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Getting my Very Own Harbor Freight

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Forum topic by JAAune posted 02-07-2016 07:20 PM 1057 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JAAune

1646 posts in 1784 days


02-07-2016 07:20 PM

Just thought I’d gloat and let everyone know that they’re opening a new store 4 miles from my workshop. Unfortunately it won’t benefit me that much. Over the past 10 years I’ve made about 5 purchases and only one gets used with regularity (cannibalized dust collector used for extracting smoke from the laser engraver) . Another two are used on occasion and the others have been shelved.

For those living close to Bradley, Illinois, feel free to celebrate if you’re inclined to shop there.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com


28 replies so far

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#1 posted 02-07-2016 08:12 PM

Long ago I abandoned the cheap tools for woodworking but for a lot of other stuff they offer some affordable things. Considering a shop hoist as I speak…

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2881 posts in 2995 days


#2 posted 02-07-2016 08:41 PM

They are spreading like weeds. One just opened near us in north central MA. My first trip, I bought a cheap screwdriver that my son wanted to use with his R/C bits. We got a free LED flashlight!

I saw a nice pile of free pallets next to the parking lot. That may be my next “purchase”.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4245 posts in 1666 days


#3 posted 02-07-2016 08:43 PM

We got a free LED flashlight!

I’ve got a drawer full of those… along with about a dozen free multi-meters :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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716

502 posts in 384 days


#4 posted 02-07-2016 08:45 PM

I used to buy only the highest quality tools, telling myself that buying cheap would eventually cost me more. However more often than not I needed a tool for a specific project and after that the highest quality 10 times more expensive than usual tools left to gather dust. At HF tools are so cheap that usually pay for themselves after the first job. If you do not need it anymore you sell it for not much less than you bought it to the next guy who needs a tool for a specific project.
Some of the tools at HF are actually quite good. Their wet tile saw for example costs around $200 and is not worse than a times more expensive tool from HD or Lowes. On the other hand I looked at their smaller drill presses yesterday and my advice to better buy Ryobi if you want to stay cheap.

So if you are not a professional that uses the same tool 24/7 HF often is a good choice.

-- It's nice!

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JAAune

1646 posts in 1784 days


#5 posted 02-07-2016 09:17 PM

For single use tools I end up at the local tool rental place. For bargains, Craigslist and Ebay are usually the winners. Not knocking Harbor Freight. It’s just in practice, I almost always end up passing on their big sales and choosing other tool sources.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2326 posts in 1764 days


#6 posted 02-07-2016 09:31 PM

Some of their products are gems. I bought the chainsaw sharpener with a coupon for a touch over $30 and it’s paid for itself after sharpening 4 chains (local guy wants $8 each). Their socket wrenches and socket sets are a bargain. Many of my bike riding buddies bought the motorcycle lift. A new 4×8 trailer for $299 is a deal. The Predator 6 1/2 hp engine is a steal at $99 with a coupon and I have one on a Troy Bilt tiller I got for free. My bird fountain pump crapped out and they had one that fit for under ten bucks. Thanks to the coupons I keep a free multimeter in the house, garage, my truck, my wife’s car, my toolkit, and my motorcycle tank bag. When you need an assortment of cotter pins or machine screws or whatever they have the cheapest ones around. Their little electric cut off tool and spot weld cutter helped me replace the rocker panel in my truck. I needed a sheetrock cutout tool for one job and couldn’t see spending a hundred on the name brand one so I got one that worked fine for $18! You can knock certain tools they sell, but the wrenches and stuff that the box stores and Sears and the auto zones all sell is also made in China and it usually costs twice as much.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#7 posted 02-07-2016 10:32 PM

I don’t buy any tools there, but they are good for nitrile gloves, tarps, chip brushes, acid brushs, and all kinds of odds and ends that are useful. I will say this: every time I go in there the one near me is busy so I guess some folks like their tools. I’m in a rural area, and I understand farmers like to carry a few tools on their equipment for field adjustments…usually the cheap stuff since it gets lost a lot. Maybe that’s some of the business I see there.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#8 posted 02-07-2016 11:06 PM



I used to buy only the highest quality tools, telling myself that buying cheap would eventually cost me more. However more often than not I needed a tool for a specific project and after that the highest quality 10 times more expensive than usual tools left to gather dust. At HF tools are so cheap that usually pay for themselves after the first job. If you do not need it anymore you sell it for not much less than you bought it to the next guy who needs a tool for a specific project.
Some of the tools at HF are actually quite good. Their wet tile saw for example costs around $200 and is not worse than a times more expensive tool from HD or Lowes. On the other hand I looked at their smaller drill presses yesterday and my advice to better buy Ryobi if you want to stay cheap.

So if you are not a professional that uses the same tool 24/7 HF often is a good choice.

- 716

You hold the key…a one time use certainly justifies taking a chance. And quite frankly some of their stuff might work just fine…years ago I bought a 6×48 stationary belt sander from an outfit called AMT (probably the same outfit where HF gets much of their stuff) and had zero complaints with it. On the other side I used to get Craftsman tools for Christmas but swore them off when one of their routers hit the trash bin after maybe an hour of use…”roll the dice” I guess.

View InstantSiv's profile

InstantSiv

259 posts in 1062 days


#9 posted 02-07-2016 11:08 PM

Closest one to me for a long time was 50 minutes away. I went there a lot when I was first setting up my shop. Last fall one opened up about 30 minutes from me.

I don’t visit them much anymore. Only thing I want is that roller cart side tray so I can get a free set of screw drivers or maybe a free electrical meter thing.

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#10 posted 02-07-2016 11:11 PM



I don t buy any tools there, but they are good for nitrile gloves, tarps, chip brushes, acid brushs, and all kinds of odds and ends that are useful. I will say this: every time I go in there the one near me is busy so I guess some folks like their tools. I m in a rural area, and I understand farmers like to carry a few tools on their equipment for field adjustments…usually the cheap stuff since it gets lost a lot. Maybe that s some of the business I see there.

- Fred Hargis

I find that there are no “bargains” on the “odds and ends”...but I do seem to spend a lot of time in their store when I get up there (kid in a candy store).

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#11 posted 02-07-2016 11:23 PM



Closest one to me for a long time was 50 minutes away. I went there a lot when I was first setting up my shop. Last fall one opened up about 30 minutes from me.

I don t visit them much anymore. Only thing I want is that roller cart side tray so I can get a free set of screw drivers or maybe a free electrical meter thing.

- InstantSiv

My shop seems to be a breeding ground for benches…only thing I have ever bought there was their furniture movers where I can easily move infrequent stuff under/out. Cheaper than buying the wheels and making my own. But I think they have a great business model…if the quality becomes a problem I’m sure they will take the proper steps to fix it.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1724 days


#12 posted 02-07-2016 11:36 PM

I have to wonder if HF has improved the quality of their tools. It used to be that they were mostly criticized as being junk, but lately I have been seeing favorable reviews more and more often. I have a shop crane that has been fine so I tried a pin nailer and that has been flawless so far (about 2000 pins), but I only use Cadex pins. FWIW

-- Art

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1784 days


#13 posted 02-07-2016 11:52 PM

I’m thinking it’s lowered expectations due to the fact that less people have exposure to quality tools. I use a lot of industrial quality tools and which is why I usually don’t use a Harbor Freight buy for long. The fiddling it takes to keep budget tools working flawlessly is tiresome. They work but not enough to keep me happy. Most of my tools are high dollar stuff I got cheap at sales and auctions then fixed back up. Sometimes they don’t even need fixing since they’re built to last forever.

In the same way, I can barely tolerate store-bought tomatoes. They are dry and flavorless compared to fresh-picked from the garden.

A lot of younger people barely know how to pick up a tool. Not enough exposure during childhood I guess. If you’ve never used a drill/driver, then a Harbor Freight cordless will seem delightful when you first get your hands on it because it’s compared to a screwdriver.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

465 posts in 369 days


#14 posted 02-08-2016 12:32 AM

Seems like more of these giant Chinese companies are manufacturing the exact item for many different companies. Since the harbor freight near me opened i have noticed this more with tools. Nothing beats old american industrial tools and machinery, the tools at harbor freight dont even come close. but if buy the exact same tool with a different label for half the price… you betcha

View Gentile's profile

Gentile

262 posts in 1286 days


#15 posted 02-08-2016 08:07 PM

A buddy of mine bought a HF 4” angle grinder and a box of discs. He went through 3 or 4 grinders before he used up the box of discs…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

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