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What's your best and worst Harbor Freight buy?

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Sprinter, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I laughed til I cried when I saw this thread the other day: http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/tool-sale-do-not-miss-this-one.91808/

    I've had a love/hate thing with HF but I've actually gotten some pretty decent stuff along with the garbage. Fortunately, I've moved too far away from any store now for me to be tempted lately, but I'd be curious to see others' experiences.

    My best would probably be the 10" sliding compound miter saw I got for about $85. A new blade made it into quite a decent saw. I never could have afforded a compound slider otherwise. (I have some advice if you're thinking about this one)

    Many contenders for "worse" (mostly small items), but I'll say a set of brass pneumatic fittings and hoses. Fittings are too thin and weak and quick disconnect fittings leaked, hoses are stiff and brittle.

    Feel free to nominate as many as you like, or even vent if you want::-)

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  2. njtomatoguy

    njtomatoguy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    458
    Loc:
    Maple Shade, NJ
    I had a bunch of tools from them. Pipe wrenches were great, still have them.
    Hammer is what it is, and at current ad price of $2.99, it didn't matter if I left it in a trench or customers crawlspace.
    I was disappointed with a set of adjustable wrenches I bought, but the expectations should be pretty low.
    I consider most things that are sold there to be "homeowner" grade, or one time use stuff.
    Overall, they are how I got started doing plumbing, and still have some of the stuff..
  3. Lighting Up

    Lighting Up Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
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    340
    Loc:
    Roc City NY
    Love hate relationship is a good way of putting
    it...3/8" x 48" flex drill bit broke and the drill part
    is stuck in the wall between floors. They took it
    back of course...no problem.

  4. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    Lake Odessa,MI
    For something like 14.00 I bought a wheel to measure off some property, it was fairly accurate when we had it surveyed!

    Gary
  5. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    The $99 6.5 hp honda clone motors.

    I have 3 of them that get intermittent use and have been bulletproof so far.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
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    12,383
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I have to say that their stuff generally served me well. I have a crimper (bench mounted), a roller, a air-rivet gun, a grinder, etc.

    I have a cheapie gen set, but it's a backup to my honda and I have never used it.

    The stuff is a value for the money for the occasional user. I prefer better tools for my "real" stuff - drills, saws, etc. but for fiddling around or R&D, the HF stuff is fine.
  7. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Its love love hear everything I have bought there works well for me. To be fair though if I think it wont hold up I will spend the money on something better.
    I purchased a compound miter saw, drill bit set, chain saw sharpener, a whole ton of sockets and the list goes on ! It has all held up well. My favorite are the impact sockets though they are indestructible little buggers.

    Pete
  8. Jackadams

    Jackadams New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
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    3
    Loc:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Best - cheap tool set in a box. Something like $29 for "135 pieces" I'm able to take it with me when going to help a friend, or to a rental house. The tools are cheap feeling, but I haven't broken any of them. in quotes because a lot of those pieces are electrical convectors etc.

    Worst - 3 pack of gloves. I wore through all three pair in a day of moderate working. My dad gave me his second pair of full leather gloves he bought at costco, and I still have that pair.

    (this thread popped up after searching for their log splitter, and since it's only 2 weeks old I thought I'd post my xp)
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    SE PA
    That 800W genny I got for $100 delivered.....now powering my family of four for 76 hours and counting....still on the first Jerry can.

    My secret: 93 octane, no ethanol gas. Has started every time.
    BrianK and Eatonpcat like this.
  10. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Are those the Costco gloves that are usually 3 pair for $20 (as I recall)? Those are all I ever use anymore. One glove finally got a hole in a finger, but is now being enjoyed by my dog.
    That thing gets good reviews. Hard to believe they can sell them for so little.
  11. Stegman

    Stegman Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Sterling, MA
    Wooden bench brush for $1.99. I think I own 4 or 5 of them. Also got a nice hickory handle framing hammer that was crucial during my shed build last year. The retractable dog leashes are decent, too. Can't think of anything I've been boned on, but that's because I'd think twice about buying anything too expensive or too fancy there.
  12. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I got one of those bench brushes, too. Pretty good. I've gotten sets of brushes of different kinds just in case, because they were cheap. And most of them are...

    Okay, I'll throw in another one. A basic (not their cheapest) metal detector for $44. It works well and has identical guts as a well known brand for about $150. Maybe a Chinese knock-off, but this is Harbor Freight. It's found about 5 cents worth of nails in my yard so far, too! I figure with a few odd coins now and then, it may pay for itself in 100 years. (Yes, it is a discriminator type). I'll never be in an ad for metal detectors.
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  13. Shadow&Flame

    Shadow&Flame Minister of Fire

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    If you find them in a tire, its alot more expensive than that....
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The best HF purchase was the little 800 watt 2 stroke generator that works like a champ. The worst is the second one that quit putting out current the third time I started it.
  15. Shadow&Flame

    Shadow&Flame Minister of Fire

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    I have gotten alot of good and bad stuff from HF...its really a crap shoot. At this point the good is in the majority...but I havent been buying as much here of late....
  16. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    LOL Well, that one is on you, then.::P With HF it's good to know when you're ahead and then quit. Just like any other...
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have a ton of HF stuff. That one is the only thing that has disappointed me. Guess I figure it is spare parts for the other one. Paid $79 apiece for'em.
  18. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure you know that the part you will need is the same part that is bad on the second one...

    How, when? They're like 129 now on sale. Maybe you can use a 20% on it. I'm not sure though, they've started to not honor those with a lot of stuff like this.

    Another good one for me was a Neiko digital caliper. Really accurate and well made. Like $12 or so.
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Ain't it the truth. Happens every time no matter where ya bought it. Briggs and Stratton comes to mind.
  20. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Doh! Now you tell me. I've got one of those in a $5,000 ZTR mower. Oh, well, it's a "pro" series 28 hp engine with chrome this and that innerds. They say it's a pretty good series, better than the Intek's. We'll see. So far so good.
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have found the Chinese Honda knockoffs to be bullet proof in my applications. The Briggs plant in China ain't ever gonna power anything I own again. The replacement parts are insane. The last little carb cost me a hundred bucks. One of the Chondas needed a carb and it cost me $17 shipping included.
  22. MTMike

    MTMike Member

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    Loc:
    West Dakota (Eastern Montana)
    Worst: Battery chargers that die after 3 uses

    Best: $50 complete mechanic tool set that rides around in my vehicle as an emergency road side tool kit. It has come in VERY handy.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I may be the only one that has never bought anything from HF. The China store model is not my cup of tea. Don't shop at Walmart either.
  24. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    West Dakota, eh? Are you guys trying to secede from Montana like Northern California?
  25. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Believe it or not, I know of a few others;lol. It's just that some of us have made it into somewhat of a hobby to "treasure hunt" there and sniff out the real bargains from the trash.Part of it is making optimum use of the various coupons on top of sale prices to really maximize the effort. If you do well, you brag about it like you just caught a big fish or something. It's strange and maybe a bit indefensible to some, I suppose. Actually, I'm kind of glad that we've moved away from those stores now. Withdrawals have been minimal and I have a lot of stuff I wouldn't have been able to afford to have at all.

    Regarding Walmart, I, and I'm sure, many others respect the courage of your convictions and share the ideal. I guess I just slowly slipped to the Dark Side a long time ago.;em

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