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Rate the Harbor Freight Tools Thread- Pass or Fail?

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JPMacG

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Well.... it's old, but I can't resist...

What not to buy at HF:
1. Pacemakers
2. Parachutes
3. Vaccines
4. Fire extinguishers
5. Scuba gear

7. Climbing belts
....etc., etc.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Shadowdog500

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I just got one of these Tool Carts from HF and it is put together really well.
It is very heavy and needs 2 people to put it together.
I have it sitting right beside my Lathe and have all of my End Mill and Reamers and other tooling in it.
Got it for $107 with coupon in Email. Great buy.

image_20251.jpg
I bought that same tool chest for my shop and it is my favorite. It is well made. I put my most commonly used tools in it and pull it around my shop to whatever I'm working on. I actually bought a crafstman box first to remain loyal to crafstman, but when I got it home I found that the crafstman box was junk. It was light weight metal and the casters didn't work properly. While trying to get the casters working better with lube I noticed a small "made in china" sticker on the bottom of the crafstman tool box. I immediately returned it to sears and bought the HF box on the way home from Sears. I'm not going to pay sears a "made in America" price, for a "made in China Product" especially when the product appeared to be made by the cheapest factory they could find in China. With the HF box I actually got a "made in China" box for a "made in China" price, but it appears that HF went to much better quality Chinese factory that actually makes a pretty decent box.

Harbor freight has come a long way in the last few years! A lot of thier stuff is still sub par, but I actually dare to say some of thier newer items are now better quality than my older crafstman stuff ever was.

The better HF tool boxes are on par with my old Mac, crafstman, and Rem line boxes. And are actually better than my two 10-15 year old crafstman Boxes.

My Earthquake impact is so good that I actually gave my Old Crafstman impact gun to my neighbor after it was just taking up space in my pnumatic droor unused for a year.

I just bought a earthquake air ratchet after finding out it was a reactionless impact air ratchet that won't jam your fingers. I love the thing. It's made in Taiwan, and the weight fit and finish actually scream quality, and is actually better that my three other regular air ratchets which is saying a lot since one was bought off of a snap on truck a few decades ago, and the other two are 25 year old Japanese made Crafstman ratchets.

I've been using thier impact sockets for decades and never had a problem.

Chris
 

markknx

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The craftsman name is mud any more. I'll buy husky or kobalt before craftsman any more. just like you said made in Chine charging Made in US price and no better quality than the others. and a lot of theirs is made here. Sad! more people should skip craftsman. or do like I did walk in look at it take it over to the clerk and tell them that is why you don't buy from them any more.
 

george wilson

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Going to "Remain loyal to Craftsman?" Forget about that!! They are not going to be loyal to YOU!!:)
 

roadie33

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I had done the same thing when I picked up the HF Box. I was looking at the one from Sears also. I was checking it over and saw the same sticker on the bottom. It was smaller, lighter weight and drawers were thin and very loose.
The last thing I got with the Craftsman name was a 12 gallon wet/dry Vac. The big Red one. It works great.
The newer ones I looked at the other day at Sears look cheap and poorly built. The HF Vacs look better and heavier. I need to get another one for the outside shop so I will be getting a HF Vac next week and I'll see how well it actually is.
 

uncle harry

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Good or bad, we all buy stuff at Harbor Freight. Sometimes the experience is good, sometimes not. I generally tend to go by the "If it has more than one moving part, don't buy it at Harbor Freight" rule, but sometimes I can't resist the temptation. This post is a place to share your experiences with a specific product and give it a PASS! or a FAIL!, so others will know whether they should shell out their hard earned cash or just run away. Here are the rules:

1) If something doesn't fit when you are assembling the product, it's an automatic FAIL!

2) If the product doesn't work as advertized, it's an automatic FAIL!

3) If the product breaks after only a few uses, it's an automatic FAIL!

4) Everything else is a PASS.

I'll start it out. Have fun...

[h=1]7" Variable Speed Polisher/Sander # 92623[/h] View attachment 31913

FAIL!...FAIL!

I had to file the handle to get it to fit the buffer and once I got it together, it makes so much gear noise I have to wear ear protection when using it.


On the other hand, I bought a set of cast iron stakes from Harbor Freight that are used to hammer form sheet metal, and they work just fine. One is rounded and the other is teardrop shaped. Note: No moving parts ;).

PASS!

Tom
I bought the HF palm nailer last spring so a helper friend & I could nail up paneling on my smaller shop. After following the 'oil frequently' instructions it worked as advertised right out of the box & maintained thru many boxes of nails. Total PASS (so far!).
 

planeflyer21

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Oh yeah!! I had a set of those torque-control wrenches from HF. Forgot all about them until I saw the photo up there.

Many of mine had the twist reversed though.
 

spongerich

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I recently picked up their 500 lb Hydraulic Lifting Table / Cart
It was around $130 with coupon and since the box was mangled and it was missing one of the bolts for one of the wheels, the manager gave it to me for $100.

It seems pretty sturdy, has nice hard urethane 'skateboard' casters that lock.
I wish it was a few inches higher so it would be even with the tailgate on my SUV, but it's saved my back several times already.
I lifted the column and head of my Clausing mill onto the base with it and it handled the load just fine.
 

kvt

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HF 10inch 12speed Bench top Drill Press,
looked at the one in the store, Had nice Machined cast table, cast clamp on the post, metal adjustment handle, etc. Wife picked one up for me, and when I got it put together and looked at it I had to go back to the store and verify it was the same one, Pressed steel foot, Pressed steal table, poor quality pole clamp for the table, Plastic adjustment handle for the table, etc. The run out on the chuck was bad but not real bad and could have been corrected, but the slop in the table height adjustment was a killer, along with the fact I would have had a hard time bolting a vice to the table. Took it all back apart, wrapped it back in the bags, box etc, and she is taking it back. Even a Ryobi had better setup than that with better warranty, and such, but with only 5 speeds instead of 12. I guess I'm still looking for a new Drill press.
 

James Kurth

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I have found if they are tools someone is going to use everyday not the best choice. If its something you use a once in awhile then some of the stuff is great.
 

kingmt01

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A large amount of HF tools but most of them are old enough that the part numbers are differet now. If the number is different it isn't the same tool even if they do look the same. I'll try to only include those that are current.

18 Volt 3/8 In. Cordless Drill/Driver With Keyless Chuck, 21 Clutch Settings Item #68239/Item #69651 FAIL

1/2 In. Heavy Duty Variable Speed Reversible Drill Item #3273 PASS

1/2 In. Heavy Duty D-Handle Variable Speed Reversible Drill Item #69453 PASS

3/8 In. Heavy Duty Professional Magnesium Variable Speed Reversible Close Quarters Drill With Keyless Chuck
Item #95877 PASS

1/2" MT2 Mini-Lathe Drill Chuck Item #42340 PASS

12 In. Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw With Laser Guide System Item #61969/Item #61970 PASS

5/16 In. X 25 Ft. Chain Coil
Item #47700 PASS

3/8 In. X 15 Ft. Chain Coil Item #47702 PASS

2 Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane
Item #69514/Item #60388 PASS

Automatic Battery Float Charger
Item #69955/Item #42292 FAIL

2/40/200 Amp 6/12V Manual Wheel Charger With Start(lated 20 minutes)
Item #62292/Item #69368 FAIL

7 In. X 10 In. Precision Benchtop Mini Lathe Item #93212 FAIL

Carbide Tipped Lathe Cutting Bits 10 Pk Item #2788 PASS

M2 High Speed Steel Mini Lathe Bits For Metalworking 5 Pc Item #40641 PASS

9 Speed Vertical Milling Machine Item #40939 PASS

4 in. x 36 in. Disc Sander Item # 97181 HALF PASS (I only wanted the belt sander so I'm happy but the disk drum has chunks missing)

6 Amp Heavy Duty Variable Speed Portable Band Saw Item # 47840 PASS(you really have to control cutting speed)

1500 Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun 572°/1112° Item # 96289 PASS

40 Pc SAE & Metric Tap And Die Set/40 Pc Carbon Steel SAE Tap And Die Set (all item numbers)
Item #39391/Item #39391/Item #39384 FAIL
 

jimbob

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Assembly of the Harbor Freight Five Drawer Tool Cart
[HR][/HR]Before you even begin to think about the assembly of the Harbor Freight Five Drawer Tool Cart you should take about seven or eight Valiums then wait for 20 minutes before you begin to unpack the tool cart.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that you were the only person in the continental United States to get a packing crate with no holes or rips in the cardboard. That doesn’t mean a thing, you will find that the Chinese are very adept about shipping a product that appears to have survived a class five tornado with no outward scars on the box.

Once unpacked, you will be faced with a decision…”do I repack this piece of red **** and drive 120 miles back to Harbor Freight to exchange this abortion for another equally as bad abortion or chalk it up as a life experience and learn to live with your bad decision.

If you chose the latter, take three more pills than gather the following tools. An assortment of drift pins or tapered punches, a very large mallet, safety glasses, two pry bars, several clamps, various adjustable wrenches, at least eight Chinese ASA nut drivers (all ½ inch), eight Chinese ASA ½ inch deep sockets, you are going to wonder why you need eight nut drivers and sockets all in the same size…. The reason is simple enough….all Chinese ½ inch nuts are different sizes. Do the same thing again, this time in “Metric” because some of your ASA nuts will be metric.

Additionally you will need a large boom box or construction radio to muffle your language and screams from your neighbors or any small impressionable children. One box of Band-Aid Brand bandages and a roll of ace bandages also, additional valiums and you might consider a Lincoln Arc welder just in case. Lastly, some red touch up paint. (A small warning here, an athletic support with a steel cup may be a prudent purchase prior to assembly)

If you have the money you may want to consider hiring a professional to record your efforts on video for future generations to view as the crowning achievement of your life.

INSTRUCTIONS…… I know what you’re thinking, “I’m a man I don’t need to read instructions”. The truth is in this case it doesn’t matter. Read them if you want, disregard them if you desire, either way it’s not going to go together anyway.

Supposedly you are to start by attaching the castors to the bottom of the bottom tray. Should the tray be upright or upside down during this procedure? Again, it doesn’t matter. You are going to flip the tray about twenty times while attempting to hold the heavy castor in one hand while pressing a bolt through the misfit holes with the other and thumb tightening the nuts with your third hand. I’ll say this much for Chinese lock nuts, they are so precise they lock on the first half turn. I guess tightening them further is optional.

Assuming you’ve assembled all four castors to the tray bottom and been released from the hospital with at least one functioning hand, you may proceed to attach the four corner uprights to the tray bottom corners.

If you read the instructions, you will note that the manufacture has a sense of humor, where he states…”Caution, it is possible to assemble the uprights upside down” (no ****) What that statement really means is that you will be installing the uprights twice. (you may safely disregard the part about measuring the uprights)

Now this is the part where your heavy duty mallet and punch comes into play. (see photo) You will get some relief assembling the uprights in that you no longer must use lock nuts. Lock nuts are now replaced with extremely loose fitting nuts that thread very quickly once the bolt has been forced through both holes.

Once you’ve installed the uprights for the second time you can proceed to installing the four supports that support the box itself. The front and back supports are straightforward enough and require minimal adjustment with your hammer. The side supports are another matter. The instructions show the side supports resting on top or above the front and back supports. The only problem with that arrangement is that it won’t work that way because none of the holes line up. Whereas if you do it just opposite from the instructions at least some of the holes sort of line up some of the time.

Now that you are ready to drop the box itself into place you would think the hard parts done. No such luck. The box is fairly heavy and most people recommend getting some help from a friend or two. The problem with that approach is that at this stage of the assembly (because of your language and bad temper) no one will come near you. Therefore you are left with several options. Option one, lay the half completed assembly on it’s back with the box itself also on it’s back and push the box into the supports. The only problem with that option is the tool cart now weighs too much to tip back upright.

Another option is to pry the box up just enough to get your toes under it then call 911. Or you could do what I did and leave the box itself on the back of your pickup then scoot the frame assembly close to the tailgate and with one fell swoop lift and slide the box over the supports, fart, then just let go and hope for the best. I was fortunate in that most of the box landed on the horizontal supports and the part that didn’t I kicked into submission until the holes nearly matched.

The remainder of the assembly went much quicker when I got out my variable speed drill and drilled my own holes where I thought they should have been located in the first place.

Harbor Freight recommends at this point that you start at the top and go down tightening all the nuts and bolts. In as much as most of the Chinese nut and bolts are cross threaded , I recommend an impact wrench set to about 5000 pounds of pressure and spot welding every one just to be sure they don’t loosen when the struts fail and the lid slams down.

I forgot to mention the side mounted can holder….I anticipated a difficult time attaching that because it requires lining up three holes rather than just two. Fortunately for me I was spared any difficulties because Harbor Freight forgot to include a can holder on with my tool cart.

Anyway, it’s assembled. Most of the drawers open and it’s Red. I’m glad I bought it and my Doctors say I can bring it with me when I check into the sanitarium tomorrow.

IMG_2969.jpg
 

RJSakowski

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You could make some nice twisted "wrought iron work".
I have run into a similar experience when assembling some office furniture for my wife. They included a 5 mm hex wrench with every chair. I managed to get the ten chairs assembled with the wrenches supplied but barely.
I tried a spark test on one to see whether they actually were a carbon steel and to my surprise, they have a fair amount of carbon. I heated one to a medium red (until a magnet wouldn't stick) and quenched in water. I polished the surface and slowly heated to a dark straw/light brown color and quenched. The result is a serviceable hex wrench. The steel is not that bad, they just make them soft. Maybe to reduce their liability exposure in case of breakage. Craftsman did the same which is why I stopped buying Craftsman twenty years ago (well, one of the reasons).
 

roadie33

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LMAO
I dang near choked and shot coffee out my nose reading that jimbob.
Hope you recover from that horrendous ordeal and are able to function normally in a few months.
The black one I got went together like it was supposed to and I was amazed all of the holes lined up.
Must have been a good day at the factory.
 

juiceclone

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HF quality varies with the time of day or phase of the moon it seems. I give a fail to any poly ropes from them....bad experience. angle grinders are a pass ...at their price how could u go wrong... i've got two...never a problem I never use a hacksaw anymore :<) got their cheapest drill press, and use it daily .. not perfect but functions correctly ..pass.
I had one of their early 3in1 lathes, and while it was lacking in features, it was sturdy, reliable, and reasonably accurate.
 

coolidge

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HF 1/2 drive air wrench driven by my puny 5 gallon pancake air compressor....wait for it...PASS!! I had to replace the 3 blades on my Kubota tractor mower today. I have a giant (I'm not kidding) Crescent wrench but it couldn't budge the second nut. Remembering that I had bought this thing precisely for this job I unpacked and set it up. Brrrrrrrrrr rupa rupa oh man effortless, that really saved me some effort.
 

kingmt01

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HF 1/2 drive air wrench driven by my puny 5 gallon pancake air compressor....wait for it...PASS!! I had to replace the 3 blades on my Kubota tractor mower today. I have a giant (I'm not kidding) Crescent wrench but it couldn't budge the second nut. Remembering that I had bought this thing precisely for this job I unpacked and set it up. Brrrrrrrrrr rupa rupa oh man effortless, that really saved me some effort.
Which one? Item numbers are the only way to know what you are getting.
 

kvt

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Second that, they have at least 4 or 5 diff 1/2 inch impacts that I know of off the top of my head. A couple are fails that I tried. Don't have the numbers so I did not post them.
 

kvt

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On that one make sure you keep it oiled, and put a few drops in the air line each time you use it. Or it will Gall and lock up inside. That looks like one of the ones I had problems with. The ones I have not tired are the red ones. I started paying more for other brands as I also use mine a lot, or use to but not as much any more.
 

coolidge

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Yes its rated pretty low so buyer beware but I only need it for this one job every 1-2 years so I didn't want to buy a $400 Snap-on.
 

kingmt01

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Actually Snappy/Blue Point aren't that great. Glad the driver bought mine back after I showed him how bad they were beside my IR impacts. I haven't tried any of the HF ones.
 

Lowell K

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I bought a 6" buffer, some buffing wheels and polishing compound bars. I have no complaints. I like their stands and tables all my bench top drills, grinders, buffers and an arbor press have HF holding them up off the floor. I have one of their battery powered Sawzall clones, it is okay.
 

jpfabricator

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I got the scroll bender attachment in the mail yesterday. Its an addition to the compact bender (which I dont have yet).
I have made some decorative brackets for holding a light over my workbench. The only complant is its limited to 3/16" and under, I needed it for some. .250 square so I see a " mod-by-mill" in the next couple of weeks.

Sent from somewhere in East Texas Jake Parker
 

coolidge

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I bought a 6" buffer, some buffing wheels and polishing compound bars. I have no complaints. I like their stands and tables all my bench top drills, grinders, buffers and an arbor press have HF holding them up off the floor. I have one of their battery powered Sawzall clones, it is okay.
I also have a HF buffer...I looked at HF and their buffers were dirt cheap. As Sears is just down the road I went over to look at theirs and found the exact same buffer for sale at Sears for more than double the cost, returned to HF and bought theirs. No problems with it.
 
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