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Rate the Harbor Freight Tools Thread- Pass or Fail?

Chips4Lips

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Knowing the difference in tools and the reasons for buying from one place over another is the key... sometimes it's a purchase for an immediate need without a long term value and at others it's for a long term value without an immediate need. You should always be able to recognize the difference and be comfortable with it as the product cost isn't always the driving factor.
 

kd4gij

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Ebel440

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Got the 10" sliding miter saw. Works ok so far. The directions say not to change the factory depth stop except if you dont set the depth stop correctly you will cut into the saws base or at least mine would have. And as a result of setting it so it won't cut the base it won't cut completely to the back fence. I just added a 1/2 piece of aluminum to the fence but that results in less cutting capacity.
 

GA Gyro

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As usual... HF sends these coupons in Email, probably every 2-3 days... or sometimes every day.

Anyhow, I get this coupon for the electric flyswatter... free (usually $3.99)... Recommendation: get one... it is fun and does work... <grin>

Anyhow, went to the store to get a free 'toy' flyswatter... and since it was raining outside... decided to wander around the store. I come across this adjustable reamer kit:

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=hand+reamers

Normal price is $72.99... the wooden case is damaged... marked down to $50.00... and low and behold... I have a 20% off coupon. So I get this reamer kit for $40 + tax. Brought it home and played with one of the reams... it seemed to work fine.

Most of the work I do is on AL... so if the blades of the reamers are not made of high quality tool steel... they will still cut AL.

The store I shop at.... is quick to mark things down... they do NOT like merch sitting around. Good for me... :)
 

MikeWi

Active User
Active Member
Got the 10" sliding miter saw. Works ok so far. The directions say not to change the factory depth stop except if you dont set the depth stop correctly you will cut into the saws base or at least mine would have. And as a result of setting it so it won't cut the base it won't cut completely to the back fence. I just added a 1/2 piece of aluminum to the fence but that results in less cutting capacity.
ok, I'm probably not understanding what you mean, but there should be a plastic plate under the blade area that you are supposed to cut through. This makes the slot the exact width of the blade which allows for better support of the edge of the wood being cut, preventing tearing/splintering. If you're setting it so that isn't happening then yeah, the blade isn't going to do a full cut.
 

Ebel440

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Active Member
No its not really the problem. on this saw its already molded with the slot in it and if I ran the saw as set it would go through the end of the plastic piece into the aluminum casting. I may just throw a cheap blade in and do it as its the easiest way to fix it. I haven't really checked it out as I put a spacer in the back and used it as is. But I don't want the plastic loosing support if I cut through it. Ill check next time I use it.
 

Ebel440

Active User
Active Member
I just remembered there's a rubber bump stop that I shortened a little bit which helped get more travel to the back fence but didn't fix it totally. I'm not really upset or anything by the saw. I would buy it again it works pretty well. It just needs a little work but for the price it was worth it.
 

6mmBR

Active Member
Active Member
I bought several items from HF. The one I like the best is their wooden bench with the Windsor brand name on it. It's the single nicest thing I've ever bought made in China. Went together very well, it's very sturdy, and it even looks nice. You can get them on sale for $139 quite often.

It's not a Roubo bench, but then it doesn't cost a grand either.

I bought one of their cordless 18v drills with a flashlight. I have an 18V B & D cordless, also made in China, with expensive batteries that it eats regularly. The one from HF, also from China, cost under $20 and the battery is still running almost a year later. Might as well buy the HF drill since both are made in China. The batteries are cheaper and they last longer.
 

bearbon

Active Member
Active Member
I have quite a number of HF tools and gadgets but here's a few of the ones that I especially like.
1. The 4X6" Horizontal/Vertical Cutoff Bandsaw: I was doubtful of the quality when I bought it but was pleasantly surprised at how well this little jewel performs. It was the best thing I ever bought from HF. It cuts true every time and has saved me a lot of time and effort - and it doesn't take up a lot of space. I was amused they felt it necessary to put a sticker on the motor that says "motor".
2. Hand trucks: I have both the regular (red) and heavy duty (blue) ones and they get a lot of use. Both are well built and have held up under a lot of heavy lifting. I modified the blue one with four wheels across the axle for use on soft sandy soil and it works great! I'll show my All-Terrain Hand Truck in another post.
3. Chainsaw sharpener: Another cheapie I got on sale but it does the job well and is a lot quicker and more accurate than hand filing.
4. Lawn & Garden Tire Changer: Simple device but has held up well under some demanding use. I've used it with tractor wheels up to 12".
5. Work Gloves: I've worn out a lot of these $7 yellow leather leather work gloves but at the price they're a good value. More comfortable than heavy work gloves.
6. Tarkelp Orange Scented Hand Soap: This is the best hand soap I ever used, regardless of price. It's $1.99 for a 16 oz. tub and you have to use a little imagination about the orange scent but this stuff cleans the worst grime off your hands better than all the other "popular" brands I've tried over the years. My local HF was out of stock once so I actually ordered some from the manufacturer. And it's made in the USA!
 

bill stupak

Active Member
Active Member
Here is a HF tool that I use constantly, it's a little abrasive cutoff saw I have set up as a dedicated bolt and machine screw cutter. I took a bit of angle and drilled and tapped various sized holes and mounted it in the vise. The sheet metal box keeps the bench clean. I've cut hundreds of bolts and am still on the original blade. Cheers, Bill chopsaw2.JPG chopsaw1.JPG
 

roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I posted earlier in this thread about the HF Black Toolbox on sale for $104.00
HF sent out a Email for this weekend July 3rd thru 5th that ends Sunday for that same Toolbox. I decided to get another one since the first one was such a nicely built box for the price and is already full.
They work great for holding End Mills, Reamers, Taps and hand tools for the Lathe.
So, I needed another one for all of my newly acquired Starrett tools and misc other tooling I've picked up lately. :D

2c.jpg
 

Anthony G

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Active Member
Truthfully, I've purchased very few things at HF. I'm 98% a Buy American guy. Heck, once I drove 60 miles to buy a "new" but older made in USA Milwaukee 4 1/2" grinder that I found on Craigslist. With that being said, I have bought a few hand tools from HF. I think the c-clamps are fine for most uses unless they get tightened too hard. I bought a couple spring clamps that seemed OK in the store, but when put to use, repeatedly kept popping off the items being clamped. The little pads didn't move properly. You have to look through the c-clamps and make sure you buy ones where the screw lines up properly with the casting. I bought couple die grinders from them and they seem OK, too. Just keep them oiled well. I haven't had any problems with any of the air "accessories" either. The ratchet straps are OK, too. I think all of the ratchet straps, even in other stores, are import anyway. I bought a set of 1/4", deepwell, "inside" torx sockets and they're OK. They're only 1/4", so they're for light duty anyway. I've never bought any power tools there and I probably won't. I think their tool storage cabinets are probably OK, too. I do think the Chinese chrome is sub-par, though, and will not last. I bought a couple sets of the micro-drill bits and they were absolute junk. Not only is the HSS junk, but none of them were sharpened properly. They wouldn't cut butter.
 

GA Gyro

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I've had great luck with the 115 piece cobalt drill bit set (my set is the 47653 the link must be a newer vendor). All have been sharp and cut stainless and 4130 very easily.
http://www.harborfreight.com/115-pc-cobalt-drill-bit-set-61886.html
Yes, I have that set also... and yes it has worked out well for me.

Generally... when the hole I need is not a precision size... I always use a standard fraction bit when I can... like in fourths or eighths... those are easy and cheap to replace... in quantity.
 

hman

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Pittsburgh "PRO" Click Type Torque Wrench (61276). Big whoopie coupon, $11.99 (normally either $21.99 or 29.99). FAIL.
Can't get it to click when set anywhere above about 50 ft lbs, and below that, the click is very soft.
Bought one at a car parts store for ~$24, and it clicks nicely and appears to have a nice, linear response.
 

kingmt01

Active Member
Active Member
I like mine. However I've had it for years so it is probably different. Mine chicks soft also but not using much pressure it is easy to feel. That light of weight is pretty low for 1/2" stuff anyhow.
 

Ebel440

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Active Member
Just got a second one of the air pencil die grinders the little red one. The first one I got is still working almost daily for a few hours for almost a year. It replaced a real Sioux one that died and I believe its copied off of it. I bought a second to have two people grinding at once. But the new one is no good the spindle run out is horrible and it won't shut off so ill return it and hope I get another good one.
 

juiceclone

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Active Member
the comment above is the key to harbor freight as well as all items from china. you can buy it and it's fine, and the next one exactly like it you get will be absolute junk....then the next may be good ...or not! apparently items are made in batches by any "factory" available at lowest cost. the next time you get something it's from a different source and of a different quality altogether. it also seems, to me at least, that in some cases the failure of the tool, for example, was predictable and intentionally hidden. I have had poly line break that was obviously cut in a way to not be visible..I have found the hot line in a tool placed against the metal handle so that when the trigger was pulled, you got the voltage not the motor.
with ANYTHING Chinese, you are the quality control. In most, but not all, cases, you can inspect and correct as necessary and wind up with a useable item at a really good price. :>)
 

roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Just got the issue of Home Machinist and Harbor Freight has this Tool box in it on sale for $99.99. Great buy and a very solid Tool box. I have 2 already but might pick up another for that price.

image_24261.jpg
 

GarageGuy

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Active Member
I have one of those. That's what I paid for mine too. It's awesome. You'll never find a better tool box for that kind of money, or even for two or three times that money.

GG
 

mack318

Iron
Registered Member
do you know the only problem i had with the 4x6 band saw was? I just could not remember what size the replacement blade was (64 1/2) and it was not marked anywhere on the outside of the saw. Sooo i took a big black sharpie and fixed that problem. I remember NOW, but the sharpie fix is still my favorite mod. Also Lowes has a high quality bimeatal blade for $11 but you got to grab em quick.

ive had some trouble with the bar clamps that have the plastic parts. but the other ones are good.

i got the $40 OBDII scanner. I keep wanting to get an upgraded one, and keep talking myself out of it. the $40 one has never failed me and, and payed for itself 100x over. All my buddies borrow it, for there check engine light problems, and its never failed any of them either.

i have a canvas tool bag i got from them that ive been abusing for almost 20 years, i wish i could still get them there.

i got my girlfriend the 130 piece basic home toolkit, because she didn't have so much as a lousy screw driver around her place. That little kit gets so much use
 

Charles Spencer

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
do you know the only problem i had with the 4x6 band saw was? I just could not remember what size the replacement blade was (64 1/2) and it was not marked anywhere on the outside of the saw. Sooo i took a big black sharpie and fixed that problem. I remember NOW, but the sharpie fix is still my favorite mod.
I've noticed Tubal Cain/Mr. Pete does the same thing.
 

Ulma Doctor

Infinitely Curious
Active Member
Just Got the Pneumatic 18Ga Nailer/Crown Stapler from HF----PASS:aok:
excellent function, low air consumption, worked as intended.
no adjustment was necessary- plug and play!!!!

on a related note:
i also got the 18ga brad nailer previously, it also was a PASS:aok:
 

GA Gyro

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I bought a roofing (coil) nailer on sale a few weeks ago... tried it over the weekend. :aok:


I have NO plans to install a shingle roof... however for the price it was a deal ($35)... no box.
 

kingmt01

Active Member
Active Member
the comment above is the key to harbor freight as well as all items from china. you can buy it and it's fine, and the next one exactly like it you get will be absolute junk....then the next may be good ...or not! apparently items are made in batches by any "factory" available at lowest cost. the next time you get something it's from a different source and of a different quality altogether. it also seems, to me at least, that in some cases the failure of the tool, for example, was predictable and intentionally hidden. I have had poly line break that was obviously cut in a way to not be visible..I have found the hot line in a tool placed against the metal handle so that when the trigger was pulled, you got the voltage not the motor.
with ANYTHING Chinese, you are the quality control. In most, but not all, cases, you can inspect and correct as necessary and wind up with a useable item at a really good price. :>)
I actually find better tools that are plastered with made in China then the made in China that is hide behind a is company. There are several tools I've tried from us companies that just weren't worth bringing home. At least they were consistent tho & were all junk.

Make sure you actually do get what you paid for. A turd may be made by a American in the USA but I wouldn't want it anymore then one made by the Chinese.