchet. Welded a plate to the HF ratchet, and welded the mechanism solid. Long pipe, have curved the handle, but never broke it. If I used a size socket, I bought a quality socket that size. Over time, I have collected all sizes likely to use on trucks, but don't have a bunch of high dollar sockets that fit nothing.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:00 AM   #9
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Sometimes I'll need to rent a tool...my general rule is if it costs less to buy from HF then I'll buy it. If I use it until it breaks then I'll replace it with a quality tool. I have a $69 SDS hammer drill that is one of my favorite things that I've used several times for stuff I never would have imagined. I don't feel bad loaning that stuff out, either.

I have yet to break any of that stuff to get to buy the nicer one

Anyone need a small wet saw? Only used on like 6 projects.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:53 AM   #10
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I too have bought tools from Harbor Freight that don't/won't get used much, but I have a specific need for at the time. Two of the tools I have bought from them have been better and lasted longer than I ever imagined. One was a corded 3/8" drill, the other was a cored reciprocating saw (Sawzall type). As it has turned out I use the saw all the time. The drill now has a permanent home on the MoHo and has been used twice since the original purchase and use eight years ago.

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Old 06-13-2018, 11:35 AM   #11
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A ratchet is not a breaker bar. I will never understand the high expectations of using one as a breaker bar.

I used to install and remove payphones. The urine corroded bolts were near impossible to remove. I found a telescoping lug nut wrench to be the bomb to break them loose. Because I could use any socket with it I have used it for just about everything. https://www.amazon.com/OEMTOOLS-2056...dp/B074FMSKHH/

Sure you can buy a Snap-on ratchet. Are you going to spend that much $$ to use one as a breaker bar? Sure they may replace it. How easy is that. Around here its not a trip to town to get it replaced. Don't kid yourself, that $700 Snap-on cordless drill most likely is made of Chinese components. They have factories and offices in Kunshan and Zejiang China. I don't see how the drill can be $600 better than any other drill. You are paying for that Snap-on truck to make its way around to repair and machine shops.

No need to spend big bucks to walk away with decent tools. Don't kid yourself that the tools you are using and paid big bucks for are made in the US. They have a high markup due to advertising and buying a name so you spend more. They usually have higher manufacturing standards and material requirements but so can the cheaper tools. Still paying foreign labor. There are lots of youtubes of people taking apart different power tools and comparing them to HF.

I will buy Channelock hand tools when I can find them. Their price is reasonable and the quality is high and most are still made in the US.

As far as harbor freight tools. My cheap HF sawzall has lasted longer than the Dewalt sawzalls. I do have a Milwaukee that the brushes wore out on. I needed one in a pinch which is how I ended up with the HF one. Never did replace the brushes, mostly because I hated the metal case. lol My sawzalls were used only on metal and all corded.

I have a HF 12yr old corded drill that will yank your arms out of their sockets. I have never purchased a battery HF cordless drill because I purchased so many Hitatchi kits for super cheap when they were first available in home improvement stores. Those Hitatchi drills have been excellent. Bought those in 2007, still using most of the original batteries. My husband wanting a craftsman bought one in 2011, it stopped charging and he adopted one of my Hitatchi cordless drills.

The only thing I will avoid at HF is usually the drill bits and Dremel bits. The HF bits are fine for wood. Drill anything else and they don't hold up. Ive also noticed a decline in big name drill bits quality as well. It is also challenging to find a good screwdriver drill bit that will hold up. I only buy Dremel bits. When my face is that close to something spinning that fast I want to make sure I lessen the possibility of having to extract it from my forehead. There were some decent off brand Dremel bits years ago. They just aren't the same these days.

I can usually inspect a tool, socket, or bit and tell if its going to be decent. One of my better ratchets is an old Popular Mechanics one from Walmart. I have lots of HF sockets and been happy with them.

I have rented tools. Its great for one time use and Home Depot rental rates are decent.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Freqz View Post
Anyone need a small wet saw? Only used on like 6 projects.
I'll trade you the wet saw for a HF 2-in-1 Flooring Air Nailer/Stapler AND a 3-3/8 in 6.8 amp Heavy Duty Toe Kick Saw. Each only used on one project each.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:55 AM   #13
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I always print up some extra 20 off coupons. Love giving them out One time I gave one to a guy that saved about $20 on something with it,
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:28 PM   #14
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I could open a Harbor Freight franchise out of my garage. I wouldn’t have near the tools I do without Harbor Freight. Just yesterday I helped my neighbour doing a rotor/pads/caliber replacement on his Winnie. We needed copper washers,cotter pins,33mm socket,large breaker bar and my electric impact wrench all from HF.

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