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Rate the Harbor Freight Tools Thread- Pass or Fail?

autonoz

Active User
Active Member
Three recent purchases,
1000Lb hydraulic lift table PASS Using it to lift 12" rotary table and 8" Super indexer onto mill table. Construction looks good and operates just fine out of the box.
Blue flame self darkening welding helmet, PASS Have only used it a couple times and have no experience with more expensive helmets, but this darkens instantly and is comfortable.
Welding table, PASS Sturdy enough for light to medium work and is fairly well constructed. Will work just fine for what I do.
Not sure of the longevity of these items as they are only a couple weeks old, but hopefully they will not give me any trouble.
 

pebbleworm

Active User
Active Member
I knew it wouldn't work well, but I picked up the 40 piece metric tap and die set on sale a while ago:
http://www.harborfreight.com/40-piece-metric-carbon-steel-tap-and-die-set-39384.html
I finally had a chance to use it to tap some holes to 5X.8. Had a nice vertical and correctly sized pilot hole, loaded the tap into a tapping fixture and it just gummed away, never really biting in. Double checked my tap drill size and took a look at the tap- it is just not properly ground. I'll have to do a detailed post mortem so I can learn something. I just used an ancient Greenfield 10X32 tap I found in an abandoned building and had three nicely tapped holes in minutes. It's nice to know you have a tap on hand, but not nice to know it does not work. I should have expected this for the price, and others in the set seem to work fine for chasing out rust and goo from previously threaded bits. I'm not throwing it out, but I'm not going to delude myself I know I have a metric tap on hand.
 

uncle harry

Active User
Active Member
Three recent purchases,
1000Lb hydraulic lift table PASS Using it to lift 12" rotary table and 8" Super indexer onto mill table. Construction looks good and operates just fine out of the box.
Blue flame self darkening welding helmet, PASS Have only used it a couple times and have no experience with more expensive helmets, but this darkens instantly and is comfortable.
Welding table, PASS Sturdy enough for light to medium work and is fairly well constructed. Will work just fine for what I do.
Not sure of the longevity of these items as they are only a couple weeks old, but hopefully they will not give me any trouble.
I also bought the self darkening helmet & have had it about 3 years. It continues to function as good as new.
 

kingmt01

Active Member
Active Member
I have the old gray helmet. I've been using it for over 10 years. It wasn't until getting a helmet that actually works that I find my old one is crap. I thought all this time my eyes were just bad to see my welding.

Pebbleworm
I agree those taps are great for cleaning threads & even reforming buggered threads but they are almost imposable to cut threads with. I cut a taper at the end to get them started & they still suck.
 

FOMOGO

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
It's always been my understanding that you shouldn't use a standard tap for chasing threads as it will end up causing a loose fit. Not saying I haven't done it on non-critical stuff, but for engine work I use a thread chaser. I think the HF stuff is kind of a crap shoot. I have a set of theirs here on the island I bought 6-7 years ago and so far so good. Mike
 

wildo

Active Member
Active Member
Read/skimmed this whole thread. One addition I can add that I didn't see mentioned was the composite ratchets. Major PASS! Super comfortable and I love the 72 teeth low rotation angle. They are smooth and work well- all three sizes. They definitely make my Craftsman ratchets feel like utter trash.
http://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-inch-heavy-duty-composite-ratchet-66314.html

image_16273.jpg

The 12 outlet power strip is also a PASS. I haven't tried putting large amounts of current through it, but general shop tools and reduction of extension cords/clutter... total PASS. Definitely cheaper than most anywhere else as well. http://www.harborfreight.com/12-outlet-super-power-strip.html
image_21067.jpg

Another winner is the long reach, polished combination wrenches. These are really comfortable to use, and indeed they are long. I reach for them regularly... PASS
http://www.harborfreight.com/11-pie...long-handle-combination-wrench-set-47067.html

wrenches_zps08okaqig.jpg
 

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wildo

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JimDawson

Global Moderator
Staff member
Director
A few weeks ago I purchased a 115 pc set of HF cobalt drills, I have now had a chance to use them for awhile in SS, plastic, mild steel, 1045 steel, and aluminum. So far so good. I say PASS!
 

autonoz

Active User
Active Member
A few weeks ago I purchased a 115 pc set of HF cobalt drills, I have now had a chance to use them for awhile in SS, plastic, mild steel, 1045 steel, and aluminum. So far so good. I say PASS!
I have had this set for over two years and they have drilled everything I have needed them to. My only complaint is the smaller numbered bits are not sized properly.
 

MikeWi

Active User
Active Member
I'll admit that I can't see any deformation, so it may have been built like this in the first place and it took me this long to notice, but I'll post a pic later. Way out of line. There's no flexing going on here, and the bushing removal required a total gap of less than 4" inside the press, so no long distance involved. It's just messed up is all. We used that rap trick all the time at the garage I worked in, and yes it works like a charm and makes peoples jaw drop when they see it for the first time. Doesn't help much here though.. These track bar bushings are notorious for being hard to remove. The rubber comes out of the liner before the liner releases.
Here's the photo finally. World on my jeep forum is that this is common with the HF presses and that they really are bending. Hard to imagine. This was after a removing a balljoint from hell, so either it was hell because of this, or it became this way because of it. :)

20160312_143836.jpg
 

NCjeeper

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Hey Mike how old is yours? I bought the same tool about 15 years ago and mine is going strong. It seems things are getting cheaper in quality to keep the prices down.
 

kingmt01

Active Member
Active Member
Looks pretty common. I used to see a bunch of them in this condition. It's really hard to say without actually having been the one using the tool but it is usually user error that leads to these tools in this condition but it could have been a defect.

I usually get long use out of my Harbor Freight tools but I am also good at judging tools by just holding them in my hand & I've learns to fell the stress in tools as I'm using them. There is tools at HF I wouldn't carry home if they face them to me.
 

MikeWi

Active User
Active Member
Looks pretty common. I used to see a bunch of them in this condition. It's really hard to say without actually having been the one using the tool but it is usually user error that leads to these tools in this condition but it could have been a defect..
I'm pretty certain the bending occurred while it was being used, as I would have noticed this when I picked it up, and I do have experience using these. You'll have to take my word that I know what I'm doing I guess. :) I think the only reason it happened was that I had a really stuck balljoint. I haven't had many that were that hard to remove, so maybe the tool would have survived. Maybe. YRMV.
 

juiceclone

Active Member
Active Member
yes on the welding hoods ..about 5 years and going strong.
The tap and die sets are, like anything involving China threads, CRAP. They have hardened burrs on
them that cut better than the thread itself, plus if U check the dims and mm of them they aren't what they should be. Haven't got a complete usable set yet!
 

MikeWi

Active User
Active Member
Oh yes, the tap and dies... I bought a set that has taps that are pretty functional, but the dies not so much. The labeling is very difficult to read as well, as in get out the bright light and magnifier.
I have plenty of tools from them that work great though.
 

planeflyer21

Active Member
Active Member
Big fat 0 for their "Emory cloth". This is the actual cloth abrasive that they sell in sheets, not the wet-n-dry sand paper HF has labeled as Emory cloth.

Loads fast while simultaneously removing the grit. Clean out the gunk and you have cloth.
 

FOMOGO

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Same here. I've had mine for 20yrs or better and have used and abused it with no ill affect. I do keep a fine coat of anti-seize on it. Over the yrs I'd say more decent products than not. A thread like this helps wade through the chaff. Mike

Hey Mike how old is yours? I bought the same tool about 15 years ago and mine is going strong. It seems things are getting cheaper in quality to keep the prices down.
 
S

Spike

Guest
I have had good luck with a lot of HFT stuff in the last few years, before that, not so much. The biggest improvement I have seen is in their ratchets and sockets, especially in their new 'pro' line. I am still leary of their electrical or battery powered stuff, but I have had good luck with what little of that type of tool I bought.

I do like their 4.5" cutoff wheels and cobalt drill bits. I have the newer style gray twenty ton shop press with the twenty ton air/hydraulic jack that is much better than the old orange one. The welding is much much better on them. I have the black tool cart as well and It is very nice for a fourth of what the tool truck guys want. I have the Clarke version of their 4X6 horizontal band saw I bought used and it is great after I fabbed up a proper rolling stand for it. Oh, and wire ties! I have used millions of their eleven inch wire ties with good results.
-Spike
 

Bill W.

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I have the 7x12 mini lathe, the round column vertical mill (the green one), 36" wood lathe, 12" sliding compound miter saw, 2HP dust collector, 6" bench grinder, 36" bending brake, 200 amp wire welder and a host of other tools to numerous to mention. I retired as a heavy equipment mechanic with numerous hand tools from Snap-on, Mac, Craftsman, etc,etc... HF tools are, for what you pay, as good as what you can expect for the price. Sure, every once in awhile you get a dud but by and large, you get what you pay for. Just bought their hand held portable band saw but have not yet tried it out. My vote is PASS...
Bill
 

roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Picked up one of these Saturday with Coupon for $88.98
I'll use it in the Garage for cutting Aluminum and light gauge steel.
Also picked up 2 Admiral 10" 50T blades for $19.99 for both, just to see how they last.
Last 2 they had and were discounted. Looked to be decent Carbide tipped blades.
I've had good luck with the Red colored power tools, so I'll give it a try and see how long it lasts.
Anyone have a good brand or type of blade for metal cutting they use on their saws?
image_25962.jpg
 

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DSaul

Active Member
Active Member
Picked up one of these Saturday with Coupon for $88.98
I'll use it in the Garage for cutting Aluminum and light gauge steel.
Also picked up 2 Admiral 10" 50T blades for $19.99 for both, just to see how they last.
Last 2 they had and were discounted. Looked to be decent Carbide tipped blades.
I've had good luck with the Red colored power tools, so I'll give it a try and see how long it lasts.
Anyone have a good brand or type of blade for metal cutting they use on their saws?
image_25962.jpg
The aggressive hook on a wood cutting blade will make a mess of cutting aluminum. They cost a bit more, but the Freud D1080N is a non ferrous metal cutting blade and works wonders on cutting aluminum and brass.
 

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roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I had one of those on my other Miter saw and it sucked at cutting Aluminum. No matter what speed I tried to cut it left rough burrs and lost teeth all over the blade. I had better results from the cheap HF 80 tooth Carbide blade.
I'll give these a try and let you know how they do. The extra one I am putting on Table saw to see how it cuts some Oak and African Padauk.
 

roadie33

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Cut about 20 pieces of steel 1" square 1/8" wall tubing with new saw and blade. Went thru it like butter.
Nice clean cut, no burrs and blade still sharp and no missing teeth.
Also cut some 1/4" Aluminum and it cut it just as good.
Wish they had some more of those Admiral blades. I'd buy a few more of them.
 

Subwayrocket

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H-M Supporter-Premium
I've got a few good items from harbor freight, all were by word of mouth.
Here is a Tungsten grinder I made, $35 total into it. $15 Harbor freight item#69645 angle grinder, and their diamond wheel that comes in a set for another purpose . I've sharpened hundreds of tungstens with it...when the grinder dies I've got 2 more spares above the shop and extra diamond wheels which are diamond both sides. $35 for a dedicated Tungsten grinder is cheap. I wouldn't try to actually use this grinder for grinding...i'm sure it would die fast, but in this light duty application it works well.

I recently bought this tool chest at HF , it great...especially at $189 http://www.harborfreight.com/tool-storage/tool-carts/five-drawer-service-cart-95272.html

I bought this drywall Scaffold at Harbor freight, I cut the top of the legs off at 34" high, flush with the top of the plywood, I added another layer of 3/4" plywood .
I basically repurposed it as a rolling work surface/work table. It's very solid and I do all kinds of projects on it. I can roll it in the driveway to paint, I can roll
it around as projects and work flow change. It's solid. I know drywall and spray foam guys that use it. http://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-duty-portable-scaffold-69055.html

Although I built a more robust cart for my TIG machine, 300CF and water cooler, their MIG cart is not bad at all, carries a MM 211 and a 150CF just fine .
For light duty, rolling across my garage, sometimes out to the driveway it's plenty good enough and holding up well.
http://www.harborfreight.com/welding/welding-accessories/welding-cabinet-61705.html

Most of their power tools I would not buy. Their sanding discs and wheels haven't held up.

Usually I hear what's good there by word of mouth, or a couple trusted youtube fabrication channels I watch.

I get china 1/4'' Tungsten Carbide die grinder Burrs on amazon , $18 for 5 , they hold up same as $12-$20 a piece burrs .
Took a chance on one set , went back and bought 3 more sets .

This old thread is a very good idea btw !
 
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Bill Rosselot

Active Member
Active Member
I am unabashedly a HF fan, I buy a good bit of 'stuff' there...

I think I have 2 items that jump out as a super bargain and astounding wearability -

First would be the 4 1/2" angle grinder (orange one) that sells for around $15 - I have had mine for some 10 years and it just wont seem to wear out, its a bit noisy now, but still chugs right along, whether grinding, cutting, sanding, etc.

Second would be the air die grinders in the straight and angle versions that sell for around $15-20, I have 5 of the straight and 3 of the angle with different mountings - with a cut off disc being one of the more handy tools in my shop, with a 3" sanding disc being awfully handy, also grind stones carbide cutters, etc. Here again, I have a couple that are some 6-8 years old and they just keep a going.

Nothing comes to mind right off as to 'bad' stuff. Tho there is some crappy stuff there, it seems to be less common than in the past (as does the import tools across the board)
I have the same Orange 4.1/2" Grinder it will not die
 

Charles Spencer

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Sort of off topic. I ordered a revolving four tray bin online:

http://www.harborfreight.com/tool-storage/part-storage/12-inch-revolving-four-tray-bin-94050.html

It arrived yesterday - minus the little plastic bag that contained the hardware. So I called them and asked if they could send it to me. After being put on hold twice, they said that they couldn't as they didn't stock the hardware separately. So they said they'd send me a new unit.

Now I have most of the items I need to assemble it except for 72 small nuts and screws. I'll buy some that fit today. I guess that means I'll get two for the price of one plus some screws.

So I'd give them a pass on customer service.