Harbor Freight Tools

Discussion in 'Materials' started by dskira, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Is somebody has some experience with Harbor Freight Tools company.
    The prices seams low.
    Do someone bought and use their tools?
    Just curious
  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Not knowing what tools you want, but generally they carry a lower quality line of tools. that said, you can find a real winner there if you look hard.
  3. Oyster
    Joined: Feb 2006
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    Oyster Senior Member

    I am surprised that you have not had been exposed to their disposable tool selection and enterprise. If you just want something to do a job and do not use most of their stuff on a regular basis, you are okay. While there are some exceptions, I cannot find in any other tools on the market that has such poor quality metals in every single piece that I have purchased from them to "get by with for the time being." I do find their larger clamps as the one item that I can live with supplementing my Wetzler collection.

    While there are other stuff around and I find on occasion to buy bits and pieces to supplement my declining needs, the world has become a disposable world and with that said, there is little new stuff around that qualifies as fine tuned and well oiled items without digging deep and spending time to do so at obscurd corners of the planet for the resourses. The best stuff being sold these days are hidden in cobwebbed barns and abandoned work shops.
  4. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Well thank you both for your input.
    I am fortunate to have bought tolls very long time ago. But always need suplements.
    Oyster I can't agree more with you.
    Interresting your observation about the larges clamps. I will take a look.
    Perhaps, Rasoric, they are the real winner !
  5. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    funny that you mention clamps R I have often compared there tools to all the rest before I make a purchase and every time I end up buying somewhere else
    the only thing I have consistently got there is pipe clamps
    and even those tend to be crap

    thing is its the same ones they sell everywhere else so if all I can get is crap I might as well get it from HF cheap
    they are like half the cost
  6. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    ok tools for poor people to better their lot in life. Start work with these and afford better tools later.
  7. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I find that searching around for the best brand for the job works best for me
    I have porta cable routers and milwakee sawsawls, Delta band saw ( my least favorite brand name ) and joiner but a dewalt planer, I avoid Mikita on political reasons and run from crapsman tools or any of the chinese brands ( although most delta stuff is made in china )

    harbor freight is purely crap from the slave labor camps in china, only thing other than clamps I've managed to find there was a hydrolic kit for blade tensioner on the tree saw Im building
  8. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Much of what any of those catalog companies sell is Chinese (when I say Chinese, I mean Chinese or a similar emerging industrial nation), and the more American-sounding the name (Chicago Forge, for example), the more certain the tool is Chinese or something like Chinese.
    There are also very good Chinese tools, especially from established (thirty-year-old companies) like Grizzly. Delta, though an American company, obviously has machines built in China, though the Americans control the quality to a certain extent.
    You get what you pay for, though I'd say nobody can produce shop equipment as efficiently as the Chinese. You get so much more cast iron, in fact, that it's really hard to compete except at 50% more.
    I own one of the last American made Delta table saws. I think at this point I would have gotten more saw if I'd bought a Grizzly. The reason is that in the last 20 years especially, the American tools have had to lower their prices a lot to compete, even if the do have the "Made in USA" sticker. Quality has suffered as a result. I've replaced the table saw switch twice (probably a Chinese part!) and have had a couple of other nuisence problems.
    Hand tools? Buy used if you can, good old stuff. Otherwise buy the best, and that usually means not Chinese.
  9. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    that Delta band saw I got well the parts did not fit together. had I not had a relatively complete shop at my disposal I would not have been able to make it work.
    the door would not close without hitting the blade
    the cover for the belt does not fit at all
    the bolt latch on the door does not line up
    the table barely fits in the pivot and pivot does not work for beans
    there is a serious wobble in the thing that took forever to balance out
    basically had I not been handy with fixing stuff I would have brought it back

    it does however have lovely cast iron in it
    weighs a ton
  10. Oyster
    Joined: Feb 2006
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    Location: eastern United States

    Oyster Senior Member

    The question and inquiry was concerning the amazing low price for their tools, not that people should not buy them for a particular reason. I will provide a shot later of my own particular uses and you can be the judge of whether they serve a purpose or not.;)
  11. gramcko
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    gramcko New Member

    I've bought a dozen or so items. So far, broke a long nose pliers, twisted a 24" box wrench, got 1 use of a lighted magnifying "glass" (they're plastic). Priced right for low-stress, low-to-1 usage, where replacements are readily available and you've the time / inclination to buy-it-again. Not good for life or livelihood dependent work.
  12. alanrockwood
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    alanrockwood Senior Member

    I have bought quite a few tools from Harbor Freight.

    Quality varies, and they seem to use their customers as their quality control inspectors.

    However, I would not be able to afford to build up my shop without relying heavily on Harbor Freight. Most of their stuff is good enough for many purposes.

    My approach is to rely a lot on buying low cost tools, such as from Harbor Freight, but to buy some selected higher cost and hopefully higher quality tools on a strategic basis.

    Also, I assume that I will need to repair or replace some of the Harbor Freight tools as they break or wear out. (Actually, I'm not sure this applies just to Harbor Freight. I just finished repairing an arc welder that was built by Miller.) At replacement time I can then either replace the tool with another low cost tool or buy a high cost tool.

    If I were to try to buy all high cost tools I would never have enough tools to complete most projects... better something than nothing.

    In many cases the ability to do a project will depend more on the quality of the craftsman than the quality of the tool. Better tools make it easier, or in some cases using higher quality tool is simply more pleasurable than using lower quality tools, but lesser tools may be good enough.

    A good example is the miniature metal lathe and milling machines sold by Harbor Freight. Actually, most of these come from the same factory in China, regardless of retail vendor. The lathes differ mainly in the price, regardless of the vendor. There is a thriving community using these lathes, and the general philosophy of most of the people using these tools is that what you are buying is a lathe kit. After you get it you then fine tune it, make some adjustments and some upgrades, some of which you may make using the lathe itself, and eventually you end up with a very workable tool.
  13. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    When I need hand tools I go to Traditional Woodworker. Small operation from a couple Erik & Cathy Edstrom in Texas.
    I suppose everyone who do woodworking know them.
    They have really good tools.
    I bought some new augers, and other stuffs. Really neat.
    As for electric tools, Oh well, better to be accustomed, they are Chinese.
  14. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Bos, What's your problem with Makita (I don't have much of their's anymore, but because I found tools I liked better). And short of paying the Snap-On guy the equivalent of my mortgage, does anyone know where I can get good Vice-Grip copies not made in China? Actual Vice-Grips are now, too, and I have a pair stuck in the foam insulation of the shop about ten feet up to prove it...

  15. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    At Amazon. They have good prices. But made in China I suppose.
    Yes I was wondering the relation between Makita and politic.
    Tell us more about it. :D

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