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Old 12-17-2012, 11:50 AM   #16
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


You've really got to look at each of their tools individually. Personally, I wouldn't touch a single power tool they had. My only experience was with an 18v drill, but from a full charge I could drill only three 3/8" holes through untreated 2x4 before it needed a re-charge. I'm no professional, but I do my own home and auto work, and I'd rather spend $100 on a decent drill that I'll have for 10+ years.

At the same time I have a set of ATV aluminum loading ramps from them that are top-notch. As is an ATV hydraulic lift. Been using the lift for 4 years and it still works great, with no fluid leaks. But, the lift/lever arm on the mechanical motocross bike lift bent on the 3rd use.

Sometimes I'll buy hammers and gear pullers that I only plan on using once, and they've done fine. I have some C-clamps though, that bent after the first use, so I question the quality of steel they use for some things.

I really think it's a crap-shoot buying things from them. Some work fine, others are really bad. I'll continue to use them for one-time use items. Unless its a power tool. If I need a power tool for one use, and can't borrow one from family/friend, I'd rather take my chance getting one used on Craigslist or eBay from a decent brand than trust HF.

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Old 12-17-2012, 12:49 PM   #17
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


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I really think it's a crap-shoot buying things from them. Some work fine, others are really bad. I'll continue to use them for one-time use items. Unless its a power tool. If I need a power tool for one use, and can't borrow one from family/friend, I'd rather take my chance getting one used on Craigslist or eBay from a decent brand than trust HF.
What's interesting (to me, anyway) is that Craftsman is now, apparently, having their tools built in China as well. There are quite a number of people I know who have always (and continue to recommend) Craftsman products. It would somewhat seem that the "quality" argument lines are becoming somewhat blurred ... at least insofar as Craftsman products vs. HF products.

I do/would like to try to buy "Made in the USA" products/brands as often as it is possible. Sometimes, for me, it's simply a matter of available funds + particular need + my own non-professional/home-hobbiest skill level and overall long-term intent/project-goals, ya know?
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Old 12-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #18
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


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Now that Craftsman is getting sourced in China, as is Kobalt, Husky and many of the other more affordable lines I'm soing to be doing more tool shopping at HF. They all have a lifetime warranty, all are made in China, and the HF hand tools seem to be well made.
WOW ... Ididn't know that about Kobalt and Husky.


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I personally don't care where anyone buys tools or such but to dismiss everything HF sells as junk is really narrow minded. Yes, a lot of it is price point stuff of dubious quality but the majority of things they sell work fine. If not they wouldn't be in business since the 60's.
Exactly the reason why I wanted to start/spark this constructive discussion.

Again, I am NOT dismissing ANY of the constructive comments offered by the more seasoned/experienced DIY'ers here - as this is exactly why I registered an account here. Nevertheless, I can't help but constantly think to myself "how bad can HF power tools really be?" I mean, for the most part, the mechanisms that go into the function/operation of the tools are relatively universal, right? I mean, they almost have to be ... else (as you mention above) Harbor Freight would not have been (and continue to be) successfully in business for over four decades.

Again - because I think it bears repeating relative to my own personal situation - I am not now, nor will I ever be, a professional/master-level or grade contractor, woodworker, constructionist, etc. My vision(s), goals and intentions are - and forever will be - strictly/purely - on/at and on a budget-minded/governed "home-hobbiest/DIY'er/weekend-workshop-man-cave" level.


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Old 12-17-2012, 03:42 PM   #19
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


Since we all use screen names here, I will admit that I have bought power tools at HF. Some of my friends have, too. Out of respect, I will not tell you who they are, either.
A six inch angle grinder seemed to be running kinda hot on it's first job. My friend put on gloves and kept working. The grinder burst into flames.
My trim router motor works fine. The collet has one slit instead of four, so it frequently lets go of the bit, but the motor works fine. The plastic base slips, too.
My 1/4" cordless impact driver works OK, except the battery life is short. The charger isn't automatic, and warns not to charge after the light turns green. Handy. And replacement batteries are unavailable. And, the chuck won't let go of the bit anymore. Still works OK on #3 phillips, tho.
A 3/8" cordless impact wrench at work still works. Sorta. Replacement batteries were only $10 each. Non automatic charger, again. Since the wrench fell off a workbench, the battery is held in with duct tape.
My buddy's US General tool box actually is OK. As long as it stays in one place. Try to wheel it around, full, and it creaks and squeaks. (I can tell you from experience that most tool chests work fine if they remain stationary. Move a cheap box across the shop once or twice a week and they don't last a year. That's where Snap-On/Mac/Matco quality starts to show.)

Whether I'm laying on a creeper under a car, or standing on a ladder, I've learned that I have little to no patience for cheap tools. OTOH, DIYers using cheap tools helps keep pros in business as DIYers decide they can't do it or don't like it.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:34 PM   #20
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


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I guess I've always been an over zealous "due diligence" kind of guy when it comes to researching items/issues of interest before I invest in something.
This would be the understatement of the year.
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:03 PM   #21
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


Ok guys....stop the trolling.....

There is another forum I'm on and when the topic of HF vs SO vs CM, well....same attitudes.

I've come to the conclusion that a SO lover will never say anything good about an HF tool....

SO has some of the stongest brand loyalty of any product.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go check out the new HF store that just opened up down the street.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:59 AM   #22
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


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My buddy's US General tool box actually is OK. As long as it stays in one place. Try to wheel it around, full, and it creaks and squeaks. (I can tell you from experience that most tool chests work fine if they remain stationary. Move a cheap box across the shop once or twice a week and they don't last a year. That's where Snap-On/Mac/Matco quality starts to show.)
Just curious - why would you want to move a full, almost 1000 lb tool box across a shop day in and day out? I'd rather have a tool cart and move that or walk back to the box assuming it's not too far.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:15 AM   #23
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


It is my understanding there are no
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:28 AM   #24
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


It is my understanding there are no power tools that are made in this country. Porter Cable was the last and now they are gone. Zig Ziglar once did a piece on cheap vs quality. He bought a bicycle for his son at a discount store. They didn't have it very long and started to have problems with it, they had to replace the handle bars twice, the seat, and something else. After adding up the repairs they went and bought a new shwein for less than they had in the cheap bike. they had it for over 8 years and had made no repairs. Just saying. If you buy HF tools and are happy with them, and they are doing what you want them to do then go for it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:53 PM   #25
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


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Just curious - why would you want to move a full, almost 1000 lb tool box across a shop day in and day out? I'd rather have a tool cart and move that or walk back to the box assuming it's not too far.
Work on cars or motorcycles, move it once a "whenever", when it's time to mop or PW the floor. Work on trucks, aircraft, heavy equipment and you may move it several times a day, to get it closer to the equipment you're working on.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:39 PM   #26
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


Have a sawzall I bought from HF, beat the hell out of it routinely, still goes, though occasionally the blade will seize and stop while the motor makes a crazy grinding noise!! So I pull it out of whatever i jammed the blade into, and start again. Keeps going. Think I paid $29 for it.

Like most other posters though, if I want something that I need high quality and long lasting durability for, I will go to other places.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:35 PM   #27
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Have a sawzall I bought from HF, beat the hell out of it routinely, still goes, though occasionally the blade will seize and stop while the motor makes a crazy grinding noise!! So I pull it out of whatever i jammed the blade into, and start again. Keeps going. Think I paid $29 for it.

Like most other posters though, if I want something that I need high quality and long lasting durability for, I will go to other places.
It may keep going because the motor isn't powerful enough to destroy gear train on lock up. Milwaukee started putting impact protection gears on their super sawzalls once they went over 8 amps to protect the gear train from impacts and stalling/motor lock up.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:37 PM   #28
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


Been buying HF tools for decades (through the catalog before the intenet). For tools you rarely use but would like to have and couldn't justify the cost of a pro quality version, HF is great. Yes, sometimes you get stuff that just doesn't work, but that's the nature of ultra-cheap tools. Now that I have an HF store nearby, it's also paid off for unusual tools that aren't in stock anywhere else.

It's nice to have nice tools, but it's also nice to have a lot of tools . I have a good mix of high quality stuff, mid-quality stuff, and cheap stuff.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:08 PM   #29
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


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Ok guys....stop the trolling.....

There is another forum I'm on and when the topic of HF vs SO vs CM, well....same attitudes.

I've come to the conclusion that a SO lover will never say anything good about an HF tool....

SO has some of the stongest brand loyalty of any product.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go check out the new HF store that just opened up down the street.
Why would anyone bother to argue between the 3? There's really no comparison. Almost all of my hand tools are Craftsman. Only because I can drive just a few minutes away and get anything replaced when I break it. I've got a couple Snap-on and Mac flex head ratchets and they really are worlds better than Craftsman/Kobalt/Husky/big box store tools, at the same time their price reflects that. I'm not a pro, but I am in my tool box at least twice a week to work on my house or a friend's vehicle, so I need decent tools. HB tools just can't stand up to that much use. And their price reflects that as well.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:56 AM   #30
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HARBOR FRIEGHT TOOLS - The "Quality" Issue


i have some HF tools. most of them work out well, for the price and usage. i have a HF ratchet, it works smooth, and i tied to break it, and couldn't. no, i did put a pipe on it.

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