Harbor Freight, Interested in your thoughts
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    SulleyBear's Avatar
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    Harbor Freight, Interested in your thoughts

    Frequently, I see people posting here on the GTT about Harbor Freight and either their plans to shop there or comments about their visit to the stores. Since virtually all of us on this type of website are interested in mechanical issues and repairs as well as fabrication, I am curious what the different views are about the merchandise sold at Harbor Freight.

    While I found many links when I searched before posting this thread about specific Harbor Freight items, like their 3pt hitch 'Quick Hitch", I am curious in what items each of you like or dislike and which things at the store are of interest to you.

    I will pick up the "consumable" type things like zip ties, duct tape, electrical tape and the occasional item which I use once in a great while. I have purchased a laser temperature gun for measuring temps easily and a few other items like those, but I also find that some of their items are such that I wouldn't get the use out of them which would satisfy me.

    I purchased 4 of their wooden furniture moving dolly's for putting under my 47" two stage snow thrower and they have worked just fine for making that item easier to relocate around my barn. But there are other things which I just don't care for their quality.

    Interested in the experiences others have had and your likes and dislikes about Harbor Freight. One thing for certain is they are opening new stores all over very aggressively and don't appear to be slowing down on store expansion.
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    etcallhome's Avatar
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    Between yesterday and today ,that makes my 3 time in Harbor Freight. The other time was 5 yrs ago almost to the day. That time I bought some brad nails for my nailer, so far have had no problem. Like you today I bought the grandsons a universal 7 way screwdriver , a pack of magnet hooks ,a hook to hangup the weedeater. I did purchase a 3 1/4" hand wood planer today plugged it in ran the motor for a few minutes ,seems ok . I did buy the better grade instead of the cheapest model. For the times I will use this it should do OK for my needs.

    BIL has bought several items , 14-16" metal cut off saw, a 4 1/2 hand grinder,( both of these are at least 5 yrs old used at least once a week) metal break, engine lift plus several hundred dollars worth . He seems to like what he buys. He is like me if they have two models of the same tool he does buy the higher price tool.
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    I've bought numerous things through them over the years but I would say that all of it is low-quality. They carry a LOT of stuff so I find that it is easy to shop HF, pick up the cheapo item, use it, see what I like/don't like about it and if I need the item long term, it gives me a good basis for shopping for a better quality long-term piece. But sometimes ya just need a cheapo $3 widget for a one-time use and they are perfect for that.

    I've seen a lot of guys comment online that they buy something and then upgrade it themselves. (In particular, their shop presses) I haven't done much of that sort of thing but now that I'm retired and on a more limited budget, I might start!
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    I shop cautiously at HF knowing that what I am buying is on the bottom of the quality scale.
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    I shop at HF somewhat for a variety of things. I have their air nail guns, what I used them, they seem fine to me, probably wouldn't want to earn my living with them, as they probably wouldn't take the abuse everyday.

    now the one item that I did get burnt on, was the air sand blaster on wheels, it sat in basement for over a yr before we put it together, that @#$%% thing wouldn't take the hair off the butt of nothing. can't take it back, only 30 day return, I think, and of course it is in STORE ONLY RETURN , NO CASH RETURNS, and it cost $159 when I bought it. now look at reviews, before thinking of buying. is that good or-bad.

    my oldest son, bought me their 20volt impact gun for ho-ho day. I first told him I wanted a-the m-18 vlt milwallkia , he laughed, so I told him I wanted hf's electric impact wrench, they have them on sale all the time for $39.99, no-what did he get me, but HF'S 20 volt impact, so I have to yet, charge battery and see if it lives up to the 300 ft pds. time will tell, cause I wanted him to take it back and get the electric one, and spend the rest on tools for himself, but he wouldn't do that.

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    Depends on what it is & how I'm going to use it! I've had a 3/4 socket set of theirs for years, ratchet broke before long as expected the rest has done fine. Set of pipe wrenches, don't use them enough to justify quality ones, these have done the jobs I needed. I do buy things like nitrile gloves, throw-away brushes, plastic tarps, etc., basically throw away stuff.

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    I got to see my first actual Harbor Freight store 4 years ago when I found there was one in the city where my Rheumatologist is. I was like a kid at the candy store at first!

    I don't buy many tools since I have most that I need. But for sundry items like zip ties and lynch pins (assorted box). For seldom used tools I will wait until I go there - like for a set of auto interior panel removal tools - can't beat it and something that I might use 2 or 3 times. I will usually pick up some things now when I am there just to have on hand. I can't attest to their hand tools as I have a full set of Craftsman that I've had for years.

    One thing I have noticed lately - I go to Tractor Supply at each grocery run if nothing else to look around. I get to noticing that a lot of their items (power tools etc) look exactly like those at Harbor Freight - at a higher price. And for example I've been looking at small portable air compressors lately. In that category I noticed the one that Sears sells under the Craftsman name is exactly the same as HF's model - for more than twice the price.

    I've read many threads on this subject in other forums - which some get pretty heated. Things have changed so much in the last 20 years that I think a lot of other companies are sourcing products the same place HF is these days.

    I might buy more there if there was a store accessible for returns if needed.
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    John Deere 1025R TLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grnspot110 View Post
    Depends on what it is & how I'm going to use it! I've had a 3/4 socket set of theirs for years, ratchet broke before long as expected the rest has done fine. Set of pipe wrenches, don't use them enough to justify quality ones, these have done the jobs I needed. I do buy things like nitrile gloves, throw-away brushes, plastic tarps, etc., basically throw away stuff.
    I agree. I have a set of deep sockets from them. Now a number of other items along the same line. Broke a socket when I had that stuck bolt in the MMM and replaced it, no questions asked, no receipt nothing. I broke a Husky wratchet too. We will see how well Home Depot does with out a receipt. Have not got there yet. Bought a second hand quick hitch like the one Deere sells. No issue with that either. Have a 2 burner propane heater, works good too. I would not purchase bearings, but their moving dollies work well under the BH, FEL and Tiller. So cheap and if I am not making money with it, I will buy it there.
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    Like other have said, I buy zip ties, nitrile gloves, tape, tie down straps, clamps from them - all of which works well and is pretty reasonably priced. I do not own any of their power tools, so I can't speak to the quality.

    Heck, their free gifts are not too bad either. I have a tape measure in both of my outside buildings, garage, and basement. My wife uses their magnetic dish to store her sewing needles in.

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    tomd999's Avatar
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    Here's my review of the quality of the tools at HF for the most part. I have no problem getting cheap one use stuff there but if I need quality, I hit the used tool stores, CL and pawn shops for US, West German or Japanese made tools.

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