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Thread: Harbor Freight Tools; love 'em or hate 'em?

  1. #41
    Boolit Buddy schutzen-jager's Avatar
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    jmho -- if it is something i will be using repeatedly i look for best quality at lowest price - for a one time use it is Harbor Freight - thinking back the only Harbor Freight item that has failed for me is a free flashlight - like stated above prices have gone up + coupon deals decreased -
    never pick a fight with an old man - if he is too old to fight he will just kill you -
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  2. #42
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    I use them only occasionally. It used to be 200 miles in either direction to a store. If anything you bought was electronic, you unboxed it and tried it out on the plug in outside the store. I have had decent luck with their impact sockets.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  3. #43
    Boolit Master
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    My action pistol club has a lot of equipment for building and maintaining the range and the props used in competition. The tools are used and abused: left out in the dust and rain, mishandled by folks unfamiliar with them, zero maintenance, and sometimes some of them seem to have legs.

    We have quality, pricey equipment that is kept locked up and under cover. And we have HF and other “generic” brand tools.

    ‘Nuff said.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master


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    The prices are significantly higher than in the past but the quality of their hand tools appears to be better. I’ve been well set for hand tools for decades so I’ve only purchased a few from HF. Recently I bought a metal lathe that weighs about 500 pounds. Had a 25% coupon so I got a 1 ton chain hoist to set it on its new bench. It worked as well as any small chain hoist I’ve ever used and only set me back $45 plus tax. Not a fan of their electrical tools, having purchased a few. All have been replaced with better ones. For anything that I expect to use regularly I’ll buy elsewhere.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  5. #45
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Would I make a living with them? Probably not.
    Do I have a garage full? Yes
    $89 wire welder works like a champ, handtools are fine but some are a little loose. Good enough for a driveway repair guy. Crowbars, pry bars etc just fine. Compound slide miter saw is as good as one 2-3x as expensive. Small drill press runs fine. Hammer drill works, sawsall with a moveable handle works fine. 2500 Watt generator runs great but is a little heavy. About the only thing I've had trouble with are a power plane which just didn't work, a router that also didn't work and some wood chisels that I broke one right off so the steel was a little suspect.
    Just bought a transmission lift to put a transfer case in my F150 for $100. Uses a ratchet but works good. Glad I bought it because I then used it to pull the transmission from my Honda CRV for a torque converter. Saved a bundle doing it myself and it paid for itself in one use.

    I'd stay away from the hand power tools but everything else has been fine. Consumables are usually a pretty good deal and I get all my zip ties, bungees, sandpaper etc from there. Things you may use once in a blue moon like a ball joint press, torque wrench etc is where they shine imho.
    I Am Descended From Men Who Would Not Be Ruled

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  6. #46
    Boolit Master elmacgyver0's Avatar
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    The magnetic tool holders they have are great, many uses.
    I not only use them for tools, but they work great to store magazines (the gun kind), they also work great as a straight edge on sheet metal to guide your plasma cutter.
    I keep finding more uses for them.

  7. #47
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    I have been quite happy with the items I have bought from Harbor Freight over the years My mini lathe is now 23 years old and has seen a lot of use and abuse and doing very well. The only problem I have had with it was when I tried to use it in a 10 degree workshop and a plastic threading gear broke.
    I have returned one hammer drill it burned up right away in reverse only . No problem replacing it and the new one has done some pretty heavy work since.
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

  8. #48
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    In the 1990s I bought a 2 ton Excalibur engine hoist/shop crane from Advance Auto, well my buddy bought it if I would swap an engine for him, was a pretty good deal at $180ish back then and I worked for it.

    That thing followed me everywhere I went for the next 27 or 28 years, state after state, house after house, engine after engine, always worked, nary a complaint. I loaded it up this past weekend to go pull some holly stumps for the GF, when I got to her house one of the wheels had fallen off in the trailer and the bushing and bolt fell through the expanded metal.

    I went to HF and picked up a pair of iron swivel casters but they didn't have a bushing or a bearing of any kind, it would be no time before the bolt rusted and wheels won't turn. I thought about it, and the more I thought about it the less I wanted those new wheels. I just happened to have a piece of tool steel rod that went right in the iron wheel, snug just like it was made for it, so I bored it through in the lathe and cut it to length, found a bolt and a nut and put the old wheel back on, with some grease in there, and found all the other swivel wheels were just finger tight, not bad for all the miles I have hauled this thing and I just never though to check those wheels for tight nuts, my fault the other one fell apart.

    Back in business now!
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  9. #49
    Boolit Buddy
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    HF metal detector for finding brass in the grass. Does the job and makes me happy and is cost effective!
    West of Beaver Dick's Ferry.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    Have a 4-1/2" Blue Makita knock off angle grinder bought 20 years ago. Came with arbor wrench & case, a small assortment of sanding/grinding disks and even a segmented dry-cut diamond blade I used to cut tile around a closet flange just last week. On special the price was $5 - yes that's correct 500 pennies.

  11. #51
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    About 2006 I bought one of their horizontal cutoff bandsaws. It moved with me into retirement in 2009. Not long after one of the castings cracked, and guess what? They don't have spare parts. I doubt it got more than a dozen hours of actual use. I'm now much too far from any HF retail outlet. Don't even shop them online.
    Cognitive Dissident

  12. #52
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    Some Harbor Freight stuff is okay, some is junk from the get go. Nothing I have seen in their stores have ever been what I would call top of the line merchandise.

    That said, I do own some stuff from them. The two best thing are two wheel dolly I bought late last century to do a DITY move with. I think it was $20 and it still works fine, just need to air up the tires when I use it. The other is a ball joint press, basically an overgrown c clamp with fittings to change ball joints and u-joints.

    Anything else, if I think I will use it more than three times, I buy somewhere else.

    Robert

  13. #53
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Forgot the 4gal "as good as an 8gal" high pressure compresser. Had one to test it against and it is. Also easy to carry
    I Am Descended From Men Who Would Not Be Ruled

    It is not with strength one will prevail; those who oppose The Lord will be broken

  14. #54
    Boolit Master


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    HF works for my needs now. 40 years ago, they would not. Why buy tools that cost 3-4 times as much when tools that work now and for more than I have left in life.

  15. #55
    Boolit Mold
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    Harbor freight is my go to for tool these days, prices are low comparatively, and warranties are great. In this economy, gotta make the pennies go farther......
    Striker

    RLTW


    "Hope is not a course of action, nor a method of execution..."

  16. #56
    Boolit Master Handloader109's Avatar
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    Had to bring this up again. I've a home with full basement. Most of the home wiring runs through the basement ceiling. I've used a circuit finder that I bought from HF a couple of years ago to map out the outlets to the breakers.
    I am adding a couple of outlets in my living room where there are none near, and wiring off of a run in the same room that will have less use once I get these new outlets installed. So I looked at where the romex went up into the wall and found two lines. OK. There are at least 4 outlets on this run, but why 2 lines? Checked the breaker box, yep, only one wire under the screw. So there has to be another breaker controlling one line. Which is it? No easy way as the hole goes up between 2 outlets, I'd have to cut hole in wall. Ah, use a current Meter. Hf has one for $15. So I went to pick one up. Heck they have a $5 non contact voltage tester. $5.... grabbed that and yep, it senses voltage at an outlet, kill the breaker and it only beeps once... so check the wires. Yep, the one I was going to cut is still hot and the other one, the RIGHT one is dead. $5 was cheap..... HF. Check there FIRST.

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  17. #57
    Boolit Buddy
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    I agree with all posters here, if you look at the popular tools most are now made in China, the HF tools are made in the same factory and rebranded.
    I had to replace the wiring on my trailer and all I could find were made in China, found a better set at HF also made in China for less than half the price of the others, has worked great for a few years now.
    "People in Arizona carry guns," said Detective David Ramer, a Chandler police spokesman. You better be careful about who you are picking on...

  18. #58
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Almost forgot. All the tools in my shed at hunting camp are HF. Use them all the time but if they are stolen im not out much.
    I Am Descended From Men Who Would Not Be Ruled

    It is not with strength one will prevail; those who oppose The Lord will be broken

  19. #59
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    When I was younger and poorer, I had to do basic maintenance on our cars and stuff around the house. I usually bought name brand tools because I figured they would have to last me the rest of my life. My life has lasted a little longer than I anticipated back then so my money has to last longer too.

    The only things I have bought from HF lately are those little plastic storage thingies with lots of dividers. The last thing I bought was 2 leather welding aprons. I decided that even though the skin has gotten kind of wrinkled I need to protect it. The second one was to cut up for shields over my homemade sandbags. Denim doesn't resist the sparks from shooting revolvers off them. The extra material was for sons and grandsons since I made them bags also.

    BTW, those [B]samd[B] bags are really bean(soy) bags as suggested quite awhile ago by someone here.
    John
    W.TN

  20. #60
    Boolit Master

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    When I was younger and poorer, I had to do basic maintenance on our cars and stuff around the house. I usually bought name brand tools because I figured they would have to last me the rest of my life. My life has lasted a little longer than I anticipated back then so my money has to last longer too.

    The only things I have bought from HF lately are those little plastic storage thingies with lots of dividers. The last thing I bought was 2 leather welding aprons. I decided that even though the skin has gotten kind of wrinkled I need to protect it. The second one was to cut up for shields over my homemade sandbags. Denim doesn't resist the sparks from shooting revolvers off them. The extra material was for sons and grandsons since I made them bags also.

    BTW, those sand bags are really bean(soy) bags as suggested quite awhile ago by someone here.
    John
    W.TN

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check