BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum

Posting requires Registration and the use of Cookies-enabled browser


Go Back   BHM Forum > Self-Reliance & Preparedness > Hands-on > Building/Tools

Building/Tools Anything to do with construction, remodeling, etc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-05-2014, 07:24 PM
MYellowRose's Avatar
MYellowRose Female MYellowRose is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 3,579
Default Harbor Freight Tools

I was wondering if anyone buys tools or other items from Harbor Freight? Right now my only tools are a pair of pliers and a screwdriver I found under my porch. I've seen coupons for free items in their ads but have never gotten anything from them.
__________________
I just open my mouth to switch feet. It's what my mother called "foot in mouth disease" and I have it perfected.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-06-2014, 12:26 AM
DavidOH's Avatar
DavidOH Male DavidOH is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Central, OH
Posts: 2,439
Default

Most of what I buy there I consider "disposable".
I don't expect to get much use out of them. If I finish the job I need them to do , then OK, that's all I need. Like their cheap power tools.

Some simple tools you can't tell the difference between theirs and other brands. Shop carefully.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-06-2014, 12:43 AM
hunter63's Avatar
hunter63 hunter63 is offline
Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SE/SW WI
Posts: 635
Default

They are like a Bic tool.
If you just need for one job, fine.......Most of the time they will last long to do that.
Power tool come with spare brushes?

Some stuff last, some don't.

Does allow you leave tool behind in say a remote shed....and not care if they disappear.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-06-2014, 04:06 AM
randallhilton's Avatar
randallhilton Male randallhilton is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Fort Worth TX
Posts: 1,443
Default

In my opinion, based upon some experience, Harbor Freight and similar "cheap tool" places offer a mixed bag of satisfaction. This can be good or bad, depending upon your desired outcome. For example:

I'm refinishing the hardwood floor in one of our rentals. I can rent a sander for about $39 per day. At HF, I bought a sander for $39. So far, it has lasted long enough to cover a day's rent and shows no sign of dying before the job is done. I'm ahead of the game now because I have little use for the sander after this job is over.

On the other hand. . . I would never try to use their screwdrivers for anything more than a pry tool or tent peg.

I've bought lots of moving blankets and piano dollies. I can't tell you how durable they are because they disappear so easily. I sure am glad to get the super discount coupon from HF!

I suppose the simple way to put it: If the tool is expendable and the quality doesn't drastically impact its performance then HF is a good idea.
__________________

Use less, lose less, weigh the benefits, count the costs.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-06-2014, 10:58 AM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,596
Default

I have had pretty good luck with HF. I have a little pneumatic nailer/stapler that I just love and it has come in very handy for a lot of things. My SIL does a lot of work around salt water and boats, and he buys from them so that when stuff gets rusty and corroded, he can toss it and buy more. Much of what is available at many of the box stores is also made in China, so you are getting equivalent quality from HF.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-06-2014, 12:23 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Cleveland OH / Palestine WV
Posts: 1,330
Default

I think I have similar sentiments to others.

When I need to do something that "counts" - like working on the car, I use something like Craftsman or Kobalt or other name-brand tools almost exclusively.

But I do buy HF stuff. Usually it's when I need the tool infrequently, and the cost for a "good" tool is so far out of range as to be unjustifiable.

But some of their stuff isn't bad. I have an engine hoist that does what is says it'll do. I need it maybe 2x a year. I don't think the quality is any better or worse than a lot of similar offerings, but since I can pick it up at HF, I avoid a pretty hefty shipping charge buying it there. I also have one of their folding trailers. We've used it at least 10x going back and forth between Cleveland and WV and it's been a huge help. I think it was $250 - even if I could find one at that price elsewhere, it would cost another $100 at least to ship it to me. I wouldn't use it for a landscaping business, but for our purposes it works just fine.

I have a couple of angle grinders that I've gotten years of use out of. Eventually they die, but I'm still further ahead than spending what it would cost for something like a Makita, and being that I'm not making a living using them, I don't need the Makita.

Our tractor has some very large fasteners. Way bigger than anything on our vehicles. I bought a large socket set from HF - I think it was 3/4" drive. No way I could have afforded that through any of the big name tool companies, and since I'll use them maybe once every 3 years, the HF makes sense.

I got good use out of the air tools and I have an air compressor from them that serves me well.

There are very few HF tools I'd trust if I needed to make a living using them or to use regularly - they just wouldn't last IMHO, but for general occassional use by a consumer, most of their tools are just fine and can save a lot of time by putting an otherwise unaffordable tool within reach.

The thing I like most about HF is there's a certain amount of honesty. They and everyone else knows it's all China-sourced and you basically get what you pay for. Frankly, I'd rather buy from them knowing that, then buying something that has a name brand and a name brand premium price, but ends up being the exact same quality as HF. I guess I'd rather pay a little and get a little, or pay a lot and get a lot when I need it, but I hate paying a lot and getting a little.
__________________
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Marxism: The ultimate illusory fantasy.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-06-2014, 12:58 PM
hunter63's Avatar
hunter63 hunter63 is offline
Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SE/SW WI
Posts: 635
Default

One thing I do buy are the containers of fasteners, plow pins, lynch pins, hose clamps.

If I need one I buy the assortment.....

The other unit that has surprised me is the little 4 ton electric log splitter....have had it for about 6 years and haven't killed it.
Paid like $250 bucks for it.

Keep lusting after the bigger gas ones, but will have to wait till this one dies.

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-06-2014, 02:31 PM
coaltrain's Avatar
coaltrain Male coaltrain is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: NW Penna
Posts: 1,722
Default

Agree with all that is said here. For daily use it will be good tools like Craftsman. For those odd tools that I use only once in a while the HF stuff is fine. Especially like chrisser says with big stuff like 3/4" drive sockets/ratchets - something that I need when I need it but it might only be once a year or so.

I never knew HF had retail stores until about 1 year ago. I had a doctor appointment in a city and passed by one. Stopped afterward - it was like a kid in a candy store! I now go to that city every 3-4 months and have a running list of HF stuff that I can pick up when there.

I've always wondered about how a Dremmel tool would work - last trip I got one with a coupon for $18.50 plus bought the big bit kit. The thing works great - don't know how I ever survived without one all these years. Now I just have to remember that I have it......
__________________
~Stan~
It is what it is
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-06-2014, 03:52 PM
krapgame's Avatar
krapgame krapgame is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Right here
Posts: 1,075
Default

Count me in the same camp as most everyone else that's posted. I buy a lot of the tools I have from HF. Generally I've had really good luck. The only things I've truly been disappointed in were their curved jaw pliers (channel lock type. That's an item that only the brand name will do) and their big pop rivet gun. I've also not been impressed with their quick connect air fittings. They work, but they also leak.

I've always been wary of buying anything from them with a cord on it, but even still I've had good luck with the couple things I've bought. Namely an $80 wire welder and most recently their double cut saw. The good thing is that most of that stuff carries a 1 year replacement warranty standard. I've even had the sales folks tell me take it home, abuse it and bring it back for an exchange in 11 months or so. I've never actually done that, but supposedly it's no questions asked exchange as long as you have the receipt.

IMO, a lot of the problem with HF tools is quality control from the manufacturer. My experience is that their stuff will either fail almost immediately because of of some defect or will actually hold together and do pretty well.

My recommendation, if you're getting something that you know you'll need to depend on, get 2 of them so you've got a back up in case you break the first one mid project. The price for 2 will still usually be cheaper than the price of a single name brand.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-06-2014, 07:04 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Cleveland OH / Palestine WV
Posts: 1,330
Default

Their assembly often leaves a little bit to be desired too.

I usually take whatever I buy completely apart and make sure there is nothing obviously wrong with it, clean it all up and regrease it. Often there are burrs or chips from the machining process, and I doubt their grease is made for long life. Sometimes things aren't adjusted as they should be, or as tight as they should be. All easy stuff to deal with.

Anything for outdoor use - the paint is going to fade. I usually plan on spending a few bucks for a better quality can of paint and just hit it as a preventative.

I'm still generally money ahead.
__________________
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Marxism: The ultimate illusory fantasy.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-06-2014, 07:07 PM
oeb oeb is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 280
Default

Count me in on most of the above comments, you pretty much get what you pay for with the occasional good surprise that an item functions above expectations and the item will do what they say it will. The hand tools are mostly in this category but I've got some old HF battery drills that have served me well for at least 25, maybe 30 Yrs. Unfortunately, that model isn't available any more and I even have to rebuild the batteries now. I bought an impact tool to remove a crankshaft pully on the wife's car with some doubts that this $20 tool would do the job but first try the nut came right on off. Used their $12 torque wrench to reinstall it. Got a thousand success stories like that where a cheap tool from HF paid for itself with one use.
As for much higher priced, supposedly better tools (both hand and power) from big box stores; I've retailed a lot of 'em in the past and have seen some that look exactly like some cheap HF tools. I'm willing to bet they came from the same Chinese factories with just a name and color change. BTW, I've also bought a few very expensive but discounted brand name tools, like Milwakee, for example, from HF retail outlets so they're beginning to stock a variety of price and quality in some stores now.
I love to window shop HF and Northern Tool stores and occasionally the piggy bank will allow me to buy.
oeb
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-07-2014, 01:09 AM
MYellowRose's Avatar
MYellowRose Female MYellowRose is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 3,579
Default

Thanks everyone, I sincerely appreciate the opinions. I have coupons to get the following free: 3 1/2" superhighway 9 LED flashlight; 5' 6" x7' 6" weather resistant tarp; 1" x25' tape measure; no purchase necessary for them. My other coupon is for a pair of multi-purpose scissors with stainless steel blades, free with any purchase, and since I'm in need of a Phillips head screwdriver that will be my purchase. I seldom have a need for any tools and I can usually borrow from my neighbor because he does maintenance in the trailer park. From what was said here, I think the HF tools will be fine for me.
__________________
I just open my mouth to switch feet. It's what my mother called "foot in mouth disease" and I have it perfected.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-07-2014, 05:34 PM
Ohio4us Male Ohio4us is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: nw ohio
Posts: 48
Default

the free ohm meters are a good source for a 9v battery.the free lights are 3 aaa batteries.not best batteries but in a pinch work good.have a few tools from them and all seems to work ok. The free screwdrivers are good to usewhen working where they seem to grow legs and walk away
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-07-2014, 10:25 PM
offgridbob's Avatar
offgridbob Male offgridbob is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,964
Default

I got there portable band saw and I have had it for about 6 years now. Runs fine and cuts metal like butter. I think I pain 60 dollars for it. A brand name saw runs 250 plus.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-07-2014, 11:44 PM
Txanne's Avatar
Txanne Female Txanne is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: SE Texas
Posts: 14,201
Default

I live to go in HF and just cruise around.
Handy gadgets all over.
I like gadgets.
Kind of tool window shopping. :
__________________
TROUBLE RIDES A FAST HORSE
CASUS BELLI
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-07-2014, 11:47 PM
Txanne's Avatar
Txanne Female Txanne is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: SE Texas
Posts: 14,201
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
One thing I do buy are the containers of fasteners, plow pins, lynch pins, hose clamps.

If I need one I buy the assortment.....

The other unit that has surprised me is the little 4 ton electric log splitter....have had it for about 6 years and haven't killed it.
Paid like $250 bucks for it.

Keep lusting after the bigger gas ones, but will have to wait till this one dies.

Hunter if you had to make a living with that tiny splitter--you'd buy one those 35 ton beauties----I love to stop at tractor supply---and look at them--electric start and all.
now thats my kind of tool.
__________________
TROUBLE RIDES A FAST HORSE
CASUS BELLI
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-08-2014, 12:11 AM
backlash's Avatar
backlash Male backlash is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dry side of Washington
Posts: 1,926
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MYellowRose View Post
Thanks everyone, I sincerely appreciate the opinions. I have coupons to get the following free: 3 1/2" superhighway 9 LED flashlight; 5' 6" x7' 6" weather resistant tarp; 1" x25' tape measure; no purchase necessary for them. My other coupon is for a pair of multi-purpose scissors with stainless steel blades, free with any purchase, and since I'm in need of a Phillips head screwdriver that will be my purchase. I seldom have a need for any tools and I can usually borrow from my neighbor because he does maintenance in the trailer park. From what was said here, I think the HF tools will be fine for me.

You can only get 1 free item at a time.
When we go everyone has their own free coupon and we all get 1 thing.
I like the led light and you can never have too many small tarps.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-08-2014, 12:14 AM
backlash's Avatar
backlash Male backlash is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dry side of Washington
Posts: 1,926
Default

https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=YeanPDO-D6M

Better yet one of these.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-08-2014, 10:43 AM
Txanne's Avatar
Txanne Female Txanne is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: SE Texas
Posts: 14,201
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by backlash View Post
You can only get 1 free item at a time.
When we go everyone has their own free coupon and we all get 1 thing.
I like the led light and you can never have too many small tarps.
I have them all over the house and in my purse and truck.
They do come in handy huh?
__________________
TROUBLE RIDES A FAST HORSE
CASUS BELLI
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-08-2014, 10:20 PM
ArmySGT.'s Avatar
ArmySGT. Male ArmySGT. is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado!!!!!!!!!!
Posts: 1,621
Default

I don't buy any of their tools, I was burned on a set of box end wrenches and two files that wear like peanut butter..... Teeth stripped off the files and from the wrenches.

I do get sand paper, and nitrile gloves. The furniture dolly has a flat everytime I want to use it that stubbornly resists tire slime.... Moves furniture throughout the day as long as I air up the tires first. The two mini dollies work just fine.

I don't think I will ever invest in their power or pneumatic tools.

I do keep looking at the solar panel set but, if I look around I am sure I can come up with a better system on Amazon.

Absolutely do not buy their batteries.....
__________________
This is a how-to, homesteading and self-reliance website and Forum. We want to attract people who are primarily interested in those areas and for whom politics is secondary.
Oliver
Here's an internet truth; just because it bothers you, doesn't mean anyone else cares! - Me.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -2. The time now is 06:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1996 to Present. Backwoods Home Magazine, Inc.