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-   -   "Harbor Freight" power tools any good? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f29/harbor-freight-power-tools-any-good-199180/)

Jim McC 04-10-2014 06:30 PM

"Harbor Freight" power tools any good?
 
I was thinking of buying the 12" sliding compound miter saw they have. The reviews on their website are pretty good. Any opinions?

PoleCat 04-10-2014 06:34 PM

I have one. Works OK for me. Not sure if it could hold up to real heavy use though.

jeffnc 04-10-2014 06:41 PM

Some of the Harbor Freight tools are surprisingly good. Some are not so good. But the worst case is, it's so cheap, so what if it breaks in 6 months?

There are some tools that you will want precision and long lasting quality. That is not what Harbor Freight is for. I used their multitool for about $25 for 2 years (on and off, occasional use), until I got to a point I needed to use it more and for more things. So at that point I got a new and better one.

There is no doubt that I love my Makita drill and impact driver combo with the great batteries and charger, for $300. That sort of quality isn't available at Harbor Freight.

I did get a recip saw that I've used for several years, for only $35 or whatever. It works great, has the quick change blade and rotating head. Couldn't ask for a better deal.

Haven't tried the sliding miter saw, but for $175 you're going to have a hard time finding something at that price at Home Depot. You'll pay $600-$700 for that normally. The better saws will have more niceties, but in terms of life, you can buy 4 saws at Harbor Freight if they break, and you might get lucky and have one that lasts many years.

And they usually sell and extended warranty. So for maybe $200 you can get a saw gauranteed for 3 years or whatever.

PixelPaul 04-10-2014 06:59 PM

A general rule of thumb is for anything that needs to be plugged in, Harbor Freight is not a good idea.

oh'mike 04-10-2014 07:06 PM

I've had good experiences with the few power tools that I purchased---

They are inexpensive,light duty--but almost as cheap as renting---

That said---My miter saws are top quality name brands---It's a risk buying a highly precision tool there---if you find it is not accurate--return it----

jeffnc 04-10-2014 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PixelPaul (Post 1335319)
A general rule of thumb is for anything that needs to be plugged in, Harbor Freight is not a good idea.

Not sure where that rule of thumb came from - I've never heard it. The only piece of junk tool I got was a cordless reciprocating saw. But battery technology is expensive. Corded technology isn't. All the corded tools I've bought from them have worked very well. I got a corded drill - chuckless, variable speed - for $7 on sale. I don't think I could manufacture the box and manual and ship it over from China for that price, let alone the tool.

I suppose that would be one negative for Harbor Freight. Those tools are probably coming from subsistence labor. But then, almost everything we buy has some foreign involvement, at some stage.

joecaption 04-10-2014 09:07 PM

Without exception every corded tool I have bought at HF was junk.
Anyone that thinks there great has not owned a quality tool.
Hammer drill lasted one day, pedestal grinder vibrated so bad anything on the bench fell off, router was so loud you needed ear plugs, it vibrated so bad your hands stung, the chuck would not hold the bit tight so it dived into the work piece.
All where in the trash within a week.
Bought brand named tools and there all still working, never needed repairs, not one issue.

TheEplumber 04-10-2014 09:19 PM

One shop I used to work at bought their large electric jack hammer for busting basment slabs. worked great for several jobs, broke, and got a replacement. Two of those hammers were still cheaper than a top quality one- and the way employees treat tools I think it was a wise choice.

That being said, I wouldn't trust a "precision" miter saw from HF. How many adjustments will it take to get a good fit and will it stay adjusted?

Fix'n it 04-10-2014 09:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PixelPaul (Post 1335319)
A general rule of thumb is for anything that needs to be plugged in, Harbor Freight is not a good idea.

you are ignorant. i have several HF "plug in" tools that work just fine. and i beat the crap out of my recip saw.

jeffnc 04-10-2014 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheEplumber (Post 1335398)
That being said, I wouldn't trust a "precision" miter saw from HF. How many adjustments will it take to get a good fit and will it stay adjusted?

Probably depends if you're cutting up 2x8s for a deck, or precision crown molding.

jeffnc 04-10-2014 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 1335391)
Without exception every corded tool I have bought at HF was junk.
Anyone that thinks there great has not owned a quality tool.
Hammer drill lasted one day....

Honestly, sometimes comments like these that make me question the integrity of this forum.

Why would someone think a tool that lasted one day be "great"? A HF tool lasts one day, but a "quality tool" lasts much longer? Point being, thousands of people are using HF tools happily every day, and no one would think a tool that lasts one day is "great", whether they've used "quality" tools or not.

Just how likely is it that every tool I've ever bought there has worked fine, every tool bought by every person I've personally known has worked just fine, and the only really negative comments I hear are on the internet? How likely is it really that every single tool you bought just happens to be junk, and mine all work? The odds are like a billion to 1. I'm sorry, comments like these just sound specious to me, like jumping on the HF-hating bandwagon.

rusty baker 04-10-2014 10:16 PM

I have bought HF tools that lasted longer than some of the Craftsman tools I bought.

gregzoll 04-10-2014 10:19 PM

I have quite a few HF tools, that are still operating after four years of use. You cannot beat their warranty.

Jim McC 04-11-2014 01:31 AM

Thanks guys. I have a coupon for that saw for $129, so I think I'll give it a shot.

Would the typical homeowner be better off with this type of saw or a portable table saw?

kwikfishron 04-11-2014 06:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1335434)
I have quite a few HF tools, that are still operating after four years of use. You cannot beat their warranty.

But how many actual hours of trigger time in four years?

Different people require different levels of performance out of their tools. There's nothing worse than a tool failing during a job. Diy's may have the time and have no problems with just returning a tool. I do not...Down time is money and when you figure that into the equation how much are you really saving?

It's just like everything else...you only get what you pay for and nothing more. If HF power tools work for you then great but they're just not for me for my primary tools.

I recently bought their airless sprayer to shoot an unfinished basement ceiling and it got me through the job which is all I was hoping for. Now that I have it I'll probably use it once or twice a year so we'll see. The same day I bought the dual halogen lights on the tripod. One bulb didn't work so I replaced it. I ran the light for about 30 minutes and the glass shattered.


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