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OkieGT

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OkieGT

After buying a bunch of stuff from harbor freight I decided I wasn't wealthy enough to buy any more tools from them anymore. Every 6 months I had to replace the same tools. I can't even imagine buying an engine from them. I have two or three sockets left and one screw driver from a complete sae/metric socket set and a 11 piece screwdriver set, I have one pair of pliers left out of a 6 piece set, none made it a year. I won't even buy tools for my wife from harbor freight, I do however buy my brother in law tools from there for his christmas present, but in 6 years I honestly don't believe he's turned a wrench or screw. Companies like harbor freight and us that buy from them is why Americans don't have jobs. I got sucked into the cheap price a couple of times before, I figured out I can buy Matco or SnapOn cheaper because I will never have to buy it again. I'm not going to support companies that employ chinese labor to sell me stuff that is made from pot metal, and I sure as heck won't put that stuff or use those tools on my American made machines made by union workers anymore. I learned the hard way both with tools and parts. OEM and American made quality stuff made by companies that stand behind there products is the best way to go, and cheapest way to go in the long and short run. Of course many tools I have I had to buy from pawn shops and swap meets, because even American companies aren't or can't make quality stuff anymore. I cant take getting screwed over by my own cheapness and look in the mirror anymore, just my two cents worth and a rant on harbor freight that I know will prove me right everytime, they do not disappoint in disappointing their customers. Anyone want 3 sockets, a screwdriver, and a set of pliers free. If not they go into the scrap metal pile

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RayS

Their HVLP paint gun and impact sockets are not bad. Also have their band saw, heat gun, variable speed sander/ polisher and their big roller tool box. Tool box is better than the two Craftsman tool boxes that I have.

The rest of my tools are Craftsman, Mac, Matco, SK and Snapon. There screw drivers are junk. Got a free set of those for buying the paint gun.

I always figure if they want to give you something for free. They already know it is junk.

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timflury

I have the 20g parts wash tub from HF. Still pumping fine after 4+ years.

Certain tools from them are fine, and some not so much.

Guys in the forum here swear by the manual tire changer, because of their praises, I'm considering buying one.

http://www.simpletractors.com/club2/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=141910

There's no way I would buy small hand tools from them.

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dav

bought a wire feed welder from harbor freight to weld up rocker panels on my Fiats. did the job. took about 2 hours including set up time to do both cars.

welder never worked right again.

keep looking for a GOOD welder cheap but that's a contradiction in terms.

got a HF parts washer as a present 5 years back. it still works most of the time-have to fiddle with it sometimes.

need a HVLP paint gun. HF has $20 ones. only pawn shop with one wants $199.00. dilemma. wait, it gets more complicated...northern tool lists a good brand name-which doesn't preclude the possibility that it was also made in china- for $50.

can't start sand blasting tractor parts until I can paint them so i'll have to do something soon

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Chris727

Dad gets the coupons and has brought a lot of this stuff home. I have the following from HF and here are their reviews:

HVLP spray gun - excellent

bearing separator - good

air cutoff tools- excellent, use all the time

blast cabinet- very good for the price.

air saw - junk, need to get exchanged or return.

hammers- good

snap ring plier assortment - would not buy again.

Files- good, the wood handles fell off, better without them anyway.

ratcheting wrenches - very good, have used weekly for three years.

3 jaw puller set- good

Bearing separator- good

32 Piece security bit- set- very handy, as good as craftsman.

Impact sockets- good

Compression tester - good

Heat gun - good.

I have bought lots of craftsman socket sets but the basic 3/8 and 1/4" drive ratchets are junk. I instead prefer John Deere brand ratchets I buy at work. I don't think the success of HF is why Americans don't have jobs, it may not directly help that situation, but its nowhere near the cause. Many Craftsman tools are now imported and at three times the HF price. Anymore and this post would go to the political section.

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damon91

I always looked at Harbor Freight as a place to buy specialty tools that you want to have on hand, but arent going to use enough to warrent buying a good brand name tool. I have bought things like Brad nailers there for insanely cheap. I may only use it 4 or 5 times in my life but to me I got my moneys worth out of it. I would never buy their stuff and expect it to perform on a daily basis, you get what you pay for.

Like Chris said, most of Chraftsman's stuff is made in china now, half of their ratchets are now plastic and their prices never came down...

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RayS

Guess I have been lucky with Craftsman tools. Most of them I have had for 30 years and none of them are plastic ratchet. They also do not cry like a bunch of babies when you need to return something.

I do like my SK ratchets better than Craftsman though.

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SmilinSam

I have a mini tire changer from HF. The design is good, but the steel is soft. I changed out the threaded rod for a harder one. Also made some tools for it from harder steel. Works good with the mods.

Also have a HF bench mount chainsaw chain breaker. Works great except the punch pin does not last long. Best remedy for that is to make a new pin using a needle bearing needle for a pin inserted into a new base with a hole drilled into it to insert the needle into, epoxying it in place.

HF woodworking power tools made from cast iron are not worth the risk of losing your money. The castings frequently warp. I read an article on the quality of chineese castings and that this issue is/was not uncommon.

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HerbP

Here in Canada we don't have HF. But we have Princess Auto which I assume is the equivalent. I buy some stuff from PA knowing full well that it's probably junk... I try to buy used tools and there's some things I will only buy from SnapOn...

For example, I'll buy pry-bars from PA. I'll buy brass drifts or brass hammers from PA. Angle Grinders, and some air tools like die grinders and air-hammers...

I'll buy flare-nut wrenches and screw drivers from Snap-On. My torque wrenches are Proto.. I have a treasured set of "Grey" wrenches. My favourite Phillips drivers are (or were, see below) SnapOn.

I get my gear wrenches from all over the place; so I have some original Signet ones as well as the OEM ones from Home Depot or Canadian Tire.. But I also have some Princess Auto ones and frankly, they work just as well and last as long.

In one of my truck forums is a fellow who works for an american tool maker. He says they used to cast wrenches and sockets and handles for Sears but a number of years ago, they lost that job and now Sears gets their hand tools made in China... For this reason, I would not buy Craftsman. Some of my favourite ratchet handles are Craftsman but I watch out for them at garage sales and pawn shops. I look for that familiar shape with the serial number stamped in the handle.

I think you can no longer rely on getting quality north american made tools anymore. I don't know where SnapOn stuff is made anymore. I had a #3 SnapOn phillips driver that was plain worn out but was still serving me relatively well on rusty windshield bolts... I caught the SnapOn truck at work and had him replace the shank on my favourite #3... That evening I went to replace the seized windshield hinge on my land cruiser and the tip of the #3 just twisted off.. Two weeks later I had the shank replaced again and tried the same bolt again and exactly the same failure. I then grabbed my Canadian Tire #3 phillips and removed the bolt that killed 2 SnapOn phillips... I wish I could get the old shank back. I'm certain it would have been able to remove the bolt.

I had my shop all nicely set up with what I considered to be the right combination of tools. Then we bought a cottage which had an empty shop and I found myself needing to equip a second shop (now that I have tractors that need frequent repair)... It's been a difficult road because I'm (a) broke and (b) out in the boonies... So if I break a tool, I can't just run out on saturday afternoon and buy a replacement. I have to wait a week till I'm out there again. The used tool shops / pawn-shops have been a blessing here...

Anyway, those are my thoughts from up-north.

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Talntedmrgreen

HF is a cheap, convenient way to grab limited use tools, or clones of larger equipment like bench grinders, gen sets, etc. They are certainly not the Import King from China, but we all know full well that's where their product comes from.

For something like an odd sized impact socket, I'd rather grab it there, and risk scrapping the Chinese steel that I'll never need again, than spend my cash on a high dollar item I don't plan to use thereafter. I have never bought a handtool from them, as my Craftsman and grandpa's old S&K's are doing just fine, and probably will do so for my sons. That's also the reason I don't have anything high dollar like SnapOn.

I like glitter like the next guy, but am not too proud to shop within a reasonable budget for a shadetree mechanic. I may sing a different tune if I fed my family with the money I made turning a wrench.

I have had a few items disappoint me from HF...a 10" pneumatic swivel caster had the rim welds break after about 40 minutes of use on a cart, and a air sander I have only has one setting...ON. Plug in the hose and you're sanding.

Other HF items I have perform flawlessly (HVLP, air tools, tire changer, generator), and most have so for years. Admittedly, I don't treat them with the care that I would if I had paid 10X more. Sears has made me a fan of their hand tools...they hold up as good or better than I expect, and in the very few instances where something failed, the exchange was quicker than grabbing a cheeseburger from Mickey D's.

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Burntime

I agree with Josh, we know why its a 3rd the price. Quality cost money. For occasional use of a specialty tool they are fine. If your buying something you intend on using a lot, well, you get what you pay for. No free lunch! :D:D:D With that being said, there are some items I have bought that did the job and lasted more than the 1 or 2 times I figured it would last. Keep expectations low and you will be happy. If you expect craftsman or snap on quality, well, your setting yourself up for disappointment.

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OkieGT
quote:Originally posted by timflury

I have the 20g parts wash tub from HF. Still pumping fine after 4+ years.Certain tools from them are fine, and some not so much. Guys in the forum here swear by the manual tire changer, because of their praises, I'm considering buying one.http://www.simpletractors.com/club2/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=141910There's no way I would buy small hand tools from them.


id="quote">
id="quote">I bought one Tim, hope your a muscular guy, not bad for car tires and not too bad if your strong for removing old rear tires, but by the time you buy the right tools to put on a new tire without damaging it, you might have been able to pick up a used pneumatic changer. The red paint faded to pink in a couple months, it tears up the pint on any tires I painted, don't even get me started on the small tire changer for the fronts, my good for Hulk Hogan, not worth it for me.

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OkieGT

I don't buy craftsman anymore either, pretty sure they're made in china, even if there not, almost anything Sears sells is junk anymore. I'm just not going to put my money down on new stuff that is pot metal. I want something better than that for my money. When you and a spouse survive off of 14,000 a year you can't buy anything new anyway, but there is no way I can even think about buying something twice.

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Burntime

Check ebay. Sometimes there are great deals, sometimes not. Also Kmart and menards carries craftsman now. Sometimes they are a great deal, especially when there is a sale and the 15% off bag comes in the mail.

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powerking_one

I'm pretty sure the Craftsman line of tools were (are still??) mad by Easco Corp; a very reputable manufacturer for as long as I can remember. If they and Sears separated beds recently, than that's a quality demerit for them. The lifetime warranty policy used to be always great. You could always return/replace a screwdriver even with a scratched plastic handle, no questions asked.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easco_Hand_Tools

Tom (PK)

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drbrian722

I agree with pretty much everything that's been said, but I offer the following additions. HF does have a lifetime warranty on all their hand tools. While this does not replace quality, it does at least provide a little coverage when they break.

Secondly, specifically to their little flux welder. I've had mine for a few years and even though it's rated for 20% duty, I've used it over that and it's done very well. The manual (which is available on their site) does have one of the better 'basics of welding' sections that I have seen. But even more than that I've noticed that the welder and the wire are all labeled 'made in Italy', and I've heard that Hobart makes their wire, but I don't know if that's true.

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GrincheyOne

I used to buy SK when I worked at Unisys. Most of the tools now at ACE are Craftsman. Nowhere near the quality as when it was a Sears only product. EVEN Tuna fish is packed in China now (Star Kist). A can of SOLID, is half solid and half CHUNK ("pre-chewed quality"). "Smithfield" meat products are now produced overseas. Locally produced products are being pushed off the shelves in all categories.

Economically Consumers are being forced to choose the price vs the quality.

My Daughter is always chiding me, because "I spend all day on the computer, complaining to manufacturers. and "service providers.

As long as we accept what they force us to buy, it will not change.

She and my grand kids are perfect examples of the "throwaway culture", and I also get a ration of "why are you keeping that trash"?

i agree, all these issues would do better in the "coffee shop".

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huffy
quote:Originally posted by OkieGT

I won't even buy tools for my wife from harbor freight, I do however buy my brother in law tools from there for his christmas present . . . .


id="quote">
id="quote">That one made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants

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devinbrown07

I have the manual tire changer, i've used it for many tires up to 35's for a truck and 8 ply bias ply tires for my demolition derby cars when i used them. it works amazingly better when it's bolted to the concrete floor. I did weld up the mounts to the post instead of the single bolt that holds it together, and reinforced the bead breaker. But all in all for the price it has easily paid for itself 3 times.

I dont mind the impact sockets, chrome sockets, or the trailer light kit for my wood hauling trailer.

I did get talked into getting their 3.5 ton rapid lift jack when it was on sale for 75$. it doesnt lift in 3 pumps like it says but it has held up well for 3 years now.

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OkieGT
quote:Originally posted by GrincheyOne

I used to buy SK when I worked at Unisys. Most of the tools now at ACE are Craftsman. Nowhere near the quality as when it was a Sears only product. EVEN Tuna fish is packed in China now (Star Kist). A can of SOLID, is half solid and half CHUNK ("pre-chewed quality"). "Smithfield" meat products are now produced overseas. Locally produced products are being pushed off the shelves in all categories.Economically Consumers are being forced to choose the price vs the quality.My Daughter is always chiding me, because "I spend all day on the computer, complaining to manufacturers. and "service providers.As long as we accept what they force us to buy, it will not change.She and my grand kids are perfect examples of the "throwaway culture", and I also get a ration of "why are you keeping that trash"?i agree, all these issues would do better in the "coffee shop".


id="quote">
id="quote">Here's a big RIGHT ON to Grinchy. The manufacturers only supply us with what we buy, if we are dumb enough to buy junk they will sell it to us in spades. It really shows you how cheap HF is getting their tools when they can offer that kind of warranty. My problem with taking something back to harbor freight is the 60 mile drive, not worth it. I'm confused, if we are all bound by our love of old machines and machinery, why are we doing business with these companies, its kind of like saying no to drugs while you pop some pills.

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