and here was the response I received (after she relayed my question to her boyfriend):I've been doing a lot of research on Harbor Freight products - and a lot of their power tools seem to get a bad rap in terms of the issue of quality. I am thinking much of the criticism is coming from more "hardcore" woodworkers and contractors ... which I most definitely am not. I am a complete beginner/novice to the do-it-yourself/home hobby world - and I don't plan on elevating myself any higher than a "home hobby" level.
He looks at their tools as really good quality for the price. They actually have a test warehouse where they test them against name brand products and they do really well. In all honesty, between you and me, they actually buy name brand tools and deconstruct them and build them cheaper.
I learned something today that I have to let you in on. Harbor Freight Tools isn’t “just” an importer of cheap, off-shore tools for guys down on bucks. While Harbor Freight Tools could certainly motor on through life as the leader in Chinese-built tools, this California-based company has a surprising mission statement: they want to be a quality leader while maintaining the really low prices they’ve become famous for. Yeah, that’s a statement you might expect, and we’d brush it off as pure hype if we hadn’t visited Harbor Freight’s Quality Assurance Lab in Calabasas, CA for a few hours today. Harbor Freight has built a state-of-the-art testing facility where they test both their own products (future and current) side-by-side with competitive products. And by competitive, I mean segment-leading products by name-brand manufacturers, not discount store private-label products.
As I toured Harbor Freight’s modern and spacious facility and watched various products being torqued, hammered, pounded, sprayed, immersed, squashed, smashed, radiated, and generally tortured, it dawned on me that Harbor Freight Tools were not only “adequate,” but even preferable.
All the testing at Harbor Freight’s Quality Assurance Lab is done for a reason. As a global-sourcing importer, the only way HFT can maintain and improve quality is to make the off-shore factories accountable for quality. The constant barrage of testing at HFT’s Calabasas lab gives their inventory buyers and executives the ammunition they need to enforce and improve quality on an on-going basis, while at the same time conducting comparative testing on benchmark products by makers like Snap-On, Bosch, Chicago Pneumatic, Honda, Warn, Binks, Ingersol Rand, Milwaukee, and Craftsman. The US General tool cart was only one of dozens of products I got to sample side-by-side with benchmark brand-name products, and the quality/price comparisons on those were equally astounding.
True, but inexpensive and good value for the dollar is money in the bank.:thumbup:cheap is not good and good is not cheap. words to live by.
I am also on a budget and needed a good sliding compound miter saw. Like you I was going to buy the one at harbor freight, even though I heard a few bad things about it. Then, by shear luck I found THIS really nice Ryobi 10" Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser. It is usually around $200.00 at home depot. I got it for only around 30.00 more than the harbor freight saw, and the 2 year warranty, plus the fact that it's built MUCH better easily is worth the 30.00 difference. I slapped a Diablo blade on it and I am set. The place I got it from online had incredible customer service, really fast shipping and they included a pair of safety glasses, a flashlight, and two pairs of work gloves as free gifts with the order (plus a 10.00 coupon for my next purchase) :thumbup:I went ahead and purchased the new/latest model 12" Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw With Laser Guide from Harbor Freight - in early Jan 2013 - for $119.