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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'm thinking it's the same thing with the Snap-On brand. It's the power stuff that seems to get poor reviews.

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    +1. I like Craftsman hand tools. My Dad still works on his car with Craftsman wrenches he bought in the 50s and 60s. Broke a breaker bar of that vintage and Sears replaced it. Even if they are not quite the same level of quality new you cant beat that service.

    I wont touch there power tools either - mostly buying Dewalt, etc lately.
  3. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I've picked up a couple of Ryobi tools recently; a "refurbished" circular saw to replace a dead Craftsman, and a new belt sander. The saw looked brand new and is pretty nice (especially with a Diablo blade). I've used the belt sander once and it seems good as well with no bad habits like drifting. They seem to have a good balance between quality and value. I'm not a heavy duty user of power tools and can't afford pro-grade stuff like Dewalt. If it weren't for the decent HF stuff I've gotten by careful selection and Ryobi, I simply wouldn't have a lot of the stuff I do.
  4. MTMike

    MTMike Member

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    Haha! I grew up in mountainous Western Montana so it's a joke I have for the flat prairie that is Eastern Montana. They demographic is actually quite different too.....
  5. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    Actually, i have been quite happy with harbor freight. The big thing is to go on their site and read the reviews. Some stuff is junk (12" ratchet clamps and the old model jigsaw both of which i bought not reading reviews, both died).

    Everything else has been great for what i want it for (weekend use, not for my job)
    air compressor
    nail gun
    flux core welder (if you want a flux welder, lots of limitations, what i wanted).
    torque wrench
    belt sander
    drill press

    the list goes on and on. If i used it for my job, i wouldnt shop for much there.... but i dont, its worked out well. With the 2 noted exceptions, the tools have more than paid for themselves.
  6. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Funny thing about those clamps. I've got a whole bunch of them from when they were freebies and I went there a lot. I've used them quite a bit but haven't had one break yet, and I've pulled them pretty tight sometimes. Inconsistent QC, maybe. Maybe a little luck, too. Another example of something I wouldn't be able to have so many of if they weren't free or cheap (and you can't have too many clamps;)).
  7. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I don't need a cheater pipe to break those. :mad:

    Some companies should stick to what they know/do best. ;)

    I have a couple power tools from them that are far and away better than what the competition offers.

    My CTS561 screwdriver (there are now more powerful and better featured units, but at the time of purchase....) and CT4850HO cordless impact (f'n badass tool. A lot of cpetitive units are gutless. Awesome for pulling mower blades and makes swapping trailer hitch balls on the fly a breeze.) are prime examples.

    I can. Snap-On guy come to my door, hands me new/repaired tool and takes the old one away. Thing is, I haven't had the opportunity to test that. Ever. Well, ok, I have worn out a couple phillips screwdrivers.....

    Funny thing is, a lot of people tell me that I'm wasting money buying the good stuff when Harbor Freight or Craftsman (etc. and so on) all offer "the same" lifetime waranty. Thing is, more often than not it cost me more than I paid for the tool to take the time to return it. Yeah, I work with my toys everyday but even for "around the house" projects, it's a serious setback for me to have to interupt a project on account of a tool failure. And I am no more accomplished "around the house" than many of you guys. I've always said buy the very best tools you can afford.

    Now, don't go thinking I don't own/use any Harbor Freight stuff. ;lol I bought a $40 bearing separator kit that is identical to other brands that costs twice that or more. Only difference I can find is the color of the case. I have one little 800W generator that already has been handy. It's a bit cantankerous to start but for $90, I know what I paid for. I also use/abuse the little $5 inline neon spark testers. I lose/break/melt those too often so a cheap and plentiful supply of them is welcome. My "day-job" (I work graveyard ... :confused:) employer pretty much buys tools exclusively from HF or Grainger. The HF stuff works but there is a world of difference working with their tools and mine.
  8. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Internet?? I remember my Dad mail ordering from them in the 80s.
  9. kennyl70

    kennyl70 New Member

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    i have bought so much stuff from there. gosh i think most all has been pretty decent stuff. i have to say for cheap it is mostly good. i am thinking the rechargeable batteries was the worst purchase by far there.
  10. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    I haven't bought much at HF, but did pick up an 18 gauge brad nailer for all of $16 that has shot close to a thousand brads in the last couple months without a jamb or any issue. Not as nice as the Ridgid 16 gauge nailer I got used, but good enough for some DIY.
    I guess the worst would be that same nailer if it blows apart in my face. !!!
  11. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I usually pretty much ignore warranties anymore as being not much more than sales aids. It's just more difficult to make a claim than most things are worth. Even expensive items like wood stoves. Witness all the trouble some of the members here are having with those. I truly believe that companies make it so hard to make a warranty claim that they hope most people won't bother and the ones that try finally go away. Sad way to do business, but that seems to be the trend. With a handful of notable exceptions, of course.

    "Buy the best you can afford." Always good advice and goes beyond tools. Problem is, Harbor Freight is all some of us can afford.:( That was meant as a joke, but it really depends on what your needs and budget are. I've got some nice stuff, too. The stuff I use the most and need the quality for.

    And I'm using tools handed down from my father, some of which he got from his father, and maybe one or two things from another generation back, but I'm not sure about them. They only got this far because they were well made, you can be sure...
  12. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    ;lolYeah, that happens (not just with HF). One day you're bragging about how great this new tool is and the next day you're picking up parts off the floor (if not out of your body). HF pneumatics seem to be especially inconsistent in their reviews. Personally, I tend to go higher end with pneumatic items including compressors and parts.
  13. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    haha, its funny you say that. their pneumatic tools are some that consistently get decent reviews, as long as you keep them oiled. I have the same brad nailer, i did the roof on my shed with it and staples, worked great, 5 years later its been perfect. does sometiles dimple the surface it hits, but thats ok. Only jams for me when i let it get to 50psi.
  14. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Which model do you have? I think I may need a nailer like that.
  15. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    I have this one, albeit the older purple version: http://www.harborfreight.com/air-to...18-gauge-2-in-1-nailerstapler-68019-8341.html

    It works great for what its for, sometimes dimples the surface of the wood, and will jam if you let the air get to about 40-50psi (but its rated for 90, so thats your fault). I did a lot of projects with thiis, great for trim and did my shed's roof with staples. I know they arent roofing staples or anything, but it was cheap and I figured it would be good enough. Guess what, many years later i was right! I cant believe that I lived without an air nail gun before. Love it and will get a bigger one if the excuse exists, dont have one right now though.
  16. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Looks like what I need. Maybe I'll try it. Here I thought I was through with them;lol Thanks.
  17. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    FYI, the one I bought is the straight 18 G brad nailer, not the nailer/stapler combo. I bought it for trim & based on reviews the combo may leave larger marks on the wood from the shape of the hammer.
  18. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    good point, the hammer is a bit wide. If you are ok with a mark, or ok to cover it up, then go for it. For <$20 its a deal, and check out the junk mail in your mailbox, I get a 20% off coupon at least once a month.
  19. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    HF makes a decent copy of the infamous (among us 4x4 enthusiasts) Hi-Lift Jack-it's a basically a giant (will lift loads from about 2" to 48") old fashioned ratchet jack that can also be used as a spreader, clamp, or come-a-long. The only real difference between the HF unit and the real Hi-Lift is that some of the parts are steel stampings vs. castings. Well, that and the price ;) I just used mine to jack up the maple that fell in my yard in order to get some blocking underneath it so I could buck the trunk.

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